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Outlands Gatetowns: Ribcage, Gatetown to Baator

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Outlands Gatetowns: Ribcage, Gatetown to Baator

Ribcage, Gatetown to Baator
Ribcage is named after the spires of the mountains surrounding it. They arch up in such a way to nearly meet overhead, like, you guessed it - a ribcage. The baatazu are so clever with their names, aren’t they? It’s a harsh place, full of wary people. Travelers, so long as they keep their noses clean and don’t protest any of the local laws, should do fine - but I wouldn’t suggest setting up kip there unless you’re in the mood to toe the line.

Ribcage is centered in the Vale of the Spine, a great ridge of mountains across the Outlands that nearly touches the river Ma’at at its far end. Outside of Ribcage the mountains are harsh, hot and dry with little vegetation, and too many Blood War ‘recruiters’ to be comfortable for the average traveler. Where Ribcage is located the Vale deepens into a valley, and the mountains around it arch upwards in great spires of rock, nearly touching overhead. The residents have built up walls between these ribs, taking advantage of the natural architecture to build up their defenses against assault. There are two entrances into and out of the town, located on opposite ends of the ribs. Great iron gates secure these entrances, and they can be easily locked to keep the populace in or intruders out.

Much of the place is built to intimidate and impress, with iron railings and gates, tall towers of solid black stone, and privately owned keeps – miniature fortresses housing the rich elite. There isn’t much lumber to speak of outside of Ribcage, just a lot of dark mountains and stone – so that’s what the town is built of, black and grey stone. Often marble in the more wealthy areas, but granite or slate in the more common side of town. Regardless, those wealthy enough to show it off – do so – usually with understated engravings of gold or silver. The city itself is fairly clean, as the wealthy residents pay to keep the vermin and garbage from gathering in the streets – only sometimes interpreting ‘garbage’ to include the bodies of those they don’t like.

Ribcage is a fairly old town that built up long before the gate itself actually fell to its keeping. Six families, wanting to take advantage of trade routes and mercenaries in need of re-supply on their travels through the Outlands, founded the town. The families choose the location between the ribs of the Vale of the Spine both for its close proximity for travel and for its defensive power. Between its natural defenses and the political skills of its founding families, Ribcage quickly grew into an established position for trade and re-supply before it gained its gate to Baator on the slide of the previous gate-town.

The mayor of Ribcage is Lord Quentill Paracs, a tiefling of baatazu descent, and an excellent fighter and spellcaster despite his outward appearances as a squat, hunched, fat old man. When directly threatened, as he has been in the past under the city’s own dueling laws, his fighting style reflects his political style. He waits defensively, orchestrating his opponent’s errors until he forces his opponent to overextend, and then moves to finalize his victory. He is a master politician with his claws deep in the city and its five controlling families. Quentill holds his position as the wealthiest in town, and the last heir of the stronghold and Gate around which the town is built.

The city government consists of Quentill, and the Senate – a five-seat council of representatives the five founding families of Ribcage. A majority vote in the Senate can veto any law he passes, or even depose him, passing the title of Lord Mayor to any other person they deem fit. Fortunately for him, he makes a point of at all times having three of five senators in his pocket or at the end of his knife by whatever means necessary. He also holds the gate to Baator within his stronghold, which is the most secure private fortress in town.

The Family Garadin
The Garadin family are masters at the art of trade. The owners of the majority of the warehouses in town, which are located within their personal informal word, they handle much of the large caravans coming and going from Ribcage. They employ a good number of mercenaries in guarding caravans of iron ore, food goods, and other items. Much of the family wealth is tied up in tradegoods, and the equipment used to move them throughout the Outlands. Parac extracts a tax on the family for use of the gate to Baator since it is on his personal property. While the Garadin’s find this annoying, Parac does keep the tax well within a reasonable range allowing considerable profit to flow to them both.

The Family Vertono
The Vertono family are traditionally the providers of the guard to the town of Ribcage. Not that the other families don’t employ their own family members as guards, or hire their own mercenaries. In days past, they would have been the sole source of armed forces within the city, but profitable times and competition have eliminated this monopoly. As of now, they are the largest source of mercenary forces based out of Ribcage. Though the lord of the family stays firmly in his ancestral seat – his son is generally to be found in the Outlands leading the family forces. The last traditional duty the Vertono’s are charged with is the duty to secure the Iron gates at either end of the city in case of attack on the city.

The Family Iltenam
The Iltenam family are probably the most honest of the families when it comes to their money and how they make it. This family controls the craftsmen guilds within town, and all members of the family are trained to varying degrees of talent within one of the crafts. The Iltenam mark may be found on most of the armor and swords produced within Ribcage, as well as the artwork, stove carving and iron and silverwork common to the buildings of the town. The Iltenam’s are a quiet powerhouse within the politics of Ribcage, easily overlooked by outsiders but they are fully aware of their influence on the livelihoods of the other families, and use it when nessecary.

