Xaber

The City of Xaber lies far in the north, removed from the rest of the empire by several natural barriers. The Lesser Forrest cuts the city off to the South and West, the Peaks of Orn to the North. Xaber is a short distance from the Ocean, but the cold north eastern sea is particularly dangerous and trade routs are rare. The city itself is elevated, the ground it is built on is simply higher than many other cities in the empire. Xaber is a cold city, prone to large amounts of mist and freezing fog that roll down from the nearby mountains. Although it is a cool place with a seeping wetness, Xaber is often sunny due to its elevated altitude.

Since it is so remote Xaber is the least populated of the Imperial Cities, if not for the ancient structures and abandoned Fel battlements that litter the city it would be easier to qualify it as a town. The population ranges between 4,000 and 10,000 depending on time of year. During the freezing winters the population usually doubles in size or more, as traders and merchants come home. During spring and summer these same folks leave their city and travel south to Bosses Rest, Farplains and Elora making their fortunes and bringing back goods needed for the cities survival.

Xaber is an Imperial City and is ruled by a joint gathering of Imperial Selected Governor and populace controlled Community Council. The Governor is in control of all matters that pertain to Xaber’s relationships with the rest of the empire while the Community Council deals with communal issues. Wandering Magistrates are granted due respect in the city, Imperial visitors and national organizations are both granted their rights despite the distance from home.

History

At the time of the Devastation the city of Xaber was at the forefront of northern exploration, the only safe passage to the Frostfell was accessed through the far northern ocean, of which Xaber was the closest city. Thus it was prepared best for the horrible snows and sudden plague that appeared overnight.

Thus the corruption of Xaber was not the instantaneous event that occurred in many other cities, the offers of food and supplies was not enough to gather the entire town. Instead the corrupted souls were joined by demonic press gangs and evangelical succubi who hunted down the remaining members of the city over the course of days eliminating the strong willed and converting the weak and unwary. Unlike Elora who formed fighting guerilla bands, the uncorrupted members of Xaber abandoned their city fleeing to the wilds and freedom of the empire. Many of them were captured and brought back to the city where they were tortured and murdered, others died in the cold winter forest.

The greatest tragedy of early Xaber was the return of the Manrig Expedition. J.J. Manrig’s estranged son, Paiter, had long sought to earn a name for himself that would separate him from his father. In his pursuit of fame and fortune he had become one of the foremost wilderness guides and Frostfell explorer’s of the time. The Devastation had crippled the expedition’s boat and destroyed the Frostfell camp forcing the survivors into a crippling battle for survival. Their heroic journey back to civilization should have been one of the greatest legends of the time… instead the broken and desperate crew landed and entered Xaber as the Demonic anarchy reached its murderous height. Unable to defend themselves the starving sailors died painfully and brutally, ripped limb from limb and sacrificed on dread alters to Demogorgon. Paiter Manrig resisted the corrupting influences of the Succubi and died scuttling his own ship so that it couldn’t be used against a world he was no longer sure existed. Worst of all their heroic journey, desperate bid for survival and tragic deaths remained undiscovered for hundreds of years… though their ghosts did not.

In 360, led by the Archeologist Mage Sivian, the armies of the Empire finally retook Xaber from the Mobb. Until this point it had been a central Mobb outpost, too remote to launch a full attack against, the environment itself a force used against the empire. The people of Boss’s Rest and Far Plains had been forced to endure hundreds of years of raiders and brigands… and finally it had come to a close. Yet while the Cloaked Sisters succeeded in cleansing Xaber of its Demonic Taint the hundreds of angry ghosts that inhabited the city refused to leave, their vengeance still unfilled. Interrogating captured members of the Mobb revealed various methods to keep the angry spirits away, but even as Xaber was claimed and purified it was still a place of danger.

The vast treasure hordes of Xaber were quickly confiscated by the Platinum Orders, Cloaked Sisters and Vulture Knights. Powerful artifacts were placed in the Imperial Treasury, cursed and corrupted items that could not be purified were placed in one of the secret holds of the Cloaked Sisters.

