From: "Dawson Ricky (RD)"
Subject: Thornward....Very Very Long.
In reply to Jeff's email and for any others that are interested here is my take on the Capital City of Bissel, Thornward as at 582 CY (acknowledgements go out to the LG Site for help in parts of the city description).
Thornward is the Capital of Bissel. It has a population of approximately 3,500 souls, the majority of which are a mixture of Flan/Oeridian and Baklunish stock, with a few demi humans scattered around. This is a stone walled city, with a prominent castle in the southeast quarter. Bissel is ruled by Walgar, his full title is 'His Lofty Grace, Walgar, the Margrave of Bissel'. In the pre-war years this is a very industrious/commercial city. As it lies on the border between the eastern realms and those of the Baklunish nations it is the gateway for trade between the 2 'realms'.
The northwest quarter is home to a large number of ketttites and other Baklunish folk who make up the majority of the tradesmen, merchants and residents in these parts. The majority of caravans from Ket (and lands further to the west) come through this quarter. A large 'tented' bazaar is in place in the centre of this quarter, it is open on most days, where exotic spices and strong intoxicating aromas float around the market from the many eating areas/spice merchants/perfumery's. The city also lies on the Fals River, which runs past the northeast section of the city. This area comprises of warehouses, cheap inns/taverns, a small market (selling goods brought in from the river traffic), eating houses, ship repairers and a small jetty/wharf. This area is quite run down and has a reputation of being fairly rough for any strangers. It is also home to a number of small street gangs, the local thieves guild, the river-man's union, a cheap market and the cities ship repairers guild. The south eastern part of the city is home to the cities castle, the cities administration buildings (including treasury, tax offices and numerous bureaucratic buildings), library, college, the majority of the Flan/Oeridian merchants (including their warehouses), a small theatre, the city park and homes for the more affluent folk. The barracks for the city watch and the local militia are also located here. The majority of the trade from the eastern realms comes through the east gate, located near to a number of merchant warehouses/business. Situated in front of the cities keep are the administration, library and college buildings. While on the western side of the keep are the homes to the richer members of society and a large park (used as a barrier between the eastern and western quarters), containing a
number of small lakes, wildlife, small copses etc. The south western part of the city is mainly a residential area, with a number of small traders and taverns/inns bordering along its edges.
Shops/Businesses & Prices:
These are some of the more well known/reputable businesses within the city.
A cheerful old fellow runs this shop that sells anything from a small leather pouch, up to a tack and harness for a horse. Advocet buys and sells any gear/equipment that he can get his hands on. Being an ex-adventurer, who once roamed the mountains and forests here about, he is use to the needs of said travellers. The prices are fair, around the same as standard, although some of the more rare items will cost a few silver more. His shop is located on the main street running across from the south
western to eastern quarters of town.
The Keen Edge:
A weapons shop selling any bladed weapon a man or woman could want. The shop is run by a short, balding, thin man called Walda. Swords, axes and spears all hang from the walls of the shop. Prices are fair and the quality is average to good, although Walda will tell any prospective buyer that they won't find better in al the city (which is a pretty fair assumption has he has very little competition). The shop is located on the edge of the merchant's district, bordering the residential area.
Olinda's fine herbs:
For those looking for cures against the common cold or maybe thinking of looking for any of those old wives tales cures then Olinda's is the place for you. She is an elderly woman, somewhere in her early 60's. She owns a small shop situated near to the market in the riverman's quarter. Various bottles and packages, containing herbs, line the walls and window of her shop. The shop has a heady aroma of lavender/rose. A small black cat is Olinda's only company. If the PC's ask any of the locals, concerning Olinda's reputation, then they will get different answers, depending on what part of town their in at the time. The people living/working around the river quarter will say she's a blessing in disguise as she's always got the right cure for any ailment. While those in the rest of the city, if they've heard of her at all, treat her either very sceptically (affluent people) or that she may be some kind of witch. Olinda's will have available any of the herb's characters want, she does have some of the more poisonous varieties (i.e. mandrake, deadly nightshade etc.) but she won't sell these to just anybody.
