Settlements, Bordertowns, and small cities.
Anactoria – A settlement on the rural inland of Ustalav, in the county of Caliphas. Anactoria is home to about 600 souls. It was damn near burned to the ground in the Civil War not long back. As such, Anactorians are even more hostile to outsiders than most Ustalavians. Nothing real special here, other than it is a stop on the way to the capital.
Ardagh – Ah, Ardagh. Who wouldn’t wanna live in a city which very name brings to mind the sounds of a bad case of the trots? Anyway. Ardagh, way up north. In fact, nothing is closer to that damned Worldwound than Ardagh. Probably explains why everyone in and around the city are a bunch of hard asses. I guess I wouldn’t be feeling too welcoming and all cordial-like if I lived next to a whole nation of demons. It’s in the county of Odranto and about 3000 people live in and around it. There is talk of the rails heading up there, just in case we need to get busy with some demon killin’, but with that yellow bastard on the throne, I wouldn’t hold my breath for that. The Archer river goes by near unto the town, don’t forget that.
Berus – Good ol’ Beer Us! Haven’t been there in a dogs age. Up in the northern bit of the county of Ardeal, Berus (Beer Us, ha! Never get tired of that), is a personal favorite of mine. See, they brew some of the best ales in all of Golarion. Beer Us, get it? Har! Anyway, the city is one of the first to have the rail go through it, and a good deal of the poor bastards building the thing are from Berus or surrounding parts. Hmm, prolly close to 8000 folks around there. Decent town for trading, if you can find anyone sober enough to deal with ya, haha.
Volkari – Buncha gypsy jerk offs, if ya don’t mind my Chelaxian. Thieves, liars, and reprobates, each one of them! Why they even stole the town from the poor suckers that lived there before! Course, they found the town empty, on account of the previous inhabitants got all torn up and dead by a pack of were-coyotes or some shit, at least thats what I heard. Anyway, gypsies moved in, renamed the town Volkari after some asshole they had with them, and poof, the town of Cesca was no more. Though, at least the damn Sczarni did hunt down and kill all those coyotes. If ya find yourself in Varno county, and near Volkari, watch your self, cuz there are 3000 people just waiting to get one over on ya.
Chastel – Lozeri county is chock full of weirdos, and don’t let anyone tell ya otherwise. The town of Chastel makes my point for me. I mean, who else would put up stakes and live next to the damned Shudderwood? Werewolves and witches and weirdos… Well, damn it, all right, Chastel does have some of the best alchemists and healers around, but they prolly use all kinds of weird Shudderwood nonsense, and I’d rather get the Rasp and cough myself to death than let them use that on me! Okay, okay, Chastel, yeah, healers and weirdos and about 3000 of them, all together. Right up next to the Shudderwood.
Courtaud – Lozeri County again. Oh boy. All right, so Courtaud is off to the western edge of the county and near the Tusk Mountains. Lotsa green-skins around this area, big and small. If ya need to go there, make sure to take guards, cuz the Tuskers won’t go easy on anyone. They eat people’s faces! Cayden Preserve me… Anyway, for being smack dab in the middle of green skin land, Courtaud is a decent enough place. It’s got walls and a sizable guard. Say, 5000 people or so. A few turn coat greenskins make a living in the area as trackers and guides and the occasional guard. Though anyone damn fool enough to trust a greenskin to guard ’em deserves to get their face eaten off.
Hyannis – Off up the other way is County Versex, and the city of Hyannis. Hyannis is a mining town and one of the biggest. It was around this area that one of the first big deposits of saltpeter was first discovered. Since then, it has grown to be a pretty damn big trading post. Its also one of the few cities still protected by Kingdom Guards. Imagine that. This was one of the first areas announced as a destination for the new rail lines going in. Still see some trouble in the area, both from beasties coming from the Hungry Mountains, which the city is built against, and people trying to cash in on a little “free trade”, ha! Nowadays, I’d wager Hyannis supports about 30,000 folk.
Illmarsh – Blech. What to say. Like fishy smells and nut jobs? Go to Illmarsh. It lies in Versex County as well, though down up against the lake. Disappearances and general oddities were the trade in Illmarsh til about five hunnerd years ago. It was then that the Marskatonic Univeristy was founded. Since then, Illmarsh has become a popular place for brainiacs from all over Golarion. The Professors of the University are also the Council of the town, and thus, watch out for academia. The school also sends out adventurers all over the world to bring back relics and oddities. Counting students and faculty and people in the town itself, I’d say Illmarsh now boasts well about 10,000 people. But you won’t see me as one of them, oh no.
