Though known as Ryan’s Ruin by sages, Rhamsandron by wizards, and Normoot by Altanians, the city came to be known as the City State of the Invincible Overlord and its former name under the Dragon Empire was forgotten.”
Population: 80,000 (20,000 able bodied)
Technological Level: 8
Racial Composition: Mixed (human 72%, dwarf 16%, halfling 5%, elf 3%, others 4%)
Average Citizen: Since this city is the center of the northern Wilderlands, even the lowest person is better than the average city dweller (usually at least a Com3 or higher, except children) with shopkeepers usually being even more skilled (Exp5 or higher, often much higher). There are few pure commoners within the city walls. It is not unusual to see even common NPCs with class levels appropriate for the city, such as rogue or fighter. Many denizens have seen extensive military service or are retired adventurers and visitors should beware — this is no village of common oafs.
Ruler: His Most Terrible Majesty, the Invincible Overlord, Hygelak XI, the Dread Klipmaran Noble (LE male human [Tharbrian] Ftr20)
Other Important Figures: Grand Vizier Balarnega (LE male human Ftr16)
Resources: The greatest market and trade center of the Northern Wilderlands other than Viridistan
Allies: The dwarves of Thunderhold, the Skandiks at Croy, Modron, Byrny, the sea monster Maelstron
Enemies: Virdistan and the Green Emperor, the Skandiks at Ossary, the Pirates of Hagrost, Orcs of the Purple Claw from Dearthwood, Warwik
Located on a bluff on the western edge of Dearthwood on the Estuary of Roglaroon, the City State of the Invincible Overlord (or just the “City State” as it has come to be known) was founded in 3075 BCCC (“Balozkinar’s Corrected Commoner’s Calendar”) on the ruins of what is believed to be the ancient capital of the long lost Dragon Empire of the Orichalans.
Though known as Ryan’s Ruin by sages, Rhamsandron by wizards, and Normoot by Altanians, the city came to be known as the City State of the Invincible Overlord and its former name under the Dragon Empire was forgotten. The title “Invincible Overlord” has been held by every ruler of the City State since its creation. Because the city was initially founded by a dwarven hero, the city became home to a large expatriate population of dwarves and is allied to the dwarven city of Thunderhold to the north. Many years ago, Lucius the Great — a Tharbrian warlord — took advantage of a civil war and he and his allied clans swept eastwards and conquered the City State. Since Lucius’s reign several hundred years ago, the City State has come to dominate the region.
Though the City State is situated at the intersection of the ancient Rorystone Road, most trade is done by ship, as the Estuary of Roglaroon allows large drafted ships to sail inland as far as the City State. As a result, the Estuary is thick with pirates who prey on this trade.
Though few know his true name, the current Invincible Overlord is Hygelak “the Dread,” a cruel ruler whose elite group of assassins and secret police known as the Black Lotus roam the city and the surrounding lands enforcing his will and eliminating rivals.
The City State is plagued by the Orcs of the Purple Claw from nearby Dearthwood and from the fell beasts of the Troll Fens and Mermist Marshes to the northwest and southwest. The Overlord has had several strongholds built or occupied by those loyal to him to keep these creatures in check. He has even posted rewards for their slaughter.
Despite its labyrinthine laws and evil reputation, the City State of the Invincible Overlord is a popular destination for adventurers of all types and is regularly visited by most merchants and traders. Most visitors depend upon the fact that virtually anything can be bought or sold in the City State, so long as the proper taxes are paid. Sale or purchase of information about the Overlord’s armies, armaments, ships, or defenses is considered high treason, but the complex laws and regulations of the City State do not prevent the sale of any other item, creature, or person.
Imposing simply by its size and reputation, the City State is open to creatures of all races, religions and backgrounds willing to follow its laws. Although the population is predominantly human (or human-related, such as the barbarian altanians and fierce amazons), goblins, orcs, trolls, ogres and demonic houris can be seen on the city streets along with less frequent encounters with a wide variety of other creatures. A stroll down any street of the City State brings the sights, sounds, and smells of a thriving city, but visitors should remember that laws here are designed to protect the interests of the Overlord, commerce and the creation of new wealth, not individuals. Violence breaks out often, with the jaded citizens simply turning and walking away from the scene of a crime.
The beautiful palaces, imposing towers, fabulous temples, and more ordinary buildings of the City State are stacked on foundations and dungeons thousands of years old. Built upon the ruins of ancient cities, rumors of wealth hidden in deep catacombs and bardic tales of hidden palaces beneath the earth circulate through the lands. While few travelers act on such tales, a majority of visitors to the City State go out of their way to visit some of the most magnificent locations, as well as those somewhat darker, more frightening locales spoken of in songs and tales.
An elaborate judicial system maintains order in the City State. Constables, guardsmen, deputies, sheriffs, marines, knights, and a secret police — the famed Black Lotus — enforce a chaotic but uniform peace on the various quarrelsome inhabitants. The judicial system allows for different courts for clergy, merchants, nobles, and other factions, creating differences in the punishments for certain crimes. If PCs run afoul of the law, they will most certainly require the assistance of a litigation trickster for their defense.