Graywall: City of Monsters

The nation of Droaam is very young, carved out of lands abandoned by Breland during the Last War. It is ruled by the Daughters of Sora Kell, a trio of hag sisters who would like to see Droaam become a nation recognized by the Treaty of Thronehold, and they have secured fealty from many warlords around the savage country from their seat of power in the Great Crag. While it is not the capital, Graywall may be the most important city in Droaam as it is the country's connection to the outside world. Many travelers from the Five Nations, as well as monstrous races from other parts of Droaam, arrive in Graywall for trade, secrets, and more sinister reasons. Whether or not they will admit it, the Daughters require an equally steady influx of adventurers willing to take jobs maintaining the peace in order to keep Graywall from exploding under the pressure.
The city of Graywall is divided into three main districts, as well as the central Karda region which holds the administrative building of Xorchylic the illithid governor. Underneath the city is the Deep Door, the local name for the Dhakaani ruins which Graywall is built on, and outside of the city are the Stone Pits, quarries filled with indentured laborers.

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Chapter One: A Visitor's Guide to Graywall

Graywall is a small city, but its importance within Droaam far outweighs its size. Travelers from across Khorvaire can wind up in Graywall and their reasons for coming are as varied as the crowds that fill the unique city.

Freedom From the Law

Because Droaam is not recognized as a nation by the Treaty of Thronehold, its residents have great freedom when it comes to the law. The Code of Galifar does not extend to Graywall and dangerous items which are controlled or illegal in the Five Nations can be traded openly on the streets in Graywall. Visitors often come to obtain these illicit items to smuggle back into the eastern nations, or they may arrive with weapons or other valuables secreted out of Breland or Aundair that they hope to sell to unscrupulous bidders in the Roar. Like Stormreach, its existence outside the law makes Graywall a hotbed for political intrigue and espionage. Defectors from the Five Nations could come to Graywall to sell their secrets and spymasters may arrive here to hire outside agents for secret jobs away from the prying eyes back east.

Ruins of Dhakaan

There are grander sites of Dhakaani architecture that adventurers can explore, but the ruins lying underneath Graywall are both conveniently located and relatively unexplored. The goblin fortress of Korash Khaar has been leveled and built over, but secrets of the goblins still exist underground not to mention the lurking servants of the daelkyr in hidden caverns. Besides the dungeons of buried Korash Khaar itself, there are several other Dhkaani and Gatekeeper ruins around Graywall which adventuring groups based in Graywall can reach easily.

Place of Tolerance

It may seem backwards, but true racial tolerance in Khorvaire is usually found far from the civilized centers of the Five Nations. “Monstrous” individuals such as minotaurs, half-orcs, tieflings, and goblinoids often meet with prejudice from the human-dominant countries to the east. In Graywall, however, these races find that they are considered far more “normal” than the harpies, ogres, and medusas that they share the city with. Rather than being relegated to the fringes of societies, the monstrous humanoid races often find work as the outward face of a business since visitors from the Five Nations are much more comfortable dealing with creatures that won’t turn them to stone with a glance or snap off their arm while shaking hands.
Graywall is also a place of religious tolerance and a number of followers of the Dark Six, the Dragon Below, the Blood of Vol, and druids of the Children of Winter come to the city to worship openly. In Graywall it is followers of the Silver Flame who must worry about persecution and holidays to the Dark Six are considered normal (see below) rather than secretive ceremonies. Political refugees and criminals likewise find their roles reversed and many residents of Graywall originally arrived there because of “misunderstandings” back home.

Base of Operations

Some adventurers arrive in Droaam to take advantage of the illicit trade and freedom afforded by its unrecognized status, and then set up base within its borders to permanently make use of these advantages. Adventuring groups who routinely work for one of the Five Nations’ governments, or more than one, find Graywall a discrete place to call home that places them out of sight when the missions they are involved with come to light. Groups which include monstrous races, worshipers of unpopular religions, or individuals with shady pasts also enjoy the anonymity of living in Graywall where they do not stand out nearly as much.

Festivals and Diversions

The city of Graywall uses the calendar of the Dark Six, rather than the lunar calendar favored by the Five Nations. Based on the same traditions that gave rise to the liturgical calendar of the Sovereign Host (Faiths of Eberron page 21) this calendar is divided into six seasons of 56 days, each one devoted to one of the Dark Six. In Droaam, the Dark Six are commonly known by their ancient names and visitors can quickly establish themselves as outsiders by being unfamiliar with these titles.

