|Other Names:||Shield of The North|
|Nation/Territorial Area:||The Seven Cities|
|Languages:||Common, Orcish, Romini|
|Deities Worshipped:||The Nine, and other minor deities|
|General Alignment:||Lawful Neutral (Good)|
|Head of City Government:||High Commander Bernolf Rook|
|30% Human, 30% Orc, 20% Dwarf, 20% Other|
The city of Bullwark is the southernmost city of the confederation known as The Seven Cities. It is the only city in the confederation that does not have access to a major watery thoroughfare, yet it is highly regarded as the glue that holds the confederation together.
Bullwark is the smallest and youngest of the Seven Cities, yet its troops make up the largest percentage of the Confederated Army. This is because all males of fighting age that are residents of the city are required by law to serve in the military. This is at times hard to enforce because record-keeping can be difficult unless magic is employed to help, but luckily for Bullwark, strict measures for enforcement are not necessary. The citizens of Bullwark are incredibly nationalistic and proud of the Confederation. They take great pride in being allowed to serve in its armed forces, and it is thought that this pride partly rubs off on the other cities to solidify their confederation.
- 1 History
- 2 Districts
- 3 Government
- 4 Religion
- 5 Organizations
- 6 Notable Officials & Personalities
- 7 Landmarks
- 8 In Game Developments
- 9 Technical Aspects
Prior to the early 4th century A.O.D, the area of present-day Bullwark was contested between the armies of The Kurathene Empire and its southern neighbor, the nation of Dubunat. Initially, Bullwark was set up as a small fortress to guard against the onslaught of orcs that came into the region during the Great War and afterward, but it was not until the year 317 A.O.D. that the emperor chartered one of his nobles, Duke Maron Clairvont of Julaspium, to settle the fortress and expand it. Both the emperor and Lord Clairvont understood that this would be a resource-intensive job, since the fortress had no access to the waterways to the north and would need to receive all of its supplies over land. However, both men thought it was worth the effort in order to shield the area from further invasion.
The high-resource nature of the settlement kept it small and functional for several centuries. Other nobles surrounding the area had settlements of their own that would later turn into the other major cities to form the confederation now known as The Seven Cities Confederation. For mutual safety, they donated personnel and supplies to keep the fortress running and provided aid especially during the latter part of the 4th century A.O.D. when Bullwark was used by the emperor as a staging ground for an invasion into Dubunat.
Despite the optimal location for protecting the north against invasions from the orcs to the south, the area remained largely untouched for centuries after the war waged by The Kurathene Empire which ended in 382 A.O.D. Instead, Bullwark found itself in a position to act as a trading post between Dubunat and locations north, and Dubunat focused most of its military aspirations on conquering its fellow orc nation of Brekon which was to the north east.
Cordial relations with Dubunat gave rise not only to trade but also immigration, which in turn drew the two entities closer together not just financially but also culturally. As the population of orcs within the city rose and they mingled with the "native" humans descended from Lord Clairvont's time, Bullwark's identity became less oriented toward membership in The Kurathene Empire, but also not aligned with the bandit-dominated culture of The'ton worshipers in Dubunat.
From the years 500 to 1300 A.O.D. this gradual change grew to include some other populations swirling around from the nearby cities to the north, along the waterway. Smatterings of other races began to settle in the area and what was once just a fortress became a full-grown fortress town. Aside from minor squabbles with Dubunat and the other cities to the north, this period was peaceful.
Despite the drift away from the empire, the nobles of the city were content to leave things as they stood. The empire and its politicians in the capital of Kuras were content to leave Bullwark alone so long as it kept to its function of preventing invasion. Taxes were low and aid was forthcoming from the homeland. This all came to a head, however, in the year 1320 A.O.D. when The Kurathene Empire mounted a massive invasion of Dubunat, with intent to capture the entire area and annex it. Most of the invasion was conducted by sea, with landings in the northern and southern part of the country. However, an auxiliary force was deployed into Bullwark to act as a protection against counterattack. With Kurathene troops housed in the city, tensions immediately shot up to a boiling point
As the usual suspects, the orc residents of the city rose up but were surprisingly joined (from the Kurathene point of view) by their human and dwarven brethren to protest and resist the "occupation". Through years of unrest, the imperial army was eventually driven out of Bullwark in 1331 A.O.D., though most historians point out this happened simultaneously with the failure of the entire invasion when the nation of Tyedu invaded the northern fiefs of The Kurathene Empire and captured many lands. Armies had to be pulled back to answer that attack, and the emperor's forces did not have the power to deal with both events at once.
