Verbobonc, like most cities across the Flanaess, began as a fort built by the Suel Imperium. Its nearness to the Elves of Celene kept it as a fortified outpost and after the end of the Imperium it went through a period of abandonement with the castle on the stone outcrop overlooking the port becoming a haunted, monster-infested ruin.
A band of adventurers from Veluna cleared the castle centuries ago and began its refurbishment. The current Viscount Wilifred a descendent of two of that original band.
Now, two years after the expeditions and decimations of the forces dwelling in the ruins of the Temple of Elemental Evil, Verbobonc is on the rise, a growing and active city. The Viscount has kept the interior population in check as werll as he is able and the area around the walls clear but already several thousand people have taken up residence nearby and two small towns have developed on opposite sides of the walled city. Inside the walls the population of fighting age dwellers has risen to over 15,000 while another 7,000 now dwell in towns, villages, and small holdings within 3 miles of the walls.
Wilifred is aging but still a strong warrior and a force to be reckoned with. His sole child, Helena, is due to be married to Prince Thrommel of Veluna. The Prince, on his release from the Temple of Elemental Evil, found his way to Verbobonc and instantly fell in love with Wilifred's daughter Helena. It was a tragedy for the Prince as he was betrothed to the Princes Jolene of Furyondy and he left Verbobonc without realizing that in the years of his captivity Jolene had released him from his betrothal and married another, much to the Prince's rejoicing.
If Wilifred has only Helena for child he does not lack in family. His court is filled with poorer relations and currently he debates on which of his nephews or nieces will take control the Viscounty upon his death. Currently there are three contenders; Sir Eger who commands the Verbobonc Guard, Sir Grahame who is a warrior-priest of Rao and lately from Veluna and Lady Graysteel who is a famed adventureress continuing the family tradition of the founders of the line of Viscounts. It was she and her band who freed Prince Thrommel. Most bets are on Lady Graysteel to become the next Viscountess.
She is the daughter of Viscount Wilifred's youngest sister and most likely to inherit the Viscountship of Verbobonc upon his death (May it be Far-off). The line of Viscounts began with adventurers who defeated the ancient Suel-Lich who inhabited the ruined castle of Verbobonc. Wilifred himself was a dutiful son and commanded the Verbobonc cavalry which maintained the peace throughout the viscounty but he was himself not an adventurer. His sister was and her many children, few now are left. Lady Graysteel is the most successful and experienced of those children and Wilifred envies her the life of adventure he denied himself.
Lady Katherine Graysteel, Kat to her family and friends, hovers between 8th and 9th level in my `1st edition AD&D campaign. Your mileage may vary. She is brave and daring with a surprising number of friends and fellow adventurers still alive. It was her party that braved the ruins of the Temple of Elemental Evil, freed Prince Thrommel and looted The Orb of Golden Death called Yellowskull from the Temple.
Yellowskull is what saved the adventurers from Zuggtmoy but it is also what is allowing Zuggtmoy to unknowingly influence Lady Graysteel's actions. The process is slow but Lady Graysteel has possessed Yellowskull for over two years and the corruption has already taken hold.
Zuggtmoy is aware that Lady Graysteel may soon be made heir to Verbobonc and at the time when Wilifred announces his decision her plans to take over the viscounty will be set in motion. Already a cult of her followers have settled amid the bristling and growing town and several members of the town Guard, Guild-Militia and Cavalry or part of the cult.
Lady Graysteel we are enchanted plate armor and bears a sword of exceptional power. It is intelligent and can speak. It detects magic within a 10ft radius but cannot tell what type just sees it as a type of lightning-blue radiance. Its name is Decay and its blade is notched and rusted. On a natural 20 it will cause a non-magical item, armor, shield or weapon of its opponent to rot, rust or waste away in 3 combat rounds.
Lady Graysteel is completely unaware of the influence Yellowskull has over her through Zuggtmoy, Unless she is directly under control her nature (alignment) is not evil and her actions and thoughts are her own.
