Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

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agathokles
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Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by agathokles » Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:41 pm

Premise
This thread serves as a discussion place for the development of a fan-version of the vaporware Fantasy Cities #1: Specularum sourcebook.
This other thread is part of the same project, and contains a list of notable buildings divided by district, as well as development materials, maps, and further discussions.
This thread focuses on district heraldry, mottoes, and patrons.

Original post
Hi all,

as promised, here are twelve non-player character ideas (a mix of existing and new characters, and two characters come from existing fan works) for a FC: Specularum book set in 1000 AC.
Of course, these are only a few characters, so I'd welcome other contributions -- so, what ideas do you have for Specularum residents?
Also, there are a couple of easter eggs you may catch -- two characters are strongly inspired by non-Mystaran sources: can you identify them and their sources/models?

GP


Specularum NPCs
List of completed NPCs (with full stats and descriptions):
  1. Al-Azrad, Ahmad, leader of the Swords of Kalim
  2. Azuros, Ioan, Guildmaster of the Moneychangers' Guild
  3. Chebyshov, Brother Nicklaus, Monk of St. Kruskiev
  4. "Dagger" (Cesare Lorenson), Swordmaster
  5. Draconius, Diomedes, General of the 4th Division
  6. Ergal, necromancer and illicit doctor
  7. Frinius, Tullia, librarian of the Magicians' Guild
  8. Giorgios, Jerzy, Traladaran pawnbroker
  9. Helianthus, Annius (don Nini' the Wonder), "retired" independent thief
  10. Hyraksos, Devon, Navy Ensign
  11. Janek, amnesiac adventurer
  12. Kartak, dwarven moonshine pusher
  13. Leonov, Emilia, street urchin
  14. Longinus, Protagoras, sea captain
  15. Luln, Rosa (Roxana Calihar), political agitator
  16. Marianov, Rodoz, secretary to the Patriarch of Marilenev
  17. Muskalin, Narim, Ylari pimp
  18. Porius, Cassius, Captain of the South End district guard
  19. Rodinos, Anastasia, wererat boss
  20. Salt, Cee (Cyrus Salides), cartographer and sage
  21. Silverbeard, Thorur, Guildmaster of the Goldsmiths' Guild.
  22. Stavros, Veiled society elder
  23. Stelea, Gheorge, Veiled Society affiliate
  24. Strolojca, Barris, Priest of the Church of Traladara
  25. Tegell, Ierendian con artist
  26. Thrakianus von Alberndorf, Sir Lucius, Knight of the Griffon
  27. Vandevic, Aloysius, Lieutenant of the Duke's Guard
  28. Vespasian, Corbula, Knight of the Griffon
  29. Vladimir, leader of the Spring Flood
  30. Zila, Ierendian gang leader
List of NPC capsules (with the goal of moving most of them into the full NPC list as soon as I've time to make the full write-up):
  1. "The Boy", street urchin
  2. Findilius, Master of the Tailors' Guild
  3. Kantianos, Master of the Dyers' Guils
  4. Brother Jorgos, Cult of Halav
  5. Malev, Storemaster of the Dyers' Guild
  6. Mathilda, matron of the "Fishbarrel"
  7. Doctor Zivago, illicit doctor

Father Barris Strolojca
Cleric 3, Lawful
Str 15, Int 12, Wis 16, Dex 11, Con 10, Cha 13.
Weapon Masteries: Skilled: Mace, Basic: Staff.
General Skills: Etiquette 13, Religion (Church of Traladara) 16, Ceremony (Church of Traladara) 16.
Languages: Traladaran (Native), Thyatian.

A plumpish, balding man in his early thirties, Barris Strolojca is the second son of Lord Anton Strolojca, a vice-minister in Karameikos' ministry of trade.
Barris entered the novitiate of the Church of Traladara at 14, since he didn't have any propension for the martial career undertaken by his younger brother, Hugo, or the administrative career of his older brother, Marek.
Since Anton is the younger brother of Marius Strolojca, lord of a small domain between Vandevicsny and the Black Eagle Barony, who doesn't have any direct heir, and is not likely to produce one in his old age, Barris stands third in the line of inheritance after his father and older brother.
He expects Marek to inherit the fief, though, so he concentrates on his work for the Church, where he is a librarian at the cathedral in Specularum.

A group of Player Characters can easily meet Barris, since he spends most of his time in the library attached to the cathedral.
Since there is currently a shortage of priests (as an effect of Sergyev's schisma five years ago), Barris is overworked and has sometimes to take up other duties in addition to being the librarian.
He is eager to find any help, and will certainly prevail upon any visiting novice or priest.
His most important project is to collect maps of pre-Thyatian Traladara, in order to locate and explore a number of lost churches and temples of the Church of Traladara and recover whatever relics are left -- and possibly identify and track down stolen relics as well.


Lt. Aloysius Vandevic
Fighter 5, Lawful
Str 13, Int 9, Wis 12, Dex 11, Con 10, Cha 12
Weapon Masteries: Skilled: Bastard Sword, Basic: Longsword, Heavy Crossbow, Lance.
General Skills: Riding (Horse) 11, Military Tactics 9, Leadership 12, Knowledge of the geography of Karameikos 9.
Languages: Traladaran (native), Thyatian 9.

Aloysius Vandevic is the younger brother of Lord Gustav Vandevic, the lord of Vandevicsny.
He is taller than the typical Traladaran, and has dark red hair --- probably inherited from his Flaem ancestors.
When the two brothers were younger, they traveled extensively across Karameikos.
Since Gustav has always been the scholarly type, Aloysius was the arm of the team, and quickly grew to become a skilled fighter.
Thanks to his ability as a warrior and his noble status, Aloysius obtained a commission in the ``Sword of Halav'' battalion of the Karameikan army.
While in Rugalov Tower, he married Ivana Lutescu, a cousin of Lord Vlad.
After the birth of their daughter Laina six years ago, Aloysius asked and obtained to be moved to the Duke's Guard in Specularum, where he is currently a Lieutenant.
A competent but unimaginative officer, Aloysius is not likely to progress much further in his career.
He is, however, content with his current office.

Player characters are likely to meet Aloysius if they are summoned at the Duke's Palace, since he is in charge of one of the guard squads.
Or, they may meet him if they are mingle with the Traladaran or New Karameikan high society, since Aloysius and Ivana are frequent guests at the Darokinian Embassy balls.
If the PCs have a reputation of being good, reliable warriors, Aloysius may consider them for enrollment in the Duke's Guard, or for freelance investigative jobs -- the Phorsis Guard is severely stretched with its resources, and the Duke's Guard has to help investigating crimes involving residents of the Hill, without having the right training.


Guildmaster Ioan Azuros

Thief 3, Neutral
Str 8, Int 14, Wis 13, Dex 11, Con 9, Cha 13.
Weapon Masteries: Skilled: Dagger; Basic: Longsword.
General Skills: Profession (Banker) 14, Knowledge of the society of Specularum 14, Code of Law 13, Riding (Horse) 11, History (Traladara) 14.
Languages: Traladaran (Native), Thyatian 14.

A member of one of the most ancient mercantile dynasties of Specularum, Ioan Azuros has been at the centre of Specularum's political life since the foundation of the Grand Duchy.
One of the few survivors of the failed coup against Duke Stefan, Azuros immediately understood that another such failed attempt would spell the end of the Traladaran aristocracy, like the first one had all but destroyed the Marilenev and most of their allies.
Thus, Azuros, who had managed to cover all the traces leading to his partecipation in the failed coup, sided with the Torenescu, as the strongest Traladaran family remaining, by marrying his sister to the leader of that house, Christoph Torenescu.
In time, he took control of the family moneylending businness, financing a number of successful enterprises, including the construction of Tarn Keep near Threshold.
With the support of the Torenescu, Ioan managed to climb to the position of Warden within the Moneychangers' Guild, and, in 993, he successfully ran for the position of Guildmaster.
He was confirmed Guildmaster in the 997 AC elections, and, leveraging a stronger Torenescu majority in the Guild Council (both Aleksandr and Boris Torenescu are Wardens, as is Ioan's brother-in-law on his wife's side), has been investing a lot of money in supporting the Torenescu struggle against the Radu faction.
Ioan is currently the head of the Torenescu sub-faction that supports Aleksandr against his uncle -- Ioan hopes to manipulate his nephew and become the true leader of the Torenescu faction.
Unfortunately, his term as Guildmaster has seen the rise of Veiled Society aggressions against lesser guild members, so his position is not as strong as it could be, plus Aleksandr's ill health is quickly becoming a major concern for Ioan.

