|Other Names:||City of Refuge|
|Nation/Territorial Area:||The Seven Cities|
|Languages:||Common, Romini, Elven|
|Deities Worshipped:||Dra'Nar, Hurine, Dagath, The Harpinger, Valok|
|General Alignment:||Lawful Neutral (Evil)|
|Head of City Government:||Governor Lydia Fenshaw|
|40% Orc, 20% Human, 10% Dwarf, 10% Elf, 10% Shaardan, 10% Other|
- 1 History
- 2 Districts
- 3 Government
- 4 Religion
- 5 Organizations
- 6 Notable Officials & Personalities
- 7 Landmarks
- 8 In-game Developments
- 9 Technical Aspects
The region now known as the Seven Cities remained sparsely populated well into the Age of Immortals. Small fishing settlements emerged along the Blood Coast after the orcs had settled in Western Negaria after the Great War, but the Divalok River Delta was left untouched. The Golden Scythe offered a more comfortable climate for orcs with rich farmland, unhindered by the memories of the imminent destruction of their race.
Settlement around the Divalok Delta began in earnest in the late third century O.D., as the rise of the Bandit King The'ton and his kingdom of Dubunat began to eat into the Kurathene’s land trade to the southern nations. The increased importance of sea lanes combined with the short range of ships of the period, there was a need for a safe harbor between the Kurathene ports of Kalion and Brescant and the southern nations. The Blood Coast given its natural depth and easy access to the freshwater from the Divalok River was viewed as an ideal location for a harbor. Temporary trading settlements appeared along the coast, but there was no concerted effort to expand these into permanent ports.
This changed in 317 O.D., when Joral Kuras gave out six Crown Charters to the six wealthiest noble families to establish a city on the Divalok Delta. These six Charter Cities were Andarr, Dormiria, Red Gate, Stalwart, Bullwark and Conselia.
The charter for Dormiria was given to the Dorminster nobles that hailed originally from Pylatea. With fertile soil, the land was easily arable, and a spot along the Ledextran River gave them easy access to inland trade, but the port out into the ocean was not as deep as those enjoyed by the other cities of the time. For this reason, Dormiria remained one of the smaller sites of the chartered cities.
Since its inception, Dormiria enjoyed frequent trade and relations with the orcish nation of Brekon situated immediately across the Ledextran River. Though the Imperial government politics of The Kurathene Empire never allowed construction of a bridge across the waterway for fear of invasion, a vibrant ferry industry started in its place. Also somewhat to the dismay of the imperial elite, the trade included population.
By 425 O.D. the practice of magery in Brekon was outlawed for hundreds of years, and secret practitioners of the craft were ruthlessly hunted by the Dominators of Valok. The reach of these holy warriors ended at the river, however, a fact quickly grasped by fleeing orcish mages and their families. The government of Brekon was loathe to risk a conflict with The Kurathene Empire by crossing the river into its territory.
In addition to fleeing orcish mages, escaped slaves from Brekon commonly crossed over the river. In Dormiria, slavery was illegal during this early period which made it a quick and convenient place to flee the clutches of slave markets in Brekon. Slaves of all races that wound up in the orcish markets of Brekon who were lucky enough to be rescued found their way eventually into Dormiria. Some stayed and some kept moving from there.
Over the course of a millennium, with several other wars on the [[Negaria]n continent producing refugee crises of their own, the population of Dormiria shifted from being human dominant to other. This impacted the culture and social structure which changed to reflect the new mix of races, and slowly drew the area away from The Kurathene Empire.
The gradual drift away from The Kurathene Empire came to a head in the 1300's A.O.D. As the original human population of Dormiria was now a minority within the realm, and many of the recent immigrants began to question the need to pay taxes and tithes to the Imperial Crown.
Dormiria and the other Charter Cities had established a Provincial Council in the 12th century, and had begun to take many of the functions of government from the traditional estates. With the outbreak of war with Dubunat in 1320, the Council elected to form the Charter Militia Legion, an army independent of the Imperial Army detachments. Over the next two decades, the Council expanded its privileges as the Imperial government became increasingly bogged down in the war in Dubunat.
When the war with Dubunat ended in 1360 with the The Kurathene Empire’s defeat, the Provincial Council led by Governor Sir Michael Hawke of Crosstreams took the first 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, the individual estates of each city ratified the call for independence.
