Scant - A City Enslaved
Scant (Small City): Nonstandard; AL LE, NE (rulers); LN (populace); 15,000 gp limit; Assets 3,750,000 gp; Population 5,000; Mixed (human [Os] 3,950; hobgoblin 450; half-orc 250; dwarf (hill) 150; gnome 100; others 100).
Authority Figures: Exalted Sister Kuranyie (LE female human, Mnk10), Shepherd and Keshkal of Onnwal; Maranafel Toktot (LE, male human Mnk3/Sor8), Kesh of Scant.
Important Figures: Brother Kerav (LE, male human, Mnk8), Office of Arms commander in Onnwal.
Overview: Few cities in the Flanaess so deserve to be described as impregnable as the city of Scant. Strategically located at the tip of the Dragonshead Peninsula, for nearly a century and a half Scant was the capital of the Free State of Onnwal, standing resolute against the tyranny of the Great Kingdom. Yet, in the summer of 584 CY, this apparently impregnable city fell to the Scarlet Brotherhood through subterfuge and treachery. For eleven long years, the people of Scant have suffered the oppression of the Scarlet Sign. However, after years of torment, hope stirs once more for Scant’s citizens. Led by Jian Destron, heir to the slain szek of Onnwal, the forces of the revived Free State now gather for a final assault to reclaim their capital and cleanse their land of the Scarlet Tyranny once and for all.
History: The city of Scant was founded in 12 CY to cement Aerdi control of the Dragonshead Peninsula. During the noontide of the Great Kingdom, Scant was a sleepy backwater, far from intrigues of Rauxes, the imperial capital. However, when the South Province rose in rebellion against Overking Ivid I in 447 CY, Onnwal rose with it, becoming a founding member of the Iron League. In the century that followed, Scant grew prosperous under the pragmatic rule of the House of Destron.
Though they weathered the raids of the Slavelords and the War of the Golden League in the 570’s CY, the Destrons were ill prepared for the disaster that befell their realm on Wealsun 18, 584 CY, a date forever known in Onnwal as the Night of Scarlet Knives. On that night, vessels moored in Scant’s harbor disgorged hundreds of Scarlet Brotherhood soldiers into the city. Aided by traitors and saboteurs, the invaders seized several strategic locations, including the city gates and fortifications overlooking the seaward approaches to the city. Meanwhile, a trusted servant struck down Szek Ewerd Destron in his bedchamber. At dawn, a Brotherhood armada sailed into Scant’s Great Harbour unhindered, landing an army of thousands in the city.
The Brotherhood quickly overran the rest of Onnwal, brutally oppressing the populace. The burning of 34 farmers in Scant’s Grand Market in 585 CY was the most notorious of the many atrocities that occurred. However, led by Rakehell Chert, guildmaster of Scant’s thieves’ guild, Onnwal rose in rebellion against the oppressors in Brewfest 586 CY, and about two-thirds of the country was liberated after a month of intense fighting. However, despite the rebels’ stunning initial gains, they failed to retake Scant and the conflict quickly degenerated into a bloody war of attrition.
After nearly 10 years of inconclusive warfare, the fortunes of the Scarlet Sign have suffered several setbacks of late. An army of Pomarji orcs, once allied to the Brotherhood, rebelled after their warlord, Jedurek, discovered a plot by the Scarlet Sign and Turrosh Mak to have him assassinated. Ironically, his ‘crime’ was to be too successful in his prosecution of the war. Enraged at this betrayal, Jedurek led his orcs back to the Pomarj to challenge the Mak, allowing the Free State Army of Rebellion to counterattack. After overrunning a series of Brotherhood strongholds, the Army is now entrenched behind siege lines within sight of Scant itself. Both sides know that an assault on the city is a matter of when, rather than if.
Rulership and Law: Exaulted Sister Kuranyie, Shepherd and Keshkal of Onnwal, rules what remains of her domain from the Szek’s Palace in Scant, Since the Brewfest Rebellion, Kuranyie has not been seen in public. Some whisper that she is dead. Others say she sequesters herself in the Szek’s Palace behind veils and magical wards, obsessing over strange esoteric lore that she hopes will bring her victory.