The Gryphon's Feather:
A tavern of fair quality located in the river quarter. This tavern is owned and run by Jereth, a strict man in his mid thirties, who will not take kindly to troublemakers. He allows anybody to drink/eat in his establishment and it has a good reputation for being a place to while away a few hours, away from any talk of politics or business. He has a large spacious common room that on most evenings is full to the brim with drinkers and gamblers. Most establishments in the city have gambling tables etc. due to their being no strict laws regarding it.
A fair quality store selling a number of varieties of armour, from leather trews to chain mail hauberks. The shop is run by a man called Vishanta, a foreigner in these parts, who came down from Perrenland around 4 years ago and set up in business with a local blacksmith, called Mantock. The blacksmith's shop & stable are situated across the street from Vishanta's store and both have profited well out of this partnership. The store holds a number of standard sized hauberks, vests, vambraces and
greaves, for anything more exceptional Vishanta's is more than willing to take the vendor's measurements and let him know how long & how much it will cost. Vishanta is a handsome, dark featured man in his mid forties, with short cropped black hair and a small goatie beard. The store is located around 2 streets away from the cities eastern gate. It is often quite common for travellers to be referred to Mantock's blacksmith's/stables and then, on arriving, sighting the armourer's across the road.
Straight as an Arrow:
Agran's small shop is located on the 'border' between the Baklunish and south western areas of the city. He sells a variety of bows, including longbows, shortbows & crossbows. Agran is a tall, thin man with a wiry build. He is bald, with clear blue eyes and a well trimmed brown beard. He has a pleasant character yet is very serious when it comes down to the business of bows. He also sells strength adjusted bows, but these will take time to prepare/make and are expensive. His normal prices are at around 15% above the standard.
A small clothiers located on the 'border' between the south western and baklunish quarters. It is owned by a middle aged married couple, called Jaren & Sal Devaran. The shop sells a variety of cloths for all classes of people, ranging from homespun woollens to fine quality cotton shirts. They also stock a wide variety of hats, boots, shoes, capes and cloaks. For those new in town and want maybe something a bit more upmarket, say in silk, then they would be advised to go into the Baklunish sector.
The Inner Sea Coffee House:
A strong mixture of aromas (ranging from the bitter taste of coffee to the sweeter essence of herbal teas and pastries) will assail the senses of any of the patrons who decide on entering this large 2 storey building in the north western part of Thornward. This is a very upper class establishment, and it is very 'seen' to be having coffee or some other refreshment. This establishment is owned by Jaffir Ahmed. Jaffir is a businessman from Tusmit, who came to Bissel around a year ago. The decor is very modern, with fine panelled/polished wooden floors, large comfortable padded seats and a number of intimately close booths. The ground floor is a foyer and seating area for more 'common' coffee and tea drinkers, also the
kitchens and small staff room are located here (the latter two very much out of the way from the public eye). The upstairs floor is for private parties and businessmen. It is here that a number of the more important business deals are made, over a fine mug of coffee and a dainty pastry. Seating is by appointment/booking only and the general waiting time could be anywhere from 2 hours to a day. There is a strict code of dress, patrons must dress smartly as do all of the serving lads/ladies. The coffee house is regularly packed with merchants, lecturers from the college and the higher socially standing characters within the city. The prices are extortionate, but the quality of service of beverage is excellent.
The Glittering Stone:
A small shop situated in between the library and the college in the southern part of town. It is a small jewellers/gem cutters and is owned by Tinglebrur Hairfoot, a Halfling of considerable knowledge in the appraising of fine stones/jewels. The shop has a sturdy front and looks quite formidable for any theif attempting to break in. There are iron bars on each of the windows, the door is made from thick oak wood and has 3 sets of double locks on it (each would require a pick locks at -25% due to their quality), this is not to say that Tinglebrur is paranoid. This is what becomes from being an ex-adventurer (thief). Tinglebrur made his fortune when his party came across an old dragon's hoard in the Yatils around 2 years ago. On his return, he gave up adventuring and started his own business, mainly with the gem stones he managed to 'obtain' from his share of the hoard. He is the atypical halfling, extremely pleasant to talk to, in fact he will generally attempt to keep any patron, who has a story to tell, busy, by offering tea and biscuits/cake as they discuss business. He loves to gossip and swap tales, yet when it comes down to money he is extremely switched on. He drives a hard bargain and his prices, some say, are a trifle too much.
