Bayvale Settlement in Abios | World Anvil


Bayvale is the Capital City of the Kingdom of Otharia and is the largest settlement on the continent of Abios. The city lies on the south-west coast of the Otharian Peninsula with the Emerald Sea to the south, and the Ruthless Span to the west. Bayvale is considered a trading mecca of the Emerald Basin, only second to the Slave Tradeport of Bhaevor. Much like Bhaevor, Bayvale is also considered a den of inequity controlled by corrupt politicians and bureaucrats, various criminal bosses and syndicates, as well as the Clergy of Gargauth.


Bayvale is an old city that has attempted to solve the problem of urban sprawl by building upwards rather than building outwards. This has allowed the city to support more population per square mile than other large settlements. The patron deity of worship for Bayvale happens to be a Baatezu from the Nine Hells, and as a result the city is quite dark with hints of red and yellow painted throughout the city. The architecture is gothic in nature characterized by the heavy use of the pointed arch, the ribbed vault and the flying buttress. Numerous statues and gargoyles demonic in nature line the tops and edges of most influential and civic buildings which give the city a rather ominous feel of one being watched wherever one goes -- fitting for a city that worships the god also known as the Lord Who Watches. The weather of the Emerald Sea also causes the city to be bathed in fog throughout most the year. The fog tends to burn off in the late afternoons, but reappears as dusk falls. Because of this, the city always feels as if it's encased in a foreboding cloud of uncertainly and suspicion, which only heightens the paranoia of the inhabitants.
As one enters the city through the north road, visitors are immediately subjected to the slums of the poor and downtrodden. As one progresses, on the west side of the road are numerous warehouses and manufactories owned and operated by the various crime syndicates in town. Across the road is a large open field that is used to assemble armies or construct war machines during times of conflict. When not being used for such purposes, the field is used for the training of the Otharian Army known as the Crimson Wings. The Crimson Wings is the standing army of Bayvale, and most of Otharia as a whole. The army consists almost entirely of heavily-armored foot soldiers armed with shield and spears or zweihanders and are considered one of the most elite and well-trained military organizations on the continent of Abios. When not training, the Crimson Wings augment the City Guards in maitaining peace throughout the City with a Crimson Guard Soldier typically leading a handful of City Guardsmen known as the Hellions -- both feared by the populace.
The city walls are made from a dark gray stone which adds to the ominous feel of the city, and square towers line the walls filled with Crimson Wing Archers quietly judging everyone that enters through the main gates. The north road eventually terminates at the Animus Square, a large paved plaza in the center of the walled section of the city. From the square, one can easy see the imposing Horned Obelisk, the seat of power for the Kingdom of Otharia and the residence of King Ornorth Tarrenshade.

Horned Obelisk

The Horned Obelisk is the tallest structure within the city of Bayvale, and stands as the portentous symbol of both the Kingdom of Otharia's power and the influence of the Tenth Lord of the Nine, Gargauth. The Horned Obelisk is a complicated complex with the base of the building housing the worshipers and clergy of Gargauth in rectangular structures several stories high. The tower that is the obelisk then extends from the north-western rectangular structure and rises multiple stories high. At the top of the tower resides the royal apartments of the King with his throne room having a full 360° view of the city. Both the clergy buildings and the Horned Obelisk is constructed with pointed tops and arches with the tops of the rectangular structures connecting at the base of the obelisk. It is said there is a dungeon beneath the Obelisk, however this hasn't been confirmed since there are no survivors after being taken captive by the Crimson Wings. It is possible this is merely propaganda to keep the populace in line.

Dakyce School of Sorcery

South of Animus Square is the Dakyce School of Sorcery, an establishment with the sole purpose of training Sorcerers and Wizards in the employ of the Kingdom of Otharia. Considering the fact that the surrounding neighbors of Otharia also have similar institutions or organizations -- specifically the Setite Wizards of Xeshana and the Dragonborn MakiaViri Chaswhi of Edrax -- the Crown has decided that in the interest of self-preservation and national security, an institution dedicated to mastery of magic is necessary. The Otharians are rather late to the game in producing quality Wizards and Sorcerers of prominence, which tend to either flock to the Schools dedicated to Mystra or those of Zhentil Keep. Nonetheless, King Ornorth Tarrenshade recognizes the need for having such an organization and has opened the floodgates of the royal coffers in order to provide them adequate funding.

