Carrion Crown: Kyle's
Carrion Hill Overview
Carrion Hill is built on ancient hill, next to a river and it is the only really solid patch of land for many leagues. The city is built on the ruins of countless older cities and beneath those ruins lie uncharted catacombs and vaults from the dawn of civilization. The city is divided into three main districts (which will be described in greater detail in future posts) with a few prominent neighborhoods and locations in each.
Law and the Crows: The Carrion Hill city guard are known as the “Crows”. They wear heavy black cloaks which match their dour personalities. Although the Crows genuinely try to protect the citizenry they are generally unconcerned with most petty offenses, leaving most disputes for the Tax Collectors to settle (see Crime). Carrion Hill is known among other things for having cramped and twisting streets, and so horses are strictly banned within the city unless they are used for official business. Most livestock in the province are stricken with an albino wasting disease at birth anyway, so only the Crows and the wealthy can afford to import healthy steeds. Another important law is that unauthorized delves into the catacombs beneath the city are strictly prohibited.
Industry: Carrion Hill has one unique export, “middenstone” (a strange drywall like compound) which is made of mud, bonemeal, and various other filth. The main ingredient of middenstone is the crushed up bits of the giant red cockroaches which infest the city. Middenstone is a sickly purple color and will begin to crumble eventually, making it an undesirable building material, it is very cheap however so is used extensively in the poorer areas. Carrion Hill also gets a decent amount of shipping coming in from the docks, since it is the only solid place on the river to dock for quite a distance in either direction.
Carrion Hill other important industry is that of the nearby eternity mines in the Hungry mountains. The eternity mines are a place in which willing patrons may offer up there flesh upon deasth to work as undead slaves in the mines. The eternity mines help produce the raw materials required for middenstine, as well as several other important tradeable items of the city. These include things like oil, gold, diamond, coal, quartz and obsidian. Written in wills of the deceased upon there death is an agreement upon which all Carrion Hill citizens are required to fill out at the age of 15 or young adulthood for non humans. The agreement states whether or not the recently departed wish to work the mines in death. It can be a very profitable venture for families of the deceased. More then a few criminals or people to mad for the asylum have been condemned to death and forced to work the mines in undeath. This ruling is usually based upon the criminals actions and to support the families of there victims for hardships encumbered or emotional distress.
Over tge years many adventurers have tried to put an end to the eternity mines. Of which many now work in death st the mines for breaking the law. Serious damage to property that cannot be paid in ones normal lifetime is instead incurred into undeath. More then a few times people whom cannit afford the taxes are killed and forced to pay the debt in undeath. Each undead creature that works the mines have a symbol branded inti them of which is the creatures effective contract life determined in there wills of how long they wish to work the mines. However, as the mines name suggest most choose to work for the rest of eternity.
Religion: Although the godess of the dead Pharasma is particularly prominent in Versex, the city of Carriin Hill is well known for it’s religious disent to the deity. This is mainly due to the large economic resource produced by undead miners in tge Carrion hill mines in the close by Hungry mountains. Instead shrines and small temples to all manner of gods and deities crop up on every street. With the main worship the city follows being thst of Abdar clergy, whom employ strict taxing and economic control over the city.
Beneath the Streets: Most of the buildings in the city are built directly atop the ruins of older buildings, which in many cases were built on older foundations- and so on. As a result there is a maze of tangled cellars and subterranean passages just bellow the streets. Further down still lies the ancient rock of the hill. The mound itself is riddled with natural caverns and vaults just like a rotten and worm eaten apple. These caves are home to all manner of vile cave dwelling beasts- particularly aberrations. There are also large numbers of ghouls which haunt the catacombs and rumors of a large population of Morlocks. The city guard dedicates most of it’s resources toward hunting down the horrors which periodically slink up from the darkness below.
Crime: An unusual situation has developed in Carrion Hill, the local thieves guild has become so entrenched that it has semi legitimized. The “Tax Collectors” of Abdar as they are known, actually do serve as tax collectors in the city. The native citizens know to keep their heads down and pay their due quietly, or else any guild member can levy “legal” taxes for nearly anything- such as a tax for wearing a hat in public; or another tax for not wearing a hat in public. The Tax Collectors are very powerful but generally not too abusive, since they have a big stake in the status quo now that they are part of the establishment of the city.
Known by frequent visitors such as tradesmen as the Boil, or, more basely, the Wart, Carrion Hill rises over the otherwise swampy southern banks of Kingfisher River, the only solid ground of any reasonable scope in the swampland known as the Wrythe for a distance of nearly 20 miles to east or west. When the river fog rolls in every morning and evening, those who dwell on the hill’s Crown district can look out on a world of white vastness, while those below take solace in the simple fact that the ground beneath their feet is solid and unlikely to wash away after one of the area’s frequent rainstorms or seasonal floods.
Small City standard government (mayor); AL N
Racial Mix 82% human, 5% halfling, 4% half-orc, 4% gnome, 3% dwarf, 2% other
Vanton Heggry, mayor of Carrion Hill (N male human aristocrat 9)
The Crows, city watch (900 N human warrior 1 guards, 45 N human fighter 2 sergeants, 9 N human fighter 4 captains)
Life in Carrion Hill
Carrion Hill is split into three districts. Atop the hill, the Crown serves as the home for the city’s nobility, government, and most of its public works. The hill’s slopes are a thick tangle of buildings and maze-like alleyways; this is the Tangle, where the bulk of the shops and residences can be found. The lowest part of the city, both physically and spiritually, is the Filth, a series of islands both natural and artificial, connected by old boardwalks and stone bridges. The city’s poor and desperate dwell here, as do those industries so vital to the city’s prosperity but so unwanted by its citizens—tanners, gong farmers, street cleaners, the fisheries, and the looming middenstone vats.
