The Flat City of ClearWater
The ClearWaters are a delta area at the mouth of a mighty river and a calm, nearly tropical sea. The fishing here is good, as the nutrients from the river feed the creatures of the sea. In fact, most people here make a living from the waterways, either fishing, moving cargo, or crewing ocean vessels.
There are two (and a half) moderate sized cities at the mouth of the River. Red Cliffe, SwarrrenRoe (from the Lyrans who used to live here), and Pointe Fort (an abandoned Lyran fortification that has expanded into a life of its own). While there are poor in the cities, living there is expensive as there is less land than people who want to live there need.
The Poor River Folk and those that find themselves less than welcome in the various cities, live on the ClearWaters on rafts and boats. Many of these rafts and boats have been lashed together in one of the shallow eddies of the ClearWaters (where active boat traffic seldom passes). This has become the "flat city", the raft city of ClearWater. Many of these rafts and craft have been docked together for decades. Some have been built up or even replaced in situ.
It is an odd place to live, and an odder place to visit. Your neighbors are also your walkway to the next boat over. The boats and rafts have been built up in places, being two or even three levels of pathways and rooms. There are now dozens of bars and restaurants here, some frequented by the more daring of the city folk. Go to Comment
Northmen settled the isolated black sand coast a few centuries ago, but the first geographical document describing the northern seas was written by a monk named Darius, two centuries ago
The Northmen came to the lands because of internal struggles in their homeland. The Mad King drove his enemies and the former rulers of their lands all the way to the these shores. Keeping a low profile to protect certain bloodlines, they founded Vit.
About 300 people live in Vit, and about 200 live in the surrounding countryside. All though the history of this place goes back a few centuries, it wasn't until the last 75 years that that the first merchant settled to sell products such as flour, salt, sugar and vegetables. Eventually there were five stores in Vit and two slaughterhouses. The little village with a handful of people grew larger as time went by. It became a meeting place for farmers and a place where locals met to hear the latest news.
The Temple in Vit was built about fifty years ago at a time when people needed something to believe in. War had destroyed all their trading partners and the town fell upon hard times. It may explain why they decided to build the temple on the highest hill. Everyone could look up to the temple with its beautiful view.
The Temple is white against grey and brown hills, with a red tile roof that seems so out of place in this barren area. It's most notable feature is its tall tower, which houses the priest and his family and offers the best view of the coastside anywhere. The Temple here is known for the good fortune it brings upon those that worship here. Thus many people travel great distances to worship here. People come back to Vit to get married in the church that they once visited.
People also come to see the black volcanic beach with its cliffs that reach out into the sea. Unfortunately, the shoreline is decreasing every month. The ocean is slowly eating its way ashore, and sooner or later, something will have to be done. They are talking about building a dam to protect the village, but for now it stands on its own with the green mountains surrounding it on one side, and the ocean on the other. Go to Comment
The large and powerful river narrows a bit in these parts. Here they have built a bridge to cross it, to assist in cross country trade. Before the bridge there were two tiny villages at the narrowing, one on each side. Travel was done by a ferry, pulled across by ropes and horses. But the river was so rough and swift that frequently the ferry was swamped and trade goods were lost. Since the bridge has come, the tiny villages at the narrowing have become small villages on their way to becoming small towns. They have renamed the villages Bridgekin.
Technically they have built three bridges to cross it, two rocky outcroppings in the middle of the river are anchor ends for the bridges. The bridges are made of wood, with side rails and covered roofs. It is a miracle that these bridges survive here. Previous attempts at bridges here have all failed. But this set of bridges survives.
The secret here is the people in the villages here. They have made a blood deal to feed a set of bridge trolls, and their descendants (up to 12 at one time, the villagers thought ahead to avoid the trolls setting up a town under there) who inhabit the underside. They protect the bridge and make sure it survives the water here. For their efforts, they get one livestock per troll per moon. Someday, there won't be enough and someone will want to substitute a traveller or criminal. Go to Comment
It seems like a normal village with an inn. The villagers grow local peppers that are hotter than any others. The local cuisine is pretty darn spicy.
It does not seem like much but it is. If one is not used to that sort of thing, it can be pretty debilitating a day or so down the road. Sometimes travelers stay an extra day, tended by the healer. Go to Comment
In the middle of nowhere
1) Most of the fields around here grow plants that are used to make fabric (or feed the critters that make fabric). There is often a cloth festival here once a year, so the locals can show off their wares and traders can pick them up.
1b) The town seems pretty deserted: windows are shuttered, people are peaking out of cracks, people hustle quickly and hide when you approach. It seems two packs of rogues are vying to "run the town". (Used to be one big boss, then when he was going to give the territory to his son, his number one man split off to take what he thought was his). They hang out at inns at the opposite end of town. There are enough thugs on both sides to give the adventurers pause (and a few top dogs in both packs that are just good enough to be dangerous to the adventurers). The peasants and merchants in the town are living in fear of the violence between the two gangs. The only person happy about it is the cooper, who is making a killing on caskets.