The Player Characters can meet Ioan in two ways: either they are major players in the Specularum society, and then Ioan will be interested in acquiring their support (if they are not Thyatians) or at least their neutrality; or they are mercenaries -- Ioan needs someone to put an end to the Veiled Society depredations against the Guild agents, and would much prefer to have the issue solved by his own agents than by the Guard Phorsis.


Cesare "Dagger" Lorenson

Fighter 10/Merchant 3, Neutral
Str 13, Int 10, Wis 14, Dex 15, Con 11, Cha 12.
Weapon Masteries: Expert: Rapier; Skilled: Dagger; Basic: Long sword, Short sword.
General Skills: Duelling, Fast Draw, Knowledge of the society of Darokin, Geography of Darokin.
Languages: Darokinian, Thyatian, Traladaran.

A Darokinian expatriate in his mid-thirties, Cesare Lorenson has been living in Specularum for four years. He arrived there from Ierendi, where he had fled after being accused of embezzling funds of the merchant house he was working with, the Mauntea, and of revealing trade secrets to unidentified foreign merchants.
Both crimes he has nothing to do with, as he was framed by a friend and coworker, Jago Ladich, who is in league with Shadowelf spies.
Cesare had discovered traces of the Shadow Elven infiltration, but had not traced it to Jago. Actually, he went to his friend for help in the investigation, and Jago was quick to betray him, with the help of a Second Shadow infiltrator.

After his escape from Darokin, Cesare was ambushed by Shadow Elf assassins in Ierendi, so he decided to bury his identity there, faking his own death, and assumed the name of "Dagger" (from the habit he has taken on of sleeping with a dagger under his pillow) after relocating to Specularum.
He is currently living in the Foreign Quarter in a rented room, and supports himself by teaching the Darokinian fencing style in the courtyard behind the house.

Low or medium level Player Characters can meet Dagger if they are looking for a Rapier or Dagger master.
If they look tough and stealthy, Dagger may provide them with adventure hooks, as a way to test them and, at the same time, maneveur them against his own enemies (the Shadow Elves, primarily, but also Jago Ladich, who is now a senior agent in House Mauntea).
When they finally reach the high Expert levels and earn Dagger's trust (not an easy task, considering his past), Dagger will try to recruit them to help in his personal vendetta.


Tullia Frinius

Magic User 5, Lawful
Str 8, Int 15, Wis 9, Dex 11, Con 13, Cha 9.
Weapon Masteries: Basic: Staff, Dagger (one slot unspent).
General Skills: Profession (Librarian) 15, Knowledge of the Magicians' Guild 15, Military Tactics 15, Knowledge of the Isle of Dawn 15.
Languages: Thyatian (Native), Traladaran 15, Alphatian 15.

A middle-aged shrewd, Tullia Frinius is the receptionist at the Magicians' Guild library in Specularum and a Journeyman in the Guild.
While she's been a constant presence at the library since its opening to the public 25 years ago, and she's always been known as an acid-tongued bookworm, she hides a much more adventuresome past.
Tullia began her career at the Collegium Arcanum in Thyatis City, but she dropped out after three years, enrolling in the Imperial Army.
A tough wizard-soldier, she served on the battlefields of the Isle of Dawn in a number of minor border conflicts, growing increasingly more disillusioned about the imperial politics.
She left the army after an 8-years stint in 975, and came back to Thyatis City, where she learned of Duke Karameikos call for the colonization of Traladara -- she was a bit late, but she got a ship to Specularum, and found Teldon there, who was just opening his Guild (at the time basically a one-man show) and library.
She joined the staff, helping Teldon in raising the current crop of Karameikan wizards.

Player Characters will have to pass through Frinius to get to the library -- they'll find she doesn't like non-Guildmembers, and she doesn't like that much even other Guildmembers, with a few exceptions (Teldon and her fellow librarian).
However, she is one of the few people in Specularum who can speak and read Alphatian, as well as about the only source of first hand knowledge on the Isle of Dawn.


Lord Devon Hyraksos

Fighter 5, Lawful
Str 16, Int 13, Wis 10, Dex 12, Con 18, Cha 15
Weapon Proficiencies: Skilled: Long sword; Basic: Dagger, Light Crossbow, Cutlasss/Sabre.
General Skills: Endurance 18, Navigation 13, Profession (Sailor) 13, Etiquette 15.
Languages: Thyatian (native), Traladaran (13), Minrothad patois (13).

Born in 977, Devon is the only son of Admiral Lucius Hyraksos, the Minister of War, and his Traladaran wife Katerina Gaddis.
During his Shearing years, Devon enrolled as a sailor on a Minrothad merchantman.
Then, he spent a few years adventuring in Karameikos.
During this time, he met a fellow adventuress, whom he later discovered to be Lady Adriana Karameikos, the Duke's daughter -- he had left the court in 991, when Adriana was only 11, and met her again only in 997, when he hired her as an henchwoman (something he his fairly embarassed of now).
Last year, he came back to Specularum at the Admiral's request to take a commission as Ensign in the Navy of Karameikos.
Since the job allows him to practice both his sailing and fighting skills, Devon finds it a perfect fit, and plans to pursue the naval officer career just like his father, whom he idolizes.
Devon is one of the toughest warriors in Karameikos, though his courtly education may lead people to underestimate him.

Player Characters can meet Devon at court or in the navy, especially if they enroll. Since he will end up marrying Adriana Karameikos, he can be a powerful friend and patron, or, if the characters harbour ambitions to the throne, their primary opponent.



General Diomedes Draconius

Fighter 10, Neutral
Str 14, Int 11, Wis 13, Dex 10, Con 12, Cha 15
Weapon Masteries: Expert: Longsword; Skilled: Pike; Basic: Dagger, Lance.
General Skills: Military Tactics (11), Leadership (15), Riding (Horse), Geography of Western Karameikos (11).
Languages: Thyatian (native), Traladaran (11).

A short man with thinning dark hair and a hawkish nose, Diomedes is one of the members of the lesser Thyatian aristocracy who answered Stefan's call for the colonization of Traladara.
While not related directly to the Karameikos family, Diomedes' family is related to Lord Alexius Korrigan -- Diomedes' cousin Mildred married one of the Korrigan brothers.

An infantry tribune with a limited but successful experience in Emperor Thincol's reconquest of the Isle of Dawn, Draconius was put in charge of one of the new units of Stefan's army, an light infantry force -- Desmond Kelvin was in command of the cavalry, Hyraksos of the navy, and finally Arturus Penhaligon commanded the Duke's Guard, a heavy infantry unit.
After the initial victorious campaign against the Marilenev Rebellion and the goblinoids in northern Traladara, Kelvin and Penhaligon received their own fiefs, Hyraksos was promoted to the rank of Admiral and Minister of War, while Draconius was put in charge of the Western division of the army, with the rank of General.
Draconius didn't like this -- he thought he deserved at least as much recognition as Kelvin and Penhaligon, who had had the opportunity to work with better equipped and trained units.

In the following years, Diomedes drove the improvement of the fortifications at Riverfork Keep first, and then the construction of Radlebb Keep.
Initially skeptic about the need to build a fort in the middle of the Radlebb Woods, Draconius soon realized that the Radlebb Keep was key to the survival of the Karameikan control over western Traladara -- without its presence, the sheer number of goblinoid tribes in the Southern Radlebb woods and the Cruth Lowlands, combined with Baron Von Hendricks' obvious ambitions would have led to the loss of Riverfork Keep and the almost entire western part of Karameikos.

Nowadays, Diomedes Draconius spends most of his time in Specularum, lobbying for additional funds for the 4th Division, without much success.
He pays a yearly visit to both forts under his supervision, usually in late spring.
Today, General Draconius is quite disillusioned about Duke Stefan's ability in judging people and, more in general, in governing a nation.
While he disliked the first Baron Kelvin, Diomedes is on good terms with the current Baron, a man who understands the need for a strong military better than the Duke.
Diomedes is also one of the foremost opponents of the Black Eagle Baron at court.
He's neutral towards the two other Barons, Vorloi and Halaran.
He cooperates with the other members of the military, though he doesn't trust the Traladaran officers much, especially people like Captain Arkan Sulanov who fought in the Marilenev Rebellion.

The Player Characters can meet Diomedes if they enlist in the army -- new recruits reach their posts in Riverfork or Radlebb when the General visits the fort.
General Draconius tends to make quick judgements over people, so this first contact could be very important for their career -- quick thinking and strong action in any unexpected encounter while on the route to the forts is going to put them on Draconius' shortlist for promotion.

