Ostria (Dominaria Supplement)
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Ostria has an ancient history. Its three massive terraces were carved by elves or dwarves ages ago and the Saartan Army took the city from its elven inhabitants in the First Age. The city was powerful and was the capital of the Kingdom of Beldron during the 1st, 2nd, and 5th Dynasties in the mid-First to mid-Third Age. After the Dynastic period of Beldron ended for the last time Ostria stayed a powerful city, and gained Hegemony over Lower Beldron. Ostria's satalite port town Lookout Point grew up during the Hegemony and its walls were completed the year Ostria's Hegemony split. Ostria continued to prosper and grow for two centuries, slipping into a nearly 200 year decline before the formation of the Saphire Kingdom by Visserene. Under the Kingdom, Ostria grew again and fought alongside Visserene during their invasion of Upper Beldron in the Winter War. After the Winter War, Ostria was weak and joined the Sipani Hegemony willingly. For about 150 years through the end of the Third Age into the beginning of the Fourth Age, Ostria grew under Sipani and came out of the Tallini Rebellion unscathed some 30 years ago. Ostria stayed viable but never regained their strength of old however. Tallins harbored resentment that Ostria had so long supported their Sipani masters and this resentment led to Ostria and Sipani's now 7 year long war against Tallins. In 77 FA, Ostria is a strong and prosperous city. It's army is weary from the fighting but so is Tallins'. There are about one or two battles a summer and both sides posture for most of the interim. Keeping farms and workshops running is becoming an issue for both sides which drives Ostria's defensive posture. Ostria has come under siege twice but was never challenged more seriously than in the first year of the war when the lowest terrace fell.
Ostria is laid out in a semi-cirlce that's a bit more than 180-degrees across. To the south and south-west lie open plains that lead down to the sea about 3 or 4 miles out at the closest. This land is covered in farms and a few scattered farming or fishing towns. To the west the road leads out west and then north and the ruins of Nathan's Rest, a satalite mining town, lie on the outside of the curve. To the northwest lies more farmland along the valley that leads to Tallins, and to the north lies the glacial Lake Ostria. Ostria's lowest tier has three gates - the Sea Gate (south southeast), the Donkey Gate (southwest), and the King's Gate (due west on the road) - and opens into a port onto Lake Ostria. A steady flow of farm goods, fish, and trade comes in from Lookout Point; and mining goods are starting to flow in again as Nathan's Rest is rebuilt. The Lower level of the city is bustling with trade and people from all over Beldron looking to make a few gold; the city's markets are second only to Visserene. The port area of the lower tier does a good trade in fish and in peacetime it gives Ostrian merchants access to the Narrow Sea via canal.
The second and third tiers are mostly houses, with more upscale inns, taverns, and shops to be found as one moves up. Three gates lead from the first to the second tier, and two double gates lead from the second teir to the third. The third teir has the fortress-palace of the lord of the city (with it's large tower carved into the rock face behind it and topped with ancient airship docks), the city's large aquifer (fed by aqueducts from mountain lakes and feeding running water to the city), the barracks for the city watch, a mustering/parade/games field, and the houses and shops of the city's very wealthy. Small trails lead deeper into the mountains and lead to the mountain mining and farming villages that consider themselves Ostrian.
Government: Duke Fernando Rogront, the "Iron Duke" of Ostria, has ruled the city and has led Ostria's army for a decade. He's a just and fair ruler, though not known for kindness. His city has bigger problems than charity at the moment and the poor are routinely offered work (army, construction, peasant farming) or told to leave. Duke Rogront is the first of his family to come to rule and is credited with Ostria's recent strength. The city is proud of itself again and has never been seriously threatened by Tallins' agresseion.
Guilds and Orders: Ostria has two Knightly Orders. The Order of the Kraken is a force of about 300 Knights based in the Fontezza Azzuri to the south of Ostria. They guard the southern plains and claim 3,500 men-at arms at full muster. The Knights of St. Anthony is an order of 150 Knights who guard the pass to Tallins and the northern roads. They operate out of three watchtowers and a fortress of the ancient Kingdom of Beldron and claim 1,000 men-at-arms at full muster.
Military: Ostria has 500 Knights of the City Marshals and 8,000 men-at-arms at full muster, the constabulary force of 500 men normally patrol the streets and post watch on the walls. The two Knightly Orders have both sworn allegiance to Duke Rogront, an unprecedented move but a clear sign of the Iron Duke's power and ability to lead.
Judicial System: The city has 5 judges: the Pauper's Judge for the poor, two People's Judges to hear cases in the Lower City, a Merchant's Judge to hear cases in the Middle City, and the Lord's Judge of the Upper City. These judges hear cases according to the Laws of the Sapphire Kingdom, and as such maintain the customary adjudicator council of 7 (if 5 of these men vote against the judge, meaning the judge's vote would not cause a tie, the judge's ruling is invalid). Any case can be appealed up the city, with Duke Rogront the final judge.
City Relations: Ostria maintains good relations with Sipani, and Duke Rogront signed an alliance with Sipani's Noble's Council in his second year of rule. He has not called on the treaty yet however. Caprille too is on good terms with Ostria through trade, but the fact that they profit immensely off Ostria and Tallins' need for food is not lost on Duke Rogront.
Travel: Two comfortable days ride to Tallins, three comfortable days ride to Sipani, ten days comfortable ride to Caprille.