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Stilben,[3] also known as The Rotted Lot[4] is a large port town located in the K'Tawl Swamp of the Republic of Tal'Dorei. Vox Machina originally met and formed their group in Stilben.[5][6]

Description

Stilben is a shady city built around the Bay of K'Tawl on the shore of the Lucidian Ocean. The city is surrounded by a sprawling marshland and the air is usually sticky, humid, uncomfortably warm, and full of the ever-present sound of buzzing insects.[7]

Economy

Stilben is the largest port on Lucidian Coast, and the focal point of international trade between Tal'Dorei and Wildemount.[7] Money flows here primarily through a strong textile trade, a dynamic black market, and a loosely-kept set of laws that could be briefly "purchased" should they stand in someone's way.[8]

The cross-continental Silvercut Roadway's eastern terminus is in Stilben and serves as a major path for the trade of rare goods, textiles, and spices. This has "given rise to a formidable merchant ruling class" in the city.[7]

The vast majority of Stilben's business is aimed towards travelers. Each street has at least one inn and tavern, and there are a large number of brothels within the city.[7]

Points of interest

  • The Vas Estate: A large mansion built over two hundred years ago by the Vas Lordship, one of the more powerful trade families that have held power in Stilben. The estate was once home to the heir to the Vas family fortune, Fendril Vas, but it is not known what became of the estate or the fortune after Fendril was slain by Vox Machina.[8]
  • The Post[9][10]
  • Rampart Gate[9][10]
  • Northern Ramparts[9][10]
  • The Livery[11]
Durth's Sinkhole

Outer town

This district houses the poor and disenfranchised of Stilben, who have been pushed out from the more central and cosmopolitan parts of the city. People living in this district are are derisively called muckdwellers by the other citizens.[7]

Upwater Wharf
Muckfront Row
Downwater Wharf
The Low Common
  • The Bucket & Spade Tavern[9]
  • The Sunset Stride Tavern: the largest tavern within Stilben, the Sunset Stride is where many of the blue-collar grunts of the local trades come to unwind. Music and laughter permeate the warmly-lit interior, and a large job-board looms over the far wall. The tavern's barkeep is Father Moordek Vart.[8]
The Run-Off

Inner town

Central Stilben

Central Stilben is the heart of businesses, residences, and attractions in the town and is presented as the more respectable and prosperous side of Stilben by those who live there.[2]

North Bay Docks
Bay's End Slums
Bay Docks

Map

Official map of Stilben, by Andy Law from Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn.[art 3]

Society

The social atmosphere is relaxed, the nightlife fairly lively, and there is enough work to go around, especially mercenary work.[8]

Demographics

As of 812 PD, Stilben is a small city with a population of about 9,015. The population is mostly human (70%), but there are significant proportions of elves (10%), halflings (10%), and half-elves (5%), with a small percentage of other races scattered about (5%).[12]

By 836 PD, Stilben's population has grown to 10,660 permanent residents. Humans make up 67% of the population, elves and halflings each make up 11%, half-elves still make up 5%, and other races comprise the remaining 6%. The actual number of people in the city is often double that, or even triple during the summer months, thanks to the many sailors passing through.[7]

Notable people

Name Type Description
Iselda[13] NPC Summoned by the Myriad in illusion.[14]
Spireling Harrock[15] NPC Head of the The Clasp in Stilben.[16]
Lustran Zeth[17] NPC An alchemist, textile baron, and the leader of the Stilben sect of the Myriad.[18][17]
The Servant, Flesh Golem[19] NPC Servant of Iselda.[19]
Galessi NPC A crule Ashari waverider working for the Myriad. She has a secret base within the K'Tawl Swamp, protected by a charmed giant crocodile and water elementals.
Thurista[20] NPC Member of a mercenary group called the Wing, travelling with Grog and Scanlan before they joined Vox Machina. Left for Whitestone.[21]
Arnicor[20] NPC Member of a mercenary group called the Wing, travelling with Grog and Scanlan before they joined Vox Machina. Left for Whitestone.[21]
Vash[22] NPC Former member of a mercenary group called the Wing, travelling with Grog and Scanlan before they joined Vox Machina.
Stitch[20] NPC In a mercenary group with Keyleth and Tiberius before the forming of Vox Machina.[23]
Brul[20] NPC In a mercenary group with Keyleth and Tiberius before the forming of Vox Machina.[23]
Helicax[20] NPC In a mercenary group with Keyleth and Tiberius before the forming of Vox Machina.[23]
L'Arkhelle NPC A hulking tiefling working as the bridge guard and a Clasp enforcer.
Fendril Vas NPC The heir to the Vas Estate.[8]
Father Moordek Vart NPC The barkeep of the Sunset Stride Tavern.[8]
Vandran NPC Smuggler and ship captain. Left for the Menagerie Coast, where he became a mentor to Fjord.[24]