Provided is a crude map of Verbobonc's walls and castle. It was a costly endeavor for Veluna to construct the walls around the city taking thousands of laborers and several years to build. Verbobonc was a garrison city and a good deal of its 100 acres of interior space were military stables and barracks as well as smithies, kitchens, armorers, and such like buildings that went into supplying a large military force. Still there was room left over for merchants and warehouses, a small monastery and a large temple to Rao as well as several open spaces for grazing and public assembly.
At first the many towers were manned by guardsmen but as time went by, and the area which made up the viscounty expanded, the need for so many professional guardsmen diminished and Verbobonc did what so many other older cities had done; the turned over the watch on the walls to the various guilds within the city.
There are several strong guilds within the city and each is responsible for manning or womanning one or more of the various towers. Each guild sends all their able members to train among the city militia and from age 12 to 45 they are responsible to spend their assigned time in one of the towers and walking their stretch of the wall.
The gates of the city are manned by guardsmen from the castle. The guards man the gates in shift spending no more than a week at a time living in the gatehouses. Most guardsmen have private quarters within the city with husbands, wives and family and Gate and Citadel duty is slightly honerous, though there are actually few complaints.
Cities of Greyhawk - Verbobonc Part 3 The Guilds Part1
Verbobonc - The Guilds
As with most cities in the Flanaess the Guilds are important factor in the running of the city. In Verbobonc they also provide the manpower to patrol the walls and towers. The city has few gates and many towers. While the guardsmen watch the gates, guildsmen man the towers and the corresponding areas of the town by these towers is the headquarters of each guild.
From the largest to the smallest each Guild in Verbobonc has its own hall. It is unsurprising that the Dockworkers Union is the largest Guild in Verbobonc and their members man the three towers adjacent to the docks Goldsmith and Jewlers Guild is both the weathliest and smallest Guild and does not man any towers though its younger members still belong to the city Militia.
The Guilds of Verbobonc
The Alchemist Society - This is a small guild only its younger members train with the militia. Non-clerical healers also belong to this guild and there is a good deal of herb and nature lore combined with more magical brewing of potions and elixirs. Both Druids and Magic-Users are members. It has a hall the size of a large house near the southern gate (called the Mill Gate). Many of the guild members dwell in small villages or secluded dwellings beyond the city.
Builders Association - Nearly the size of the Dockworkers Union. They man the two northernmost towers and the tower facing the river above the western gate (Called The Dock Gate). Engineers, Carpenters, Masons, and such belong to this Guild. With the growth in the city and viscounty after the defeat of the Temple of Elemental Evil this Guild is growing in size and importance as well. A large number of their memberships is busy constructing the fortification in the Village of Hommlet as well as rebuilding the town of Nulb. A small retinue is also at work rebuilding a small fortification called the Moat House for a band of adventurers.
The Dockworkers Union - The largest Guild in the city. They are the only Guild to maintain a watch beyond the walls. Their members patrol the docks day and night as well as man the walls and towers overlooking the docks. The Guards man the Dock Gate. They maintain a large Hall and Guild members and their families live in the area near the Docks inside the walls. While there is no official Thieves Guild in Verbobonc the Dockworkers Union is the unofficial yet very real Thieves Guild in the city. The Viscount is aware of this and it is up to the Dockworkers to maintain order and discipline among the city Thieves and punish unlicensed Thieves. Begging is not permitted in Verbobonc and a war of sorts is being waged by a vagabond called the Ragged King along the highways of the Viscounty.
The Mercenaries Guild - The Guild size varies. It maintains a hall and barracks large enough to accommodate 100 with a large stable as well as a smithy and armory. Adventurers, hirelings, men-at-arms, caravan guards, even minor magicians and expert treasure finders (thieves) belong to this guild. Its is 25 gold to join and 10 gold for a months membership after joining which provides a stable for a mount and one meal for member and member's horse per day for 1 month. Guildmembers are not under the command of the Militia but act as Auxiliaries for the Guard in case of emergency. They man no towers and are not entirely trusted by the Viscount. There is no official Assassins Guild in Verbobonc but the Mercenaries Guild has a contact from the City of Greyhawk guild and contracts can be taken through her if the correct passwords are known.
