Santia

No roads enter or leave Santia, save for the one path that leads to the monastery of Owen, which stands sentinel over the region. The exact date of its founding is unknown, though guessed to be roughly a century before Gatia, with the monastery of Owen having been built a few years later. Though it is in the modern province of Cirsova, there is some debate as to whether Santia is ethnically or culturally Cirsovan or proto-Cirsovan, as it lies far from the Riverlands of Orshiano and northwest across the Gulf of Cirsova from Gatlia.

Some say that Santia was one of the only city states that rivalled Gatia during the late pre-imperial period. When Ga Akana, the first emperor, began his consolidation of the Cirsovan heartland, he concentrated on the River States, to secure the Orshiano river a trade route to the sea. Thus, Santia was the last heartland city to be added to Gatian dominion.

The story goes that when Ga Akana approached Santia, ready for battle, the Abbot of Owen descended alone from the mountaintop with a single cup in hand. Standing face to face with Ga Akana, the Abbot took a small sip from the cup, bowed, and proffered the beverage to Emperor, who, it is said, drank and then laughed heartily, slapping the Abbot on his shoulder, and invited the holy man to his tent. Exactly What transpired in the tent is subject of many fables, legends and bedtime stories, whose veracity are in question. What is known, however, are the results of the meeting: not a drop of blood would be shed, the people of Santia would be spared any tax or tarriff, and the Emperors of Cirsova would be granted access to Owen’s manuscripts and ales for perpetuity.

When later Emperors connected the Cirsovan Empire by road, Santia was left out. The reasons given by the chief royal engineers and cartographers were that they could find no charter in the archives confirming that Santia was indeed part of Cirsova that it should be connected by road to the rest of Empire. In fact, once, a document was procured from the vaults and used as evidence that no such road be built, lest it violate a holy imperial decree. No one from Santia ever complains, though some heartland nobles fret over Santia’s status within the realm.

The people of Santia keep mostly to themselves, though will engage with occasional sea traders who might stop to resupply between Syflanis and Corineaus or attempt to purchase manuscripts produced by the scholars of Owen. Most native Santians do not leave their home, but those that do, those that one may encounter throughout the province of Cirsova, tend to be neophyte monks of Owen on pilgrimage, delivering books or beer to important personages.

Update and a Few Shout Outs

I’ve finished rolling up the first scenario in my Vampires vs. Liches series! These are going to be posted over at Dicemonkey.net, but first, there are going to be a total of 6 introductory posts (yeah, it’s a lot, I know) explaining things, including stats for our Vampires, our Vampire Hunters and our Liches. The first of those are already up both here and at Dicemonkey, but the rest will be over there.

Second, I should mention that I helped do some copy-editing on Shortymonster’s system neutral module “Death at a Funeral” awhile back. I realized that I subconsciously stole his story-seed of Vampires hiding beneath a city and being (partially) responsible for a plague of undead in Victorian London and worked it into the meta-narrative of my cobbled together OSR/B/X campaign. Only replace London with Morgansfort. Considering that this campaign is part of what kicked off my Vampires vs. Liches series, I need to give Shortymonster a shout-out for this.

Third, I don’t listen to podcasts, but I do listen to Saving the Game. I’ve meant to link to them since I found them the other day on d20 Dark Ages, but I’m just now getting around to it.

Last, thank you to everyone who has downloaded The Revelry at Pickett Castle! I’d love to hear some feedback on it. Has anyone figured it out yet?

Owen

On a rocky mountaintop overlooking the village of Santia and the Dusksea, Owen looms grey and foreboding. Visitors to the tower, however, will find it quite hospitable and accommodating, provided that they show an appropriate amount of respect for the monks and scholars who have sequestered themselves here in pursuit of knowledge and maintain decorum and polite quietude in areas of study.

Originally a monastery dedicated to a Pre-Cirsovan god of knowledge, Owen is one of the few remaining links to the heartland’s former culture. If ‘magic’ ever existed in Cirsova, save in the fermented dreams of Shuul users and ancient Northerners, it may have been practiced in Owen. There is still something of a reverent fear in the town of Santia below, though none will say why and no written accounts exist (unless kept under lock and key of the tower itself) of the different rites and rituals performed on the grounds or the efficacy thereof. While both Santia and Owen are in the province of Cirsova and, thus, the Empire, there is an uneasy autonomy which is never brought up in polite conversation within the halls of authority.

Owen boasts the Empire’s foremost library and collection of ancient texts and pre-Cirsovan writings. All original copies of texts found in Northern ruins reside in the archives here, under protective lock and key, including the only known extant copy of the Romance of Tyurani and Velina, which is in the midst of a modern translation into Common Cirsovan. Early on, there were fears that Gaciall, or whatever elders rule Polaris, might demand the scholars of Owen surrender some of the Northern text; to the contrary, the White Lady sent both her written blessing and a large body of Polaran works, including some of her own writings, to be added to the illustrious collection of Owen. As of yet, very few of these works have undergone translation, and those that have are not currently available to any outside of the monastery. There are rumors, however, that the Emperor was given a translated codex of some of Gaciall’s writing that is a personal favorite of his.

Though printed books are coming into fashion througout the Empire, the hand copied illuminated works produced by the scholars are highly sought after works, made all the more expensive by Owen’s isolation. The lack of roads leading to or from Santia discourage most overland trade, though occassionally small bands of pilgrims, knowledge seekers or rare book-hunters make their way from Sotune or Peliora accross the plains. Most seeking to visit Owen arrive by sea via the small port in Santia, coming from either from Syflanis to the north in Gatlia or from Corineaus, which lies to the southwest in Karkuras, across the Gulf of Cirsova. The latest major works from Owen to find their way into the public eye have been a translation of ‘Jorgora’ and an annotated look at ‘The Ice Shall Take Us’, both of which were written by Garick Hellos.

Perhaps the best kept secret of Owen is the monastery’s brewery. While it has never been made commercially available, beer brewed by the monks is freely given to visitors, provided they consume what they are given on the spot and within view of the monks. Those who have tasted it declare it to be beyond compare or description (it is known to be fairly stout nut-brown ale, best served slightly cooler than room temperature). Each year, in lieu of gold or crops, Owen sends a single 12 gallon barrel of the beer to the Emperor in Gatia. Protecting this tribute is used as a final rite of passage for those wishing to become one of the scholars of Owen.