Have Mace will Bludgeon:
This catchy named shop is owned by Sam Trinkster (name shortened to Trinks by ther friends). She is an imposing woman, in her mid thirties, with the build of a blacksmith. She has deep dark eyes, raven black hair, a fair complexion and husky voiced. Trinks is an expert in her field, theirs nothing that she does not know about, or how to use, when it comes to a good mace or flail. She has all manner of bludgeoning weapons stored away around the single room store. She even has, out back a small yard, where she allows potential buyers to try out their preferred choice of weapon. Prices are varied, depending on what type of weapon (and knowledge) the customer wants. Generally they are around 10% above the standard rate.
The Essence of Life:
As soon as any patron enters past the front door to this small store their senses are smothered by the smells of Jasmine, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Paprika etc. Numerous shelves and glass cabinets hold a variety of jars, bottles and packages containing a mixture of herbs and spices, there are even a number of plants growing along the back wall, growing parsley, thyme etc. This store is owned by Fazzirak Al-Hamed Ahmed. He has a variety of spices and herbs for sale at reasonable prices, including; Paprika, Cumin, Coriander, Jasmine, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Lemon Grass, Parsley, Thyme, Garlic, Peppers, Curry leaves, Fennel, Lavender etc. He also sells numerous Oils
and elixirs for cooking/dressing. He also sells a wide range of perfumes including, Coconut, Lemon, Orange, Apple, Musk, Berry etc. What people don't know about Fazzirak is that he is a Ket spy, he transports his information through a network of spies/merchants that work on the caravans passing between Lopolla and Bissel (and beyond).
Entertainment in the city is varied. A number of the inns/taverns provide in house-entertainment , ranging from minor magical cantrip displays, Bards reciting tales of daring deeds, gambling, bands playing and even some whoring. There is also the theatre and the various eateries/restaurants and coffee-houses scattered around the city. Most places are open till very late, there is a curfew, but rarely is it enforced. If people are generally having a good time then the inns/taverns etc. will stay open.
There are regular patrols throughout the day and night by the city watch. The river quarter is patrolled the heaviest, both in day and at night. While the Merchants quarter is patrolled the least. The city also has barracked within its walls some 200-400 soldiers, who patrol the castle grounds, city walls and the outlying environs.
Laws are generally the same here as in most cities around the Flanaess. There is a curfew but generally not enforced. Taxes are to be paid on entering the city (per rider/horse/wagon etc). Travellers have to inform the city clerks, upon their arrival (usually these are stationed at each of the city gates), stating their business and length of stay in the city. Only weapons of short sword length or smaller can be carried and must always be sheathed. No long bladed, bludgeoning or missile weapons can be carried around the city. It is forbidden to wear any armour heavier than studded leather. Any one seen breaking these laws will be summarily arrested and either fined or jailed for a certain number of days/nights.
There are a number chapels/shrines within the city walls, yet most have no resident priests, but are just cared for by the local parishioners. They include:
Within the merchants guildhall there is a shrine to their patron power, Zilchus. A small shrine to Istus is located in one of the mystic/soothsayers buildings in the north west quarter. Rao, a small chapel is located near to the civil administration buildings. Zodal, a chapel situated on the edge of the Riverman's quarter. St. Cuthbert, a shrine dedicated to this patron is located within the river quarter. Heironeous, this temple is between the barracks and the city castle. Celestian, a small chapel is located at the top of one of the towers within the Baklunish area.
Farlanghan, there are no resident priests I the city, instead there is a wayside shrine next to each of the city gates. There is reputedly a shrine to Xan Yae, hidden somewhere. Lastly there is a small temple to the Laughing Rogue (Olidammara), placed within one of the gambling dens ('The golden Jug' tavern) in the river quarter.
Hope this is of some help to you.