Volos is the Outlaw City. Seated on the southwestern coast in Temir, it's run by and home to the Rilador, an ancient order of pirates and buccaneers. While the shipyards there may not produce the finest vessels, the forges of the orcs do produce the finest cannons. A city of battle and crime, loyalty and rebellion, everyone in Volos stands ready to run out the guns.
Originally a fort on the north end of Salar Ziarat, it was abandoned during the Age of Dragons, and rediscovered by the pirate Hamzah, the First Raider, a survivor of the cataclysm of Tachros and a sailor looking for a port. The fort grew into a town, and Hamzah established the Rilador to protect his pirate brethren from each other, and help them stand together against the other city states. Volos grew into a haven for pirates, mercenary companies, and every brand out outlaw, welcoming coin from every opportunity.
Age of Prophecy
During the Fourth War, the Rilador took funds from Scything Crag, along with Dwarven technology, and skirmished with the navy to keep them out of the fight. The first Dwarven steel-ships were launched, and their mercenaries, unwilling to join in the many sieges, spent a lovely vacation sitting out the war. The city would pay the price though, and when the slave trade was shattered during the Plague of the Hungry Dead, their ties with the Crag were cut.
Age of Peace
Left to stand alone in the Age of Peace, Volos has joined with Malkara and Isard to form the Western Alliance, offering up the services of their ships as a makeshift navy. However, this new dependence on diplomacy has placed a the city under scrutiny and pressure, pressing them to answer to more than the call of coin and loyalty to each other.
A pirate port, much of the city's culture revolves around carousing. Drinking, brawling, shooting, and tests of might keep each other strong, and maintain the loose pecking order of the Rilador. Founded by orcs, the residents inherit many of their customs, from a love of silks and songs to the honor of the fighting circle, a stone platform in the centre of town where people show their mettle. The captains spend lavishly, and they say Volos boasts the best taverns and meadhalls in the southern sea.
The city of Volos is ruled directly by the Rilador. The Captain of Captains and her council oversee all civic matters, from provisions to law to defense. While originally made up solely of ship's captains, the council has seen fit to promote several residents to the rank of captain in order to benefit from their expertise. The council of sixteen is typically made up of residents, captains both active and retired, a trio of spellcasters, and a spiritual advisor or soothsayer.
While an outlaw city, Volos is far from lawless. The Rilador have little patience for bureaucracy, but they have less for disloyalty, and committing dishonourable crimes against fellow pirates is an act of brutal betrayal. For seafarers, their captain often metes out justice, while shorebound residents find it from the council. The law offers one chance to make amends, and only one. This rule has caused duelists in Malkara to refer to Volos as "The City of a Thousand Apologies", but it keeps an armed and boisterous people from fighting over petty matters.
- The patrols of the Frontier Rangers rarely make it far enough south to reach Volos, though the peculiarities of the Dunj in the west have drawn a few more of late.
- While the Wizards of the Coast don't officially participate in the business of Volos, they certainly benefit from the freedom of movement enjoyed by the Rilador, and there are often a few guild mages on the council of late, archmaguses living in the city on sabbatical.
- The Church of the Ivory Throne is unwelcome in the outlaw city. The Rilador value nothing less than order for order's sake, and reject all of its teachings.
A brief look at how some of the residents of Volos live their lives:
- Founded by Orcs, they still make up the majority of the city, their families displaying elaborate banners and pageantry, making beautiful art and more beautiful firearms. The entire region is filled with songs about fair princes being carried off by dashing Orcish pirates.
- Crews of Dwarves came south during the wars in the Age of Prophecy, and never left. Crewing several steel-ships,, they have become a fixture in the town over generations.
- Some of Volos's original artisans, Goliaths are a frequent sight in the city. New families arrive every few generations, unwilling or unable to stomach their kin in Tachros.
- Aasimar have been a line in Volos since the dread pirate Yvia, who sang like an angel and danced like the devil. All of the angel-kin are seen as her children, regardless of family line.
- All manner of Genasi thrive in the city, their elemental natures easily adapting to the mayhem and turmoil. From the luck of a Water Genasi on the deck of a ship to the misfortune of a Fire Genasi in an alchemist's lab, they live their lives as they please.
- Minotaurs are internationally known as raiders and pirates, and are drawn to the rambunctious nature of the Rilador. One Minotaur captain fresh from the southern ocean, was quoted long ago saying "The parties are just as good, and the krakens are much smaller."
Renegade mages used to flock to Volos to gain the infrastructure to support their banditry, unauthorized research, and magical predilections. However, times have changed. The Demon Kingdom now provides a haven for outcast spellcasters, and Volos's presence in the Western Alliance has brought them closer to legitimacy than ever before. The Rilador require their spellcasters to be licensed as a gesture of good faith to the alliance, often tying their fates to the guild itself, or to the captain of that mages' ship. These political changes have meant that Volos is rarely the laissez-faire city of magical mishaps it once was. More and more of its mages are war wizards dedicated to piracy, or powerful artisans with generational ties to the city.
Volos rejects the teachings of the Ivory Throne, but not its gods. The city holds Gulnur as its patron deity, making offerings to the Wind of Change for safe travel and good plunder. Tural, the Shadow Count, is featured prominently in pirate establishments embracing a layer of skullduggery, and chaplains offer prayers of good fortune for their crews and confusion for their enemies. The pirate's prayer can be heard every day around the city, "Take what you can. Give nothing back."
The neighborhoods of Volos and their notable locations
The Great Lighthouse
Only accessible during the low tide, the Great Lighthouse is a monastery, home to monks baking bread, brewing beer, and perfecting their martial arts.Taking in many youths of Volos, they offer to sharpen their skills and awareness, to shepherd them into the people they might become.
The Truth in Stone
A raised circular stone stage in the heart of the city, the Truth in Stone is where residents brawl in the orcish tradition. Combatants settle differences, make confessions, and take each other to their limits to see the truth in their hearts. The most popular site in Volos for marriage proposals, the Truth in Stone is a vital part of the city's fighting culture.
The Alchemist Tower
Home to Kerra, the Aasimar's High Magus station restored by virtue of the alliance, the Alchemist Tower is the de facto seat of power for the city's magicians. A place of training and experimentation, the tower enforces iron discipline punctuated by the occasional explosion.
The Outlaw Fort
Sanctum of the Rilador, the Outlaw Fort has a commanding view of the coast, providing a strategic advantage as well as safeguarding their treasures. In the years of peace it's become more of a civic building, a place for council meetings and votes. It's also the home of the region's only bank, providing interest-free loans against the security of the pirates' accumulated booty.
The Captain's Mile
A street of inns, taverns, and more stretching for a mile from the docks. The Captain's Mile hosts some of the most famous inns in the region, from the Moon and Meteor where the Rilador once held court, to the Purple Troll, where visitors can kiss a troll toe in a shot. Crews walk the mile to let off steam and spend their shares, carousing until their ship sets out again.
The Foundry District
Inland from the Captain's Mile is the Foundry District, where thick black smoke emerges from large buildings as the city's artisans cast cannons, guns, and all manner of other fittings. The stink of soot and hot iron pervades the air, and in the center of the district stands Lirea, a one of a kind siege cannon, a monument to the longstanding friendship of Orcs and Dwarves.