Campaign of the Month: June 2012
Phthyanopolis is the capital city of the Phthyan Kingdom, the Phthyan Republic and the Phthyan Empire, the dominant power along the lands bordering the Caspian and Aethean Seas for over seven hundred years. The city is regarded as one of the birthplaces of western civilization.
Phthyanopolis’ early history is shrouded in legend. According to Phthyan tradition, the city was founded by Phthyus over four thousand years ago. The legendary origin of the city tells that Phthyus and Phtheus decided to build a city. After an argument, Phthyus killed his brother Phtheus. The Phthian poet Virius refers to this belief when he depicts Aeneas as escaping the fall of Pallantium by coming to Latius (the name of the city prior to becoming Phthyanopolis) to found a line descending to Phthyus, first king of Phthyanopolis.
From its foundation Phthyanopolis, although losing occasional battles, had been undefeated in war. According to the legend, the Mundenians offered to deliver Phthyanopolis back to its people for a thousand pounds of gold, but the Phthyans refused, preferring to take back their city by force of arms rather than ever admitting defeat, after which the Phthyans recovered the city in the same year.
The Republic was wealthy, powerful and stable before it became an empire. According to tradition, Phthya became a republic just over 3,300 years ago. However, it took a few centuries for Phthyanopolis to become the great city of popular imagination, and it only became a great empire after the rule of Octavius (the Augustan). It is by this Emperor’s decree that the Octavian calendar was created and adopted, still in use by most of the world, save the Free Kingdoms. By the 3rd century (OE), Phthyanopolis had become the pre-eminent city of the Inner Seas and the surrounding kingdoms, having conquered and defeated the Cthylaeans, the Cortesians, the Ragolians and most of the Ionian colonies on the Icarian, Imarus and Costi Isles, and the Western portion of the Northeastern continent in general. During the Expansion Wars between Phthya and the great Aethyan Sea empire of Al’Baid, Phthyanopolis’ stature increased further as it became the capital of an overseas empire for the first time. Beginning in the 4th century (OE), Phthyanopolis went through a significant population expansion as Phthyan farmers, driven from their ancestral farmlands by the advent of massive, slave-operated farms called latifundia, flocked to the city in great numbers. The victory over Al’Baid in the First Expansion War brought the first three provinces outside the Italian peninsula, Icarian, Imarus and Costi Isles. Parts of Drusas followed, and in the beginning of the 4th century (OE), the Phthyans got involved in the affairs of the Ionian world. By then all Hellenistic kingdoms and the Ionian city-states were in decline, exhausted from endless civil wars and relying on mercenary troops. This saw the fall of Io after the Battles of Bxaron and Elusius (312 OE) and the establishment of Phthyab control over Io and Boeotia.
Later conquests would include inland Aetrelia and the provinces of Aenea during the Great Blight War, which left Aenea bereft of magical ley lines and rendered the lands nearly barren of life. The Caspian Coast was conquered in 616 OE.
With the founding of the powerful might of the Free Kingdoms, in 2059 OE, the lands of Northern Io were seized by the Eastern Freelanders. This began the War of Independence, which lasted over two decades and proved to the Phtyans that the Free Kingdoms, now united under their Standard of Solidarity, were a force of significance. The Phthyan Empire has never fully recovered from the loss of the Northern Ionian colonies, and the terrible defeat handed to them. This event halted the expansion of the Empire, and has (according to many scholars) prompted a paradigm change in the mindset of the rulers of the Empire, leading to a gradual decline in the power held by the Empire.