As the armies withdrew from Bullwark in 1331 A.O.D., the nobles present within the city symbollicaly declared their independence. However, it was not until 1360 with the Empire’s final defeat in Dubunat, that the Provincial Council led by Governor Sir Michael Hawke of Crosstreams took the first official steps toward independence. In 1362 he and the Council signed an oath affirming their commitment to the independence of the Charter Cities. Later in the same year, Bullwark ratified the call for independence.
On the first day of the new year in 1363 the Provincial Council of the Charter Cities, with Governor Hawke in the lead presented their declaration of secession to the Imperial Army garrison commanderin Arvanos, Legate Warren Hale. Rather than risk bloodshed, Hale accepted the declaration and departed with his garrison for Brescant.
The Seven Cities Confederation
Unfortunately, unity among the chartered cities did not last. Their squabbling degenerated into skirmishes and the council broke up into completely independent city-states, each responsible for its own defense and well-being. The nation of Dubunat to the south took advantage of this disunity in 1518 and invaded Bullwark and the rest of the cities, nearly conquering the entire realm, but were beaten back once the cities realized they must unite and work together. Later that year, Lord Governor Curtis Allendale of Andarr proposed a confederation of the seven cities for mutual defense and trade. Within six months the treaty was ratified and the The Seven Cities Confederation was born.
The presence of the confederation was a stabilizing force in the region that nearly halted war between Dubunat and the remnants of the Empire to the north. Trade flourished as well as the population and its diversity.
Bullwark was originally constructed as a stout fortress with just the essential functions for supporting a garrison. As the city grew, construction sprung up around the fortress in waves, creating a city with a circular layout and concentric circles radiating outward from the original fortress, which has been greatly expanded since its initial founding.
Bullwark Fortress aka "Castle Clairvont"
The original fortress which acted as the focal point of Bullwark since its days as a small fort along the border with Dubunat soon expanded into a castle as the Clairvont family poured money and personnel into its expansion over the first several decades of its existence. Though the entire outpost was formally called "Fort Bullwark" at the time, the local militia sarcastically named the stout and stubby structure "Castle Clairvont", and the name stuck.
Presently, the structure is a sprawling two-story stone building with multiple towers and a single large entrance gate. The stone is supposedly granite mined from Galdos and contains several hues of blue and silver. Immediately surrounding the fortress is a wall which acts as the border for the district as well as additional security.
Within the fortress are all the necessary rooms and accommodations for running the government and military leadership of Bullwark. As a military government, there is little difference between the two, and the generals who lead the soldiers also lead the city while they live and work within the fortress.
Off to the northern side of the city is a vast training ground and military base that functions as a nerve center for the Confederated Army and its operations in the southern part of The Seven Cities. Newly-recruited soldiers from all Seven Cities come there to train and learn the ways of combat, and they mingle with veterans who rotate in and out of duty protecting the southern front. This is at tradition that has continued for hundreds of years despite the lack of animosity with the country's southern neighbors.
Confederate Military Academy
To the east of this complex is the Confederate Military Academy, where officers are trained for the Confederated Army. This school is not directly controlled by the government, however, and is often known to take students from any place in the world who can afford the fees. Many Kurathene Nobles have sent their children there, as have M'Chekian nobles, and even some citizens of Toran Shaarda.
Outer Residential Wards
The outermost ring of the city houses the Outer Residential Wards, usually made up of functional and austere homes. This district is divided into the Eastern and Western sub-wards, and aside from the opinions of local gangs and lifelong residents, there is little difference that separates them. There are a decent number of inns and other establishments but rarely does one find the shady places that are so common in the other cities. The residents of the city are much like the nobles. They tend towards kindness and the desire to help others, with a healthy respect for the law.
In the most technical sense, Bullwark is a military dictatorship where the topmost rank of the military acts as the High Commander of the armed force and Chief Minister of the government. Only members of the military are eligible to achieve this rank and must do so through meritorious advancement. As part of the duties of a Chief Minister, the head of the military appoints a cabinet of other ministers to oversee various parts of the government and these appointees may be civilians or members of the military.
The only exception is the position of Minister of Law Enforcement. The person filling this position is always a civilian, as are all members of law enforcement from the top down. It is permissible for ex-military to become members of the town guard or other types of law enforcement officials, and many do. However, it is not a requirement and the government of Bullwark is cognizant of the necessary separation between the functions of military and the police.
Despite the regimented and orderly appearance of the structure, it is riddled with internal politics and rival factions loyal to one general or another. There are also rumblings among the citizenry asking for more direct representation and elections for a completely separated government and military. In some cases, ministers have also expressed sentiments to that effect but been rapidly suppressed.
Racially, Bullwark is fairly diverse. Initially, the city was largely human, but over the centuries many orcs have made their homes there from either Dubunat or Brekon. There are even a fair number of dwarves and halflings in the city that contribute immensely to the local culture. Less common races would include elves and goblinoid. This mix has greatly influenced the religious landscape.
