View Full Version : [City] Luvul
07-04-2005, 08:20 AM
I just noticed this contest, and I thought: why not join? ;D My central theme is political intrigue, though the city lends itself for almost anything. Feedback would be greatly appreciated!
Designer’s Note 1: You might note an apparent inconsistency: the County (which refers to the Enlightened County of Baron, of which Luvul is the capital) is ruled by a Duke, while the city is ruled by a Count. This is intentional.
Designer’s Note 2: To those who think the city of Luvul is too campaign-specific to be usable, I suggest removing the castle of the Duke and the national politics system, removing the need for a nearby feudal empire or kingdom.
As this thread has expanded to huge size, here’s a little table of contents. It's not great but I hope it helps at least a little...
Politics and the Government
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Arts and Culture
* * 1. City Guard
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* * 2. Flour Guild
* * 3. Wayfarers Union
* * 4. Lore Guild
* * 5. Other Rich Guilds
* * 6. The Poor Guilds
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The Bank of Capital
Inns, Taverns & Shops
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Welcome to Luvul, our grand city and capital! Upon entering our city first, you will see a busy city full of powerful nobles, rich businessmen, shining Guards and mysterious spellcasters, with fascinating buildings everywhere, some even built using magic. The city looks rich and prosperous, varied and magical. Yet when you take a better look, you will notice how fractioned Luvul’s society really is. Guilds monopolize their area of business. Temples compete to become an important organization’s patron, while the priests are more interested in securing or improving their own position in the hierarchy than spiritual enlightenment for themselves or others. Nobles, all having nigh-equal power due to gwaithconui, scheme amongst themselves for power. Wizards, also united in a Guild, hire themselves out to anyone who has the gold to afford their outrageous prices. The Guard struggles to keep poverty and disease in the slums and ghettoes, far from the wealthy and powerful. Yes, the city is prosperous… for some. Most have missed the road to money or power, and suffer in their small houses or on the streets. Yes… welcome to Luvul indeed! - Garm Puneno, High Priest of Pelor’s temple in Luvul’s Slums Ward
The city of Luvul, by far the largest in Baron and also its capital, is located at the edge of the hills of the Magic Valley, on both sides of the river Bars. It is at the hub of Baron both economically and geographically. The city can be entered from all sides through gates in the high stone wall. The main gate is on the western side of town, and it takes the visitor right into the central parts of Luvul: to the left are various temples, most prominently those to each of the chief racial deities (Corellon, Garl, Gruumsh, Io, Moradin and Yondalla), to the right are the houses of Luvul’s small middle class population. In the distance one can see Luvul’s large coliseum rising above those houses, to which many a visitor’s eyes are immediately drawn. Perhaps less interesting to most visitors, but even more prominently visible, is the castle of the Count, where the city is governed and judged. Its four towers loom over the city, bearing the promise to look over any part of Luvul, for better or for worse. As such, the towers are a comfort to the average citizen of good will, and a threat to any of bad intent. Before one can walk from the gate to the castle, one comes across the prison, barely decorated but impressive, the temple to St. Cuthbert that is connected with the garrison of the City Guard, where the blue uniform and the tall helmet seem ever present. Often, it is difficult to distinguish the temple from the garrison, and the priests from the Guards.
Walking past the castle, we come to Main Street, running north to the marketplace and southeast to the castle of the Duke. Across Main Street, now directly in front of us, is the Guildhall of the Flour Guild, richly decorated with statues and sculptures on all sides, painted in bright colours, and neighboured by two temples hoping to benefit from the Flour Guild’s richness. To its left is a temple to Pelor, the Guild’s patron deity, and to its right is a temple to Heironeous, one of many in Luvul, where Heironeous is the single most popular deity. Unlike those of the temples we saw upon entering the city first, the priests of these two temples seem to be extremely busy, look rich and seem hardly spiritually enlightened.
Looking north, we see the apparent richness we met at first ends quickly. We now have the temples, the middle class houses and the castle to our left, and the Guildhalls (blocked from sight by the Guildhall of the Flour Guild) to our right. Beyond the Guildhalls are the warehouses, and beyond the warehouses runs the river Bars, but we can not even see a glimpse of that river right now. Beyond the temples, the Slums Ward begins, with simple temples to Pelor and Olidammara the brightest sights, but mostly dominated by simple people in brown and dirty ragged clothes going back and forth, looking unhappy and minding their own business. In a circle around the marketplace lie the Riverside Ward and the Services Ward (and the aforementioned Slums Ward), each looking more desolate than the other, with exotic looking mercenaries (often calling themselves “adventurers”) and rough sailors dominating one, and obscure taverns and a red-light district the other.
The marketplace itself is a happy distraction from all this. While no one here could probably be described as rich, at least smiles can be seen on many faces, and the simple shops that dotter the square work together to create what is quite likely the most colourful and busy place in Luvul. A small temple to Fharlanghn is almost hidden from view by many shops at the center of the square. At the edge of the square, visible from anywhere in Luvul, is Numan’s Tower. This tall round building, coloured in dark shades (probably by wind and rain, as none have ever seen someone painting this Tower) looks rather rough and unstable, as each level appears to have been placed a few feet astray the previous one, and the walls seem to be level hardly anywhere. It is home to Numan Religo, Luvul’s famous sorcerer, and despite the welcoming sign (“Enter ye if ye want yer spells cast, at reasonable prices, no questions asked and no government watching yer back”, referring to the common belief that if you let the Wayfarers Union cast your spells every detail will be known by the government) few dare enter, as the mage is known to behave randomly at best.
Most visitors however, will turn south on Main Street, and after passing the castle and the Guildhalls, they will have the busy streets full of shops on their left (for Luvul’s more well-to-do), and the huge coliseum on their right, with a small temple of Kord present as expected. Before the street turns east to cross the river to the upper class parts of Luvul, it first passes some of the less safe areas of Luvul. The Small Ward is now on our right, and it is colloquially referred to as the Smell ward for a reason: here the road passes the tanneries and the angler’s wharf, and further back there is even a small goblinoid ghetto, behind some lower class homes. To protect those passing by on Main Street from the smell, the Earthen Wall has been erected between Main Street and the area where the tanners and anglers live. Thus safe both from the smell and the sight of the poor, the visitor reaches the drawbridge that makes it possible for those living in the eastern part of Luvul to isolate themselves from the western part.
The eastern part is built on a hill that has been walled on all sides. The people in eastern Luvul are as afraid of those in the west as they are of foreign invasions, thus the riverside internal wall. The hill’s top is almost next to the river, and as such the hill ends in a steep cliff on its west side. Near the top, a secondary internal wall has been built around the courtyard of the Duke’s castle. Inside these walls, Baron’s national politics are being handled, and scheming nobles can be seen there almost every day. The Duke’s castle is about as big as the Count’s, but has five towers instead of four, and its location on top of a hill, overseeing the lower western parts of the city, and circled by a wall, make it look even more impressive than the castle of the Count.
To get there, we need to follow Main Street as it works itself gradually upward against the hill, passing the area where most of the nobles of Luvul live in their estates, as well as the largest temple to Heironeous in Luvul, rich and glorious, decorated with frescoes and statues on the inside and outside, with priests and acolytes going about the place, and toward the castle and the estates. Where the outside is not frescoed, it is painted white and gold, shining brightly in the morning sun. Walking the last bit up the hill, we have on our right side, stretching out below us, Luvul’s grand park. As we stand still to look at the park, which includes many shades of green but also more exotic flowers and plants, as well as some strange animals. The park is watched over by a few worshippers of Obad-Hai and Ehlonna, working from a small temple on the southern end of the park. Looking down, we see on the left side of the park a large stretch of the hill where foreign embassies have been built widely spread. Wide roads, strange looking buildings, a few noble’s estates and also some empty land are found here. On the right side of the park the University dominates an area of not very big, but well-kept houses, where the students and staff of the University live, also including Luvul’s library and the headquarters of the Most Illuminated Guild of Wizardry and Lore, which runs the University. Last but not least, a hundred feet or so away from the University stands Boccob’s temple, patron of the Guild.
The visitor then turns around to enter the courtyard of the castle, prepared to meet Baron’s politicians again in a renewed effort to make the County a better place.
Status: Capital of the Enlightened County of Baron
Ruling Count: Count Lumas of House Dèlluisse
Size: Large City
Races: human (37%), elf (20%), halfling (17%), dwarf (8%), gnome (6%), half-elf (5%), goblinoids (3%), half-orc (3%), felion (1%)
Classes (app.): upper class (13%), middle class (23%), lower class (64%)
GP Limit: 40,000 gp
Ready Liquid Wealth: 31,000,000 gp
Commander of the City Guard: Régerre of House Gedan
Context: The city of Luvul is the capital of the Enlightened County of Baron. I assume those using the city will also use the County as I describe it, though a suggestion for those who care only about what is within the city walls is found at the top of this thread, as the second Designer’s Note. Baron is a former County of a large feudal kingdom or empire. Former, because it has declared its independence some twenty-five years ago. It has started a political experiment named gwaithconui (rule of the people, democracy). The kingdom or empire has remained true to its feudal system. The County is mostly flat plains that are being farmed for wheat, with marshes on the northern border and one major river, the river Bars, winding through the lands. Halfway through the County, the river passes a circle of hills on their western side. Between these hills is a mysterious valley called the Magic Valley. They are mined for iron. The city of Luvul is located on both sides of the river, at the western edge of the hills.
Physical Description: For spicy descriptions of Luvul’s various locations, I refer to the introduction above or, when applicable, the individual entries below. This will just be a dry sum-up so feel free to skip…
The city is located approximately at the center of the Enlightened County of Baron. The river Bars runs right through it, and a ring of hills lies to the east, encircling something called the Magic Valley. The hills are mined for iron. The city is built around two castles. One is located on top of a hill, on the edge of a cliff that ends in the river. There is an internal wall around the courtyard. The eastern, richer half of the city is built around this castle, with a wall on all sides. The western part of town lies around the second castle. The city consists of eight wards, which are described below:
-Uphill Ward: One of two Wards that form the eastern part of Luvul, the rich live here. Uphill Ward includes the embassies and the University, the Lore Guild, the library and the temple to Boccob.
-Duke’s Ward: Being the other eastern Ward, the Duke’s Ward is also for the well-to-do. Here lies the Duke’s castle, where Baron’s national politics are handled, and Duke Légard of House De Gran-Loire, ruler of the County, presumably lives. Luvul’s largest temple to Heironeous and most noble’s estates are also found here. This Ward also contains the Park, and the temple to Ehlonna located there. The drawbridge between eastern and western Luvul falls under the responsibility of the Warden of the Duke’s Ward.
-Small (“smell”) Ward: This Ward includes such smelly things as a goblinoid ghetto (albeit small), tanneries and the angler’s wharf. The Earthen Wall has been erected for the specific purposes of keeping the eyes and odour of those living beyond the wall away from those travelling across Main Street. Within the ghetto a small temple to Maglubiyet is being maintained.
-Central Ward: The main gate lies in this Ward, as well as the Count’s castle, from where the city is ruled, the coliseum (with a temple to Kord), the City Guard garrison (with a temple to St. Cuthbert), the prison, the station of the Wayfarers Union (with a temple to Wee Jas), and a grouping of temples not directly associated with an organization (to Corellon Larethian, Garl Glittergold, Gruumsh, Heironeous, Io, Moradin and Yondalla respectively). Note that the temple to Heironeous located here follows a doctrine different from the other Heironean temples in Luvul, the doctrine of the Church (see Religion, below).
-Guilds & Shops Ward: The second bridge over the river Bars, which brings one on the eastern shore a hundred feet north of the eastern part of the city, falls under this Ward. It also has Luvul’s main shop streets for the middle and upper class, practically all of the Guildhalls, a temple to Heironeous and one to Pelor (patron deity of the Flour Guild and the Wine Guild), and Rodan Softfeet’s Bank of Capital.
