Under Feet of Clay
Between 1128 and 1156, a great many things have occurred in Calopius. Here you will find the major pieces of developments in each of the great metropolises, and updates on some major figures that Generation One met.
With the Pittacan Civil War raging, the control of the outlying regions around cities has waned in the intervening years. This has been felt most harshly in Biasophoros and Dikethaleos, but anywhere there are dark forests to hide wicked beasts, there have been more and more dangers on the roads. Bandits and highway robbers are at their highest concentration in recent memory, and even the elves of Chilones cannot recall the last time a Chimera was seen stalking the gates of Periandropolis. Farmlands have been abandoned in the wake of what many are calling the Age of Beasts, or sometimes the Age of Blood. Abandoning isolated farms for urban life, citizens from lower standings are dealing with shortages of food and work, leading to whole sections of cities turning into slums and the formation of local gangs. Despite the chaos, the small and growing settlement of Timaedius has been largely untouched by the loss of Pittacan hoplites, since it never really had many patrolling its little island, and settlers from many cities have begun picking up and moving to the isolated town. More specific details regarding each city can be found below.
The Age of Blood has been harshest on the people of Pittacae, who have been embroiled in a civil war for nearly 25 years. While the noble houses have massed armies to fight for the future of their metropolis, the common citizenry have been largely left to fend for themselves. The slaves of the city are in particular flux, with some being pressed into service as troops driven by whip and spearpoint to fight, while others are being offered freedom and status as a citizen if they pick up arms for the cause. As a general rule, the Royalist Coalition have attempted to preserve the slave status of their followers, but have granted concessions of added rights to those willing to fight, while the Liberati have had a mixed response. Many slaves, seeing the infighting of the nobles as their opportunity to seek a better life, have undergone dangerous voyages or dared the northern frontiers to take up residence in abandoned farms, while a few handfuls have made their way to Timaedius to make a living as free people. Religious sentiment in Pittacae is at an all time low, with piety in sharp decline in favor of bitter cynicism and a few empty rituals to appease gods many see as abandoning the people. A new strain of thinking called Cyno-Hedonism has spread, largely under the teachings of a dishonored general now living in the wilds north of Pittacae in the lands formerly held by House Eurysthenes named Epoctomas, who preaches the inability of mortals to affect the world, the primacy of suffering in life, and the virtue in seeking whatever pleasures of the flesh one can. Followers of Epoctomianism are often seen as bullies, drunkards, and sex fiends, spending their days merry-making and brawling in an effort to embrace some small piece of joy before death in a world of mere suffering.
Now the single most populous and most densely packed metropolis, Periandropolis is crawling with local prophets proclaiming that the end is nigh. Doomsayers, as they are known, have taken to the streets on the heels of increased crime and plagues clawing their way through the urban populace. Their messages are not unified, but few are as extreme as Epoctomianism. In the face of peril, the people of the city have turned to the clerics of Temple Top, believing that only the gods can save them from their present torment. The cults of Zagrius and Parthaenae in particular have seen rapid growth, though many turn to the stern priests of Thantadeus and the soothing promises of Eleusinia for assurance that the land of the dead will be a release. The aristocracy of the city has been watching the civil war of their rival city with interest, and it is believed that some families are funding Pittacan houses in hopes of tilting the result in their favor. Food stores in the city have thus far held out, but with fewer and fewer farmers willing to dare the outlying regions, the grain cannot hold forever.
Dikethaleos still serves as the breadbasket of all Calopius, their sizable cavalry able to keep the majority of their farmers safe from roving beasts. However, without their previously planned garrisons of Pittacan hoplites, fewer soldiers are spared to keep the highways clear of robbers between the cities. As a result, politicians have largely blamed the Unburning City for the rise in highway bandits, a charge that has resulted in unstable prices of grain from pridefully wounded merchants. Independently, Dikethaleos is one of the better cities to survive the last several decades, but this knowledge has led to a rising wave of distrust toward the other metropolises. As Dikethaleos leans toward increased independence, the heads of their academies are undertaking unprecedented levels of research into whether Dikethaleos could expand quickly enough to establish colony cities around it to replace the functions its allies once served. Construction has even begun on a new temple known as the Panierikon, a single megastructure that will, in theory, house relics and altars to all the gods of Calopius.