Scant is under the direct control of Kesh Maranafel Toktot, the “Butcher of Scant”. One of the most brutal of the Scarlet Brotherhood’s “herdsmen” in Onnwal, Toktot enforces the Brotherhood's rule in the city with brutal efficiency. He has few qualms about working slaves to death to maintain the city defenses, culling the sick in order to preserve the city’s food supplies. Though Scant is resupplied by sea, raids by Onnwalon and Ahlissan vessels have threatened this lifeline of late. However, Kesh Toktot always ensures that his garrison eats before his slaves do.
The few individuals to escape from Scant paint a uniformly bleak picture of conditions inside the city. More than three-quarters of the population have been enslaved and starvation is widespread. All property owned by those of non-Suel descent has been confiscated and the priests of non-Suel deities have been executed. Brotherhood shodeen enforcers backed by death-squads of hobgoblin warriors maintain order. Both Scant and its satellite town of Halmarn are well garrisoned by a substantial force by hobgoblins and Sueloise tribesmen from Hepmonaland, bolstered by a corps of elite officers from Shar, the Brotherhood homeland. Scant is the main base for the Brotherhood's naval blockade of the Straits of Gearnat. However, though it is well protected from seaward attack or blockade, the daring of the Onnwalon Free State Navy and the growing might of the Ahlissan fleet threatens this apparent supremacy.
Districts: Situated upon a steep and rocky outcrop surrounded on three sides by the sea, Scant is connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of low-lying land called the Langneck. The city and the Langneck enclose a large, sheltered bay called the Great Harbour, reputedly the safest deep-water anchorage on the Sea of Gearnat. The mouth of this bay is barred by a line of treacherous reefs, breached by two channels navigable only with the aid of an experienced pilot.
A comparatively small city of no more than five thousand people before the Wars, Scant perches on two steep hills - Gate Hill and Palace Hill, the seaward sides of which are fringed with precipitous cliffs ranging from fifty to two hundred feet in height. Despite its small population, the city has a very cramped feel about it. There is little in the way of open space, bar the Grand and High Markets. The pale limestone buildings seem to be piled chaotically atop each other, with narrow streets twisting between them, winding their way up the hills.
Scant is divided into three main districts:
Palace Hill (High Quarter): Separated from the rest of Scant by an internal wall and looming over the Inner Harbour atop high cliffs, the High Quarter housed the city's more affluent inhabitants. The cliffs of Palace Hill overlook the channel into the Great Harbour and bristle with siege engines poised to rain fiery ruin on any vessel attempting to force a passage. The opulent Szek’s Palace perches atop the city’s highest point. Overlooking the now deserted High Market, a beacon light still burns atop the copper dome of the Cathedral of Osprem, though now loyal Brotherhood acolytes tend the flame. Scant’s curious hot springs provide hot water for the Public Baths.
The Harbour Quarter: This district lies in the natural amphitheatre nestling between the two hills at the north end of Scant's Inner Harbour, a small, sheltered inlet from the Great Harbour. It was the center of commerce and trade, with the Grand Market, the Temples of Xerbo, and Zilchus and the Custom House all clustered here. The Temple of Zilchus has been leveled, its clergy flayed alive with scourges made from gold coins, while the Grand Market has become forever tainted by the memory of the 34 farmers burnt alive there. Two sturdy fortifications ward the mouth of the Inner Harbour - Daern's Redoubt upon the eastern side and the Bastion of the Golden Sun opposite it. Brotherhood troops occupy Daern’s Redoubt, but the Bastion is haunted by the restless shades of the Glaives of Azharadian who perished there in a desperate last stand on the Night of Scarlet Knives.
Gate Hill: Overlooking the Langneck, steep bluffs and cunning fortifications allow a relatively small number of defenders to hold a much larger attacking force at bay. Before the Wars, Gate Hill housed most of Scant’s artisans as well as large noniz and dwur communities. After the fall of the city, sixty dwarves, gnomes and humans held out for three days in the now razed Temple of Fortubo, before they were finally overrun and slaughtered. The scruffy north end of the district is home to Scant's poorer inhabitants. Here the Temple to Norebo still stands. Its high priest, Gerden Treda, plays a risky game, feigning unquestioning loyalty to the Brotherhood, while doing everything in his power to aid the suffering citizenry.
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