Setna Settlement in Ulskandar | World Anvil


A desolate, squalid place. Only those who have had to endure a trek across the Hunting Range of Algrim, fending off the attacks of ravenous beasts and ferocious tribesmen for days and weeks on end, would look on Setna as a sight for sore eyes.
Extract from Maximilian Hoherberg von Zottehal’s History of the Known World.   As the only settlement in the area known as the Hunting Range of Algrim, the town of Setna acts as the only place where, theoretically all of the tribespeople of the Range and any outsiders brave, or stupid enough to make the journey there can rest, trade and relax in safety.


Most of the people to be found in Setna are not actually permanent residents, but are tribal peoples who have come to the town to trade, drink and enjoy some respite from the harsh life the tribes lead out on the Hunting Range of Algrim.   There is, nevertheless a core of permanent residents who live year round in Setna, who are predominantly comprised of tribal peoples who are too old or infirm to continue keeping up with the harsh lifestyle on the Range, along with outsiders from beyond the borders of the Hunting Range of Algrim, who have been drawn to the area by the promise of cheap land with minimal interference by legal establishments and governments. As a result, there are many unsavoury characters who dwell in Setna, but the odd honest soul can still be found there.   In terms of the racial mix of peoples in Setna, representatives from almost every race can be found within the town. As the tribes of the Range tend to be made up of Half-Orc, Human and Dwarves, large numbers of these peoples can be found in the town, along with peoples, generally thought of as being more uncivilised in nature, such as Orcs, Lupines and Dratokarttin Goblins. Dragonborns can also be found in Setna, though those that reside there quickly learn to keep a low profile, as their natural association to the Dragons and Drakes that terrorise the land makes them objects of distrust to the other residents.


The town of Setna was established as a place where the tribal peoples that reside in the Hunting Range of Algrim could meet to trade with one another, and with the occasional outsider that braves the journey to the settlement, and where they could take advantage of services that they cannot effectively carry out for themselves in the vast grassy plains of the Range, such as access to a competent blacksmith, without having to worry about retributions or standoffs with members of other tribes. That is the theory at least.   To this end, Setna is governed by representatives of each of the numerous tribes that populate the Hunting Range of Algrim who sit on Setna’s Town Council, and the town is defended by volunteer troops provided by each of the tribes along with their representatives. However, the membership of the Town Council means that tribal rivalry has an enormous impact on the flow of business through the body, which in essence means that very little gets done, other than the tribal delegates engaging in rather spectacular shouting matches and fistfights.   The result is that Setna is, for the most part a lawless town where pretty much anything goes, where one ought to watch one’s back and where outsiders are advised not to make any obvious ties to one tribal group or another, lest their cards be marked by members of other tribes present in the town.


Setna’s defences are the most organised and well maintained part of the town, and they need to be given the settlement’s location deep in the heart of the Hunting Range of Algrim, which is, as its name indicates, the hunting range of the semi-mythical Red Dragon Algrim, along with his large brood of children, and lesser Drakes such as Wyverns that have settled in the area to prey on the large herds of Mamotens along with the various tribes people that live in the area.   In order to protect the settlement, Setna is situated on a natural peninsula that stretches into the Drakewater Lake, protecting the town from three sides from land based attack, whilst the fourth side, the western side has a palisade wall that stretches across the whole peninsula. However, in order to protect themselves from air attack, with particular regard to Dragons and other Drakes, the palisade wall has numerous watchtowers all along its length, each of which is equipped with a ballista, hopefully capable of driving away any attacking beasts. Several other watchtowers, equipped with ballistae are scattered throughout the town, with four being strung out along the shore of the lake.   However, the most effective defensive measure that is taken to ensure the safety of Setna is not the physical defences of the town, but the fact that ‘tribute’ is left outside of the settlement in order to reduce the likelihood of attack. About two miles to the west away from the town large, stinking piles of rotting meat are to be found spaced out where the peninsula on which the town is situated connects with the rest of the Hunting Range of Algrim. These piles of meat are predominantly created from animals that have been specially hunted on the Range and left as offerings to the numerous Dragonsg and Drakes in the region, in the hope that they will feast on the carcasses rather than attacking the town. To some extent, this defence of Setna has worked, as direct attacks on the town by the beasts of the Range are uncommon, though not rare. However, the situation of the offering piles across the entrance to the peninsula makes the approach to Setna far more dangerous, as those wishing to travel to the town must run the gauntlet of carnivorous creatures, drawn to the area by the knowledge that they will likely always be able to get a meal there….


Infrastructure in Setna is, in a single word, basic. To begin with, there are no roads that lead to or from the town, as it was long ago deemed that it would be far too dangerous to build a road through any part of the Hunting Range of Algrim, so those that travel to Setna must do so over the rough, though mercifully mostly flat ground of the surrounding plains. There are no properly laid out streets in the town, though a slightly larger street does weave its way from the entrance gate in the western palisade wall all the way down to the water’s edge of Drakewater Lake. The ‘streets’ that do exist are simply dirt tracks that weave in between the various ramshackled buildings that have sprung up higgledy-piggledy all over the area of the town.   Even the term ‘building’ is a strong one for many of the structures that have been built in Setna. As wood is an incredibly scarce commodity on the Range, many of the buildings are constructed from dried mud bricks, with dried grass roofs, whilst others have been cobbled together from scrap wood and stone. For example, there are numerous small dwellings that have been constructed from long abandoned, broken down wagons and carts, which have been upended and reinforced. As well as this, many residents of Setna live permanently in tents, and it is thought that there are more tents than permanent buildings in the town. One of the largest most popular taverns in the town, the Big Top, is not housed in a building, but is instead set in an enormous, high ceilinged tent not unlike that which would be used by a travelling circus. As it is deemed too unsafe to spend much time beyond the palisade wall, most of the dwellings in Setna are surrounded by areas of cultivated ground, where their occupants grow vegetables and other foodstuffs, and rear animals such as pigs, chickens, goats and sheep. The addition of these small plots of cultivation adds further confusion to the tracks that lead through the town, many of which have become dead ends as these micro-farms have encroached over what used to be the path.   Despite its rather poor provisioning and squalid appearance at first glance, Setna is provided with all the basic services that a traveller might want before setting out on the road again, one just has to know where to look. There are merchants, blacksmiths, medical practitioners of sorts and plenty of other people willing to trade goods (both common and more illicit in nature) and services to people with cash to spend. It is also not unusual to find the odd trader in Setna, drawn to the town by the prospect of picking up exotic animal pelts that will sell for a handsome sum elsewhere, selling their goods directly out of their wagons.


The town of Setna is located in the heart of the Hunting Range of Algrim on the western shore of the large lake that is set roughly in the centre of the Range, Drakewater. The town itself sits on a small peninsula that juts out into Drakewater, meaning the only angle of approach from the land is to the west, giving the town a natural defensive position.   The land around Setna is flat and level grassland, characteristic of the terrain across the whole of the Hunting Range of Algrim. The lack of hills or elevated areas means that the town’s watchtowers get a good, clear view of the surrounding landscape, and more importantly the surrounding skyline, which is an important point, given the necessity to scan the skyline for Dragons and other types of Drakes.
c.800 permanent residents.
Inhabitant Demonym
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Cover image: by Chris Pyrah


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