Note: the town is so far out of the way, that there are no civil forces to appeal to).
1c) The local official who administers this area for the crown/ local noble is very well dressed, fairly cultured, and has the finest things including a carriage. As you might guess, he is a bit more corrupt than you would normally expect. As long as he gets his cut from the rogues, he does not alert the outside world to their presence here. He also takes bribes to lessen tax burdens on the businesses and traders. Even the peasants get into the bribery act. Go to Comment
The Villages Three: GreenePark, MorePark, and ParkMore.
The GreenePark was once a Noble/ Royal preserve. It was a vast green hunting area which had excellent game. That was a generation or three ago. It is now regular land. The village of GreenPark is based around the great hall, which was once the Royal Lodge. The village has been there as long as the Lodge, as it was the people who supported the Lodge. The Great Hall is now a public house/ inn, called The ParkPlace.
There used to be only one road to GreenePark. It led from The City to GreenPark. Now expanded, it is now called the GreeneWay. It extends from The City to the Towers of Wall, spanning the entire GreenePark forest.
Long ago, when GreenePark was still a preserve, the GreeneWay was extended a bit deeper into the park. There a small set of cottages were set up as a special place for those of the Prince's favor. The Prince deemed the place "MorePark". The cottages have blossomed into a village since then. Once the road went through, it became a required stop on the way through the GreenePark forest.
Since the GreenePark forest is no longer a royal preserve, another village has sprung up between GreenePark village and The City. In a spat of humor, the village was dubbed ParkMore (which makes no sense until you travel down the GreeneWay and reach MorePark). While GreenePark is a good day's ride from The City, ParkMore is a solid half days ride or a casual full day's ride. Go to Comment
In a village called Astanton, a quaint little place in the middle of noplace (south of nowhere) on the coast, every male is called Jaz. It is not a nickname, all their first names in the ledgers are Jaz. Jaz BlueBoat, Jaz BreadSmith, Jaz NetCrafter, and so on. Nobody knows why this is, it has been happening for so long.
Oh the people here are a secretive and cautious lot. They talk oddly, heavily in a fishing oriented slang. Most importantly, they don't like Outers on their decks or in their nets (outsiders in their business).
Players will see this with modern eyes on some legal document and think back to Buckeroo Bonzai or the Xfiles. They will be paranoid. They will be looking for the illegal, immoral, alien, or paranormal. When in reality, it is just an odd little fishing village.
Of course, if your players have probably read this post, change it up and have it really be a world threatening invasion from beyond the pale. Go to Comment
The village is unremarkable except for one white rock. The village green is still in the center of town. In the center of that grassy area is a huge white rock. It is half a man's height tall and wide, and a man's height long. It is traditional for a Headman to stand on the rock when doing anything official. The local priests have taken to the same habit.
Most people avoid standing on the rock, even children avoid playing on and around it. The only time regular folk stand or sit on the rock is when public oaths are sworn.
So of course a wary traveller will sit on the rock for a moment clearing the muck off their soles. It will cause quite the outrage. Go to Comment
It seems like a perfectly normal village. The local priest used to be a powerful manipulator of events in the Church. He was outmaneuvered and sent out to Sticks as the country temple priest. He has lost some of his power and prestige in the church, so he is not currently a "big player" there. (Though he is slowly manipulating things to get back into favor). His skills have allowed him to take over the local area and the bumpkins inhabiting it. Now he has a powerbase beyond the clerical. Perhaps he will make himself a noble.
The players might encounter some mighty or powerful temple players on the road to and from the Sticks. Go to Comment
In a somewhat sheltered little bay upon the coast is the small village of Baycrest. It is a pretty place, where the pines and evergreens of the nearby mountains practically reach the warm sandy beaches. The water is cold, but not icy like most of the water along the coast. There is a little fishing here, as well as a little farming. There is a monastery here, with a library of some note. It is a place where regional high clerics come to retreat, meditate, and plan. In short, a very quiet place.
Someday, when society becomes more sophisticated and "fun on the beach" becomes a summer time drive, this little town will burgeon into a resort town. But for now, it is a pretty and sleepy place. Go to Comment
Stish is a village in a wetlands adjacent to a wide river. All the various huts are on stilts, so they are a cubit (2-3 feet) above the highest tide they have experienced. The villagers get around on boats and on floating "paths" (linked reed and plank floating upon barrels/ air bladders). The village smells odd. It is a local incense used to keep the bugs away. (It also covers up the fact they use dung and peat as fuel).
