Monday, 24 October 2011

Queenstown part 3

The Docks and Portside precinct covers the area of warehouses, piers and brewhouses that border the waters of the sea.
Landmarks include
The Promenade, a series of high fashion boutiques to the north of the precinct .
Finnegan's Wharf, a long and low stone pier that extends some way into the harbour.
The Seawitch's Moorings, a horde of barges moored out in the harbour and home to nomadic sailors.
The Kobold's Cleaver, a horrible backstreet pub filled with ne'er-do-wells and shadowy characters.
The Tanty, the city gaol, converted from an abandoned warehouse.

Wharfmaster Jerome Finnegan is well known to provide a safe berth for ships laden heavy with cargo. Growing up around the dock, he has risen through the Dockworkers' Guild and holds considerable sway in it, though has refused several times to take the guildmaster position. He claims that maintaining the daily affairs of his wharf is all he needs in life. He has recently taken to wearing a antique copper coin on a bootlace around his neck.

The landlord of the Kobold's Cleaver is a man named Fitz. He has sallow skin, long but thinning hair, and is rumoured to never sleep. His accent is meanders its way through many areas of the Old Crown as he speaks, which he does at such speed, that often his words have to be translated through several drunken patrons before being understandable. His pub is open at all hours, and patrons rarely see him away from his bar.
Above the door is said to be a preserved kobold's arm grasping what is now a rusted cleaver. The arm is, however, purple and hairy.
Many local brewhouses also make their own beer, which tends to be somewhere between a rich red and deep brown in colour, and have a slight salty tang among other flavours. That's apparently how the locals like it.

The Seawitch's Moorings are actually inhabited by several competing tribes of different sea nomads, who all provide a service to ocean-going vessels. The nomads make their livings by hiring out their services to calm storms, create wind and wave in becalmed waters, to steer unwitting captains clear of bad omens at sea, and to generally help with any illnesses among the crew at sea.
Many major ports have small seawitch populations, though it's said that the flotilla of barges in Queenstown is many times smaller than the one floating in the distant City of Festivals. Travelers bring back fantastic tales of the many different boats, barges, ships and sloops moored there.

Of note in recent years is the rise in trade of Jethimadh root from the Spice Islands. Quickly becoming popular with sailors for settling queasy stomachs as their landlegs return, it spread to those seeking relief from nausea, and is now seen as a sweet treat to many of the population of Queenstown (particularly children eating it candied).

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Queenstown part 2

Seeing as I promised days ago to get this done, I suppose I should get on with it really!

The Central precinct is walled off from the rest of the city, and is heavily guarded.
The area includes the Margrave's Palace, the Queenstown Senate, the Guildhall and Guildhall Market, the Queenstown Militia Barracks and training grounds, the Central Queenstown Bank, and a Mage's Librarium. The Librarium is supposed to be dwarfed in size by that of the Raethmoore Academy, far to the northwest, however it is otherwise the largest repository of arcane knowledge known in the entire Old Crown, requiring a simple test of magical ability to access.

The Margrave Thomas Hawksmoore has greying hair, but still has plenty of fight in him. He is known for sending armed militia to deal with any larger-scale problems in the local population. He is most often seen wearing ceremonial armour of burnished copper and steel.
He lives with a large cohort, and even a small court of hangers on, in the Palace, formerly part of the Royal Residences, but subsequently expanded in recent years.
Alistair Foxworthy is the head of the Queenstown Bankers Guild, as well as the Central Bank. He is ostentatious with his wealth, but known by many as an easy mark for 'valuable' antiques and 'priceless' treasures.
Baeden is the head of the Queenstown Guard, managaing, coordinating and maintaining the various overlapping militia forces within the city walls. He sits in the Senate, much like one of the many guildleaders, and makes sure the militia is treated well. He is also responsible for the maintenance of the lighthouse located in the Port and Dockside district, making sure it is manned and burning at all times.
Commander Foan is the Dragonkin guardsman in charge of the Militia Barracks, responsible for training all new recruits and liasing with the various guardhouses throughout the city.

There are obviously other characters at large - various guild heads, the Magister of the Librarium, other officers of the Guard, and marketstore holders. I haven't yet dealt too heavily with these figures. Perhaps in a future update. For now, that's the lot.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Queenstown part 1

Over the next few days, I'm going to update reasonably regularly. I'll be describing the various precincts and surroundings of Queenstown, former capital of the Old Crown.

For now, i'm going to do a quick rundown of the different areas.
Each precinct corresponds to a watchmen/militia jurisdiction, apart from Outwall, which has no official organised militia or watch house.

Queenstown is a reasonably prosperous port city, trading with the nearby Spice Islands, as well as the distant City of Festivals.
It has nobles and paupers, merchants and longshoremen.
It is governed by both a Senate and a coalition of powerful Guilds. The head of the city remains the Margrave, currently Thomas Hawksmoore. He is the head of the various militia forces, nominally the head of any private militias of any noble powerful enough to have one, and resides over the Senate (though he has no vote in it).

The great many people of Queenstown have a dunnish complexion, with darker hair the norm.