Kavapesta – I’d say it is one of the cities in the County of Amaans, but it is pretty much the only city. The rest of the region is pretty much all part of the Hungry Mountains. Since most folk don’t like being killed and eaten, or being eaten then killed, they mostly avoid the Mountains themselves. Even today, lingering bits of the Whispering Tyrants evil still lurk in the peaks and valleys of the mountains. Folk still talk of the Hundred Haunted Vales and the undead horrors living in Gorcha Pass. Kavapesta is home to folk that really have no where else to go. Criminals, mad men, lepers. All sorts of fun folk. But, it is also home to some of the best enchanters in Ustalav. They are always sending people up into the mountains, looking for one more treasure of the Tyrant. You’d think people would learn after most folk simply disappear into the passes, never to be seen again. Kavapesta can muster about 3000 hellos for you, if you were so inclined as to visit.
Lepidstadt – Lepidstadt. Look no further if ya want a bunch of inbred yokels who can’t tell ya which side of the road to piss on. And, yeah, damn you, I am from Lepidstadt. So what? At least I had the brains to leave! Anyway, its up against one of the many rivers running through Ustalav. The damn city council renames the river all the time, right now I think it’s the Matchstick River. Damned fine stupid named for a river, if ya ask me. The town is also near the Tusk Mountains, but for some reason the area usually stays clear of greenskins. Even they know how much of a turd the place is. Somehow it has remained the largest city in Vieland County, boasting 4000 sundry idiots and slack jaws. The Council of the Elder Sign, as the town high muckity mucks call themselves, are also the same muckity mucks who govern the entire county. Which makes it one of the few not govern by Nobility of some such or another.
Marian Leigh – Down south of the County of Canterwall is Marian Leigh. Most folks just call it “the Lay”. It’s pretty damned close to the hungry mountains down there, and as such ya see a lot of foul things scootin’ around there. Pretty tough cusses there, though. They grow ‘em big and mean around the Lay, so don’t be expecting no less than a bunch of old hard cases. Figure they realized you are either tough as hell, or deader than hell. Ha! You can see almost all of the 3000 people of Canterwall in the City proper, as it is best defended.
Wardens Folly – Once known as Ravengro, the city started as a place for guards from Harrowstone prison to call home. Located in the west of Canterwall County, right up next to the Hold of Belkzen and a bucketload of mean-ass greenskin warriors. See, the town used to be a short walk from a big ol’ prison, that housed the worst of the worst, from Ustalav and even a few surrounding nations. They build Harrowstone to be a Rune Prison, unbreakable, and inescapable. That may be, but sure as hell was burnable. A terrible bad fire broke out here in 4661, killed damn near everyone it got a hold of. Including all the prisoners, and the Warden Lyvar Hawkran. Well, superstition or not, I’d say that left a great big stink on the land, cuz ain’t nothing been quite right in the area since. Calves are born inside out, babies are born hissin’ and spittin’ curses all berserk-like. Still, a few people make their homes, such as they are, in the area. Don’t ask me why, maybe they like planting a tree and having it rise up with two human heads on it, carrying on like mad men. Look for a scant 1000 people around here, but don’t look too hard. Some of them are prolly gross.
Redleaf – This is one town that has seen a major overhaul down the course of the last few hundred years. Redleaf was a smallish community that trained rangers and druids and the like to get randy with trees and marry chimps or whatever. Then, about say 300 hundred years ago, a group of Redleaf Rangers go tearing through Golarion, planning to root out all major and minor evils in the world. And they did a passing fine job of it, slaying all sorts of uglies. Until, they came up against the Warlock of the Witchlight Fens, or something. See, he didn’t take kindly to being filled with arrows and so on. So, he killed all them goodly rangers in ways that would make other men weep. Anyway, after that, not wanting to get turned into a pincushion again, Ol’ Warlock went and had hisself a visit to Redleaf. Decided he would stay awhile, after killing all them that lived there already. So, he shacked up there for a few dozen years. Then, along come some group of white hats and they put Ol’ Nasty down. Then they turn Redleaf into some kinda haven for adventuring folk. Well, seems the dearly departed Warlock had himself a few friends that didn’t like the sound of that one bit. So, a group of three big bads come in and wipe out all them adventuring types. They had no intention of staying though, and destroyed the whole damn town. So, around fifty years back a group of enterprising mages and druids and such come in and decide enough is enough. They rebuilt the city of Redleaf, but they built it all…prettified. Now, you get rich dandies from all over the Inner Sea coming to vacation in Redleaf. Its become a tourist trap, and a hell of a money maker for the count of Varno. You won’t see the likes of me or you invited there though, not likely!