Settlers returned to Xaber, mostly brave men and women who were descended from those who had successfully escaped the city. Others were patriots that rejoiced in finally driving the Mobb from Imperial territory. A select few were hermits and recluses who sought to travel as far from the rest of the world as they could, and the city at the edge of the world seemed a good as place as any.

Xaber at Night

The City of Xaber today is a quite and muted city. Far from the influence of the Mobb they rarely see demonic assaults, instead they are concerned with the more pressing matters of the Ghosts that still haunt the city. Each night as the sun sinks below the horizon a horrible wailing can be heard for minutes at a time. As the wailing slowly ends the spirits of the dead appear, glowing a faintly in the evening mists as they wander about the streets of Xaber. Some run and hide, eternally caught in moments of terror as the Mobb chase them down with sacrificial daggers in hand. Others stand screaming in terror begging for help, while a few attack invisible opponents and fall with sudden spectral wounds that appear from nowhere. The ghosts usually ignore the living, but on occasion something a living person will remind these restless spirits of their tormentors and they fly into horrible rages attacking and destroying everything in sight in their attempts to harm the object of their ire.

For this reason the city of Xaber enforces a strict curfew, all people within the city must be within their homes or place of rest at sunset. Failure to comply is to risk not only your safety but also the safety of anyone nearby. Ghosts that enter “The White Rage” are known to suddenly become incredibly powerful, wielding abilities that they can not control in their zeal to destroy their targets. Wards can be snuffed out, homes breached, and lives ended by their murderous rage… and no protections guarantee safety. For this reason those found breaking the Curfew by those that prowl the streets at night are immediately brought outside the city gates and left until morning. Some call this practice cruel, but those that live within Xaber understand that opening your door at night is even worse.

Due to this intense spiritual activity Religion in Xaber is almost as common as it is in Elora. Faith in the Platinum Lord and the Cloaked Lady competes with old gods and winter idols, as long as it keeps Xaber safe from the Mobb and the Spirits.

Organization in Xaber

Spirit Hunters
- The Spirit Hunters of Xaber exist to protect the members of their city from the angry ghosts that still prowl the city. The ghosts are unable to tell the citizens of the Empire from the members of the Mobb that were responsible for their deaths. As such they are known to haunt and attack anyone they find on the streets after dark. The Spirit Hunters exist to protect those who are too stupid or foolhardy to listen to the dire warnings, enforce the curfew, and dispatch ghosts that make it past the wards. Spirit Hunters are trained to deal with Ghosts specifically, but their knowledge of patterns and incorporeal foes make them equally effective against some of the more malign fey, spirits, and undead that haunt the Lesser Forrest.
- Spirit Hunters can be identified by the Red Gloves they wear. The Gloves are known to enrage the Ghosts they encounter, hopefully drawing them away from a victim unable to deal with the creature and redirect its wrath towards one who is prepared to deal with it.
- It should be noted that although the Spirit Hunters destroy the Ghosts of Xaber on a regular basis the number of Ghosts is never reduced. Slain ghosts rematerialize within the borders of the city within days and return to their mournful wailing, screaming terror and blind assaults.
- Those that join the Spirit Hunters are selected for a number of reasons, but normally its because they have shown promise against ghostly opponents or have a wish to combat the spirits that prowl the city. For them defending the cities living occupants is the most important goal, the Ghosts are a threat and needed to be treated as such.

Lantern Feeders
- Unlike the Spirit Hunters, the Lantern Feeders feel that it is their responsibility to deal with the ghosts of Xaber fairly and mercifully. To their eyes even the malign Ghosts are the wronged parties, their tormented souls remaining on this plane unable to ever escape the horrible conditions of their deaths. Lantern Feeders are dedicated to solving the mystery of the Ghosts and putting them peacefully to rest, a task they started a hundred years ago and have come no closer to completing. Lantern Feeders are capable of defending themselves against the ghosts that wish to harm them, and since the Ghosts reform within days they view destroying them as regrettable but sometimes unavoidable.
- Lantern Feeders are identified by the long pale paper lanterns they carry at the end of long aspen wood poles. They also wear white cloaks while they wander the streets. Often times the spirits of the dead can be seen trailing after them, drawn to the pale warmth emanating from the lantern.
- The Lantern Feeders are known as experts in lineage and familial histories, a task they have begun in an attempt to identify the spirits that haunt the city. It is their belief that by learning more about the individual tortured spirits they can ease their pain and help send them to a final rest.
- Lantern Feeders and Spirit Hunters are the only members of Xaber society exempt from Curfew.

