This is my first complete City, as partially based on a method that I learned a while ago, but cannot remember the source. It was based on a someone's observation that London was confusingly laid out, but because of all the monuments and such, instead of relying on street signs and directions he would rely on the the geographic features. "Go North until you hit the Statue of Charles II, then turn left until you reach St. Paul's Cathedral" and etc.
Some ideas borrowed from Goblin Punch.
The city is built partially atop a plateau and in the valleys inside an arc of small mountains, which isolate the city from the rest of the landmass. The valley is ringed by these mountains, and traveling down the valley leads you directly to the coast. These mountains are short enough that they do not get snow- they are too far south for that, and they are generally too short for the temperature to change that much as one climbs. The mountains and hills are generally cooler than the center of the valley, which is hotter than the higher areas or the coastal ones, which benefit from the sea breeze.
The city survives primarily by being a port for ships, and for raising large amounts of sheep and goats in the hills around it. As the waters are colder here, the amount of Mermaids is manageable and its usually not suicidal to go fishing. Occasionally you will hear of a fishing boat that was sunk by Mermen or hear how a sailor floated to shore on a piece of driftwood after his crew was hacked to pieces by Mermaids with shark-tooth axes, but these incidents are much less frequent than they appear. The city does have fishermen, but they are a few and hated minority, clinging to the old ways.
For the last ten years, Icksford have been at war with the Mermaid Principality of Bolgoa [Baal-Go-Ah]. Since the war has been declared, Icksford's fishermen have been attacked and her trade has been restricted by the Mermaids. The fishermen who have survived this long are either plucky survivors, cowards who flee at the first sight of trouble, mad or secretly sympathetic to the Mermaids. This last accusation is thrown around a lot, even against non-Fishermen, but it isn't usually true. And though there haven't been any pitched battles in years now, Mermaids and their piscine allies will still harass ships that pass through the area and the Undersea Prince still sponsors a number of privateers who raid Imperial and Handsome Men shipping with their blessing. Such privateers are considered scum, worse than those who illegally trade with the Mermaids, though both will still face the hangman's noose or worse if they are captured.
Note: When the word Merfolk is used, it is used to refer to any Aquatic or semi-Aquatic race. This is not the same as "Mermaid", which is a discrete race.
Even when the Fishermen do return, most people refuse to eat seafood, at least in public. Many nobles secretly eat it behind closed doors, while publicly denouncing those who do so as being weak and unable to make even a small sacrifice. The only other people who eat seafood are the poor, who can usually afford nothing else and prisoners, who have no choice in what they are fed. Eating seafood is considered shameful now, but when they weren't at war with the Mermaids, it was perfectly acceptable to eat.
The town is technically ruled by the Kingdom of Ashane, a Human Kingdom that swears allegiance to the Orzanian Empire. However, Icksford does not produce much in terms of taxes nor other resources, so it is largely left to maintain itself. The King of Ashane occasionally sends a proxy to check on the city and the Empire supposedly does as well, but no one has seen an Agent of His Imperium for years at this point, not counting the priests of the City's largely toothless governor.
The town is primarily populated by Humans, Coyoons, Loxodon and Lizarians. The demographics of the town are approximately 50% human, 20% Lizarian, 20% Loxodon and 10% Coyoon.
The Loxodons inhabited this region long before anyone else, but as a large, slow-breeding, as well as a nomadic race, they did not truly settle the land the way others would have. They were content to wander through its forests and spend their days composing epics of song and story. Then the humans came from across the sea and rapidly began to displace the Loxodons. This sparked a war, in which the Loxodons nearly destroyed the Human colony. It was only when reinforcements arrived that the Humans were able to push the Loxodons back.
This conflict might have continued until one tribe exterminated the other, but eventually a compromise was reached- one that would allow the Humans to settle and cultivate the land while respecting the traditional grazing lands of the Loxodons. This traditional pact became known as the Covenant of Leaves, which declared that no leafy thing taller than a (human) woman was to be cut down, so the Loxodons could continue to eat from it. And while this Covenant has been altered and changed over the years, it is still respected. However, these days, Humans are known to simply donate large amounts of food to the Loxodons, to keep them satiated.
Most of the Loxodons live on top of Buttress Mountain, which overlooks the city, dwelling in large stone houses surrounded by leafy groves. The humans largely live in the neighborhoods that stretch down the mountain or in the terraced fields that ring the inside rim of the mountains and valley. The center of the valley is largely inhabited by the Lizarians, largely the descendants of immigrants who left the land of the Handsome Men to establish their own lives. As one of the more educated races who value hard work and are generally rather intelligent, the Lizarians became very successful. Most of the money-lenders, merchants and other intellectually heavy careers are held by Lizarians, who compete with the Loxodons and some humans. However, the average Lizarian is generally smarter than the average human and cheaper than the average Loxodon. Humans compete with the Lizarians through sheer numbers, and Loxodons through their ancient lineages and incredible precision.
The Coyoons are the most recent acquisition of Icksford. They make up a large amount of the city's poor, and have a mostly deserved reputation for causing mischief and being involved in many criminal affairs. There are many Coyoon prostitutes, few that operate their brothels with the permission of the Council of Elders, and if you are robbed in the city, it is likely going to be either a human or a Coyoon.