Season Deity Time of Year
Devouring The Devourer (Shurkaan) Icy Season (Zarantyr and Olarune)
Keeping The Keeper (Kol Turrant) Planting Season (Therendor and Eyre)
Traveling The Traveler Growing Season (Dravago and Nymm)
Mockery The Mockery (Dol Azur) Dry Season (Lharvion and Barrakas)
Fury The Fury (Szorawai) Hunting Season (Rhaan and Sypheros)
Shadowing The Shadow Rainy Season (Aryth and Vult)

The seasons are further divided into eight 7-day weeks with days devoted to each of the Dark Six. Poppular legend holds that none of the six could agree who should be first and so the first day of every week is devoted to none of the gods and all of them at once.

Days of the Week
Firstday Shurday Szorday Turrday D'azurday Darkday Journeyday
The Dark Six The Devourer The Fury The Keeper The Mockery The Shadow The Traveler

More information on the Dark Six, their worshippers, and the calendar that they follow, can be found in the Eberron Campaign Guide and Chapter 2 of Faiths of Eberron.

Day of Blood and Wildnight (17-19 Sypheros)

When the Fury’s season is almost over, the second-to-last Szorday of the season (17 Sypheros), the time for settling old grudges is at hand. The Day of Blood sees duels and public challenges throughout the city as wrongs suffered throughout the previous year are settled. The Znir gnolls patrol the streets and House Tharashk usually shuts down the Roar marketplace during this day to make sure that the duels don’t get out of hand, but the generally lawless city is even more dangerous. At sunset on the Day of Blood, any unclaimed duels are considered forgotten, though many hold their grudges still, and any further duels can be punished by the mind flayer Xorchylic and his guards. Some leave the city during this festival to avoid being called out to duel, and rich merchants regularly secure themselves in their apartments.
After the Day of Blood, a wild revelry grips the city for two days. Called Wildnight, individuals often have a hard time controlling their emotions and give in to their base desires. Bordellos and taverns are packed throughout the city and the shifter and lycanthrope tribes in the surrounding countryside have large-scale celebrations. Unlike the Day of Blood, Wildnight is not all about violence and just as many residents loose themselves in lavish parties as become caught up in riots or boxing rings.

Long Shadows (26-28 Vult)

The final three nights of the Shadowing season are the darkest and longest of the year. From sundown on the last D’azurday of the season to sunrise on the first day of the Devouring, the Shadow grows more and more powerful. He whispers in the dreams of sleepers, corrupting their thoughts and planting seeds of malice. Even the followers of the Dark Six fear this time when they can lose themselves in the darkness like the Shadow itself. Firelight vigils are kept throughout the nights in various parts of the city: outside the Arena in Bloodstone, in the center of the Roar, and at the entrance to the Tribal Warrens in Little Graywall. These vigils feature live sacrifices and entreaties to the Shadow not to take too many lives in the upcoming year.
Not all fear the nights of Long Shadows, however. Assassins and necromancers often wait for these nights to perform dark rituals which they say are more potent under the auspices of the Shadow. Druids of the Children of Winter claim that the effects of this night are due to the primordial dragon Khyber who claims this time to seed decay and ensure that the next year starts anew. Several cleansings of destructive industries have taken place on these nights and the Children of Winter are suspected of being behind them.

Chapter Two: Life in Graywall

Bloodstone (Sorghun)

This district is the quintessential image of Graywall, made of bloodred stones quarried from the Dhakaani ruins underlying Graywall and populated by varied crowds of humanoids, ogres, medusas, harpies and others. The Arena hosts daily gladiatorial matches which are bloody sports help to channel the naturally high aggression of Graywall inhabitants. Less theatrical arena battles are held in the Challenge Rings which are carved into many of the major intersections of the district. Many taverns cater to arena-goers including the Bloody Tooth, which has a challenge ring carved into the common room floor; the Venomous Voice, with the best harpy singer in the city; the Broken Sword which caters to visitors from the Five Nations; and the Labyrinth, set in a series of caverns of an old quarry with some rooms for rent farther back in the tunnels. The House of Worms offers cheaper but less-effective healing than House Jorasco and Jabra’s offers alchemical items made by a skilled night hag. Distinctive and reliable weapons can be bought at Tooth and Steel and shrines to the Dark Six and demon lords are plentiful on the Street of Shadows. The Hydra Halls house thousands of individuals from all races and the Skin Factory contains all of the slaughterhouses and tanneries necessary for supporting the population of Graywall.