Factions

  • Vistani, a roving people scattered throughout Tal'Dorei.[8]
  • The Clasp
  • The Myriad: Once appeared to be a merchant organization competing with Vas Textiles.[8] Actually a criminal organization trying to move in on the Clasp's territory.
  • Cult of Crysa-Thul, a cult worshiping a stillborn god named Crysa-Thul.[8]

Waterwatch: fanart concept

Politics

Like the other major satellite cities within Republic of Tal'Dorei, Stilben is ruled by an appointed Margrave, who also commands the Waterwatch, the local constabulary. Although Margrave Wendle Truss officially holds this office, in reality the city is run by trade and criminal guilds including the Clasp and the Myriad.[2]

History

Vox Machina Origins Series I

The children of the peasants of the port town of Stilben are stillborn, lifeless. Someone is poisoning the swamp the peasants use for their industry. There are three different groups, each acting independently, investigating this problem.

Vax'ildan and Vex'ahlia try to solve the mysterious curse afflicting the residents. Along the way they run into a young druid named Keyleth who believes the "curse" is actually an intentional poisoning of the water supply. Retuning to Stilben, they stalk alchemist Lustran Zeth, and find themselves enmeshed in a conspiracy of assassins.

Scanlan Shorthalt, Grog Strongjaw, Thurista, Arnicor, and Vash recover a vial of the potent poison from a swamp temple. They want to get it identified by the alchemist, but when they entering the establishment the Myriad is ready for a fight. During this encounter Vash is killed, but the group gets the upper hand and slay the remaining Myriad members. Celebrating and mourning, the group go to a bar where they meet a sorcerer named Tiberius Stormwind. Tiberius identifies the potion as Aqua Caedis and trades it for a diamond before leaving the group. They attract the attention of a watchman who wants the poison. Scanlan agrees to give him the potion at midnight and they part ways. Scanlan and Grog depart from the group to search for the sorcerer.

Keyleth, Tiberius, Stitch, Brul, and Helicax are hired by The Clasp to find out who's poisoning the peasants they rely on for their prostitution supply and narcotics sales. They uncover that the Myriad is trying to kill everyone in the Muck. Stitch wants some compensation for a job well done but gets poisoned. They get 12 hours to get to the bottom of the killings our else Stitch dies. With each team having a different piece of the puzzle, the pairs converge at the alchemical laboratory where the poison is refined. There they fight each other and then some thieves. After the fight, Iselda emerges from a mirror getting a few hits in before she puts Grog into a ball.

The group fights Iselda to free Grog. She flees into the mirror with an alchemist Lustran Zeth, liberating Grog. The group argues over the alchemist book, and the twins disappear into the shadows. The twins argue when Iselda comes from the mirror and kidnaps Vax. Vex swallow her pride and asks for aid from the others. But when they refuse, Vex decides to retrieve Trinket outside of town, but not before Keyleth catches up to her and pledges to help.

Vax is alone on the Myriad's floating fortress galleon, The Mockingbird. Vax fights his way to freedom with nary a weapon or ally around save his wits and agility to escape his captors. Meanwhile Vex retrieve Trinket and introduced Keyleth to him. They meet everyone again by coincidence on the dock searching for the ship Vax is held. There is an explosion and vax jumps out of a hole on The Mockingbird.

