Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Visual Guide to Wince

The Village known as Wince was founded four hundred years ago during the Imperial colonization period. At that time, the surrounding land was covered by the Blackwood Jungle. In time, much of the land was cleared away for farmland. Wince was established as a river trading port where the local farmers could trade their produce and have it shipped up and down the river. The name of the village is actually a corruption of the town’s original name of Whence.

The town and surrounding area is ruled by Archon Hadrus, the 16th generation descendant of the founder of the village, Archon Ulls. The walls protect the town from the occasional raid by bandits, reavers, and warlords. Every few generations, the walls are breached and the town is razed. The survivors simply re-build and start over.

The village of Wince has just over 400 residents, mostly traders, artisans, craftsmen, laborers, the household of the archon, and town guards. The surrounding hinterlands is a patchwork of dozens of farms, each protected by low field walls. The farmhouses are located within high-walled compounds.

1.       Docks
a.        Tunnel to Keep: a tunnel dug into the side of the bank opens to a guard room and armory and stairs that lead inside the archons’ keep above.
b.      Ramp: a ramp allows wagons full of grain, barrels, flour, and produce to descend the bank to the docks.
c.       Stairs: these stairs allow access to the dock from the barns above.
d.      Patrician’s Stairs: these stairs allow Patrician Umok private access to the docks from his mansion.
2.       Dockmaster’s House: The dockmaster collects docking fees and taxes. He is assisted by two town guards (Level 0, armed with spears and wearing padded armor).
3.       Barns
a.       Livestock Barn: this large barn temporarily holds animals such as aurochs, pigs, chickens, horses, and mules.
b.      Warehouse Barn: this large barn is used as a warehouse for the temporary storage of grains, flour, and other dry goods to be shipped.
4.       Patrician Umok’s Mansion: This large mansion overlooks the river and is home to Umok, a wealthy trader and owner of a fleet of river boats. Umok is a rotund jovial man with a bushy mustache. He wears a puffy turban with a long feather and flowing silk garments. Umok has three wives and eleven children, on whom he smothers with his affection, attention, and wealth. Umok is a patrician, meaning he is a powerful commoner with recognized influence in Archon Hadron’s court.
5.       Town Square: this open area is the site of official pronouncements, town justice, and other public events.
a.       Notice Board: public notices, wanted posters, pronouncements, newsletters, and job openings are routinely posted on this board in the center of town.
6.       The Archon’s Keep: this small walled keep and donjon are home to the household and retinue of archon Hadrus. Hadrus is a handsome man in his late twenties. He has yet to marry or sire an heir. He inherited the position of archon when his parents, archon Getredes along with his mother Yerta, were killed in a pirate attack while traveling on the Xanthus river. The archon’s surviving family includes his younger sisters Halen, 18, and Helise, 10.  His household consists of four attendants, a handful of servants, and 8 bodyguards selected from the town watch.
7.       Green Tiger Inn: a fine establishment with private rooms and the finest comestibles. The Green Tiger’s patrons include wealthy merchants and travelers.
8.       Bilious Froth Inn: an inn that caters to less discriminating patrons, usually river boat crews. Everyone sleeps in a common room and is served stew and grog.
9.       Dry Goods/General Store: the proprietor is Galo, a fast-talking salesman with no sense of humor.
10.   Farm Tools: the proprietor is named Eithuan, a friendly but pessimistic man.
11.   Apothecary: the town apothecary and barber is named Bhau, an older man, inquisitive, calm, and overly chivalrous with the ladies. Bhau offers restorative elixirs that cure paralysis, blindness, and impotence (10 silver each), and more expensive libations that speed healing (+1d4 HP, 10 gold each), and restore vigor (+1 STR, AGI, or STA, 100 gold each).
12.   Bakery: the town baker is named Mathabo, an intelligent man who is averse to confrontation.