Although religion is not quite as prevalent a force in Bullwark as nationalism, there are sizeable temples in the city to Dra'Nar, Dre'Ana,Gorethar, Toran, and Senath. Smaller shrines to other deities are also fairly common, and on the whole the population of the city acknowledges the importance of worship as a part of life, though not the main one. Unlike many other political arenas throughout Negaria, however, temple officials play almost no role in the politics or government of the city. Paradoxically, this has led to a vibrant underculture of deific fervor among a small portion of the population led by the clerics and templars which has created a separate web of interaction and intrigue among the faithful, apart from the military machine.
Bandit Kingdom Brigade
The infamous Bandit Kingdom Brigade is an outlaw organization operating within the city that advocates the secession of Bullwark from The Seven Cities so it can unify with Dubunat to the south. Over the centuries, the organization has held several names and gone through several incarnations, but it essentially started not long after the city declared its independence from The Kurathene Empire in the 14th century A.O.D.. The large immigrant population of orcs favored the safer confines of Dubunat's borders to protect it from other forces in the area. Though the original argument was a military one, the real movement has always been cultural. Orcs living in the city see the Bandit Kingdom Brigade as looking out for their interests, and though not all orcs agree that the area should belong to Dubunat, normal orc citizens are glad to have an advocate for their race.
Members of the Bandit Kingdom Brigade have three major functions. Primarily, they keep the organization financed through petty thievery and smuggling operations while avoiding law enforcement. Second, they disrupt government and military operations within the city whenever possible, acting as a resistance, and finally, they take orders from the government of Dubunat and act as its eyes and ears not only within Bullwark but throughout The Seven Cities.
Knights of The Confederate Realm
One of the more unusual organizations based in Bullwark is the Knights of the Confederate Realm. Members of this knightly order must meet certain requirements before admittance: They must be a graduate of the Confederate Military Academy. They must hold an officer's commission in either the Confederate Army of Bullwark or one of the other militaries of The Seven Cities. They must prove themselves in battle as either an astute strategist or a brave combatant, and finally, they must be a worshiper of either Gorethar, Toran, Senath, or another Lawful deity if dispensation is given. Other exceptions are occasionally made for those who served in major militaries outside of The Seven Cities and swear loyalty to the confederation, or for those who use magical means in combat.
Once admitted to this prestigious order, there are ranks within it that determine function. The organization's primary mission is to represent the interests of The Seven Cities abroad. Secondarily, they are meant to be leaders and examples of brave defenders against threats on the home front. As such, most members of this order are found traveling through other nations. Lower ranking members usually serve terms domestically as supplements to the law enforcement and military patrols along the border.
Due to the hefty requirements for admission and staying in the order, members are highly regarded throughout The Seven Cities. Those within the organization often find it difficult to be a knight in a non-feudal society like the confederation, but have also found it rewarding for the order they keep.
The Night Scamps
The Night Scamps are a large gang of Xenon-worshiping wererats who mostly reside below street level in the sewer and catacomb complexes beneath the city. Their operations always take place in the shadows and during the night whenever possible because they are constantly under persecution and worse from the government's forces and the local law enforcement. Nevertheless, when it comes to making a living, the rank-and-file wererats of the Night Scamps are often forced to the surface to engage in petty thievery and mugging to make ends meet and survive.
Beyond the petty thievery and basic rogue's guild functions, there lies a more sinister purpose: to spread the scourge of lycanthropy around the city in order to create a large wererat civilization that the world will treat on an equal footing. Scattered settlements of lycanthropes have achieved this goal on a smaller scale, including one located about midway between Bullwark and Crosstreams called Lycanhaven. However the Night Scamps see the residents of that village as too open-minded and too diverse a mix of lycan animals, with the added disadvantage of a severe lack of ambition.
White Necromancers of Uol
The White Necromancers of Uol are renowned as healers throughout The Seven Cities. Their practice of White Necromancy is used to tend to the sick and dying of the region as well as the casualties of war. The organization exists as a complex cooperative between the White Order of The Light and the individual armies of all seven cities of the Confederation. Members are considered to belong both to the White Order as well as being commissioned officers in all seven major militaries of the Confederation.
In times of battle, they act as medics on the field, using their magical skills to heal the injured or get them to safety and even revive the dead in various ways when necessary. During peace times, they do much of the same work, but they focus on the poorer populations within the cities. They are based out of Bullwark where they operate the largest hospital in the Confederation.
Notable Officials & Personalities
High Commander Bernolf Rook
The human Bernolf Rook is a dedicated military professional sworn to protect and represent the city of Bullwark to the confederation and the world at large. To this end, he is an avid proponent of the law and applies city and confederate statutes with an unflagging literacy. Much of his philosophy is grounded in the traditional role of Bullwark as the first line of defense against invading forces from the south. He feels that disciplined application of the law is necessary to keep the city functioning as "ground zero" for any major attacks over land. Deviating from tradition and order decreases preparation, according to him.