Draconius is also experimenting with a new idea to extend the Karameikan controlaround Riverfork and Radlebb Keep -- a unit of scouts acting as explorers and police force in the wildernesses around the two forts.
Unfortunately, he doesn't have the funds for his project, so he's considering instead the possibility of letting the scouts keep part of smuggled or stolen goods they find as pay.
If the PCs look like they could handle themselves well in the wilderness, he may propose this kind of deal.



Cee Salt/Cyrus Salides

Normal Man, Lawful
Str 9, Int 15, Wis 11, Dex 13, Con 8, Cha 10
Weapon Masteries: Basic: Dagger.
General Skills: Geography of the Sea of Dread 15, Cartography 15, Knowledge of sea currents and winds of the Sea of Dread 15, Weather Prediction 11.

"Cee Salt" is a young sage and cartographer, well known in Specularum as the foremost authority on the Sea of Dread and its dangers -- which is not much, since most Karameikan sailors and captains never go beyond Ierendi, Minrothad or Port Lucinius.
While Cee Salt has never visited any port --- he suffers from sea sickness --- he can rely on an excellent Thyatian portulan inherited from his father (a Thyatian sea captain named Varis Salides).
"Cee Salt" is just a nickname, as the sage though his real name, Cyrus Salides, was too ordinary for a sage and, combined with his young age (he's only 23), would disrupt his businness.

Cee Salt is tall and slim, and dresses in light blue long tunics with matching hats (he always wears a chaperon-type hat outdoors).
He tends to cough occasionally while speaking and to look at his charts instead of the person he's speaking to.
He also suffers from a light case of myopia, so he tends to read from a hunched posture.

The Player Characters will be directed to Cee Salt by ship captains, innkeepers and adventurers if they have questions regarding the Sea of Dread and its many islands and atolls.
On the other hand, Cee Salt is on friendly terms with many adventurers and former adventurers, including Lord Devon Hyraksos, Lathan Spearhand, and Thrumbar Shieldkroten, and can introduce the PCs if they befriend him.
Finally, Cee Salt has an innate talent has a Magic-User, though he was never trained as one, and doesn't know of his talent.
A good Magic User can detect this talent on an Intelligence check at -10, with a bonus equal to 1/2 his level (round down).
The sage could be an excellent apprentice for a name level Magic User, though he would be quite scared at first, and may need some persuasion.



Corbula Vespasian

Fighter 13 (Paladin), Lawful
Str 13, Int 14, Wis 13, Dex 11, Con 10, Cha 12.
Weapons Masteries: Master: Two-handed Sword; Skilled: Bastard Sword; Basic: Longsword, Battle Axe.
General Skills: Blind Fighting 13, Duelling 14, Arena Acting 12, Riding (Horse) 11, Ceremony (Vanya) 13, Profession (Weapon Drill Instructor) 14, Religion (Church of Karameikos) 13.
Languages: Thyatian (native), Traladaran 14.

At 70, Corbula Vespasian is the eldest member of the Order of the Griffon.
His once massive frame is now gaunt and his movements slow (thus, his physical ability scores are at -3 with respect to the original values), but his eyes are still clear, and his mind still quick.

Born in Thyatis City from a middle class family, Corbula had a natural talent for fighting, especially with large, slashing weapons.
He entered the gladiatorial team of Flavian Osteropulos in AC 953, quickly becoming a favorite of the arena crowds fighting other gladiators and wild beasts.
At 30, Corbula retired from the arena and embarked in a empire-wide tour, giving demonstrations of his fighting skills by facing local champions in practice bouts.
In AC 962 in Specularum, he beat three Traladaran warriors sponsored by the Radu, Marilenev and Torenescu clans in a public demonstration held on practice grounds of the Guard Phorsis, becoming an instant celebrity among the Thyatian population.

By AC 970, Corbula had almost exhausted his savings from the arena days, and was too old to take up adventuring.
He had also become a devout follower of Vanya.
So, he answered Stefan Karameikos call, and moved to Specularum, where he discovered he was still hugely popular among the Thyatian warriors.
Patriarch Halaran, who was then organizing the armed forces of the new Church of Karameikos, approached the warrior with an employment offer as the weapon master of the Church warriors.
Since then, Corbula joined the Order of the Griffon, and maintained the position of weapon master for twenty years, retiring in 990 AC.
He has since dedicated most of his time to studying the teachings of Vanya and the philosophy of the Church of Karameikos.

Player Character fighters may meet Corbula at the Order's Hall, since he has been living there for most of the last 30 years.
While too old for adventuring and even for most weapon practice, Corbula is still the foremost expert in two-handed sword fighting in Karameikos.
Thus, high-level fighter PCs may turn to him for training.



Gheorghe Stelea

(picture by XarabasAyendir of the Italian MMB)
Thief 5/Fence 4, Neutral.
Str 11, Int 12, Wis 13, Dex 15, Con 10, Cha 14
Weapon Masteries: Skilled: Dagger; Basic: Sap.
General Skills: Appraisal 12, Bargaining 14, Knowledge of the Specularum underground 12, Knowledge of The Nest 12.
Languages: Traladaran (native), Thyatian 12.

Gheorghe Stelea is a well-known dealer in "used" goods in The Nest.
He is also a member of the Veiled Society.
His primary source of income derives from his activity as a fence: when something has been stolen, there's a good chance it will end up in Gheorghe's hands.
The fact is quite well known both to the people of the Nest and to those who know the criminal underworld of Specularum, but Gheorghe is quite safe from reprisals from the law, since the Guard Phorsis doesn't even enter the Nest -- and even if they did, Gheorghe would know it well before they could reach him.
Thus, Gheorghe feels very confident, to the point that he spends most of his time sitting in front of his shop, nursing a cup of tea, dressed in gaudy Traladaran-style clothes.

Stelea is a small, wiry man with black hair and drooping moustaches, with a remarkably bad taste in clothing and an invariably excessive display of jewelry.
He is irritatingly slow in all his dealings, except when senior members of the Veiled Society are involved -- at those times, he becomes uncharacteristically sollecitous.

The Player Characters can get involved with Gheorghe in two cases: either they are Veiled Society thieves trying to get rid of some pilfered goods, or they are trying to track down stolen goods of some kind -- information Gheorghe is likely to have, but which he won't part without a significant profit.
In the first case, Gheorghe will occasionally have jobs or orders to pass to the Veiled PCs.


Anastasia Rodinos

Cleric 8/Greater Wererat 10, Chaotic
Str 13, Int 11, Wis 15, Dex 14, Con 8/9, Cha 13/12.
Weapon Masteries: Skilled: Mace, Wrestling.
General Skills (as Human): Ceremony (Orcus) 15, Stealth (Urban) 14, Religion (Cult of the Dark Triad) 15, Escape 14, Leadership 13.
General Skills (as Wererat): Leadership 12, Transformation +1 10, Tracking 11, Know Terrain (Specularum) 11, Danger Sense 15, .
Languages: Traladaran (native), Thyatian 11.

A small Traladaran woman with long, mousy brown hair, Anastasia Rodinos was born in Halag in 957 AC to a middle class family.
When the Black Eagle invaded Halag, Anastasia was a novice in the Church of Traladara.
She was able to escape the Church building -- as far as she knows, she was the only survivor -- only to find her family murdered by the Black Eagle's men.
For months, she hid in abandoned buildings, surviving on stolen or leftover food.
During this time, she contracted lycanthropy from a lone lesser Wererat, Mhykh.
She survived the infection, to discover that Mhykh was still there, and that he now considered her a friend -- actually, a ``boss''.
``Little boss Tasha'' and her new sidekick left Fort Doom by stowing on a ship bound to Specularum in rat form.
In the following years, Anastasia and Mhykh established a lair in the sewers of Specularum.

Anastasia, though, was not content with mere survival -- she wanted vengeance for her family and her fellow priests, but she saw that the Traladarans had submitted to the evil Duke's rule, and the Church itself was weak.
She determined to find a source of strength, an edge that would give the Traladarans the power to repel the invaders, like Halav's bronze swords had turned the Beastman wave.
Thus, she left Mhykh in charge of the small group of wererats they had gathered in the past years, and started on a pilgrimage to the holy sites of the Beastman War, Krakatos and the Volaga river.
Everywhere, she found only ruins.
In Penhaligon, Anastasia heard tales of a monastery that had been left alone for centuries, since the end of old Vaion in the Vampire Wars.
Perhaps she could find some relic there, she tought, or writs of priests not weakened by the Thyatian yoke to give her strength.
She found monsters, and a single, decrepit, blind monk.
How could the frail monk survive unscathed among powerful hobgoblin warriors when she had to use all of here lycanthropic skills to avoid them?
This monk sure had some hidden power, and it could be the power she needed.
So, Anastasia spent years learning from that ancient priest, who spoke not of Halav, Petra and Zirchev or the Traladaran Twelve of Mount Tarsus, but of strongerforces that gave power to those who craved it: Orcus, Black Prince of the Dead; Leptar, the Ape King; and Demogorgon, Prince of Demons.