13.   Tailor: The town tailor is named Zara Logn. Zara is multi-talented, serving as the town’s haberdasher and shoemaker. Zara is a cautious man who analyzes all the angles before making a decision. His wife Yrksha serves as a seamstress. She is self-assured and assertive.
14.   Canned, Pickled, Smoked, and Dried foods: one can purchase any sort of preserved food from the shop’s proprietor, Gorano. Gorano is a sniveling weak-willed coward who takes cover at the first sign of a fight and avoids all confrontations.
15.   Leatherworker: the town leatherworker is named Rarhas, a haughty self-indulgent blowhard who enjoys practical jokes and bawdy nicknames.
16.   Moneychanger: this shop offers currency exchange, assay, vault storage, and even small loans. The proprietor is named Phalzo, a close-minded pessimist who refuses to acknowledge other points of view.
17.   Alchemist: this shop provides various herbicides, fertilizers, and insecticides to the area farmers, as well as needed chemicals to the other artisans in town. The village alchemist is named Rn-Kan, an exotic foreigner from the western desert. Rn-Kan is open-minded and of liberal philosophy. However, he is easily distracted and tends to ramble about diverse subjects.
18.   Brothel: this establishment caters primarily to the transient crews of the river-boats. Only 6 women work here under the protection of the burly bodyguard Lachugo and his slimy bald brother Prothlogo. The women are tolerated in town but are generally not accepted members of the community.
19.   Sailmaker: Egatalug the sail-maker and his family make and repair sails for the river boats that pass through. Ergatalug is laconic and serious. His wife Pharcala is dim-witted, insecure, and slightly flighty. They have eight children.
20.   Vintner: the proprietor Olot makes his own wine from local grapes and also imports barrels from other lands. Olot is a popular man. He is considered hilarious but his jokes tend to be insulting. He is second only to Umok in the town council. He is married to Krthu, a no-nonsense hard-working woman, and has 6 children.
21.   Midwife/Orphanage: Mathol the midwife provides her services to the town and surrounding farms. Mathol is a harsh matron, sadistic and cruel. She is married to Hoshag, a bully with low self-esteem. Mathol often provides her services to the brothel next door. In addition to mid-wifery, Mathol is able to perform abortions. She also runs an orphanage for unwanted children. There are currently 12 children in the orphanage. Mathol puts them to work helping the local craftsmen.
22.   Dyer: Acanista the dyer is a lovely young lady in her early twenties. She is shy and demure. The rumor about town is that Archon Hadrus is having a secret affair with the beautiful lass.
23.   Soapmaker: Rolgnok the soap-maker renders fat into soap. Rolgnok is an overweight man, silly and absent-minded. He is married to Mindh and has 4 children.
24.   Tanner: Elbaga tans animal hides into leather. Elbaga is adventurous and impractical, always trying out new inventions or procedures. His wife Zhoda is a passive weak-willed day-dreamer. They have 9 children.
25.   Cooper: barrels may be purchased from Marndo, the village cooper. Marndo is a dull conservative man with no imagination. His wife Isza is strong-willed but likewise serious and humorless. They have 3 children.
26.   Wheelwright: Ntharo makes and sells wagon wheels for the community. Ntharo is young, a bit na├»ve, and easily fooled. He has yet to take a wife.
27.   Wainwright: Ntharo’s older brother Osluro is an experienced wagon-maker. Osluro is jaded and unenthusiastic. His wife Hmala is timid and filled with regret.
28.   Cheesemaker: Zhanat was once a dairy farmer who sold his land and retired to make cheese in the village. Zhanat is friendly and helpful but refuses all aid for himself. He is a widower with no surviving children.
29.   Jeweler: the town jeweler is a dwarf named Iggy. Iggy is neutral towards village politics and likes to stay above any local drama. He is very serious and refuses to acknowledge jokes or humorous situations.
30.   Woodcarver: Kela is a woodcarver from Flinch. She is a woman in her forties, strong and independent with a rebellious spirit. She has never had a husband that anyone knows about, but when she alone and thinks no one is looking she has conversations with an invisible person named Linis.