-Riverside Ward: This varied Ward consists of docks, warehouses, a few of the Flour Guild’s windmills, lower class homes and a small temple to Olidammara. Many mercenaries (or adventurers) can be found here, as well as sailors. Numan’s Tower, while strictly standing outside of the marketplace square and thus being part of the Riverside Ward’s territory, is generally considered part of the marketplace and as such of the Services Ward. The Wardens don’t have anything to say over Numan anyway though, so it doesn’t really matter.
-Services Ward: Various services are offered in this Ward, though its name supposedly refers to the marketplace. Other than that, lots of inns, taverns and theatres can be found in the Services Ward, as well as Luvul’s red-light district. Prominent features are a temple to Fharlanghn (in the middle of the marketplace square) and the tower where the famous but mysterious sorcerer Numan Religo lives (on the side of the square).
-Slums Ward: This Ward is not much more than an endless stretching of simple grey houses and obscure shops. The areas around the small temple to Olidammara and the somewhat less small temple to Pelor look only slightly better.
Politics and the Government: When the Enlightened County of Baron became independent, now twenty-five years ago, the Duke laid out his plans for a new and revolutionary system. Today, Baron is governed using a unique system referred to (in Elven) as gwaithconui ("rule of the people"), which means that all nobles and a few of the richest men in Baron have the right to vote each year their regional candidates into Lamathgwaith ("voices of the people"), which then decides how and by whom the county shall be governed during the following year: they can reassign all noble titles in the county, as well as appoint the Seneschal and the Commander, leaders of the army and the City Guard respectively. Those who govern also judge disputes among the populace and nobility lower than they are. Any decision made by Lamathgwaith can officially be overruled by the Duke, who is the highest authority in Baron in all respects, but this has not occurred since the system reached its current form twenty years ago, and it is generally assumed that at this point in time real power in Baron rests with Lamathgwaith, and thus with the lower landed nobility, which has the most influence on election results because of their large number and optimal spread among the 47 districts.
Many of the laws in Baron serve to reinforce the feudal class system which is still in place in the rural areas of Baron. They make travelling in Baron almost impossible for anyone not belonging to the right class or having the right connections. A relatively large standing army and an extensive bureaucracy are also kept in place through laws. Last but not least, a number of laws deal with the political structure of the county itself or are the result of attempts by the politicians to reinforce their personal position or that of their faction (the current structure of one representative in Lamathgwaith for each of the sixteen major settlements for example is the result of a never-ending power struggle between the capital, the smaller towns, and the rural areas).
For the people of Luvul, this means little, unless they have voting rights. As before when the feudal system was still in place, a Count rules the city, assisted by eight Wards and the Commander of the City Guard, and there are only two major changes. First, the Deskmaster of the Wayfarers Union can be considered part of this governing team these days, and second, it is no longer obvious whom of those eleven people have real power and whom are lackeys. Still, the courtyard intrigues of Lamathgwaith can have great impact on Luvul (through appointing the Count and the Commander for example), not to mention the fact that many who live in Luvul participate in them. People in Luvul sometimes fear the government, as they feel restricted and watched by it. Indeed, it is an established fact that the arm of the government reaches extraordinarily far in Luvul, quite possibly further than in any other city in the world.
The government guards its own structure carefully, and through strong ties with many important figures and organizations in the county as well as a well-used City Guard and army, it has made itself nearly-immune to revolutionary elements coming from the outside. Thus, anyone who wants to change something in Luvul (many do, now that those who have voting rights begin to understand their power) works through political intrigue, and the political games played in Luvul (especially in the Duke’s courtyard) are elaborate and complicated, with many different factions trying to subtly force the county in one direction or another. However, everyone realizes that the system as it stands can only work when opposing factions cooperate and form compromises. Especially in the first month of the year, when assignments for the following year must be made by majority’s decision, the politicians form the most unlikely alliances, and the lines between the different factions (never clear-cut) are blurred nigh into non-existence. Still, there are factions, and they shall be identified and described below. Note that these are categorizations, not organizations.
-Political Idealists: this faction consists of a number of nobles and clergy and claims the Duke himself among its members due to his actions in the past. They want to use this new, experimental system to reform the country. Their perfect society is one where everyone is basically equal and can develop himself to his personal ability and ambition. Every job should be done by the person who is most fit for it, including making laws, ruling and judging (which should respectively be done by trained politicians, nobility and judges). Due to their idealistic dedication, the Political Idealists tends to be the tightest faction, with the least internal strife, though hot-headed debates often occur on some political issue. The introduction of gwaithconui can be seen as a major triumph of this faction, except that this would be reverse engineering of history, because the Political Idealists as a true faction only originated during the revolution.
-Economists: this faction consists of those who want the government to promote the economy. Their central aim is to open up Baron to the world by repealing laws restricting trade and travel, so Baron can become a powerful trade empire. Support for this faction comes from almost anyone who has an interest in one of Luvul’s various Guilds, but from some of the other nobles as well.
-Conservatives: this powerful faction consists of those who wish for the declaration of independence to be repealed. They wish to make Baron completely feudal again, and rejoin the kingdom/empire. It is said that the king/emperor secretly supports this faction, preferring to have the Baronians reinstate the feudal monarchy themselves rather than interfering directly. All Conservatives aim to get rid of gwaithconui, but not all want to rejoin the kingdom/empire. Some lay their hopes in an independent feudal County. Among others, many who used to be high nobility in the county before its independence but were voted away support this faction.
-Religious Dogmatics: this faction consists mainly of Heironeous’ clergy, but also includes a number of nobles and clergy of Heironeous’ political allies (St. Cuthbert and Wee Jas specifically). They support the current system (especially holding on to the feudal structure of the executive part of the system) and try to advance policies that change the County according to Heironeous’ dogma. They wish to strengthen the legal system, cutting Baron off completely from the outside world, making it extremely hard to move, whether socially or geographically, and delivering just (that is, extremely harsh) punishment on any transgressor of the law. This is one of the most corrupt factions.
~Elven Nobles: Baronian nobility includes a relatively large number of Gray Elven and High Elven Houses. This faction (members of which often are members of another faction as well) tries to protect the interests of the Elves in Baron with overwhelming success (especially compared to the other non-human Baronian citizens). They promote the Elven way of life, their art and worship of Corellon Larethian, among other things. Most Elves sympathise with conservative factions such as the Conservatives and the Religious Dogmatics, and they often successfully pressure more progressive Elves (Idealists or Economists) into supporting conservative laws and assignments, to the frustration of the other Political Idealists and Economists.
~Republicans: As is the case with the faction of the Elven Nobles, members of this faction are often members of other factions as well. In the case of the Republicans, this is because they do not have an all-encompassing political ideal at the basis of their faction: they are a one-issue-group. Their issue is the Duke; more specifically, the absence of the Duke. The Republicans believe that the current way Baronian politics are run (Lamathgwaith effectively rules the County as the Duke has not interfered in politics for twenty years) should be made law: Baron no longer needs a Duke. So far, this law has been proposed in Lamathgwaith three times, but has as of yet never passed. Some believe that once this law is passed, the Duke will finally return to use his veto and become active in politics once again (though those who believe this are usually not themselves Republicans).
<Please continue reading in post three of this thread for more background information, starting with economics.>
07-04-2005, 08:39 AM
Sounds good, long introductions never harm :)
07-04-2005, 06:11 PM
Economics: The following treats the economy of Luvul, with lots of references to the economy of the County as a whole. The categories are currency, production, imports and exports and occupation and economic freedom.
-Currency: Baronians (including those living in Luvul) use many different forms of currency. As in the surrounding lands, the silver piece is the most easily accepted one, and most other currencies are valued in relation with the silver piece. Baronian silver pieces are stamped with a rough likeliness of the Duke on one side (“heads”), and the following runes on the other side (“tails”):
1 S P
E C B
(meaning “one silver piece, Enlightened County of Baron”), though silver pieces from the surrounding lands (with different marks but the same weight) are also accepted. Other official currencies are the copper piece (worth one-tenth of a silver piece and stamped in the same way) and the gold piece (worth ten silver pieces and also stamped in the same way). Tradesmen and nobles often deal in bars of gold and silver (and copper as well, but rarely), which are only considered official currency if they are marked with the following sign:
One Pound of Gold
The Enlightened County of Baron.
If this is so, they are worth the same as fifty coins of the appropriate material. Many more unofficial currencies exist, of which the following is an extensive, but not nearly complete, treatise.
First, there are unmarked coins and bars of silver, gold and copper. These are valued by weight (the official ones are also often weighed, in fear of fraud). Second, Rodan Softfeet’s Bank of Capital, located in Luvul, has introduced the credit note (usually referred to as “IOU”), a small piece of paper that guarantees the immediate delivery of a specific amount of gold or silver to the bearer when returned to the Bank. This unofficial form of currency is quickly replacing the golden trade bar as the most used payment in deals (trade or otherwise) among Luvul’s high nobility and richest merchants. Third, small amounts of the precious metal platinum circulate in Luvul’s economy, usually introduced by adventurers that have pried them from the deepest dungeons. They tend to come in the form of coins, often of strange shape and size, and with unusual stamps. Platinum is valued roughly at five thousand silver pieces per pound, though this price tends to vary greatly along with its availability. Fourth, Baronians tend to pay in trade goods, especially those belonging to the Freemen class (basically the farmers living on the countryside). Here are the most commonly used ones with their average value. Wheat is usually worth one-tenth of a silver piece per pound, while flour is somewhat more stable at twice that value. Iron is worth about one silver piece for a pound. A chicken is one-fifth of a silver piece, a goat is ten silver pieces, a sheep is twenty, a pig thirty, a cow one hundred and an ox one hundred and fifty, but the price of animals tends to vary along with their age and other qualities.
-Production: Luvul’s economy depends mostly on the production of food through agriculture and stock farming. Of the two, agriculture is the most widespread. It focuses mainly on the production of wheat. The flour industry, which includes buying the wheat, producing flour and baking bread and other kinds of food out of the flour, is being monopolized by the Flour Guild, a large and influential organization that controls the transportation and pricing of bread, and as such is capable of completely and utterly grounding Baronian economy at any time. The meat industry is much smaller, as meat is basically a luxury good. Unlike most other goods, the market for meat has not been unified into a single Guild monopolizing the price and availability, meaning that the price of meat is subject to the law of supply and demand, unlike most prices in Baron.
-Imports and Exports: The Flour Guild sometimes exports, whether it’s leftovers or price manipulation storage flour. Because of its power it experiences little hindrance when doing so. Other Guilds, specifically the Wine, Smith and Art Guilds, sometimes trade over the border as well, though it is hard for them to do so because of all the restrictive laws. The Wine Guild experiences the least hindrance of these three; as wine from the Northern province (near the marsh) is very popular among the extremely rich nobles of large kingdoms. Luvul’s economy benefits so much from export by this small Guild, that the government often relaxes the rules a bit for them, and those involved in the wine business have become very rich. Independent merchants rarely export anything. Importing anything is perhaps even more difficult than exporting, and as such it is usually restricted to luxury goods only, that are individually ordered by nobles with the power to get them over the border.
-Occupation and Economic Freedom: Over ninety percent of Baron’s population lives on a farm. They belong to the Freemen class, work the land during daytime hours and work on a freelance basis in the textile business in the evenings and in the winter. The rest is either a soldier, a merchant, a noble/judge/politician or has some job in the towns (many work for the government). Those living in the cities have a bit more freedom than the farmers. Most of the Guilds allow individuals to make profit (even the Flour Guild does so in the cities: the bakers make money, the farmers don't) and the meat-market is actually open and decentralized! Unfortunately, many farmers have gone to producing meat now, attracted to the free (capitalist) market it has, which has led to an overproduction of meat and hardly any profit is being made in this market anymore.
Religion: As in the surrounding countries, the only deities worthy of note in Baron belong to the same pantheon: the generic and comprehensive pantheon (OOC-the standard D&D-pantheon) that dominates the continent almost entirely, though this means little, because the deities in the pantheon (and, more importantly, their worshippers) are not particularly cooperative with each other. Within Baron there is also little friendship among the deities’ worshippers. I will now treat Baronian religion per individual deity. Again, whatever I say about Baron applies to Luvul (its capital) as well.