Besides this mischief, the Coyoons have always brought their traditional expertise of gambling and occasionally rigged games to the city, along with their expertise in herding and raising animals.
|by Abhishek Singh|
Icksford is too small to have its own God. Instead, the City's primary patron is the Demigod Prince Yorva Scaleshimmer, Guardian of Sailors, Slayer of Squids, Terror of Mermaids and Storm-Tamer. He was supposedly once an inhabitant of the town, who was born from the seed of a God and a mortal woman. He was an avid sailor and the enemy of Mermaids, slaying hundreds of them. He also killed a Giant Squid in single combat. The one thing that guaranteed his apotheosis was this, however; one day when he and was so powerful that when he and the City's Prefect were on a ship, sailing to negotiate with a Mermaid King, the Mermaids betrayed them, their Magician-Priests conjuring a storm to destroy the ship and drown the both of them. In his fury, Yorva took flight using his Peahen Cloak, where when he reached the right height he struck the storm with his staff, the force of the blow being so powerful it create a blast of air powerful enough to tear the storm to pieces, scattering bits of cloud across the sky.
Depending on who you talk to, Yorva then dove into the sea to take the fight to the Mermaids and died in glorious combat, his body being devoured by his faithful sharks, or he landed back on the ship and lived long enough to dictate his will, then died in the arms of his friends, who swiftly avenged themselves upon the treacherous Mermaids. Either way, the Shrine to Yorva claims that they have his skull and the surviving fragments of his skeleton on display, as well as his Peahen Cloak and his Staff of the West Wind.
The other creatures revered by the City are the King of Sharks and Fortuna, the potentially fictional Goddess of Luck and Games. The Coyoons and Loxodons also practice ancestor worship, and the Lizarians are partial to Bahamut, the Platinum Wyrm, a God of Justice, Honor, Music and Mathematics.
The King of Sharks is worshipped by feeding the sharks in the harbor and making sacrifices to their King, usually in the form of delicious fish. Executions are sometimes carried out by feeding the condemned to sharks- sometimes while they are still alive. It is also extremely illegal to kill sharks. The King of Sharks is known to communicate to people through dreams, when he wants to say something, which is rarely, and his hand-maidens, the Shark-Maidens are sometimes seen swimming in the harbor or in the waters near the city. Shark-Maidens are regarded as symbols of either good luck, as they usually come to herald a great battle. The Shark Princes are also believed to live around here- they are enormous fifty foot sharks that rival the whales in terms of destructive power. Shark tooth necklaces are also very popular as symbols of battle prowess and extremely popular among those who fight mermaids.
Fortuna is worshipped by the Coyoons, primarily through gambling and games of chance. The Coyoons also practice ancestor worship by donning ritual masks and dancing around in the city squares in their quarter. They are also known to go door-to-door in elaborate costumes, challenging people to games of chance in exchange for liquor.
Bahamut is worshiped through animal sacrifice and tourneys of might, where brave warriors compete in duels, wrestling and swimming. He is also praised through music. The Priests of Bahamut are known to wear white or silver and to breathe tongues of fire, sometimes through divine power, but most of the time through clever trickery and flammable oil.
Some of the Orzanian Gods are worshipped as well- mostly Lord Marzan, their God of War and Unta, the Imp of Suffering. While the latter is generally regarded as an evil spirit, he is also the guardian of sailors, and some feel that Prince Yorva is not enough. Or if the Prince is angry with you, you can always turn to the Imp. The criminal classes of the city also worship Unta as well, regarding him as a guardian deity for the oppressed.
Marzan is worshiped through war and human sacrifice, as well as the traditional reenactment of how he slew the Dragon-Goddess at the Beginning and established the world as we know it today.
Unta is worshiped through human sacrifice, secret oaths, criminality and sexual depravity.
Boroughs of the City:
A large flat-topped mountain that sits roughly in the center of the city and seems to be supporting the mountains that ring the valley. It is topped by groves of leafy trees and the stone houses of the Loxodons. The area is very peaceful much of the time, with the constant humming of insects and birdsong filling the air, along with the rumbling bass tones of the Loxodons. It is a place where miscreants and criminals fear to tread- but it is not actually as safe as it appears, for Loxodons are just as mortal as the rest of us, and are still prone to rages, resentment and violence. Additionally, when a group of massive creatures with enormously powerful bodies start drinking, as they often do on religious holidays or after battles, it is best to stay out of the way, lest you accidentally offend someone.
1- The Meditation Groves. A series of clearings decorated with cultivated flowers and flowering trees, where Loxodons gather to meditate and soothe their weary souls. These groves are sacred to them, and supposedly the ghosts of their ancestors came sometimes be seen here at night, carefully walking across the dewy grass, dancing on the petals of the flowers.
2- Whiteface's Orchard. Whiteface Trihun is a bit of a local celebrity, famous for his delicious peaches, which are extremely popular among the people in the valley. He is also known for his brandy, which his family has made for generations. He is not the only Loxodon who makes his own alcohol, but he is the most successful.