The Family Morngilt
The Morngilt family is a founding family of Ribcage, but only in the most recent years has this family become truly an equal to the others in the Senate. The Morngilt’s newest lord, a young and otherwise awkward looking young man, has a remarkable skill for making money make money. Their privately held banks are the backers for a large number of the small businesses of Ribcage. They also act as the money exchangers for foreign coin, and as the main creditors and loan holders for the entire town. The Morngilt’s primary focus is currently on securing their newfound power and they have tied up a good part of their family capital in such activities.

The Family Raedil
The Raedil family has always had something of a dark reputation as necromancers and conjurors, regardless though they are the most potent casters within the city. The Raedil’s hold a great amount of personal power, and prefer to keep it that way instead of diluting themselves with investments or paying for armies, caravans or the training of others. They have rarely trained outside of their own family, but will do so at considerable cost. They are the smallest of the five families, and are the primary source of major enchantments for the defense of the city or security measures of the other families.

It is important to note that while other gate towns may wish to merge with their plane, Ribcage most certainly does not. Quentill is paranoid that his town will follow the fate of the previous gatetown, Darkspine, turning into a smoldering ruin in which every non-baatazu citizen skulks in the shadows desperate to stay alive on Baator’s first layer. He has absolutely no interest in seeing this happen, and has taken every measure he can to make sure that the baatazu, their plots, and their influence are stripped from his city. To this end he has made an effort to create diplomatic ties with other gate towns of more positively aligned cities, garnering both their positive influence on his town and their support in trade. Baatazu themselves are not welcome within the city limits, and the armies of Baator’s first layer are encouraged to find other more welcoming portals through which to march.

Ribcage is laid out in a fairly neat arrangement, and the streets are for the most part wide enough for merchants to easily move from one to another. The families in town though have built up walls between buildings, and checkpoints on critical parts of the city resulting in an informal set of family holdings within the town as a whole. In addition, at the center of town may be found Quentill’s palace, a complex large enough to qualify as a holding in and of itself.

Quentill Parac’s Palace
The palace at the center of the town is a grand sprawling thing of black marble, engraved throughout with lines of silver and gold and carved with imposing images of historical events and conquests. The palace walls are solid dark granite reinforced with iron bars and topped with spikes, and generally patrolled by Parac’s guards. Within may be found his orchards and gardens and a reflecting pool formed of black marble. The high ceiling ballroom walled in gold and solid chunks of carved amber is a favorite show of wealth for Quintill when he is in the mood to invite guests to dances, as is the Great Hall, a mirror lined receiving room.

The Senate chambers are also within this palace; as well as private suites for each of the senators and their attendants should meetings run overlong. These suites are also available to the occasional non-willing ‘guests’ of the families that Quintill every now and then will host. As a result these chambers are extremely richly appointed and comfortable but may be locked from the outside.

The Garadin Family Holdings
The section of the city patrolled by the Garadin guards boasts the largest number of open checkpoints. They need to be able to move caravans in and out of their holdings swiftly and have little interest in blockading each and every street that leads into their ‘ward’. This area is located near the south gate, and is where the warehouses of Ribcage may be found. In addition the Garadin’s own house may be found here, an impressive structure rising three floors up and taking the entirety of a block. The Gold Goose Inn may be found here, which provides high-class lodgings to merchants and their associated entourages. And of course, on the edge of the holding may be found cheaper lodgings for the guardsmen and mercenaries looking to be hired on by the merchants within the holding.

The Vertono Family Holdings
The Vertono family home is built around one of the oldest structures of the city, the Old Barracks and Armory. This building is no longer used for the city’s purposes, as newer facilities have been built next to Parac’s Palace. Instead these buildings now provide for the family’s own employees and soldiers in training. The rest of the holding is equally militaristic. The Vertono have places either a barricade or a checkpoint on every other road leading out of the section since they outright own most of the land in the area. There are a number of bars and other forms of entertainment here where a soldier may find good cause to spend his wages.

The Iltenam Family Holdings
Stuffed full of workshops, lumber and brickyards, apothecaries, paint suppliers and glass blowers – the Iltenam holdings are neatly divided amongst the needs of all the guilds that are housed within them. In addition to the workhouses, warehouses to supply the work may also be found here stacked with buckets of sand, clay and pigments. This holding is located across from the Garadin holdings, separated by the street called Maker’s Way. The family house may be found on the edge of the holding – out of the way of the processes of the holding, and away from the risk of fire or explosions that accompany many of the crafts practiced here.

The Morngilt Family Holdings
The Morngilt holdings are small, isolated to their home and the surrounding blocks. The banks, money exchanges and all other financial services the family offers are held on those blocks. These holdings are amongst the most securely built blocks in the city, all buildings built with double thick stone walls, reinforced by iron. Windows here are thin slits, or barred. And the buildings all have walls between them guiding the approach of outsiders to a central gate that is guarded around the clock. Rumors hold that there is a great vault beneath these few blocks in which the family stores all funds and accounts for added security – so even if one of their facilities is broken into in the middle of the night, nothing will be there to be stolen.

