Tannia Castle-the Outer Limits
Like a grim eagle upon it's nest, the great black block of Tannia Castle looks down upon the city of the same name. Despite the fact that some of those brought within it's walls never come out again, the castle is still looked upon well by most of the city's inhabitants, a place of protection rather then a place of terror.
The castle itself is ringed by no less then three mighty outer walls, hundreds of feet high and thick enough at the lower levels to stand up even against cannons. There is only one gate in each wall that opens to the outside, each gate with it's own drawbridge, portcullis and iron doors that can be locked with three strong locks and barred for good measure-and the same setup at the other end. Each gate is miles away from the next gate in the wall, so that should it be breached, the opposing army will have to run for miles and come under attack from musket shots and crossbow bolts from the walls, as well as heavy chucks of masonry chucked down upon them by the castle guards. In addition, there are murder holes in the ceiling and slits to fire out on both sides with crossbows and muskets so that if the gates are breached, the area becomes a death trap. The battlements have slits for crossbows and muskets to fire out of. Whilst muskets are effective, they are very slow to load, and a crossbow can fire three arrows in the time it takes to load, aim and fire each musket. Tannia City has a wall like this as well, except it has four gates instead of one. By the time the city wall is breached, the idea is that the city population can take refuge in the castle, as the Von Der Tanns do not want their subjects slaughtered, enslaved or held as hostages.
Each wall has quarters for two thousand guards and their NCOs and officers, eighty cannons, enough food and drink stores for two weeks (or a month on short rations) it;s own well, and thousands of crossbow bolts, musket balls and gunpowder barrels. Eighty cannons, each with plenty of cannon balls, sit at the top of the walls, along with small cannonette antipersonnel weapons. To reduce the risk of a traitor opening a gate, letting down a rope ladder at night, or setting fire to the gunpowder inside and exploding a section of the walls, not only is the punishment for treason the worst punishment the country has, but the guards are well paid volunteers. Mercenaries might switch sides if paid enough coin, and conscripts might bear a grudge against the Von Der Tanns, but the well paid volunteers will, it is reasoned, be loyal soldiers, as well as having their families to defend.
The city within the walls is important enough to be contained in it's own submission (which at the time of writing I have not done yet.)
These have a mix of around one third reasonably well paid free labour, one third lesser slaves who are paid only a token wage and one third magi-bonded greater slaves who are paid nothing. Wheat, grapes, apples, and several other kinds of fruit are grown here, or with a third feeds the castle garrison and the rest, along with foreign imports of food, feeds the city. They, like the city itself, are within the city wall, but not the other walls.
Lesser slaves are those found guilty of certain lesser crimes, those who cannot pay their debts after a period of one month, and those who cannot find a job by the age of twenty (or twenty-seven for university students to take account of their seven years of study.) Those who go on strike whose strike affects anyone deemed not responsible for the strike are also made into lesser slaves, which de facto makes any large scale strike illegal. Lesser slaves also do many other jobs within the city. They wear yellow clothes, cannot bear arms, cannot leave the city, and must do whatever they are told unless it is illegal, very dangerous, and/or would clearly get them physically hurt. Some of them are used as sex slaves, although for those who only have to service their master it is more like being a boyfriend or a girlfriend then a slave, with the difference that if you break up, your master can make things very unpleasant for you. For trying to escape or other crimes, the penalty is to be made into a greater slave. Lesser slaves are normally just enslaved for anything from a few months, to a few years, and those enslaved for not having a job are freed by anyone offering them a paid job providing they take it up. Women who have someone to willingly feed and look after them are exempt from the law that makes everyone need a job, as the current Von Der Tann ruler thinks men should be the breadwinners.