Armed with the lore of the Dark Triad, Anastasia emerged from the Monastery on the Hill in 986, and headed back to Specularum, only to make an horrifying discovery.
Her wererat band had grown, sure, but control had been wrested from the hands of loyal but slow-thinking Mhykh by nothing else than the avatar of her enemy, a dashing Thyatian rogue, one Decius Andronicus (Rake 9/Wererat 10, N).
A terrible war begun, with Anastasia, Mhykh, and a number of loyal Traladaran wererats on one side and Decius' Thyatian newcomers on the other.
The war still rages, and until Decius is alive, Anastasia knows she will not be able to spring her master plan to free Traladara from the Duke and his cronies.

Anastasia is slightly over 40 years old, but looks much younger, about 30, thanks to the unnatural vitality of the ``beast within''.
In human form, she is not a striking beauty, but her strong passions give her eyes an inner fire that makes her more attractive than others.
Anastasia has mastered the Ratman form, and that's the form she prefer to use when stalking her enemies in the night.
In Ratman form, she looks more muscular, her skin is covered in a dark brown fur that becomes a long mane over her head and back.

The Player Characters may meet Anastasia if they get involved in her private war against Decius Andronicus.
She'll likely approach a Wererat newcomer, if he's not Thyatian, to recruit him, or she'll send her followers to kill a Thyatian Wererat PC.
Her gang and Decius' include both lesser and greater Wererats, and may have infiltrated other factions.
Anastasia's wererats control the sewers under the Old Quarter and the Nest, while those of Decius control the Hill and the Great Market.


Rosa Luln/Roxana Calihar
Magic User 4, Neutral
Str 8, Int 15, Wis 14, Dex 11, Con 10, Cha 13
Weapon Masteries: Skilled: Dagger; Basic: Staff.
General Skills: Oratory 13, Leadership 13, Knowledge of Philosophy 15, Knowledge of Karameikan politics 15.
Languages: Traladaran (native), Thyatian 15, Darokinian 15.

Roxana Calihar is a tall, skinny, dark haired woman about 40 years old.
She dresses in practical Traladaran clothes in Specularum, or in male Thyatian clothes when travelling.

The daughter of a Traladaran man from a lesser branch of the Calihar merchant dynasty and a Thyatian adventuress, Roxana grew in Specularum but moved with her family to Selenica at the age of 12.
Her parents were involved in the Marilenev Rebellion, so they chose to flee rather than stay in Karameikos after the rebellion failed.
Contrary to most insurgents, her parents were not followers of the Marilenev family, but rather members of the small Republican sect of Fabritius Luscinia, the famed (or infamous, depending on who you ask) Thyatian political philosopher and revolutionary who died in the Marilenev Rebellion.

In Selenica, Roxana grew up reading Thyatian philosophy books like ``The Republic of Thyatis'' of Luscinia or ``The Senator'' by Nicholous.
She spent five years at the prestigious University of Al-Azrad, earning a magistral title in philosophy and rhetoric.
While at the University, Roxana also took up a limited knowledge of arcane magic.
With respect to her political mentor, Roxana developed a political thought more concerned with improving the conditions of the common people (especially the town laborers and the peasants) than with reforming the political system.

Armed with her ideas, and using her nom de plume, ``Rosa Luln'', instead of her real name, she moved back to Specularum in 993, and investigated the peculiar conditions of the city -- especially its large peasant and laborer population and its position as the only large city in Karameikos.
As Rosa Luln, she has published a tract on the history of the Guilds of Specularum, with a comparison of guild systems in Darokin, Karameikos and Minrothad that was well received by the academicians of Darokin and Thyatis, less so by the Guildsmen of Specularum and Minrothad, since it harshly criticizes the guild system for excluding the unskilled laborers and peasants.

She currently lives in the South End, and she has fallen in with a group of former adventurers and laborers unsatisfied with the current state of the city politics.
Roxana plans to petition the Duke for the constitution of a Labor Guild that would represent all unskilled laborers of Specularum and would obtain a position in the town council.
She also plans to ask that the princing policies, currently controlled by the guilds, be placed under the direct control of the town council.
Obviously, her plans are anathema to the current guilds, who benefit enourmously from their privileges.

The PCs can meet Rosa if the live in the South End -- she runs a free reading and writing course for the neighborhood kids, and often gives public lectures.
Note that, while Rosa is not well liked by many powerful figures, but she does enjoy a degree of protection, since she has powerful friends, including some former adventurers -- her current companion, Karl Vladimirov (F6, N), is also the leader of the South End laborers -- and two Republican Senators of Thyatis.
If something happened to Rosa, the Thyatian government would be quick to exploit this to criticize the Karameikan government for their brutal policies (after all, Thincol's government didn't kill Luscinia, while Stefan's supposedly more benevolent rulership would be marked not only by Luscinia's death, but also by Rosa's).
Thus, PCs aligned with the government might be asked to keep Rosa alive, while preventing her from starting a rebellion.
Last edited by agathokles on Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:28 pm, edited 32 times in total.

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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by agathokles » Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:46 pm

More stuff, this time a set of temples of foreign religions found in Specularum.
Comments, additions and so on are welcome.

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Shrine of Minroth
(Trader's Corridor)
The Minrothist clergy maintains a single shrine in the Trader's Corridor, outside the city walls. The shrine is usually quite busy during the good season, when Minrothad mariners and merchants are common in Specularum. During winter, though, the shrine is mostly empty, since resident Minrothaddans are few -- basically only the Embassy staff.
Due to the strictures of the Minrothist cult, only a single priest mans the shrine, and the priests change almost yearly. Since communications with Minrothad are blocked during the winter season, the priest must survive on preserved food only, except for a monthly shipping of fresh food and water via teleportation spells.
The need to teleport some food to the shrine's cellar is the reason why the shrine was built outside the city walls, since Specularum, like most cities in the Known World is screened against incoming teleportation magics. The shrine itself is a very old building, dating before the Thyatian invasion.
The current priest, Alon Carver (C3, L), has been in the city only since last Ambyrmont. He speaks only patois and some Thyatian, and is quite reclusive. He is assisted by a pair of laymen who, not being constrained to eat and drink only foods and drinks produced in Minrothad, live outside the shrine, in the Foreign Quarter.

Augrist Temple
(Foreign Quarter)
The second Minrothaddan temple in Specularum is a much newer and larger structure than the Minrothist shrine. A team of Augrist workaholic dwarves built this octagonal, three story building in a single week -- so they could worship at the new temple during the next off-work afternoon.
The priests continue the work, always adding new gargoyles, bell towers, statues of Wildeye Auger or of the Twelve Watchers, or sculpting the stone surface of the temple with religious symbols, representations of holy parables from the life of Auger and other decorations.
Thus, the Augrist temple has a permanent work-in-progress look. The interior of the temple is dominated by the vast Hall of the Twelve Watchers on the first floor. This large room is accessed through two side stairways from the foyer on ground level. The second floor is still empty, but the two lower floors are full of small rooms, workshops, monastic cells, kitchens, and so on, with almost no corridors -- each room opens directly on the adjacent rooms (the Augrist priests concentrate so much on their tasks that they don't notice others passing through their rooms anyway). It is also said that extensive underground works exist under the temple, perhaps even connecting with the sewer system below the northern wards of the city.
The current Elder of the temple, Mason Auger (Dwarf Cleric 7), is a direct descendant of Auger's first cousin. Not surprisingly, he holds a great reverence for the Stonemason (one of the Twelve Watchers). Six other dwarf and human Clerics help him. The clergy also hire out as architects and sculptors, which allows them to support the temple expenses.
The Augrist clergy is usually quite busy with its construction projects, but on their off-work afternoon, they become eager proselitizers, so that long time residents of the neighborhood avoid the streets around the temple block during the Augrist holiday.

Shrine of the Eternal Truth
(Foreign Quarter)
The Shrine of the Eternal Truth is a single story whitewashed building with a flat roof. A gilded dome was part of the original project, but funds ran short and the dome was never completed. A slender tower rises in the garden a few yards from the main building.
A small group of scholars and preachers lives on the temple ground. These four departed from Ylaruam as learned sages and profound thinkers, but aging and the lack of interaction with other scholars in the last twenty years have turned them into four bickering old coots, who spend half their time dozing in sunny corners of the garden, and the rest arguing among themselves over not-so-profound issues (like who should cook meal or wash dishes). Thus, it is not surprising that the Eternal Truth is not gaining much ground in the Grand Duchy.
The four scholars are Ahmed ibn Sabir (C3, L), Yousef ibn Hamid min Sulba (C4, L), Nasir ben Said (MU 3, L) and Waleed ibn Djbril al Jaboori (Rake 2, L).