-Heironeous: Heironeous’ Church is the most powerful faith in the kingdom/empire that Baron only recently came to be independent from. Unique to Baronian religion is the existence of the Baronian Heironeans, a cult of separatists from the Church of Heironeous. Its doctrine, philosophically more advanced than that of the Church, is based on fighting for freedom and bringing equality and justice, which are this cult’s central values. In this way they focus on the socially active aspects of Heironeous’ portfolio. Their chief antagonist (which is not to say they are less interested in fighting evil) is the Church, which bases its doctrine on the feudal, inequalist parts of his portfolio (valor, nobility and chivalry). In Baron, the ideals of the Baronian Heironeans are seen by many as the highest ideals imaginable, and this cult is the major faith in Baron. In the kingdom, and most other countries where Heironeous is a deity of political significance, the chivalric ideals are seen as the highest, and the Baronians are hardly ever seen or mentioned there.
It must be noted, however, that the development of the Baronian cult can not be interpreted correctly from a religious viewpoint alone. It is not a coincidence that the separatists founded their cult less than two months after the independence of Baron was declared. Looking closer, we see the ideals of the Baronian Heironeans bear a very close resemblance to those expressed by the Duke in those days (which in turn are the basis of Baron’s political system today). We also see the cult is being opposed at first, but once it allies itself to the reforming government it quickly starts dominating religion in the capital Luvul, soon after expanding to the other major towns of Baron. Later, when the alliance with the government has grown strong, the church also forms strong ties with other faiths that have allied themselves to the current political system, notably the churches of St. Cuthbert (patron of the City Guard) and Wee Jas (patron of the Wayfarer’s Union). Almost immediately from the start, the Baronian cult of Heironeous is very secular, caring more about involving themselves (quite successfully it is said) with how the County is ruled than with spiritual enlightenment. Followers of this cult form the basis of the political movement of the Religious Dogmatics in Baron. The Church is in the minority, but still radiates some power (how much exactly is unknown) from their temple in Luvul. They also remain quite popular with the Freemen (the farmers outside Luvul), who still live in a largely feudal society. The Church holds on to some political power in Baron as well, as they are important within the Conservative faction.
-St. Cuthbert: St. Cuthbert is the patron of Luvul’s City Guard (a cooperation of guards and those employed in the legal system), and also the patron of many individual guards and soldiers in Baron, who execute orders without questions in the name of justice. His church is closely related to the government and, like the Baronian Heironians, quite secular.
-Wee Jas: Wee Jas occupies two major positions in the Baronian capital Luvul. First and foremost, she is the patron deity of the Wayfarer’s Union, which means she is also the patron of a significant amount of secularly oriented wizards. Second, her temple dominates most of Luvul’s graveyard (grudgingly sharing a piece with a shrine to Nerull), and her priests are a common sight at most funerals. The two temples (the other one is near the Wayfarer’s Union’s headquarters), one death-oriented, the other magic-oriented, cooperate in a tightly knit and well-organized single church, which controls a lot of graveyard shrines throughout the county. Like the aforementioned, it has strong government ties and is quite secular in nature (though less than St. Cuthbert and Heironeous).
-Pelor: As patron deity of the Flour Guild and the Wine Guild, Pelor has an important position in Baron’s economic life. Pelor’s priests take various roles in society, reaching from the most secular cleric in the main temple in Luvul trying to benefit from the Flour Guilds’ power, to the old Garm Puneno, High Priest of that other temple in Luvul (located in the Slums) and famous charity worker, to the young unassuming acolyte that runs a shrine in Baron’s rural areas and tries to defend the poorest farmers from the Guild and nobility as best he can. The god of the Sun is popular among many who work the land, but also among the money scraping bureaucrats of the Flour Guild, and the elitist members of the small but rich Wine Guild.
-Corellon Larethian: Head of the Elven pantheon, Corellon Larethian is a popular deity among the nobles of Baron. Many Baronian noble Houses are Elven, and a great many more have some Elven blood here and there in their lineages. Clerics of Corellon tend to be arrogant, especially when confronted with those who are neither Elf nor noble. Corellian faith in Baron has little to do with the nature-focused faith of those elves living in the wilds in other countries. The completely different nature of Corellon-worship in these areas is not only due to the absence of woods in Baron, but also to the relatively large amount of Gray Elves among Baron’s Elven population, and to the fact that many Elves in Baron have noble blood.
-Boccob: Boccob is “the other” deity of magic in Luvul, the one that remains neutral in politics. He is the patron deity of the Most Illuminated Guild of Wizardry and Lore, a Guild of wizards and other loreseekers that wish to acquire arcane power, knowledge or lore without interference by politics. This Guild runs the University.
-Other deities: Other deities, especially the racial deities, can be very important locally but have little influence in the grand picture. They tend to focus on the spiritual rather than the secular parts of their beliefs, whether out of powerlessness or out of true devotion.
Arts and Culture: To the average person, art is of little relevance. No art is found within the homes of the simple citizens, their houses are grey buildings of wood or stone, and their clothes are also simple, in grey or brown colours. No, Luvul’s artistic identity should be sought with the nobility. Colours are extremely popular in the higher levels, clearly distinguishing the middle and upper class from the lower class. While the nobility and the very rich wear delicate materials (sometimes magical) in multicolour combinations, Luvul’s small middle class can be identified by outfits of relatively basic material, wearing one or two colours. Shops and middle class homes are usually painted in a single colour (often a bluish or greenish tint), well kept but hardly decorated, while Luvul’s largest buildings (the coliseum, the Flour Guildhall, the University) and noble’s estates bear bright frescoes, sculptures and statues, depicting famous people and their achievements or strange creatures. The art in their houses consists of small sculptures, colourfully painted walls, and the occasional painting or drawing on the wall. Only the most important people in Luvul, those who have become completely independent of others for their power, exempt themselves from the colours-rule. This list includes (and is limited to): the Duke, who wore a delicate but completely grey robe on his last public appearance (over twenty years ago), Numan Religo, who tends to wear dirty brown or black working clothes but usually with some sort of magic on them, and the Guildmaster of the Flour Guild, Elise of House Lille-Dan, who usually wears a thin, flowing, dresslike robe in bright green.
Despite all that, Luvul’s art is most renowned for its statues and sculptures. Many of the important buildings have some sort of decoration in this form. Because of the nearby marble mine, the Art Guild has had plenty of this material to experiment with, and the results have been amazing. Luvul’s sculptors’ skill in making lifelike statues and sculptures is unmatched, and the painters (none too rarely the same individuals) have made them truly look like real creatures (people, animals and monsters alike). The greatest achievement of the Art Guild is of course the Independence Memorial, looming over the city like the largest advertisement ever made. When asked about the rumour that the dragon in the Memorial is a living dragon held by magic, a member of the Art Guild invariably answers: “I’ll take that as a compliment.”
Crime: The following is a report by Moran of House Ganive, University professor and jack-of-all-trades, concerning crime.
What can I tell you about crime in Luvul? Little, as the crime figures recorded by the Guard are highly classified. Still, a general pattern can be recognized. First, it is widely known that those who are rich or powerful get away with much more than anyone else. A lot of crimes are committed with the aim of influencing in politics in one way or another. Unfortunately, the City Guard often gets its orders from the same people who authorized those crimes, so little can be done about those. They are not to be taken lightly though, murder might be rare but is not unheard of even at those levels. Luckily for us, this sort of criminal behaviour does not usually disturb the order in the city. The City Guard patrols dutifully in eastern Luvul, and the peace of the estates, the University and the park, not to mention the castle itself, is rarely stirred.
Western Luvul is another matter entirely. While most of the important buildings see patrolling Guards regularly (except for Numan’s Tower, which needs nor likes such patrols) and most of the shops and middle class houses can also be kept safe, many of the alleys between the houses in the Slums, Riverside or Smell Wards have never seen a blue uniform. Robbery, assault and even murder is not uncommon here, though it is still relatively simple to protect oneself from that (openly carry a weapon and walk quickly). The people of Luvul sometimes pride themselves with not having any criminal organizations within their walls, yet the suggestion has been made that in a large city such as Luvul, this is more likely due to well-organized secrecy than a lack of organized crime altogether. Stories abound about the nature of secret organizations in Luvul, yet for all their inaccuracy, they share one trait so often to almost exclude coincidence: the notion of an undercity. While its existence has been denied by the government, some of my personal research has shown that criminals fleeing the City Guard tend to flee to certain specific places located in the Slums Ward and the Smell Ward. I shall not reveal these locations in this publication (which can, after all, be read by anyone with a few copper to spare), nor speculate any further on this subject, except for pointing two things out. First, the distance between the locations seems to imply two separate undercities (assuming this is the only explanation of these “standard fleeing points”) or else the undercity would be huge and pass almost directly under the castle of the Count, which seems highly unlikely. Second, the existence of an undercity, if proved, would give us no direct information about the existence of organized crime in our city. While I dislike the thought of criminals crawling under the earth as much as the next person, it is not impossible they used an already existing dungeon, thus needing no organization for the undercity to be used. -Moran Ganive
Organizations: This entry describes Luvul’s most important organizations one by one. These are in order of appearance the City Guard, the Flour Guild, the Wayfarers Union, the Lore Guild (full title: Most Illuminated Guild of Wizardry and Lore), the Bank of Capital and Numan Religo. While the last two aren’t strictly organizations, I couldn’t justify to myself giving them a separate category, so here they are. Note that political factions are described in the politics and the government section. Also note that of the various Guilds in Luvul, only the Flour Guild, the Wayfarers Union and the Lore Guild are described extensively. Of the other Guilds, the Smith Guild and the Wine Guild are the largest and the richest. Other Guilds of at least moderate size include the Art Guild, the Fish Guild and the Fur Guild. Assume that for every line of business there is a Guild, except for meat, which is the only product with a completely free market.
-City Guard: This broad organization is the most powerful military force in Baron next to the army. Its core is a more than one hundred strong group of toughened guards and watchmen, who keep the order within the city. The City Guard also contains a legal department however, with lawyers, prosecutors, and judges. Its uniform is blue, with a high helmet and the Guard's symbol (a boot being put down that stirs the dust on the ground) on a round shield. It has St. Cuthbert as its patron deity. Relatively speaking, there are usually slightly more Guards to be found in the richer parts of town, and in those areas (Uphill, Duke’s, Central and Guilds & Shops Ward) the City Guard rarely has any problems maintaining order on the streets. The other four Wards (Small, Riverside, Services and Slums Ward) however, are more of a problem. At night, few Guards dare enter the smaller passages in these Wards.
Commander of the City Guard is Régerre of House Gedan. He has occupied this prestigious position, one that is discussed every year in Lamathgwaith, for three consecutive years, and is thus seen as very successful. Loosely affiliated with the faction of the political idealists, Régerre manages to separate his political goals from his everyday work, or has at least fooled the rest of the world by making it look like that. He has said on numerous occasions that his first priority as Commander of the City Guard is to keep the city of Luvul safe and orderly, not to advance his political ideas. After a chaotic period in which the Commander of the Guard changed every year, Régerre has brought some stability, fought back crime quite successfully, and has won the trust of friends and enemies alike in politics and on the street. According to those few stories that get out about Lamathgwaith, Régerre’s position has hardly been discussed the last two years, which is extremely unusual. Lately, his popularity has begun to diminish. Rumour has it that Régerre is trying to use his popularity as Commander to gain support for radical political campaigns, and crime increases while his eye turns away from it. Actual crime figures are classified, so these rumours have as of yet not been able to gain a lot of ground, but at the same time they manage to keep going around.
Hierarchy within the Guard is simple. The Commander is the single most important person, directly elected by Lamathgwaith and as such possessing a strong authority even on his first day. He is assisted by four captains, who take care of most of the day to day leading of the Guard. The actual patrolling force of the Guard is 101 helmets strong. Eighteen of the patrolling Guards have the rank of sergeant, the rest are simple knights. The City Guard often operates in units: four or five knights led by a sergeant. Knights and sergeants sometimes recognize certain knights as corporals, but this rank is unofficial. Many of those who have special powers due to specialized training or inherent talents get this treatment. (OOC-This refers to low level PC-class characters of course.) Aside from the actual Guard force, the City Guard employs lawyers, prosecutors and judges. They are usually considered to stand outside of the Guard’s hierarchy, though each of the three professions have their own internal hierarchy, and as members of the organization called the City Guard they fall under the authority of the Commander, who has in the past not been afraid to give direct orders to lawyers and prosecutors (though doing so with judges runs a large political risk and occurs rarely).
