Dahkath's Council of Thieves
Every Chelaxian knows Westcrown’s terrible history. Many have parents or grandparents who lived in the city the day Aroden was to come and claim his crown—and instead witnessed an empire’s collapse. When the diabolic new rulers of Cheliax moved the capital city, they left behind ruin and despair.
Westcrown crumbles under the weight of shattered dreams and thwarted aspirations. Yet even after years of emigration, it remains the largest city in Cheliax and one of the largest in Avistan. Westcrown’s location ensures its place as a major commercial trade hub, an important military post, and a major port on the western Inner Sea. Boats laden with food or slaves anchor at the floating marinas and ferry their goods to the city’s many markets. Trade exports from Westcrown include sea salt, seafood, sun pearls, timber, sailcloth, textiles, wool, wine, olives, herbs, unique crimson pottery, and quality ships.
The city’s many religious sites continue to draw the pious, the curious, and the devious. The ruins of the northern city draw interest among those looking for illegal goods or rare treasures from the dangerous rubble. But once the sun sets, only the foolish walk out of doors in Westcrown, for the shadow beasts prowl every darkened lane and waterway.
Founded as a holy site to Aroden, the city was renamed Westport in 3837 ar after an extended siege by greedy noble families. After the Chelish king Korrado II moved the capital there from Ostenso in 3991, he again changed the name, this time to Westcrown, sparking massive immigration and construction.
Aroden’s death incited chaos in the city. Without the mandate of divine rule, many families grabbed for power. The civil wars among Chelish noble families only resolved after 30-some years and more death in Cheliax than has ever been recorded. Some said the rise of diabolism came from all the blood spilled, and that the devils simply came along to clean it up. Regardless, the strict order imposed by these forces calmed many after the chaos of a generation. House Thrune used those feelings of relief to its advantage, and before any could question the nobles’ diabolical alliances, House Thrune was unstoppable in its power grab for the Imperial Throne.
Her Infernal Majestrix, Queen Abrogail I, wrenched Westcrown’s pride away in a heartbeat as she and her bound devils abandoned the city for her home in Egorian. For nearly 70 years, Westcrown and its people have struggled to recover from these losses. Westcrown has regained some prominence and wealth as Cheliax’s main trading port, but it remains a pale shadow of what it once was.
Metropolis standard (mayor backed by Chelish monarchy); AL LE
GP Limit 16,000 gp
Type cosmopolitan (88% human, 7% halfling, 5% other races)
- Lictor Richemar Almansor, commander of Citadel Rivad, leader of the Order of the Rack Hellknights (male human)
- Lord Mayor Aberian Arvanxi, mayor of Westcrown, House Arvanxi patriarch (male human)
- Vassindio Drovenge, House Drovenge patriarch (male human)
- Duxotar Iltus Mhartis, commander of the city guard (male human)
- Eirtein Oberigo, House Oberigo patriarch (male human)
- Casarus Vitallain, harbormaster (male human)
- General Vourne, commander of the Gemcrown Bay imperial fleets (male human)
- various other noble house matriarchs and patriarchs
There are broad layers of power, politics, and government in Westcrown, and while many are obvious, many more remain obscure until one runs afoul of them.
The primary forces of law and order in Westcrown are the Dottari, the city guards. They all wear Aroden’s symbol stenciled in black on a red field, usually on a shield or tabard. Officers wear a reversed mark (red on black) on the upper arm, forearm, or ring (indicating ascending rank). They always travel in squads of seven—six soldiers and one lieutenant. The leader of the dottari is the duxotar, currently the mayor’s nephew Iltus Mhartis.
Twelve major noble houses stand as the powers that be in Westcrown, each with several smaller minor noble families beholden to them. Of these 12, it is important to note that House Drovenge and House Oberigo cemented their positions by covertly supporting the Thrune Ascension. The other 10 major houses are, in descending order of influence, Salisfer, Grulios, Arvanxi, Julistarc, Dioso, Tilernos, Phandros, Khollarix, Rosala, and Mezinas.
The River Edicts
The Laws of Travel, also called the River Edicts, are well known by those who ply the waters in and around Westcrown — and finding ways around them has long been a pastime. First, no one (not even imperial troops) can halt the water travel of anyone on the river. Second, no canals can be blocked or closed save by those given authority by the duxotar, officers of the palace warden, or the city’s imperial naval commander. Third, unauthorized encroachment of imperial waters (a 50-foot perimeter around any moving imperial craft, or 100 feet for a moored one) is punishable by immediate attack and potential death. Fourth, attacks from shore to craft are allowed only in the defense of city property.
