Yarptice city was founded as a kobold settlement more than 2000 years ago. Originally worshipping Kurtulmak, the city was a warren of evil that frequently raided the surrounding settlements. At the time of the dragon war, the city took in kobold refugees from diverse regions of M’Kal. One was a kobold monk of St. Cuthbert of great power and wisdom, known famously as Brother Vix, who converted the High Chieftain of Yarptice (Ziff the Seventh). Ziff the Seventh declared the evil kobold patron deity, Kurtulmak, an enemy of the state, and expelled the priests of Kurtulmak from Yarptice. Nearly half of Kurtulmak’s priests converted to the new faith rather than lose their position, a move that was regarded by some as less than sincere. Ziff the Seventh remade Yarptice’s kobold society in a lawful-neutral to lawful-good direction. Within a generation, veneration of Kurtulmak had been largely replaced in the city, and the great temple of Kurtulmak was taken over by the priests of St. Cuthbert. (It is now the largest temple of St.Cuthbert in M’Kal, but still bears visible signs of its ancient heritage.)
Worship of of dark deities has not died out completely, for religion cannot so easily change nature, and the kobold nature is notoriously lawful evil. It seems that almost every generation, a new evil cult springs up in Yarptice until it is discovered and suppressed (current examples: Beshaba and Ghaunadaur). Some rumors even suggest that caverns beneath the temple of St.Cuthbert are being used by cultist of Kurtulmak, intent on reviving his church.
Two alternative deities that have been officially recognized in the realm of the High Chieftain of Yarptice are the worship of Ubtao and Asgorath. Asgorath has a venerable history in the region; for more than two millennia, his clerics have been given the care of dragonborn kobolds, at an open-air temple on a lone mountain. No one feels that this conflicts at all with the teachings of St.Cuthbert; even the High Chieftain will occasionally visit the shrine of Asgorath. It has been said that while St.Cuthbert is the state religion of Yarptice, the veneration of Asgorath is its spiritual heart.
The emergence of the Church of Ubtao is more recent; it was transplanted from the far western edge of the region, where an enclave of saurials have kept alive the memory of the ancient dinosaur deity since time immemorial. A mere 80 years ago a temple to Ubtao was built in the forest near Yarptice City. Since that time, his church has steadily grown in popularity among the region’s kobolds.
After his conversion to St.Cuthbert, High Chieftain Ziff the Seventh made an effort to remedy his kind’s reputation for racial intolerance. This began with an open invitation to other small-statured humanoids (mostly halflings and gnomes) to homestead in the fertile valleys of the River Yarth. Gnomes have been far less willing to lay aside old scores with their kobold neighbors, but thousands of halflings have accepted the kobolds’ hospitality. Today the river valleys of the region are extensively farmed, due mostly to the industry of these hearty immigrants. It is a symbiosis of ambitious scale and encouraging success, with the kobolds harvesting the earth’s bounties below-ground, and their short-statured guests harvesting the hills and plains above the surface. This policy decision, perhaps even more than the religious changes he initiated, has forever enshrined Ziff the Seventh in the region’s memory as the greatest and wisest of Yarptice’s rulers.
The Red Eel
Proprietor: Mistress Y’siel (kobold, a former priestess of Sune)
Overpriced, mostly good quality rooms and food, a favorite of the chiefs of Yarptice for several generations. Excellent entertainment. Fine baths. Good quality courtesan options on par with a festhall of Sharess.
The Great Wyrm
Proprietor: Lontar Hovar (kobold)
Good quality rooms and food. High-brow entertainment. Lending library.
Proprietor: Tarsail Sunbeam (saurial)
Basically a whorehouse, but food and drink are served, and it fronts as a tavern/inn of decent quality.
Half a Keg
Proprietor: Tamvor Hark (kobold)
Decent food, usually only a few rooms available, but fairly priced. Bawdy entertainment.
Proprietor: B’tar (kobold)
Overpriced unless you are known to the proprietor. Common to poor quality rooms and food. Usually no entertainment, but plenty of gambling. Rumored to have ties to a thieves’ network.
Cudgel & Stew
Proprietor: Brother Trevor (human, a retired knight of St. Cuthbert)
Underpriced, low quality rooms and food. Very clean and orderly. Caters to lawful good types and those comfortable in such company. Also runs a soup kitchen and workshops for the poor (next door).