Arial Cavalry
- Inside the city of Xaber there is a tall alabaster tower that reaches high into the clouds. This is the Aviary of the elite Imperial Arial Cavalry. The Cavalry is selected from the bravest children of Xaber, though outsiders who prove themselves are welcome, and are a unique arm of the Imperial Army. This branch of the Empire is situated in Xaber for a very specific reason… the proximity of the Peaks of Orn.
- Boys and Girls who are selected to join the Arial Cavalry are tested by being sent into the Peaks of Orn to find an egg that will one day be their mount. Of the children sent forth many return without an egg, these children are dismissed from the program without dishonor. Some children die in the harsh peaks, their spirits added to the ghostly wails that haunt the city each night. The bravest and luckiest return successful. Some with the eggs of Pegasi, some Hypogriffs, Giant Eagles or other exotic fair. From this point they are inducted into the order and trained in martial combat, flight, and military strategy.
- When the Egg begins to hatch the initiate is placed in direct care of it, they are supervised by previous Knights that had similar mounts… but these Knights are for supervision and assistance only. Initiates whose mounts die in this early stage are dismissed from the program, only those children who properly care for their mount and raise it properly are allowed to further themselves into the Arial Cavalry.
- Among the Arial Cavalry a mount is together with its rider for the rest of their lives. The mount is the Knights child, its closest friend, its constant companion. As long as a mount is alive they Knights do not marry and they do not have children, the program and their steed is the only concern that they should have. Should the mount die, members of the program resign to teach the next generation or can enter other military programs with honor. If the Knight is slain the mount usually follows soon after, the animals grief too much for it to bear.
- In exchange for this diligence the members of the program are granted the rarest of gifts, freedom from the prison of the earth and the right to patrol the clouds.

Ten Coin Traders
- Ten Coin Traders are the primary merchant guild in Xaber, an organization that helps supply the small city during the winter and brings its wares and services to the empire at large.
- As mentioned a large part of the population abandons Xaber during the spring and summer seasons, they travel to the nearby countryside to help in the local farms that support the city or to the empire at large selling goods and wares and collecting the items the city will need to survive the coming winter months.
- Ten Coin Traders are known to buy things on request for citizens of Xaber, picking up favored herbs and spices or selections of metal and other raw material. The price for this is relatively inexpensive, but the merchants don’t suffer due to the incredible mark up they place on items they bring from the north. Skrimshaw, furs, heavy leathers, and other wintery materials are in high demand in the southlands… but readily available to the citizens of Xaber.
- Ten Coin Traders buy Magic Weapons and Oils of Magic Weapons whenever they can, often offering a premium price for these items. However its almost impossible to purchase magical arms in Xaber.

Major Figures in Xaber

- Lady Bayt Provos (LN Human Aristocrat)
o The Imperial Governor, Lady Bayt Provos is relatively new to the city having only lived in Xaber for 3 Winters. A bureaucratic noblewoman she does her best to enforce law and rule over a populace that has survived just fine without her attempts to “improve” them.
- Mr. Metris Petto (CG Human Aristocrat)
o Head of the Community Council, Metris is an old man who has lived in Xaber his whole life. He knows the ins and outs of Xaber life better than almost anyone else, and he knows exactly how to get things done in this town. He was surprised when his request to be named Imperial Governor was ignored, but rather than dwell on it he has returned to his position of running the inner workings of his home.
- Librarian Utoa Dustin (NG Human Aristocrat) * Deceased
o A member of the noble house of Dustin, Utoa ran the Library of Xaber. This vast library houses a great deal of information on matters of the spirit realm, religious texts, magic, and the frostfell. The library is haunted by several powerful ghosts, the main reason it was left alone by the Mobb occupation, and its pre-devastation literature is one of the great treasures of the Empire. Utoa’s daughter Maryam disappeared several years ago, an act which he blames on the vengeful spirits of the Library. He was murdered recently and a Two Headed Serpent was drawn in his blood upon several of his precious tomes. The Assassins body was found days later stuffed in a closet by a thousand ghostly hands.
- The Keeper
o Master of the Ghost Feeders, the Keeper is a mystery to all outside the order. Gender, Race, and abilities are a mystery as reports conflict on each of these facts.
- Captain Womiam Dustin (N Human Urban Ranger)
o Son of Utoa Dustin, Womiam is one of the rising stars of the Spirit Hunters. Driven to join their order by his sisters disappearance Womiam prowls the library each night desperately hoping for signs of the creatures that abducted his sister and murdered his father. He refused the position of Librarian claiming it didn’t suite his style… others fear that he has a death wish.
- The Lady Meryle (NG Human Binder)
o A powerful Binder, Meryle claims to come from Xaber. She was a participant in the Manrig Games and put in a good showing defeating the much favored “Team Justice” in the arena. She was part of the company of hero’s that uncovered the Demonic conspiracy and assisted in the battle against the Wytchson. Currently she is prowling the continent searching for the sword of Lucky Ren.

