View Full Version : [City] Allestraat, The City of Headless Kings

2005-07-28, 02:34 AM
Allestraat, the City of Headless Kings

Introduction: Weary from hobgoblin raids, you notice nothing unusual as you enter the walled city of Allestraat. Situated in iron rich foothills, it seems well fortified for an extended rest, overlooked as it is by a small castle in the extreme south of the city. However, upon reaching the city’s centre, an open market area roughly eighty yards in diameter, you are struck by a strange monument: five statues, four arrayed in a semi-circle around the last, all of them missing their heads. You suddenly start to notice the icy demeanor of the citizenry, and half overheard conversations hint at desperate plots. You can’t help but wonder if all this has something to do with the lone tower north of the city you spotted during your trek…

Size- Small City
Exact Adult Population- 8,453
-Human 69%
-Dwarf 18%
-Half-Orc 8%
-Half-Elf 3%
-Other (mostly Elves and Gnomes) 2%
GP Limit- 338,120gp (I think I did that right...)

Background Information: The city of Allestraat was founded approximately ninety years ago by the ambitious Karele Allestraat, a minor lord of no small fortune. Gathering an army of mercenaries and settlers, he secured the area where the lifegiving Daris River flows through the iron-rich Wild Hills, an area usually avoided for the practical reasons of having to deal with hobgoblins, and because of old legends of dark magic. Despite all odds, Karele succeeded in creating a thriving community by bringing in dwarven craftsmen, elven traders, and half-orc labor. He took the title of Duke Allestraat, and began the Allestraat tradition of tyrannical rule with an iron fist.

From the beginning, there were minor misfortunes. People would disappear in the mines, phantoms were seen in certain parts of the city, but in general, people feared the ruling Dukes more than any other force, no matter how dark. It wasn’t until the reign of Duke Allestraat IV that conditions began to worsen, and the cause of such calamities finally became known: overnight, a massive tower was raised by magic, and the tower’s owner, a mage named Dorewaith, announced to the Duke he would be moving in. Most rulers would know better than to meddle in the affairs of wizards, but Duke Allestraat, like his forebearers, had an enormous ego, and demanded Dorewaith swear fealty to him. When the mage refused, the Duke had him thrown out of the city by force. Though the wizard was overtaken by brute force, he swore revenge, and this revenge soon manifested in the form of the usual severe plague, famine, and more attacks on miners.

The population became restless, but for a people used to being ruled by the traditional elite (even if that elite was tyrannical), it took a special nudge from a man who has since become legend in the area, Wendell Tyler (better known now as W.T. Vonayle, which he thought sounded more poetic). Wendell was a down on his luck bard, and fed up with the city’s rulers, he started performing lewd satire to the masses. No one is sure exactly how he went from social critic to violent revolutionary, but after a few too many crowds cheering for his leadership, Wendell (having by now adopted the name Vonayle) used his performace to urge the citizenry into revolution. The Allestraat fortress was stormed, the Duke beheaded, and Vonayle was installed as the new ruler of the people. His reign was a short one, but long enough for the city’s current monument to be established. The city was put under siege by allied nobles (who themselves feared the spread of such a revolution), and upon Vonayles “mysterious” demise, his successors surrendered the city to Allestaat V (who had survived the attack on his father’s fortress) but kept some power for themselves… er, for the people, that is. Duke Allestraat has ruled uneasily for two years now, but the plagues brought on by Dorewaith have not yet ceased.

Physical Description: Allestraat is situated in an area of hilly, rugged terrain, with lightly forested patches strewn about. It is actually in the foothills of a major mountain chain (choose according to your setting) to the northeast. The city itself lies on a small plain amongst the foothills. It is surrounded by high walls, and there is also a second wall within the first, marking the original city limits. The old wall is roughly square, and contains the Duke’s fortress, his troops’ barracks, and most of the storehouses and smithies. The new wall is fairly circular, containing a larger patch of buildings to the north and west of the old wall. Here are most of the commoners’ houses, and the large square that contains the city’s monument. The larger, wealthy houses are built very near to the old wall. In the northeast area of the city is the ‘ghetto’ where most of the half-orc population lives. The main mine is a half hour’s walk for an unencumbered human to the south and slightly east, and an old mine site is about twenty minutes west of that. Dorewaiths tower is not too much farther than that distance, but to the north, and made difficult by rougher terrain, more constructing growth, and odd creatures brought forth by the mage.

Government: Duke Allestraat holds all legal power in the city, but he has a number of advisors who may sway his opinion, and the major guilds must always be kept reasonably content. The major guilds include two mining guilds (one human and one dwarven), the guild of metalsmiths (joint human and dwarven), and the loose coalition of Allestraat’s merchant families (including some elves and their half-elf descendants). Order is kept by the Duke’s literal army of guards, but even the guilds have their own mercenary forces to keep their own members in line.

Economics: Allestraat is fueled by mining, plain and simple. Most of the population are miners, and the rest simply provide infrastructure. The Dukes were able to increase their own profits by having smiths and merchants relocate to the city, so that the metal trade can be more tightly controlled, but lately, the guild bosses have taken some power away from the current Duke.

Monument: In the center of Allestraat’s main market is a circular stone plaza, twenty yards in diameter, containing the famous “Headless Kings.” At the north of the plaza is a headless stone statue of Duke Allestraat I facing outward, nearly two meters in diameter and six meters high (though it would be taller with a head). The statue portrays him wearing fancy chainmail, a cloak that goes down to his ankles, and holding a broadsword in front of himself. The statue contains many knicks and holes where gems once decorated the statue, but these were all ripped out in the revolution. The area where William’s neck once was is also chipped and worn, as the statue’s head was taken off by angry workers. Clockwise around the edge of the plaza are three more statues, the next three Dukes of Allestraat. They are all of similar size and appearance to the first statue, and all had their heads removed in similar fashion. In the center of the plaza is a statue of W.T. Vonayle, positioned on one knee, with his right arm outstretched and a lute in his left hand against his hip. This statue, about three meters all around and as tall as the others, is strangely also missing its head. If the locals are asked all sorts of stories may be told, many of them fanciful (a favorite story is that the head was hidden by Vonayle’s followers as it is hollow and tells the location where Vonayle still lives… this is false, of course). Those in the know may tell the true story: Vonayle was rather vain himself, and did not like how his face looked on the statue made of him, so it was erected without a head. A replacement was to be made, but was cancelled after the transfer of power.

Power Struggles: Duke Allestraat V vies with the various guilds for control of the city, but his chief rivals are the leaders of the two mining guilds. Luckily for the Duke, racial tensions have always been high in the city, and human and dwarf miners are openly antagonistic, sometimes even fighting in the streets. Additionally, both sides loathe the half-orcs, who were brought by Duke Allestraat II as cheap labor. The half-orcs are led by agreement of the community elders, and even they fight to prove who is the strongest in the eye of Gruumsh (or appropriate campaign deity). Finally added to the mix are the unknown ambitions of Dorewaith, and a mysterious figure trying to claim the legacy of Vonayle…

Adventure Hooks:
1. Duke Allestraat V hires the party to “deal with” Dorewaith, who he still blames for the entirety of Allestraat’s problems (oblivious as he is to the fact that his ancestors were megalomaniac tyrants).

2. The Duke or either of the mining guilds hire the party to look into someone who has started stirring the lower classes, much as W.T. Vonayle once did, as he is a threat to all of their power.

3. An upper class dwarven smith is murdered, and the likely suspect is a poor half-orc who proclaims his innocence. Both races are up in arms, but the PCs may be able to find the true culprit and prevent a war in the streets.