Sen’s Pass – The Pass hasn’t changed much since…well, ever. It’s had its own run of bad luck, but being situated in the Vale of Red Breath, what else would you expect? Amaans Countys resident spooky bastard, the Viscount Walphyri resides in nearby Castle Galdyce. Supposedly, he is the human descendant of the Nosferatu Galdyce that fed upon the people of Ustalav over a thousand year ago. The Castle and town altogether hold only 1000 people, so whatever is going on, it doesn’t affect many people, at least there is that, right? Ha! Anyway, it’s isolated and off the rail lines and trade routes, so about all the Pass has going for it is the chance to be ex-sanguinated or some such thing.
Sturnidae – The only thing noteworthy of the County of Barstoi is Sturnidae. The town is one of the most well defended settlements in all of Ustalav. Hell, half the damn town is built underground and the rest is more of a fortress than a town anyway. You may say this is because the town is near the deep scars in the land known as the Furrows, where learned men think a rift to the Plane of Shadow lies. Or because the Furrows has cave systems leading straight to the Underdark. Or because the people there are crazy. Whatever the reason, Sturnidae is about as sturdy as they come. Figure 6000 people seek the town for protection.
Tamrivena – Canterwall County’s town of Tamrivena has some crazy history. Being right near the Shudderwood, the Hold of Belkzen, and too damn close to the Tyrant’s territory, it has some choice real estate around it. However, it is also one of the few towns to shrug off Noble Rule and have a town council, the Council of the Wise. Wise-asses, more like it. They have tried all sorts of practices and measures in the town and areas nearby. See, they are afraid of orcs attacking and killing everyone like back in 3830. And they are afraid of a military coup by a right evil bastard like in 4043. And they are afraid of losing their power to the Nobles again. So, all sorts of crazy laws and rules have come and gone, even I can’t keep track of them all. The town holds about 4000 people, and it does have some mighty fine trading. In fact, I think a rail line is headed there right now. Also, watch out for worshipers of Zon-Kuthon, the God of Pain. There are a lot of them around here, remnants of the conquering by Kazavon in 4043. Whack jobs.
Thrushmoor – A settlement in Avalon Bay on Lake Encarthan, Thrushmoor is your pretty standard fishing village. Except you have more than your fair share of sea monsters, cults, dead aeons, and madmen around. Some say it has to do with an ancient city beneath the lake, one with ties to the Dark Tapestry and the Old Ones. I dunno. I just know that if ya go near Thrushmoors 1000 inhabitants, you might wanna hold your nose. They smell bad. And look bad. And are bad.
Vauntil – Also in Avalon bay, but with less crazies, Vauntil lies in the Caliphas County lines. Vauntil is about as close to normal as Ustalav gets. I don’t have a single weird or interesting thing to say about the place. Maybe that is weird enough on its own. Huh. I don’t even know how many people are there abouts.
Vische – Pronounced VISH, this place is a hard one to describe. It is in Barstoi County, but pretty far off, very close to the border of Numeria. The barbarians and the Technic League of Numeria make strange neighbors. Vische has access all manner of oddities and technologies from the Silver Mount. The Vischians then use this access to charge incredible prices to trade with them. The King is trying to get a rail line there as soon as he can, so he can negotiate a better trade charter with the town. All sorts of Alchemists and tinkerers and whatnot are here. It has grown steadily over the years, and now nears 12,000 people. Strange clockwork automatons have been seen in the streets recently, likely recently purchased from the Technic League. Weird.
Those are all your noteworthy towns. Of course, there are dozens, if not hundreds of little villages and whatnot scattered around. And, of course, Ustalav does have a few large cities, but I will cover those elsewhere.