3- The Singing Gulch. A split in the back of Buttress mountain, with a single rugged path that can take one from the top all the way down to the valley floor. Supposedly created when a mountain found his wife fornicating with a storm, and then violently divorcing her, it is a deep gash that is fifty feet deep at its deepest, but extends all the way down Buttress Mountain. When the wind blows through this gulch, it is known to create an eerie sound that resembles the sound of distant singing. It is a place where lovers often meet in secret, or go to mourn those who they have lost. The gaps and spaces in the rough stone walls often have love poems written in parchment, inscribed on cotton rags or etched on clay tablets stuck inside them. Sometimes you can even find small shrines to people who are dearly missed.
4- The Plum Grove Ampitheatre. The largest and most prestigious place where actors can perform- tickets can cost a premium. To be invited here is a sure sign that you are important, or that your host is. The plays performed here are not always dignified, but they are very popular. This is also one of the few place where the elite of the city are known to meet with those of low social status, especially actors and prostitutes.
5- The Quiet Elders. A bit of a misnomer. The Quiet Elders is a garden of statues, depicting the founders of the city and other heroes from its history. There are other statues like this throughout the city, but this garden focuses mostly on the Loxodon ones. The most honored one is Shimmer Yorva, or as he is known to the non-Loxodons, Prince Yorva Scaleshimmer. This is a place where the ancestors can be directly appeased and is often crowded on holy days, especially on Goblinwatch, where the pious leave bundles of gifts and delicious baked goods for the spirits of the dead piled high around the base of the statues.
1- Whiteface Trihun. A Loxodon who is famous for his brandy, his peaches, his orchards, and his white skin. He was born with his unnaturally pale complexion, which means he cannot work for long periods in the sun. Fortunately, he was born to the most successful brewer in the city, and thus his strange skin color was no trouble for him. He also turned out to be a shrewd businessman, and was able to greatly expand his father's orchard and fruit business, to the point where his peaches and the brandy made from them are sought throughout the region, and command high prices. They are so good, even the Handsome Men themselves will pay for them. Or at least, that's what the rumors say.
2- Yuni vash Botra. A Coyoon actor and playwright who is known to perform at Plum Grove regularly, Yuni is widely considered to be one of the best playwrights in years to grace the city's theatre scene. His comedies are hilarious and his tragedies mournful. When Yuni is not writing or acting, he is also known to notorious party-animal, spending huge amounts of money on prostitutes and liquor. There are also rumors that he is a prostitute himself- accusations which he vigorously denies, usually by seducing and sleeping with his rival's wives.
3- Earnest Hasdrubbel. A Loxodon who works as the guardian of the Quiet Elders, cleaning the statues and driving away birds that might poop on them. A kind, sagely fellow who knows a lot about the city's history, including many of its dark secrets. A polite and well-mannered fellow and when drunk, a notorious gossip.
4- Old Jenette, Daughter of Garfin. A Human woman and apothecary who has spent many years treating the people of Buttress Mountain. She is one of the few non-Loxodons who understands their bodies well enough to treat their injuries. She's getting long in the tooth, but her hands are still steady and her mind is still razor-sharp. She is also known to sell hallucinogenic mushrooms and other drugs to the people who come to the Meditation groves or the Quiet Elders to pray.
5- Rock Hanzi (or Mad Hanzi, depending on who you ask). A Loxodon artist and carver. She used to be a mason, but recently she went insane for unknown reasons and is now obsessed with "sculpting the image of the Moon" and "Finishing the work of Yorva". When she is not engaged in ferveriously trying to chisel stone into the appropriate shape, she is hiking in the mountains, meditating or doing incredible amounts of hallucinogens. She is largely harmless, but is infamous for her rapid mood swings and tendency to ramble on about nonsense that no one else believes.
6- The Furred Lady. A ghost of a Coyoon woman who is known to haunt the Singing Gulch. She is relatively new, having only appeared several years ago. As such, no one knows where she came from or what she actually wants. She's said to be quite beautiful and sings sometimes, her enchanting songs carrying on the wind. So far, no one reputable has been able to communicate with her, despite what some braggarts will boast about. There are also some other, darker stories about her, such as that her songs can enslave the minds of men, and that she uses them to lead men taken by her ethereal beauty to their doom.
1- Whiteface Trihun's methods of making brandy and other liquor is a closely guarded secret. His rivals want those secrets, and will pay top dollar. Break in and steal them for us, and don't get caught.
2- As above, except you are protecting his stills and secret vaults, rather than trying to steal them. Expect the local criminals to try their hands, and maybe for his business rivals to have hired another group of adventurers, more inscrupulous than you.
3- Rock Hanzi comes to you and enlightens you of one of her theories. There is a small chance that she is correct, but most likely, she has identified a strange fact or phenomena but came to radically wrong conclusions. For example, if she saw an actor behaving suspiciously, she might assume that he was part of some elaborate conspiracy with sinister ends, rather than trying to do something more mundane, but still sinister, such as smuggling drugs or keeping a look-out for a robbery.
4- Yuni vash Botra is the city's most successful playwright, as well as the head of its most prestigious acting troupe. The leaders of the other troupes and the actor's guild both do not like him, and want you to sabotage him. Either try to ruin his performance or steal a copy of the new play he has been working on.