At higher levels, the balance of power is much harder to put a finger on. Count of Luvul is a noble title and the Count is almost always a member of Lamathgwaith (as is the Commander, for that matter). On top of that, he is by law the highest authority within the city, so it makes sense to state that Commander of the City Guard (strictly not a noble title) is a position directly under the Count. Still, it is a known fact (as far as facts about secret meetings go) that the position of Commander often has as high or higher priority in Lamathgwaith as the position of Count. One explanation for this is that the City Guard is the largest standing army in Baron beside the national army, and that in case of conflicting orders that army would probably follow its Commander, not its Count. Over the years, evidence has shown that the relation between the Count and the Commander depends more on the individuals occupying these positions than on law. Régerre, with his strong personality, seems to be at least as powerful within the city of Luvul as Count Lumas.
<Please continue reading in post five of this thread for more background information, starting with a description of the Flour Guild.>
07-04-2005, 06:32 PM
I have typed pretty much, so you don't really have to worry about that, I guess. If you have an additional placeholder you should be fine in any case :)
07-04-2005, 06:37 PM
-Flour Guild: The flour industry, which includes buying the wheat, producing flour and baking bread and other kinds of food out of the flour, is being monopolized by the Flour Guild, a large and influential organization that controls the transportation and pricing of bread, and as such is capable of completely and utterly grounding Baronian economy at any time. The Flour Guild buys the wheat either directly from the farmers or from Wardens and Barons (financially speaking, the former is most beneficial for the Flour Guild, while the latter favors the farmers and nets the nobles a small commission). Although there are some farmers that have a (possibly shared) windmill to process their wheat to flour before selling it, the farming products are usually bought by the Flour Guild in the form of raw wheat. This is then transported to Luvul, from where it is taken to the windmills that are built on the hills east of the river Bars near Luvul, or to those few water-driven mills in Luvul’s Riverside Ward (see below). When the flour is ready, it is stored in the warehouses also located in Riverside Ward. Once there, it is distributed to bakers across Baron in carefully measured amounts each week.
The level of independence of the bakers varies: most of them are small entrepreneurs working for their own profit, but completely dependent on the Guild (which maintains the right to set its price as it pleases) to obtain flour. Close to the capital however, the Flour Guild only sells flour to bakeries that allow the Guild to set the price of bread in their shop. These bakeries (including every single one within the walls of Luvul) are semi-dependent (the baker makes no decisions but gets most of the profit made) or completely dependent (many bakers within the city itself are simply on the payroll of the Guild, making no profit and moved around or fired on a whim). What is described statically here is really an ongoing process. Right now, the Guild has reached the point where every baker within or in the direct vicinity of Luvul is semi-dependent or completely dependent, and the ring is expanding. Apparently, the Flour Guild ultimately wants to be able to set the price of every single loaf of bread that is sold within the borders of the Enlightened County. Possibly, the Guild will try to expand into neighbouring lands.
Current Guildmaster of the Flour Guild is Elise of House Lille-Dan, easily the most successful businesswoman in Baron. After the death of her father Santaire at the age of sixty-four numerous candidates were available (some both respected members of House Lille-Dan and the Guild’s Council), but Elise was appointed as the new Guildmaster in her father’s will. Now, Elise, Santaire’s second child and eldest daughter, is firmly in control of the Guild. She has yet to prove herself, as the last four years have been relatively quiet for the Guild, but she has been busy consolidating the achievements of her father with a good deal of success. Apparently she is trying to create a system in which Guildmastership automatically transfers to the eldest heir of House Lille-Dan in case of death, but the Council (with many of its members seeing their chances at Guildmastership ruined in this way) opposes many of her decrees, and behind the scenes a subtle power struggle seems to be going on.
The system itself has remained intact as of yet. This system says that the Flour Guild is run by the Council of Master Millers, led by the Guildmaster. A majority in the Council is required to pass important decisions, but the Guildmaster has a veto that can only be overruled when the rest of the Council is unanimous. Most of the time, the Master Millers and the Guildmaster each do their individual jobs without consulting the Council for every decision. One Council member is in charge of buying wheat as cheaply as possible, one is in charge of logistics, one handles foreign trade, one runs the mills, one takes care of the bakeries, one watches the market to decide when more or less bread is needed to ensure the people’s feeding or the Guild’s profit, and one makes the financial reports. There are also three representative Council members, one to represent the farmers, one to look into the interests of the millers, and one to make sure the bakers are not overlooked. Though the Council is thus considered to have ten members, the Guildmaster is of course a major factor in the Council’s decisions, and has the right to vote as well (preventing the possibility of a tie).
The Council sends out its representatives (usually simple messenger boys) to deal with the farmers, millers and bakers all over Baron directly. All of these are completely dependent on the Flour Guild to sell their wheat, process the wheat or get the flour to bake bread respectively, but within each category there are those who work for their own profit (often considered better off) and those who are directly employed by the Guild. The Flour Guild is easily the largest and richest Guild in Baron. Its patron deity is Pelor.
-Wayfarers Union: The Wayfarers Union has grown from a loosely organized teleportation service to a spellcaster-for-hire organization that spans many countries. In the process, it has gained much focus, both positive (it can now serve a far wider arrangement of spells) and negative (some places have easy access to the Wayfarers Union, while many smaller stations have disappeared). In Luvul it has allied itself to the church of Wee Jas and many spellcasters are in full-time service of the bureaucracy. The single most important client to the Wayfarers Union is the City Guard, which has become almost completely dependent on the Wayfarers Union for everything related to magic. Important citizens of Luvul hire Wayfarer Guides (often simply referred to as “Guides”) to help in constructing or protecting their homes. Despite all this, the Wayfarers Union does not have a very good reputation. This is partly due to a general distrust of magic by the populace, but more importantly to rumors of indiscretion. People in Luvul often say: “what you tell a Guide in the morning is known to the government at noon”. These rumors have been around for quite some time, and there are few left in Luvul dismissing them as mere gossip. (OOC-The Wayfarer Guide and Mage of the Arcane Order Prestige Classes, both found in Complete Arcane, are available to members of the Wayfarers Union.)
Deskmaster of Luvul’s station of the Wayfarers Union is Vimes of House Soirot. Dealings on the highest levels of spellcasters’ organizations are always unclear at some level to all except the directly involved, but it is a well-known “fact” that stations of the Wayfarers Union are mostly independent from each other, and as such it is assumed that Vimes has the highest authority on most operations within Luvul’s Wayfarers Union. Not widely known, but still available as a rumor in many places, is the notion of the Board, the mysterious group that presumably serves as the leaders of the Wayfarers Union. Rumors often go deeper than the truth, and many stories are told to those who have just learned of the existence of the Board. Despite that, there are only two things that most of these stories have in common. First, members of the Board are approximately equal in their level of authority. Second, they keep their identities hidden from the outside world (including Union members), and possibly from each other. Wild theories being what they may, the inner workings of Luvul’s station are considered public knowledge. The Deskmaster leads the station. He or she represents the Union to the public, and represents the station to the Board (or so it is said). The Deskmaster assigns positions within the station. Three ranks are available: Laborer (any employee that does not cast spells for money), Wayfarer Guide and Elder Guide (ten spellcasters appointed by the Deskmaster to assist him or her in dividing the available clients). When a Deskmaster dies or abdicates all (Elder) Guides get one vote in an election for replacement. Though one can vote for any other Guide, candidates usually announce their candidacy before the election.
-Most Illuminated Guild of Wizardry and Lore: This Guild has the most elaborate name of all Guilds in Luvul. Of course, such names are shortened for ease of use, and the Most Illuminated Guild of Wizardry and Lore is usually referred to as the Lore Guild. Almost all wizards in Luvul are a member of either the Wayfarers Union or the Lore Guild. While the Wayfarers Union wants to make money, the Lore Guild seeks knowledge, and bards and non-spellcasters are as common in the Lore Guild as wizards. To obtain this goal, the Guild runs the University, meaning that it has complete control over said University and the accompanying library (which is the only library in the city). At the University, students pursue widely ranging interests, but the most popular one is thaumaturgy, the study of magic. Unlike its counterpart the Wayfarers Union, the Flour Guild does not involve itself in politics. Its students are encouraged to seek knowledge for its own sake. Those who wish to become a wizard in Luvul usually make a conscious choice for one of the two Guilds, and because of that most apprentice wizards at the University share the Lore Guild’s vision. (OOC-The Loremaster Prestige Class, found in the SRD, is available to members of the Lore Guild)
Members of the Lore Guild fall in one (or sometimes more) of four categories: students (students at the University are automatically members of the Guild), professors, staff and board members. Internal hierarchy is usually informal (and thus not easily laid out here), though a few rules exist to keep the students in line. There are three board members to lead the Guild and the University, one of which is the High Loremaster, who has the highest authority. For important decisions the board members often consult the professors, and sometimes the students or staff as well. Compared to other organizations in Luvul, it is very peaceful within the Lore Guild. Few care about improving their position, instead focusing on their own studies.
-Other Rich Guilds: Besides the Flour Guild, the two richest Guilds are the Wine Guild and the Smith Guild. (Note that when comparing the various Guilds in Luvul, the Lore Guild and Wayfarers Union are usually excluded.) The Wine Guild buys grapes from the farmers close to the marshes in the north of Baron. The wine they make belongs with the very best wines known, and is sold to the highest nobility both inside and outside the County. Guildmaster is Mavoir of House Songin, and patron deity is Pelor. While the Wine Guild has become rich through quality, the Smith Guild depends on quantity (which is not to say they don’t have quality - quite the opposite). It is a large Guild that deals with all kinds of metal. They own the iron mines in the hills and control them completely. Its members in Luvul include jewellers, blacksmiths, locksmiths and many other kinds of metalworkers. The Smith Guild also exports large amounts of unworked iron, as well as numerous finished goods made of metal. Guildmaster is Harvin of House De Gran-Loire (Baron’s ruling House), and patron deity is Moradin. While there are no official treaties between the three richest Guilds of Luvul, their interests tend to be the same, and they often pursue the same goals. Hence, many people refer to the Flour Guild, the Wine Guild and the Smith Guild as one: the Three Guilds, and think of them as one as well. This occurs on any level of society, and more than one Lamathgwaith has paid dearly for making this mistake in politics. For the common people though, it is hard to find evidence of digressing behaviour among the Three Guilds.
-The Poor Guilds: While any of Luvul’s Guilds possesses at least a small fortune (though not always readily accessible), none are as rich as the Flour, Wine and Smith Guilds. The names of these Guilds are: the Art Guild (which has control over the nigh-exhausted marble mine in the hills), the Barbers Guild, the Builders Guild (for masons and the like), the Coopers Guild, the Doctors Guild (for non-magical healing), the Fish Guild, the Fur Guild (inappropriately named, according to the many carpenters, tailors and weavers who also belong to this Guild) and the Taverns Guild (which includes inns and restaurants). Of these, the Art Guild, the Fur Guild and the Taverns Guild are the richest: the painted sculptures of the Art Guild are world-famous, while the Fur and Taverns Guilds are simply huge, providing the people of Luvul with clothes and alcoholic beverages respectively. Unlike the Three Guilds, the other Guilds rarely work together. In fact, they spend more time fighting out their petty feuds among each other (not to mention the internal intrigues) than they do trying to gain or use any political influence or improve their area of business. When they do work together, it is often to attack the political power of the Three Guilds, to varying degrees of success.