Weaponsmith & Armorers Guild - This is a surprisingly large Guild. They man the west towers below the west gate (Called The Gnome Gate) one of which is a large corner tower. Their hall is near this section of wall but they have small smithies and armories near each gate at the Guard barracks and in the Citadel itself.
Cities of Greyhawk - Verbobonc Part 4 The Guilds Part 2
Painters, Spacklers & Sculptors Society - This mid-sized guild related to the Builder's Association has grown recently with the expansion of the towns around the city and improvements to buildings within the city itself. There is also a Society of Art and some of the sculptors have dual membership, but it is a much smaller Guild. Verbobonc was a very practical garrison and mercantile city but in the last two years a good deal of trade has come up and down the river and from the mines in the Kron Hills leading to a rise in the genral wealth and fortune of the citizens. The rather plain and functioning work of the sculptors has lead to a more artistic (and expensive) series of works among the wealthy merchants. This guild controls one tower along the north wall next to those controlled by the Builders Association.
Society of Art - A very small guild with an old mansion for its meeting hall. It is near the center of the city where the newer mansions of the wealthy have risen. They control no towers and even their apprentice membership does not belong to the city Militia. One of their senior members is a young Wizard, but reasonably powerful. He specializes in the creation of Golems and is a trained sculptor.
The Mapmakers Guild - Another relatively small guild. Their apprentice members are part of the City Militia but they do not control a tower. There hall is both meeting place and archive with workshops attached. It is located near the Mercenaries Guild and sees much commerce from the adventurous members. The Viscount has several members of the Mapmakers Guild on his staff.
The Bakers, Brewers and Cooks Union - This is a large guild which mans two of the towers along the north wall. The Brewers are mainly dwarves and they have grwon in number in recent years. Verbobonc Stout has become a popular brand and a Dwarven Ale and Whiskey are both decent sellers locally and up and down the river. The number of Inns and taverns has been fixed at 21 within the city but there is a boom in the nearby towns and at many of the crossroads around the city. Lately the Ragged King has been charging a tithe on any spirits that leave the city and the brewers are ready to hire mercenaries to hunt him down since the Viscount seems unable to stop him.
The Taverner amd Innkeeper Circle - This is a group of the 21 Inn and Tavern owners of Verbobonc. The Viscount's law only allows for these 21 which causes most guild halls to function as taverns and guilds for their members, families and associates. Each in is responsible for providing food and drink to each of the guild controlled taverns but they man no towers themselves. Their employees are exempt from serving in te City Militia but are responsible for keep order within their own premises. Each tavern or inn commands a small force of thugs, bouncers and barmen to deal with trouble.
The Carter and Driver Guild - Is a large guild linked to the Dockworkers Union. Most carted goods are headed toward the docks or away from them. They control one tower near the citadel where the largest stables are, both the Viscount's military stables and the large private stables near the Mill Gate. This guild has many members of the secret Thieves Guild but the Guild Master is kept unaware of this.
Cities of Greyhawk - Verbobonc Part Six - The Wayward Inn
The Wayward Inn - Verbobonc
One of the largests public taverns in Verbobonc the Wayward in is older than the city and its foundation stones are older than the castle. In the distant past the first building of stone on the spot was a storage house where grain was kept for a small settlement of Flannish farmers. A wooden pallisade surrounded the town and stone buildings were easily constructed from the rise where the castle would eventualy be constructed. When the Suel drove the Flan from the area a fortified waystation was built on the spot and when the castle was built the waystation became an Inn.
Original called the Waystation Inn the name changed over the years and its original name and use is long forgotten. Today the Inn and several nearby buildings are owned by the Shirewood family. The family also owns a small manor near ther castle and the eastern riverwall where the elder Shirewoods retire when their working days are past and the eldest son or daughter takes over the running on the Inn.
Adelaide Shirewood runs the Inn from her apartment on the 2nd floor. Her husband is a fair smith and runs the stables and the yard. Their three daughters help to run the Inn with the help of the extended family.
