The Town of Phlan

Geography

Phlan is a large, walled town of just over four thousand people situated at the mouth of the Stojanow River on the northwest shore of the Moonsea. The river branches just above Valjevo Castle, forming Phlan Island on which the older part of town is situated. A walled section on the East Bank was once an enclave for nobles and wealthy merchants, but now only protects a number of old and decaying mansions. Newer construction has spread beyond the walls, mostly to the east but with many farms following the course of the river northward. A separate spit of land, called Thorn Island, provides shelter for the Bay of Phlan, where ships from as far away as Sembia drop anchor.

The fertile land of the Stojanow River Valley supports numerous small farms, and the Quivering Forest provides high quality hardwoods, both for local construction and for export.

A coastal road known as the Phlan Path connects the town with Melvaunt to the east, and the Iron Route connects with Zhentil Keep to the west.

Population

By the most recent count, the town has 4,238 permanent residents, not all of whom qualify for citizenship. The majority are human immigrants from the Dalelands, Cormyr, Sembia, and the coastal towns of the Moonsea. Damaran is the official language, but many townsmen speak Chondathan as well.

A small number of elves, gnomes, dwarves, and halflings live in the city, but the largest contingent of non-humans is the half-orcs. They find themselves more welcome in Phlan than most areas of the Moonsea simply because the town is starved for manpower and cannot afford to be choosey. Those who have shown loyalty and courage in their service to the city, like High Councilor Kella Vokstrom, have even been rewarded with important offices.

Government

Other than Thentia, Phlan has the only democratically elected government on the Moonsea. The city is ruled by a Council of Ten, whose members are popularly elected by the town’s citizens. Citizenship requires ten years of continuous residence, a clean record, and an oath of loyalty to the town.

The laws are fairly basic, and the primary role of the Councilors is to act as judges. The Council is currently led by High Councilor Kella Vokstrom, a half-orc woman whose prowess with weapons and tactical cunning won the respect of her fellow soldiers in the Phlan militia.

History

Phlan was founded in 367 DR by humans from the island city of Northkeep. It met the first of many set-backs in 400 DR, when it was sacked by a horde of humanoids as they massed to attack Northkeep. Though much destruction was done to the town, it fared better than its parent city, which was sunk beneath the waves. The survivors were able to rebuild, but fighting off humanoid raids would become a regular feature of Phlanish life.

In 640 DR, Sembian merchants established the first trade camps at what would later become Zhentil Keep. Though the Phlanites initially welcomed these fellow humans as potential allies, the coming years would see much strife between the two cities. The troubles first began after Zhentil Keep took steps to expand its armed forces, ostensibly in order to protect the city from an undead infestation. Once that crisis was met, however, the rulers of the city began using their army to harass their neighbors and bring them under their sway.

In 902 DR, the Zhentilar attacked Phlan, which appealed to Melvaunt for assistance. Phlan only escaped destruction thanks to the rising power of Shadowdale in the Dalelands. Finding themselves over-extended, the rulers of Zhentil Keep negotiated a treaty with Phlan and Melvaunt, bringing them into mutual alliance.

In 1018 came the first of a number of Dragon-rages[1] that would devastate the cities of the Moonsea. A flight of dragons from the Dragonspine and Galena Mountains swarmed over the lands at random, killing, looting, and destroying wherever they went. The defenders of Phlan did what they could to fight off the dragons that attacked their city, but a great deal of damage was done, making them more dependent on their stronger allies.

The city was on its way to becoming merely a client-state of Zhentil Keep when disaster struck. In 1303, the ogres of Thar, enraged by the slaying of the last Tharkul and the attempt to establish a human kingdom in Thar, went on a rampage. They marched westward first towards Zhentil Keep. Convinced that the Keep would fall easily, they split their forces and sent half to attack Phlan. The ogres attacking Zhentil Keep were massacred, but Phlan was sacked and nearly destroyed. Their appeals for assistance went unanswered by both Melvaunt and Zhentil Keep.

Three years later, the citizens had not completed reconstruction of the walls when the city once again found itself under attack. A horde of humanoids led by dragons poured down out of the north. This time the Phlanites who did not flee were completely massacred, and the humanoids settled down to a long occupation of the town.

Some thirty years later, humans moved back into the area and began trying to take back the city. Aided by adventurers, they slowly cleared the city environs of humanoids, monsters and undead creatures that had taken up residence. In 1340, a demonic creature named Tyranthraxus was discovered inhabiting the ruins of Valjevo Castle. He was slain by a group of adventurers, eliminating the focal point of humanoid resistance.

