Tales of the Bloodstone Lands
Ostrav is one of the few Arcatan towns not located in the mountains or foothills. On the border of the Duchy, and close to both Bloodstone and Brandiar, Ostrav is a natural stopping point for caravans traveling to and from Bloodstone Pass.
While overtly friendly to outsiders, the people of Ostrav are tight-lipped when asked about themselves or their community. Once a small farming village, Ostrav grew rapidly when House Surinak was awarded lordship of the village. A minor house at the time, House Surinak saw Ostrav as a garden estate for its more influential members. The town grew steadily as the nobles brought in peasants to serve its many needs, from farming to ranching to housework.
Long before Zhengyi however, the Surinaks began to dabble in witchcraft and demonology. The peasants of Ostrav served as a steady and clandestine supply of victims. Once the townspeople caught on, they executed all the Surinaks they could catch and drove out the other nobles. Since this time, Ostrav has been ruled by an elected mayor. The mayor is responsible for seeing to it that the Duke of Arcata in Valls still gets his levies and his taxes, but in general, Ostrav has as little to do with Valls as possible.
Shortly after the uprising against House Surinak, the town’s leaders began constructing a wall that soon extended beyond the town, even enclosing some of the farmland that supported its populace. Their intention was to allow the townsfolk to live and farm in peace, and to keep the dangers of the outside world at bay. Indeed, Ostrav’s wall protected the town when the goblinoids attacked during the Goblinblood Wars and then again from most of the Vaasan armies of Zhengyi — the disorganized humanoids simply flowed around it in search of easier targets.
Despite its suspicious populace and high walls, trade in Ostrav has flourished thanks to its proximity to Beaumaris River. While noble visitors are carefully watched and merchants must subject their wares to thorough inspections, the town thrives on the varied commerce that passes through its borders.
Life in Ostrav
The people of Ostrav are generally hardworking and independent, they seem friendly and are always polite to outsiders, but they tolerate travelers and merchants only as long as is necessary to conclude business. Those who decide to settle permanently in Ostrav typically must spend months or even years cozying up to their new neighbors before they are truly treated as fully recognized members of the community.
Within Ostrav, small groups of families and businesses have formed close-knit ties that have lasted for generations. To some older residents, frequently consorting with people from other neighborhoods or walks of life—even fellow citizens—is considered unlucky or even unnecessarily risky, so strong is the townspeople’s fear of the unknown. A common saying reflects the townspeople’s distrust of anyone trying to get to know them: “True friends aren’t too friendly.”
Most citizens of Ostrav are deeply suspicious of magic, especially witchcraft and evil divine magic, though some admit that certain kinds of arcane magic have their merits. In general, though, they see the practice of magic as an invitation to outside forces that cannot be controlled. Practitioners of arcane magic are generally tolerated, if distrusted, but anyone with any ties to witchcraft or evil divine magic is unwelcome within the town’s walls.
On the other hand, the townspeople view alchemy as a practical trade, and they see divine spellcasters of good-aligned deities as holy protectors. Therefore, the town has a few bustling alchemy shops, and Ostrav’s temple to Chauntea supports a burgeoning congregation.
Since toppling the House Surinak, Ostrav’s top administrator has been an elected mayor. Sandra Trinelli currently fills this position, though the people of Ostrav quickly lose faith in leaders who fail to keep the world’s evils at bay.
Locations in Ostrav
Temple of Chauntea
Ostrav’s Sundries (general store)
Pricknettle’s Potions and Poultices (alchemist)
Gunty’s Hearty Breads
Dependable Drummady’s (cobbler)
Petrello’s Haberdashery (hatmaker)
The Gallows’ Graveyard
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