City-State of Refuge Point

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City-State of Refuge Point

Postby night_druid » Fri May 01, 2009 4:32 pm

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Figured one thing we'll need is a starting city. A Greyhawk/Waterdeep/Bral/what-have-you. So here's my first stab at that. Mostly just a few notes to get us started.


City-State of Refuge Point

Ah, the City of Refuge Point. It is here that many find a new home, a fresh start for those leaving the ruin of any one of dozens of worlds behind them. For others, its deep harbor offers passage to distant lands, where they may settle in peace.

Refuge Point is a large city, although dwarfed by innumerable metropolises elsewhere. Yet the city is easily one of the most diverse, welcoming many nations and creeds into its grim, gray walls. It thrives on trade and commerce. In the last few decades it has grown considerably, both in population and wealth. Slowly, squalid slums are being displaced. New buildings rise from the ruins of the old as the citizens improve their lot.

The city occupies the plains surrounding a deep water harbor. At its flank is a series of lightly wooded hills. Game animals and bandits are found in abundance. A small keep is under construction to deal with the bandits. Opposite of the hills are fields and farms, rolling countryside that stretches for miles before ending at the foothills of the Dragonback Mountains. This breadbasket is dotted with villages and towns, tentatively under the dominion of Refuge Point. All manner of troubles plague these lands, from monsters and raiding humanoids to scheming wizards and murderous bandits. Many a young hero cuts his teeth in these lands before setting off on adventures in more distant lands.


Vital Statistics:
Population – 50,000 permanent residents, rises to 100,000 during the height of the trade season. No racial majority; largest minority are human at 30%. Includes undersea races who dwell in the harbor. The dominion has roughly 250,000 people.
Location – a well-protected and deep harbor.
Architecture – anything. Literally every race and culture has been here at one point, leaving their mark in buildings new & old.
Gimmick – point of arrival for many groups of refugees. Many one-way gates dump people into the city all the time.
Climate – Warm temperate. Winters are cold, but not overly long. Summers are hot and longer. Spring & fall are mild & wet.
Watch – Roughly 1,000 men-at-arms to guard the walls, 700 watchmen to patrol the streets
Points of Interest –
The Underhalls: Refuge Point is built on top of a series of older cities; there are at least five levels of dungeons, including a sewer level. Some parts are isolated, others are connected into sprawling dungeon complexes. These are often homes to undead, monsters, and other creepy things that are best forgotten.
Goblintown: A small enclave of neutral goblins. Poor and subject to discrimination, they became prey to a ruthless goblin crime family. The goblins try to improve their image, but the crime family keeps them under their thumb. Their fortunes are on the rise thanks to demand for their excellent leather goods.
The Piazza: This large market teems with merchants hawking their wares at all times of the day, and even late into the night. Ideally, it’s a neutral gathering ground for all of the city’s inhabitants to come, trade, and exchange ideas. At times, it can be hotly contested between various factions, although this is more often a contest of words and ideals than actual combat. The Piazza is well-policed, so crime and violence is minimal. At night, the Piazza is lit by softly glowing magical lanterns, and the more light-sensitive races, such as goblins, take over. Day or night, the Piazza is always active with commerce and trade.
The Blue Goblin Inn: Run by the matronly Uthglen and her twelve daughters, this small inn caters to adventurers. Although somewhat old and difficult to find, the Inn is a clean, well-run establishment. All races are welcomed; the bartender is a cheerful dwarven lad who is rather nimble when tossing bottles around. Several waitresses are run-aways who Uthglen took pity on and gave them a job. Patrons are warned not to get too friendly; an ogre is employed as a bouncer.

Skytower 19: A century ago, a group of fourteen humans came ashore not far from Refuge Point, claiming to have flown through a strange vortex and crashed into the sea. Their wondrous flying craft were lost, leaving them stranded. Although they never gave up hope of rescue, they settled into a new life at the city, and eventually had this sky tower built so they could once again fly like birds. The meaning of the tower’s name is now lost. It is the home base of the Avenger Skyfleet Coaster, which operates four merchant sky ships. The Coaster is run by the descendants of the original fourteen humans.

Edit: just adding our agreed license to the top; seems to be the fashionable thing to do! :)
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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby Havard » Fri May 01, 2009 4:43 pm

Interesting concept! I like the name too. :)

This leads to another important question though: How do the refugees arrive in this world?