Ten years later, though, Phlan and a number of other cities were drawn into the abyss by the evil god, Bane. The same band of adventurers who had slain Tyranthraxus traveled to the Abyss to defeat the minions of Bane and return the cities to the material plane.

In the year 1356, the Realms were again ravaged by a flight of dragons. A large red wyrm attacked the city of Phlan, torching houses, destroying walls, and slaying the defenders. It settled into Valjevo Castle as if intending to take up permanent residence, coming out occasionally to set fires and knock down houses. After a month, it suddenly seemed to lose interest and flew back into the north.

The past 15 years have been relatively quiet for the town of Phlan. The citizens have taken advantage of the lull to rebuild their walls, and construct new houses. As they sift through the rubble of past destruction, they occasionally uncover the lair of some sleeping evil. They've hired adventurers to help them deal with such threats. Their perserverence in the face of a long history of troubles has earned them a reputation for stubborness. The the twon and its forces are small, they are admired as tough fighters--better to have as allies than enemies.

Locations

Landmarks

Sokol Keep

Sokol Keep is on Thorn Island, which sits at the mouth of the Stojanow River, sheltering the Bay of Phlan. The keep was originally constructed by the Church of Tyr to guard the sea approach to the town. When Phlan was destroyed by a dragon-led horde of humanoids, the priests of Tyr were trapped on the island and starved to death. Their souls haunted the ruins of the keep until it was finally cleared 12 years ago. Ownership of the keep remained up in the air for a time until the Church of Tyr claimed it, and agreed to rebuild and man it for its original purpose.

The keep is nearly rebuilt, but while it awaits completion, the clergy maintain a temple on the mainland referred to as the Hall of Waiting. In addition to its defensive capabilities the keep will have a light tower to guide ships in and out of the harbor at night.

Valhingen Graveyard

This ancient graveyard is no longer in use. Few people have the courage to go near it after sundown, believing it to be haunted by ghosts and crawling with undead. When the town was first reclaimed, it was discovered that a vampire had taken up residence in one of the tombs and had amassed a coterie of undead. Although he was destroyed by a group of adventurer’s, the place still has an evil reputation.

Valjevo Castle

The castle is but a hulking ruin of its former glory. The cost of restoration is so prohibitive that most citizens are opposed to the idea, at least until the town is more prosperous and can afford the high taxes that would be necessary.

Kuto’s Well

The well is located just south of Podol Plaza, and supplies the townspeople in this area with water. During the time when Phlan was being reclaimed, a group of kobolds and goblins led by a half-orc were using the well as a hideout. It was connected by a concealed door to a series of catacombs. The humanoids were slain by intrepid heroes, and the door to the catacombs was sealed.

Mantor’s Library

The library had nearly fallen to ruin before it was rescued from obscurity. There being no money available for its restoration, it was deeded over to the Church of Oghma. They have refurbished the building, and restored as many of the books as they were able. The library does not lend books, but patrons may read or copy books on the premises. Membership is free to citizens of Phlan, but non-citizens must pay 5 silver pieces per day for access to the stacks. Spellbooks are kept in a secure location and are only available to those who can obtain special permission from the Master Librarian.

There is a small shrine to Oghma in the Scribes’ Hall where devotees of Oghma may worship.

Podol Plaza

This area has been cleared, and a great deal of construction is underway here. It is slated to be the government center, although it is cheek-to-jowl with some of the worst areas of the city. A new Council Building has been constructed for meetings of the High Council, as well as trials. There is also a new guard house, complete with gaol.

Inns

The Laughing Goblin

Description: Though not the town's most luxurious inn, the Laughing Goblin has a reputation for good food and comfortable rooms. A set of double doors open into the downstairs tavern. There is a bar, testle tables, a pantry for storage, a doorway to the kitchen, and stairs that lead to the second-floor guest rooms.

At one end of the tavern, a great round slab from a gigantic pine hangs on the wall. This slab is used for dagger throwing contests.

Outside the inn, a stable is provided for the guests’ horses. Above the stable is a loft used by Gron, the barkeep.

Location: The Laughing Goblin Inn is located near the docks in what was once known as "Civilized Phlan," the part where returning humans first established a beachhead against the occupying humanoids. The Goblin does most its business with middle-class merchants, and other folks looking for safe accomodations on a budget.