Tea Party of Hjam in Yarptice region. Tea Party is a network of taverns that operates in several regions. It is heavily stylized in the Bubble Goth style popularized by the celebrated Sublime Chord singer Kerli Q. The decor and furnishings are in blacks, whites, and pinks, with intricate ornamentation, and a mixture of the cute and the macabre. Barmaids usually sport heavy makeup with high contrast, blacks and pastels, knee-high stockings, stripes, checkered patterns, high platform boots, and short lace skirts. The Hjam location was the first of the Tea Party taverns, and often features performances by Kerli Q herself.
3 Dragon’s Blood. An ancient waystation near the shrine of Asgorath, carved into the side of a rocky knoll.
3 Name the first tavern in Yarptice
Mended Gear of Hjam is located in the dockside district of the city of Hjam, in the region of Yarptice. It is sturdily built, framed in timber with brick infill, and an ashlar stone foundation. The meals are decent and efficiently prepared; the tavern is known for friendly service and clean beds. Mended Gear is a multiregional chain of taverns with headquarters in Horizon Towers. The founder was an urban druid named Maegera Chancey. She believed in bringing greater harmony and balance to cities through hospitality. The tavern chain is loosely organized, with each tavern independently owned and operated, but following the standards and ideals of the founder, and a portion of the profits going to the chain’s charitable operations.
The Barb and Claw
The economy of Yarptice City revolves principally around mining. Mining comes as second nature to kobolds, and the deeper warrens of Yarptice are laced with mines. The largest is run by the state (named simply the Main Shaft), but many smaller mines abound. Several foundries operate near the surface, most operated by the state. Miners in the royal favor may smelt their ores at state-run foundries for a discounted rate. The main market contains sections devoted to ores, gems, ingots, and finished wares, as well as other goods and services.
The financial district of Yarptice City is home to the temple of Vergadain, a banking house run entirely by dwarves. There patrons may draft notes for funds held at other branches (or the main bank in Red Roost), and even place buy and sell orders for commodities and futures at the Red Roost exchange.
Local temples play a role in the economy, providing healing, training, and other services. Buyers should beware of unscrupulous merchants or clerics claiming to sell relics of one or more of the major gods worshipped in Yarptice; most temples will not sell these for any price, but may gift or lend them to worthy devotees.
The breadbasket of Yarptice region is the fertile Yarth river valley, which is farmed mostly by halflings. Many of the hills above the valleys are home to herding steaders and orchard growers.
Major trade routes in the region are the River Yarth (north-south with Horizon Towers and Glitter Tower), and the Little Yarth (east-west with Red Roost, though the route is mostly overland), a winding southerly east-west route also supports caravan traffic with Bronzestar and Gruntest.
The Great Wildwood is a largely untapped resource to the west. No stable trade exists between the drow, saurial, and sea elf settlements near the west coast, and the rest of Yarptice.
13 Ferryboat for Trunob (Yarptice region) Ferry: The Battle Barge The Battle Barge is an armored and fortified ferryboat. Due to the frequent sightings of behirs near Trunob and the city mayor’s inadequate efforts to rein in the menace, travelers and merchants crossing the rivers have demanded greater protection. It is manned by archers and polearmsmen who wear insulated wooden armor that conducts electricity poorly. Tolls across the Little Yarth are 1 sp per person and 5 gp for a cart, and 10 gp for a wagon. Horses are free with carts and wagons, but unattached horses are 2 gp. Tolls to cross the Big Yarth are double this price. The Battle Barge calls Trunob home. Trunob is located on the east bank of the River Yarth, where it is joined by the Little Yarth. The ferry serves both crossings.
Sorcerer’s Guild: The Sorcerer’s Guild of Yarptice enjoys official patronage from the High Chieftain; the royal clan of Yarbin counts many of its denizens among the guild’s members. As the talent for sorcery is far more common among kobolds than most other races, the Sorcerer’s Guild is tasked with two important tasks: properly train all who have any talent for sorcery, to prevent rogue or wildling incidents; and promote excellence in the few individuals who show an aptitude for extraordinary talent. Thus, the guild has dozens of entry-level sorcery schools that offer free training, and most kobolds never graduate beyond those fundamental levels of instruction. But the guild only provides one great academy for its top students, which teaches sorcery at even the most elite levels. All experienced sorcerers (i.e., above 5th level) are required to register; proper registration is marked with a gold bracelet.