The Radich Family Holdings
The Radich holdings are the smallest of the five families. This is only to be expected, as this family has no need of outside resources. Their holdings are a single block within the city, secured magically and physically against entry. The interior of this block is under permanent non-detection spells, as well as visual illusion and conjuration effects that blur the interior, providing the family with ample privacy. Rising above this privacy screen is the tall black tower of the rest of the family home.

Outside the Holdings
The rest of the city outside the holdings operates as a buffer zone between them. Some streets, such as Maker’s Way, have regular checkpoints and armed guards practically nose to nose between the holdings. Other sections are more open, enjoying a few blocks stretch of independently owned businesses and homes. These areas are generally more run down than those within the holdings, but there is much work to be had here for independent contractors and mercenaries.

The March
This is a wide, straight, road leading from Parac’s palace through the center of town to the iron gate leading out into the Vale. The road was built before Parac’s time for the purposes of marching baatazu armies swiftly into and out of the Gate. Now though, he keeps the ends of the March secured against such things, and otherwise leaves the street open for general travel.

Penance Wall
The northern side of the city, at the walls built between the ‘ribs’ of Ribcage, is the Penance Wall. This wall is marked on either end by the magically preserved skeletons of two eriyenes positioned in poses reflecting the names engraved at their feet, Regret and Remorse. The wall itself is about two hundred feet long, and made of granite chunks. At regular points along the wall iron manacles, engraved with silver emblems of the city on the inside of the bands, are anchored to the wall. This is where the Lord Mayor places those condemned to the pillory or lingering death.

The Ivory Fortress
The Ivory Fortress stands out from its surroundings because it is the only light-colored building in the city. It is composed of many various shades of white, ivory, and light grey stone, and is roofed in specially made white tiles. This building houses the diplomatic residences of the ambassadors that the Lord Mayor has invited from the more positively aligned gate towns in the Outlands. Currently, ambassadors from Excelsior, Tradegate and Fortitude reside here. For the most part these ambassadors are asked to consult on matters before the Senate, and a large number of trade negotiations, agreements on dealing with mercenary movements, and other such matters will go through their offices.

The Incinerators
Any sizable town must have a way to dispose of rubbish, and Ribcage is no different. Instead of simply sending everything to a location outside the city limits, or burying it in the backyard though – Ribcage has an alternate solution. Located just outside the Iltenam holdings, the Incinerators are great constantly operating kilns used for disposing of the trash of the populace, guilds, and holdings. In addition, for a fee – funeral services are provided as well for cremation. (A larger ‘fee’ will secure you those services for bodies that you cannot claim as next-of-kin.)

The Gate
The gate to Baator is located deep within the complex that is Quentill Parac’s palace. It is said to be a shimmering reddish column shot through with gold glitter. Quentill keeps a close eye on everything that comes and goes through his gate, and he keeps it in a room etched with silver wardings. He added the wardings himself after inheriting the palace, and uses them to assist in the work of keeping the baatazu out.

Plots and Rumors
Parac is old, by all appearances, though if challenged he certainly knows how to defend himself. Unfortunately his position as Lord Mayor, and his ownership of his palace and Gate are hereditary, and without an heir – or even a wife – in sight, some in Ribcage have begun to get more and more nervous about his position.

In recent times, with the fallen state of Fortitude, the ambassador from that city has found himself in an awkward position – especially as rumors abound that the events that led to the city’s fall came from Dis, and possibly through his office itself. Parac would be no happier with this than what is left of the town-leaders of fortitude, or the Harmonium. In recent days, the ambassador of Fortitude has locked his doors, leading to ever increasing suspicion of alliance with the baatazu.

The Garadin family and the Planar Trade Consortium are, at first glance, natural allies. The Garadin’s are familiar with the PTC’s mentality, and share many of the motivations and values of the PTC. However, the Garadin family doesn’t like to follow the orders of others and have let the PTC know in no uncertain terms that they would prefer to work with but not for the Consortium. Of interest to those who follow such things, a pair of bariaur recently visited the family holdings, with concealed marks of the Free League. Why they visited is unknown, but so far no one has seen them leave the premises once they entered the family home.

The Raedil family is extremely protective of their secrets, and has no problems with making sure those who ask are well aware of this. Unfortunately, when those who ask include Parac and the subject is in regards to summonings of baatazu into Ribcage for dealmaking – the usual means of dealing with nosy questions is not relevant. The Raedil family wholeheartedly denies the suspicion when asked, but money may be had if a canny blood can confirm one way or the other what their involvement with the baatazu is for the Lord Mayor.

Clueless's picture
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Joined: 2008-06-30
Outlands Gatetowns: Ribcage, Gatetown to Baator

Um... bump??

Loki De Carabas's picture
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Joined: 2004-12-14
Re: Outlands Gatetowns: Ribcage, Gatetown to Baator

Okay, just what I needed. Consider this to be canon for my campaigns now.

Excellent work!

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