On New Year’s Day 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 commander, Legate Warren Hale. Rather than risk bloodshed, Hale accepted the declaration and departed with his garrison for Brescant. When word of the declaration reached the ears of Joral Kuras, he paused, nodded his head and was the first leader to acknowledge the independence of the city-states which included Dormiria.
With independence, the Provincial Council quickly found itself superseded by local interests. The city of Conselia was the first to secede from the alliance as it renamed itself Malekia. It was quickly followed by Dormiria, Red Gate and Stalwart, who sought to avoid paying the costs associated with maintaining the army. With the obligations to the central council removed, the cities quickly started to squabble with one another, leading to an escalating round of trade barriers and skirmishes over territory lines.
The nations of Dubunat and Brekon found the squabbling city-states in the Divalok Delta to be an attractive prize. Over the next century and a half, both nations sent expeditions to annex one or more of the cities, which were driven off repeatedly by a coalition of militias from the Seven Cities. On several occasions during this period, the army of Brekon crossed the Ledextran River and sacked the streets of Dormiria, destroying most of the architecture from before this period.
After a particularly large invasion attempt in 1518 by Dubunat, the Lord Governor Curtis Allendale of Andarr proposed that the seven city-states form a confederation as a common bulwark against their enemies, and to mediate disputes between the cities. Six months of tense negotiations later the final Confederate Charter was ratified by all seven cities.
With their security assured by their shared commitment to defense, The Seven Cities steadily gained influence and wealth. The death of Joral Kuras in 1815 and the subsequent collapse of the Second Imperium helped fuel this growth. By the end of the Age of Strife in the 22nd century, The Seven Cities Confederation had become the center of civilization and culture on Negaria, the envy of all civilized nations.
The prosperity of The Seven Cities led to the flowering of egalitarian values. Though the wealthy mercantile families had steadily entrenched themselves as new nobility, there was a gradual move toward creating greater political opportunities for the common class. The governors of Crosstreams and Dormiria became positions chosen by popular vote, while the Confederate Estates-General was diversified with the addition of a third estate made of tax-paying citizens, with the franchise opened to all citizens of the Confederation.
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.
Dormiria is a popular place for those who are fleeing the laws of other nations or groups because it has a very lenient government that does not look kindly upon intrusions by outside forces to affect their own justices. For orcish refugees it is especially popular because it is easy to get to, yet not as frequented by orcish officials as the city of Red Gate, which is much closer to the orcish capitol city of Brekon.
This makes the city a breeding ground for all those who are disaffected with deities like Valok and The'ton, and those who wish to engage in activities not looked kindly upon by the orcish nations. Many of the rising numbers of orcish mages can be found here because of that, and some of these folk are managing to gain a foothold in the Dormirian government as well.
Naturally, this neutrality and seeming propensity to harbor outlaws puts Dormiria at odds with its orcish neighbor, and quite a few skirmishes have broken out in Brekon's attempts to force its way in after one of its interests. Because of the position it enjoys as part of the confederacy of The Seven Cities, Dormiria is unafraid of Brekon and uses these benefits to its solid advantage.
The term "refugee" does not describe objectively whether a creature is unseedy or benign whatsoever. Thus, personalities and races of all kinds can be found in Dormiria. Unfortunately, many of them are paranoid in nature, but they currently have confidence in the government to protect them from outside nabbers.
On the other hand, this paranoia is also counterproductive to Dormirian culture and economics. The city port is used more often to smuggle persons out of the area than it is used to bring in goods for sale or trade. A large personal protection trade has risen up because of this, and many of the best bodyguards and caravan protectors can be found here, which makes them Dormiria's largest export.
In the eastern section of the city are the docks district which form the major economic hub for the area. Goods come in and go from upriver as well as downriver. Additionally, there is a vibrant ferry service that operates across the river from the Docks District to carry goods back and forth from neighboring Brekon.
Although the waters around this port are not deep enough for large ocean sailing vessels, they are splendid for fishing and the Docks District doubles as a Fish Market for the fresh catches every day. Business that support both trades do a swift business here.