Church of Thyatis
(Church District)
While most Thyatians in Karameikos follow the teachings of the Church of Karameikos, the Church of Thyatis still maintains a patriarchal see in Specularum, both for political reasons and to provide services to the Thyatian nationals travelling or living abroad -- as well as to try to bring the Thyatians of Karmeikos back to the fold.
The Church of Thyatis in Specularum is located in the Church District. The building, a massive rectangular temple consisting of a single wide, open space dominated by the statues of the six primary Immortals, Ixion, Vanya, Valerias, Tarastia, Protius and Asterius. The six bronze statues as masterworks of Thyatian sculpture, representing the Immortals with powerful, dynamic figures 10' tall.
The clergy is headed by Patriarch Domitius Messalla (C9, L), a priest of Tarastia. A dozen of lesser priests of various Immortals help the Patriarch with clerical tasks, diplomatic work, and religious rituals. The church does not include residence areas for the clergy, and most priests live (with their families) in rented houses in the Church District -- though a few lesser priests prefer the less expensive South End.

Church of Darokin
(Foreign Quarter)
The so-called Church of Darokin is actually a multi-confessional hall funded by the five largest Lawful Darokinian sects. It consists of a large rectangular hall that gives access to a six smaller chapels on each of the longer sides. Five chapels are reserved for the funding sects, while the other chapels are open to all Darokinian cults (except those openly Entropic). Priests or other representatives of each cult can rent these chapels for a cheap fare (which helps cover maintainance expenses as well as the upkeep of the resident staff).
The Church of Darokin is appropriately located in the market section of the Foreign Quarter, right on the North Road.
The resident priests are a mixed lot, since they come from five different cults. Each cult sends one to three priests, for a current total of 11 priests. A half dozen of other Darokinian priests regularly uses the building on a rental base as well.

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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by Gawain_VIII » Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:54 pm

Great writeups! I especially like that you included WM, GS, & free native language...
My one criticism is that the Traladaran names seem a bit more Ukranian/Russian than Greco-Balkan.

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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by agathokles » Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:40 pm

Gawain_VIII wrote:Great writeups! I especially like that you included WM, GS, & free native language...
Thanks :)
My one criticism is that the Traladaran names seem a bit more Ukranian/Russian than Greco-Balkan.
Well, I do agree that in general Traladaran names should, if possible, be of Greek origin in a slavic (usually southern slavic) version. In the writeups, Anastasia Rodyna does have a Ukrainian surname (we could change that, though -- any idea?).
The others are either from canon (Calihar, Azuros and Strolojca are surnames from existing Traladaran families, Father Barris is a character from Hail the Heroes and Aloysius Vandevic is a character from Night of the Vampire) or Romanian (Gheorghe Stelea, Ioan).

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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by agathokles » Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:39 pm

And now, some random ideas:
  • It would be a good idea to organize the description of the city by Wards/Quarters; I suppose North End, South End, Stronghold, Church District, Old Quarter/The Nest, Hill, Bricktop and Foreign Quarter would be the main divisions (plus Trader's Corridor and River Fortress), though some of the merchant quarters could also be considered wards in their own right. Originally, all of these would have been walled like the modern Stronghold and Church District. Some of the major roads could derive from the elimination of those internal walls. What wards would you propose?
  • There is a distinct lack of graveyards and cemeteries in Specularum. We need some (probably more than one, for a city this large). Also, graveyards are excellent locales for adventuring. Where should they be located?
  • It is important to have an idea of the historical development of the city -- we know that the power center before the Thyatian conquest was the Stronghold district, and that the sewers are basically parts of the ancient town that have been built over. Thus, we can expect older sites to have deeper sewers, perhaps connecting to the Nithian age ruins, while e.g. the Church district would be built over the ruins of the same ward in the IX century, since that area was destroyed by the Thyatians.
  • Connected with graveyards is the issue of famous historical NPCs -- such as religious leaders (e.g., St. Kruskiev or Lucor), merchants (Antonio "The Great" Radu), politicians (Fabritius Luscinia, Bogdan Ivanovich, Ivan Marilenev). Monuments and statues of these people could be part of the Specularum landscape.
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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by Gawain_VIII » Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:11 pm

agathokles wrote:Anastasia Rodyna does have a Ukrainian surname (we could change that, though -- any idea?).
Assuming you chose the name because of it's coincidental similarity to the word "rodent", I would suggest "Rodinos".
agathokles wrote:It would be a good idea to organize the description of the city by Wards/Quarters; I suppose North End, South End, Stronghold, Church District, Old Quarter/The Nest, Hill, Bricktop and Foreign Quarter would be the main divisions (plus Trader's Corridor and River Fortress), though some of the merchant quarters could also be considered wards in their own right. Originally, all of these would have been walled like the modern Stronghold and Church District. Some of the major roads could derive from the elimination of those internal walls. What wards would you propose?
Agreed.
There is a distinct lack of graveyards and cemeteries in Specularum. We need some (probably more than one, for a city this large). Also, graveyards are excellent locales for adventuring. Where should they be located?
Well, the Thyatians are pragmatic enough to creamate their dead... which might also be the standard disposition for unclaimed bodies. Traladarans, however, being a supersticious folk, would definitely bury their dead. I wouldn't imagine it to be a horribly strange sight to see an elderly Traladaran gypsy "sleeping with the dead" as a means to commune with her (third) late husband.
As far as where... outside the main city walls, definitely... but I'm unsure of how close I would put it.
Perhaps some of the "blocks" on the map are actually small family/community graveyards. This would be more likely in the poorer & foreign districts, where the families won't be able to afford to buy a specific "family plot" outside the city gates.
It is important to have an idea of the historical development of the city -- we know that the power center before the Thyatian conquest was the Stronghold district, and that the sewers are basically parts of the ancient town that have been built over. Thus, we can expect older sites to have deeper sewers, perhaps connecting to the Nithian age ruins, while e.g. the Church district would be built over the ruins of the same ward in the IX century, since that area was destroyed by the Thyatians.
I'm not sure that some of the newer ruins would have any remnants, except the odd basement or two... When the Thyatians came in, the Church district might have been razed, but it would have been built on top of the existing foundations, leaving none/few of the actual ruins. I don't think any of the ruins would be as old as the original Nithian colonists. The Traldar, I think, would have already lost their Nithian roots before they migrated all the way down to the coast with permanant settlements. I agree with the rest of your assessment, however.
Connected with graveyards is the issue of famous historical NPCs -- such as religious leaders (e.g., St. Kruskiev or Lucor), merchants (Antonio "The Great" Radu), politicians (Fabritius Luscinia, Bogdan Ivanovich, Ivan Marilenev). Monuments and statues of these people could be part of the Specularum landscape.
How about using some of the PCs from AC1 that OldDawg hasn't yet stolen... IIRC one of them was a "Captain of the Duke's Guard" and another has a boyfriend/husband who had been killed... just some insirational material.

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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by Chimpman » Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:44 pm

Gawain_VIII wrote: As far as where... outside the main city walls, definitely... but I'm unsure of how close I would put it.
Perhaps some of the "blocks" on the map are actually small family/community graveyards. This would be more likely in the poorer & foreign districts, where the families won't be able to afford to buy a specific "family plot" outside the city gates.
Well, for the "new" cemetery, I would agree. But I bet there are older cemeteries within the city proper itself. The "Marilinev Graveyard" for one - I just like the sound of it. ;)
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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by agathokles » Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:57 pm

Gawain_VIII wrote:
agathokles wrote:Anastasia Rodyna does have a Ukrainian surname (we could change that, though -- any idea?).
Assuming you chose the name because of it's coincidental similarity to the word "rodent", I would suggest "Rodinos".
Indeed :P
Ok, I'll take Rodinos.