The Shirewoods employ a small group of a dozen toughs to keep order in the Inn. The leader is a experienced warrior who sometimes acts as a local guide and sometimes takes on adventures of his own. He is registered with the local Mercenaries Guild and will be recommended by them as a guide or henchman. These toughs live in the house immediately across the street from the Inn.
Unbeknowest to any but the Shirewood family there is a secret tunnel beneath the Inn that leads beyond the city walls to the north and another east that opens up near the river. The Shirewoods are heavily involved with Cult of Elemental Evil and run a counterfitting operation. False gold and debased coinage flows from the Inn and out to ships on the river or to couriers operating north of the city. They have no link to other members of the Elemental Evil cult and their contacts are from beyond Verbobonc.
The druidess Inkeri is a northern woman from the land the Snow Barbarians but she wanders the lands of the Viscounty of Verbobonc and neighboring Celene. As a druidess of the Old Faith she is welcome across the land though less so in the City of Verbobonc than in the countryside. Her companion is an owl and with it she can see and hear all that it can see and hear. While she is hardly defenseless in her own self the animals of the wild will protect her with their lives.
She has been seen in company with the Ragged King, a bandit/beggar who wanders the viscounty and surrounding lands demanding donations from any wealthy man or women he encounters. Jaroo Ashstaff, the druid of Hommlet, has welcomed her to his grove, the gnomes of the Kron Hills will doff their caps when she passes and she is welcome among the elves of Celene.
Recently she has been seen near the abandoned tower of Eldorath and even further south in the Pomarj and wild lands.
Last edited by JasonZavoda on Fri Jan 01, 2021 1:56 am; edited 1 time in total
Cities of Greyhawk - Verbobonc Part 7 - Bakluni House
Set near the west wall of Verbobonc Bakluni House is part tavern and part embassy for all interests of the people of the west, though mainly Bakluni. It is only a small building (pictured in center) run by a Baklunish merchant named Aqa Zarif. While he handles trade his bodyguard, Zeev, is a Baklunish spy. Both work for another merchant/spymaster Korath the Bald who runs the Baklunish interests in the City of Greyhawk.
Two of the House's dancing girls are actually trained assassins.
Cities of Greyhawk - Verbobonc Part 9 - The Red Lady's Green House
The Green House is a mediumly expensive brothel near the southern wall of Verbobonc. It is run by a still attractive madame called Red who was once an expensive houri but managed to gain the favor of the Viscount and started her own business. Any objections by the owner of the Silk Feather, the most expensive house of ill-repute in the city and Red's former employer, were wisely never voiced.
Verbobonc has, perhaps, a surprising number of brothels and prostitutes for so small a city, but the river and caravan trade which is making the city wealthy attracts them. The Viscount is also primarily a soldier and Verbobonc's history has always been one of a military outpost as well as a trade center.
Red is rumored to be the Viscount's misstress though that is also wisely never mentioned in his hearing.
The Green House is frequented by members of the Verbobonc Guard, and Red needs to employ no strongmen or bouncers. The Mercenaries Guild reccomends the Green House to anyone who inquires about such services.
Red is a mid level thief, though she no longer pratices and allows no thieving in her establishment. She does gather information and will pass it along to the Viscount. She has recently become aware of rumors regarding worshippers of Zuggtmoty and those following the Cult of Elemental Evil.
Cities of Greyhawk - Verbobonc Part 10 - The Old Faith
Verbobonc the city has the largest number of Cuthberites, a large following of those who worship Rao, especially among the Veluneese in the city, but it is still the Old Faith that dominates the beliefs of the common folk. Within the Viscounty nearly 4 in 5 of the populatiion still worship the Old Faith including many converts to Cuthbert who follow both paths.
