What is Oscura?
Wykith last edited by
//The question about what Oscura was, got me thinking…and I figured it would be good to have a single thread people could read to get a general feel for what the city is. This won't be uber detailed or answer any probing questions right off the bat. It's just a little general info for anyone who'd curious.
Oscura is a city originally found by a man named Arar, who once ruled the outcasts of a small underground town called Arnath. After Arnath's bitter fall, its inhabitants came to occupy Oscura.
The city's age is unknown. Rumor has it the city's history may well go back as far as Narfell's ancient empire, or perhaps even further.
When Arnath's survivors first moved here it was just a poor, badly lit town, filled with Narfell's many outcast religions and shady personas. In time however, the city began to organize and prosper.
The Skull Crushers, a guild of mining dwarves, who for a time also served as the town's militia, began to mine precious minerals from the walls, to rebuild the broken buildings, and erected new ones.
The Black Lotus, a brotherhood of sailors and merchants brought in trade contracts from far away lands like Thay, Mulhorond, Thesk, and even as far as Kara-Tur. These countries began using Oscura as a neutral slave market, and through the slave trade, the city began to gain capital, and foreign interest.
The Tribunal created firm laws and kept the peace while the city bloomed in all its many aspects.
Oscura is ruled by The Tribunal of 13.
The Tribunal is the most important body in Oscura. The organizations represented within are the most influencial and powerful the city has to offer. They own large pieces of the city and collect tributes from citizens in various ways.
The Overseer - Lady Daliera (NPC
In the Tribunal there are 4 Seats of Power.
The Inquisitor -
The Templar - Captain Bokelgein (NPC)
The Treasurer -
The Judicator -
Beside them, there are 8 open tribunal seats. The current organizations that compose the Tribunal and their chairholders are:
The Brotherhood of the Black Lotus - Lord William Gallows (NPC)
The Sisters of Bone - Lady Merovech (NPC)
The Skull Crushers - Kilir SkullKrusher (NPC)
The Peace Keepers - Captain Senria (PC)
The Black Sails - Captain Drelan Ashire (PC)
The Church of Bane -
Every Tribunal member has the right to propose a law be inscribed into the document of law known as the Cruentus Pactus. Every proposal is voted on by the Tribunal, and is made into law if it passed by majority vote.
The Tribunes in Oscura are the equivalent of city Senators, which grants them a number of rights and priveledges. Any leader of an established Oscuran based organization is eligible to become a Tribune, but must gain a 3/4 majority vote from the present Tribunal, and have the blessing of the Overseer. Singular applicants with no organization to back them are rarely if ever allowed into the 13, unless it is into a Seat of Power. Non-blooded are completely ineligible to apply. No more than 8 seats are open at any given time.
Slaves are allowed in Oscura. For the most part Oscura serves as a facilitator for other countries to trade slaves in, away from the eyes of slave-opposing governments. However, an Oscuran who is blooded, and owns land in the city, is eligible to purchase a slave, granting they follow the laws of the Pactus.
Oscurans are protected by the city against slavers. Outsiders have no such protection, but are rarely ever harrassed. To bring conflict to Oscura by an act of carelessness, is to lose their liscence to trade in the city. To date there has been no such incident noted.
Oscura has a very strict mandate that allows freedom of all religion. Not, you can worship any god, but if he's evil we'll find ways to make your life a living hell and evict or incarcerate you the instant you give us reason to, freedom of religion. True, freedom.
Any religion is allowed to exist, prosper, and convert in Oscura, as long as they follow all laws written on the Pactus. Especially, the laws that specify no blooded shall harm another, so conversion by swordpoint, and violent conflict spurred by religious diversity are both strictly forbidden.
This has lead many darker religions to house themselves in Oscura, but all religions are welcomed to build in the city, once accepted by the Tribunal.
Housing is available to all blooded at reasonable prices. Oscurans who forsake the oath and take citizenry in another city or township, instantly lose the priveleges of land and slave ownership. All lands and slaves are then repossesed by the city.
The Well of Souls
A popular and feared sight in Oscura is the infamous Well of Souls. No one knows what this strange pillar of screaming souls is or why it was there when the city was found.
An OOC overview:
Oscura is many things all in one. It cannot be chosen at the beginning of character creation because you need someone to vouche for you. Anyone that breaks a law in Oscura is usually drilled as to who let them into the blooded to begin with. This person is held partially responsible for every mistake you make, as you are, for anyone you let in. It makes people careful, about who they allow to join the ranks.