The gate to the courtyard of the Duke’s castle opens. And then you see it. A hundred feet in front of you is a huge statue of a dragon. Its magnificent wings spread out to be everywhere you look. Its tail sweeps across the ground in a wide arc, ten or twenty times as big as you. Its body is black, and looks as if each individual scale reflects the light in a different way. Its face looks proud, but as you look better you see it is really an expression of intense fear directed upward. You follow the dragon’s gaze and are shocked. Looming over the dragon, looming over the castle, looming over the entire city perhaps is the largest stone construction you have ever seen. The two immense columns you noticed behind the dragon turn out to be the legs of a giant man, wielding a silver sword in one hand and a golden beam of lightning in the other, each shining brightly in the sun in an almost blinding way, as if you were looking at the sun itself. He is ready to deal the final stroke to the dragon. The statue is highly detailed: you notice the man’s hair falling naturally over his shoulders, his facial features including such details as eyebrows and teeth, his long, flowing blue mantle adorned with symbols of lightning and his chainmail armour with golden ornaments. If one has not seen the Independence Memorial and watched it in awe for at least a full day, one has not truly been in Luvul. -Moran Ganive
History: A few weeks before Duke Légard declared the independence of the Enlightened County of Baron, he was wandering in his own courtyard pondering this very same decision. If only Heironeous would give him some sign he would know whether or not declaring Baron’s independence was a good idea. Suddenly, a messenger came running at the Duke, screaming: “A dragon! A black dragon is coming! Do something!” The Duke was shocked, but quickly came to his senses. He ordered the city guard and every soldier or mercenary present in Luvul to occupy the towers of the city wall and the two castles with bows ready to fire. He himself climbed the central tower of his own castle, and looked out for the dragon. The messenger had not been lying. A black dragon breathing a strange green fire was headed for the city, and was already quite close, leaving a trail of destroyed farms and roads behind him. The Duke waited until the dragon reached the city walls, and then ordered anyone capable of doing so to fire. A rain of arrows, but also fireballs, cones of cold and even magic missiles was thrown at the dragon. Unfortunately, the dragon was old and its scale had become almost impenetrable: the archers’ arrows and the wizards’ magic hardly bothered it at all. Throwing some of its green fire around, the dragon headed for the Duke’s castle, apparently with a clear purpose in mind, though what it was is unknown to this day. Arrows kept breaking on the dragon’s scales, and magic couldn’t stop it either. It started circling the castle, and its green fire made a large black spot on the western tower, that twenty-five years of cleaning has not been able to remove. People in the castle started to panic, when suddenly the miracle happened. A bolt of lightning struck down from the otherwise spotless sky, hitting the dragon and taking it down. The dragon’s scream of death was a terrible sound, and the shock of its impact with the earth could be felt dozens of miles away. While the people rejoiced, an expression of unbelief still on their faces, the Duke noticed the dragon had fallen in his courtyard, on the exact same place where he had pondered declaring the independence of his County. Another messenger arrived, informing the Duke that the dragon had apparently survived the fall, and might regain his senses sooner or later. He had made his decision.
A few weeks later, Baronian independence was declared by the Duke. To his people, he announced the erection of a grand memorial at the end of the summer. To conceal his work, he ordered magical darkness to be placed over the courtyard the entire period. The opening of the monument was a great party in which all of Luvul participated. Eventually, the darkness was lifted, and the people were stunned. The Independence Memorial was a group of two statues depicting Heironeous slaying a black dragon. The dragon was about as big as the great wyrm that had attacked the city during spring, and the statue of Heironeous was more than twice that size, visible from everywhere in Luvul and even many miles away from the city. The dragon’s tail swept back and forth in a regular arc, and the expression of fear in its eyes seemed very lifelike, not to mention the variety of the scales. While the colossal statue of Heironeous dropped everyone’s jaw to the floor, it is the dragon that keeps surfacing in conversations everywhere in Luvul. For is it the real dragon? No one has ever seen the corps of the dragon after it was taken away by the Duke’s personal guard, and the dragon now standing in the courtyard seems awfully real. Yet its feet (the only part that can be reached from the ground) are cold and stony to the touch, and the movement of the tail seems mechanical rather than natural. It is the hope and fear of the people of Luvul that no one will ever know.
Various power struggles are fought out in Luvul, some on the streets, many more far from the people’s eyes. The following is a list of struggles perceived by the people of Luvul, quite possibly missing those struggles that really matter.
The City Guard vs. Crime: The City Guard continually struggles to keep crime at bay. The current status of this struggle is that most of the middle class and upper class areas of Luvul are safe, while the lower class areas are not safe. It must be said though that even while the City Guard can not control the lower class areas, one can still enter them with a relatively small risk of not coming out again. Leader of the City Guard is Régerre Gedan (human aristocrat 5/fighter 10), leaders in Luvul’s crime scene (if any) are unknown. See also the crime and City Guard entries in background information.
Politics: Politics in Luvul is a never ending, constantly shifting fight for dominance, in which alliances are made and broken on the same day, and various factions strive for various interests. Important struggles these days are the Republicans vs. the non-Republicans (the Republicans call this struggle “the Duke vs. Lamathgwaith”), the human nobles vs. the elven nobles, the Economists vs. the Religious Dogmatics, and many more. Luvul’s most important politicians are Duke Légard de Gran-Loire (human aristocrat 6/wizard 3), Count Lumas Dèlluisse (human aristocrat 5/fighter 2) and Commander Régerre Gedan. See also the politics and the government entry in background information.
Baronian Heironeans vs. the Church: The Baronian Heironeans are a cult of Heironeous worshippers who have separated themselves from the Church. This power struggle is no longer actively fought in Luvul, as the Church seems to have grudgingly accepted the Baronian Heironeans’ dominance, while the latter seem to have accepted they can not completely wipe the Church from Luvul, thus allowing the continued existence of a small Church temple in the temple district. The Baronian Heironeans have turned their eyes elsewhere, seeking to expand their beliefs to neighbouring countries. So far they have met with little success. Leader of the Baronian Heironeans is Archbishop Jules de Soité (human cleric 15). The Church’s temple in Luvul is led from a distance by priests in the kingdom/empire.
Internal Strife in the Flour Guild: Guildmaster Elise Lille-Dan has occupied her current position for about four years now. During those years, she has stabilized the achievements of her father, securing the Flour Guild’s position as monopolist. While still working on slowly expanding the Guild’s power, she has focused her attention inward. She has started enacting policies on various subjects, which are, according to experts, all directed at the ultimate goal of making the position of Guildmaster inheritable to members of House Lille-Dan, thereby removing or diminishing the need for consensus in the Council of Master Millers to choose a new Guildmaster. The first few policies passed the Council without their ultimate goal being noticed, thus giving Elise an advantage in the struggle that was about to start. Now, everyone is aware of Elise’s goal (though Elise nor the Council members speak of it in public), and according to inside information the struggle between the Council members that are members of House Lille-Dan and those that are not is now being actively fought in a war of subtleties and intrigue that has lots of potential for escalating. Elise apparently perceives this as her best shot at leaving a lasting legacy in the Guild, while the non-Lille-Dan members of the Council are determined to hold on to their chance of Guildmastership. The Lille-Dan side is of course led by Elise (female human aristocrat 2/sorcerer 8), while the opposing side consists of everyone not a member of that House and does not have a single leader (yet).
Wizards vs. Sorcerers: Not really a power struggle, this is more of a perceived contest existing mainly in the heads of the wizards of the Wayfarers Union. They often complain that the wizards, united in two great and powerful organizations, are still not capable of radiating the same influence the sorcerers of Luvul have individually (namely Elise of House Lille-Dan and Numan Religo). While they usually formulate it in different (often more elaborate) ways, this is what this “power struggle” boils down to, and it is a great annoyance to the wizards. While there are no known open hostilities resulting from this conflict, one never knows what an individual wizard in a crazy mood will do…
1. Various people claim they saw the dragon (the one that is part of the Independence Memorial) move a claw. People fear it is indeed a living dragon and will break free from the spells that bind it.
2. Rodan Softfeet dies. The new leader of the Bank starts spending large amounts of gold that should be used to back up IOUs.
3. The City Guard asks the PCs to investigate the locations that are rumoured to be entrances to the undercity.
4. The PCs are hired by a noble to eliminate or blackmail another noble (possibly a member of the Council of the Flour Guild, or a member of a different political faction).
5. The PCs desperately need access to a certain 8th-level spell, and Numan Religo is the only person who knows such spells.
6. The PCs wish to accomplish a certain political goal (help the farmers or the poor people of Luvul for example). To do so, they must use negotiation, threats, pleading and other diplomatic methods to form a temporary political alliance spanning multiple factions, leading to a positive decision in Lamathgwaith.
7. Upon paying their taxes, the PCs hear they have paid enough to now have voting rights. One or more might decide to become candidate for Lamathgwaith, possibly resulting in a noble title.
8. One or more PCs are pursued by the clergy of Heironeous for worshipping a deity not accepted in Luvul or being a member of the Church.
9. Two PCs worship different deities. Then, unexpectedly, an open conflict between each of these deities’ temple in Luvul starts.
<Please continue reading in post six of this thread (the following post) for location descriptions that will make Luvul come to life for PCs.>
07-05-2005, 09:44 PM
This bonus entry to my submission shall be used to describe locations. Not only will I detail Luvul’s most renowned buildings and locations here (the Bank of Capital, the University and Main Street), but also some more everyday locations that might nevertheless be of vital importance to a DM in making the city come to life. These include two inns, one tavern, a smithee and two magic shops. Enjoy!
The Bank of Capital (bank)
History: The Bank of Capital is a relatively new phenomenon in Luvul. Some twenty years ago, flour and wheat business started to unify. This development culminated in two Flour Guilds, one led by the father of the current Guildmaster, Santaire of House Lille-Dan, the other by Rodan Softfeet (not a noble, but a great businessman). After some time Rodan noticed he was going to lose the fight for dominance. He quickly sold his Guild to Santaire, leaving him as one of the richest men in Luvul, and inventive and quickly bored as he was, he wanted to do something with it. When he saw the fleet of carriages that Santaire had used to bring his gold, Rodan had an idea. He bought a large building in the center of the city, and hired a lot of guards. He then invited everyone interested to trade via him: they would bring the gold to him, he would give them a credit note (“IOU”), they would give the note to their trading partner, who could go to Rodan anytime to pick up his gold. Over twenty years, this system developed somewhat, and near the end of Rodan’s life few people bothered to pick up their gold anymore. They used the notes to pay for their trading deals instead, as is still the custom today.
Before Rodan died, rumours came about that said the one percent fee Rodan charged to back up an IOU was not enough to make the Bank profitable. While some said Rodan might break even or accept a small loss as he used the Bank for other business interests, others accused him of spending money he was supposed to guard. When Rodan died and his son Muno took over, the accusing rumours increased, while at the same time Muno successfully petitioned for government aid in guarding the Bank, which revealed the government’s support for Muno. A few weeks later, three unknown people sued the Bank for endangering the national economy. When the dust settled, it became clear that Muno had indeed been spending money from the treasury, though Rodan apparently had not, and the Count replaced him with Lezu of House Nevon (associate of both Rodan and Muno), who vowed to work as Rodan had. Peace returned, though many still think of the Bank as dangerous, as it could ground Luvul’s entire economy by simply stopping to back up the IOUs. Also, the fee remains at one percent, a suspicious rate to some.
Description: The Bank of Capital is a large, rectangular, modern building. It is made of masonry. The main entrance has a flight of steps in front of it, which is wide and curly. The building is lined with ornamental sculptures. The second floor sports a few glass windows, but glass is otherwise rare in Luvul.
NPCs: Lezu Nevon currently occupies the highest position in the Bank of Capital. He has been assistant to Rodan for many years, and also to Muno in his (few) days of power. He used to be an unpretentious noble, but no one can tell how having the power to ground the economy of Luvul at any time has affected him. He is a calm and quiet person, who works hard. He has vowed in court to uphold Rodan’s legacy, but it is uncertain whether or not he will use the political influence the Bank radiates but has never used in the past.