With the highways untended, Biasophoros has been forced to rely almost exclusively on naval trade. While this was always the dominant form of exchange, the roads leading west are almost entirely abandoned. The rangers and druids who once tended groves of trees to harvest for ships have become a makeshift standing army against the creatures of the Dark Forest to the north, and to reflect this their leader has even been made a Captain, able to cast a vote to select their Tetrarchs. Unlike Dikethaleos who has turned inward, Biasophoros has chosen to strengthen their ties to other cities during this time of hardship, particularly to Solonos. The pair of cities have become incredibly close and interdependent. However, with the encroaching darkness and an increase in beasts on land and sea, Biasophoros has seen its population slowly declining of late, and more than one lighthouse along the coast has gone dark for days at a time, the body of its keeper found weeks later, if at all. The cause of these Darkenings, as they have been called, is as of yet unknown, but they happen too regularly and too cleanly to be mere random chance.
The city of merchants has suffered a great decline in standards of living with inter-city trade at an all time low. Weapons merchants have done will for themselves, but the luxury goods once in high demand from the city now gather dust in warehouses. Bitter Pittacans see the merchants of Solonos as war profiteers, increasing the price of new arms and armor to make money from their bloodshed, but demand for a dwarven-made spear or gladius has never been higher. With their normal sources of income burning holes in their warehouses, the merchants have chosen to recoup their losses with the most demanded materials of the day. The common men of Solonos have taken to labor as their means of salvation from the darkness clawing at the northern and southern edges of the realm. Images of a fist carrying a hammer bearing the phrase Your Works Shall Set You Free have become common totems encouraging laborers to work an extra few hours or push out a few more items before the day is done. The priests of Purosphuros and Solon have even converted many coliseums into makeshift workshops, as attendance at fights has hit a record low in recent years.
Caught in the middle of the turmoil, Cleobonomos has been the refuge of choice for those fleeing all other metropolises. As a result, the already packed city has seen a massive swell in its population, though not as dramatic as that in Periandropolis. Despite being a melting pot of diversity, the ancestral Cleobonomians have seen the flux of new refugees as a cause of concern, with worry that they will alter the delicate balance that has made the city so prosperous. Limitations on rights for new arrivals and increased security are the norm now, with pockets of temporary housing growing in shantytowns to the east and west of the walled in metropolis. Many merchants fear travelling through the makeshift housing districts, and will only have their goods enter the city by sea. A few shipping companies have seen their fortunes rise dramatically as a result, leading to a strange proxy war between Halcyon and Sons Shipping and the Blue Chimera Company, whose ongoing hiring of recent arrivals has turned the docks into a turf war, with the poor and desperate taking up arms to try to sabotage the other company’s work. Loyalty to Halcyon is shown by the adornment of yellow, while wearing blue is a sign of loyalty the Chimeras.
With the mainland in chaos, Chilones has seen an increase in need for burials and more naval traffic than usual for years now. Its docks have expanded, and the Path of Penitence is being kept more pristine than it has in generations. Though not the official head of the entire theocracy, the High Priest Osteomortis has been a prominent figure in coordinating the rapid expansion of the caverns to house the dead. Though the fighting has not come to the elven shores, many clerics have gone to Pittacae to gather the discarded bodies of the dead and offer proper rites to their bones and shades. In fact, more elven clerics are being seen across all Calopius of late, with the rise in the dangers on the road being seen as a call for the priests of the dead and shepherds of the shades to brave the wilds and tend the forgotten. Though their exact location is unknown, the Queen of Pittacae and her son, the exiled prince who has never seen his homeland, are rumored to be hidden on the island, brought there under cover of darkness to protect them from the blades of assassins and spears of their critics.
Like Chilones, Timaedius rests on an island and has not seen the strife of the mainland. Under Lady Eunomia’s guidance, the growing village has drastically increased in size, and a small retinue of soldiers have formed a guard to patrol the docks and northern forest. Called the Order of the Isle, this fighting force has proved to be a flexible and capable group of warriors, focused less on fighting in rank and file and more on working in small bands of five to ten, based on the success of adventuring parties like the legendary Cyclops-Slayers, who were also coordinated by the Lady of Timaedius. Refugees from Pittacae and Periandropolis have been the bulk of the growth the city has seen, though the disenfranchised from Cleobonomos will sometimes stow away on vessels in hopes of reaching the promise of the young and growing city. It has thus far remained small enough to avoid pressure to make an official stance or contribution to either the Pittacan Civil War or the strife of the other cities, which has allowed it to flourish despite the problems facing Calopius more broadly.