Why would anyone live here, when there was good land not that far away? The locals practice "wet" agriculture for rice. Their crop yields here are two to five times that of the dry farmers. This way they are close to their crops. (And the hunting and fishing isn't bad either.) Go to Comment
ClearBreeze is a small village where the locals build around the trees instead of clearing the land. Their cottages of stone and wood (and waxed paper windows) are built at odd angles and are never perfectly square or rectangular. The local common house is actually build around a large tree. It was like the Humans here took a page from the Elventi on how to build homes
note: The fields a little ways outside the village are cleared of trees. Go to Comment
The country in these parts are green and filled with rolling hills. In addition, the ground around these parts is filled with stones. Every field being plowed brings up more and more stones. The boundaries of every field and each person's properties is surrounded by a piled stone fence. Many of the cottages have stone foundations, or stones building up half their walls. Go to Comment
A bit off the beaten path the travellers will see a road leading off to the left. If that road is followed, it will lead to a village. You can see it in the distance, the village is good sized, good for about 75-100 people. As you get closer, the village is obviously in serious disrepair. It has been abandoned a number of years ago, (if not ten to twenty). There is no indication as to why, but what ever it was happened quickly (you can find a table set, a prayer blanket laid out. However, there are things strewn about clothing and such, but that could be the work of animals.
Oh and what ever happened has made the local squirrels omnivores. Go to Comment
The entire village is built upon the Boulder Hill, an huge tapered rock, some 50 strides tall (3 feet) and 250 across at its widest point (which is roughly an oval).
At the very top is a square white building, that is nearly a perfect cube. This is a temple to a local deity. (Insert holy place for a given religion). Something miraculous was said to have happened at this place.
Every other building in Ios is built in a similar style, it is blindingly white, square with square windows, with one to three rooms per level. Most of the village buildings are two story tall. The path between these buildings is narrow, but wide enough for two people to walk side by side.
The Boulder Hill is an island in the sea of grain fields around Ios. Go to Comment
BlueCliff is a village that covers most of the small island it is on. This island is just off the coast. The island has the only natural harbor on this stretch of coast. So the locals, who make their living off their boats, took to living on the island. Now there are no villages on the coast, as everyone has moved to BlueCliffs. It gets its name from the fact that most of the island shore has small whitish cliffs (about the height of the man) that look blue given the sea and the sun if viewed from a distance. Go to Comment
Skywater is actually a region of four villages, all of which call themselves Skywater. The natives will always keep calling their village Skywater, though if pressed they might be called North, Sunnyside, Nightside (west), and Lakeside Skywater. Why anyone cares is that Skywater produces some the most magnificent pears. It is not the seeds of said pears or the type grown here, it is something in the very soil here that makes the pears better here than anywhere else in the world. Go to Comment
Erlick is the village that exists in the large craggy ravine north of Portspointe called Erline. It is a farming community, where terraced fields have been tended by Erlick Folk since forever. There is no village as most people would call it. The village is distributed between the various ledges and terraces in the Erline Ravine. These various buildings (and small grouping of buildings) and fields are linked by a complex set of rope bridges and stone carved stairs. The entire ravine looks like a huge mass of spider webs from a distance, as lines of all sorts link the various spots on the side of the ravine.
Why do people go to such extremes to farm around here? Portspointe is the only natural port between the two great trading states. While there is a great deal of traffic here, the people of Portspointe do not wish to be dependent upon food being brought in. While exploring the area, they discovered the ruins of the terraced farms (and their water reservoir and irrigation lines) in the Erline. Taking their cue from the now lost neighbors, a few workers began to farm here. The use of ropes from the ships makes travel here so much easier. Go to Comment
Corbite is a village on the edge of a desert, not too far from a mining town. Most of the houses are half houses. A half house has the front half of the house or just the front wall attached to a rocky hill, the rest of the house is dug out from the hill. This makes for cooler houses in the heavy heat.
There are about 20 households in the village. They use the limited water to do some farming. Most of the plots are protected from the sun by a gauze roof held up by posts. This shades the plants from the direct sun, saving water. Go to Comment
The Village of Scarebeasts
The Village (called Kepleris) is a bit off the beaten track, a wide spot on the road through the deep forest. The village, with its inn, farm houses, and surrounding fields, seems unremarkable taken by themselves. However, spread throughout the village are dozens of scarebeasts (scarecrows). There rag stuffed denizens are posed like they are doing work, or standing over fences chatting, doing daily things, and a few set up a variety of tableus (some being married, some spinning, etc). Some Scarebeasts are in old prayer day best, others in raggy workclothes, some in fine clothing, with cloth painted faces. The locals take pride in their cloth residents, some of them see it as an art, others see it as just a form of fun.
The Scarebeasts are just that, to make the beasts of the forest think the people are out and around the village to prevent them coming into the village and fields. Go to Comment