Campaign of the Month: January 2014
Greyhawk 937 CY: The Age of Steam
The City of Hollowfaust
The City of Hollowfaust
Population: 70,000. 80% human (mostly Suel), 19% dwarven, 1% miscellaneous.
At current, there are 716 Guildsmen, including apprentices.
Most Fausters worship Leara, who set her constellation above the city and Pelor, who raised the slain on the barley fields when Hollowfaust handed Vecna his first defeat in the Archlich War. WeeJas and Lendor both have a considerable following in the city.
Common, Suel, Ancient Suel (as a legal language), Underfaust (guildsmen and retainers only)
Hollowfaust is ruled by the Sovereign Council and assures that its laws benefit the guilds. Legal matters are handled by tribunals made up of three randomly selected guildsmen with appeal to the Sovereign Council, though the Council is highly unlikely to overturn a ruling made by a tribunal.
An owl, resting on a skull, on top of an open book.
Hollowfaust controls a considerable amount of the Hellfurnaces and the mineral wealth found within. The city patrols the area, keeping it clear of undead and the various monsters that like to congregate in the hot climate. A portion of the city’s dwarven population mines the area for gold, copper, zinc, nickel, obsidian, and diamonds.
Hollowfaust exports copper, nickel, zinc, diamonds, wines, glassware, and maidenshair ivy. They do not export breathing scarves or coldweave, though they do not prevent foreigners from buying either while in the city. Most foreigners do not buy either based on the price of the fabric alone.
Hollowfaust imports silver, horses, and mundane items.
Platinum Obulus, Gold Pentacle, Silver Guilder, Copper Groat
Several roads wind up into the Hellfurnaces, but all become one road into the First Gate. Flying ships dock on the faust peak of the Second District.
Hollowfaust’s sleeping army makes up the largest part of their military and in times of war and siege are commanded by the guildsmen. All guildsmen are trained in tactics and expected to serve the city, protecting the apprentices, the research, and the citizens. Hollowfaust has several war machines and siege engines that are hidden in the mountain walls surrounding road into the city. It’s ace in the hole is the gold dragon construct Hareneth who lives in a lair constructed underneath the Second District.
The undisputed masters of civil engineering, Hollowfaust has always sat a good hundred years ahead of other cities in the Flanaess in regards to planning, running water and filtration, as well as waste removal. Living in a toxic volcano shell will do that. Visitors are often amazed by how amazingly clean the city of undead is and that’s before their minds are blown by the running hot and cold water and sanitary indoor toilets. With the new steam industry and the potential for pollution, the Sovereign Council has enacted several laws to keep the air, ground, and water clean. Engineers from the Followers guild have upgraded filtration systems and worked with citizens applying new technologies to keep the city clean and beautiful.
The Upperfaust and Ghost Quarter are on the volcano from which the city takes its name. The districts are situated behind that volcano on four separate fausts and are connected by multiple roads, bridges, and underground paths. Each district has its own sleeping army and guildsmen assigned to defend it should the city come under attack.
The original city has not changed much over the past 300 years by design. The residents take pride in maintaining the ‘ever autumn’ feel of the Upperfaust.
Once a derelict place filled with dead mansions, fire spewing fountains, and old lava runs, the Ghost Quarter is now a vibrant and beautiful botanical garden filled with amazing fountains connected to the plane of water. The mansions were renovated to match the Upperfaust and a large portion of the city’s Growers live in them. The Arena of Sacrifice was reworked by the city’s dwarven population into open air amphitheater of ethereal beauty. The ghosts of the Ghost Quarter dutifully protect the lovely place their home has become.
All schools run by the guilds for non-citizens are in the first district and all foreigners who come to Hollowfaust to go to them are housed there. Tourists and people seeking Hollowfaust as a medicinal destination are heavily encouraged to stay in the First District so Hollowfaust regulars (traders, businessmen, mercenaries, etc.) are not forced out of the Upperfaust, where most business is conducted and legal help is found. The district caters to everything a typical college student could want with a large assortment of shops and eateries. The First District feels very much like Clerksburg in Greyhawk City and does not resemble the Upperfaust much in design. This district is also home to the Hollowfaust history museum (including an impressive Bonewrack display) and a low key theater offering more banal delights than the citizens of Hollowfaust typically enjoy.
Known as the Garden District, the second district is home to two of Hollowfaust’s three cemeteries and a residential area. The Children’s Cemetery was relocated here after the ground breaking and includes several playgrounds. With a burgeoning middle class that could afford the city’s tax on bodies, the Hollowfaust Cemetery has grown next to the children’s cemetery. Set up as a park, the mausoleums are integrated into the design and the casual explorer feels as if he is discovering a beautiful building rather than walking through a cemetery. The residential area houses many middle class citizens as well as guildsmen who live topside with their families. The only difference between this area and the Upperfaust is location. Non-citizens who enter the Second District are sometimes confused as to how they managed to get to the Upperfaust. While the Second District lacks the Fountain of Bloody Maidens, it does have it’s own Fountain of Owls.
