Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Divers

Yes, I know there is a Divers in Greyhawk, I stole the name and that's all. I'm going to be running a new campaign using a combination of tools and modules, including excerpts from Raavnia and the old D&D Night Below campaign box.

Town of Divers and Environs
Our game world for the coming months will include a short exploration of the town of Divers and the surrounding areas, which include the villages of Merrow, Cane, Samson, and then Haranshire (from the Night Below boxed set). They are mostly farming and fishing communities, with some anomalies. They trade often in Divers and fall under the town’s protectorate. Well, everything but Haranshire.

The topography and names will be loosely based on the San Luis Obsipo area of California. I’ve drawn up a crude map. See.


As I add more, I will update this file.

Architecture
The towers ringing the town are irregularly tall, defying the average engineer’s knowledge of structures. The main keep of the town was severely damaged during the recent siege and still lacks basic repairs. A 5-10’ wide river runs through the center of the town. The town streets and purposely narrow, to make them easier defend if the town is ever invaded.

The design is post-Roman, pre-Renaissance with a lot of Eastern European touches. The richest structures are also the newest, borrowing designs from Arabia and India (or the fantasy equivalent). The poorest structures are left-over stone buildings from the previous Epoch.

The largest facet of the town is the massive basilica which once served as the town’s religious center. But since the fracturing of the church of Cerul, the basilica has been turned into a palace for the town Czar (a fake title) — Logais — and the political hub of the town.

Recent History
A guild collapse five years ago sent the local economy spiraling. The crisis was felt throughout the valley, impacting the working class the most. Those used to controlled wages and fixed pricing were faced suddenly with an unstable economy. It took several months for the situation to hit rock bottom, and only recently has the economy finally returned to normalcy with the hobgoblin siege (cf.) concluded.

The only guild to survive the collapse was the copper guild, which is stronger than ever due to the massive copper deposits in the hills surrounding the town. The silk, cotton, and leather guilds have only recently returned to the town as the economy returns to normal.

Three years ago, the Czar undertook the prospect of building a new university in the town. And while construction is still going on, it is near completion with foreign scholars eager for its opening.

A sixteen-day siege by a hobgoblin army, shattered the outer keep of Divers. But, the town survived the assault under the command of Field General Ivan Thorne. This siege ended only a few months ago, but the effects are still felt, with important sections of the town destroyed and many poorer families still rebuilding their lives.

Economy and Guilds
Textiles, Manufacturing, Copper Mining (which is slowly starting to rebuild). The majority of people work to provide the basic services of the town — food, lodging, craft goods, metal works, and so on. The rest work in more profitable arenas, shipping finished products north and south, to larger metropolises.

The Copper Guild is not only the most powerful guild, but it rivals some of the poorest noble families in the city for power. It makes sure all miners work, all smiths are paid well, and the local merchant house does not undercut anyone involved in the copper trade.

The Cotton Guild is relatively small, with a growing concern in the town. The Leatherworkers Guild has little to no power, at the moment, since the city already uses a great deal of leather goods without their interference. The Silks Guild is making ground to connect Divers with buyers in larger cities around the world.

A single merchant house (Githmar and Associates) manages all imports and exports in Divers, maintaining their monopoly by keeping a merchant guild out, paying up to the Deshene family, and double-cooking their books so now one knows how well they are really doing. Richer than most could imagine, they keep a low-profile and this makes everything run smoothly.

Begging is almost gone now, thanks to the war, but some poverty remains. Sell-swords can be found most anywhere at the moment, with a number of adventurers still hanging on after the siege. Honest work — cleaning stables, blacksmithing, construction — is easy to come by now, but anyone looking for an easy rush and grab job competes with a score of other eager mercenaries.

[The PCs will not find work, easily, at the start of the campaign.]

Government
A lawfully-controlled town, the people are hard-working and decent for the most part, while the elite work to their own ends. This creates a great deal of tension between the rich and poor, squeezing the already very small middle class.

Government is part plutocracy and part militocracy, with military leaders given free land and housing. Soldiers too are treated well. There is no police force, the military takes care of all patrols. Even with a town of only 6,000 people, there are nearly 800 soldiers and militiamen in Divers. Lastly, only the plutocrats and military have voting rights.

The Copper Guild holds a great deal of power in the town. Especially during times of economic crisis. It is a force, the rich in the town would like to do away with. While it has no voting power, it does have the wealth and influence to make certain issues go its way.

The other guilds go almost unnoticed.

People
Czar Logais is mostly a figurehead, taking on much of the blame of the town’s woes, but having no real power (or desire) to fix them. Logais works toward the gentrification of poorer town districts in order to expand his sphere of influence in the city. Logais is more of a land baron, than a Czar, owning most of the land in the town.

Other plutocrats share in his wealth.

Logais’ eldest son, Solis, is spoiled and greedy; a blight on the family name. For years, Logais has groomed him for leadership, but Solis seems best suited behind the scenes, allowing others to appear “leader-like.” This has forced Logais to stay on as Czar much longer than a man of his age should (now in his 40s).

The Deshene are the second wealthiest family, owning some 15% of the land in Divers and promoting trade with larger settlements.

The Ringhold family is up and coming, owning a great deal of manufacturing facilities in the town.

The Denelden family, Jarnour family, and House Winir round out the gentry of the town. Small in number and wealth, their poorest members still possess more wealth than entire neighborhoods in Divers.

A dwarven ambassador — Angus Grimhand — came to study the town defenses weeks before the attack. His council proved vital to General Ivan Thorne. He remains now during reconstruction, living well in the Czar’s private estate.

Tobias Morgan is Legate for the Cerulean Church, serving as the voice of the church’s “pope.” He remains unmolested by the agnostic majority who run the city, but sees little to no assistance either. He, nonetheless, remains in the town, despite its lack of a religious center. A missionary of sorts, Legate Tobias holds services in a ram-shackled factory, abandoned before the siege.

Race
The population of the town is about 6,000 with a heavy population density in all but the richest districts. The town is 97% human, with a small percentage of dwarves and even smaller percentage of elves and half-elves (almost never heard of). The percentages are small enough that most humans don’t see them at all. When they are seen, it’s a little weird.

Important Streets
Cruicible Street — Largest line of factories in Divers
Longbeard Street — Oldest and most-narrow street in the town
Nadir’s Cross — Rich neighborhood where the Czar and a few other families reside
Tower Boulevard — Widest street in the town, which ends at the Palace/Basilica

Taverns
While there are six taverns and two inns in Divers, there are two that you know well.

The Lazy Dog. Smoky interior with two private booths, a performing stage, seven round tables, and a central decorated stone hearth. Known for its daytime drinking and lax tabs system, it’s not the best place in the world to bring a woman, but it is safe and comfortable. Perhaps the second poorest tavern in Divers.

The Kinsman. Four private booths, four round tables on the first floor, and four round tables on the balcony above the bar for gambling. On certain nights there is a cover charge to get in and the local military makes a habit of visiting the place often.

During the Siege
You served under Decurion Osric Spencer. You were part of a support unit of thirty men, putting out fires, bringing supplies, clearing debris, and burning the dead. Most of your unit died in the final days of the siege (which proved to be the bloodiest), but the three of you (along with two others — Oihan and Rayner) seemed to get along well. Four others from the unit also survived, but moved on to sell-sword work shortly after the siege and left Divers.

Your unit (and others) HQ’d during the siege out of an abandoned factory, once owned by the Deshene family — no real empherical value to that, but there it is.