Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Imperial District of Vertiloch -- Updated July 9th

In Vertiloch, one honors the Ruling Family and the Glory of the Empire. It is a land whose borders were designed centuries ago, two vertical lines swiftly drawn on a parchment.  It was the will of the empire to set what lay in between as territories attached to the throne of Alphatia.  They cannot be divided, given away, or inherited by a family.  They aren't the best of lands, but they are centrally located.  Flat, pock-marked with slow-draining lakes, they are home to the confluence of the Greenlake and Greenwall Rivers, augmented by the turbid eddies of the Elfripple.  

To the north lie Imperial Lands officially reserved for emperors to do as they see fit, to carve out domains for new vassals, to hunt, or simply to preserve a vast wilderness at the heart of the empire.  Stories abound on what really lies there.  Some say the land is closed to outsiders for a great danger lurks within, one that defies even the authority of Mighty Alphatia.

To the west of Vertiloch still stands to this day the ancient Wall of Haven.  It is Haven's duty to control all who would cross it.  The Imperial District isn't one easily visited.  It involves papers, controls, magic seals, geas, and many other unspeakable charms designed to protect the Imperial Family and the vast noble estates dotting the countryside.  The east belongs to the Realm of Theranderol.  Long ago, the choice had been made for Theranderol to watch its southern and eastern borders in order to fulfill its own obligations toward the security of the Imperial District.  Vertiloch's Northeastern March wields powerful magic that permits the Watchmen to spy upon anyone seeking to enter.  Guards and wards will thwart the evil-minded.

A fake capital city was created to trap foreign spies and other miscreants.  Its true name is Ampulia.  An illusory palace with phantasmal servants and imperial retinue dwell there, like a giant fly trap.  The entire population of Ampulia has been geased to maintain the ruse, or voluntarily do so as their duty to the imperial throne.  Nearly all travelers are fooled into believing this location to be the actual capital, and they will not believe any differently if told otherwise.  The real siege of power, Sundsvall, stands twenty four miles northwest, along the Greenlake River.  The city and its road are magically cloaked to appear as peaceful countryside.  Illegal maps of the area are notorious among Sunsdvall's spy circles (who gleefully spread them around) for showing the capital in the place of Ampulia. 

River Lock, Canal, and Tower
Vital supplies to the city may only be transported along rivers or roads and trails by officially-appointed courtiers familiar with the capital city's illusion and magical wards.  Visiting merchants are obligated to entrust their merchandise to imperial courtiers at the hub-towns of Ashar or Coronation, or allowed to proceed to Ampulia instead.  River traffic at the confluence of the two major rivers is tricky and requires sailing through locks and canals to avoid low-hanging bridges.  The locks offer another opportunity to identify and magically "process" visitors.

The Greenlake River meanders through Lower Vertiloch and the Haunted Marshes.  Native traders follow its twisting channels to ship merchandise to the Imperial District.  Despite numerous imperial galleys patrolling up and down the river, the great water waste remains dangerous, and one must not stop there for any reason.  Nightly navigation is unavoidable and requires an officially-registered guide.  If a trader does not have such a guide among the ship's crew, it is then necessary to come in person to either Ashar, Coronation, or Ampulia/Pseudo-Sundsvall and submit a request through official channels to obtain one.  Only then can a ship endeavor to navigate the Greenlake River into Vertiloch.

Click HERE to download the map.

Key to the Lakes:

1. Dynasty Lake
2. Seneschal Lake
3. Purity Lake
4. Oriflame Lake
5. Scepter Lake
6. Diadem Lake
7. Monarch Lake
8. Ambrosia Lake
9. Prophetia Lake
10. Lake Suzerain
11. Regency Lake
12. Lake Paragon
13. Lake Polymath
14. Lake Celestia
15. Lake Temporia
16. Lake Eternal
17. Hegemony Lake
18. Lake Chalice
19. Chancellor's Lake
20. Golden Badge Lake
21. Allegiance Lake
22. Immortal Claws


  1. Bruce, the link to the larger map file appears to be dead...

    1. I just tried it and it's working. Anyone else is having problems with this?

    2. Not working for me either. Has it been marked public?

    3. I believe I found the problem. It should work now. Sorry about that.

  2. Very nice map! A major improvement from the rather empty map of DotE! Thank you very much.
    I must say that the Ampulia/Sundsvall thing quite puzzles me. Is "true" Sundsvall actually limited to the Imperial Palace? Is the DotE map of Sundsvall actually depicting Ampulia?
    What about servants, suppliers and other staff of the Imperial Palace? I suppose it's a lot of people knowing where Sundsvall actually is. Are they someway geased or conditioned (in a way similar to the Imperial Conditioning of "Dune" series) not to reveal the true location of Alphatia's capitol? To keep the illusion working, there should be a stream of personneel entering/exiting from the illusory palace in Ampulia as well. Could it be possible that faithful/conditioned servants entering the Imperial Palace walls are teleported to the true palace in Sundsvall? Or is the "backup imperial staff" of Ampulia just a huge bunch of actors in a massive game of disinformation? The latter would explain why theatres are so important in Alphatia...

    On a final note, what about a lighthouse at the mouth of the Greenlake River showing the right entrance in the swamps? Or do merchant ships use local guides (maybe amphibians, like tritons, mermens and the like) to cross the Haunted Marshes?

    1. Many of your questions are answered in the text I posted. (Read it more carefully?) The DotE map describes both Ampulia and Sunsdvall except the capital sits on Grenlake River and Ampulia on an artificial waterway. Ampulia is a copy of Sunsdvall featuring a geased population and a massive illusion.

      All the living people (as opposed to illusions) involved with Ampulia and Sundsvall are geased and/or loyal to the imperial crown. The phantasmal palace takes care of the phony activity in the eyes of visitors. There could be actors to reinforce the phantasmal ruse. The illusion is powerful enough that those who hear about Sundsvall's secret don't even believe it.

      I did also point out that registered guides (geased naturally) are required to sail up the Greenlake River. Was your browser not displaying the original text?

  3. A mix of the two, sorry. With IE8 the article ends with the sentence "magically "process" visitors", so I missed the whole Greenlake River section. With other browsers is ok, anyway.
    For the first part about Ampulia I just jumped a few key sentences! :D

    1. I figured you were having some browser issues. Dump explorer and use Firefox. That's what the majority of people use anyway. :)


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