Well, the Thyatians are pragmatic enough to creamate their dead... which might also be the standard disposition for unclaimed bodies.
Even so, powerful families at least would want to preserve the memory of their ancestors.
Traladarans, however, being a supersticious folk, would definitely bury their dead. I wouldn't imagine it to be a horribly strange sight to see an elderly Traladaran gypsy "sleeping with the dead" as a means to commune with her (third) late husband.
As far as where... outside the main city walls, definitely... but I'm unsure of how close I would put it.
Perhaps some of the "blocks" on the map are actually small family/community graveyards. This would be more likely in the poorer & foreign districts, where the families won't be able to afford to buy a specific "family plot" outside the city gates.
Once more, we need to take into account the historical evolution of the city: since Specularum has more than 1000 years of history, what now is inside the city walls was at some point outside. There should be a Traldar necropolis somewhere, common burial grounds from the Vampire Wars and Traladaran Wars ages, and finally the "modern" graveyards of the pre-Thyatian Marilenev. Also, it is possible that noble Traladarans be buried in the church buildings or in small graveyards near the churches -- I would expect as much for the Radu (a crypt under some church in the Stronghold district would reduce the chances that someone used Speak with Dead on some departed relative) and the Torenescu. The Marilenev family would have their own crypt near their castle, OTOH.
I'm not sure that some of the newer ruins would have any remnants, except the odd basement or two... When the Thyatians came in, the Church district might have been razed, but it would have been built on top of the existing foundations, leaving none/few of the actual ruins.
Basements would survive, most likely.
I don't think any of the ruins would be as old as the original Nithian colonists. The Traldar, I think, would have already lost their Nithian roots before they migrated all the way down to the coast with permanant settlements. I agree with the rest of your assessment, however.
That's also possible, though the Hutaakans could have left some traces instead.
How about using some of the PCs from AC1 that OldDawg hasn't yet stolen... IIRC one of them was a "Captain of the Duke's Guard" and another has a boyfriend/husband who had been killed... just some insirational material.
Ok.

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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by Gawain_VIII » Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:25 pm

agathokles wrote:Even so, powerful families at least would want to preserve the memory of their ancestors.
From Wikipedia: Cremation remained common, but not universal, in both Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. According to Cicero, in Rome inhumation was considered the more archaic rite, while the most honoured citizens were most typically cremated, especially upper classes and members of imperial families.
Of course, Thyatian families would want to preserve the memory of their ancestors--I agree, but that's why, in the R/W, there are more archeologocal urns found in Roman ruins than any other major (read: world-wide influencing) historical culture except Hindu/India and pre-Zorathustran Persia.

But all of that aside, my main reason for suggesting cremation is a way to make a stark contrast between the two cultures.
Once more, we need to take into account the historical evolution of the city: since Specularum has more than 1000 years of history, what now is inside the city walls was at some point outside. There should be a Traldar necropolis somewhere, common burial grounds from the Vampire Wars and Traladaran Wars ages, and finally the "modern" graveyards of the pre-Thyatian Marilenev. Also, it is possible that noble Traladarans be buried in the church buildings or in small graveyards near the churches -- I would expect as much for the Radu (a crypt under some church in the Stronghold district would reduce the chances that someone used Speak with Dead on some departed relative) and the Torenescu. The Marilenev family would have their own crypt near their castle, OTOH.
Agreed. I suppose we could just dot a few here and there... the more prominent families having an entire "block" while the poorer ones are likely to bury their dead in their back yards.
That's also possible, though the Hutaakans could have left some traces instead.
Agreed

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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by agathokles » Wed Aug 27, 2008 11:15 pm

Gawain_VIII wrote: But all of that aside, my main reason for suggesting cremation is a way to make a stark contrast between the two cultures.
Sure, my point is mostly that Thyatians would still build structures (stelae or maybe commemorative plaques on church walls) to celebrate the memory of their ancestors, as well as keeping the urns somewhere (not necessarily at home, but likely in columbaria).

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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by Gawain_VIII » Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:11 pm

agathokles wrote:
Gawain_VIII wrote: But all of that aside, my main reason for suggesting cremation is a way to make a stark contrast between the two cultures.
Sure, my point is mostly that Thyatians would still build structures (stelae or maybe commemorative plaques on church walls) to celebrate the memory of their ancestors, as well as keeping the urns somewhere (not necessarily at home, but likely in columbaria).

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I can agree with that... consider this subject effectively comprimised. :D

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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by agathokles » Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:06 pm

Gawain_VIII wrote: I can agree with that... consider this subject effectively comprimised. :D
Ok. BTW, this has the side effect that now we probably need an old Traladaran cemetery (in or near the Stronghold or Old Quarter sectors?), a new Traladaran cemetery (outside the old walls, perhaps outside the new walls as well) and a Thyatian columbarium or two (one in or near the Church District, the other in or near the Bricktop and Hill districts).

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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by AllanP » Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:15 pm

Wow! :!: :D agathokles, that was a very productive holiday you had. Stunning work. You should take more holidays if this is going to be the result! ;)

Your "random ideas" were also very interesting:

"...organize the description of the city by Wards/Quarters..."
#Yes - I agree with that; I think each district could be looked at using the framework I outlined in one of my posts about the City Book concept, i.e. look at the history of each district, each district's commerce, religion, etc, etc. This "bottom-up" approach would flesh out things and probably spin off ideas for other districts.

"Originally, all of these (districts) would have been walled like the modern Stronghold and Church District..."
Good point! What was Specularum like pre-the Thyatian conquest? The outer wall was built by Duke Stefan, but when was the inner wall constructed? Were all the individual walled settlements linked? When was Stefan's castle constructed? Did he build it post AC972? or was it built in the aftermath of the Thyatian conquest? or did it exist prior to that? When did the "Old Quarter" become "Old"? What's the history about the naming of "The Nest"? When did "The Hill" develop? - prior to Stefan would there have been Ambassadors or as many "nobles" or elite?

"There is a distinct lack of graveyards and cemeteries..."
Another good point - and some good feedback already.

And hasanyone clarified the rise and fall of Marilenev in terms of it being a settlement? We have the Marilenev Estate on the AC1000 map don't we? and there's the indicatio that the original port was on the coast south of modern Specularum. Was Marilenev one of te walled settlements around Mirror Bay?
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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by agathokles » Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:38 pm

AllanP wrote:Wow! :!: :D agathokles, that was a very productive holiday you had. Stunning work. You should take more holidays if this is going to be the result! ;)
I actually did only the above stuff because I was busy with writing an adventure and a micro-gazetteer of the Vandevicsny region (my campaign is going to explore western Karameikos as soon as we restart).
I think each district could be looked at using the framework I outlined in one of my posts about the City Book concept
Indeed.
What was Specularum like pre-the Thyatian conquest? The outer wall was built by Duke Stefan, but when was the inner wall constructed? Were all the individual walled settlements linked? When was Stefan's castle constructed? Did he build it post AC972? or was it built in the aftermath of the Thyatian conquest? or did it exist prior to that? When did the "Old Quarter" become "Old"? What's the history about the naming of "The Nest"? When did "The Hill" develop? - prior to Stefan would there have been Ambassadors or as many "nobles" or elite?
Some hints we have: there's an "Old Palace" in Stefan's castle: we can assume that was the residence of the Thyatian Governors; the Stronghold district was the center of power before the conquest. Thus, it is likely that the castle was built by the Thyatians some years after 900 AC, possibly expanding an original keep that had only military functions. My idea is that it was originally the site of the castle of the Marilenev Bans and Dukes; during the oligarchic period, the center of power moved nearer to the Merchant Guild, in the Stronghold District, and the castle was part demolished and part used as prison and city guard barracks.

As to the old City Walls, I've set their construction in AC 681 as a response to the initial phases of the Vampire Wars.

The Hill: we know that Stefan's government bought the buildings they lend to the ambassadors, so the area was already upper class -- the Torenescu also resided there. Stefan probably bought most buildings from families that had suffered heavy losses in the Marilenev Rebellion.

The Old Quarter and The Nest: according to the GAZ, the Nest was similar to the current Old Quarter in 960 AC. I'd assume the Old Quarter and the Nest were a single ward at that time.
And hasanyone clarified the rise and fall of Marilenev in terms of it being a settlement? We have the Marilenev Estate on the AC1000 map don't we? and there's the indicatio that the original port was on the coast south of modern Specularum. Was Marilenev one of te walled settlements around Mirror Bay?
IMO, Marilenev was basically built when the Marilenev family lost their hold on the city of Marilenev -- in my timeline, this happens in AC 612, after the failure of the Traladaran League and the dismissal of the Diet of Marilenev.

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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by AllanP » Thu Aug 28, 2008 10:08 pm

agathokles wrote:
What was Specularum like pre-the Thyatian conquest? The outer wall was built by Duke Stefan, but when was the inner wall constructed? Were all the individual walled settlements linked? When was Stefan's castle constructed? Did he build it post AC972? or was it built in the aftermath of the Thyatian conquest? or did it exist prior to that? When did the "Old Quarter" become "Old"? What's the history about the naming of "The Nest"? When did "The Hill" develop? - prior to Stefan would there have been Ambassadors or as many "nobles" or elite?
Some hints we have: there's an "Old Palace" in Stefan's castle: we can assume that was the residence of the Thyatian Governors; the Stronghold district was the center of power before the conquest. Thus, it is likely that the castle was built by the Thyatians some years after 900 AC, possibly expanding an original keep that had only military functions. My idea is that it was originally the site of the castle of the Marilenev Bans and Dukes; during the oligarchic period, the center of power moved nearer to the Merchant Guild, in the Stronghold District, and the castle was part demolished and part used as prison and city guard barracks.
I like that. It works well.
agathokles wrote:As to the old City Walls, I've set their construction in AC 681 as a response to the initial phases of the Vampire Wars.