The University (university)
History: The University has existed for as long as the people of Luvul can remember, just as the Lore Guild that owns it. It is assumed that now only the University’s own records can tell their age. According to the stories, this is one of many fruits of an ancient alliance between the elves and the dwarves that even those long-lived races themselves remember little about. It’s exotic beauty certainly suggests a more interesting origin than a noble House from Luvul, but again, only the records of the University itself can tell the truth.
Description: The University and the accompanying buildings (the Lore Guild, the Library and the Library Store) have presumably been built at once, as they connect and share the same exotic style. Each of the buildings is spotless white, apparently magically spotless, as generations of students have not changed even the whiteness of the great square a bit. Each building is round, with a golden cupola that spans from outer wall to outer wall even over impossibly large distances for the main buildings. It differs from Luvul’s other important buildings in three ways. First, the use of cupolas, otherwise unseen in Luvul. Second, the lack of multiple colours. And third, the lack of ornamentary statues and sculptures (though a few have been added on the inside at later dates).
Main Street (street)
History: Nearly two hundred years ago, a fire burned down a large part of Luvul, roughly the area between where Numan’s tower and the two temples of Pelor lie today. The Count and Wardens then decided to extend a path northward from the Count’s castle all the way to the marketplace and change it to a wide lane, so the governmental centre of the city would be properly connected to the commercial centre. As years passed, the lane, which came to be called Main Street, was extended further southward until it connected to the drawbridge, from where a lane uphill to the Duke’s castle already ran. The illumination was added by the Duke shortly after the revolution, as well as the Earthen Wall. Main Street has been relaid several times and has also been widened.
Description: Main Street is a broad lane with trees on either side throughout most of its length (everywhere where the surrounding buildings are not too oppressive that is). The grey cobblestones are kept clean and straight. Main Street is illuminated at all times by magical lanterns that have burned without interruption for twenty-five years. Main Street is guarded by the City Guard as good as or better than any major building in Luvul. The Earthen Wall protects bypassing merchants and nobles from the looks, sounds and smells of the Small Ward, but for the rest is little more than the name suggests.
The Five-Wheeled Cart (inn)
History: Like so many things in Luvul, the Five-Wheeled Cart first came into existence shortly after Baron’s independence. When Luvul became capital of the independent County, the city walls were expanded to include a much larger embassy quarter. The Five-Wheeled Cart was founded in those new areas close to the East Gate, the first and as of yet only inn in Eastern Luvul. Since then, it has grown to become the standard inn for the rich (foreign nobles, Baronian nobles, merchants, some adventurers, etc.). It is (with reason) known as the most luxurious and expensive inn available.
Description: Originally meant for rich foreigners this inn has an exotic look. The wide, three-storey building is painted as colourful as any noble’s estate in Luvul, but the combinations of colours seem strange (multiple expressive colours next to each other is not-done among the nobility). Still, it does not stand out among the surrounding buildings (foreign embassies). The common room features Lotarish dyed tapestry, Valinorean paintings and other outlandish art along with a few Art Guild-statues. The house bard sings songs from every major or nearby nation each night. The rooms are extremely luxurious, with large roofed beds from Onemún, intricately carved closets (also from Onemún), Lotarish carpets on the floor, and some Lotarish tapestry or a Valinorean painting on the wall. Various books are available at request, including a number of popular foreign stories, but also such that teach newcomers what Baron and its people are like.
NPCs: Proprietor of the Five-Wheeled Cart inn is a young female elven noble named Lindred of House Dormin. Still young and eager, she was the first to seize the opportunity for a foreigners inn in Eastern Luvul. She likes to ask questions of her customers, an attitude that seems to be working well for her (though it would have meant a quick death in any other inn). She has made a few foreign friends and has begun to collect foreign art through them. She hopes to get rich and influential so she can get into politics for the Idealists. Underneath all appearances however, she hides national pride and even a hint of xenophobia. House bard is the gnome Dibbin, called Mogian by his good friend Lindred, whom he calls Zaderia in turn. He usually tells stories or sings epics, but he also plays the harp. He often stops playing to talk with customers. He likes to brag about his ability to answer anyone in his own tongue and sing them at least one of their language’s songs as well. A popular yet unproven tale speaks of Dibbin angering an aasimar when he mixed languages while having two simultaneous conversations with an aasimar and a tiefling. That he spoke Infernal to the aasimar (as opposed to Celestial to the tiefling) would explain why he survived this incident.
The Jovial Juggler (tavern)
History: Some ten years ago, Fliman Gorish, a young merchant, suddenly made his fortune. How exactly he does not wish to relate, but it happened. Happy as a baby, he announced his intention to build a tavern like none had been built before. Despite everyone telling him he was crazy, he went through with his plan. He though up a nice, alliterative name, made a plan of business, and issued a call for architects. His tavern was built on the eastern edge of the marketplace, a large, colourful, two storey building, ornamented with small sculptures of jugglers and jokers between the large front side windows, and a large sign above the door bearing the tavern’s name and a painted juggler. To Luvul’s surprise, Fliman not only had several artists performing in his tavern, he also promised there would be entertainers every night, and especially in the first week he just didn’t seem to stop giving rounds “on the house”. People said he were crazy and wouldn’t last long, but at the same time Fliman was building a large customer base. In a month he became Luvul’s most popular tavern, and he became the centre of the city for those who exchange information in taverns. Fliman is said to be even richer now than he was, the Jovial Juggler is famous throughout the County and almost every rumour finds its way here in no time.
Description: The interior of the Jovial Juggler is as colourful as its outside. The central hall is full of colour, and most of the time also full of people. Every night at least one juggler, several musicians, and often also a storyteller can be found here. Fliman is usually present, giving a round on the house once or twice per night. More private tables are also available in rooms separate from the main hall, though they do not get entertainment (unless paid for) or free drinks. The bar and all chairs and tables are of outstanding quality wood (imported from Onemún), and kept in an as-new state by the large crew, which also makes sure no one has to wait for a drink at night. When open, people from every social layer can be found here, and the hall fills with a mixture of talk, songs and laughter. Information is exchanged at an astounding rate, as everyone interested in such things is found in this very same tavern. The walls of the separate rooms are thick enough to keep your secrets, though once a rumour is released in the main hall (deliberate or otherwise), there’s no telling what it will become.
NPCs: Fliman is a middle-aged man of a kind nature, quick to laugh and a good drinker, judging from his impressive belly. He makes it a point to remember the names and faces of all his regular customers (a great many indeed) and can retell almost every tale or rumour he hears. When asked about his richness, he laughs and dismisses his achievements (past and present) as “just good fortune”. The group of entertainers shifts regularly, but Fliman has never employed an entertainer of poor quality to this day. The regulars are varied and many, quite a few of them famous in certain circles. Contacts of all kinds are often found here, whether to meet a noble or recruit criminals. One or more members of the City Guard on duty are usually present, and Régerre Gedan is not the only Guard who likes to get a drink here.
History: There has been a blacksmith run by a dwarf named Norgul for as long as the people in Luvul can remember. Garthuk son of Loghân was trained to become a smith by his father from his birth, just as his father was and his son is. Membership of the Smith Guild ensures a steady supply of iron from the mines in the hills and a peaceful working environment, while the size of the city ensures customers. The Norgul family reputation has made the smithee known as one of the best in town, and as such it focuses on the forging of masterwork quality weapons and armour for the upper class and the experienced adventurer. Since the talented Garthuk took over from his father now forty years ago, Norgul’s has once again become the single best. Still, Garthuk’s influence in the Smith Guild remains lower than it could or should be.
Description: The smithee is located on the first floor of a small but wealthy building in the Guilds & Shops Ward, with the other shops. It needs no more advertising than a small iron sign in the form of an anvil with the word “Norgul’s” imprinted in both Dwarven and Common runes. It consists of one big room, so one can see from the shop-part into the workplace (where Garthuk can usually be found). Most of the time the inventory consists of masterfully made weapons and armour of all kinds, though occasionally other items can be bought here as well (sometimes even a magical weapon or set of armour).
NPCs: Garthuk Norgul is a talented dwarven blacksmith. He is suspicious of strangers, but eager to work on special orders once a down payment has been made. He cares more about working the anvil and the gold he makes by it than about the influence he could have in the Guild, though some say this has recently begun to change.
The Library Store (magic shop)
History: Of the two stores in Luvul that have magical goods as an important part of their inventory, the Library Store is the oldest. It is probably as old as the Library itself. Of old, it focused on the visitors of the library and the University students and staff for its customers, with adventurers only a secondary concern. Recently, with the opening of the Wayfarers Magic Store, the Library Store had to become competitive or focus on other interests. Now, the Store focuses even more on the students and staff of the University, selling only a few potions in addition to its large collection of scrolls and books of various kinds (both mundane and magical), though special orders are usually taken.
Description: The Library Store is a simple shop connected to the Library. Like the Library and University buildings, it is spotlessly white and has a single golden cupola for roof. No sign exists. A many-layered magical protection presumably keeps the Store’s content safe, though none of it can be seen, as can be said of the Library itself. On the shelves are books that have been discarded from the Library, as well as copies of the most popular books there, scrolls of various low-level spells, blank spellbooks, spell components, pens and paper and a few basic potions.
NPCs: A member of the Library staff can be found in the Store. This is usually an older man, more fascinated with books than with people.
The Wayfarers Magic Store (magic shop)
History: Founded in the chaotic period after Baron became independent, the Wayfarers Magic Store focuses explicitly on adventurers and nobility. It has taken over the potion market from the Library Store and the temples, and has built a reputation to be the fastest and cheapest in special magical orders. Only the Wayfarers Union’s reputation of alliance with the government keeps the Store from achieving a monopoly in its area of business.
Description: Located across the street from the Union station, the Wayfarers Magic Store flaunts its wealth. The building is colourful and has visible magical wards around it (but “our wares are protected both visibly and invisibly”, according to signs inside). Besides the shelves with potions and scrolls, a few obviously magical swords and mysterious trinkets line the walls for an impressive overview.
NPCs: In the shop is an ambitious young wizard named Foros Mindul, a would-be Wayfarer Guide. He is eager to learn but uneager to sit in a shop. He serves with a smile that is too wide and does not reach his eyes.
The Rusty Dagger (inn)
History: Once upon a time, there was a halfling adventurer named Gildi. With his group of fellow adventurers, he went deep underground in a dungeon to slay the evil drow witch Arda. After fighting their way through her spider- and trap-filled lair, they finally found her. She attacked them, wielding two daggers at once in a furious attack. In the end, it was Gildi who stabbed her in the back after a long fight. He took one of her powerful magical daggers, and wielded it as a sword throughout the rest of his career. Ultimately, he settled down, founding an inn he named “the Rusty Dagger”. While the magical dagger had not rusted at all, Gildi himself had, and he chose that name to commemorate his retirement. He hung a dagger to the sign of his inn, made to look exactly like his own (not rusted) enchanted dagger. This one did rust, of course, and over time the name of the inn became more fitting in a literal sense. Today, with Gildi’s great-grandson Johan as the innkeeper, those few people who even remember this story say that the chunk of rusty steel hanging from the sign is indeed the dagger hung there by Gildi himself, now more than 150 years ago, and that somewhere in the same building, Arda’s dagger still lies, sharp and rust-free as ever.
Description: Over time, Gildi’s inn has lost some of the quality it used to have, mostly due to Johan’s being uninterested in maintaining his fathers’ high standards. The inn attracts strange folk these days, and its interior reflects this. The high-quality wooden door is not hanging straight anymore, and some splinters stick out of the top and sides of the doorway where someone walked into it. When it is opened, the door sometimes squeaks. The bar is not always complete, and the number of high-quality sleeping facilities has dwindled. The common room is filled with the adventuring type: people of all races and classes, often with a sloppy look, always eager to start a fight. Perhaps the most popular part of the Rusty Dagger these days is its open announcement board. It is used by adventurers to exchange messages, sometimes in code but often not (many open job-offers can be found here).