The Shadow Beasts
These strange creatures first surfaced in 4676 ar. The dottari were unable to deal with the problem, as were mercenaries, so the mayor declared a curfew to keep citizens off the streets; the curfew remains in place over 30 years later. Today, with the dying of each day’s light, businesses hurriedly close and respectable homes light lanterns outside their doors. The dottari light pyrahje (man-sized torches) throughout certain major streets in the city and patrol between these islands of light. Taverns and similar establishments maintain sleeping rolls for those who stay after dark, collecting a customary 2 sp fee for boarders soon after twilight. Those forced onto the street after dark typically carry halorans, 7-foot-tall hooked staves hung with bright lanterns, made publicly available along the city’s most traveled avenues.
What were once marshy wetlands, mud flats, and tidal islets solidified into today’s Westcrown. Untold thousands of tree trunks driven into the mud and rocks formed the city’s foundations. Millennia of building and rebuilding led to today’s stone-paved streets. The City of Twilight carves itself up into three distinct paregos (“great regions”) used and understood by all the city’s residents: the Regicona (“Floating Palace”), Westcrown Island; the Spera (“Hope’s Altar”), the still occupied sections of the city; and the Dospera (“Despair’s Altar”), the ruined northern regions of Westcrown. When locals provide directions in the city, though, they split it up into regos (meaning regions or sectors).
Wiscrani call Westcrown Island Parego Regicona. Encircling the 8 canal riddled islands are the Regiconan Walls, the Chained Arches spanning each of the canals piercing them. Most of the city’s population never sees inside the walls built by their efforts and coins, so rumors run rampant of what happens within the Regicona. All they and most city visitors see are the grandeur of the tallest buildings rising above the walls, like the former royal palaces and a grand opera house.
Rego Corna “Crown Sector” encompasses the former stronghold of power in Cheliax — the Imperial Court of Cheliax and its attendant holdings and homes. The Korradath, Vaneo Drovenge, Vira Oberigo can all be found here.
Rego Laina “Blade Sector,” is named for the many nobles, smithies, and armories here. The Miratanza, The Floating Market, is located here.
The Parego Dospera (“Despair’s Altar”) refers to the abandoned ruins and downtrodden slums of the northern shores of Westcrown. The roads are often in disrepair, and running in the Dospera invites a twisted ankle or a broken leg, leaving one fair game to the many threats in its shadows. While the northern sector is entirely a ruin, only kept in vague control by the sureshots of the Dottari on the walls around it, the southern rego acts as the buffer zone between it and “civilized” Westcrown.
Rego Cader, what locals call the “Dead Sector” refers to the northern ruins, though older Wiscrani can tell you this used to be Rego Plea (formerly home to house slaves, servants, and lesser trades). Inside this sector are the “low trades” the nobles wished not to see, including many forges or smithies still useful, if not in good repair. Now, most are squats and partial homes for dens of thieves, or even the lairs of monsters.
Rego Crua “Blood Sector” once held all slave trade including the Pleatra slave market and a wide array of low-end or less-desirable businesses, from tanneries to slaughterhouses. As a result of the stench and filth, this sector also contained the northern slums of Westcrown, nestled up against the walls of Rego Cader (which sometimes makes them safer due to the near-constant presence of Dottari above them). The farther south one travels, the more buildings rise in height and cleanliness until you cross the eastern Pegasi Bridge into Parego Spera.
Parego Spera “Hope’s Altar” contains the still-thriving sections of the city, once looked down upon by the city’s elite and now recognized as its money-making lifeblood. The western city still holds many nobles, but unlike the Regicona, trade and coin rule here more than politics.
Rego Scripa “Scribe Sector” was once the center for the bureaucratic work of the Chelish empire, the area dominated by ink- and paper-makers, printers, binders, scribes, and messengers. Now, precious few such businesses remain beyond cartographers, trade warehouses, and ship-related businesses in this sector. This is also where one can find the headquarters of the Hellknight’s Order of the Rack, Taranik House.
Rego Pena “Coin Sector” houses the more lucrative trades and many houses of dubious standing, politically or monetarily. This also acts as home to a rising class of rich merchants who, by choice or fate, lack the political clout or connections to gain noble status or the notice of the Imperial Court.
Rego Sacero “Priest Sector” contains more shrines and ecclesiastical real estate (extant or ruined) than five other Chelish cities combined. For centuries, priests and nobles alike kept all land east of the Arodennama (on and beneath the Rise) vacant for Aroden’s personal gardens. That is no longer the case and by 4614, various faiths and houses had bought up much of the land. Aroden’s Rise, yhe Arodennama,and Qatada Nessudidia can all be found here along with the Lord Mayor’s mannor, Vaneo Arvanxi (aka Aberian’s Folly).