You don't have to be evil or shady or emo to play in Oscura. The only requirement, is to be tolerant. Evil-crushing crusaders are generally mistrusted, not because the city in general is evil, but because they usually bring with them an unyielding sense of righteousness, and more than not, attempt to tilt Oscuran's careful scales in their favor. Tolerance of the city's neutrality, is the key element to existing and prospering here.
A very important element to bring with you is the desire to accomplish something. The desire to sit down and stare at something will accomplish only that. I'll be embellishing this more in my next thread, DM Nightfall.
That's all for now. ^^
_M_O_B_ last edited by
Hello everybody, and welcome to Oscura! This thread is mostly OOC (although your character could ICly notice that there are mostly humans in Oscura, as an example), except for Blooded which would know most of the stuff on here. The main purpose of this is to give everyone a better OOC understanding of Oscura, in case they want to make an Oscuran character.
The list at the bottom are merely ideas for your PC, you can make up your own so long as they make sense for the overall theme of Oscura. As such, I will be taking applications for new Oscuran PCs, which should be PMed to me on these forums. For these applications, I want them in the following format:
From there, I will accept or deny (hopefully accept!) applications, and award appropriate XP, items, whatever, depending on how good your application is and if it makes sense. – DM Moob
Information for creating an Oscuran PC
Races: 78% Human (Narfell, Damara, Thesk, Thay, Kara-Tur, Mulhorand), 20% Dwarf, 2% other
Alignments: Mostly LE, NE, TN & LN, few LG, NG, CG, CN, CE
Classes: Mostly Fighters, Wizards, Clerics, Rogues, some Sorcerers and Bards, few Monks, almost no Rangers, Druids, Paladins or Barbarians
Favoured weapons: Dagger, Longsword, Battleaxe, Bastard Sword, Flail. (Few use bows or other ranged weapons, there is little hunting to do and little space in the caverns to use them)
Oscurans are a very unique people. Among every blooded (citizens of Oscura are called blooded, due to the blood oath they have taken and the bloody rag that shows them to be a citizen) there is a strong sense of brotherhood. Oscura is seen as a haven for its citizens, a place to go for people of questionable morals, questionable faiths, or to escape prejudice, crimes, etc. As such, Oscura accepts anyone so long as they make a blood oath to swear to protect Oscura and all of its citizens. The most terrible act an Oscuran can do is endangering this haven. As a result, Oscurans who protect the city above and beyond the call of duty are generously rewarded. It’s generally accepted that in Oscura, so long as it harms no blooded and causes no trouble in the city or with surfacers, one can do whatever he pleases, it is his business after all. This attracts many people who aren’t escaping any kind of prosecution, but just wish to be left alone regardless of what they are doing. Many mages are known to be attracted to Oscura for research into the Well of Souls, a mysterious Well located in the centre of the city. As a people, the Oscurans are very resilient and tough, not only have they all faced all kinds of hardships personally, but Oscura is the gateway to the Underdark, and its citizens are faced with constant attacks from there.
A lot of humans living in Oscura are not even Narfellian natives, instead they are immigrants from places such as Thay, Thesk, Kara-Tur and other unsavoury places in the East.
Most races are looked upon with suspicion by the human majority of Oscura, often believed to be troublemaking surfacers, or just old prejudices. Dwarves don’t see this though, and are common, accepted citizens and visitors of the underground city. Dwarves are often lured to Oscura not because of escape, but simply because it is an underground city, ripe with ale and veins of all kinds of ore.
Slavery is an everyday fact of Oscuran life, and while there are ways of slaves to earn their freedom, most of them stay in servitude for lifetimes. Oscurans are very protective of this fact about their lives, without their slaves the city would refuse to function.
All religions are tolerated in Oscura, so long as they do not break the laws or the oath. Oscurans are very proud of this fact about their city. This is a true freedom of faith, Oscura never judges or expels those just because of their faith, however, some faiths are looked upon as suspicious by some Oscurans.
However, beneath Oscura’s veil of brotherhood is a kind of blood sport between its citizens. Due to faith, or greed, or personal reasons, there is always some kind of political or violent infighting amongst the powerful and wealthy blooded of Oscura. However, this “game” is hidden from the everyday person, especially outsiders, and the perpetrators do their best to keep it hidden. The Game of the Blooded is a hugely profitable one if played properly, but can result in terrible costs if not played right.
Oscuran fashion consists of long sleeves, and is often very fancy, covered in jewellery, embroidery, etc. Blacks, greys and dark shades of blues, reds and greens are the most popular. Spikes are often popular amongst the warriors of Oscura, whilst long robes are popular with wizards.