Another Growers area, the Third District is dedicated to food production. About half of the city’s Growers live in this district and a considerable portion of livestock is raised there. A few Anatomists who work with animals and injuries related to farming have also made above ground homes in the third district.
Ground breaking for the fourth district happened only a few years ago and it is still under construction. Looking to make use of the hot springs located on the faust, the Anatomists and Followers guilds have been working together closely to make a district dedicated to medicinal vacationers who have started to come to the city. Expected completion of district for the vacationers is expected in one year. Expected completion for planned gardens and residential area will still be another five to ten years.
The Underfaust has expanded into each of the four fausts behind Hollowfaust and large portions of the original tunnels have been reworked to accommodate the explosion in number of guildsmen. While the apprentices quarters have not changed, the guilds themselves have been jostled, moved around, and, finally, fit into very comfortable areas with room for expansion. The guilds have each constructed brand new guild libraries and the main library underwent extensive renovation in 742 CY. Around 880 CY, Followers Guildmaster Hyrim Mather began an extensive beautification of the Underfaust. Tunnels are now lined with the Underfaust’s signature metal trees and their soft chiming. Underground parks have sprouted up in every available open space. Entryways have been masterfully carved into beautiful edifices. And large open wall spaces have been painted with fantastic murals or covered by amazing tapestries.
Schools run by Hollowfaust for non-citizens
All three schools operate in the same manner. Prospective students apply to the schools and must demonstrate that they can pay for their courses. Accepted students are assigned housing in the first district and given a date for arrival in Hollowfaust. When the student arrives s/he is grouped with other new arrivals for orientation. Orientation involves a tour of the Upperfaust and the First District, an explanation of the rules they will be expected to abide by or face expulsion from the school and city, and a curfew token that only works in the first district and is collected upon leaving the city. Students, like any regular non-citizen, are not allowed in the Underfaust unless escorted by a master and this practice is highly frowned on. Disciples of the Abyss journeymen training for the Secret Police are mixed among the students in disguise to ensure the non-citizens are behaving appropriately.
The most famous, if not infamous, of the three schools, the Necromancers School is an attempt by Hollowfaust to reign in non-citizen necromancers by teaching them proper necromancy. Since most people outside of Hollowfaust equate necromancy with undead, the school focuses almost entirely on undeath and animation. Run by the Animator’s Society, the school runs an intense four year program that will put anyone roughly on par with a first year journeyman. Few people complete the program. In fact, most students drop out before they complete the first year and then walk around acting as if they have a “Hollowfaust Stamp of Approval.” This has caused problems for journeymen and masters abroad. Whether or not to close the school has been hotly debated in the Underfaust, but actual movement to close the school has been blocked by Guildmaster Gell Ulat. The rest of Sovereign Council has taken matters into its collective hands and has begun tasking traveling journeymen with auditing former students of the school to see if the problem is the school itself or the people entering it. Feedback from former students who completed the entire program often came with the complaint that they came to learn more than just animation but feel that if it took four years of intense study just to learn animation, how long would they have to be there to be caught up with a typical guildsman? How little of the surface have they scratched?
College of Medicine
While not as famous as the Necromancers School, the College of Medicine has seen far more success. Organized along the lines of a traditional college, students can choose a course of study specific to what they wish to do with the education. People looking to learn how to run a clinic to those looking to become full fledged doctors find the school super accommodating. A large portion of the school’s success is in the refusal to segregate students by career path, creating among the students an integrated unit. Doctors, nurses, and office staff work together without the usual arrogance that comes from being part of one group or the other. Mental health and psychology classes have been very popular in the last few years as have courses on botany and veterinary science. Run by the Anatomists Guild, the school is one part of a larger plan to make Hollowfaust THE destination for medicine.
The newest of the three schools, the Mortuary School hosts a small student body interested in afterlife care. The school has two points of focus, physical care and spiritual care, and students can enter one, the other, or put together there own mix of both. Since core classes are required, a student cannot accidentally miss something they need to know. Courses that focus on appeasing the dead so that they do not become ghosts and putting ghosts to rest in a non-violent fashion are very popular. The school is run by the Chorus of the Banshee.
The Anatomist Guild has grown is size and scope over the last 300 years. Expanding its scope, it has become the guild Lady Carthylla could only have dreamed of hundreds of years ago. Taking necromantic healing and positive energy study into every available field means an Anatomist is just as likely to study plant biology as they are to study dragon psychology.
The Animator’s Society has hit a road block in its current guildmaster. Large portions of theory research in constructs, animation, and military application have been stymied on the home front. Educators in the guild have been kept from forming young minds in the guild by constant overwork at the Necromancers School. Journeymen leave the city for long periods at a time just to get some work done.