Personnel:

Owners: The inn is operated by Lenora Lenark and her partner Hannah. Standing 5’-7” and well muscled, Lenora is stronger than the average woman. She keeps her brown hair cut short, wears trousers, and carries herself like a man. She’s not very talkative, and usually lets Hannah deal with the customers while she takes care of the heavier chores. Hanna is the more personable of the two, plump but pretty with a cheerfulness that wins over all but the bitterest of cranks.

The Barkeeper: Gron, the barkeep, is a giant of a man at 6’-6” and 250 lbs. He has a military bearing and the scars on his face and arms attest to past battles. There's a great deal of speculation about his past, but the few who have had the nerve to question him directly about it got nothing but stony silence.

The Cook:

The Cracked Crown

Description:The Cracked Crown is a quiet, respectable inn, but very expensive.

Location: The inn is located inside the old city near the inward bend of the south wall. The surrounding neighborhood is rundown, but quiet.

Owner: Robyrtah Greensash is a retired mage of modest ability. Realizing that she would never be a truly gifted wizard, she gave up the practice and purchased the Cracked Crown. She keeps her prices high in order to attract only the best patrons. She wants no drunken sailors, nor trouble-plagued adventurers disrupting her quiet life.

Nat Wyler’s Bell

Description: Nat Wyler's Bell is a dive located in the slums. The food is cheap food, the ale is watered down, and the accommodations consist of nothing more than a space on the floor of the greatroom.

Owner: Gnahac Gnarlnose, the proprietor, is a grubby little gnome with a taste for practical jokes, and a bit of a mean streak. The only thing that's allowed him to stay in business is his permissive attitude towards what happens inside his inn. It's a good place for those who enjoy a bar fight, or for those who want to drink until they fall down and don't mind waking up with empty pockets.

The Bitter Blade

Description: A small inn that caters mostly to sailors. It’s a known hangout for malcontents who resent the influence that the wealthy have on the government. They meet there to talk politics and argue. Bar fights at the Blade are less raucous than those at the Bell, but often more deadly due to the anger stirred up by political disagreements.

Owner: Alrem Lorath is a male half-elf who is highly skilled with the rapier. He's fought a number of duels with political opponents who thought more than arguments were needed to settle a debate.

Temples

Hall of Waiting (Temple of Tyr)

Description:The Hall of Waiting is an old stone building located not far from the docks. It was a warehouse before the Tyrans remodeled it, and converted it to serve as a temple. The clergy are very active in the city

High Priest:

Temple of Returning Light (Lathander)

Description:

High Priest:

Lyceum of the Black Lord (Bane)

Description:In the years when Zhentil Keep dominated Phlan, this Banite temple was built on the East Bank within the walls of the Noble Quarters. The Banites continued to hold out within their temple during the humanoid occupation of the city, allying themselves with different factions of the monsters. When humans arrived to reclaim the city, one of their jobs was to clear the Banites out of the Lyceum. The temple is now an unoccupied ruin. There has been debate over whether to raze it to the ground, or reconsecrate it to a different god. Those who remember how Bane was able to suck the entire city into the Abyss prefer to leave it as it is rather than anger the Dark Lord.

High Priest: None.

Shops

Jerome’s of Melvaunt

Description: General store that also operates as a place to fence stolen goods. Prices are marked up 10%.

Owner: Jerome.

Matteo’s

Description: Weaponsmithy.

Owner: Matteo.

Ernst’s Livery

Description: Provides stabling, and sells tack, feed, and horses.

Owner: Ernst

Cockburn’s Grocery

Description: Well stocked grocery store.

Owner: Cockburn.

Vang’s Fine Armors

Description: Armorsmithy.

Owner: Brice Vang.

Slum Market

Description: The slum market is a maze of stalls, booths, and tents with merchants offering all sorts of goods, most of them shoddy. This place is a haven for pick-pockets. Appraisal checks are required to avoid being ripped off by unscrupulous merchants.

Footnotes

1. The chromatic dragons occasionally go on mass rampages called Dragon-rages. These terrifying events are unpredictable and appear to have no particular cause. When in the throes of one of these rages, the dragons cannot be reasoned with, flattered, or placated in anyway. They seem bent entirely on destruction for its own sake. While they may occasionally carry off loot, it is done reflexively, not as the purpose of their raid. Nor is hunger the reason, for they have been known to slay entire villages, livestock and all, without eating so much as a lamb. The duration of a Dragon-rage is as unpredictable as its occurence, and seems to vary from dragon to dragon. They have lasted as briefly as a week, and as long as half a year. When they end, the dragons who survive simply fly back to their lairs.

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