Sulescu is a small town on the south coast of Karameikos. It’s main industry is fishing, although it also acts as a market town for the hamlets and farmsteads in the surrounding area. In a more settled area, it would probably just be a village, but here it is surrounded with a strong wall because of the denizens of the surrounding forests. This portion of Karameikos is effectively cut off from the rest by land, so the only safe form of transport to and from Specularum is by ship, making Sulescu an important link with the rest of the Duchy. As well as the normal goblins, the forests of sourthern Karameikos are reputed to harbour were-wolves – men that can shift to the form of wolves and back again. Those who make their living in the forests are a hard and dour breed – suspicious of strangers and travellers. It is rare to find a doorway that is not hung with bunches of wolfsbane and cloves of garlic as a ward against the creatures of the night. From the sea comes peril as well, for the slavers and pirates of the Sea of Dread prey upon this coast, and the fleets of the King of Irendi are as much a threat as a protection. Sulescu is well situated though, being hidden from the sea by the steep hills that form the valley of the River Tanister. The town itself lies on a small pool that has formed where a small stream, the Suleser Brook, enters the main flow of the river, providing a safe and secure anchorage for boats and small ships, hidden from prying eyes. And secure anchorages are rare on this coast of high cliffs and sharp reefs.
Sulescu itself is cosmopolitan by the standards of southern Karameikos, but a backwater by comparison with Specularum. The town and environs are the fief and holding of Count Zemiros Sulescu, who has a castle in the town, and another one (his primary residence) a day’s travel or so further up the Tanister.
The southern Karameikos region contains 3 towns- Sulescu, Darinov and Ourosco. Of these, Sulescu is the largest. Darinov is the seat of Lord Moubotka, and Ourosco the seat of Lord Ourosco. The region is almost entirely Traladaran, and has escaped Thyatian colonisation, although there have been attempts by the Church of Karameikos to impose its control over and above that of the Church of Traladara, which however remain pre-eminent.
Population: ~1,000 people (99% human). The town is walled with low walls, mainly to keep out raiders rather than a determined seige, and had three gates – the Seagate, the Westgate and the Castlegate. The gates are closed at nightfall, and do not re-open until dawn. The battlements, rather than being open to the elements, are covered with a wooden, roofed gallery, and the towers are also roofed with tall conical roofs. If it were not for this, no-one would dare patrol the walls during the hours of darkness.
The town is under the rule of Count Sulescu, who comes from an ancient Traladaran family, although he is rarely seen in the town, preferring his ancestral seat at Vardoz. The Count is extremely old, indeed there are none in Sulescu who can remember his father’s rule. The peasants whisper that he is not even human any more, but is instead vampyr.
In his absence, the Castellan, Vasil Andriev, controls Sulescu and administers justice in the name of the Count and the Duke.
Duke Stephen also has a representative in the town, in the person of Sir Marcus Parathetos. He resides in the Tynhus on the south side of the new town square. He is a minor member of the Karameikan nobility, and member of Duke Stephen’s court whose responsibility is to ensure that the Count is not plotting or planning any trouble.
One of the more notable local inhabitants is the mage who calls herself Alyotic Greystaff. She inhabits a tall tower just south of the Temple of Shandar, which is one of the landmarks of the city. The locals fear her and leave her to her own devices, but also hope that her presence will dissuade attacks on the town.
Marcus Regan is one of the wealthier local inhabitants, having a monopoly on the export of wool, which is the local farmstead’s only real export crop. He buys all the wool and stores it in a large warehouse by the Seagate, where it is processed and exported to Specularum or Minrothad. He owns a small cog which is used for this trade.
Vladis Sadu owns a fish-salting and packing warehouse by the Seagate. He often buys surplus fish in season, and also has salt pans further down the coast. He combines the two to produce barrels of salted fish, which are the other main export of Sulescu.