The Hill: we know that Stefan's government bought the buildings they lend to the ambassadors, so the area was already upper class -- the Torenescu also resided there. Stefan probably bought most buildings from families that had suffered heavy losses in the Marilenev Rebellion.

The Old Quarter and The Nest: according to the GAZ, the Nest was similar to the current Old Quarter in 960 AC. I'd assume the Old Quarter and the Nest were a single ward at that time.
Yes - I follow the idea of the OldQuarter and The Nest beginning as one area, but I'd interpreted that bit in GAZ1 differently, suggesting that 40 years previously, the Nest was like the modern Old Quarter and in AC960 the Old Quarter was more "up-market". (i.e. in AC960, there were still differences between the two areas...) I was thinking the post-Thyatian conquest led to some re-ordering of the city and that's when the OldQuarter got it's name...

agathokles wrote:
And hasanyone clarified the rise and fall of Marilenev in terms of it being a settlement? We have the Marilenev Estate on the AC1000 map don't we? and there's the indicatio that the original port was on the coast south of modern Specularum. Was Marilenev one of te walled settlements around Mirror Bay?
IMO, Marilenev was basically built when the Marilenev family lost their hold on the city of Marilenev -- in my timeline, this happens in AC 612, after the failure of the Traladaran League and the dismissal of the Diet of Marilenev.

GP
Sorry I'm confused as to what is being referred to as the Marilenev settlement, city, etc. Was Marilenev th name for the group of walled settlements surrounding Mirror Bay? Or have I got that completely wrong? (And it was Marilenev Village that was built later?)
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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by agathokles » Thu Aug 28, 2008 10:12 pm

AllanP wrote: Yes - I follow the idea of the OldQuarter and The Nest beginning as one area, but I'd interpreted that bit in GAZ1 differently, suggesting that 40 years previously, the Nest was like the modern Old Quarter and in AC960 the Old Quarter was more "up-market". (i.e. in AC960, there were still differences between the two areas...) I was thinking the post-Thyatian conquest led to some re-ordering of the city and that's when the OldQuarter got it's name...
That's also possible, of course.
agathokles wrote: IMO, Marilenev was basically built when the Marilenev family lost their hold on the city of Marilenev -- in my timeline, this happens in AC 612, after the failure of the Traladaran League and the dismissal of the Diet of Marilenev.
Sorry I'm confused as to what is being referred to as the Marilenev settlement, city, etc. Was Marilenev th name for the group of walled settlements surrounding Mirror Bay? Or have I got that completely wrong? (And it was Marilenev Village that was built later?)
Sorry. Marilenev is both the name of the city before the Thyatian conquest, and of a castle and village of the Marilenev family, which is now the capital of the Estate of Marilenev. In the above, I meant that the castle and village were probably expanded or created when the Marilenev family lost its control of Specularum (i.e., the city of Marilenev).

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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by AllanP » Thu Aug 28, 2008 10:47 pm

agathokles wrote:
agathokles wrote: IMO, Marilenev was basically built when the Marilenev family lost their hold on the city of Marilenev -- in my timeline, this happens in AC 612, after the failure of the Traladaran League and the dismissal of the Diet of Marilenev.
Sorry I'm confused as to what is being referred to as the Marilenev settlement, city, etc. Was Marilenev th name for the group of walled settlements surrounding Mirror Bay? Or have I got that completely wrong? (And it was Marilenev Village that was built later?)
Sorry. Marilenev is both the name of the city before the Thyatian conquest, and of a castle and village of the Marilenev family, which is now the capital of the Estate of Marilenev. In the above, I meant that the castle and village were probably expanded or created when the Marilenev family lost its control of Specularum (i.e., the city of Marilenev).
Thanks for that GP - I'm now with it. Pre AC900 the area around Mirror Bay (the walled communities) was called Marilenev - possibly what was to become Stefan's castle was Fort Marilenev. After the Thyatian conquest, as the area became re-ordered, the city became known as Specularum; while to the south-west Marilenev Village with castle were built. The old Marilenev port on the south coast felll into disuse as Mirror Bayy (and later Traders' Corridor) provided better harbour/trade facilities.
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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by AllanP » Fri Aug 29, 2008 8:43 pm

We have been discussing the format of Mystara City Books in a separate thread, but following GP's suggestio for documenting a city ward, I' thought I'd make an initial attempt at pulling something together along the lines that GP suggested. It's still quite skeleton and could do with more expert input, but I have an initial document here.

I'd appreciate your comments...
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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by Chimpman » Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:41 pm

AllanP wrote:We have been discussing the format of Mystara City Books in a separate thread, but following GP's suggestio for documenting a city ward, I' thought I'd make an initial attempt at pulling something together along the lines that GP suggested. It's still quite skeleton and could do with more expert input, but I have an initial document here.

I'd appreciate your comments...
This is great Allan! I'm not sure I would qualify myself as an expert, but I do have some comments for you. Before getting to those however I want to say that I'm approaching this document as being a publishing template - in other words the sections we see in the document would be the sections that we would end up seeing in the finished city book product. I'm not sure if that was your initial intent, or if the intent was to provide more of a working document - a place to compile together all ideas that can later be sifted through and edited. I think the document has elements of both things (at least the way I'm reading it), but like I said, the comments below assume it is more of a publishing template, so take them for what they're worth.

1) Overview and Demographics - I think I would merge these two categories, and pull the map up to the top. Most of the information in the Demographics section could just as easily be given as part of a general overview.

2) I like the history section and definitely think it merits its own category. Lots of role playing opportunities can be laid out as part of the history of a city ward. I imagine that the city in general will have it's own history section, but here we can get down to specifics. Not only ancient history, but recent events as well. Hmmm... not sure if those two things should be mixed, or if they warrant separate categories. I need to think on that a bit.

3) The sections between History and Notable Residents seem more like sections for a working document - they're places to hold ideas that can later be expanded, but not necessarily things that I'd want to read through in a finished product. Instead my preference would be to have a Notable Locations section were any building worthy of noting is listed. Is it a location that the PCs will likely visit? Is it somewhere they might want to avoid? Are there secrets associated with it? If the answer is yes to any of those questions then include the location... otherwise it's just an overload of information.

4) I know that many of the Gaz products include a section on law enforcement and crime, and while I think that's necessary at a national level (and perhaps even at a city level), I'm not sure it is needed per ward. I would rather have this information be presented as part of a blurb in the Overview section. Instead replace it with a section on Organizations that operate or are based in this city ward. These organizations could include crime syndicates, religious sects and cults, political or mercantile entities, etc... Don't limit it to crime and law.
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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by Chimpman » Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:50 pm

Chimpman wrote:3) The sections between History and Notable Residents seem more like sections for a working document - they're places to hold ideas that can later be expanded, but not necessarily things that I'd want to read through in a finished product. Instead my preference would be to have a Notable Locations section were any building worthy of noting is listed. Is it a location that the PCs will likely visit? Is it somewhere they might want to avoid? Are there secrets associated with it? If the answer is yes to any of those questions then include the location... otherwise it's just an overload of information.
Hmmm.... just an extra thought here. If you want to include this information (on all the possible locales in the city ward), do it as part of the map. Provide a key that marks out all inns, temples, monuments, merchants, etc... That's just the kind of thing that makes maps fun, and I can imagine that Players and DMs alike might find it enjoyable to pour through such items searching for the perfect location for Plot X... whatever that might be.

