Herein lies the twenty-second post in this year's A to Z Challenge series, which describes 26 different locations in the World of Samardan campaign setting, one for each letter of the alphabet. Today's post is brought to you by the letter V, and we probably all know by now that V is for Valdren, City-State of Staves.
1028 Valdren, City-State of StavesPopulation: 22,000 (65% Human, 30% Sarrani, 5% Other). Ruler: Raganu Kusano Ragayaran, the Emperor of Valdren (10th Level Human Expert[Diplomat]). Resources: Exotic Wood, Paper.
Ambiance: In a dying world, Valdren is the beacon of civilization's last hope. The people of Valdren are dedicated to peaceful trade and higher learning. The campus of the Grand Library of Valdren, also known as the Yaranrasak, is perhaps the largest active academy or collegium within the territory known as the Granbalem. The people of Valdren are proud of their city, and their high morale is infectious.
History: From its humble beginnings as a lumber-camp on the edge of the dangerou Dulamader, Valdren has grown into a thriving metropolis. Although known for its exotic woods, Valdren also markets high quality paper, by the ream or bound in books. Freedom, knowledge and diplomacy are highly valued in Valdren; indeed, slavery was abolished early on, and Valdren has remained a city of free men throughout its history.
Encounters: Located on the edge of the Dulamader, the lands beyond the walls of Valdren are frequently visited by strange and unusual creatures from the depths of the dark jungle. Within the walls of Valdren, craftsmen and scholars are common occurrences. Common hazards and encounters include foresters, guides, librarians and diplomats.
Treasure: Valdren possesses a great many artistic treasures. The wooden statues displayed in the Royal Gardens are particularly valuable, for both artistic and political reasons. A great volume of ancient lore exists in private collections within the halls of the Yaranrasak, which are valuable to scholars of the Ancient Ones, as well as those who would use their technology for nefarious purposes.
Adventure Hooks: Adventure hooks for this site could include the following:
- A local scholar believes he has located the source of the mysterious effect that is causing airships to crash in the Dulamader with far greater than average frequency, and is soliciting hunters and guides to escort him to a location deep in the jungle.
- Raganu Kusano Ragayaran, the Emperor of Valdren, recognizes the needs for a strong and reliable airship armada. He maintains an open reward on any technical information that will dramatically improve the quality of the fragile airships he is forced to acquire from Torkobalem.
- Recently, the Raganu's eldest daughter, Devaloba, has vanished, and the Raganu fears she has been kidnapped. The reward for her return can only be described as obscenely huge, and many free mercenaries are considering undertaking quests of their own in search of the missing princess.
- Sada Mudasanan, a librarian of the Grand Library of Valdren, is an avid seeker of tomes created by the Ancient Ones. She is open to petitions for library-supported expeditions into ancient ruins, so long as the chances of success seem realistic.
- The Captain of the City Guard seeks mercenaries to investigate the recent raids on merchant caravans heading to Valdren. He suspects that Torkobalem is involved on some level, and desires proof, one way or the other.
The City-State of Valdren is essential Samardan's version of Barsoom's Helium or Kregen's Vallia. A campaign will not likely start in Valdren, but it will likely become the adopted homeland of the players as they explore the region. I definitely want a city that feels like a home for "True Heroes," and thus it should serve as the eventual home base for campaigns built on that particularly style of Planetary Romance protagonists.