5- Yuni vash Botra lives a very lavish lifestyle for an actor, and the only way he has been able to do that is by borrowing money from some very bad people. Now those bad people want their pound of flesh, and if he can't pay up, he'll end up with his legs broken or worse, never be seen or heard from again. And of course, at the moment, he can't pay. Which is why he wants to hire you as his bodyguards, at least until his next performance, after which he should have enough money to get his creditors to back for- for now.
6- Solve the mystery of the Furred Lady and put her to rest. Right now she's just being a nuisance, but there is always a chance the darker rumors about her turn out to be true.
The Hill Houses/The Wandering Roads/The Shelves:
A series of prestigious or semi-prestigious neighborhoods that sprawl outward, along the shallower sides of Buttress Mountain and the other hills in the valley. The richer folk of the city dwell here, those who cannot afford a cliff-top manse or a palatial city outside the valley. The area is known for its wandering, zig-zagging roads, confusing layout and houses ringed by courtyards and walls. Many of the city's lesser monuments are located here, statues and beautiful buildings standing where they can loom over the city center, protecting it from danger. This area is primarily peopled by Humans and Lizarians, with a handful of impoverished Loxodons and a sprinkling of Coyoons as well.
1- Shrine of the Platinum Wyrm. A small, discrete building dedicated to the reverence for Bahamut, who is either a spirit or a God, depending on who you ask. The external building resembles a watchtower made of stone, carved of straight lines and hard angles. Inside, the center is dominated by the massive sculpture of a glittering serpent, made of iron and wrapped in gold leaf, wires of copper, brass, silver, as well as any other type of metal the builders could afford. There are always Lizarian guards here, and the air is always filled with music.
2- Grave of the Ancients. A graveyard where some of the most prestigious people of the city, including the majority of the founders, are buried. It is a place of sober tombs and grim monuments. The earliest graves are near the bottom, and to bury someone there would require an enormous sum or incredible honors. Spots higher up the hill are less valuable, as they are further away from the founder's tombs.
3- Arcal's Lighthouse. A tower of stone with a great magical light in it. In the past, it supposedly guided ships to shore, but it is a bit too far away from the bay to actually be effective at that. Furthermore, there is little fog nor treacherous rocks around these areas, making a lighthouse seem rather unnecessary. Today the Lighthouse functions mostly as an archive of historical records and artifacts, as the actual light hasn't worked since before anyone can remember. The lighthouse keepers can make it light up by lighting signal fires near the top, but this is usually only done on festival days and serves no real purpose beyond that.
4- The House of Mettix. An ancient manse built before the city grew. It houses the Mettix clan, a family of humans who have inhabited the city since the founding of Icksford. They are a clan who used to rule the city through the vast wealth their ships brought back, but since the war with the Mermaids began, they have been suffering. The Mettixes were known to throw large parties to show off their wealth and to give large sums of money for public works, but they have been doing the former less often and the latter hasn't been done since before the war began.
5- Gilmar's House. A place not popular for its history, but for the person who lives there. Gilmar is a Goatling who has come to the city in the last few years and has made a huge splash. Cosmopolitan, he rubs elbows with rich and poor alike, and is known to throw banquets and parties to which many odd folk are invited.
1- Arichos of House Coyo. A Lizarian thinker who spends his time walking around and questioning people. He's a man interested in the truth, and sharply criticizes the city's hypocritical elites, as well as the city's ancient traditions. He is adored by many young men, and is constantly being followed around by a group of them. He educates these men in his particular brand of philosophy and teaches them to question things. He is known to be a trouble-maker, a rabble-rouser and generally a nuisance.
2- Gilmar of Granite Ridge. A Goatling who came to the city in the last few years and bought the old Haddick place. Gilmar has made a name for himself by being friendly to people of all classes, constantly throwing parties where fishermen and prostitutes can rub elbows with gentlemen farmers and land-owning nobles and for being an enthralling story teller. He is a retired adventurer and tells wild tales of monsters, magic and demons. Any real adventurer would be able tell these stories to be mostly hogwash sprinkled with truth, but normal people wouldn't. Secretly, Gilmar is also a cannibal and a serial killer. He kills people and then hides their bodies in his secret kitchen, where he butchers and eats them. He is a half-ghoul at the moment, but if he keeps this up he is well on his way to becoming a full-fledged Ghoul.
3- Hangu, Son of Mettix. A human aristocrat known for his eccentricity and charitable giving. Among the upper classes, he also has a reputation for depravity and gluttony, in previous years known for throwing lavish parties and spending huge sums on wine, women and other indulgences. His family sent him away and he returned a curious, more temperate soul. He is said to be the sole heir of his family's declining estate. He can often be found in the poorer area of the city, doing his best to help. He still maintains his dark reputation, and no highborn man would leave his daughter alone with Hangu, despite the fact that he is a courteous and curious soul.
4- Phinitri [Fin-E-tree], Daughter of Ula. A Human woman and heir to the lighthouse, Phinitri is a spoiled and lazy girl who is rapidly burning through her family's accumulated wealth. Her family largely died before she was grown, meaning she was raised by servants who were never allowed to tell her no. On top of that, she is beautiful, meaning she has almost never once had to compromise or negotiate with others. As such, she is a borderline crazy person who does whatever she wants and almost always gets away with it. When she cannot do that, she reacts with sulking and petulant rage.