NPCs: The name of the innkeeper is Johan, a red-haired halfling and the great-grandson of Gildi. He speaks little, apparently not caring about the inn, except when he speaks of his acting ambitions (“if I could just get out of this place”). The (often shorted) name of the bard is William Jonathan Alfredson, a talented foreign man with blond hair who sings and plays the piano, but also likes to talk with the customers. Most famous regular is Finarfin, an elven noble of House Arphen, who is quite likely the fattest, heaviest elf to have ever lived. He can usually be found draped over two chairs with a drink, to rise only to go to his bed on the second floor. He is extremely lazy, and has apparently survived only because of his extraordinary luck, which has kept him safe, fed and even rich for years without doing anything, and of which he strangely enough seems to be unaware. A popular story, that has lingered around despite evidence to the contrary, says he has been there since the inn was founded.
<This ends my submission. Scroll down the thread to view detailed NPC-descriptions I have added at a later time.>
07-06-2005, 06:42 PM
Guildmaster Elise of House Lille-Dan
Race & class: female human aristocrat 2/sorcerer 8
Status: Guildmaster of the Flour Guild
Introduction: The Guildmaster of the Flour Guild has black hair and dark brown eyes that glow red when she gets angry. Her ears, like those of her late father, hint at elven blood quite a few generations ago. Her skin has an unusual brownish glow her late mother’s skin had too, and the obvious suggestion (draconic blood) has been made at all levels of society, but always as a whisper, for none would dare risk her overhearing it. Those who meet her are impressed not only by her beauty, but also by her strong personality, her sternness and her determination. Her magical powers make many people at least moderately frightened of her. She tries to use this to her advantage but seems to be damaged by it at least as often. Those in Luvul who follow the path of wizardly magic particularly dislike her. This is due to the fact that she and Numan Religo, both sorcerers working individually, are quite possibly the most powerful people in Luvul (despite what the Duke, the Count, the Commander of the City Guard, or those in Lamathgwaith might say) while the wizards, all united in two grand organizations, still cannot seem to gain any ground in Baronian politics. This notion might have fed the rumor that Elise has spent at least some of her time with Numan (possibly during her two-and-a-half years of absence), which in turn has led to even wilder rumors that suspect them of plotting together, or even being the same person! Below, however, are not rumors, but the facts of her life as can be made out for certain.
Biography: Elise was born a member of House Lille-Dan. She was the second child, and first daughter of Santaire. Santaire, a cousin to the contemporary heir of the House, was a great businessman with an unconventional style: he was unsubtle. In fact, he was the opposite of subtlety, and somehow this worked great for him. His style was aggressive, professionally but also sometimes physically. He had become a major figure in one of several Guilds in Luvul that dealt with getting wheat from a farm to a citizen’s table. Santaire’s Guild was in control of most of the mills. Twenty-seven years ago he became Guildmaster in the Flour Guild. After the revolution, when the new laws started to become effective, it became clear that not all of these Guilds would survive, and that the flour business was soon to become a monopoly (or perhaps a duopoly). Santaire noticed that unlike the much larger wheat collection and baking markets, the milling market was mostly united under his Guild, and practically all wheat passed through his hands before getting to the bakeries. He seized this chance, and after eliminating or consuming those few independent mills, he started an economic war. Before starting the war, he had made some preparations in the form of stored wheat to keep his mills running. Catching the other Guilds unprepared, the economic war was over at the end of the very same winter it had started. Only two Guilds were left: Rodan Softfeet’s Baker’s Guild and Santaire’s Flour Guild. Recognizing his pending annihilation, Rodan decided to sell his Guild. Thus it was that Santaire took control over Baron’s wheat processing industry. In the following years, his aggressive style became more and more of a disadvantage as his economical and political power increased, but he managed quite well until his death.
Elise had grown in the meantime of course. Unlike her elder brother, she was very strong willed and determined since her youth. When she was seven years old, she had had an accident while riding a horse. The horse had fallen on top of her, crippling her for life. In a terrible pain, the girl started flashing around random outbursts of magical power. A few hours later, Pelor’s Archbishop arrived to restore the ability to walk to the young girl. When he entered the room, she started screaming and throwing blasts of raw magic at him. Shocked and unprepared, he left. The girl screamed the entire night, and locked her door the following morning, refusing priestly magic, which she has done ever since, no matter what ailed her. Soon after she was sent to the University to study magic (despite her being a few years too young). It was obvious she had a talent for magic, and the wizards were able to teach her a few things about magic. Unfortunately, they could not really help her in developing her talent. Before her first year at the University was over, she escaped homeward at night. It was decided she would not go back to study magic, though in the following thirty years she has been to the University every once in a while, either to meet up with some friends or pick up some knowledge from a good source (sometimes a person, sometimes a book).
Between her eighth and her fourteenth birthday her magical talents became increasingly obvious, to the point that her eyes glowed brightly at the slightest emotion, and no one dared to insult her because they might be struck down before Elise knew what she was doing. One day she decided this was it. She put on simple clothes and walked to a tavern in the Services Ward that was frequented by adventurers. Stubbornly continued interrogation of the bartender turned out to be a very quick way to find a group, and the following morning she went out of town. Within a week, after being kicked out of several groups for throwing around random magical energy, but also after receiving some instructions (screamed in anger or fear) from other spellcasters, she had enough control over her powers to hurt and aid the right people at approximately the right moment. For a month, she went around the land with a number of parties, building a reputation as a determined, quick to anger but reliable sorceress. Her luck couldn’t last forever, and at once she found herself with the wrong group in the wrong place at the wrong time. She wasn’t seen for two-and-a-half years, and House Lille-Dan mourned her loss. Six days before what would have been her eighteenth birthday, a dirty woman in ravaged clothes knocked on the door of Santaire’s estate at dusk. The maid, observing the apparent homeless looking for money or food or a place to sleep. She wanted to slam the door in the woman’s face but suddenly she raised her head to meet the maid’s eyes. The maid saw two hard eyes, unforgiving and experienced, eyes that had seen death. She also saw a red glow deep within them, and only then did she recognize the woman. Elise had returned. Until this day she has refused to speak of her endeavours during those years, but it is certain she did not spend them with the adventuring group she had left with: they had been found dead a month after their disappearance.
In the meantime, she had grown to become an adult woman; strikingly beautiful, harsh, quick to anger and with an “I’ve seen things you’ll never even see in your darkest dreams” kind of arrogance. Many have competed for her hand, yet she has refused them all (against her father’s will it is said). Her beauty and strong-willed personality draw more candidates every day. After coming home she has spent most of her time in the city. Much of what she does with her time is unknown, but at least some of it has been used to quickly rise through the ranks of the Flour Guild to become a member of the Council of Master Millers. Before her father’s death she has also left the city several times. It is assumed her family knew about these trips (unlike the first one), as she was never reported missing or mourned even when she was gone for more than a year. To the rest of the world however, her coming and going remained a mystery. But four years ago Santaire died, not quite unexpected. Chief candidate for taking over his position was his eldest son Noilix, who was both a respected member of House Lille-Dan and a member of the Council. That isn’t to say Santaire’s replacement had to be either or both of these, it’s just that everyone assumed this to be so. A chaotic week followed, in which several candidates (all members of the Council and/or House Lille-Dan) made themselves known. Elise had just last month returned from half a year of absence, and no one considered her a candidate, nor did she claim to be one herself. Two more people followed Santaire that week: the first was his third son (beside Noilix and Elise the only one who was both a member of the Council and of House Lille-Dan) who was presumably murdered by agents of another candidate (looking back, many suspect Elise).
At the end of the week, the candidates (suddenly including Elise) agreed to follow Santaire’s will, and name the new Guildmaster based solely on his advice. A meeting was organized on a secret place, and the candidates disappeared from all eyes. Five hours later, the body of Santaire’s wife was found, with a short note that she could not live with his loss and had gone to look for him. Research by the Wayfarers Union under orders of the City Guard has revealed that the possibility of murder should not be excluded. So it was that the third death of that week came to pass. Another hour later, Elise Lille-Dan was introduced as new Guildmaster of the Flour Guild. The other candidates refused to comment, and they acted as if there had never been a power struggle. Many suspect forgery or other forms of fraud because of this. The fact that the exact text of the will was never revealed even to those who had inherited something is being used as proof by those who believe this.
Nonetheless, Elise took firm control of the Guild in the following months. Slightly less directly aggressive (but quite possibly more threatening) than her father, she has a way to get people to do what she wants. As consolidation of her father’s achievements is now mostly finished, she is focusing on making Guildmastership inheritable for House Lille-Dan. She is meeting with heavy resistance from some of the Council members here, and a power struggle is going on on the inside of the Guild now that the struggle for dominance versus the rest of the world has been temporarily halted. Once it is finished, it is assumed the Flour Guild will again turn its full attention to expanding its power, and most think this will be under Elise’s supervision.
07-06-2005, 06:59 PM
gaaaaaaaaakkkk....*strangled sound of Incenderius dying on the vine...*
Wow, impressive. I'll have to read it in detail, but it's a LOT.
07-06-2005, 07:17 PM
Ah, but you have three quarters of a month left. If I wasn't going on vacation next Saturday, I would have not finished all this as quickly as I did now. Now everyone can easily read my submission, discard most of it as useless, picking those few good bits, changing and using them. :( My only comfort is in knowing it isn't any good, so you guys will just be wasting your time reading it. :P Then again, I put a lot more time in it than you so it all turns back on me. Ah well, I really shouldn't be writing posts at this time of day, random rants at no one specifically and with no subject specifically such as the one above are the result of that. *sigh*
Good night, y'all,
07-30-2005, 09:15 PM
Numan Religo, the Mad Magician
Race & class: male human sorcerer 11/fatespinner 5
Status: Citizen of Luvul
Biography: Like so many in Luvul, Numan was born as a distant relative to a noble lord, second cousin to the contemporary heir of House Relgione, warden of the Riverside Ward in Luvul, to be precise. Also like many, his nobility brought him little advantage. His parents held a small shop in the marketplace, selling simple jewellery to the middle class, rarely meeting, let alone benefiting from their relative the warden. The young Numan was an inquisitive boy, dreaming of adventure, but also a loner. Instead of using his already strong personality to make friends, he merely used it to keep bullies out of his way and focus on other interests.
His encounters with the bullies had taught him two things. First, that he wasn’t strong enough to fight one of them, not to mention the entire groups they usually came in. Second, that lacking physical strength, mental strength and appearances would work as good or better. He decided that if he wanted adventure in his life, he would have to become a wizard, using magic to replace physical weakness, and to become a wizard, he needed education. He asked his father for permission to study at the University. Despite using every persuasion trick he knew, his father refused. It took Numan three years to convince him. Only when he was ten years old, still eager to study but refusing to learn any skills remotely useful in the making and selling of jewellery, his father realized this boy would never work in his jewellery store. From that moment on, all of their little wealth was used to pay for the child’s education.
Unfortunately, University was not at all like Numan had expected. People seemed to care only for knowledge and training, not adventuring, and the rules of behaviour were chokingly strict to Numan’s eyes. After having learned a few theory lessons, he noticed most of it was irrelevant for actually using magic, and he neglected those types of lessons, upsetting some of the teachers. At the same time he seemed to have a natural talent for magic; in his one year at the University he was easily the top of his class in practical exercises. One day he was punished for not learning theory and got angry; uncontrolled magic surged at the teacher, to everyone’s shock. He was locked up for a day as punishment, but he also heard the teacher speaking to some others about what happened. He heard something about “the talent of a sorcerer”, and “amazing at such an age”, and “it would be fascinating to watch him develop this”. In terror, he broke a window, squeezed himself through the narrow opening, and fled the University. He ran around the city in constant fear, yelling at strangers.
Eventually he jumped into the river to flee all those people whom he thought were after him to hurt him. He went unconscious and almost drowned, but luck or destiny saved him, throwing him on the west bank just north of the city. A farmer found him, but Numan refused to tell him his name and story. The farmer took pity on him, and he lived there for quietly for two years. He avoided all emotions for fear of his magical outbursts, but in the end it started to happen anyway, and when he left the farm it burned, and no one has found out what happened there, or why Numan killed them. Most think this is the first sign of madness in Numan. He returned to the city. He was only thirteen, but tall for his age and with a manner that could pass for an adult’s, and he found work. He abandoned his noble heritage and used false identities, and he was often fired quickly after a few magical accidents.