Chorus of the Banshee
The Chorus of the Banshee gained relevance among the guilds to become the undisputed masters in understanding the material nature of ghosts. Their ties to the Sowers of Fear have grown with a movement across the Flanaesss for fear and horror related performances that have long been a staple of Hollowfaust entertainment. The Chorus has adopted many of the newer instruments such as the harpsichord and piano and have been researching their use as a way to tune into the emotions of ghosts and put them to rest.
Disciples of the Abyss
The Disciples have not changed much, and as a guild, they are still split into a scholarly unit and a field unit. The field unit still makes up the Secret Police and ambassadors for the city. The scholarly unit has seen growth since the rise in fame of Master Sarah Bloodsin. Her study of rare and unusual undead types have kept a crop of curious necromancers coming into the guild over the centuries, expanding her original studies and adding new types of undead, and how to destroy them, to the research. The field unit hasn’t been slacking either, developing new undead hunting and disposal techniques.
The Followers have taken Master Kylie Evernight’s plans of expansion as a personal mission, making a city that continues to surpass even her wildest dreams. Constantly pushing the engineering envelope, the guild has been mastering new bridge building techniques and designs, making use of new construction materials, resurrecting old irrigation ideas for a new era, and making life in Hollowfaust a very clean and comfortable one.
Readers of Cracked Bones
The Readers have gone on much the same and are bored as hell. They are loaded to the gills with gifted seers and have little to show for it. Several centuries of peace will do that to you. But for prophecy to be hum drum? That’s too much. They know something is about to break. Until then, they’ve been enjoying the parlor spiritualism of wealthy tourists with money to burn.
Sowers of Fear
The Sowers have worked on advancements in theater, special effects, and music. The latest advancements from their masters in necromantic illusions have led the way for brilliant dark musicals with new sounds and tales based on the dark landscape caused by the new steam fed industry.
The Sovereign Council
Anatomist’s Guild, Necromancer 15, LG
Elected by his guild for his ability to manage the City’s famous healthcare system, Calenus delegates political issues of the city to subordinates. He relies heavily on Baryoi to watch his back and continually asks Kylie Evernight for advice on contract matters.
Animator’s Society, Necromancer 10/animator 7, LN
An outstanding animator, being guildmaster has gone to his head. With his duties keeping him from his ‘potential,’ he has grown increasingly resentful of the accomplishments of the other guilds while never doing anything to help his own. Lately, he’s had a very vocal, wild hair up his ass about Unfailing only being assigned to ‘real necromancers.’
Chorus of the Banshee, Bard 7/Mourner 8, NG
Maria has worked hard to keep the Chorus from being the dumping ground of necromancers who cannot make up their minds. She has expanded the mission of the guild and opened a funerary school for non-guildsmen and non-citizens to learn funeral practices as well as care for the deceased. She fights constantly with Gell Ulat.
Disciples of the Abyss, Necromancer ?, LG
Baryoi is Baryoi.
Followers, Cleric of Liara 15, LG
If there was anyone up to the task of Hollowfaust’s continual expansion, it is Allen Hlast. A genius in engineering, he has taken the plans and Kylie Evernight and fashioned them into a beautiful and well defended city. He would consider Ulat’s political machinations beneath him if the man was even a little forthcoming on military advancements, but has come to see Ulat as a threat to Hollowfaust’s security.
Readers of Cracked Bones, Necromacer 15, NG
Forsythia is the exact opposite of every assuption made about the readers: loud, colorful, boisterous, and great fun to be around. She is also incredible astute and politically savy, which is why she was chosen by her guild. While she is a gifted seet, she spends her time making it easier for the guild to do its job and train apprentices without distraction.
Sowers of Fear
While still maintaining his public persona of a master of darkness, he has loosened up considerably in private. Taking a huge interest in the changing face of the Flanaess, he has taken to short, clandestine trips around the continent to document what terrifies people in this new world.
As a thank you to Wilhelmina Stalwarth for her assistance in destroying the Suel Lich that had infected Asaru, Hollowfaust has extended a very private invitation to any von Slythe who presents necromantic abilities to be taught in the Underfaust. When a child presents talent, a letter is sent to Master Baryoi who dispatches a tutor. When the child is old enough, they can choose to pursue a full education in the Underfaust. This arrangement has benefited the von Slythes as well as provided amazing new research for Hollowfaust. The von Slythes have also, almost uniformly, been apprenticed to Kylie Evernight.
Hollowfaust does not, even with its incredible expansion, have a red light district. With the strict laws pertaining to ownership of one’s body and the continual tradition of the public baths not providing a ‘second menu,’ anyone looking to pay for a good time will only be able to find it at the Red Lantern in the Upperfaust. Prostitution outside of the Red Lantern is illegal in order to stem abuse and control the spread of disease.
The Sevestrians own a small house in the Upperfaust near the Bandaro & Bandaro legal offices. It is always occupied by some member of the family and the family is careful to send someone who loves Hollowfaust to be the city liaison.
Kemet’s College of Necromancy and Hollowfaust established a mutual partnership in 652 CY and have been trading information and students since. Kemetian lecturers are guaranteed a standing room only classroom.