The capitol of Tarsh is the once-great city of Orgolash. Here the noble families gather to discuss weighty matters, and check the authority of the king as well as individual nobles and their houses. The patriarchs often send delegates, but occasionally appear in person.
Just over 500 years ago, the earl of Sterling led a coup against the tyrannical earl of Farlane. His backers elected Sterling to be their king. To this day, a Sterling sits on the throne, ruling with the support of his Parliament of lords, comprised of local barons and influential earls. The king exerts influence overt or covert over most of the earls of Tarsh.
Three earls and the barons of four more have holdings in Orgolash. The king has some influence over these nobles, though he can rarely act unilaterally. He acts as a figurehead, leading pageants and wargames. He may also have agents who conduct espionage on his behalf.
The sprawling city hosts a spattering of thriving neighborhoods in the midst of tumble-down ruins. Smaller stones have been salvaged for new buildings, but massive blocks remain in impressive weed-choked hills all around the city, testament to the mysterious founders’ power (presumably a refined race of giants).
The Tarshakan people are a storied lot, steeped in pomp and tradition. Bards and skalds are as common here as fighters elsewhere in the Wilderlands. They sing and play from minarets to summon the faithful to holy theater, and they also goad passers-by to indulge in secular shows. The followers of Heggangar, dwarven god of beer, often stumble through the crowds at such events, distributing their god’s sacrament for a token donation. Almost all men of Orgolash attend at least one show a day, and even women are welcome at some events.
In the lore-lost time before the rise of Valon, Orgolash was a thriving city-state that dominated the region until an unknown calamity tore the city down and dispersed its inhabitants. A band of Tenifell Rangers uncovered the ruins almost a thousand years ago, and their descendants created the noble houses that govern Tarsh today. The houses continue to honor the ranger’s craft.
Orgolash (Small City); Conventional; AL N; TL 7; 15,000 gp limit; Assets 6,675,000 gp; Population 14,240 (Able bodied 3560); Mixed (70% human, 10% dwarf, 5% goblinoid, 5% halfling, 3% half-elf, 7% other (mostly gnome & elf)); Resources: Market Authority Figure: King Eadru Norfarthing (human skald). Important Characters: Lord Feggalar, vizier (human lich wizard); Lord Haith Mandeliot, Speaker of Parliament (aristocrat/ skald); Theaturge Bryant Varraige, high priest of Heathwalde the Bard (cleric).
Orgolash is a city of theater, defined by pomp and poetry as much as by princes and priests. This has been a part of the city’s history for centuries. Most theaters are temples of the Bard and/ or Poetess, or shrines dedicated in whole or in part to them.
Theaters sell food and beverages, and occasionally charge admission for special events. All theaters accept donations, and the donation process is often very visibly ceremonial, an opportunity for wealthy nobles to show off.
Theaters typically establish relationships with just a few theater companies, and split the proceeds.
- Rudyard’s/ Ruddy’s, the Ruddy R: marked by a dwarven “R” rune, sworn to Heggalar, and stages shows from a variety of theater companies.
- Randy Raven: a corvid perched between swollen breasts, this theater is dedicated to the Bard and tends to show lively comedies.
- The Glazier’s Bird/ Bird-and-Bottle: shows avant-garde poetry and theater, and attracts a diverse clientele of performers, foreigners, and arts patrons, particularly priests of the Bard and the Poetess.
- Karmazd ar-Rathiak/ Karma: sometimes simply called "dwarf theater, this is a conventional dwarven performance venue, showing news updates and announcements from dwarven lands, product demonstrations, and formal storytelling and oratory.
- Cerelathien tir Aemori/ The Forestalled End/ Purple Ribbons: this is an elven establishment that performs mostly in traditional elven styles, though they sometimes stage traditional elven stories for a non-elven audience.
Taverns, Inns, and Public Houses:
While spellcasting is generally discouraged in public areas and businesses, most public houses will throw out someone casting spells without the proprietor’s express permission.
- The Mug and Jugs
- Famous for lewdly comedic floor-shows, which often include strip-tease acts.
- No women allowed without their husbands.
- The Dancing Wyvern
- Aristocrats’ servants favor this establishment.
- No women allowed without escort.
- The Endless Flagon
- What appears to be a decanter of endless water pours outside the entrance to this establishment; many people use it to gather small amounts of drinking water.