On the northern side of the city in the outermost ring is a ramshackle section of wooden and straw structures. Here, refugees from all over Negaria make their home to escape whatever political or natural disasters befell them in their homelands. A goodly portion of these masses are orcs coming over from the other side of the river, but there are also a fair number of elves and dwarves who came there via ship. The mix of cultures gives the place an exotic flare as the races try to trade and get along in a small space. Taverns and brothels with equally exotic fair dot the area to make some small amount of coin off the locals.
The Southern Refuge occupies most of the southern part of the outermost ring. Most of the inhabitants of this district arrived from long overland journeys, primary from Dubunat and even as far south as Elysia and M'Chek. The culture of orcish banditry gives the area a slightly different flavor from its northern counterpart on the other side of the city which favors Brekonian culture, and this is further mixed in with elements of Romini, other human, and even some types of fairy cultures.
The convenient location of Dormiria across the river from Brekon's heartland makes it a prime gathering point for caravans headed north and south. In the Caravan District, incoming caravans from points south are unloaded or camped for further points north. To get to the north, most traffic goes through the city, around the central Nobles District, and to the ferry across the river. Critical supplies for this special journey are crafted and sold in the Caravan District, making it responsible for a trade all its own: fording modifications for wagons and modular rafts for livestock which are carried across the city and assembled in the Docks District on the water.
Like its name implies, the Diplomatic District is where most inter-city diplomacy and trade is conducted by top officials. It is purposefully separated from the Nobles District where the government of Dormiria operates. Since this section of the city caters to high-powered financial and military interests, its decor and quality reflect this. Most of the nice dining and entertainment establishments within the city are located here. From above, this district sets a striking imbalance with the the straw and wooden structures of the neighboring districts on the outer ring because most of its buildings are multi-story structures of stone.
For those looking to find a bustling market district, the Merchant's Ring is somewhat of a misnomer. The area is more accurately a residence for merchants and it forms the bedrock of the middle class citizenry of Dormiria. Families who spend a couple of generation in the outer ring but find success at a trade are able to afford a house in this area. Unlike the outer ring of the city, the Merchant's Ring has no straw huts. Most of the houses are of wood and stone, and many have multiple floors. There are also a fair number of apartment and duplex structures for middle class families. Small shops and stores dot each corner and form the boundaries of smaller neighborhoods around the rings. This combination of money and order makes it a nice target for thieves and other miscreants, and indeed the area forms a base for their operations as well.
While Dormiria is no longer ruled by nobles because it has a democratically elected government, the ancient historical center of the city which was chartered by nobles from The Kurathene Empire still bears the old name. Nevertheless, this district is the most opulent with well-constructed fortress-like buildings surrounded by strong walls. Though there are several temples within this district too, most of the religious institutions are not located within the district.
Dormiria's government has an elected Governor as its Head of State and the same person acts as the head of the two-house legislative branch. For the most part, elections are limited to those who claim residence in the city for longer than 20 years. This puts control of the government firmly in the hands of "native" people in the city and makes it difficult for refugee populations to have a proportionate say, even though their population is a significant percentage of the total.
The legislative branch has two houses, one of which only allows those resident in the Nobles District or Merchant's Ring to run for office. This is the Upper House. The Lower House allows any city dweller to run for office, whether a native citizen or not, but once again the votes for that candidate can only come from eligible voters as mentioned. The city is divided into legislative districts that roughly correlate to the city's geographical districts, and in the Lower House, there are a number of representatives proportionate to the population of the district. Population is counted as a full total of natives and refugees.
Due to its location and status as a City of Refugees, Dormiria has a unique blend of political affiliations and forces:
The "Mercantile Nobility" is a tongue-in-cheek label for the successful merchant families in Dormiria who exert a large influence over government affairs. Though some of them trace their lineage back to actual nobles from The Kurathene Empire and other noble lines from Galdos, T'Nanshi and M'Chek, the possession of noble blood is not a prerequisite to belong to this caste. Most are in fact merchant families who count generations of previous success with housing estates in the Nobles District.
In opposition to the Mercantile Nobility forces in Dormiria's politics are the representatives of the refugee peoples. Their representation is grossly disproportionate to their population, but they manage to get enough representatives in the government's Lower House to sometimes disrupt the steamrolling effects of their Mercantile Nobility foes.
The Confederates exert a large influence in Dormiria, but they seem less concerned with the smaller matters of the city which puts them into opposition with the Freefolk sometimes. Their aim is to strengthen the the Seven Cities Confederation and bring prosperity to the area through continued growth in trade.
