In an area largely void of surface stone, and with timber being at a premium for ship building, the resourceful and pragmatic Ozians came up with what was at the time, a novel solution to their building problems. The built their homes out of mud and clay.
The oldest regions are built up on large hills, the remnants of softmud sun dried bricks. These bricks only lasted about 30 years before succumbing to the elements. The old structures would collapse on their own, or would be demolished, with a new building being lifted on the pulverized remains of the old. It isn't known when, but eventually the brick makers learned how to fire the bricks in kiln, using the thick peat extracted from the swampy lands close to the city.
This turn of technology put the brick well ahead of stone in availability and in cheapness. Stone was still used, and its prevalence is obvious in the facades of the noble palaces and other important structures of the city. Under the stone, however, is a core of brick. Most new structures not owned by the church or the nobility are made of these pressed and fired bricks. The brick-makers even had a secret salt based mixture that was added to surface bricks that repelled water and lasted two to three times as long as a regular fired brick.
The Build and the Guild
The Guild began as an interesting compromise between several brick-laying work gangs, and the largest of the brick kilns in the city. working exclusively with bricks from the one kiln facility, the gang, known as Brick Brothers gained reliable brick supply since the kiln could run constantly and not worry about the demand for brick at that very instant. Stockpiles could be built, and the Brick-Brothers could keep up with building demands, be they high or low. This eventually pushed the other brick gangs to either find new employment or joining the Brick-Brothers.
It was sometime during the middle of the Imperial Age when the Guilds act, now largely forgotten established the rules and bylaws of guild organizations. The Brick Brothers became a formal Guild, in concert with the Kilnmeisters, and though the offer was extended, neither carters, or the peat-cutters were inclined to join the guild in favor of their own. It is worth noting that even though many social structures, and building, and even nations and entire races perished in the Nightmare War, the Guild system fostered by the empire survived, though it currently bears little resemblance to its founding state.
The guild today has two major operations, the prime being in Ozea and based around the massive brick fired kilns that turn the sandy red clay into the pressed ochre bricks that lend Ozea its almost trademark sandy-red color. The second operation is in Sangreal itself and works to maintain the brick based Haven wall as well as building the cheaper brick cores for important structures in the city.
Actually the Guildmaster of the Brick-Brothers, the Baker is the title given to the master of the kiln operation and leads to some confusion with foreigners. The Baker's Ward is the actual site of the brick kilns, and the brickyards where the finished goods are stacked and stored until being used. The current Baker is a well known and generous man, but is also known for his rather excessive taste in wine and whispered rumors of being a follower of the Via Mortus following the death of his wife in a brick related accident.
The sundry and general store of the Baker's Ward, also the meeting hall of the Brick-Brothers guild. The store has a large brick face, and aside from selling the general goods one would find in such a location (tools, flour, etc) it also carries artwork produced from fired clay, making brick statues and the like as a big of skill demonstration. The operator of the store is a smaller cabal of the Guild that is made almost entirely of bricklayer and kiln-stokers' wives.
The Peat Smokers
A step above beggars, the peat smokers and unskilled laborers who are paid a penny a day to carry bricks for the Brick-Brothers. They are known for smoking peat-leaf, a plant related to tobacco that is responsible for laying down the massive peat beds in the area. Some hope that they might be initiated into the ranks of the Brick-Brothers and become craftsmen. This happens, but only very rarely.
Boss of the Achelandage Crew, Kirpich is known for his hands being smeared with brick dust from working right along side of his brothers in the guild. A bear of a man with hands like baseball gloves and a chest like an ox, few would quarrel with him. some see him as the next Baker, but in truth he will likely stay with his crew, working the market district and occasionally going out to work on some of the walls on the north side of the city.
Kirpich is a likeable man with a short beard, also often stained with brick dust. He likes to drink in his off hours and curses virulently about local politics, and the nobles and their squabbling with the clergy over power and authority. Despite his rough looks he is a well connected man and has friends in the merchants guild, and in the clergy of the Cathedral of Ozea.
Scene Dressing - More as background material, the PCs have to go through an area that is being repaired/reconstructed or being built to reach their goal. Perhaps they have to find a way into such and such building before the next full moon to find that it is being refaced with new glazed bricks and the work crews are almost constantly present, toting bricks up and down scaffolding, smoking peat pipes, and making a racket.
Guild Matters - An old guildmaster took a secret to his grave, but once exhumed his corpse has a single clue in it, a golden trowel he was awarded for building an important building. To find the clue the PCs have to determine the building he was awarded for, find the hollow space/secret compartment and find the dingus. Are the Brick-Bothers going to stand by while grave robbers disturb one of their own, or let them break through a wall put up 450 years ago?
Have Brick... - a PC wants to build something like a castle, manor house, etc. Stone is soooo expensive! The Brick-Brothers make him an offer he would be a fool to refuse.
Brothers in Arms - With organized labor comes organized crime, could the Brick-Brothers be a front for the Ozian Made-Men? The mafia-like criminal underworld of the city? (Weak option, but I had to put it out there)
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? Responses (10)
The whole operation comes together nicely. This is something that I would immediately plop into the next 'random' city my PCs visit!
LOVE Plot Hook #2!! (+1/2 sword for that hook alone). So many ways to go with that. Can picture an irreverant group of PCs attempting to take apart entire structures brick by bick :D
That would be an uncomfortable situation...
While only a guild of brick makers, this is well brought to the table.
I was thinking of an instance where the PC's are after someone, or something, and it goes into a building that has recently been done. They try to enter through the door but it is blocked, so seeing that the brick is freshly laid, begin breaking there way through the brick wall. Explain that one to a guild and society that relies so heavily on the brick.
This could be used in many different ways.
My kind of submission. Good job.
Top notch Scras work, as usual.
A nice well thought out idea that I personally liked. (written in GM voice with little narrative style)
A great organization that really could be used pretty much anywhere.