At the age of fifteen, he finally started adventuring. He now had some control over his talent, and he quickly became one of the greatest sorcerers Luvul had ever known. Despite fulfilling his greatest dream, he did not take to the adventurer’s life well. Social skills were never his best area, but every time he saw someone die, enemy or ally, he turned even more inward, shutting himself from the world. He assumed a habit of incoherent babbling and constant muttering. Combined with returning from an adventure alone under unclear circumstances once too many, he built himself a mixed reputation: respected for his exceptional skill and feared for his unpredictability.
Noticing the fact that he was building a name for himself despite using different aliases each time (the fact that he was also feared no one dared tell him, nor the name by which he was known: the Mad Magician), he decided he could now finally use his real name again, no longer fearing his parents’ anger with him. Still, he wanted nothing to do with nobility, and he made himself a slightly altered non-noble last name, that he wears today more as a title than a name (it is unique in Baron): Religo. He also went to his parents’ house on the south side of the marketplace for the first time in eight years. He heard there to his shock that his mother had died half a year after his disappearance and his father soon after, all because of him. A mix of anger and spite drove him crazy, and after killing the innocent neighbour who brought the news, he destroyed everything around him, laying waste to two streets and killing all who lived there or tried to stop him or were just standing there in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then he cried a long time and slept there, and no one dared approach him.
When he woke up, he seemed to have come to his senses, but he didn’t seem surprised with what he had done. He announced to whomever listened he was fed up with everyone dying around him, and without further delay started building on the ashes of his rage. It took him a week, in which those who tried to talk to him were sent away with a threat and still no one dared to stop him. Then his building was finished. He had built a tower that faced the marketplace square, using magic to keep it erect despite his lack of building skill. He gave up adventuring, though it took him slightly longer to abandon the adventurer’s life. After his tower was finished, he came to his favourite tavern to drink and gamble a few more times, but soon even his friends (as far as he had any) started to avoid him there, and so his public appearances stopped.
The last twenty-three years, he has not openly come out of the tower anymore, though rumour has him going everywhere in disguise, and the sign on his door still attracts the occasional customer. The sign says: “Enter ye if ye want yer spells cast, at reasonable prices, no questions asked and no government watching yer back”, which refers to the reputation of the Wayfarers Union. Despite the sign, most people steer clear from the Mad Magician these days.
Traits: Numan Religo is known to possess a strong personality, but little social skills. He is rude and mutters to himself. His level of sanity is unknown: whether he is plotting and scheming from his tower, simply behaving randomly or plain mad can not be made out from the little evidence that has been gathered over twenty-three years. Whichever is true, the people agree that he cannot be trusted, and few would dare even touch his tower, let alone ask for his services. Among those who are brave enough to enter his tower, young adventurers are the most common, as according to common belief, Numan favors them, helping them more easily. The Mad Magician is reputed to go out in disguise very often. Whenever unidentified figures are involved in a major event, there are some who say it was Numan in disguise. Some go even further, accusing him of impersonating famous figures on occasion or even on a permanent basis. Most agree that in some way or another, Numan has great influence in what happens in Luvul.
Looks: Numan looks older than he is. His face looks worn and his skin pale. He is balding and the hair he has left is of a dull grey colour. Apparently he has grown old before his time, having seen and known too much death and misery. His eyes still look lively enough, though some have described them as “radiating a renewed strength and vitality”, and others as “gleaming with madness”. Those who have seen him in the last twenty-three years also report that he tends to wear simple working clothes even when expecting a visit. Of course, all of the above merely describes what certain people saw, not what really is. Numan is a powerful sorcerer who favours illusion spells, and he could probably look like anything he wants at any time.
07-31-2005, 07:46 PM
Commander Régerre of House Gedan
Race & class: male human aristocrat 5/fighter 10
Status: Commander of the City Guard
Biography: When Régerre was born, Baron was still a regular county and the feudal system was still in place. From birth, Régerre was prepared, because he, Longin’s firstborn son, would one day take over his father’s place as warden of a ward in the Southwest of Baron. His mother died in labour when he was ten years old, but otherwise his youth was quiet and peaceful. His father taught him how to rule strict but benevolent, working in the best interest of his people while also keeping the order and fulfilling his duties to the baron. When he reached puberty, Régerre started to rebel against his father’s way, thinking more violence and harshness was needed to keep the farmers in line, despite his father’s apparent evidence to the contrary. Once he was sixteen, his attention was caught by the army. It seemed exciting to him, and he obtained his father’s reluctant permission for a few years of service. Some have said Longin must have thought the young Régerre would quickly be disappointed by the army and return with a more peaceful attitude, but this did not initially happen. Régerre liked the army, and over time rose to the rank of Captain, while also achieving great mastery of the blade.
He was already twenty-five years old when he fought his first real battle. It was one of the first few skirmishes of the goblin attack twenty-six years ago, and it was a massacre. One of a handful of survivors, Régerre had not only been disgusted by seeing his fellows being slaughtered around him, he also found his fast, defensive style of swordplay aimed at disarming and/or disabling the opponent was of little use in battle, where everyone was out to kill each other. He left the army, and afraid to confront his father, he went to Luvul and joined the City Guard as a sergeant. His blade mastery and leadership qualities soon made him Captain again. It wasn’t long, however, before he got involved in a street fight that had the same effect on him as fighting the goblins had. He returned home to find his father surprisingly kind, happy his son had learned the same lesion he himself once had. Régerre promised his father to rule as benevolent and peaceful as he had.
In the meantime Duke Légard’s ideas about the feudal system being outdated started to siphon through to House Gedan as rumours. Longin, not knowing whether the rumours were true, told Régerre he would support the Duke in this, and he wanted his son to go to his castle in Luvul. There he could see what would happen, verify the rumours and if necessary proclaim their support for the Duke. Régerre found the city in upheaval and the Duke off to discuss his ideas with his superior in the feudal system. Régerre, who had met the Duke in his days in the City Guard, was among those few who foresaw the change in society that was to come about. He hoped that after the Duke’s return power would be more equally divided. He realized this would improve not only the quality of life of the populace, but might also increase the glory of House Gedan. He started making friends and alliances with other Houses.
When the Duke returned, and a few weeks later proclaimed independency for the Enlightened County of Baron, Régerre was disappointed, as gwaithconui did not seem to do for the people what he had hoped it would, in giving power to the lower nobility instead of the people themselves. Yet he also realized the new system could be made to do just that, as long as somebody was prepared to fight for it. While many were still trying to recover from the shock of sudden changes, Régerre was making sure either he or his father would be elected in Lamathgwaith. And so it was that four out of six marquises were replaced after the first elections and replaced by wardens and barons who had recovered more quickly. Longin was one of those first forty-seven, and he secured a position as baron for himself, and he and his son became prominent figures in the faction of the Political Idealists, a faction that was at the height of its power after those very first elections.
A few years later, Longin abdicated, making his son the most powerful person in House Gedan. Régerre worked hard for his ideals and for the interests of his people. He aimed for the position of marquis a number of times, but never successfully. He has been in Lamathgwaith almost every year. Sixteen years ago he married Luzine of House Dèlluisse, younger sister of Lumas, current heir of that House, which advanced his dealings with that powerful House of the Religious Dogmatics. It is likely not a coincidence that they became Count and Commander in Luvul later. In the year of his marriage, Régerre’s father died. Some speculation exists about the cause of his death, but he was old and Régerre has not made a great fuss about it. Two years later, his now 14-year old daughter Meldine was born, and another year later, his son Longin. His second daughter Sonie was born three years after Longin.
Three years ago, Régerre first laid claim to the prestigious position of Commander of Luvul’s City Guard. By making a clear (apparent) distinction between his political work in Lamathgwaith and his work for the people as Commander, he has been able to hold onto this position for three consecutive years. After a period of scheming Commanders that lasted only a year each, Régerre has brought some peace in the Guard and fought back crime. With his strong personality, he has gained influence throughout Luvul, and has most of all made sure the political scheming of the Count and Wardens does not harm the work of the City Guard. Lately, rumours speak of a plot by the Idealists of some kind, in which Régerre would play an important part. Preparations would consume Régerre, and this would have led to increasing crime, but any of this has yet to be proven.
Traits: Régerre cares about his people, and his people care about him. Whether as baron, Commander or Lamathgwaith, he works to improve their quality of life. He rarely bothers himself with emotion, which frees the way for his great patience and unmatched persistence. His fighting style reflects this: lightly armoured and wielding a single elven thinblade, he circles his enemy to search for a weakness. Likewise, he has pursued his political ideals (freedom and equality) for two and a half decades.
Looks: Régerre is getting older. Age marks his face and his hair has become grey. His brown eyes still have the stubborn look they used to have, and his calm and determined facial expressions show off his military history. He is rarely seen without his magical elven thinblade at his side. When in function as Commander, he wears his City Guard uniform, with the single star on the shoulders to show his position (the star is also on the helmet, but he rarely wears it). When he is off duty or has business with Lamathgwaith, he usually wears a colourful noble’s outfit, with his sword ever hanging at his side.
07-31-2005, 10:32 PM
As almost all of the OOC talk has been removed while I added more and more IC-info, I will end this with a small conclusion. This has been really great to work on. This contest has inspired me to work very hard on a single project for a while, and I like the result. It is likely that I will not win any prizes (but vote for me anyway!) what with the great many submissions, but I hope some people read (some of) this and got something useful or enjoyable out of it. Thank you all who read this, and though it isn’t relevant for the contest anymore, I would kindly ask you to leave some feedback before you leave. You’re doing me a great favour with it. Now, to wrap things up nicely, I will give you two little extras that could not possibly be fit in anywhere else. The first is a few notes on the current ruler of the city, Count Lumas, as I was unable to finish a full NPC-description in time. The second is a few notes on naming and pronunciation for your enjoyment.
Thanks y’all for reading this (and maybe even voting for me)!
Count Lumas Dèlluisse is an older noble (63) with not as much a strong personality as authority. He expects to be obeyed and is not used to arguing or fighting. Since Baronian independence he has slowly risen to become one of the chief characters in the Religious Dogmatics faction, and thus in the entirety of Baronian politics. He is in Lamathgwaith. He claims to be very religious, but this might be acting. He is also balding.
Like anywhere, the names of the people in Luvul differ widely, but a few patterns can be established. Almost everyone in Luvul speaks the language known as Common. Humans, the most common race in Luvul, therefore tend to pick Common names, though, like humans do, they also mix in foreign elements or pick entirely foreign names every now and then. Here are some of the most common human names in Luvul.
Male Names: Ganimon (Gan), Tarongli (Tali), Eron, Prenas, Geren, Egromin (Rom), Latir
Female Names: Silla, Berinis (Bes), Zarine (Zee, Zar), Vileng, Gredol, Adiel
Luvul’s nobility is more strict in its naming. The names of the nobles are pronounced quite different from those of the common people, and every human noble bears such a name. (OOC-Noble names should be pronounced as if they were French, though I usually avoid actual French names (Régerre or Légard, not Jean or Pierre).) Both first names and the names of the Houses tend to be two or three syllables long. Nobles often name their children after their own parents, which sometimes results in a predictable pattern (Régerre son of Longin son of Régerre son of Longin). Having multiple first names or names of two or more separate words are rare.
Human naming conventions being what they may, the other races tend to pay little heed to them (even those who belong to Luvul’s nobility use the names of their own race). For sample names from the elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, orcs and goblins of Luvul, refer to these races’ respective entries in the SRD. Half-elves and half-orcs use either human names as described above or elven and orc names respectively.
09-01-2005, 04:45 AM
So now I would really, really appreciate it if someone left me some feedback. What did you think of my city (there must be at least some twenty people who have given it a look)? Why did or didn't (more likely) you vote for me? What parts can be improved? Any ideas for additional places/characters/whatever?
For more information about Luvul and the country it is set in, see my thread (http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=377393) on the Wizards of the Coast message boards. You can of course leave your comments/feedback there as well if you prefer. Please help me improve this, because I am actually playing campaigns in this city, so your help directly improves our playing experience!
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