This group started as one of the fringe elements of the Confederates that supports offering membership in the Confederation to other cities, like Brekon, which would surely create a firestorm since that city is the capital of the orcish nation of the same name. The Valokites think that incorporating Brekon into the fold would help them compete against the growing influence of the Crullathian Empire, and that it would hasten the destruction of the forces of Valok who still oppose magery.
The high prevalence of refugees and their native cultures have greatly influenced the religious landscape of Dormiria. The worship of Valok is extremely common throughout the city, not just among orcs, but among much of the rest of the citizenry. Partly, this is because the tenets of Valok have great appeal to the poor and rich alike: the gospel of prosperity and glory. Outside of Brekon, Dormiria has one of the largest concentrations of Valok worshipers.
Ivory Order of The Sun
The Ivory Order is an order of good-aligned mages focusing on using magic for altruism, compassion, and pragmatism. This makes the order well-suited for taking care of the incoming refugees from all over Negaria. As such, members of this organization are often seen in the outermost ring using their arts to tend to the destitute, often working closely with the Church of Dra'Nar here. On the political scene, the Ivory Order plays the role of advocate for the downtrodden and sees to it that the city properly cares for them.
The Powder Blades
Part rogue's guild, part mercenary guild, part smuggling enterprise, the Powder Blades are usually the source of bad news on the streets. Their methods are brutal and sloppy, and they generally do not care who gets harmed in their wake. For the right amount of coin, any task is worth considering for their services. Most commonly, they act as guards for the low-society operations, but they are also known to import a variety of drugs into the city from down river. These activities along with other petty thievery cases puts them at odds with law enforcement and some other city organizations, but that does not seem to deter them.
The Shadow Dirks
Whatever parts of the city there are that are farthest away from the brightly-lit public areas, those are the places the Shadow Dirks dwell. This mysterious group is an offshoot of the rogue's guild in Elysia that has migrated to Dormiria to get involved with trafficking refugees in and out of the city. For a price, any free and willing soul can be smuggled in or out, given a new identity, instructions on how to stay hidden, and in some cases a completely new lease on Life. To supplement their income and training, the Shadow Dirks are known to also engage in some petty thievery, but they are generally not known to steal from the downtrodden and the innocent.
Sisters of Charity
The original chapter of the Sisters of Charity was a monastic order for dwarven women who worshiped Gorethar. Soon after its founding, the sisters branched into Deglos to alleviate with the fallout from the splitting of the dwarven lands in two. Centuries later, chapters of this organization are located in major cities throughout Negaria. In Dormiria, this organization includes mostly orcish women who worship a number of Good-aligned deities. Their primary occupation within the city is to alleviate the suffering of the poor and teach the skills and crafts necessary to make a living free of crime.
Violet Order of The Skull
Wherever there are poor and downtrodden victims, there are the forces of evil to prey on them. This is the role of the Violet Order in Dormiria. However, most of the order's sinister operations to trick willing refugees into sacrificing themselves in secret blood rites is just a cover for much more nefarious aims. Only the leaders of the guild really know what those aims entail, but the influence of the Violet Order seems to reach into the highest offices of the government of the city, and beyond.
Notable Officials & Personalities
Dasher, Shadow Dirks Guildmaster, Dormiria
Dasher is at first appearance a typical Avlissian elf, standing only a few inches taller than five feet and a little underweight. He has long experience from a lifetime of travel around Negaria and his work with the Shadow Dirks eventually drew his interest to the refugees in Dormiria as they enter and leave the city on various plights. He has a keen interest in their protection but does not bask in the spotlight, nor does he have any desire for tremendous fame and wealth.
Hatch Jeekins, Powder Blades
Hatch Jeekins is an imposing half-orc at over 6 ft tall, with a powerful build and impressive plate armor of fine Brekonian make. He is the face of the Powder Blades organization who creates the deals and manipulates the odds in its favor. The extent of the underworld empire in Dormiria that Hatch oversees is not known, but what is known is that he is well-connected to the Underdark and several surface rogue's guilds in other cities. His mercenaries primarily operate within The Seven Cities, but it is not unheard of to find them as far away as Dubunat and the Kurathene. It may be that all of this relates to the drug smuggling supply that he cultivates and distributes to these places, or it may be for more hidden agendas.
