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  • Day 20 of #dungeon23 │ #city23 project

    Day 20 of #dungeon23 │ #city23 project

    Today we’re going to zoom out and think about the reasons for the decline of the Still Unnamed City (which may or may not become its official name).

    In order to make it easier to write about the city’s history, I will give the city a nickname… Iron Gate. Iron, because the city’s fame, power, and wealth came from mediating iron from the asteanic merchants to the rest of the Kali states, and Gate, because the city was the only gate to the rest of the Kali states.


    The story of the city’s power began seven centuries ago when asteanic seafarers and merchants were looking for a way to Oreenia during their coastal voyages. Since there were no ships at the time that could withstand the sea voyage directly across the great ocean from Thefna (the homeland of the asteanic civilization) to Oreenia, the ships sailed along the coast of the eastern islands.

    Many of the islands encountered along the way became asteanic colonies, and bad things happened to their people. However, the Kali states and cities were large and powerful, and conquering them would have been beyond the asteanic capabilities. Especially when the goal was to reach Oreenia, where different groups of merchants and adventurers were already conducting conquest wars against the local states.

    The leader of the Itza clan, Tzeki, was at war with the neighboring tribes at that time and made an alliance with the asteans – the asteans offered him iron and tin (necessary for making bronze) and he offered the sailors a safe place to stay and food during their long sea journey to Oreenia.

    Within a couple of decades, with the help of the asteanic iron, Tzeki conquered the surrounding islands and the city of Iron Gate, and the kingdom of the Itzas grew into a powerful Kali kingdom. Over the following centuries, the Itza kingdom monopolized all sea travel and trade in the surrounding islands – even the asteanic emperors sent tributes to the Itza kings so that they would not attack asteanic merchants.

    Several hundred years ago, when the junk-type ship was developed, which was suitable for crossing the ocean directly, merchants had less and less reason to visit the arrogant and greedy Iron Kings of Itza. The main trade routes between north and south now went directly across the ocean. This of course did not mean that the state of Itza would immediately decline. There were still merchants who wanted to do business with them and the king himself had a formidable naval fleet, with which he controlled all the surrounding archipelagos and demanded tribute from continental states.

    The reason for the decline of the maritime state of Itza’s is actually the long reign of Tzek III the Stubborn, the father of today’s king Wadcha VII Itza, combined with the growth of the power of the continental state of Zipopan.

    Size of Itza kingdom in its prime

    The city-state of Zipopan had, over decades of wars, annexed a large number of smaller city-states and grown to become the largest state on the continent. Throughout this time, they had faithfully paid tribute to the kingdom of Itza and thus the rulers of Itza had no reason to intervene in the situation. However, at the beginning of Tzek III’s reign, the Zipopans stopped paying tribute and a war began, which lasted throughout Tzek III’s reign, almost 30 years.

    The first decade of the war is characterized by relatively low military activity: Zipopani did not have a navy to directly attack the kingdom of Itza and the Itzas mainly carried out raids on the continent rather than conquest expeditions. The goal was to force the Zipopans to pay tribute, not to conquer their state.

    When this led to nowhere, Tzek III changed his strategy and in 1481. began a campaign on the continent with the goal of conquering Zipopani. The bloody campaign lasted over ten years and caused famine and disease that killed hundreds of thousands if not millions of Kalis. The entire wealth of the Itza state went to arming, equipping, and paying the wages to all sorts of orenic, asteanic and roadic mercenaries – without any result.

    In 1492, Tzek III had to retreat from the continent. This was followed by a period of recovery, which the Zipopans used to build their navy and in 1497, they destroyed the Itza state navy completely in sea battles. Today, 15 years have passed since those battles and there are many Kalis living in the city and around it who remember all this well.

    Because of the loss of the navy and because the kingdom never had a centralized structure, the state of Itza collapsed. The kingdom consisted of hundreds of Kali and Orenic tribes, all of which were connected to the king through some type of vassal agreement, under which they had to pay taxes and come to the war. The guarantee of these agreements was the Itza’s extremely powerful navy, which quickly and effectively suppressed any resistance. However, without a navy, the tribes had no reason to continue paying tribute.

    When Wadcha VII Itza came to power in 1499, he inherited a state that essentially consisted of only the Iron Gate city and its surrounding villages from his father. He has been clinging to it with all his might since then.


  • Day 19 of #dungeon23 │ #city23 project

    Day 19 of #dungeon23 │ #city23 project

    Can you remember phra pneh (chief of chiefs) Morena Truthseeing, who came to the city on a pilgrimage, but was not allowed into the temple by Yaxchila’s high priest, Kuklan Zipaniza? And who is now spending time with her warriors somewhere in the city. Yesterday, when I drew the city, I determined her location, and today we are thinking about what she is doing there and why she is camped in this exact place – in the middle of the Turtletown, however, with a small army (with 2 companies of Orenic marine warriors).

