Tuesday, February 3, 2009
The former imperial city of Ladoga was known as Bohtan. It was build an age ago on a set of abandoned canals along the river which divides Vamarine and Kabdoria (Banshar river, which streams from the Banshar Krush). Bohtan is one of the few human cities with an elaborate network for both fresh water and sewage. This is mostly thanks to the ancient canals, but the people of Bohtan slowly added new masonry to improve the water works.
Although not the grandest of Human settlements, Bohtan was eventually chosen as the seat of power because of its central location. Besides an lucrative trade route, the Emperor requires every noble family to send several members to his presence two months of the year. Noble families thus made Bohtan a second home, staying therein on predefined villas as according to their title (and title alone). The families made the journey for the academic amenities as well as to socialize and plot. Bohtan indeed was the political capitol of the Ladoga and also one of the foremost clusters of learning academies in all of humanity. Possibly second in terms of education, only to the Cities Afar.
Bohtan was eventually destroyed by the eunuch Shuno with his supporters and the army of Roumbus of Orobia. This was a slow and bloody affair that neither side was prepared for. The conflict quickly beget ever-increasing incidents of brutality and most of the city and its population was decimated in the process. Most of the nobles and merchants fled before the bulk of the fighting starting. The nobles hail from distant holdings and simply returned home. The merchants likewise fled to safer locals. Most of the able bodied citizens were levied either by the eunuchs or by the imperial guard led by Roumbus.
Shuno's forces fell in the depths of winter and both sides suffered heavy casualties. The winter was particularly brutal and supply lines were weak to begin with. To compound the problem the four year autumn of The Great Rot occurred recently and food was generally in short supply. During that winter most of the nobility from all three sundered realms horded what food they could and only paid a paltry amount in imperial taxes - so the city was quickly decimated by hunger and famine. With the river frozen and the cities stores broken, most citizens who stayed perished.
With several years of wars to follow, Bohtan’s legacy was that of a city looted and forgotten. The wilderness encroached with a vengeance and after a decade the city at first glance appears to be no better off than when it was first build on the old canals. It is no secret that the eunuchs used powerful and malevolent magic when battling the army of Roumbus. What ever foul magic was used, it can be sure it lingers there still. The magic also seems to have stirred the spirits which have now seeped into the city and Bohtan now has a reputation as a festering magical sore which has a long ways yet to heal.
Small populations of humans have returned to Bohtan, their once proud home. They fight a loosing struggle to return it to its former state. A small civilized quarter was wrought from a good deal of toil and blood on the eastern section of the old town. Despite being sacked and pillaged, the city still holds an assortment of value, much of it hidden during the razing. So the small settlement in the vast ruins is more of a scavenger camp than any sort of proper government. Travelers quickly learn that it is by no means safe, and a multitude of dangers thwart most incursions into the city districts. It is well known that strange creatures lurk in the vast ruins.
Large haired frogs are commonly seen through the waterways and are loving called Frog-Yeti by the locals. They have been known to kill and eat men but luckily they are timid and slow – most of the time. Scavenger races of all types are known to make an appearance. Marggots in particular are known to nest in the sewer ways along with the disgusting animals that often follow them. Odd gilled newt-men have also made an appearance and they seem to be at odds with the Humans of the east old district, destroying their walls and poisoning their grains. Bohtan was built upon a series of ancient canals of an unknown origin and it appears that many restless spirits wreck havoc upon wanderers and explorers to venture too far into the foreboding recesses of the canals. Walking corpses can occasionally be seen meandering the streets, as if to accomplish some forgotten task. It is said that these are the vanquished eunuchs who still hunger for whatever they were seeking in life. Undoubtedly many other unseen horrors lurk in the ruins as well.
Bohtan is loosely based upon the ruins of Phlan in the Pools of Radiance – a large ruined city with a small civilized area. I figure this will be good for expeditions into the ruins since some relatively safety is close by. In particular with low level PCs. I figure the Bohtan ruins will be a bit of a mishmash of sprawling ruins with various factions warring with one another for supremacy, ala Forbidden City and likewise most of these non-human. I also plan on various secrets that were lost during the fall of the emperor to be found within.