I'm not sure how much info you can cram onto a map, but if you are thinking of using CC, then it might be possible to mark certain types of buildings using certain icons.
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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by AllanP » Sat Aug 30, 2008 10:30 am

Hi Chimpman - thanks for taking the time to comment on my posting.
Chimpman wrote:I want to say that I'm approaching this document as being a publishing template - in other words the sections we see in the document would be the sections that we would end up seeing in the finished city book product. I'm not sure if that was your initial intent, or if the intent was to provide more of a working document - a place to compile together all ideas that can later be sifted through and edited. I think the document has elements of both things (at least the way I'm reading it)
I guess I didn't express my intent very well in the earlier posting. You're right - this is a working document and not how I ennvisage the final product to look when (if?) we get to that stage. You hit the nail on the head when you said "...a place to compile together all ideas that can later be sifted through and edited." I was also appreciating the scale of the task - it's mammoth-sized, and how do you eat a mammoth? a piece at a time. At the moment, from the feedback in the Mystara City Books thread, I think the only known aspect of the final product is that it would be divided into a "Players' Guide" (PG) and a "DM's Book" (DMB).As GP commented, we need to get contributions in and start the editing/formatting once there's adequate material to work with.
All that being said, I do appreciate your comments on the initial draft document for the ward.
Chimpman wrote:1) Overview and Demographics - I think I would merge these two categories, and pull the map up to the top. Most of the information in the Demographics section could just as easily be given as part of a general overview.
As an example of the split between PG and DMB, I'd expect a general overview in the PG and more detail in the DMB (where the demographics would be listed).
Chimpman wrote:2) I like the history section and definitely think it merits its own category. Lots of role playing opportunities can be laid out as part of the history of a city ward. I imagine that the city in general will have it's own history section, but here we can get down to specifics. Not only ancient history, but recent events as well. Hmmm... not sure if those two things should be mixed, or if they warrant separate categories. I need to think on that a bit.
At the ward level, the history section is an opportunity to note aspects of city history related to that ward. I'm envisaging an overall City History section (again the detailed version in the DMB). I agree that we need to think about the best way of handling "recent events".
Chimpman wrote:3) The sections between History and Notable Residents seem more like sections for a working document - they're places to hold ideas that can later be expanded, but not necessarily things that I'd want to read through in a finished product. Instead my preference would be to have a Notable Locations section were any building worthy of noting is listed. Is it a location that the PCs will likely visit? Is it somewhere they might want to avoid? Are there secrets associated with it? If the answer is yes to any of those questions then include the location... otherwise it's just an overload of information.
As I hope you appreciate with this being a working document, I included this level of detail to give a better view of the ward. It's primarily DMB material; although certain strucvtures would be mentioned in a "Notale Locations" section of the PG. Detailing the ward at this level might help springboard some adventure hooks or provide the opportunity to generate interesting NPCs. It's a bit of a "chicken-and-the-egg" thing" - do you ddraw the ward map first and decide what the buildings represent? or do you determine the mix of buildings and use them to flesh out the map? I've decided on the latter approach.
Chimpman wrote:4) I know that many of the Gaz products include a section on law enforcement and crime, and while I think that's necessary at a national level (and perhaps even at a city level), I'm not sure it is needed per ward. I would rather have this information be presented as part of a blurb in the Overview section. Instead replace it with a section on Organizations that operate or are based in this city ward. These organizations could include crime syndicates, religious sects and cults, political or mercantile entities, etc... Don't limit it to crime and law.
Again I was documenting notes specific to tiis ward, but the final version might just hacve one city-wide section. Organizations will be included in the appropriate places - I did note a cross-reference to a Vaults of Pandius article on the Guilds, etc; this might again be a city-wide section in the published version, but there might be elements specific to the ward (e.g. placing the Merchants' Guildhall in the Stroonghold District); similarly, a city-wide section on religions would be appropriate, but individual churches/temples might be described at the ward level.

Once again, thank very much for your feedback. As you can see things are still in the "information gathering" stage, and having weighed the various aspects as discussed in the City Books thread, I feel it is better not to be constrained by dictating the final format now. Let's collect the information and then start juggling it around.

regards,
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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by AllanP » Sat Aug 30, 2008 10:41 am

Chimpman wrote:Hmmm.... just an extra thought here. If you want to include this information (on all the possible locales in the city ward), do it as part of the map. Provide a key that marks out all inns, temples, monuments, merchants, etc... That's just the kind of thing that makes maps fun, and I can imagine that Players and DMs alike might find it enjoyable to pour through such items searching for the perfect location for Plot X... whatever that might be.

I'm not sure how much info you can cram onto a map, but if you are thinking of using CC, then it might be possible to mark certain types of buildings using certain icons.
What I'm hoping for is at least two levels of ward map - a Players version and a more detailed DM version. As I've indicated elsewhere, I'm experimenting with CC3 and hope to achieve something appropriate. The listing of business/buildings is a design note; certain businesses might be expanded in the final version. Maybe we could also include (in the final product) an Appendix for the DM which is a Business Directory - listing/categorising/locating all the businesses in the city? (Anyone got a Street Name Generator?)

Thanks for the "extra thought"

regards,
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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by Chimpman » Sat Aug 30, 2008 5:02 pm

AllanP wrote: As I hope you appreciate with this being a working document, I included this level of detail to give a better view of the ward. It's primarily DMB material; although certain strucvtures would be mentioned in a "Notale Locations" section of the PG. Detailing the ward at this level might help springboard some adventure hooks or provide the opportunity to generate interesting NPCs. It's a bit of a "chicken-and-the-egg" thing" - do you ddraw the ward map first and decide what the buildings represent? or do you determine the mix of buildings and use them to flesh out the map? I've decided on the latter approach.
Yes, this makes perfect sense to me. I'll go over the document once again with this in mind. For what it's worth I think I'd approach the problem in the same way.

Hmmm... What would be most useful to me is to have a higher level document, something that gives an overview of each city ward. That way we can define the roles that each ward will play within the city, and then from there expand upon them using your more detailed working document. If multiple people are going to be working on this project, then I'd like to avoid the problem of duplicating efforts - where two wards are fullfilling the same roles and come out being essentially identical.
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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by agathokles » Sat Aug 30, 2008 6:05 pm

Chimpman wrote: Hmmm... What would be most useful to me is to have a higher level document, something that gives an overview of each city ward. That way we can define the roles that each ward will play within the city, and then from there expand upon them using your more detailed working document. If multiple people are going to be working on this project, then I'd like to avoid the problem of duplicating efforts - where two wards are fullfilling the same roles and come out being essentially identical.
You are indeed right. Up to now, these are my ideas on the issue.

We've got four upper class districts:
Hill District: Torenescu stronghold, guilders, and other "old guard" Traladaran nobility, plus the ambassadors and rich Thyatians. More multicultural than the Stronghold district, but not in the "New Karameikan" style. Center of the political life. Typical buildings include walled villas, many-windowed mansions and the like.
Bricktop: New Karameikan upper and middle class district: lots of mixed-breed families, CoK dominant but with a significant CoT presence. The CoH is also likely to be more common here than in any other upper class ward. Buildings vary from smaller mansions to tall and narrow craftsman/merchant houses.
Stronghold: Old Traladaran mercantile elite, Radu faction. Large, squat buildings opening on private courtyards with few, grated windows on the outer sides.
Church District: Thyatian upper class ward, with the obvious church influence. A place where the conservative Thyatian faction (a la Oderbry) is strongest. Also a strong chivalric feel. A mix of Thyatian (i.e. classical) and Karameikan (i.e. early renaissance) architecture.

And four middle and lower class districts:
North End: seafarers' quarter (sailors, shipwrights, carpenters); many adventurers as well. Mixed population, with many New Karameikans and Thyatians. Rough but straightforward people, epitomizes the New Karameikan spirit.
South End: laborers quarter with an unsual concentration of magic users; mostly Traladaran population, but not truly an "ethnic" quarter. A sleepier ward with little politics going on.
Old Quarter: colorful old Traladaran quarter, with almost no Thyatian presence and few New Karameikans. The CoT and CoH are the dominant factions here.
The Nest: criminal underground and Traladaran resistance. The Veiled Society and Kingdom of Thieves and other gangs are the dominant factions.

The Merchant District is somewhat in the middle with a varied, mostly middle-class population of craftsmen and small-time merchants. It is organized by products sold, and the architecture tends to be very homogeneous -- tall, narrow single family buildings made of a workshop, living rooms, and sleeping rooms on different levels.

The Foreign Quarter and the Trader's Corridor are well defined by their position or population.

GP

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Re: Some material for a "FantasyCities: Specularum" book

Post by Plaag » Sun Aug 31, 2008 1:02 am

Just got around to looking at the document and this thread. A suggestion of mine is not to define the number of each type of business to the districts. This could be used as a list of acceptable shops/buildings for that district when people begin to fill them out, but to restrict beforehand you can eliminate some ideas/role playing elements.
I do like the idea of keeping this like the gazetteers what with having a players guide to the city and them the DMs guide. The approach of defining the buildings first then plugging them into even a preliminary map works especially since there would be guidelines with the districts having a different feel to them. It seemed to do well for the one city book I worked on, Bard's Gate. So I can give some knowledge I learned from that experience if anyone wants, but I don't dare want to try and step in and derail any creative direction this may have been heading.
But again this is looking like it'll be a great thing to read when finished.

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