The precincts of Queenstown are:
Central or Palace Precinct
Temple Precinct
Noble Estates
Zocalo and Rialto (usually called 'The Markets')
Docks and Portside

As previously mentioned, Outwall has no organised militia. It is the home of the poorest in the area, and clusters outside the gates and around the high stone walls of the city. In some places, it extends some way away from the city's edge.

More on a couple of these districts, including people and places, either tomorrow or Wednesday.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Various pieces of information, and assorted ramblings

I decided today that it was due time for another development  post but I wasn't sure what to write about. For the past week or so, my mind has been buzzing with ideas not about the setting itself, but how I would like to play with it in the near future. I've decided that I will be developing over the next little while some adaptations to the FATE system, rather than D&D 4E which I've been using, partly to explore the possibility and partly because I think the system is neat and I want to play around with it.
I'm hoping it won't turn out too much like Legends of Anglerre, but having that as a reference material means I can do my best to break away from it where I think it's necessary. I'm currently hoping the magic system will be fun to look into and playtest.

Without further ado though, I'll present a few little details that have grown over the last little while.
If I've not mentioned before, the setting is now more generally known as the Old Crown, since it was previously a monarchy stretching several hundreds of miles. The old capital was Queenstown, the last handful of rulers having been queens rather than kings. Kingsmead was a village that grew to a town after it gained a royal charter to produce mead for the Royal Household. It retains this fame despite the last monarch disappearing a few hundred years ago.
The de facto ruler of what is now the Queenstown city-state is Margrave Hawksmoore (so I suppose the suitable term is 'Margravate'). It encompasses Queenstown, the great plains inland to Kingsmead and beyond, despite being rugged wilderness interspersed with some farmland up until the foothills and mountains of the Dragonspines to the west. Across the mountains are the lands of the Wick, who are fierce horsemen. Little else is known about them, other than their subjugation many many centuries ago by the old Dragonkin Empire far to the west.
The Dragonspine mountains curl north, so they also for the northern border. The most northerly town that could be considered part of the city-state is Raethmoore, though it fields its own militia at a border point with the neighbouring Northern Imperial Republic. This is also the home of the largest magic academy in the Old Crown region.
To the south of Kingsmead stretches the sparsely populated Slateleaf Forest, which eventually becomes slightly more populated Redwood. There is a road south from Queenstown to Redwood, bypassing Slateleaf, though Redwood itself long ago stopped paying tithes to Queenstown.
Further south again is the Darkling Swamp, said to be home to all manner of exotic magics and races. The Darkling Tribes skirmish frequently over land issues, though they all control a sizeable area. These areas are normally called 'farthings', and mint their own interchangeable currencies. More on that shortly.
Queenstown is a busy port, and often has traders sail north to the ports of the Northern Imperial Republic,   south into the ocean bound for the Spice Islands, or East towards the sunrise until reaching the City of Festivals.

That's all I had on general geography, other than the old warring Dragonkin Empire and the Devilkin Kingdom being far to the west, and any members of those races in the area being wanderers (with the s bringing having a gypsy flare to their culture).
I suppose I should mention the list of races currently in the setting:
Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Gnomes (without the invisibility power), Dragonkin, Giantkin (Goliaths), Devilkin (Tieflings), Crowfolk (Kenku), Darklings (Shadar-Kai but wasn't too sure if they needed more tweaking), Goblins, Kobolds, Orcs, Ratlings (Nezumi from the old Oriental Adventures), Shifters, Warforged, Toadfolk (Bullywugs) and Vanara (also from Oriental Adventures, humanoid monkeys).
Languages got more complicated too. The different areas (Queenstown Margravate and Northern Imperial Republic) had different versions of Common, since the latter was based upon Elven. The common trade tongue was Dwarven, and in fact all dwarves in the area had come from across the sea. Gobber, the language of goblins, had infiltrated certain tongues, such as the Crowfolk Creole. The Wick spoke a language based upon Draconian, and the Devilkin all had their own form of Common which many travelers used as it picked up concepts from all over the place.

Coinage was also an issue. I had originally thought of making the coinage similar to the British system before decimalisation in the 1970s. That would mean 240 pennies to the Crown (as I'd decided the name to be). Also, it was a silver standard, much like Britain used to be.
In the end, for ease, I made 100 pennies to the Crown, but added in coins of varying amounts, such as the Half Crown, Florin (quarter Crown), Shilling (five pennies), pennies and even ha'pennies (for certain goods, such as gruel or water). Hammers, a Dwarven coin worth four Crowns, and farthings (occasionally seen outside the Darkling Tribes) only worth a quarter penny in Queenstown. A Half Crown was literally a half coin, and a florin could be either half of a half crown, or a coin with about as much silver as that.

As you can see, some of the details I've gone into get a bit deep, but I was trying to make a deeper, richer setting as best as I could. I'm going to try and take a step back and work away at a FATE system incorporating as much of the above as I can. Races will likely be an important factor, as will how to handle the various flavours of magic currently in use (Arcanery, Divinity, Elementality, and in some ways primal forces and Chi made an appearance).

If anyone would like to hear more on these pretty disparate topics, please contact me in the usual ways. Feedback on the above always encouraged. I expect the next post will deal with the geography of Queenstown, in order that I have a bit more time to get a handle on some of these new rules.
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