Lady Eunomia of Timaedius has remained a diligent and proud civil servant. At 44 years old, she is still refusing to see suitors, though her reputation has grown as a capable stateswoman and fierce negotiator. Though active in the expansion of Timaedius, she remains enigmatic and private for a politician, but her youth and the success of the town have found her well-loved by the people.
Duandraxis, often known as Eunomia’s Right Hand, is the tiefling who travels abroad on his lady’s behalf. While not a slave, Duandraxis happily serves though has yet to reveal what Eunomia did that earned his unwavering support and loyalty. His wives Tziria and Yiraz now live in Timaedius with him, and his grown children are scattered across the growing town, pursuing lives of their own.
Kaledar the Apprentice was the Arcanist the party met on the road to Cleobonomos after purging the crypt of goblins. Once he arrived in the city, he was able to find passage back to Solonos and apply his trade as a merchant, having learned adventure wasn’t in his blood. However he did keep in contact with Jerem, and eventually opened a shop in Timaedius only a few years after the start of the Pittacan Civil War. He peddles magical scrolls and potions in addition to mundane gear, and has become a pious follower of Thesmaphora, contributing a great sum to the completion of her temple in the town. He has moved his family from Solonos to Timaedius, where his children grew up playing with the halfling children in their fields.
Osteomortis is a high cleric of Thantadeus, and was given the staff of Gaia held by the goblin necromancer that the party recovered. Now overseeing the problem of expanding Chilones quickly enough to accommodate the dead from the war, his prominence in the cults have only grown, as has his reputation and severity.
Captain Laylissa, the daring sailor from Timaedius was brought in to the Pittacan Civil War for her willingness to run daring raids and sail the seas. She has thus far survived, but is believed by many to be too reckless for her own good. She took the news of the death of Haemon hard, and has his name etched into the rudder of her ship in homage.
Dorikas Zeuxedamus, brother to the exiled Queen of Pittacae and now the head of his noble house, spent a few years setting his sister and her infant son into the hiding place they have nestled into. Upon news that his parents had been killed and his family manor taken, Dorikas returned to the forefront of the war, and is one of the leaders of the Royalist party. He has several children, all of whom he has left with his sister to spare them from war until they were old enough to enlist in the hoplites. Combat against his fellow Pittacans has weighed heavily on him, and he now carries a scar across his back from an assassin who very nearly ended his life six years ago.
Ruth, the halfling woman who opened her house to the Cyclops-Slayers, died peacefully in her sleep in 1149, happy to see her granddaughter married to one of the heroes who saved the town. She willed all her land to Jerem and his family to be used as they best saw fit.
Likaku, the goblin chief who was spared by the Cyclops-Slayers at Kuklodomus, took on several adventures of his own, gaining a reputation as the vigilante known as The Black Arrow. He stalked the forests of Calopius, a controversial figure who robbed some and gave to others, but ultimately was killed protecting a halfling family from a bandit raid. His last words were “A halfling saved me from death once. I return the favor now.” It is unknown if he had any children.
Churgi took his tribe of goblins aboard the Minotaur’s Bane under Haemon after the events in Kuklodomus, and proved an able sailor. When the ship was wrecked by a sea serpent, some of the goblins survived and made their way to Periandropolis, where they were met with a generally negative response. Though he lost an eye and a leg in the wreck, Churgi’s knowledge of a Scythebearing herald of Grandfather Time allowed him to secure a place for his kin. Churgi’s generational lines live on, and often tattoo themselves with a sea serpent as an oath to one day slay the beast that wounded their ancestor.
Shersha departed with Raxya to the town of Hybernaculum, and occasionally joined the Vishkanya and his mysterious companion in their travels after that. However, Shersha was killed in 1144, found poisoned in his bed. He had three daughters to carry on his line.
Lukeon, after escaping the island of Timaedius when attacked by the Cyclops-Slayers, disappeared for a time near Periandropolis. During either his escape or this time he was gone, his face was disfigured, and he took to wearing a plain iron mask without features. Now known as The Iron Stalker, Lukeon became a serial killer targeting clerics and paladins. He resurfaced in Timaedius where he very nearly killed Jerem, but was killed by the Spherewalker’s loyal hound companion. Some half-orcs near the docks of Periandropolis know, or fear, that they are the spawn of the dreaded killer.
If there are other NPCs you would like to know the fates of, please let me know so I can add them to this list!