Emerald Interchange

South of the Dakyce School of Sorcery lies the Royal Docks of Bayvale. These docks are solely made available for VIPs, Dignitaries, prominent business owners and Criminal bosses, and is home of King Ornorth Tarrenshade's private yacht. Most of the sea trade within the city happens outside of the walled portion of the city, along the northern coast to the west of the Warehouses and Manufactories described above. This area of Bayvale is known as the Emerald Interchange, a mass collection of docks, warehouse, cranes and workhouses occupied by hired stevedores. The Emerald Interchange is the largest port facility dedicated to the loading and unloading of ship cargo anywhere on the continent of Abios, and is somewhat a marvel to watch. Seeming to operate as a ballet, the stevedores, crane operators, and ship captains come and go and perform their portion of the dance with extreme precision. The existence of such expertise in the art of ship cargo transference can be attributed to the fact that the Emerald Interchange charges a fee if one tarries too long on their assigned dock. Each ship is given a certain amount of time that they can occupy a dock, and the offloading crane operators and stevedores are also given a prescribed amount of time to complete their task. If any go over their designated time, fees are imposed and can easily reach exorbitant amounts. As such, stevedores and crane operators are often replaced depending on who is the reigning 'hot-shot' that can show their worth in their ability to perform better than the others. This has the unfortunate side-effect of most dock workers being replaced on a whim, and most being subject to tyrannical working conditions since there is a never-ending supply of workers begging for employment.


Surprisingly, a variety of entertainment facilities flourish within the city in the manner of taverns, casinos, pleasure houses, theaters, and baths. The theaters of Bayvale are considered Theaters of the Absurd or Theaters of Cruelty with most performances based around shocking the audience or skirting the lines between theater and witnessing true acts of cruelty. These performances typically lack any impressive story and instead rely on the acts featured within the performances to shock and astonish the audiences, typically looking to feed into a certain persona's fetish or primal desires. The casinos of Bayvale are considered prestigious in their own right, though nowhere near the level of the casinos of Bhaevor. Pleasure Houses typically rely on the Tiefling Slave Trade to offer patrons a wide variety of specifically bred and styled Tieflings to match any taste or preference, while the bathhouses are opulent and feature a full-service staff catering to every individual's needs and wants.


The city is ruled by the tyrant King Ornorth Tarrenshade, with the power of his court being backed by the Crimson Wings, the Hellions, and the Clergy of Gargauth known as the Infernal Council. The Clergy of Gargauth are unlike the clergy of other deities in that it operates in the same manner of a cult, lacking any true hierarchical structure. Calling the Infernal Council an actual council is a misnomer -- there is no council. The order is ruled and directed solely by one individual named Gotham Shadowwalker, an individual rarely seen by the populace of Bayvale or the lesser clergy of the Infernal Council. It is rumored that Gotham Shadowwalker stays at Ornorth Tarrenshade's side, and the two manage the city and the fate of Otharia.
Ornorth Tarrenshade is a calm, cool, and incredibly unnerving individual to meet in person. His voice is smooth as silk, and his demeanor can be considered erudite, charming, and genteel. However, he can quickly turn into a vicious and ruthless individual with little scruples, compassion or empathy. It is rumored, after feeling slighted at a dinner he hosted for certain dignitaries, that he personally took pleasure in disemboweling a delegate from Tiradryn with a serving spoon on the royal dining table in front of the assembled guests. The delegate had questioned his method of rule, to which Ornorth demonstrated the effectiveness of his leadership. The message was quickly received, and no one has dared question his leadership style since.
Ornorth Tarrenshade is unmarried, has no heir, but is surprisingly un-concerned about the prospect of dying anytime soon. He is, after all, surprisingly fit for being 89 years of age. The significance of his deceptive looks have not been lost on visitors or his court staff, and it is rumored he is employing some manner of magic to keep up his youthful physique and appearance -- possibly the motivation for overly funding the Dakyce School of Sorcery. This only heightens people's unease while in his presence, and he uses that to his advantage when negotiating contracts and treaties for the Kingdom.


