Blood in the River
Long a haven for thieves and smugglers, Pitax is a hub for trade in the River Kingdoms. It aspires to be a center of culture and higher learning as well, but cannot escape its more unsavory origins. Threats and plots from other lands—as well as from within the borders of Pitax itself—have the potential to tear the small kingdom apart. Greedy adventurers eye the rich land on its northern frontier and picture themselves as rulers of their own kingdoms, collecting taxes that this kingdom so desperately needs for itself. Only the actions of Pitax’s shrewd leader, Lord Irovetti, have managed to stave off this downward spiral to ruin— at least, for the moment..
Pitax Magic Items
For nearly 400 years, Pitax remained a relatively small and unassuming city of the River Kingdoms. Though marred by strife with neighbors such as Mivon and Numeria, and even suffering some scars from a brief but brutal civil war, Pitax always stood as a sanctuary of sorts at the edge of the Stolen Lands. For rogues who needed to disappear or troubled souls who simply wanted to start their lives anew, Pitax was a tarnished symbol of reckless and often dangerous freedom—but of freedom nonetheless. With the arrival of just one man only 6 years ago, however, this legacy changed. As the bandit king Irovetti took control of Pitax, the city mirrored his dark and brutal personality, becoming a force to be reckoned with in the River Kingdoms and drawing the ire and envy of the lands surrounding it.
By far, the most startling change made to Pitax by the decree of Irovetti has been its focus upon the fine arts, or at least its ham-fisted attempt to do so. Determined to make Pitax a center of genteel refinement and culture, Irovetti ordered the construction of the Red Crescent Theater, which became the cornerstone of other revitalized parts of Pitax. The city grew, attracting many actors, musicians, and other artists, which undeniably caused the city’s coffers to swell with fresh gold. But by bringing in so many new souls, Pitax suddenly found a sinister, unsavory element becoming a part of its very core. The rugged hopefulness that once flowed through the streets of Pitax disappeared, slowly replaced by fear and dread.
The presence of so many bards and storytellers from so many places has made the city a haven for secrets, rumors, tall tales, and occasionally even the truth. If one seeks information that might be little more than whispers and dust, Pitax might be the place to unearth clues. What sages don’t know, Pitax often does. The only trick to finding rare secrets in Pitax—secrets that could possibly lead to treasures or dooms beyond imagination—is knowing where to look.
Pitax was originally formed by brigands from Brevoy who founded a safe haven in a small riverside hamlet. Over time the bandits used their ill-gotten gold to fortify the sleepy village into something more permanent. The small kingdom constantly battles with its neighbor Mivon for control of the fertile territory along the shared border. The kingdom also fends off regular attacks from Numerian brigands from the north. Brevoy is always a constant threat as well.
In 4702 a Numerian bard named Castruccio Irovetti arrived in town. With a silver tongue and a sack filled with gold coins, Irovetti bought most of the trading houses in Pitax and managed to talk his way into profitable partnerships with the powerful merchant families. After one bizarre night, the details of which are fuzzy to all involved, Irovetti presented a signed document to the populace legally handing him all the possessions of the powerful Liacenza merchant family, including the crown of Pitax. Irovetti quickly began to try and transform Pitax from a militaristic, bandit kingdom into a center of art and culture. He formed the Academy of Grand Arts but, unfortunately, this plan proved to be disastrous. His total control over all things artistic in the city drive away those with real artistic talent, leaving only those with limited ability or delusions of grandeur.
On the surface, the bandit king Irovetti and the Trade Houses – more commonly known as the Bandit Houses – rule over the people of Pitax in an uneasy partnership. With each passing year, though, Irovetti gains more control over the city and pushes the Bandit Houses ever closer to irrelevance. A simple reason for this shift exists—Irovetti’s close alliance with the Thieves’ Guild of Pitax. Though the Thieves’ Guild has never “officially” been recognized by the government of Pitax, the secretive organization has always held some influence over what happened in the city during the centuries of its existence. With the ascension of Irovetti, however, the Guild’s influence over Pitax grows ever stronger and is becoming overt, rather than subtle.
Irovetti also seems to have close ties with the Technic League of Numeria, starting first with trade agreements but more recently in a full-fledged alliance with the mysterious wizard organization. He has declared their new colony of Midian under his protection, a warning local bandits know all too clearly means the town is untouchable.
Areas of Note
- Pitax – Pitax is a strange and disparate city, with distinctive sections. Sailors and newcomers keep to the eastern parts of the city known as Troutmouth. The merchants and rogues who have long controlled Pitax stay in the central heart of the city known as the Shattered Ward. The newcomer artists and musicians keep to the west, in the New Ruins, where the Academy of Grand Arts resides. The Thieves’ Guild of Pitax effectively controls the city, however.
- Mormouth – This is a small hamlet located in the northwest corner of the country. It is a reluctant part of both the River Kingdoms and Pitax. Tradition ties Mormouth to Pitax, but common sense and a desire for gold and other finer things in life edge it ever closer to Numeria, its stronger neighbor. It was originally founded as a separate kingdom, but merged with Pitax during one of the region’s many conflicts.
- Sarain – This town lies close to the border between Pitax and Mivon, and has changed hands from one kingdom to the other many, many times. The desire to control Sarain is simple – whoever controls the village controls the wondrous vineyards that grow nearby. Sarain vintages are renowned throughout Avistan.