5- Vhari Bhargin of Noovicar. A Deerling Sage, Vhari is an petite, exotic looking woman clad in floral print robes. She is considered terribly exotic and is generally well-liked by the locals, who generally do their best to look out for her. Still, if there is one reason to dislike her it is that she asks too many questions and pries into things best left forgotten.
6- Ghola of House Yuntril. An Oracle who works near the shrine of the Platinum Wyrm, a Lizarian woman blessed with the power to see the future. She is known for her eccentric behavior, strange fashion choices and sense of drama. She is sought by many throughout the city, who come to her opulent home and pay her tribute in exchange for her insight. Secretly, Ghola does possess the ability to see the future, but her abilities are much weaker than she lets on. Many of her insights come not from her powers, but from her siblings, who collect information for her and spy for her, then secretly provide that information to her.
1- There has been a string of disappearances in the city. No one has made the connection yet- cities are violent and people sometimes just leave without telling anyone. But the disappearances will become more common and soon it will become clear that these are the work of either a number of, or a single, deranged individual(s). Secretly, it is Gilmar of Granite Ridge.
2- Arichos of House Coyo has been making bold statements, asking why the Council or the Lord Proctor hasn't made peace with the Mermaids, as well as questioning the other traditions of the City. He is becoming inconvenient. Please, persuade him to stop or simply get rid of him. Your client won't tell you to kill him, but if you did, they wouldn't be that mad.
3- Ghola of House Yuntril had a disturbing vision of the Council House burning down. She asks you to go to the Shrine of Blibaal up the coast to retrieve a rare magical herb that grows there, as the herb can be used to make a potion that grants prophetic visions and enhances the gift in those who already have it. The only catch with this simple mission is that the herb is sacred to Blibaal, and so in order to retrieve some, you will have to undergo an ordeal to prove your worthiness.
4- Vhari Bhargin hires the party to help her uncover the mystery of Ickford's lighthouse. Vhari is convinced that the lighthouse has some other purpose than helping ships find land or avoid rocks, but since she stands out so much, she needs someone unconnected to her handle the investigation.
5- The party are contacted by a local trouble-maker, though they don't know that at the start, who asks them to help him steal a "cursed" item from the lighthouse's vaults. He claims that Phinitri doesn't know what it is and is only going to hurt herself, but also refuses to listen to reason. All of these are lies, he actually just wants the party's help to break into her family's vault so he can rob Phinitri blind, then hopefully betray the party and let them take the fall.
6- One of the City's Councilmen wants to make peace with the Mermaids and end the war, but he is currently out-voted. So he feels that if Hangu spoke to the Council, that would convince them to see reason, as the Mettixes are an ancient clan. But Hangu, despite the fact that his family controls a large amount of the city's fishing and merchant ships and should be bleeding money, seems extremely unconcerned and disinterested. Find out why and if possible, convince Hangu to help sway the Council.
|from GOTrp wiki|
The center of civic life and the veritable heart of the city, the City center squats in the lowest part of the valley, rubbing elbows with the Wharves and The Shelves. It is a place known for both its old monuments, its important government buildings and shrines, but also for the low level of danger that pervades the place. While the areas around the important buildings are usually safe, protected by constables and soldiers, take the wrong turn and you could easily end up in a very bad part of town. Right next to the homes of the affluent and the mighty are the beggars and the miscreants of Bycatch.
1- The Council House. A vast stone building groaning with the weight of history and tradition, this building was supposedly the mansion of the first King of Icksford. But after he was slain by an Assassin without naming an heir, his sons agreed to rule the city together in his name, rather than kill each other. And while the Council is now occupied by five elected members, rather than the descendants of the original King, they still meet at this place. Citizens are granted the right to petition the council, but must submit their requests to the Council clerk first and have it be approved.
2- Shrine to Yorva Scaleshimmer. Yorva Scaleshimmer is the city's guardian deity and mythic hero, and his shrine is built on the place where he died. The shrine looks modest on the outside, but the insides are covered in gold and decoration. In the center, supposedly above where the demigod is buried, his(?) skull sits in a golden cage, next to his Staff of the West Wind and Peahen Cloak, both of which sit in matching silver cages. People come here to offer prayers and sacrifices to Yorva for safe passage across the sea, for victory in battle and for the safety of the city. The shrine is a place every important to the City and many important civic and religious rituals take place near or outside it.
3- The Shrine of Authority. The Orzane rule this city, and they proved it by building a small pyramid in the center to prove it. The Shrine of Justice is a step-pyramid dedicated to Anuman, Lord of the Orzane and their God of Law. The priests at this shrine are all foreign Orzane, and though the locals do not really like them, though they would never admit to this fact publicly, the priests here are generally considered to be fair and just. If you're caught committing a crime or suspected of the same, you will likely be hauled before one of them and have your trial in the gallery below the top of the pyramid, a floor beneath the sacrificial altar.