Sister Hegatha Haleela, Mother Superior, The Sisters of Charity
Sister Hegatha is a middle-aged female orc who leads the operations of the Sisters of Charity in Dormiria. She has a "no frills" attitude towards getting things done, which gives her a somewhat grumpy countenance, but inside she has a soft heart of the purest gold. As far as leadership goes, Sister Hegatha leads from the front and is often out of the convent on a mission to help the poor. Those who try to catch a word with her can often find her in the worst neighborhoods of the city handing out food and clothing to the needy. It is no secret that Sister Hegatha reveres Gorethar and devotes her service to his name, but accepts any kind-hearted individual to join her cause.
Miya Ju'ein, Senior Mage, Ivory Order of The Sun
Miya Ju'ein is a common sight among the poor and sick of Dormiria. The hands-on approach she and her now-deceased husband took to 'have their actions speak louder than their words' continues to follow her in every aspect of her life. Active and interested in individuals, the refugees of Dormiria have found in Miya a solid listener and authentic advocate for those in need. Her passion for the ideals of the Ivory Order of The Sun are self-evident and she continues to passionately promote this order while meticulously tending its day-to-day tasks through rallying and recruiting mages posted to the area.
Orfanos, Senior Mage, Violet Order of The Skull
Standing at just over 7 feet tall, Orfanos cuts an imposing figure among the inhabitants of Dormiria. Unlike many of his mixed heritage, he does not have the grotesque appearance most commonly associated with ogrekin. Instead his ogrish descent resulted an unusually pronounced, almost protruding jawline and a naturally well-defined musculature which in combination lend him a certain rugged handsomeness. These features are topped off with a mane of shoulder-length fiery ginger hair which is typically concealed beneath headwear of some description. His charismatic frame and refined demeanor make him seem deceptively nice, and he uses this to his advantage while running his chapter of the Violet Order in the city.
In 2150, during the aftermath of the M'Chek-T'Nanshi War, migrant humans left M'Chek for Visimontium, the Underdark, and other places. One of these places was Dormiria. A small contingent of 5,000 M'Chekian refugees was magically portaled from the newly formed Blandenberg Protectorate to Dormiria using this gate as its focus for the portal. Hence, the gate's recent name commemorates that event. Aside from its magical history, the gate looks like a normal gate separating the northwest quarter of the Merchant's Ring from the Northern Refuge, though upon closer examination it is still possible to detect a magical aura around it as well as some energy scarring.
Eastern Guard Tower
On the southeastern side of the city, overlooking the river as it flows northward, is a large stone and brick guard tower with seven floors. The height and girth of this tower make it one of the larger buildings in the city and it serves as the central headquarters of the city guard of Dormiria. On the top level, the tower commands a 360-degree view of the land with siege weapons pointing upriver and downriver to protect the traffic. It is rumored that below the tower are even more levels which are used as jails and training halls. Few have returned from those areas after incarceration to tell the tale.
On the southeastern side of the city on the border between the Docks District and the Southern Refuge is a small neighborhood of collected straw dwellings and stands unofficially named the Romini Market. For the most part, the area is controlled by the Romini who inhabit it although few of them, if any, live there year-round. Romini subcultures that favor river travel have a knack for bringing special items to this so-called market, and those who know about it are keen to go there when they need to find something unusual. While goods generally come into Dormiria from a wide range of places, the Romini are more adept at it than most, and here is where they concentrate their business for offloading those goods.
On the southwestern side of the city, immediately beyond the city limits lies a crossroads. One fork proceeds west toward Stalwart while the other proceeds south to Red Gate and Crosstreams. This section of road is special due to a quirk of local law enforcement: the city guard does not patrol there and the armies of The Seven Cities consider it to be within the jurisdiction of Dormiria to enforce its laws there. Consequently, the area has turned into a small haven for anarchy and danger. Games of chance, nefarious drug deals, slave trading, and the occasional wild rave take place there without molestation on most nights. During the day, the perpetrators are careful to let traffic flow in and out of the city untouched to keep the city authorities from becoming concerned, but so long as they do not interfere with the normal functioning of Dormiria, both sides of the law are content to look the other way and play their parts.
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.