- Diplomats and affluent merchants frequent this establishment.
- No women allowed, though escorted female diplomats may be exempt.
- The (Old) Gallows Crow
- The a (dragon?) consort to the dragon-priestess of Ovation once used to drink here, until he revealed too much during a bar fight.
- This is a famously seedy establishment, popular among rogues, spies, and moneyed servants.
- There have been many imitators calling themselves the Gallows Crow, trying to cash in on its reputation. None survive long.
- The Galloping Lass
- The proprietor claims to have trysted with a female centaur in his youth.
- This establishment sees a diverse clientele, and is popular with merchants and adventurers.
- Lively debate is common here, resulting in frequent brawls. The proprietor has wands of calm emotions and cure light wounds behind the bar, and he and his family are all proficient in their use.
- A few curative potions can be purchased here.
- The Trysting Vixens
- The proprietor’s brother is an illusionist, and puts on elaborate (often lewd) floor shows.
- Women are available for (primarily sexual) service at this establishment.
- Back rooms are available for more explicit illusions and private dalliances.
- The Spanking Sovereign
- Women are welcome here, though solicitation is discouraged.
- This is a popular meeting-place for travelers, partly because of the bold prominence of the sign (a fat monarch spanking a bare-cheeked young woman spread across his lap).
- The owner and the proprietor were once part of an adventuring party together, and have traveled the planes.
Clubs and Ethnic Establishments
These venues are private clubs, members-only spaces, or spaces that cater to specific races and cultural traditions.
- Nestled Flagon: halflings, gnomes, and nguak gather here to share exotic tea, pipeweed, and baked goods. Most of the amenities here are for small patrons.
- Eldritch Rhyme/ Rainbow Knot: a project of illusion and druidic magic, this establishment goes to great lengths to seem like a forest retreat, catering primarily to elves and gnomes.
- The Unlicensed Stop/ Black Bars/ Black Hash: traditional dwarven fare, decorated like a tube waystation speakeasy
- Scimmion’s Flight of Fancy: upper floors of an old stone tower, inaccessible from the ground, but welcoming to aliens and adventurers, this venue has a teleport balcony. Its prices are much higher than many other venues in town, but it is one of the few venues where almost anyone (or anything) is welcome.
- Silent Skull: a private clubhouse catering to necromancers, death-priests, and transgressive nobles, it is password-protected but offers members a competent arcane library.
- Mephaniel’s Redoubt: the “official” private clubhouse for students of the Arbalest Spire wizard’s school, renamed after Mephaniel Dean ascended to leadership of the school.
Friends and Allies
Since Oervind accidentally teleported to Tarsh, he’s become acquainted with a master wizard and his household. The party has encouraged this relationship.
Arþyr Archers MacArcher: master wizard, professor emeritus of Brixol College, now in private practice.
- Symon Symoner Jullet: journeyman wizard, Arþyr’s proxy and agent
- Frantzis Merricker Frantzic & Jerrai Brelling: apprentice wizards
- Merrick Feyner Kerring: acolyte wizard
- Kyal Anders Kerring: seneschal
- Virona Kyler Kerring, Symon Anders Dresser, Feyn Feyner Kerring: servants
- Sammary Brentman: stoic half-elf nimble fighter [fighter/ rogue/ duelist]
- Etheldar Sterling: human jack-of-all-trades [expert/skald]
- Merendiel “Star-Eyes” Greyne: half-elf poet-priestess of the Poetess [cleric]
This information is an “open secret” within circles of influence in Orgolash. This may include adventurers.
For centuries, the King of Tarsh has had a grand vizier, Feggalar – an ancient and inscrutable lich. Although no sane noble appreciates the presence and attention of a lich in the realm, Feggalar maintains a tower near the winter palace, and imposes himself on King and Parliament as he sees fit. He is not frankly malevolent, merely self-centered. He considers a strong city-state to be a useful means of maintaining a stable power base. All the barons and Earls in Orgolash (and several farther afield) owe Feggalar enough that no party dares cross him, and he takes pains not to openly curry their ire. As a result, the despicable lich is a bastion of the city. He sponsors a library society, and contributes equally to a bardic college and a wizard’s college. This has gone on now for several centuries. Threat of the lich’s intervention keeps the nobles civil, and politics bloodless if not benign.