Greater slaves are branded with a magical branding iron, and a slave master equipped with a magical Slave Scepter can command them as long as they are within sight and earshot. They cannot be made to attack anyone or break the law however. They are fully aware of what is happening, but cannot do or say anything other then what they are told. Some toil in the plantations where there are shifts of slave masters for up to eighteen hours a day. Those greater slaves in the city who just have one master often have a slightly bearable life as their master must be awake to command them. Greater slaves are those who committed serious crimes, plotted against or spoke against the Von Der Tann royal family, were caught cremating the dead without permission, or tried to set up trade unions, or who left their job whilst their boss still wanted them and was both willing and able to pay them a wage that was deemed enough for them to live on. There are rumors of those who are kidnapped by criminal gangs and illegally made into greater slaves too. As a sign of their disgrace, greater slaves are masked.
The penalty for helping a slave escape is lesser slavery for a free man and greater slavery for a lesser slave.
4-THE TOWER JAIL
This tower near the center of Tannia City holds those who are awaiting trial and who might be innocent, but cannot afford bail money. The food is plain but good, and the guards rarely maltreat the prisoners as they might well be innocent people after all. Convicted people are either fined, whipped, enslaved in one of the two degrees of slavery, or outright executed. Trials normally happen within a couple of weeks to a couple of months. Lawyers wait at the jail to meet their future clients-the more cases they have won, the more money they can charge.
5-THE TANNIA COURTHOUSE
With 30 Judges on duty at all times and more there in the case of a revolt or a crime wave, the courthouse can have up to thirty trials going on at once at any time of the day or night. The laws are strict and are designed to be simple enough for a healthy and educated ten year old to understand, so there is not much for lawyers to bend. For those who go on trial, they have to have their guilt proved and cannot be made to give evidence against themselves, and there is a jury of twelve. For those who are fined, whipped, or sentenced to ten years or less of lesser slavery, there is no appeal. For those given more then ten years of lesser slavery, or given greater slavery or execution, there is one appeal, to the ruler himself. Should someone be wrongly convicted then his or her only chance of being set free is if their friends can bring new evidence to the ruler.
6-THE PUBLIC TOMBS
Because it has been discovered that the dead are awake, aware and trapped within their immobile dead bodies, many people keep their dead at home after they have been sent here for either different forms of embalming, or being allowed to rot where the stink can be contained and not be a public nuisance. Burial in the ground is seen as the most horrible punishment, and noone knows where the spirit goes if the body is cremated or the body just rots away to dust. After embalming or rotting has taken place, many families take their dead family members home, where they can be talked to and talk back when a certain magical disc worn by the living is touched. Some cruel families leave the bodies there where the only ones to speak to them and keep them sane are the Tomb Keepers.
7-THE GRAND MARKET
Anything legal and it is rumored, many illegal things can be found in the Market District-from jewels and lesser and greater slaves to food, weapons (that by law must bear Blade Hands to cut down on illegal weapon use in the city, and all kinds of clothing, food, drink, books and many other things.
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? Responses (2)
I am really torn on how to vote on this, on one hand it is a well thought out but basic city description, on the other it has a few neat ideas tucked away in it. I am left with the feeling that it needs more, Society maybe some notable locations and individuals. Also even I , the king of bad grammar noticed a few flaws. I think you have spent too much time on this to leave it as is, it is worth turning into something great. With holding vote.
I with Max in as much as I also feel that this sub is not yet fully realized. It borders on greatness. This is an epic city and castle (miles between the three rings of walls...this is like Constantinople). And what you have here is still interesting, fun and discussion worthy. The public tombs are really cool. I am tempted to go try and jam out a fan-boy post right now.
Here are my suggestions for enrichment.
Split up the bullet point about the plantations into two bullet points. Do one about the plantations, what do they grow, where are the located (are they between the walls), how do they work into the local geography. Do another bullet point about slavery.
Drop the bullet point about Tannia city, because you don't need to tell us there is no information.
Try a couple of block quotes describing discrete scenes from the city (like Scras does in his posts these days)
describe the market more, maybe with an emphasis on geography