Serpent’s Hold

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Serpent’s Hold (City of the Silver Serpent)

“The Hold is a fortress of stone upon the open water upon which the armies of evil shall break upon like water…”

Location: South central Britannia, east of Trinsic, upon two large islands.

Virtue: None

Government: Militocracy, ruled by the Lord of the Keep and his Captains. Most Knights possess full legal enforcement powers for local issues.

Imports: Basic necessities

Exports: Trained soldiers and guards


A silver serpent upon a navy blue background.


The Isle of Deeds was formed during the chaos of the Cataclysm, a mass of land broken off from the mainland, a great jutting piece of rock upon a larger coastal plate. The island’s north and eastern sides are high cliffs, the plateau on top slowly running southwest down to sea level, to form a short rounded peninsula. The north and east sides of the isle were once irregular, but the engineers who built the Hold meticulously carved the cliff sides to a smooth edge impossible to grapple. The southern isle, which bears no name, was thought to have been part of the northern isle, until some unknown event caused the center area to sink below the water. Formed from soil of volcanic origin, it is thick with jungle and covered with irregular hills.


The islands are tropical, and enjoy warm weather year round. Occasionally a hurricane or storm causes some rough seas, but rarely do they edge close to the island proper.


In 177 A.C., Lord Robere began a campaign to take the throne of Britain for himself. Lord British and his loyal supporters fought him, and eventually followed Robere north and defeated him. (See the entry on Britain for more details.)

After the war, Lord British sought to reward the knights who had served him so faithfully, the Order of the Silver Serpent. In addition, the increase of piracy at sea required that he establish a solid base for his interests in reunifying the city-states of Britannia. In addition, the political climate in Trinsic, as well as Jhel’s autocratic ascension to power, convinced him that he should establish a presence in the southern regions. (See the entries on Trinsic and Jhelom for further detail.) Lord British granted the Order the isles as a feudal dominion, and provided the ships and supplies needed to colonize the isle.

The Order’s first task was to drive away the native inhabitants, a large clutch of harpies. This was done before the end of 179 A.C., the harpies were forced to fly southwest to uninhabited isles for refuge. To this day, harpy raids are not unexpected, and rumors always float about of harpy nests hidden somewhere upon the islands.

The Hold proper, named for the Serpent which had saved Lord British’s life so long before, took nearly ten years to complete, and was considered a masterpiece in defensive work. The walls of stone were thick, and combined with the natural sea cliffs, made naval assaults nearly impossible. The outlying stone keeps were built slowly over the next several decades, with the aid of a team of Trinsican engineers, who were granted permission to leave the city-state for this task. It would have significant political ramifications upon Trinsic, however, and would eventually lead to the end of their era of paranoia and mistrust of the outer world. (See the entry on Trinsic for further details.)

The pirates of Buccaneer’s Den were not pleased with the Hold’s establishment. Pirate ships harassed and raided the supply ships from Britain, covert raids were frequent to disrupt construction, and in 184 A.C. a full blown attack, known as the Battle of the Stone, which the Order won by a hair’s breadth. The harassment ceased afterwards, however, as Lucius the Large used his influence to stop the attacks, not wishing to provoke a full war with Britain. (See the entry on Buccaneer’s Den for further details.)

Serpent’s Hold quickly became a watershed for combat training in it’s early years. Even though the pirate threat was declining as Lucius took control of the pirate clans, there was great demand for trained soldiers to protect merchant vessels and overland caravans. Concentrating the best trainers in one area greatly expanded and accelerated the quality and skills of the soliders as well. Services and craftsmen came to the island, catering to the soldier’s needs, and further expanding the economy. (Although even to today Serpent’s Hold just breaks even.)

Serpent’s Hold had strong bonds with both Trinsic and Britain, and when the Kingdom of Buccaneer’s Den fractured and the pirates abandoned honor and massacred a ship of colonists from Britain in 212 A.C., the three city-states formed a naval alliance intent on ending the threat once and for all.

As the pirate clans went amok, the demand for naval vessels for protection grew exponentially. Britain supplied the ships, the Hold the crew, and Trinsic the strategists. Despite the unity of the three cities, their forces lacked experience, especially the Trinsicans, in naval warfare, and the war mostly consisted of failed blockades, constant patrolling, and costly battles. The alliance learned quickly, though, and soon drove the pirates back where they ran into them. Jhelom joined the Alliance in 221 A.C., their skill in weapons tipping the scales fully in favor, and the pirates were defeated soundly at the Battle of Ocllo in 223 A.C. (See the entry on Buccaneer’s Den for more details.)