4- The Path of Heroes/The House of Masks. Another Orzanian construction, the Path of Heroes is a broad park full of stone pillars with masks made of lacquered wood and metal. Each of those masks represents a soldier who died during the seizing of the city by Imperial forces or during the wars with the Merfolk. There is an honor guard of soldiers who continuously guard the park, but few are bold enough to steal the masks, as it is believed that should you do so, the ghosts of the valiant dead will take vengeance upon you.
5- Bycatch. Bycatch is an urban slum, an awful neighborhood that used to be inhabited by respectible people, up until the Coyoons started moving in. They proved to be bad neighbors and so everyone else left, leaving the neighborhood entirely to the furred newcomers. And since the fishing industry and most of the trade into and out of the city has dried up, Bycatch has become infested with crime and gangs, preying on the impoverished and desperate there. The city authorities don't care about this fact, as long as the violence stays in Bycatch and other predominantly Coyoon areas.
1- The Hero's Ghost. Recently, there have been stories of an Orzanian Ghost who haunts the Path of Heroes, a huge figure wrapped in dark robes who disappears the second anyone attempts to talk to him. He's a long dead soldier, standing watch over his fellows, waiting for the end of the age, after which he rouse them and they will join the final battle against the Dark Powers and the Chaos Gods (to normal people, these groups are one and the same). There are plenty of other stories about him, such as that if a woman is found alone along the path after dark and she meets this Ghost, he'll take her virginity. Actually, this "ghost" is an Orzane named Orchel. He is a slave, as the red streaks in his hair will attest. Nights are the only time at which he can move around without being asked to do something.
2- Councilman Algra of the Harvicans. Algra is a Coyoon Councilman known for his savviness and charm. He's wildly beloved by the people of Bycatch, as well as other parts of the central city and has been elected over and over ever since his first election. He pretends to be their savior, their voice, but in reality he's a conman and sleazeball who is extravagently corrupt. This is an open secret, but none of the other Councilmen nor the Governor of the City have any interest in stopping him. Some of the Coyoons tolerate him because he brings their group more prestige, while others despise him and wish to unseat him.
3- Governor Zolra of Au-Mar. Zolra is a former soldier newly elevated to the Blood. He is uncomfortable in his new Purple, and thus has permitted the City Council wide latitude in their decision-making and grants them the right to run the city mostly as they see fit. This is also because he recognizes the fact that should the City Council be angered and turn against him, the majority of the fighting men and the citizenry would fall behind them, rather than the foreign soldier who claimed their city in the name of a Distant Emperor. Zolra is a cautious man, highly skilled in military matters and an adequate politician. He spends most of his time fretting over whether the Merfolk will attack the city and shoring up what meagre defenses it has.
4- Bura of Vilta. A Priest of Lord Anuman and the Cult of Authority, Bura walks without bodyguards throughout the city in his indigo garments. He is a stone-faced Orzane, but is known for his incorruptibility and rigid adherence to the law. Citizens sometimes approach him to help arbitrate a dispute, though never without serious cause. And despite his unfriendly and often grumpy demeanor, he is actually fairly heroic, once having saved a pair of children from a burning house. For this reason, people never fail to approach him to give him flowers, which he strings through his belt or weaves into a circlet about his head, or lets young girls braid into his mohawk.
5- Pabla of the Tornix. Pabla is a Coyoon woman, shorter and more shrew-like than more beautiful specimens of her race. She is an idealist and a patriot, who believes in the democracy of Icksford and is currently running a (likely doomed) campaign to vote out Algra and replace him with someone who will actually represent all Coyoons, and not just his own Family. For as Algra belongs to the Harvicans, he gives them every advantage he can and feeds the other Coyoon Families scraps. She is persistent, diligent and badly out of her depth, with no idea how much danger she is actually in.
6- Ginio of the Harvicans. Ginio is a Coyoon man who is notorious in Bycatch and other Coyoon dominated neighborhoods for being a fence and huckster. He will buy stolen goods, no questions asked, and resell them to others. He is also known to sell "magic" items and potions. Some of them are even properly magic, but most are simple good luck charms and most of his potions produce no noticeable effect, to which Ginio will reply that you just need to buy more.
1- Birali of the Vickites is a Coyoon of a lesser Family, and his sister has been kidnapped by members of a gang called the Bloody Eyes, who run a number of underground brothels in the neighborhoods they control. Note that prostitution is legal in Icksford, but all brothels or prostitutes must pay a tax to the Priests of Tezika Luzozo in order to operate legally. His Family is too weak to oppose the Bloody Eyes, whose members primarily come from greater ones, but he has a little money. Please find and rescue her.
2- A Human named Oristies, Son of Orith, is being accused in open court of attacking a human woman by the name of Gilla, Daughter of Yolanzi, who is under the protection of the Harvicans. Her Coyoon guardians are demanding he put to death for attempting to defile her, but Oristies claims he has never seen this woman before. If you investigate, you will find out that the wealthy toadies of Councilman Algra have been attempting to buy Oristies valuable property outside the city, over which he has landlord, but Oristies has resisted all offers. However, if you do not do something to intervene, Oristies may meet his end under the blade of the Empire's iron justice.
