|Titles|| Doorway to Absalom; Back Door of Absalom;|
Derelict (possible older name)
|Region||Isle of Kortos|
|Demographics||4,732 humans, 37 gillmen, 33 half-elves, 21 halflings, 16 elves, 8 dwarves, 12 other|
|Ruler||Lord Avid of House Arnsen†|
Source: Towns of the Inner Sea, pg(s). 4-13
Diobel is one of the two smaller settlements on the Isle of Kortos under the rule of the city-state of Absalom. While not as large as Escadar off the isle's northern coast, Diobel plays an important role in the commercial and political affairs of the City at the Center of the World.
On the western coast of the Isle of Kortos, where once stood a mighty siege town, rests the flooded port city of Diobel. The city's inner harbor is protected by a giant maze of shipwrecked war-barges, crumbling walls, and haphazard jetties of iron and wood. These defenses prevent larger trading vessels and warships from entering the harbor itself, and the deeper waters of the bay are often crowded with ships at anchor. Inside the maze lies a wide bay called the Shallows, which provide calm waters and safe passage to the smaller rowboats and flat-bottomed cargo vessels. The Shallows flow into a series of wooden and stone walkways which stretch below the city, possessing various docks and bunkers called the Underdocks. Most of the town stands suspended on pylons above the Underdocks, or hangs precariously on the rocky shore of the bay. The shipwrecks and debris that protect Diobel's harbor from pirates and sea monsters were erected in imitation of Absalom's Flotsam Graveyard.
Claw District, or the Claw: the north east outskirts, part of the "in-land" that Diobelians rarely refer to fondly. Old Diobelian families maintain camps here and explorers make this their last stop on the way to explore the island.
Red Bridge Pearl Market: located on the Red Bridge (over the Deluge River) and under it, the bridge is the favoured place for pearl vendors and wizard duels—despite the duels recently having acquired prohibited status.
Wisps on the Water: a pleasure barge, moored in the Trawl (West Diobel), run by Salodri. It is home to every indulgence of the flesh imaginable and it glows with illusory floating lights which are its namesake.
Kaldroon's Smokehouse: a rustic ocean side seafood restaurant in west-central Diobel, run by Jitsy Kaldroon, with cheap and tasty crab and smoked oysters—popular with both commoners and wealthy merchants as well as out-of-towners—expect long lines.
Zamlin's Drouge Den: an elegant, jet-black, ocean side two-story inn and gambling house in west-central Diobel, run by Talika Zamlin, specializing in the addictive Vudrani game of draj, (locally pronounced "drouge"), and fine spirits.
Hoag's Rickets and Rumples: a posh, white, three-story, gaming house and inn in central Diobel, featuring spicy food, live bardic performances, and contests of skill and athletics. Run by halfling Filian Hoag, the establishment is named after its most popular games: Rickets, a high-risk, fast dice game, and Rumples, a card folding game.
Hall of the Teriarch: this domed hall and stronghold in central-east Diobel is by far the tallest building and serves as both the court and the offices for Lord Avid of House Arnsen. Constructed on the site of the old keep's ruins the hall dominates the skyline, often blinding with light reflected by its covering of thousands of mother-of-pearl tiles.
Harpy's Gate: a gate in the middle of half-finished eastern town wall, the Harpy's Gate is named for the creatures that plague the town, serves as a caravan checkpoint. Caravan captains strike their bargains with traders that want to bring their goods to Absalom, but for various reasons choose to dock at Diobel and travel over-land.
Scabbit Camp: located "in-land" to the east of Diobel, this encampment is populated by the quick to anger Scabbit family including patriarch Makka Scabbits. They are xenophobic to the point of in-breeding but fine hunters and sell quality furs at low prices for those willing to risk entering their camp.
Consortium Citadel: located in south-central Diobel, the dockside building housing the Consortium was the tallest building in Diobel until the Hall of the Teriarch was created. Still the commercial centre of town, the large gray building is trimmed in green and a banner for each member family in the Kortos Consortium hangs in plain view. Each family with a stake maintains offices therein and all of the town's biggest trade deals are arranged in its warded conference rooms.
The Bristles District, or the Bristles: this southern district is home to low-rate inns, markets and taverns as well as warehouses and poorer family homes. Ship builders and gillmen also operate heavily in the district.
Pikapell Market: the largest market within the Bristles District, even locals disagree whether the name hails from cries of "Pick a pearl!" or "Pick a pelt!" from either the town's history of fur traders or pearl sellers and this can lead to the odd drunken brawl. Despite the foul local waters, the local gillmen populate the area below the market and eke a living from market refuse.