Oscura is almost entirely built out of stone and out of the cavern walls that it inhabits, giving the city an almost alient look. The city itself is comprised of five parts. The first is the city itself, which is home to part of the soul well, most middle-class homes, the Temple, the library, most of the inns and taverns and many shops.
The second is the Docks, which is filled with foreign market stalls, sailors and an outdoors bar. Oscura’s docks are only accessible by sailing into a large cavern from the Icelace, however the ceiling is quite low, and Oscuran ships are easily recognisable due to their short masts.
The third is the Undercity, which is only accessible by blooded, in which the Meeting Hall, crafting hall and other important Oscuran structures lay. It is also the entrance to the Oscuran crypts, which are ancient and deep, and home to all kinds of terrible undead.
The fourth is the West Gate district, which contains the headquarters of the guard, the prison, some rich homes, a market and is known as a place for poor, freed slaves to gather.
The fifth is the giant tower known as the Keep of the Fallen. It is for the most part filled with undead, and is a mystery to even the most knowledgeable of Oscurans.
Oscura is the gateway to the Underdark. Being in such a precarious position, Oscura is built as an almost impenetrable fortress, with only three access points into the city. Those are the Southern Gate via the Raven Rift, the West gate and the docks, the former both being complete chokepoints, and the docks simply being difficult to get to.
From the West Gate, the path leads down into the Underdark, with Kuo-Tua and Ettins inhabiting the shallow caves, and much more terrible beasts laying in wait further down.
Following the Raven Rift, it is a short walk through a shallow cavern to reach the surface, which comes out just near the Nars Pass.
The Oscuran mines lay beneath the city and are accessible from both the regular city and the Undercity, which are full of all kinds of valuable ores, as well as dangerous creatures and Duergar out for some mining themselves.
Factions of Oscura
(While there are factions in Oscura, one cannot simply claim to be in any of these factions, they do take on new members though, if deemed worthy.)
The Brotherhood of the Black Lotus – The Black Lotus, led by Lord William Gallows and clad in blacks and purples, are the overseers of trade in Oscura. They control the docks, and keep an eye on most economic manners, and are important businessmen themselves.
Red Falcon House – The Red Falcons, led by Alexander Red Falcon and clad in reds and blacks, are the judicators of Oscura. They oversee all transgressions of law and govern the trials of criminals.
Skull Crushers – The Skull Crushers, led by Kilir Skull Crusher and clad in dull metallic colours, are the militia, miners and builders of Oscura. They deal with petty brawls most of the time in their militia duty, giving the dwarves of the Skull Crushers lots of time to mine, maintain the city, build new buildings and drink lots of ale.
Sisters of the Bones – Little is known about the Sisters, even by blooded, but it is generally thought that they are a useful asset to the city.
Oscura Guard – The Guard, led by Captain Bokelgein, are the stern, experienced protectors of Oscura, clad in grey.
Oscura Peacekeepers – The Peacekeepers, led by Captain Senria, function as a small unit of people whom protect Oscura and keep the peace there, wherever they go. They differ from the guard in that their movements are often small and individual. Recently, the Peacekeepers have been rather undermanned, and rumours spread quickly of Captain Senria seeking new recruits.
Professions for Oscuran PCs
Blacksmith/Miner – With but a few gold coins in your pocket, you glance towards the forays of miners going into the nearby Oscuran mines. Those last few coins go to your first pickaxe. As you ferry your ore between the mines and the crafting hall, learn to make more complicated and strong armour and weapons, you quickly find your gold pouch full at all times, and a life of comfort and power awaits!
Bounty Hunter – Bounties are a good way for a city to capture criminals and to squash threats against them. They are also a good way to fill your own pockets, until you are more notorious than the bounties themselves, and richer than the people who issue them.
Guardian of Oscura – The blood oath is the most important thing to every Oscuran, and the upholding of it is the most honourable thing one can do. Purge traitors, destroy threats, and watch for hidden plots as you strive to protect your home, your haven.
Freed Slave – For whatever reasons, you have finally found your freedom in Oscura after years of servitude. Do you seek to take revenge for the crimes against you, or use your knowledge to become a slave baron yourself?
Servant of Mask/Shar/Bane/Gargauth/Velsharoon – Your God promises so much, and asks for so little. Seek advice from your religious brethren, gain prestige from your Priests, become your patrons right hand on Faerun.
Assassin – Oscura is rife with infighting, its enemies lay everywhere, and each one of its people have enemies of their own. Take advantage of this, become the shadows, strike quickly, and serve only yourself.