    13 tribes of Turtletown

    A while ago, battles broke out between the Nitzmanji (tribe 2) and Katamana (tribe 1) tribes – the reason being a sacred cave located in the Nitzmanji tribe’s city district, which both tribes claim as their own. The disturbances were bloody and hundreds of innocent people died in the city battles. Eventually, parts of the Nitzmanji district were set on fire and the king’s troops intervened under the leadership of Nene. The tribal leaders were brought to king Wadcha VII Itza to account for themselves. The king pronounced judgment and it was revealed that the arguments (or bribes!) of the Katamana tribe were stronger and the conquered cave remained in their hands. They had to pay compensation for the burned districts, but understandably the Nitzmanji tribe was not satisfied with this solution.

    Phra Pneh Morena Truthseeing is a distant relative of the Nitzmanji tribal leaders and upon arriving in the city, she went straight to them. At first, the tribal leaders were extremely happy that such a respectable leader had set up her army’s camp between their quarters, on the burned land. In addition, the brave Orenic warriors increased the tribe’s sense of security, which was quite low considering the previous events.

    Recently, it has come to light that the phra pneh Morena Truthseeinut may not be allowed into the Yaxchila temple at all. She now sits with her 240 soldiers in the midst of the tribe’s quarters that have recently suffered large losses and is eating her distant relatives poor.

    The council of the Nitzmanji tribe is in conflict over what to do with Morena. Simply sending her away would be extremely impolite, and she doesn’t seem to be easily sent away with her soldiers. One side of the council would like to do it still – somehow. Could she be lured somewhere else, could her entrance to the temple be arranged or something else? The other side of the council would like to use Morena’s army against the Katamana tribe to regain control of the sacred cave and the surrounding quarters. But the first council side does not like the idea of a new war against the Katamanas, especially if the king chose their side. Even if the tribe is successful, Morena will eventually leave with her army, then what?


  • Day 13 of #dungeon23 │ #city23 project

    Day 13 of #dungeon23 │ #city23 project

    Today, I continued to draw out the plan for Turtletown, one of the unnamed city’s districts, and as a result, I made some decisions about the city:

    1. The city and the rest of the kingdom are governed as a tribal federation, made up of various clans of Kalis and Oreens, who are bound by some sort of vassal agreement with the king known as the “Rustking”. The tribes pay him taxes and are required to appear in response to his call to arms. However, as the king’s personal strength, wealth, and power have diminished, the tribes view this agreement with disdain – they avoid paying taxes (known as tribute or gifts) or only pay a reduced amount, and only some of the tribes appear in response to the king’s call to arms.
    2. This lack of central governance creates interesting conflicts in the city, as we now see it not as a unity but as a group of small tribes living in an unstable peace. As long as the Rustking was strong, his word was law and he resolved conflicts between the tribes. Now, the tribes of the city no longer turn to the Rustking and resolve conflicts on their own, likely in a much more violent way than with a neutral judge.
    3. Therefore, the city is in a somewhat post-apocalyptic situation, where a large number of people have gathered on a small territory, grouped into different tribes, and peace between them can break down at any moment.

    13 tribes of Turtletown

    13 tribes of Turtletown

    Turtletown is home to 1/8 of the city’s population (about 12,500 people), divided into thirteen separate tribes. These thirteen tribes also represent the city’s middle class – Turtletown’s fishers are not poor or the wealthiest tribes in the city. Their source of income, the sea, provides them with a steady wealth that is not affected by being on the outskirts of the main trade routes.

    Since all families in Turtletown have canoes or catamarans that require parking space and there are canals in addition to streets between buildings, it can be inferred that the district is the largest in terms of area, perhaps even half of the city’s total area although it is home to only 1/8 of the population.

    The tribes of Turtletown are required to pay taxes to the Rustking in the form of pearls and coral. In the past, when kings had more power, the handling of pearls and coral was only allowed for the king and his loyal followers. They were used by kings to pay for iron, tin, and other overseas goods from the asteanic merchants. Paying the asteanic merchants in pearls would result in a death penalty. Now, the Rustking is unable to fully control this restriction, but it doesn’t mean that trading in pearls would be a good idea. The Rustking’s chief of bodyguards, Nene, and the defense forces are still loyal to the king and will punish pearl trading immediately if it comes to their attention.

    Yesterday’s video of drawing the canals and some base concepts:


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