The city of Bayvale is known for the manufacturing and export of weapons and armor, olive oil, fine wool, spices, silk, damask, and muslin. In additional to the commodities exported by Bayvale, the city is best known for its financial services of banking, accounting, money-lending, and speculation. The city of Bayvale places importance on bureaucrats, politicians, financiers, crime lords, solicitors and lawyers. While most cities have a branch office of a particular company or organization that maintains accountability for one's money, Bayvale is where these organizations are typically headquartered. Bayvaleans love drafting, fabricating, and negotiating new contracts on any and all matters of consequence. They are also quite corrupt, and red tape can be cut through when backed up with enough money -- or added to another entity's dossier to prevent competitors from advancing.To most of the inhabitants of Abios, the population and practices of Bayvale are seen as distasteful, however they have arguably carved a niche for themselves, one that has allowed them to become one of the wealthiest nations on the continent.
In additional to the above mentioned services, the city is host to a number of craftsmen and services which include the following:
Magic Shops


  • Bayvale
    Map of the City of Bayvale, largest city on the continent of Abios and the Capital of the Kingdom of Otharia.

Total Population
8,390 (Slaves)
Total City Guard
582 clergy tend to the spiritual needs of Gargauth, the Hidden Lord. They are overseen by 47 ordained priests.

Mercenaries of Aredar

Bayvale is considered a prime location for the Mercenaries and Barbarian clansmen of Aredar to spend their ill-gotten coin. It is not uncommon to walk into a Bayvalean casino and see the towering muscled form of a Barbarian sitting at a gambling table a good head or two above the crowd. These mercenaries are also prone to getting into bar fights and scuffles in the dark alleyways of the city. Many of the crime lords employ the mercenaries for short jobs while they're in town to unwind, and most of the mercenaries are all too happy to mix a little business with pleasure.

Thieves of Mask

The followers of the deity Mask tend to use Bayvale as their own personal playground by relieving those individuals too fat on coin of their money. Given the fact that the streets of Bayvale are, to a certain degree, considered lawless to the petty struggles of lone individuals unable to provide a sizable entourage or security detail, this offers the followers of Mask a perfect opportunity to train and hone their skills and abilities. In addition to simple robbery and extortion, the followers of Mask also attempt to hone their skills in the ability to cause mischief and confusion. They often attempt to infiltrate organizational circles that are privy to generating and implementing complex contracts. Once infiltrated, they attempt to insert amendments that are cheeky, mischievous, absurd, and downright ludicrous. Some of these amendments have found their way into being signed and stamped as official, which has led to some embarrassing moments for the signatories. One such occurrence involved certain prominent Lords having to walk through the streets in nothing but their nightcaps clucking like a chicken and having their staff throwing handfuls of coin to the populace. Knowing that Bayvaleans hold contracts to the letter, they often find ways to have a bit of fun with the bureaucracy and uptight aristocracy. This also furthers their organization's prestige and spreads the knowledge of Mask to the unfortunate of Bayvale, which have a favorable view of Mask due to their mischievous and playful marketing campaign.
Character | Aug 3, 2018

Mask is self-possessed, confident, and fond of intricate plots, though his schemes are always getting him in trouble. The Lord of Shadows is wary but cool, never losing his temper, and he always seems to be holding back a mocking comment.