In 232 A.C., in recognition of their efforts in the war, Serpent’s Hold was granted full status as a city-state, no longer a colony of Britain. They were almost immediately afterwards contracted to provide naval escorts, however, and also have a heavy investment in the Mercenary Guild (known more commonly as the Warrior’s Guild) in 237 A.C., establishing a guild hall in nearly every city by the end of the century.

In 250 A.C., Serpent’s Hold was also one of the founding signers of the Treaty of Unification in Paws, forming the Kingdom of Britannia. The navy of Serpent’s Hold also became the Royal Navy, responsible for patrol and protection of the Kingdom’s interests at sea.

In 290 A.C., an interesting project was undertaken in great secrecy in the Hold. Several Minocian and Trinsic engineers, some alchemists from Moonglow, and other assorted experts were contracted under a royal project known as “Dragonflame”. The project is, in fact, an attempt to make smokepowder. The team has had minor successes, but have had to work slowly to avoid attracting attention, Lord British is particularly insistent in that no one, not even Lord Blackthorn, knows of the project. (Although Blackthorn has his suspicions that the cannons are not merely decorations…)


The People

The people of Serpent’s Hold are originally from Britain, but those seeking training in arms can be from anywhere. Typically most have light tans due to the climate. More than half the population are members of the Order, the rest are various craftsmen and service, who tend to live in the Hold for most of their lives.

The Clothing

Not surprisingly, armor is heavily favored as typical dress in the Hold. Not nearly so much as in Trinsic, though, the warmer climate makes metal armor uncomfortable. Most wear leather for training and general work, wearing only chain and heavier armors when in practice. The Knights view the heat as an excellent way of training the body to accept the most brutal of conditions. (Organized training expeditions to Ice Island are also common, for cold weather training.) The townspeople favor lightweight dress as well, short pants and skirts, and small shoes or sandals.

Arts and Entertainment

Crafts and Trades



Government and Politics

Serpent’s Hold is a military stronghold and is commanded by the Lord of the Order of the Silver Serpent. His word is law, technically. In practice, however, the Captains, who are also advisors to the Lord, do most of the day to day running of the Hold. Each Captain is in charge of a branch of the government, which are the Quartermasters, Intelligence, Knights, Marines, and Engineers. Under the Captains are the Lieutenants who are in charge of training, instruction, and discipline of the troops.

The Quartermasters are responsible for obtaining and maintaining provisions and transportation, as well as ensuring that the various merchant shops adhere to policies. They are a frequent sight on the docks and in the Hold, and are noted for their eye for detail, especially on cargo manifests.

Intelligence is responsible for obtaining and providing information to the command on the strengths, weaknesses, and potential threat of enemies to the state. This branch is seldom seen, and operates under close scrutiny of the Lord of the Keep as well as Lord British himself. Currently there are few enemies to watch for, (aside from the occasional agent in the Den or NuJel’m) currently they are involved in Project Dragonflame.

The Knights are the bulk of the Order of the Silver Serpent, the mounted troops of the stronghold’s forces. Their members are selected from the best of the graduating class of Marines. Their main purpose is the protection of Lord British, Britannia and its people. It is from their ranks that the personal guards to Lord British are drawn.

The Marines are the largest single force from Serpent’s Hold, they serve as foot soldiers.  Training is through the Warrior’s Guild, and typically they consist of citizens from all the city-states in the kingdom. The best of the Kingdom are brought to the Hold to train in combat, land, and naval tactics. Those who excel are offered the opportunity to train as a Knight.

The Engineers are the smallest but the most important branch, they are responsible for maintaining the stronghold fortifications and planning defenses for the islands. Serpent’s Hold is reputed to have the best training in naval tactics in the world.

Serpent’s Hold is fiercely loyal to Lord British and Britain, due to their colonial past and the nature of the government. They also have strong political and social ties with Trinsic and Jhelom. Jhelomites are viewed in awe for their mastery of the combat arts, but their lack of discipline (in uniform and attitude) and tendency towards mercenary work creates some animosity. The Paladins of Trinsic are greatly admired and respected as moral and ethical pinnacles, and the city itself for its dedication to defense. It is not uncommon for a Knight of the Order to enter the ranks of the Paladins.


Last modified: December 30, 2011

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