3- "Ginio has cheated me for the last time," vowed Fitha of the Tornix, a Coyoon woman. She has heard rumors that in the Sea Caves down past the Wharves, near Land's End, there lurks a band of Merfolk bandits, and the leader of the band is said to have found a sword called Red Concubine, a magic blade that was once wielded by an old King of Ashane, who fell in combat against the Mermaids. The sword is also said to be cursed, destroying any user who is not of royal blood. She wants you to recover the blade and somehow get Ginio to use it, so he will befall the curse. She wants him to suffer. This is because they were engaged to be married, but he sweet-talked her into giving him her virginity, after which he immediately broke off the engagement.
4- A local human woman by the name of Carili, Daughter of Cartin tells you some of the rare masks along the Path of Heroes have been disappearing, and she thinks the Honor Guard is responsible for stealing them and is selling them. She wants you to go catch them in the act. Secretly, this is a lie. She is in love with the Orzanian slave Orchel. He has told her that a few of the Honor Guard's slaves disappear mysteriously every year, but he has no idea of where they go. He fears he is next, as one usually disappears in the middle of Summer, which is fast approaching. Carili secretly wants you to investigate these disappearances, but doubted you would be interested in the fate of a few honorless slaves.
5- Governor Zolra has concerns about the security of the city, so he wishes to restore one of the abandoned coastal forts near the northern edge of the bay that leads into Icksford's natural harbor, but he has heard that the fort has been taken over by lawless folk, possibly aligned with Chaos. He wants you to go and clear them out of the fort, so his men can reclaim and restore it.
6- Councilman Gentle Inva needs men with few scruples, strong arms and the ability to keep their mouths shut. He tells you about a monster who has the ability to steal the appearance of the people it kills and claims that he was nearly a victim. He tells you the victim's current disguise, that of a human courtesan, and tells you that he wishes her dead and any of her stolen treasures confiscated. However, he is lying. The woman is just a prostitute who has some incriminating evidence that Inva wishes to dispose of. However, this woman is no ordinary prostitute, and if the players investigate, they will find that she works for a secret society called the House of Clouds and Rain and was (probably) gathering evidence on the Councilman on the orders of her superiors.
|from GOT wiki|
The wharves used to bustle with activity, with ships from the North and South coming in and out at all hours, laden with goods to buy and exchange- bringing zebra hides and lapis lazuli from the South and delicious fruits and sugar from the North. Back then, the bazaars flourished, selling everything from fine linens and silk to exotic fruits and fish and there was much rejoicing and laughing to heard. Now the Wharves are empty and drab, shadows of what they once were. Now the water-averse Coyoons largely populate them, the ships are few and the bazaars and street markets grow smaller every year. Watch your coin purse here, and if you're lucky, that's all you'll lose here.
1- The Royal Shrine/The Shark Shrine. Spirits do not usually have priests, but they often have shrines. The Shark Shrine is a half-submerged altar built on a stone platform about thirty feet from the beach. Sailors who wish to take their chances or thank their wild-hearted allies for defending them against the Mermaids come out here and make sacrifices to the King of Sharks, then swiftly retreat as the waters fill with blood. If you wish to contact any of the Royal Sharks or the King himself, this is the place to make your request.
2- The Shrine of Pleasure. This shrine is a step pyramid similar to the Shrine of Authority, but much smaller. Unlike the other one, which is somber and grave, this one is decorated with colorful flags and constantly surrounded by mirth and laughter, as is only appropriate for the Priests of Lady Tezika, who is honored here. The outside and the lower floors open to the public are full of music and enjoyable activities, such as apple bobbing, tassel chase and weasel racing. There are also inner rooms where Tezika Luzozo, the more sensuous aspect of the Goddess are honored. These rooms are full of prostitutes, some Sacred, some merely purchased or hired by the Temple. Depending on their quality, these are also available for hire, but at appropriate prices.
3- Fin Rock. A great fang of glossy seastone emerging from the edge of one of Icksford's beaches, this stone is supposed the place where a Sharkmaiden, one of the Retainers of the King of Sharks was washed ashore and stuck. Supposedly, she was rescued by a mortal fisherman, who she fell in love with. The two saw each other repeatedly over the years, eventually becoming lovers. The man was warned by his friends that the Sharkmaiden just wanted to eat him, but he refused to listen. Finally, one day, the Sharkmaiden arrived with a young girl with gills that greatly resembled the fisherman. The fisherman, believing this was his daughter, ran to embrace his love and the two of them swam out to sea, never to be seen again. There are a variety of endings to that story, but regardless of which one you choose, it is still a popular story. As such, the rock is a favorite place of lovers to meet in secret.
4- The Leaky Boat. A bar and tavern, the Leaky Boat is run by a former adventurer and a veteran of the last (technically ongoing) war against the Mermaids. The bar is a place where soldiers, mercenaries, adventurers and other rough men to hang out at. It has a reputation for being a rough place, but it's actually mostly full of out-of-work war-artisans and professional warriors. This is the place to find gossip and rumors about jobs that require men such as that, such as recruiting mercenary companies, bounties, missions to capture pirates, etc.