Bards of Bayvale

There is one constant in the world, that whenever a Nobleman, Lord or Lady, or any individual that has the privilege of being in possession of large amounts of coin eventually becomes bored, they will inevitably seek to be entertained. The wealthy of Bayvale are no different, and to combat the dreadful restlessness that comes with being rich, the wealthy seek the company of Bards, Minstrels, and Entertainers to liven their residence, place of business, or impressive party. Bards recently graduated from the Bard College of Valmere tend to make their way down the eastern coast of the Peninsula of Otharia to arrive in Bayvale to seek easy fame and fortune. This had led to an influx of too many bards in the city unable to be supported by the amount of wealth generated from the aristocracy, and find themselves turning to a life of crime. These crimes typically present themselves in the form of pickpockets, con-artists, card sharks, and charlatans. Some of the more talented bards make their coin by serenading and subsequently robbing wealthy nobles and naive family members of crime syndicates. These street rats have carved out a slice of the pie for themselves within Bayvale and have thrived. As a result, most of these graduates tend to learn life-lessons from the school of hard knocks not taught to them within an academic setting. It can be a perilous school, however, with a majority of the bards being drawn and quartered after being caught attempting some complex scheme above their talent level. However, those that do manage to stay alive and stay ahead end up making a name for themselves. To any street rat of Bayvale, this is the ultimate dream -- to become renowned and known throughout all of Abios as the Master Bard and Storyteller with a sizeable mound of coin to sit upon.

Additional Reading

Character | Apr 21, 2018

Gargauth, The Lord Who Watches, embodies the inevitable decay and corruption that accompanies all self-serving, greedy, and power-hungry leaders and groups.

The Emerald Basin
Geographic Location | Dec 28, 2018

Cover image: Volsinii City by Jonas De Ro


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Laughing Prophet
9 Jul, 2018 05:11

Unpleasant volumes of corruption, rampant criminal syndicates, thievery, hedonism, and a literal cult operating as the local church of choice. I feel obliged to make a generic "Feels like Hollywood" joke here.   The explicit breakdowns on population and business numbers is also quite interesting. I personally feel it's better to take an approximation on those once you hit a certain scale but there's definitely benefits to that sort of fine granularity.

9 Jul, 2018 06:31

Inserts generic "Feels like Washington D.C." joke instead

Forgemaster Dimitris
Dimitris Havlidis
9 Jul, 2018 05:23

Big, angry and seductive - the way I like them :P

Join me, become a Sky Pirate in the world of Lyra!

9 Jul, 2018 05:28


9 Jul, 2018 12:48

I'm now particularly jealous of the amount of detail in this. HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO WRITE?! Great work!

9 Jul, 2018 14:48

Well I created the article on Feb 16th, and all it was them was a blank article with just the name of the city. I decided yesterday (7/8/18) I should probably knuckle down and write about it, so I believe I started around 2 pm and kind of slowly did a little here and a little there while taking breaks throughout. Finished the article last night around 10 pm, so 8 hours of slowly pecking away at it? Could have possibly done it in half the time if I was going full-bore, but....why kill yourself?

10 Jul, 2018 03:29

Don't make me hate you

9 Jul, 2018 15:48

So much to read and so much to say! I quite liked the article. It's an easy read, even if there's a lot of informations. I especially liked the different guilds and schools (I'd love to join the Thieves of Mask! They seem like a fun bunch :P), although the city itself doesn't seem very welcoming. Unless you have money. Or love making up contracts!

9 Jul, 2018 15:50

Forgot to mention: I really wouldn't want to meet that Ornorth brrr. Seems like he wouldn't be very frendly.

9 Jul, 2018 17:19

The city certainly isn't for the kind-hearted. It is considered one of the 'evil' nations and cities on the continent of Abios. The Kingdoms of the North are far more welcoming (such as the Kingdom of Laskea).

31 Jul, 2018 21:09

wow, fantastically detailed article! the idea of a demonic-inspired city is extremely cool on its own, and made more interesting by the fact that tieflings, despite being demonic, are seen as accessories more than people. also "there is no council" is a lovely ominous element, gotta love political corruption and drama. i think i could play an entire campaign just in this city!

1 Aug, 2018 00:22

Thank you so much for the kind words. Yes, I could certainly see playing like a 'box' campaign based on the city alone. Feel free to check out the rest of my world, and if you are a follower of my world, you'll get access to articles which are currently set to private (to protect spoiling my players). Enjoy!