The Calabas (The Kennel)

The seat of House Tharashk’s influence in Graywall, the Calabas is centered on the vast marketplace plaza of the Roar. The dragonmarked houses make their presence known in the city in the Calabas through the House Tharashk Enclave near the Roar, the Kundarak Vault (shared by House Kundarak and House Sivis), the unusually quiet House Orien Enclave, Hahlo’s House run by a Jorasco heir, and House Ghallanda’s Gold Dragon Inn which is a welcome piece of normality for visitors from the Five Nations. Taverns in the district include the Merry Marcher which has a friendly atmosphere despite its clientele which are primarily orcs and half-orcs, as well as the Cracked Keg which has a distinctly seedier reputation thanks to its hard-nosed dwarven owner and the gambling tables he keeps a close watch on. The Silenced Stage hosts performances sponsored by House Phiarlan which are outlawed in the Five Nations, put on by a strange and dangerous menagerie of actors and playwrights. The Twilight Palace is another Phiarlan investment, jointly with House Ghallanda, which caters to rich expatriates. Magic items can be bought at Vorgath’s and clothing in styles from the Five Nations can be found at Far Davandi. Those interested in a night’s companionship can stop in at the Veil’s brothel while those seeking more divine relations might go to the House of the Nine, Graywall’s only temple to the Sovereign Host.

Little Graywall (Sar Kuraath)

The neighborhood of Sar Kuraath earns its name from its architecture, built for the smaller races of goblins and kobolds. This neighborhood has a measure of independence from the rest of Graywall, though it is also wracked by internal divisions. Both the goblins and kobolds of Sar Kuraath align themselves into tribes, mimicking the social structures that exist outside of cities. The tribes live in the Tribal Warrens, large apartment buildings with tribal markings over each doorway. Squabbles and rivalries are common but the goblins and kobolds unite together against any outside threats and picking a fight in the Goblin Market is a sure way to get a response from the entire district. The only place to find large numbers of outsiders is Black Bahiri's, a grist mill and restaurant run by a remarkably fat goblin. Bahiri rents rooms to traveling goblins and kobolds as well as a handful of halfling and gnome exiles, and his restaurant has a full menu of Talentan as well as Droaamish dishes. The other well-known establishment in Little Graywall is less welcoming: the poisoncrafters shop of Swift Death. The shop's owner is a mysterious goblin named Swift who is acknowledged to be the best poison-maker in Droaam, if not Khorvaire.

The Karda (The Throne)

The seat of authority in Graywall is the Karda where Xorchylic rules from his alien and iridescent Keep. The district is also the location of the Last Tower where Graywall justice is administered and, just as commonly, executions are held. The Karda is ironically one of the safest and the most dangerous, depending on ones loyalties. Those who do not show proper deference to Xorchylic or the Daughters can find themselves accosted even more quickly than in the Calabas.

The Deep Door (Khyras)

The Dhakaani ruins underneath Graywall are off-limits without the permission of the Daughters of Sora Kell. While some unguarded entrances to the Deep Door may exist, the only certain way to reach the buried ruins is to receive the mind flayer's patronage for some mission into the depths.

The Stone Pits

The quarries that fuel the growing architecture of Graywall lie just outside the city, a place of toil and hardship for many goblinoids and others who work as indentured servants to Xorchylic. The Lord of Graywall is not a cruel master, but he is practical and is not terribly empathetic to laborers who complain while they live in tent cities awaiting the construction of new barracks. Just as Graywall is a symbol of Droaam's independence, the Stone Pits are a symbol of Graywall's growing power and influence; many laborers are satisfied just to be a part of it.

Chapter Three: Power and Politics

The Daughters of Sora Kell are represented in the city by the mind flayer Xorchylic. His otherworldly Keep in the the Karda district watches over the city and houses his elite Flayer Guard that serves his will under the command of the war troll champion Korgel Blackblade. Patrols are not as scrupulous here as in the Five Nations; security is reserved for areas that the Lord of Graywall deems important and not a right of the citizens. While militias keep the order in many districts, House Tharashk is an important force of order in the Calabas.

Chapter Four: Guilds and Organizations

It should come as no surprise that Graywall is rife with criminal organizations who take advantage of the uncertain order in Graywall. The Redcaps are a gang from Little Graywall which fights for goblin and kobold interests. Refugees also form into gangs to protect the interests of other expatriates, such as the Brelish Swords of Liberty and the fanatical Old Bones from Karrnath. The Old Bones are at odds with the leadership of the Emerald Claw but the Skinners are typically violent followers of the Fury.
The primary worship in the city is that of the Dark Six, though the Blood of Vol is also relatively common. Both of these faiths benefit from the tolerance of darker practices common in Droaam and their churches are the most common in the city. Some expatriates from the Five Nations still follow the Sovereign Host, though heresies are much more common.
See Also: Character options for the Dark Six and the heretical version of the Sovereign Host can be find in the Universal Sovereignty project on this site.

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