Foreign Mercenary – Whether you hail from Kara-Tur, Thesk or Damara, word came to your ears of the endless opportunity for one of your talents in the violence that is Oscura, whether it be for guarding the walls or raiding the Underark. And you responded.
Rogue Scholar – Oscura is a home of dark secrets and hidden power. Seek these secrets out, command these powers, and become the mighty wizard you were always destined to be.
Player of “The Game” – For too long have you watched your fellow citizens bicker and fight for their own gain. It is your turn to see some of the profits for yourself, no matter the cost or how ruthless you must be.
Black Market Merchant – Make contacts, secure goods, destroy competitors. The Black Market can be a tricky place to exist in, but the profits can be huge for the budding mercantile man.
Privateer – Whether you are swabbing decks for a living or captaining your own ship on the cold waters of the Icelace, it’ll surely be an adventure. Even if you find yourself at the bottom of the Lake by the end of it, Arr!
Disciple of the Well – The Well of Souls can be an entrancing thing, and has lured many into its mystery, you being one of them. After being with the Well for so long, the Well now goes with you, its insane words and visions following you everywhere. Is this some kind of gift, or something that should be shunned and ignored?
Fallen – In your old life, you served a god of some kind. That god failed you, you failed them, and now your new life begins in Oscura as your soul searches for its true patron.
Treasure Hunter – All kinds of valuable treasures wind up in the markets of Oscura, in the corners of its libraries and in the mysterious Underdark caverns surrounding it. And every single last one of them will be found… by you.
Doomspreader – Most people do not know of the horrors that exist in places like the Underdark, the hordes of ravenous creatures just waiting to destroy every aspect of life that. With song, quill, or brush, spread the word of these horrors.
Escaped Underdark Slave – You have finally escaped the captors you have endured your entire life and stumbled across the city of Oscura, whom gives you haven from your terrible plight. Whether you were a pit fighter, or a meagre water carrier, train and exact revenge on those who once enslaved you.
Wykith last edited by
Now I'm going to give you a little insight on my DMing, when I'm in Oscura. I have my own style, so don't take this as "Oscura" but only me.
To me, the city is dynamic. It grows off player input.
The Tribunes are the key elements to change. Any one of them can turn the city on its head, if they get enough backing from their peers. Secret meetings, palm greasing, and contact making, are essential to any polititian, and as a Tribune, that's what you are.
However, some Tribunes are quite content with their power to sway and have an opinion. They don't focus on creating laws, as much as they do on trying to assist the creation of those that benefit them, and oppose those that don't. Some use only their vote, others try to influence the vote using various means. It's all case by case, but the idea remains the same. These figures can change the course of the city, if they choose to, and can get the backing for it.
This does not mean that only tribunes are capable of change.
The Movers and Shakers
Money, influence, contacts, all play critical roles in Oscura. The more people in the right places you know, the more power you can achieve, and people don't even have to know who you are, if that's how you choose to play your hand. Getting to know the NPCs, and understanding which ones are worth knowing, and for what reason, is the first step to building a grid of information, money, and protection. It all depends on how good you can be at working the street.
You'll see a severe lack of town attacks and "advernture quests" when I'm on. I've only used them sparingly, and as parts of ongoing plots. My major role as DM, is PC - NPC interaction. That's where I get my jollies off, so to speak. I have a solid background on most NPCs in the city, their connections, relations, and niches. Those I don't, I begin creating while interacting with players.
My main goal, as a DM, is to bring the city itself to life. To create an enviroment where a PC can get a lot done, earn gold, and cause people harm, without having to cast a single buff. I also try to add in a few factors where all your hard leveling work pays off. Dangerous extractions, retrievals, and excursions are all part of the Oscura experience, but they're far from the meat of it. The real meat, lies in the connections you are making, when performing these tasks for people of importance.
I'm a forum hound, so PMing me is a great way to get things done, and get things started. I reply when I can and I don't play weekends (except for sunday), so don't fret if it takes me a day or so, but I do try to get back in a timely manner. There will be many instances in where my repsonse will be "That has to be done IG." If it is, I'll try to catch you…if we have different playing schedules...all I can say is I'm really sorry I can't help you, and I hope another DM that has an interest in the city can.
I'd suggest not to go into too much detail. I just need a general feel for what you're trying to do, and how you're attempting it.
"I want to know about the Soul Well." is one you should go ahead and scratch off the books. That information is IG learned only, and about as rare as information gets.
That's about it. I'll be adding more depending on how this little revelation pans out.
Oh and for those that don't know, my game times are MON-THU, at random intervals between 7pm - 12am EST. Sunday is my big day to play. I'm available from 4pm those days.