Also, if this is this world's Greyhawk/Waterdeep/Threshold, then it should have a large central marketplace, where people meet to discuss politics and other important matters. A place the inhabitants simply refer to as "The Piazza" ;)

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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby night_druid » Fri May 01, 2009 4:52 pm

Havard wrote:Interesting concept! I like the name too. :)


Cool :) Struggled with the name for a long time, too ;)

This leads to another important question though: How do the refugees arrive in this world?


I kinda think the spirit should be "there is no one method". Portals, ships, teleport, its all good. In this case, I'm envisioning a number of portals (particularly one-way portals) end in this general area, and every so often small groups stumble through 'em. Usually a few dozen to as many as a thousand.

Also, if this is this world's Greyhawk/Waterdeep/Threshold, then it should have a large central marketplace, where people meet to discuss politics and other important matters. A place the inhabitants simply refer to as "The Piazza" ;)


Ayup :lol:

I did want to establish a good-sized city, but not so big its a "we're the biggest city evar!1!1!". I kinda envision an early Carthage, sitting on a damned good harbor and growing into a powerful trade hub on the coast, possibly owning some islands and colonies of its own as it grows in power.
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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby Idabrius » Fri May 01, 2009 5:11 pm

I'm thinking there should be at least one major ship-harbor for Skyships/Portal Ships whatever we're calling them. If people can come to Thalassa via flying ships, I'd figure they'd use em to get around as well. We might eventually want to decide on an originating culture for Sky-ships, but for now I think a Sky-harbor area might add to the city scape a little something. Perhaps it's up in the mountains about a day's travel from the city, requiring guards and patrols to keep the route open through the wilderness?
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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby night_druid » Fri May 01, 2009 5:22 pm

Idabrius wrote:I'm thinking there should be at least one major ship-harbor for Skyships/Portal Ships whatever we're calling them. If people can come to Thalassa via flying ships, I'd figure they'd use em to get around as well. We might eventually want to decide on an originating culture for Sky-ships, but for now I think a Sky-harbor area might add to the city scape a little something. Perhaps it's up in the mountains about a day's travel from the city, requiring guards and patrols to keep the route open through the wilderness?


Sure, why not? Towers is a good choice, too. A port in the mountains might be useful for transporting ore into town for refinement.

Also: Added a bit more onto the first post :)
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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby Idabrius » Fri May 01, 2009 5:27 pm

Here's another question? Where do the bandits come from? Are they natives? Are they lawless folk from the home worlds? Speaking of the home worlds, I think we should come up with some all-encompassing term for them at some point. Anyway, we need some kind of source for the bandit-folk. Perhaps people came to Thalassa with the express intention of establishing lawless warbands?

Either way, the normal reasons for banditry seem to be absent. The world is dark, unknown in a lot of places, and filled with wilderness and law itself seems like it will be extremely local.
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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby Ashtagon » Fri May 01, 2009 5:30 pm

I'm thinking that the world could be the "receiving end" of a Bermuda triangle effect. The seas near the city of refuge is just one (although the largest) of many such receiving areas. The exact nature of the ship is a function of the culture which built it.

One side-effect of passing through these inward portals is that many details of the originating culture are lost or forgotten - a sort of selective amnesia (but who is doing the selecting?).

Naturally, there is nothing to stop aircraft, from hot air balloons to skyships, spacecraft, and 747s from being involved too, if we decide to go that way.

Individual land-based travellers can wind up here too. The usual ways would be underground mazes/portals, and in certain highly-magical areas, sleeping near the wrong tree can cause you to wake up on this world instead of on your home world.
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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby night_druid » Fri May 01, 2009 5:34 pm

Idabrius wrote:Here's another question? Where do the bandits come from? Are they natives? Are they lawless folk from the home worlds? Speaking of the home worlds, I think we should come up with some all-encompassing term for them at some point. Anyway, we need some kind of source for the bandit-folk. Perhaps people came to Thalassa with the express intention of establishing lawless warbands?