The group board The Mockingbird and fight their way to Iselda as well as the source of the poison that has been plaguing the inhabitants of Stilben. Fighting Iselda she turn in to her ultimate form but the group manage to kill her while the ship is on fire. They escape through the previous made hole in the side and decide to get shitfaced in an tavern. Meanwhile Brul and Helicax retrieve Stitch from the clasp and continue their partnership, and Lustran Zeth begins a relationship with the Myriad trough the mirror.

"Vox Machina Origins Volume 2"

Vox Machina's was hired by Fendril Vas in Stilben to investigate the seemingly dubious and dangerous new business conglomerate called "the Myriad". Vox Machina eventually entered a chamber housing a planar rift that pulled the group into a room with Crysa-Thul. Fendril was actually a worshipper of the stillborn god and had intended to feed the party to this deity like many previous mercenary groups. Vox Machina destroyed Crysa-Thul and returned to slay Fendril for his treachery.[25][26]

After a night out drinking the party goes to bed and in the morning discover that Grog has left them. The group discover he went north towards Westruun. Tiberius leaves the group to continue on his own path the others rent some horses and go after him.

Trivia

  • Mercer, back in high school, created a game in RPG Maker for PlayStation, and the first town one encountered in that game was called Stilben.[27]
  • The city's name was originally spelled "Stilben" in Matthew Mercer's Vox Machina Wiki, which was published in February 2015, before the launch of Critical Role.[28] A few months after Critical Role launched, Mercer released the map of Tal'Dorei using the "Stillben" spelling (which was subsequently adopted by the Critical Role Wiki). However, the city's name was officially restored to "Stilben" with the release of Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting.[12]
  • In Mercer's Vox Machina Wiki, Stilben was listed as a shady town with a population of 820.[28] However, in the Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, it is listed as a small city with a population of about 9,015.[12]

References

  1. See Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins, Volume #1, Issue #1, pp. 7.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 68.
  3. Official spelling is "Stilben". See Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 43.
  4. See Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins, Volume #1, Issue #1, pp. 7.
  5. See "The Story of Vox Machina" (Sx06) at 0:00:11.
  6. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 58.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 68.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 Some of the information on this page was imported from Matthew Mercer's Vox Machina Wiki article, "Stilben".
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 See Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins, Volume #1, Trade Paperback, pp. 139.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 69.
  11. See Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins, Volume #2, Issue #1, pp. 16.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 See Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 43.
  13. See Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins, Volume #1, Trade Paperback, pp. 141.
  14. See Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins, Volume #1, Issue #1, pp. 23.
  15. See Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins, Volume #1, Issue #3, pp. 4.
  16. See Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins, Volume #1, Issue #3, pp. 6.
  17. 17.0 17.1 See Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins, Volume #1, Issue #1, pp. 19-20.
  18. See Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 38.
  19. 19.0 19.1 See Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins, Volume #1, Trade Paperback, pp. 143.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 See Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins, Volume #1, Trade Paperback, pp. 166.
  21. 21.0 21.1 See Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins, Volume #1, Issue #2, pp. 27.
  22. See Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins, Volume #1, Issue #2, pp. 13.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 See Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins, Volume #1, Issue #3, pp. 3.
  24. See "Fond Farewells" (2x141) at 6:03:37.
  25. See "The Story of Vox Machina" (Sx06) at 0:00:11.
  26. Some of the information on this page was imported from Matthew Mercer's Vox Machina Wiki article, "Fendril Vas".
  27. See "Explorer's Guide to Wildemount Q&A and Fireside Chat with Matthew Mercer" (Sx53) at 1:24:27.
  28. 28.0 28.1 See Matthew Mercer's "Stilben" article on the Vox Machina Wiki.

Art:

  1. Official art of Stillben, by Kent Davis (source). Used with permission.
  2. Official map of Stilben and surrounding areas, by Andy Law from Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting. This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.
  3. Official map of Stilben, by Andy Law from Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn. This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.
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