Devil's Pier: at the extreme southern end of the harbour, this pier's name stems from the habit of Chelish ships to dock at Diobel to avoid the delays imposed on them in Absalom after a large bribe to Lord Avid of House Arnsen permitted them to construct a pier solely for their use. However, since completion, the pier and the associated warehouse have been largely abandoned by the Chelish Captains.
The Tails: a dive bar catering to alcoholic dock workers, it stands as a makeshift Pathfinder Lodge (with no accommodation or library) where venture-captains can meet, requisition resources and find lodging.
Smugglers and food merchants have preferred to ship goods to Absalom through Diobel for centuries, in order to avoid Absalom's stiff harbor taxes, its law enforcement, and its criminal element. This popularity has made Diobel one of the largest markets for contraband in the Inner Sea region.
Ships anchor in the harbor and transport their goods to shore over the Shallows in large barges. Traders meet with caravan captains at the Harpy's Gate to arrange overland transport. The caravans between Diobel and Absalom, which trade furs, timber, and food from independent farms along the dangerous route, are a major source of Absalom's food supply.
Diobel's chief governor is known as the Teriarch, a position appointed by the Grand Council of Absalom. The current ruler of the city is Lord Avid of House Arnsen, a childhood friend (and now bitter rival) of Absalom's Primarch, Lord Gyr.
Lord Avid's main political rival in Diobel is the Kortos Consortium, a guild of merchants that controls significant parts of the town's trade. The Consortium is a merchant's guild, claiming to be dedicated to eliminating the smuggling of contraband, stolen merchandise, and tax-free imports, as well as the exporting of Kortosian artifacts that fall outside Absalom's enforceable jurisdiction. Terms of office are generally long, thus members with higher levels of responsibility often give up their primary business ventures and settle in Diobel for lives of public service. Despite the Consortium's best efforts, smuggling still occurs, and illicit merchandise travels in both directions overland to and from the city of Absalom. Because of the commercial repercussions of controlling Diobel's harbor, ambitious factions looking to gain influence in the City at the Center of the World are often first seen targeting Diobel.
Many of the trapper families around Diobel are of Kellid descent, and speak Hallit rather than Taldane. Some of these "inlanders" visit Diobel only once or twice a year, and are little more trusted than the minotaurs or harpies of the island's interior.
Jitsy Kaldroon a.k.a. "Auntie Jitsy": runs Kaldroon's Smokehouse, tolerates no misbehaviour and is part of a big, loyal and hard-working family (among the oldest in Diobel) who farm oysters and dive for pearls—the family's reputation precludes them being trifled with.
Elvi Kaldroon: a middle-aged human woman, also part of the Kaldroon family. Elvi is tall and broad with great strength, an iron will, and a history of fighting in defense of her family and their reputation as hard-working. She is rumoured to have viciously killed her brother's murders when she was a girl of just 12. She is also rumoured to have broken Mason Karbie's leg as retribution for an offence given to a young woman in the Kaldroon family.
Mason Karbie: leader of the Barge Gang, is an intimidating vicious man with long arms, oily hair and a facial scar. Mason is short, old, and has a reputation of some skill with a knife. He walks with a limp, possibly acquired in his dealings with the Kaldroon family.
Prince Lyrel Rambas: the "prince" leads a crew of thugs and murderers in the Kortos Consortium and gains his wealth on the high seas. Rambas and his crew are in a secret battle with Karbie and his Barge Gang.
Sipho Munali: a retired privateer, previously employed by the Andoren Navy, has no small amount of skill as sorcerer. Though retired (comfortably in the Munali manor), Sipho still keeps an eye open for the Office of Privateering Actions.
Filian Hoag, sometimes spelt Filius Hoag: a halfling rogue whose attention to style and appearance betrays his upbringing in Taldor. He runs Hoag's Rickets and Rumples and games with his friend Talika Zamlin. His history remains a mystery but includes at least one reason for an assassin to be contracted.
Makka Scabbits: Patriarch of the in-bred Scabbit family, the experienced hunter and tracker is a widower—but rumoured to have remarried to one of the harpies that plague the town.
Alvalda Margruel: a powerful bard and aristocrat nearing her 50th year, Alvalda is the statuesque matriarch of House Margruel which earned a fortune in ship-building for other houses in Absalom. House Margruel is a member of the Kortos Consortium, well-loved by commoners for their charity. Alvalda's four grown children manage the daily affairs of the house, while she maintains relationships with locals, notably Elvi Kaldroon—a commoner not easily won over by the aristocracy.
Palraxi Locosta: a middle-aged female tiefling sorcerer of supposed Taldan (but likely Chelish) aristocratic stock, leader of House Locosta, a powerful member-family of the Kortos Consortium that participates in the slave trade. Her tiefling heritage apparently has left her with red scaly skin for which she seeks any and all available treatments.
A major article about Diobel, including a map and gazetteer, may be found in Towns of the Inner Sea, p. 4ff.
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