I'd kinda say all of the above. Big reason for "bandits" is 1) to give low-level PCs foes to fight and 2) we haven't yet established a low level threat humanoid (typically kobolds/goblins/orcs). If we make say kobolds the low-level evil monster humanoids, then just substitue that. Or, just as likely, these foes are of many races, to give PCs a lot of flavor of foes to fight. Those are the big reasons for there being bandits; how they come about is largely due to weak law enforcement.

Ashtagon - very cool idea. Works well for the purpose of the city ;)
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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby night_druid » Fri May 01, 2009 6:02 pm

Heh, added another idea to the list...thanks Ash & Idabrius for the inspiration. A bit humorous, but fits so well... :lol:
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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby Chimpman » Fri May 01, 2009 6:02 pm

Qal Tallon
Millenia ago, thrashing and stormy waters of the Aberrate Seas spat out the sorry flotilla of Admiral Karliatta Damaa, who led a ragtag band of survivors fleeing the destruction of their beloved Taltinia. Seeking solace from the storm and a new land to call their own, the crimson sailed fleet made harbor at what is now Refuge Point. Here they built a city in the Taltinian fashion, with walls of concentric circles each surrounding the next. At its center stood Qal Tallon, a massive tower crowned by an upturned and outstretched eagle's claw.

From here the Taltinians plied the seas, searching for any others who might have survived the deluge that covered their homeland, as well as exploring their new world. Qal Tallon prospered as new races and peoples were discovered on their journeys and trade became common place among them. This time of renewed vigor and prosperity was not to last however. Something dark followed the Taltinians from their home world, and it plagued them still. They became fractious and fought among themselves until finally one day all of the crimson sailed ships set sail for the open seas, never to return.

More peoples found their way to Qal Tallon, and claimed it for their own. Those Taltinians who remained behind helped to form the thriving city that is now know as Refuge Point. All that remains now of their old city are portions of the innermost wall, now pitted and crumbling stone, and the central tower. Qal Tallon itself has weathered the ages well, and is still used by the people of Refuge Point. Its high walls give a good vantage point to search the horizon for incoming ships. Few alive today know of its full history, but all have heard the rumors that something dark still lurks within, deep underground.
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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby Chimpman » Fri May 01, 2009 6:03 pm

Ashtagon wrote:I'm thinking that the world could be the "receiving end" of a Bermuda triangle effect. The seas near the city of refuge is just one (although the largest) of many such receiving areas. The exact nature of the ship is a function of the culture which built it.

;) seems we're having similar thoughts Ash.
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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby night_druid » Fri May 01, 2009 6:05 pm

Chimpman wrote:Qal Tallon


Awesome stuff. :ugeek: Up to 2 pages of notes :mrgreen:
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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby maddog » Fri May 01, 2009 6:07 pm

night_druid wrote:Heh, added another idea to the list...thanks Ash & Idabrius for the inspiration. A bit humorous, but fits so well... :lol:


Is someone going to write the "Night Druid" NPC/Character class too! :lol:
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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby maddog » Fri May 01, 2009 6:10 pm

night_druid wrote:
Idabrius wrote:2) we haven't yet established a low level threat humanoid (typically kobolds/goblins/orcs).


I'm hoping to add just a small farming village with these little nasties as the major annoyance for low level adventurers to clean up. We gotta have one.
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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby night_druid » Fri May 01, 2009 6:10 pm

maddog wrote:
night_druid wrote:Heh, added another idea to the list...thanks Ash & Idabrius for the inspiration. A bit humorous, but fits so well... :lol:


Is someone going to write the "Night Druid" NPC/Character class too! :lol:


I haven't disappeared mysterious! Yet... :lol:
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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby night_druid » Fri May 01, 2009 6:12 pm

maddog wrote:
night_druid wrote:
Idabrius wrote:2) we haven't yet established a low level threat humanoid (typically kobolds/goblins/orcs).


I'm hoping to add just a small farming village with these little nasties as the major annoyance for low level adventurers to clean up. We gotta have one.


Perfect! That's exactly what I was envisioning for the area surrounding the city. Keep on the Borderlands/Village of Hommlet/Search of the Unknown/Kill Bargel-style adventures. 8-)
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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby Chimpman » Fri May 01, 2009 6:19 pm

I'm thinking we need an archive/library as well, probably run by a group of academics and scribes. A secret brotherhood dedicated to the study of the rifts nearby, and the cataloging and history of all who come through them. They are slowly but surely building up knowledge of the physical and magical nature of this world, and may also have information about some of the dark secrets that some of these races fled from. They would be a good source for generating adventures.