31.   Ropemaker: river boats use a lot of rope, and it can be purchased from Botho Gogom, the rope-maker. Botho is lazy but highly observant and intelligent. He is married to Ysquida, an outgoing woman with dreams of adventure. They have 4 children.
32.   Animal Traps/Furrier: One may purchase animal traps of all sizes from Ollzholl the trap-maker. Ollzholl is a former hunter with a missing leg. He likes to tell old hunting stories, especially how he lost his leg, a story that changes with every telling. He also purchases and re-sells furs. His wife Phella is a talented furrier, creating beautiful coats, hats, gloves, etc. They have 8 grown children.
33.   Silversmith/Goldsmith: the proprietor Cagoth is an ingenious inventor of new alloys. Cagoth loves jokes and is a hearty laugher. He is often at odds with the dwarfish jeweler Iggy over the proper use of metals. Cagoth is married to Norata, a boring person with no personality, and has 5 children.
34.   Fence: Silith, the local layabout and pickpocket, can usually be found hanging out sitting on this garden wall. Silith is a member of the thieves’ guild of Thither which grants him limited protection from prosecution as long as his crimes remain petty, are kept to an acceptable minimum, and truly precious items are returned to their owners.
35.   Pantheon: the village temple provides shrines to all the major socially acceptable gods of Agartha. The temple is shared and attended by three friendly but competitive priests: Pirdus, priest of Tzann; Ulea, priestess of Thumina; and Wethis, priest of Justica. A handful of acolytes and monks live in the attached clergy house.
36.   Blacksmith: the blacksmith of Wince is a burly man named Oren. Oren is grouchy and rude and a violent drunk. He is served by two apprentices and two slaves who live in constant fear of their master.
37.   Artisan’s House: this large building is shared by jewelers, silver smiths, gemcutters, and woodcarvers.
38.   Potter’s House: Several potters, masons, and stonecarvers earn their livelihoods in this two-story
39.   Town Gate: four guards from the towns’ volunteer watch man the gate during the day, only two stand guard at night.
40.   Bastions: these square towers aid in the defense of the village. Each bastion contains a room containing weapons and armor. The defense of the town is provided by a force called the town guard. Every able bodied citizen between the ages of 15 and 40 are expected to serve in the town guard, working an eight-hour shift for three months of the year, or pay a fee for an exception. Each bastion is manned by four guards twenty-four hours a day. Two of which are expected to be on look-out duty at any given time. In reality, there are days where the bastions may go un-manned or where some or all of the guards neglect their duty to hang out in other bastions or in the village. If the sergeant on duty that day is a particular stickler for the rules and for the duty, he might punish deserters with a day in the stocks.
41.   Towers: unlike the bastions, the towers do not contain rooms of equipment. Two guards man each tower.
42.   Farms: the surrounding countryside is cleared of jungle for miles around. The terrain is a patchwork of fieldstone walls protecting fields of corn, wheat, barley, rye, oats, beans, and other staples. The farmhouse is, in turn, protected by a high walled compound. Each farmstead is home to a family of ten to twenty, five servants, and ten to twenty farm hands and laborers. At harvest time, all the grains are taken to one of the dozen local mills to be turned into flour or meal, then shipped up or down river through Wince. 

Adventure Ideas

An Ophidian (Serpent Man) named Salek runs a secret cult devoted to the Serpent God Set out of a secret hideout located beneath the livestock barn. Salek is attended by four Empty Ones (Hollow Ones who spill snakes instead of tentacle monsters when they die) and four acolytes. Salek possesses a magic wand that can create a portal to a remote temple hidden deep in the Blackwood Jungle on any walled surface which he can use to make an escape. 

Pirates menace shipping on the Xanthus river from their hidden base up the Atrous river. Archon Hadrus is offering a 500gp reward to anyone who can end the pirate threat.