High Commander Rook's positions have made him unpopular with some of the citizenry, especially orcs, because they accuse him of harboring prejudice against their race. Rook's political opponents argue that war with Dubunat is an antiquated historical artifact and that Bullwark should shift its focus to being a center of trade, like some of the other cities of the confederations have done. Some detractors have even gone so far as clamoring to change the form of government from a military dictatorship to a more representative form. Though Rook has his share of political detractors in the military too, none of them are willing to give up their power to side with the disgruntled citizenry on that issue. The controversy roils on as Bullwark continues to make strides as a trade outpost despite Rook's efforts.
Dame Vira Valorian
Though she is a non-royal member of the famous Valorian family, Vira Valorian is a devoted worshiper of Gorethar and native to Bullwark and The Seven Cities. Her grandparents immigrated there to escape the life of nobility in the remnants of The Kurathene Empire, and she was raised from childhood as a nationalist defender of the realm. After her early education, Vira attended the Confederate Military Academy and served six years as an officer in the Confederate Army.
On a fateful mission as a young officer, Vira led a mission to Lycanhaven to put down a local werewolf establishing himself there as a warlord with intentions to carve out his own holdings. While marching through a pass on the way, her contingent was ambushed and had to fall back after severe losses. While the enemy held the pass, Vira ordered a camp set on a ridge not far away where they hastily built a field hospital. As night fell and the White Necromancers of Uol attended to the wounded, Vira silently crept back onto the battlefield alone and dragged more wounded soldiers back to the camp, one by one. By sunrise, she had rescued 23 wounded, including four peasants from Lycanhaven forced to fight in the battle.
For her bravery, Vira Valorian was inducted into the Knights of The Confederate Realm, where she immediately began to serve.
One of the most famous contemporary White Necromancers of Uol is an orc by the name of Barak Jalal. Unlike many of his brethren who worship Valok or The'ton, Barak is not religious. Instead he has devoted his knowledge to the art of healing. His status as a sage in the arts of anatomy, physiology, and magical healing denote him as one of the foremost physicians of his day.
Nestled in his own tower in the Western Residential Ward, Barak Jalal splits his time between seeing patients and doing research in the arts. A particular area of interest for him is the creation and maintenance of neverdead. He convinces many of his patients to donate their bodies in the event of their demise, and these he uses for his research. According to Barak, the body is a vessel of consciousness and its preservation is sacred, especially if that body can be used in the defense against evil. Whether or not the body is inhabited by its original consciousness is not completely relevant, so long as the original owner was not coerced or murdered.
Clairvont Officer's Club
Within the courtyard of Castle Clairvont are numerous structures. One of these is called the Clairvont Officer's club, and like its name implies, it is a favorite haunt for members of the military establishment. In times of peace, when the fortress gates are open to regular foot traffic, it is possible to find patrons from all over Negaria who wish to partake of the fine food and martial atmosphere. Ruffians and riffraff of all kinds are summarily thrown out the door, sometimes without opening it first.
Confederate Military Academy
The Confederate Military Academy is the most prestigious officer academy in The Seven Cities, and ranks as one of the top among all the nations of Negaria. It has a large campus that takes up most of the eastern part of the middle ring of Bullwark. Among the buildings that make up the campus are dormitories, guard towers, training grounds, and a large university building where students attend lectures.
Admissions into the academy are competitive. Most students belong to noble families of their respective nations, such as M'Chek, the remnants of The Kurathene Empire, T'Nanshi, and of course, The Seven Cities. The exception to this seems to be for natives of Bullwark, where all eligible males are required to do military service for one year. Those who excel in their service and seek an officer's career can usually find a spot in the academy.
Part tower and part sprawling brick fortress, the Uol Infirmary acts as both the headquarters of the White Necromancers of Uol and the main military hospital for the city. In times of peace, there is constant traffic in and out of the compound as the sick and dying seek treatment from the White Necromancers. In turn, the practitioners of the healing arts gain knowledge from treating the sick and apply this to their craft.
A small part of the infirmary acts as a warehouse, and rumor holds that this is a repository for neverdead that are created from the dead patients that consent to it. In the event of a war, these bodies animated with energy from the Positive Plane, known as sadiks, would be unleashed to bolster the army's numbers.
In Game Developments
There is no online version of these lands in play currently, and knowledge of this information in game is limited to characters that have reason, ability, and circumstance to know. Seek DM permission if there is any doubt.
N/A - These lands exist only in the pen and paper version of Avlis, not on any of the current servers.