Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Maps of the Drowned Kingdoms 5: Odinessa

The legendary City of Ropes welcomes a new dawn.
I think this is the first map I've drawn that really hits the "big story" of Drowned Kingdoms: a world ruled by an ancient order of giants, perched on the brink of a new age.

Locked away in their towers and embroiled in petty politics, the giants have unwittingly ceded control to trusted stewards from the "mannish" races. I can picture the Groaning King tramping through his ramshackle hall, tended by degenerate servants, while his scheming steward runs the busy metropolis below. Odinessa also gives me a chance to explore one of the new classes from the latest packet - the warden - which manifests in Next as a "green knight" variant of the paladin. For Drowned Kingdoms I've made these the guardians of the city's great roc, which protects Odinessa from attack by scooping up ships and dashing them against the cliffs.

This is also the last map I intend to draw from the Widowing Sea region. Next up we're going on a trip to the mountains, where we'll explore some of the Highland Kingdom!

ODINESSA 
The "City of Ropes" is the gateway between the Widowing Sea and the upper reaches of the Highland Kingdom. Its citizens belong to the Groaning King of the stone giants, who rules from a castle overlooking the city.  
Population: 8,434 (85% human, 10% halfling, 5% other). Humans make up the vast proportion of Odinessa's population, with most indentured into service with one of the great guilds. The city's halflings are a throwback to the grim days of giantry, when most inhabitants worked as slaves in the king's castle (and halflings were prized as cooks). 
Government: The Groaning King may govern in principle, but the city is ruled by his steward: an office currently held by Bourne Cavendish, baseborn son of the late Lord Cavendish. "The Bastard" rules with an iron fist, and has brought the city's guilds to heel through a winning combination of threats, bribery and murder. Rumour has it that he clamours for yet more power, and is turning his eyes overseas in search of conquest.  
Inns and Taverns: Most of Odinessa's inns and taverns are found in the Wash: the tangle of streets honeycombing the city's crowded docks. Ragwork's mighty meadhall still does a roaring trade, even though the drink now comes at a price (under giantry, each of the king's slaves was granted a free flask of mead at the close of each day).  
Supplies: Odinessa was once a thoroughfare for highland merchants, with goods hoisted up and down its cliffs on massive rope lifts. Such industry collapsed along with the king's court, and now its ropes hang rotten. Today the city's trade is tied up by the guilds, with Odinessa supplying a steady stream of valuable ores and minerals to the economy of the sea kingdoms. Visitors should seek out the Crown Market, where trade goods can be purchased from all over the ocean.   
Temples: Temples for most modern faiths can be found on Burnt Hill. Chief among these is the Temple of the Sky, whose silvered dome is polished to a mirrored sheen that can be seen for many leagues. Sky priests are a growing power in Odinessa, and in recent years have even infiltrated the steward's hold.  
Laws and Customs: Guildrule holds sway in the city, with each guild providing their own tunics to maintain peace and dispense justice. Knights swear fealty to their steward, or tend the king's eagle (a giant even among its own kind). The mysterious Knights of the Roc are said to watch over a clutch of eggs that have lain dormant in its eyrie for almost two centuries.   

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