Of course, they need a cool building to inhabit ;)
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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby Chimpman » Fri May 01, 2009 6:35 pm

Thoolagh
Thoolagh, Thellig, Thoolg... by those that know, the name can be traced back through the centuries all the way to the arrival of the Taltinians and the founding of Qal Tallon. It is unknown whether this name has been passed down through the generations as an heirloom, or whether a single entity has worn it through the ages. What is known is this, that speaking the name, whatever the form, brings misfortune.

Some of the more violent bandits that skirt the city claim to follow Thoolagh, and others whisper that his spies and servants walk the streets of Refuge Point. It is rumored that he makes his lair somewhere in the feet of the Dragonback Mountains, although none who have seen it, if any have, ever speak of it openly.

Thoolagh is the bogeyman of Refuge Point. A dark and sinister individual who schemes for power and dominion over all within his grasp. Some say he searches for something in the city, something that was lost long ago and that he must recover for his nefarious purposes. What the item is, as well as Thoolagh's real purpose, remain unknown.
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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby night_druid » Fri May 01, 2009 6:37 pm

Decided to expand this a little ;)

The Blue Goblin Inn
At the corner of Wayfinder Street and Sanctuary Road, near the edge of Goblintown, is the Blue Goblin Inn. A battered sign, embolden with a blue goblin’s face, hangs over the street, and a short stair leads down to its front door. The door opens to a taproom with eight large tables, a bar, and a large, stone fire place. A stuffed warg’s head hangs over the mantle, and a cheerful dwarf lad by the name of Khorin tends the bar. He proudly displays his skill at tossing bottles when serving drinks, displaying dexterity often thought lacking with the dwarven people. Ten girls of various races tend the tables in colorful dresses. A perky goblin lass who goes by the name Uthera greets people as they enter and offers to take their coats while another goblin lass, Ru’nia leads guests to an open table. If guests are more interested in staying the night, the lass lead them to the front desk, where her mother, the matronly Uthglen, can check them in. In a corner is a grim-looking ogre, his eyes always looking out for trouble.

The Blue Goblin Inn caters to adventures. Although somewhat old and not located in the best part of town, it is a clean, well-run establishment. The inn has nineteen private rooms with two beds each, and a larger “commons” area that has twenty beds. The staff sleeps in the attic. Uthglen runs the inn with her twelve daughters. The waitresses are typically runaways who Uthglen took pity on and gave them a job. She employs three bouncers, the most obvious of which is Skullthumper the ogre. Uthglen is an honest businesswoman and is quite successful. She reluctantly pays protection money to the Bloodeye Family, a thieves’ guild of goblins that extorts money from the goblins of Refuge Point. She hates the Bloodeyes, and has secretly installed a safe-room to hide those on the run from that criminal family.

Charges at the Blue Goblin
Private Room: 2 sp/night
Commons Room: 5 cp/night
Various Menu Items: range 2 cp to 1 sp <= develop food/drink items
Drinks: 5 cp to 1 gp per glass
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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby maddog » Fri May 01, 2009 6:42 pm

night_druid wrote:
maddog wrote:
night_druid wrote:
Idabrius wrote:2) we haven't yet established a low level threat humanoid (typically kobolds/goblins/orcs).


I'm hoping to add just a small farming village with these little nasties as the major annoyance for low level adventurers to clean up. We gotta have one.


Perfect! That's exactly what I was envisioning for the area surrounding the city. Keep on the Borderlands/Village of Hommlet/Search of the Unknown/Kill Bargel-style adventures. 8-)


How about this.....

Marvan (LN, Population: 200) is a small farming village 40 miles outside Refuge Point. The buildings are single story wooden structures with thatch roofs. The one exception is the manor of Baron Brudaius, the lord of the area. Recently, kobolds have been stealing young goats and children from their cribs at night. Baron Brudaius is looking for someone to deal with the nasty critters.

The hills outside of the village are riddled with caves. Many humanoid tribes have laired in them over the years which makes a continuing headache for the baron.