Wizard’s Guild: This organization is small and rather cliquish. All experienced wizards (i.e., above 5th level) are required to register, but registrants must have the favor of the Court Wizard (who leads the guild) to obtain any useful assistance or instruction. Proper registration is marked with a silver bracelet.
Bard College: Bards have no organized guild or college in the Yarptice region. Experienced bards (those above 5th level) may perform arcane magic and bear arms openly, if wearing a copper registration bracelet from the sorcerer’s guild.
Fighter’s Guild: Although each house or clan in Yarptice has its own small fighting force, the majority of Yarptice’s fighting strength is under the centralized command of the High Chieftain. Officially, there is no fighter’s guild in Yarptice, only the state military, which recruits and trains any aspiring fighters in the region in exchange for a minimum yearlong contract of military service. After the year obligation is complete, fighters are considered reserve troops, and allowed to come and go from active duty at will, with each new contract lasting a mere six months. As reservists, they continue to have access to training, equipment maintenance and repair, and state-funded leisure facilities, and are allowed to accept private contracts for hire as long as they do not engage in any unlawful activity. Active duty fighters may bear arms in public when in uniform; all others are restricted unless registered at a state recruiting office. Proper registration is marked with an iron bracelet. Barbarians and other melee classes should obtain an iron bracelet if they wish to bear arms in public.
Clerics, Druids, and Paladins may openly bear arms if wearing a steel bracelet of endorsement from one of the officially recognized religions in Yarptice; they need not be a worship the deity of the temple issuing the endorsement. Experienced divine magic wielders (above 5th level) must also register.
Note: Registration requirements for magic users may be easily circumverted if a magic user simply chooses not to use his/her magical skills anywhere in the city that may be detected by others. Registration requirements may be more loosely enforced outside of Yarptice City proper, but there are exceptions (noteworthy: Turbow). Exceptions to restrictions on bearing arms in public include some small simple weapons (such as daggers) and unadorned wooden weapons (such as cudgels and staffs).
Thieves’ Guild: Always an underdog in a lawful society, the Thieves’ Guild in Yarptice struggles to get by but refuses to die. Few well-known contacts exist, but the Broken Luck tavern may still have some leads to this shadowy organization.
Local points of interest
East – rolling plains giving way to rocky hills, with scattered minor settlements, mostly kobold. Further east, the great Easthorn mountain range poses a barrier to most travel, except through a couple passes.The northeast pass links Yarptice with Red Roost and Deepstone. A southeast pass through the Easthorns marks the beginning of the winding path from Yarptice to Bronzestar and Gruntest.
The River Yarth (called the River Yard in Horizon Towers and Glitter Tower) enters the region from the northwest, and angles south toward Glitter Tower. It lies 5 days’ travel west of Yarptice City. The Yarth serves as the major north-south artery for trade between Yarptice, Horizon Towers, and Glitter Tower.
A tributary river (the Little Yarth) passes near Yarptice City and flows downstream to the west, where it links with the River Yarth. The Little Yarth is fully navigable downstream. It is also navigable for 5 days’ journey upstream, but only through a series of portages at three minor cataracts (rapids). The High Falls of the Little Yarth, at Turbow, marks the beginning of the overland caravan route to Red Roost, which passes through the Easthorns.
West – fertile plains near the River Yarth, with many farmsteads. A great many halflings have settled in this area, as kobolds prefer mining to farming. The plains are dotted with villages, and a few towns and cities. The largest is Trunob (a surface city at the confluence of the Yarth and Little Yarth), with a population of 50% halflings, 30% kobolds, and an admixture of 20% other races.
Far west – The bluffs above the west bank of the River Yarth mark the boundaries of the Great Wildwood. This untamed forest extends far to the west, and to the north into the region of Horizon Towers, and south into the region of Glitter Tower. The Great Wildwood west of Yarptice is said to contain a Seelie fey court (not the high court of Queen Tatiana, but a lesser court ruled by Lucia, princess of light). The Great Wildwood ends to the west in forested hills that receive heavy rainfall, and cliffs dropping abruptly into the west ocean. Uringail, an isolated enclave of sea elves on the west coast has almost no contact with the outside world west of the Wildwood. They have limited interaction with a settlement of drow, and another of saurials, who live in the temperate rainforest hills overlooking the ocean.
