The Conscience of the Gods
Volta offers a well-defended rest stop for caravans and riverboats. Volta survives, albeit with a diminished population, which holds steady at about 2,000.To the north stand run the open plains. To the south is the Quiet River and more grasslands that lead to Atamania. Upper Volta, infamous for monsters that lurk in the mists, guarding the ruins of bygone kingdoms. Volta feels like a frontier town despite having once boasted a greater population. Its days of boundless prosperity are a century gone, and most of the town’s current residents, which include primarily humans, halflings and half-elves, are not old enough to recall them. Volta never fully recovered from the disruption of trade brought about in the wake of the disastrous Crimson Wars, which was the fall of the Dragonborn cities as they warred amongst each other with various allies. Yet unlike many towns, it at least still stands.
Town Gates a large gateway leads under a tall wall and opens onto the streets of Volta. Several bored-looking guards stand watch at the entrance. Two iron gates, East Gate and West Gate, comprise the town’s primary entrances. These gates stand open during the day, leaving a 20-by-20-foot path that leads through the wall and into the town. A walkway crosses over the opening, connecting either side of the wall. Two towers, which are part of the wall, rise 40 feet above a gate. West Gate and East Gate are closed and locked at night, though they are opened for people leaving the town. Each of the gates is staffed by a group of four guards. Lone travelers and small groups can enter and exit for free; traders and merchants pay 5 sp per wagon or cart. Monsters and creatures that resemble monsters are refused entry (this prohibition does not include any races from the Player’s Handbook).
North Square Carts and tents surround a large communal well in the center of this plaza. The citizens of Volta bustle about the area, shopping for food, clothing, and crafts. Caravanners and river merchants set up carts and tents along the southern wall near the town’s permanent shops. Player characters looking for food, supplies, and miscellaneous items might find what they’re looking for here.
Garran’s Curiosities sign bearing the image of a unicorn horn, an hourglass, and the words “Garran’s Curiosities” hangs at the front of this store. Windows provide a view of bizarre items, including shrunken head, candy wrapped in colorful leaves, playing cards, smoking accessories, fancifully decorated tankards, and more. Locals visit Garran’s to find interesting gifts or to sell off junk in which Garran sees value. Strange items lie tucked away in the dusty nooks of this shop, though few pieces are of any real value. However, sometimes rare items pass through Garran’s, and lucky customer comes away with a valuable treasure. Thus, a stop at Garran’s Curiosities remains a favorite diversion among locals, especially Volta’s youth.
- Starra’s Knives: This dimly lit shop smells of oil and steel. The southern wall has a large display containing hundreds of different knives and daggers. No other place in Volta offers a better selection of knives, daggers, and other small bladed weapons. Many of the blades on display have accompanying names and stories, though the veracity of these embellishments is doubtful. Deanna “Starra” Starr: The proprietor of the knife shop is Deanna Starr, though most people just call her “Starra.” Folks say that Starra hails from Tethyr, but they know little else about her. She seems to have a foul memory attached to her homeland, which she won’t reveal. Starra prefers to talk about knives—how they’re made, how they feel, and the advantages of one blade over another. In addition to mundane blades, Starra carries a few magic weapons.
- Green Tankard Tavern: A sign with a green-painted tankard of ale proclaims the nature of this establishment. The tavern’s large common room holds a gregarious group that includes townspeople, riverboat folk, merchants, farmers, and one or two individual swearing the badges of the Volta Patrol. Called simply “the Tankard” by locals, this roomy inn and tavern serves as the public house for the southern portion of Volta; the Fisher’s Friend pub serves the southern part of the town, including the docks. The Tankard offers beer, spirits, and a variety of expensive wines. Meals are available throughout the day, and rooms can be rented for overnight stays – 4 sp/bed/night. Regulars and travelers alike gather each day to drink, gossip, sing, and engage in games of chance.