Yet the Filth is also the city gateway, as the vast majority of Carrion Hill’s visitors arrive by riverboat or barge via the district’s refuse-choked canals.
Carrion Hill is also called the isle of 10,000 temples, and although the nickname is a significant exaggeration (there are actually a mere 180 temples in Carrion Hill, most of them but tiny one-room shrines), it seems that places of worship for gods both vast and slight grow from the very land. Shrines the size of cupboards, painted representations of gods with an offering of flowers beneath, rub shoulders with churches that somehow squeeze balcony upon balcony in tiny frames over almost decadently elaborate pulpits, and above all is the grandest place on the hill the Ossuary Church of Abdar.
The western area of the Carrion Hill runs along the southern bank of the Kingfisher River. Much of the city’s
waste ends up here, and as such, the water quickly clogs with flotsam so that there are always several barges at work clearing the waterways and removing the flotsam to one of the Filth’s great burn pits. Often, the transition between land and water is gradual, with shores being little better than quicksand; most buildings along the shore are built on wooden pilings sunk deep into the ground. Stories abound of folk who have found diamond rings, furs, and even magic items in the rubbish here, but also iron, wood,
and other common salable commodities. A number of rag and bone merchants employ scavengers like this, and their warehouses are scattered on the edges of the Filth.
The stench in the Filth is indescribable, especially in summer, and huge numbers of rats, flies, and particularly a species of maroon cockroach dwell here, making the land an almost living thing. The poorest (and generally newest) residents live in hovels clustered together for safety and stability a town of scavenged rubbish. Numerous cruel taskmasters have their tanneries, alchemy workshops, and middenstone vats here.
By far the most crowded and populated part of Carrion Hill is the Tangle the lower and middle heights of
the hill itself. A twisting mass of alleys, dead ends, and lightless streets serve as the arteries and veins of the district. Towering around these black footpaths (that are often less than 2 feet wide) are claustrophobic houses of wood, stone, and increasingly, Middenstone. Anyone venturing into the myriad alleys without comprehensive knowledge of them or a guide stands an excellent chance of becoming lost, and those who do lose their way stand a excellent chance of being marked by thugs, cutthroats, or worse. However, in these alleys a traveller also passes countless houses, stores, and cupboard-shops selling everything from paper lanterns to decorative pig masks, from clay pipes and strange tobacco to street corner coffee houses at which locals gather to smoke long hookah pipes beloved of the population (the aromatic tobacco does an excellent job at masking the city’s other smells).
The cobbled streets at the top of the hill broaden and are bleached white, and locals joke half-seriously that the streets of the Crown are the tops of countless polished skulls. Buildings at the Crown are larger, and most utilize solid stone and good timber in their construction. Middenstone buildings are unknown in the district, but the color purple is not, for lavender grows in profusion in and around the many olive trees that thrive in the more pleasant air of the high hill.
Actual crows are numerous here as well some say they are waiting for something to happen. Merchants, dignitaries, and the wealthy make their homes here, enjoying the lack of taxes the isle grants. Two structures on the Crown in particular bear special note. The first is Crown Manor, a fortified castle-like estate that serves as both the Carrion Hill town hall and the home of the city’s mayor. Called Rag Manor by many of the city’s citizens (but never to the mayor’s face) for the colourful and plentiful flags and tapestries that hang from its walls and fly from so many of its tower roofs (yet are only very infrequently changed and replaced as they grow tattered), some 20 members of the Crows normally guard their lord along with one of the sergeants at arms.
Crown Manor has served countless rulers of the hill as a last bastion against invasion, and it is said that its extensive dungeons consist of the ruins of no fewer than two dozen previous castles. The other structure of note on the Crown is the city’s largest and most intimidating church the Ossuary Church. Built over the foundations of countless other graveyards and crypts, the Ossuary Church is run by the
priesthood of Abdar, although its site has served many deities over the ages. The building itself is white, its walls initially decorated with bones harvested from the depths of the church’s ossuaries for the purpose of making room for the new citizens of the Hill as the older generations passed on, but eventually as a grisly sort of decoration to celebrate the death of a citizen.
Within the church, the walls are decorated with beautiful but haunting frescoes depicting Pharasma’s Boneyard and vivid portrayals of best business practices, stone mural tablets of legal contact doctrine and gems and gold inlaid statuettes of Abdar. These murals are new, but the tradition is not the deeper one goes into the vaults and crypts below, older murals for different gods exist. At the deepest level, in vaults the church has locked up and in which dwell strange and hideous monsters, the murals show the ancient rites of the Old Cults themselves.
A History of Carrion
Carrion Hill gets its name from the fact that the city itself is built on the conquered and vanquished bones of previous cities the site is no stranger to the carrion left in the wake of wars and famines and plagues. The following timeline summarizes who and what ruled the hill over the past 2,312 years, since the city’s founding in 2,397 ar.