Places of Worship
The Temple of Shandar
The largest building in Sulescu. Finding an open temple of Shandar is unusual in Karameikos, but is permitted here because of the open patronage of Count Sulescu, whose family have a long running tradition of supporting this religion. It is also popular with the locals, who supplicate Shandar to protect them from the werewolves that haunt the local forests. This is the largest known temple of Shandar in all Karameikos. Archclavier Mikhail is a rotund and jolly man, who does much to make the cult of Shandar acceptable to those who are suspicious of it.
The Temple of St Petra
The Temple of St Petra is found next to the Temple of Shandar, in the north-eastern corner of the town. The Archpriestship is still vacant, due to a long-running disagreement on who is entitled to appoint such a person, so the Archdeacon Vasil is the highest ranking cleric in the temple.
The Order of the Griffon
The Order of the Griffon have established a commandery in the south-east corner of the town, in an area that was formerly a barracks and arsenal for the Count’s father. The Count is forbidden from having a standing retinue by the Duke, and the area was abandoned before the Order, horrified at the lack of a Church of Karameikos in the area, successfully petitioned the Duke to grant them use of the area. The grant met with much opposition from the Count, but in the end he has allowed the Order to establish themselves, while making life as difficult as possible for them without completely alienating the Duke. The Order are not popular with the Count or the locals, despite making it a mission of theirs to rid the local forests of their werewolves. This makes Sulescu an assignment for only the boldest, or most stupid, of the Knights of the Order, which again does not make them popular with the local populace, because of their repeated attempts to close the taverns and prevent the monthly tourneys.
Temple of Tamra
It is said that the ancient standing stones atop Beacon Hill are a temple to Tamra, and that if you venture there on the right night of the month you can join their strange rituals. No local in his right mind would dare climb beacon hill at night though, so this remains just a rumour.
The Golden Ship
The best inn in Sulescu, which still isn’t saying much. It occupies the north-west corner of the new town square (which newcomers often think is the market square, which is actually around the market-house further down the hill). Prices are high, and only private rooms are available.
The Traveller’s Rest
The other inn in Sulescu, and catering to a broader range of clientele. It has a few good rooms and many communal dormitories. It faces the Westgate, and is the best place to find a caravan travelling overland to Darinov or beyond.
Smallest of Sulescu’s three inns, and closest to the waterfront, this is popular with seafarers. It is know for offering spartan, but clean, accommodation for a reasonable price.
The Green Goblin
Situated in the south-west corner, near the tilting ground, this is packed on fete-days. The rest of the time it is pretty deserted, although by convention it has become that place to go to hire adventurers in Sulescu. The long pavilion overlooking the tilting ground has an undercroft that can be hired for weapon practice or other activities.
Facing the Sea Gate, this is a rough tavern for seamen and sailors of all kinds. Noisy, and thick with smoke, the beer and rum are both strong. Patrons of the Spar make a point of taking no notice of any other patron – no questions are asked in the Spar, because a cutlass in the belly often offends.
Smallest and meanest of all Sulescu’s taverns, this is a single room dive which serves the cheapest and worst beer in all of Sulescu. Opposite the pens used for the sheep on market-day, it is busy on those days with impoverished farmers and peasants attending market. The rest of the month it only has the most degraded of tramps and alcoholics, who are unable to afford, or have been thrown out of, the other taverns in Sulescu.
The main regular entertainment in Sulescu is the monthly fair, on the tenth day after the new moon, when the local farmers and peasants bring their wares and livestock into Sulescu to buy and sell. The fair is normally entertainment enough, with tinkers and entertainers from all parts, but is also, since time immemorial, the occasion for combats in the tilting ground, in the south-west corner of the town. Originally this was trial by combat, with each month’s cases being saved until market day, and this is still one form of entertainment, but it has now been supplemented with professional fighters, competing with each other for prize money, or against all comers for a fee. Combat starts at mid-day, but the banks and the stand by the Green Goblin tavern start to fill up by mid-morning.