Notice the Baron's name. :)
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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby Chimpman » Fri May 01, 2009 6:46 pm

I like Blue Goblin Inn, night druid. And I really like the idea of the goblin thieves guild, the Bloodeyes. Have any ideas about the goblins and where they came from? How did they find Refuge Point, and how far back in its history did they settle here?
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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby night_druid » Fri May 01, 2009 6:49 pm

Chimpman wrote:I like Blue Goblin Inn, night druid. And I really like the idea of the goblin thieves guild, the Bloodeyes. Have any ideas about the goblins and where they came from? How did they find Refuge Point, and how far back in its history did they settle here?


Not yet. Probably have been around for a while, at least a couple of centuries. They're sorta modeled after the Chinese on the west coast, but only loosely so. This particular group of goblins are innately evil, just at the bad end of some luck and discrimination. The Bloodeyes originally began to protect the goblins, but quickly became corrupted into a typical mafia/gangster organization.
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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby night_druid » Fri May 01, 2009 6:51 pm

maddog wrote:How about this.....

Marvan (LN, Population: 200) is a small farming village 40 miles outside Refuge Point. The buildings are single story wooden structures with thatch roofs. The one exception is the manor of Baron Brudaius, the lord of the area. Recently, kobolds have been stealing young goats and children from their cribs at night. Baron Brudaius is looking for someone to deal with the nasty critters.

The hills outside of the village are riddled with caves. Many humanoid tribes have laired in them over the years which makes a continuing headache for the baron.

Notice the Baron's name. :)
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Alraedy added to my master document. Not entirely sure I get the mayor's name (I believe its a Mystara joke), but still good ;)
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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby Idabrius » Fri May 01, 2009 7:19 pm

Chimpman wrote:I'm thinking we need an archive/library as well, probably run by a group of academics and scribes. A secret brotherhood dedicated to the study of the rifts nearby, and the cataloging and history of all who come through them. They are slowly but surely building up knowledge of the physical and magical nature of this world, and may also have information about some of the dark secrets that some of these races fled from. They would be a good source for generating adventures.

Of course, they need a cool building to inhabit ;)


The Chained Library

An order of men and women in strange habits arrived at Refuge Point nearly one century ago, coming out of the wilderness in a long wagon train. When asked where they hailed from they were tight lipped, speaking only of a "great sorrow." To the surprise of most in the city, this massive baggage train did not house many people, nor was it a supply of food, nor was it treasure from their lost home plane. No, this baggage trained contained books, books, and more books.

Over the course of a tenday, a disused section of crumbled city wall and rat-infested slums was transformed by the mysterious order. Each day they seemed to grow weaker, greyer, more dismal. Yet, each day the fantastic structure they had begun building grew in size and majesty. By the time it was complete, there was a sense of awe about it. Its domes were made of faded silver, and its walls of the same hard stone that the city sat upon. It had strange tall towers and high outer walls, and seemed haunted by shadows. Yet the strangest thing of all was the approach: for in a rough circle around the complex was hewn a cleft into the earth. This circular depression seemed endless to those peering in, and no moat of water ever did its job better.

Those with keen eyes could see that the complex was upon an island of rock floating above a void, for the builders must've struck upon an ancient hollow in the earth. Yet, it did not fall. Indeed, it seemed to need great chains to keep it in place above the gaping darkness. A span of rock with a drawbridge serves as the only means by foot into the complex which has become known as the Chained Library.

The builders of the great place have long since died off - rumors say that within months of building it they were gone. But they have trained others to do their work, and tend the books of portal-lore like loving priests. The Order (as it is now known) seeks knowledge from all worlds, of all things, but most of all of portal-magic. It is said to be a repository of fabulous wealth, wealth which has more than once influenced the outcome of major events in Refuge Point. Its keepers are likely powerful mages, though they hide behind its walls and do not venture out.

Once every year, anxious poor gather around the foot of the drawbridge, clustering in quiet groups and thrusting out their children for Inspection. On Inspection day, ten children are chosen to vanish into the depths of the Library to be trained in the secrets of the order, and the poor are rewarded with great purses of gold.

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Idabrius
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Re: City-State of Refuge Point

Postby night_druid » Fri May 01, 2009 7:24 pm

Idabrius wrote:The Chained Library


Neat stuff. Added to the master document (4 pages now). : :geek:
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