The Old Faith is hard to pin down as it has no pantheon of deities. The spiritual leaders are druids and there is a hierachy within their ranks but for the most part each druid tends his own grove and flock without interference. There are 4 main ceremonies each year; First Day when the winter ends (Vernal Equinox), Long Day (Summer Solstice) marking the longest day of the year, Harvest (Autumnal Equinox), Long Night (Winter Solstice) marking the longest night of the year and the beging of winter. The druids gather during these ceremonies though those with flocks of followers conduct the ceremonies at their village or town groves and wandering and unattached druids join them. Even druids of more hermit-like dispositions attend these ceremonies and for some it is the only time when they will see another human or demi-human face.
In the Viscounty the Old Faith is very humancentric. While the concern is for the balance of nature and a harmony with Oerth most druids see the integration of humans and demi-humans within this balance as their goal. The lay population of the viscounty follow many rituals and this can be seen in their daily lives. They do not eat or drink without thanking the water, the food, or the animals they kill. Butchering animals is an important ritual with an apology to the creature and a thanks to them for providing sustenance.
Members of the Old Faith despise cruel behavior to people or animals and will step in to stop it, but they are also not seeking converts and have no animosty to other beliefs. The spread of Cuthbertism in the Viscounty is aided by this attitude.
Druids who follow other paths are welcome in the viscounty and many visiting druids find themselves converted to the Old Faith over time.
Cties of Greyhawk - Verbobonc Part 11 The Cult of Elemental Evil
There is no greater evil, nor more insidious an organization in the Viscounty of Verbobonc than the Cult. It is, of course, centered at the Temple of Elemental Evil, but its tendrels spread wide and have found no greater purchase than the city of Verbobonc. The Temple is the pulsing heart of the Cult, it is that which creates nightmares and like a Black Hole it draws even light into itself and leaves only darkness behind. The Temple is the soul of evil, the brain that directs all its parts, but the City is the strong right hand.
No matter how man times the Temple is brought down and its forces scattered or destroyed it will grow strong again until its center has been cleansed and all its limbs withered and uprooted. So far the Heart of Evil at the Temple remains and its true infestation of the City has never been eliminated or fully discovered.
The Cult of Elemental Evil has its hands in almost all crime and most business in the City of Verbobonc. Its members are not even aware of each other until it is necessary for them to draw on the strength of one another. Many involved with the Cult are unaware that they are dealing with anything except other criminals, some organized others singular or small gangs.
The Cult has one or two members within every guild, every oranization such as the Verbobonc Guard, the Cavalry, the Militia, the Lancers, even the Viscount's Council.
Members of the Cult tend to be entire families, and marriage between cultists is encouraged with children raised in the Cult. From villages to towns to cities the Cult has corrupted one or two households and carfully grows in strength encouraging the young to become leaders, to become skilled and influential. The Cult thinks in terms of decades for plans to come to fruition all the while that the Temple draws in the monstrous and the completely corrupted.
The forces at the Temple tend to be impatient and strike too soon, while the Cult is part of plan that may take a century. Members of the Cult come to light when they are called upon to immediately aid the forces of servants of the Temple, but will never all come out the shadows; always some will be hidden and silently work on the long, long plan of evil domintion and corruption that has allowed it to survive for decades.
The bulk of the population of the viscounty is made up of the humble farmer. These folk fill the towns and villages, though not the city itself. Numerous farms do surround the city though far enough from the walls to prevent any buildings from being used as cover by a besieging force. Three towns have been built within one mile of Verbobonc and each is center for farm goods entering the city, much to feed the citizens but much to be sent downriver in trade to Dyvers and the City of Greyhawk.
Farmers are freefolk in the viscounty. They belong to small militia that take care of much of the law and order beyond the city walls usually commanded by some minor noble cleric or proseprous land owner, but some villages will have retired guardsmen or Verbobonc Lancers. One notable militia in the village of Hommlet is commanded by an experienced warrior with a mage, his partner, in support.
Farmers provide not only the manpower for the Verbobonc army should it be necessary to call upon them but also represent most of common society of the viscounty. Adventurers will no doubt encounter farmers more often than any other type of inhabitant and they can prove to be a great aid for all those things that go beyond simply slaying monsters and creatures. They can help with shelter and hirelings, pass on information, be a source for rumors and supplies. It is on their backs or in their wagons that many a hoard of coin has been brought from lairs to the city.
