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Hits: 9864
Comments: 15
Ideas: 0
Rating: 3.9
Condition: Normal
ID: 792


December 31, 1969, 7:00 pm

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The Ruined City


Cities are dynaimc organisms, alive in their own right. They grow and develope their own natures and their own cultures that are unique to them. Some are eloquent and grand, while others are slightly dirty, and willing to be bought. But anything alive can die…

The ruined city once had a name, and a greater place that it holds now. It was part of a bustling trade route, a stopping point for caravans and wagon trains, bundled down with goods to trade and gold to spend. The people were industrious and content with their lot, such as were the majortiy of people who live in a city of moderate size. This was not to last. Fate played its hand, and ruination was delivered to the city. It suffered three strokes of bad luck that brought it to its knees and thence to its grave.

Raiding is a day to day matter when the neighbors are orcs and goblins. A new leader rose among the scattered clans and the raiding became more focused, and inflicted increasing damage, slowing trade and raising the cost of defense as more and more mercenaries were bought to defend the roads and bridges.

The mercenaries brought something with them that was more hazardous than the orcs who raided from the wild. With their baggage trains of supplies and food came rats from their distant country, carrying fleas, and strange diseases. The orcs and the humans alike were savage by an outbreak of the illness. Fevers, dysentary, tremors and death ran through the populace like wildfire. The city was made desolate, and rank with the smell of death.

Cities have recovered from the breath of the necrotic gods of plague, as they have endured raids and civil war. The ruined city was dealt its final card. A civil war, short lived and violent began, and the city lost any importance it had as the fighting reduced its province to a wilderness. The surviving populace moved away, seeking better luck elsewhere, in other cities, or with their families.

The city did not remain fallow long. It was soon reinhabited by the worst sort. Thieves and outlaws, murderers and brigands and assassins found shelter in the ruins. Most the houses still had rooves, and offered good protection from the wind and the rain. Why live like a petty beggar in a living city, when a mansion could be had, or the hall of a local prince who fled when the illness came, and never returned when it had gone. It is a Hobbsian place, where strength is the only rule, and success the only law, and death the only consequence.

The city has not been deserted for ages, but on a scale of decades, but less than a century. There has been no maintenence of the infrastructure, and the buildings that survived the raids and the plague are failing to attrition. Rooves sag as wooden members slowly rot, holes go unpatched, and spread. In many places, the plaster is flaking off of the buildings, and the wood has turned a sicjly chade of gray. Lighter structures have fared the worst, collapsing during storms and going unrepaired, while the stonework has faired much better. The feel of the city should be one of decay, and wreckage.

Plot Hooks
The Thief King - The city of thieves, long forgotten as a place of decay and suffering has discovered a new vitality. A new boss has made himself a Robber-King claiming the city as his domain and its inhabitants as his fief. He has gained some support, and now the thieves and murderers are more organized and starting to make their presence felt outside of the City. The PCs are drawn into the plan to seek out the source of this new leader, or conversely are drawn into his cult of personality as vassal-thieves and mercenaries themselves.

That Which was Lost - Many wealthy and powerful families deserted the city during the darkest hours, and never returned. It was a dead place, and filled with the blackest of hearts. Not everything could be taken and some things were hidden away for a return that never occured. The PCs are sent into the city to recover the McGuffin and return it to its rightful owners. Complications - aside from the thieves are riff-raff who now populate the city, the item might be part of a bandit-lord’s treasure pile, might be hidden inside an assassins lair, or might be a trophy of the afore mentioned Thief-King

No Escape - In persuit of a thief who has stolen the Dingus from Lord X, the PCs track him to the outskirts of the ruined city. Do they play up the legends of the place being a haunted place of ghosts and demons, or charge in to valiantly do battle.

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Comments ( 15 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

January 5, 2005, 4:55
One day it might become a honest city, with the inhabitants priding themselves on their descent... nowadays, it is a place to flee to, where nobody asks your name, and only cares about what you have to offer. Some of those whofled there will take up the plow again, some will embrace craft, as the city cannot steal everything. A highly unconventional army that does not fight on battlefields, but rather dark alleys, shady forests and bedchambers as well as council rooms might bring it influence and power. Strange religions unviable elsewhere might appear, and it might be the last haven for outcasts, whether due to deed or descent. Troll bouncers, orc guards, goblin seamsters, ... think of it, you find it there.
I like it a lot, a serious 4... yet the page does not let me rate it.
Barbarian Horde
January 5, 2005, 13:42
Looks like the voting problem has resurfaced.
January 5, 2005, 16:29
Added some more information for the feel of the city, mostly the description of how the buildings have aged.

Some other things to add without editing the post again.

Smells - the city reeks of old wood, mildew and rot. There are alot of dark, wet places for the stuff to grow. Remaining foodstocks rotted and offered ample sustainence to fungus and such. Some buildings could be eaten with corpseweed fungus, making them dangerous.

Sounds - creaks and groans, settling stone, and the occassional crash as a load bearing beam finally surrenders to the forces of erosion and entropy. Some places while have more severe damage, sections burned out, others washed away by occassional torrential rains, and other bad weather.

Texture - The ruined city should feel gritty, but with a slimy consistency underneath, like picking up a piece of wood that has lain in the forest for years and what was once hard enough to crack a mans skull is now soft enough to crumble in the palm of your hand.
Cheka Man
January 5, 2005, 16:45
5/5...but the voting bug has popped up again and won't let me vote. :( Please fix it ASAP.
Cheka Man
January 5, 2005, 16:48
For some reason the voting bug only seems to affect this setting and not the other settings!
January 5, 2005, 16:54
Oddly enough, the site is thanking me for voting on my own setting...peculiar.
Cheka Man
January 5, 2005, 21:27
This local bug is really annoying as I really want to vote on this item and can't. It needs a 5/5.
January 5, 2005, 22:53

Cheka Man
January 6, 2005, 9:50
Yay-the bug seems to be fixed! 5/5 I really feel for that city, as if it were a living person.
January 10, 2006, 23:19
Gratuitous Self-Bump
Voted Pariah
May 22, 2006, 17:13
I like it, quite a bit. *sniff* Nothing better than the smell of ruined civilzatin in the morning.
Voted MoonHunter
May 24, 2006, 11:52
Didn't vote when it was first here (see voting bug rants). Correcting that now.

Fundementally a great post. It gives history, explanations, description and dramatic elements to use. What more can you want?
Voted axlerowes
September 22, 2006, 14:38
Voted Michael Jotne Slayer
January 31, 2011, 11:08

I second Moon, great piece.

Voted valadaar
January 12, 2015, 15:35
A great backdrop here - and good reasons for it to be the way it is.

The PCs could even be deeded the land after acquiring a title from the King, and need to clean it up.

Great stuff!

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       By: Ria Hawk

The ruling family depends on some magical artifact or place to secure their right to rule. A monarch isn't considered legitimate until he or she has been "accepted" by the artifact or place, whatever that might entail. It is also possible that some one else, not of the ruling family, could be accepted as the legitimate heir... A fact which the monarchs would like to keep secret.

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