|Locales of The Eternal City|
|Baths of Caracalla||These are the most extensive baths of Phthyanopolis. Large when they were constructed they have been added to again and again over the centuries. The grounds are extensive with several courtyards used for exercise, socializing, meetings, dining and games. There are over 100 bath rooms, heated, chilled and everything in between. Pools are maintained for swimming. The price of admission is 5 copper Quadrantes. The apartments and shops that surround the baths are some of the finest in Phthyanopolis.|
|Campus Martius||Traditionally the assembly field for the legions of the Republic, it is now a parade ground for the Palatini (Imperial Guard). It is still an open field but is now groomed and used as a park by the population of Phthyanopolis.|
|Castella Palatini||The fortress, originally built outside the limits of Phthyanopolis, is now inside the Wall of Silvanus. It houses the three cohorts of the Palatini (Imperial Guard). These are troops who are rotated from the field legions for the privileged service of guarding the Emperor.|
|Circus Maximus||This race track is where the largest chariot races take place. Races are run on regular schedules and admission is free.|
|Colosseum||The Colosseum is the center of entertainment to the inhabitants of Phthyanopolis. There are other arenas but the best and largest spectacles take place in the Colosseum. Admission is free. Located just outside the Colloseum is the Ludus Maximus, the Gladiatorial training complex.|
|Domus Medica||This is the first hospital built in Phthyanopolis. It was constructed in 3131 OE by military medicus, Epirus Juventius. It has over 1000 beds for the sick, ten rooms dedicated to surgery and extensive baths, kitchens and even a smithy.|
|Emporium||This is a massive market place and warehouse district. It can be a dangerous place at night, but its exotic goods draw many citizens regardless of the risk. Material and goods from all over the Empire flow into the Emporium up from Aetrelia via the Phthyan river. The best of the best goods from the famous Silk Road may be purchased at the famous Emporium.|
|Forum Phthyanum||This is the heart of Phthyanopolis. It contains many buildings vital to the Phthyan people like the Curia (Senate meeting house), the Rostra (a speaking platform), and Temples to Vesta, Venus and Roma, Concord and others. Many monuments adorn the Forum and it is the center of political life in Phthyanopolis.|
|Legatio Isafold||A mysterious compound, the land was granted to the Isafoldi from the far north in exchange for a new prow design for naval vessels. The next day the black stone building was there, seemingly built in the night. Few have been allowed in, but those who have describe it as the heavens captured on earth.|
|Legatio Chin||An overly ornate building, this is the Embassy of the Jade Empire. It houses numerous ambassadors, administrators and 120 soldiers. The Embassy often acts in the name of the Jade Emperor and it is suspected that they have a means of communication with their superiors, although nothing is known for sure.|
|Praetorian Camp||The camp has become the headquarters of the Praetoriani and the Vigiles (police and firemen of Phthyanopolis). It is a much more permanent structure than its name implies and has an extensive underground installation for the interrogation of prisoners. The surface building holds the Praetorian Legion as it is still called and houses the traditional 6000 members that would normally make up a legion. It also houses the 8000 Vigiles and their families.|
|Schola Phthyanopoli||The Schola Phthyanopoli is where the instruction of potential magi takes place in Phthyanopolis. It is a massive building with the capability to teach over 300 magi per year. It has its own dormitories, kitchens, stables, storage and craft shops. It has been compared to a fortress at times, often to the discomfort of the Praefectus Magi, head of a Schola Magi.|
|Temple of Aesculapius||This temple was the main temple of healing and has become the primary Schola Medica in the Empire. It has grown in size to dominate the Insula Tiberina in order to accommodate the instruction of medicine to students.|
|The Irespan||This is the impressive ancient road that once crossed the Caspian Sea to Athenopolis.|
|The Shadow||The area directly beneath and to the west of the Irespan holds but one city district, formally known as the Underbridge. Due to the
eclipsing bridge above, light only reaches the streets below for one hour in the morning and two in the evening.
The area directly beneath and to the west of the Irespan holds but one city district, formally known as the Underbridge. Due to the eclipsing bridge above, light only reaches the streets below for one hour in the morning and two in the evening.
Underbridge: Seedy taverns, poorly run brothels, and rat-infested gambling dens compete with salt-blasted tenement buildings and cheap flophouses in Phthyanopolis’ most dangerous district. While the some in the Senate champion cleaning up the Shadow as one of its most important long-term goals, many members realize that the vices of the slum attract a certain amount of business to the city and that truly clearing away the “bridge trash” could significantly impact the local economy, not to mention the loss of revenue from taxes.
Although the submerged rubble and jagged, ruined pylons of the Irespan make sailing beneath the Giant’s Bridge a treacherous prospect, a few docks line the trash-strewn Underbridge shore, serving as the entry point for all manner of contraband. At the end of one such dock slumps the Friendly Merchant, a dilapidated tavern frequented by thugs, con-men, deviants, and worse. The friendly merchant himself, an elf named Siov Cassimeel, is a scheming but ultimately cowardly criminal involved in a variety of petty crimes. He eagerly rents out his private dock for exorbitant prices, but offers discounts to elite clients (such as Nox Viperi – (The Night Snakes), a faction of criminals), and generally keeps his ears open for them (in a mutually beneficial exchange, of course).