Most farmers in Verbobonc follow the Old Faith, but a goodly number of Cuthberite worshippers have been growing even in smaller villages. Many follow both Cuthbert and the Old Faith and this is especially true further from the city. In any case there is no conflict between the druids of the viscounty and the clerics of Cuthbert.
Tolub is a River Pirate captain and with his second in command Grud Squinteye (Squint for short) leads a large (40+) pirate crew partially based in Nulb but also in the city of Verbobonc.
Tolub is a very experienced fighter and with Grud hales originally from the Hold of the Sea Princes. The pair mutineed on the ship they served and found the Hold and surrounding waters far to hot for them to remain. Eventually the pair with a handful of followers found themselves drawn to Nulb, perhaps the lure of seductive evil emanating from the Temple of Elemental Evil brought them, but they found a home in Nulb.
(In my combination Night Below/TOEE campaign Nulb has grown and been outwardly tamed by the forces of the Viscount and several years have passed since the events described in TOEE. Tolub now goes by the name Raef and acts the part of a merchant, an identity he developed to sell his stolen goods in the city of Verbobonc, Dyvers and the City of Greyhawk.)
Tolub possesses two ships. A sleek pirate vessel and a stolid merchant ship. He has a small ramshackle base near Nulb on a barely navigable stream that is a tributary of the Imeryds Run. Around ten of his men always accompany him dressed as merchant sailors or guards while the remainder of the crew remain at his base with the ships.
Grud goes by the name Drak when in Verbobonc or other cities but is still called Squint due to the scar above his left eye that has pulled taught the muscles and given him his perpetual scowl.
The pirate ship is sleek and fast. It has no armaments and Tolub is careful to attack only unarmed or lightly armed merchant ships. half his men are armed with short bows although they all carry a variety of weapons.
Fritha is a Fruz druidess. She has traveled south because of a dream-vision to the lands of Verbobonc. The wilds are her home though the great warmth has taken some getting used to. On her travels she has avoided most human and demi-humankind though she has had some interaction with rangers and sylvan elves as well as other druids.
She is a moderately powerful druidess but has a special affinity with wolves. No wolf will attack her and should any attempt top harm her in their presence they will defend her with their lives.
A patrol of goblin wolfriders who have recently invaded the viscounty discovered this in a rather fatal way when they set upon the lone druidess in the woodland near Nulb. Their own mounts turned upon the goblins and tore the surprised little grenskins to pieces. Now dozen of these wolves accompanies Fritha as travels toward her goal somewhere in the Kron Hills.
The city of Verbobonc sits above the Velverdyva on a plateau of solid rock but a series of tunnels were carved through the stone to a natural system of submerged or half-flooded caverns that connected to the river. Some of these tunnels were used for storage by citizens, some secretly dug by smugglers and thieves, one as a secret escape route from the Citadel for the Viscount, but most were simply for drainage and waste.
The tunnels near the citadel run six feet high and ten feet wide but the myriad branchings run only five feet wide. A green moss grows along the walls and ceilings and provides a ghostly luminescence which gives a 20ft clear visibility and a further 10ft of poor visibility. The sewer system grew with the expansion of the city and construction of many of the later tunnels was poor and collapses have been frequent,
Many repairs have been needed over the years and vigilance against creatures lairing in the stinking dank has been necessary on a regular basis. That is where the players come in.
Repair crews trying to open a collapsed passage have come under attack by a horde of giant rats. With the invasion of wolf-riding goblins the Viscount needs his guardsmen for more important work than rat-killing even to the point a assembling the city militia. Several guilds, prominently the Dock Workers Union, are offering a premium in silver and gold for the extermination of these rats.
The tunnel collapse is near the Wayside Inn and entrance can be found to the sewer through a trapdoor in its basement. Free lodging (3 rooms for up to a week with however many the players can fit in them) for the players venturing into the sewers and free use of the bathhouse afterwards.
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