5- Fisherman's Guild House. The place where the fishermen of the city used to meet to set rules and establish catch limits has fallen on hard times ever since the latest war started. And though technically the war has gone cold for quite some time, fishermen still face harassment and attack by Mermaids. As such, most of them have fallen on hard times and cannot fish much or at all, for fear of their lives. As such, the leaders of the guild opened the formerly private bar to the public and converted two of the wings of the Hall into a brothel called Drop Anchor, both of which they use to pay pensions and to provide for their impoverished members.
1- Trivo, Son of Bulger. Trivo is the current Guildmaster of the Fisherman's Guild. He's a fast talking, charming and intelligent man who looks out for his guild-mates and views them like extended family. His capable leadership has prevented the guild from totally collapsing and provided many fishermen with enough money to put bread on their tables and keep their wives from prostitution. This has earned him the loyalty of most of the fishermen of the Guild and admiration from those who know what he has done for them. Secretly, he is wracked by guilt, as he is cheating on his and having an affair.
2- Quignang [Quing-Nang] of Myoshihara is a foreigner who recently arrived in the city from, as he claims, across the Western ocean. This is believed to be a lie by most of the people who hear it, as everyone knows that the Western ocean is just water till the end of the World, with only the occasional island. However, he is a race that you have never seen before and everything about him is funny and bizarre by the standards of Around Here. He's accompanied by several other foreigners, most who appear to be warriors of whatever make his land produces. He is studying the local languages, the geography and the strength of your defenses. Secretly, Quignang has been sent on an expedition from his empire, with the purposes of gathering information on this land and seeing if it would make a suitable acquisition for his distant imperial patron.
3- Harig, Son of Volan. Harig is the Captain of a Mercenary Company called the Dolphin Hunters, which specializes in hunting privateers and the Mermaids who back them. He despises both with a deep animus towards both and has made it his life's mission to keep the war going, no matter the personal cost. He is always looking for recruits, brave men who aren't afraid to die. When he's not out hunting, he recruits on the streets and in the Leaky Boat. Most people don't take him too seriously and think that he's dumb. He's not, but he encourages this appearance by occasionally making silly mistakes or acting foolish, to make his opponents underestimate him.
4- Yon Brown. An Orzanian street preacher clad in brilliant orange, Yon Brown spends his time on the streets, raging against prostitution and the sexual corruption it brings. He is defiantly opposed to it, along with excessive drinking and the use of Jopeth and Summer Lotus, a common vice of the City's wealthy and decadent. He rails against all of these, claiming that the poverty and oppression that the city is under is because of it's sinful ways, and if they would reject such vices, it would be blessed by the Gods once more. He is wildly disliked by many, but he is accumulating a small but dedicated following. The city's authorities haven't noticed him yet, but when they do, they will begin planning to drive him from the city.
5- Simi, real name Oriva of House Lanfi. She's a Lizarian free-woman, which is slang for female business owner or, more commonly, a prostitute. Simi is the latter and is doing her best to feed her two children after her husband ran off with most of their money. She's quietly desperate and bitter, but conceals it behind a mask of lazy sensuality and occasionally, gallows humor.
6- Clinker, real name Cintar, Son of Exival. Clinker is a beggar, a human who was born with deformed legs, so his don't work anymore. He spends his time near the Shrine of Pleasure, begging for his daily bread. People often donate to him, thinking he lives there. But secretly, Clinker is brought over to the outer gates of the Shrine every day by two of his "Friends", who take the majority of the money he receives, leaving him just enough to buy food to live on. They claim they are helping him, and Clinker is dependent on them to bring him around and too scared that they might hurt him, should he tell them to leave him alone.
1- "Prince" Harig of the Dolphin Hunters is looking for strong men to join him an expedition to find and track down a notorious privateer, one who has enjoyed the protection of the Mermaids for years now. There is a substantial reward for this criminal and traitor to the Empire, but since this privateer has a reputation for chopping off the hands and feet of people he captures and throwing them into the sea, many of the normal warriors who would come along are declining Harig's offer.
2- The barkeep working at a local drinking den hires you to get rid of Yon Brown and drive him out of the Wharves. He's a nuisance and is scaring away customers.
3- Trivo, Son of Bulger plans on opening a new brothel in a ritzier part of the city, but he needs the approval of the Priests of the Shrine of Pleasure and the Councilmen, but they both refuse to associate with fishermen for political and cultural reasons. Can you become his agents and somehow convince them to grant him the approval he needs?
4- A free-woman was killed last night in the Wharves, and her mutilated body was found. The Priests of the Shrine of Pleasure have declared this to be an offense against Lady Tezika and issued a reward for information towards the arrest of the culprit, or the culprit himself.
5- A mysterious Lizarian swordswoman in colorful robes has been seen wandering the Wharves at night, protecting prostitutes and aiding the free-women. The madams are worried that if this vigilante is allowed to continue operating unmolested, being a free-woman will be seen as more attractive than working for them, and thus cost them money. They want you to discover the identity of this vigilante and expose her. But can you do so, in good conscience?
6- Some of the Coyoon gangs from Bycatch and other neighborhoods are encroaching on the Wharves, attempting to expand their control into this neighborhood. A wealthier local hires you to go teach them a lesson. But be careful in your attempt to push them out, as you might spark a war between the brothels and the gangs.
|by Jinwon Choi|