The People of Xaber are…

Superstitious- All of them carry at least one good luck charm and know multiple prayers for luck.

Hearty- People who live in Xaber live rough cold lives, this makes them tougher and less likely to complain about the little things.

Religious- People from Xaber don’t preach like those from Elora, but they have a stern silent faith. It wasn’t more than 4 generations ago that their home was a demonic bastion.

Patriotic- People from Xaber love the empire and they are proud to be part of it. Even those hermits that have gone as far north as they can still hold onto imperial traditions and laws… otherwise they would have joined the free nations.

Wealthy- But not showy. People who live in Xaber have access to trade goods the rest of the empire doesn’t have as much of. Due to that they often have lots of wealth… and little to spend it on.

Races and Classes in Xaber

Humans: The vast majority of Xaber’s population is Human. Its not that Xaber doesn’t encourage people to journey north and join them, many travelers and prospectors seeking their fortunes in the north make their way to Xaber… but few people are willing to live in a haunted city.

Others: Besides Humans, Aasimar and Tiefling’s can be found in Xaber in small numbers. Dwarves have a small ghetto they have carved out for themselves, and the ever present Halflings make their presence known in they city during daylight hours. Other races exist, but more likely than not there population is limited to a single family or a small knit group.

Rangers: Due to its remote nature a vast majority of the “Warriors” in Xaber instead follow the path of the Ranger. Most Rangers from Xaber have favored enemy (Undead) to represent their training in dealing with spiritual matters, or barring that favored enemy (Animal) to help them support the community with their hunting. Relatively few have favored enemy (Demon) or (Human) thanks to Xaber’s distance from the Mobb and the lack of Demonic Activity in the north.

Spirit Shamans: Spirit Shaman techniques can be found widely used in Xaber, especially among the Lantern Feeders and Spirit Hunters.

Clerics: Xaber is a city of faith, but in a different way than theo-centric place like Elora. Xaber produces a great number of Clerics despite its lack of spiritual significance to the Empires two major religions. A great number of small religious orders dot the area, and the worship of forgotten gods is not unknown in the North.

Roleplaying Tips

You need a magic weapon to harm a ghost so enchanted blades are prized and almost never sold. No matter what class you are a +1 weapon is always a part of your gear.

Have a lucky charm, even if you don’t bring it up constantly it adds flavor to your character.

Opening your door after dark is bad luck.

Crunchy Junk

Spirit Friend
Spirit Creatures, including Ghosts and Fey, are less likely to attack you unprovoked.
Requirements: Wild Empathy or Chastise Spirits or Turn Undead
Benefits: Unless given reason all Spirit Creatures start at Neutral or better on their interactions with you. You receive a +2 Diplomacy bonus when dealing with Spiritual Creatures.

Haunted Heritage (Regional)
You are descended from one of Xaber’s original inhabitants and know that the souls of your ancestors are trapped as ghosts.
Requirements: Must be from Xaber, must be taken at level 1
Benefit: Your miss chance against incorporeal creatures is only 25%. Spells and abilities that grant your opponent a miss chance due to concealment, planar phasing, or other reasoning are reduced by 5%

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