Saturday, January 1, 2011

DnD: The Merchants Quarters

Along a span of the river Gar that runs almost straight north-south there lies, on the eastern side, the section of Leoden known as the Merchants Quarters.  It is believed by some, though there is no documentation to prove it, that the Merchants Quarters is the oldest section of town, though some insist The Docks, positioned on the opposite bank, hold this title.  The Merchants Quarters do not, strictly speaking, count only merchants as their residents.  The Merchants Quarters is merely the richest part of town, where all the wealthiest inhabitants live.  This includes, of course, merchants, but also a couple of magicians, some of the elite members of certain guilds, as well as the temples of various magical disciplines. 
Every estate or mansion within the Merchants Quarters also requires a large supports staff.  As there is no official law jurisdiction within Leoden, any of great wealth must look to their own resources for their protection.  Thus, the Merchants Quarters is home to numerous large compounds, some with walled gardens, some built from nothing but stone, some with access only achievable by way of drawbridge or ladder.  Each of these compounds (except for the temples) employs numerous guards and servants, to protect and provide for the needs of the merchants of live within.  Whenever the merchants (and others) leave their abodes, they often travel in litters, surrounded by large processions to announce their passage—and act as a buffer against undesirables.  However, it is surmised that some merchants actually will leave in the disguise of their own servants, either as members of their own retinue (who knows who's actually within that litter, anyway?) or as individuals out on errands, so as to travel about the city unmolested. 

DnD Setup

Originally from elsewhere:

The freeport city of Leoden lies several leagues north of the Midearth Sea.  The river Gar passes through it, running from the Northeast to the Southwest, passing under the high city walls that are built in a great circle and reach about 20 feet into the air.  In the nearby northwest bend of the river there is a small island, populated by river-dwelling halflings, who make a business in trade.  This island is called Gibbob, after an unfortunate accident involving the island's legendary founder, Gib.  There are also nearby tribes of elves living it small patches of forest, where elves live high up in great tree forts. 
Leoden has absolutely no, repeat no, civil authority.  The city exists as an uneasy truce among those who live there and visit.  Crime is rampant, the only thing keeping it in check the possibility of  reprisal (since everyone invariably has a long list of allies, some of whom based on agreements and oaths from several generations past) or the spontaneous eruption of mob justice (no one likes someone who runs around attacking others, so most of the locals make it a point of pride to hunt down anyone who does).  So Leoden is basically an anarchic city-state, more or less. 
In terms of population in Leoden, there are probably more humans than anything else, constantly fleeing from the loose, petty kingdoms nearby.  Elves and halflings are in constant competition for second place.  Dwarves, owing to the farther distance of the mountains to the west (the Elps), are a distant fourth place.  Gnomes, a rarer race who tend to live solitary lives upon the forest floor, are in an even more distant fifth, and are limited in number to the occasional few one might see wandering about as laborers and assistants to various other users of magic (gnomes are the most inherently magical of races, with not a one of them incapable of at least some acts of prestidigitation).  That it is for the most part, although one might see from time to time some of the savage goblin folk passing through (usually not without a fight from the dwarves, who are their eternal enemies), and there is a small and growing community of the Lemurians (kobolds) who it is said come originally from a large island called Atlantis, located somewhere in the middle of the Midearth sea.  The savage dogmen called gnolls are never allowed within the walls of the city, though they can be heard howling at night from the borders.  Never has one of the race of darkelves, also called the trow or drow, been seen at the gates, though the elves insist that if one of them should ever arrive from the far north or northeast, that they not be allowed within.

The men that live in the area of Leoden are short, porcelain-pale, and dark haired, with frames that vary evenly between stocky and wirey.  These men are able in artificing and industry—though in no way are they comparable to elves and dwarves—and if anything are superior at husbandry.  In magic, they lack the ease of gnomes, but show a tenacity that often results in superior skill.  The men have one strange cultural quirk that completely mystifies the other races, and that is their concept of gods.  To the other races, there are of course spirits that reside within all things, that one can communicate and interact with.  So there is the spirit of a river, of a stone, and so on.  But men maintain that certain spirits are not spirits at all, but beings from shadowy realms beyond, beings should be worshiped, and given sacrifice, and prayed to for guidance and boons.  The men call such beings gods, and feel awe before their mystery.
To the North, men are much the same, except taller.  It is not widely known on Leoden to what gods these men pray, but on the great peninsula of Brutaine there is a great kingdom, ruled by a royal house of great Magicians and Warriors, known as the Danaans. 
The men to the far Northwest are of even taller stature, and have a complexion softer and less harsh, with hair that varies from red to gold to light brown.  Positioned among the Fjords, butting against the great glaciers, in the fortress known in whispers all throughout the lands above the Midearth Sea as Asgard.  In this harsh fortress, the lands of the Northwest are ruled by the ancient Magician known only as Votan.  At present Votan's royal family, known as the Aesir, is at war with another royal family, known as the Vanir, among whom it is rumored has taken to breeding with local elves.