North – The town of Hjam lies at the northern edge of the Yarptice region, along the banks of the River Yarth. Its majority population is halfling, but it also has some humans, and others, including a few gnomes and 10% kobolds (who work mines in the hills just east of the river). The surrounding hills are home to several herding steads, and many orchards. The area is known for breeding fine mounts. (Related to Yarptice rumor 2)
South – Dunsorrow, a mostly human city, is located midway between Yarptice and Glitter Tower, along the River Yarth. A major plague two generations ago destroyed the city’s entire kobold population; it was quarantined to prevent spread of the plague, and the city has enjoyed a great degree of autonomy since that time (it pays tribute to the High Chieftain, but governs its own affairs and provides its own military force). Several nearby kobold towns and mines are still uninhabited, more than 50 years after the plague. (Related to Yarptice rumor 1, Glitter Tower rumor 1)
Crickhaven, a halfling town, lies along Cricklecreek, a minor stream feeding into the River Yarth, about halfway between Trunob and Dunsorrow.
5 Tavern in Crickhaven (Yarptice Region, town, 2.5 days south of Trunob, on Crickle Creek): Tavern: The Blue Stag Owner: Gillie O’Leod, Male Human Location: Near the main market. The street outside is covered in fallen leaves. Description: The tavern is a brick 3-storey building with limestone accents around the doors and windows, and a brown tile roof and a small vegetable garden. It contains a well-stocked brewer’s workshop and tightly packed tables and chairs. The entertainment is decent quality and rarely bawdy. Rooms are available for both medium and small-sized guests. Specials: River Oyster Chowder and a Glass of Honeyberry Wine (5 sp); Lamb Pie with Cake and a Glass of Wine (5 sp); Turkey Ramen with Taters and Light Ale (4 sp)
Kobold High Chieftain Yuroth, head of lower clan Yarbin, currently ill. Three sons: Yuroth, Runhist, and Maton (Matty). The eldest two sons have undertaken a quest to find a cure for their father’s illness.
Court wizard: Umther.
Personal guards of prince Maton: Hal and Jak, ride dire weasels.
Priest of Bahamut: His Holiness Tormur (kobold, high priest rank), representative of the Red Tower of Bahamut of Red Roost to Yarptice
Yarptice has warm relations with Red Roost; many of its former citizens have emigrated there, especially those who worship Bahamut.
Yarptice tries to stay out of the conflict between Glitter Tower and Horizon Towers; the High Chieftain will not allow their armies to pass through kobold lands.
The government of Yarptice is a centralized, stable, and well-organized semi-feudal, semi-fascist state. The High Chieftain rules over the Chiefs of the major houses (called lower clans), who in turn rule over minor chiefs of the higher clans.
The territories of the higher clans lie nearer the surface (occupying former territories of the lower clans that were abandoned long ago); their mining operations are generally scantier and less profitable, except those located on the fringes. The territories of the more powerful lower clans include the deeper mines of Yarptice.
The official state religion of Yarptice is the Church of St. Cuthbert; the High Chieftain and all Chiefs of the lower clans are adherents of the state church; worship in the higher clans is more diverse.
The badge of office of the High Chieftain is a gilt cudgel, encrusted with gems. Agents of the state who operate openly may be recognized by a pin or medallion bearing the cudgel symbol. State police and military troops generally bear a wooden cudgel in addition to any other appropriate weapons for their functions.
All kobold settlements in the region are direct vassals of the High Chief, and are ruled by a major kobold clan chief. Examples are Turbow, Trunob, and Hjam. Settlements in the region without a sizeable kobold population (example: the halfling town of Crickhaven) usually have sworn fealty to the High Chief in return for protection and stability; this tends to be the case for settlements closer to Yarptice city, than it is for those on the fringes. An example of a mostly independent settlement is Dunsorrow, which pays tribute to the High Chieftain but does not receive protection and is not ruled directly by him or any of his vassals. The High Chieftain has next to no authority over the Great Wildwood to the west of the River Yard.
Undead have been seen near Yarptice. They approach within view of the city. As soon as guards respond by moving out of the city, the undead seems to retreat. (related to undead problems near Gliter Tower)
A few local farmers have complained of seeing a six-legged black horse with glowing white eyes. Anytime it’s seen near any animals at any farm those animals seem to become Infertile or impotent.
Within Yarptice there are rumors that a Kobold Sorcerer knows of ancient rituals to enhances spells. Rituals that are the prelude to what is now known of Metamagics.
In Yarptice, the Kobold Chieftain suffers from A strange malady. The Court Wizard claims only the waters from an ancient fountain may cure him.