Saturday, January 11, 2014

More info about Duirndown

In the course of last night's adventure, we learned a few more details about the towns and denizens of the Xanthus River Valley.


The city of Duirndown is located near the headwaters of the Xanthus River. Here the river is barely forty feet wide cascading over rocks and small falls. In ancient times, the dwarfs built a dam across the river that also served as a bridge. The town is located on the east side of the dam, the elaborate fortified entrance to Duirnhold on the west side. The dam creates a small lake. A chute in the dam powers a water wheel and mill on the east side.

The town is run by a thane, a hereditary title. Because of the historical importance of trade with the dwarfs, a prominent dwarf was appointed as bailiff. This bailiff served as a sort of second-in-command.

Up until about 50 years ago, Duirndown was a major trade city with a population of around 5000. Merchants from throughout the valley and beyond would come to Duirndown in order to enter Duirnhold and trade with the dwarfs therein. The walled villas and compounds of wealthy merchants dotted the hillside around the town. During its heyday, the town was filled with impressive and imposing architecture that walked up the steep hillside like giant steps. The largest building was the baronial keep, its donjon, and towers.

When the dwarfs of Duirnhold fled their city, the population briefly grew to 11,000. This population was unsustainable and the excess dwarfs settled elsewhere in the valley. Over time, with the lack of trade with Duirnhold, people stopped coming to Duirndown. The wealth disappeared as the merchants and traders moved down to Thither or elsewhere.

Today, the town has a population of 200 and the great stone and marble architecture has crumbled into overgrown ruins, though a few are still occupied by the aged and corrupt denizens who refused to leave. For the most part, the area within the walls is empty. Most of the 200 remaining residents have congregated near the keep at the center of town. All but the largest and sturdiest of the great old buildings have been torn down to clear room for fields and pasture.

The town today has one blacksmith (and one apprentice) and there's not a lot of demand for weapons and armor. There is a wise-man, but no one with real magical or holy powers. The baron is little more than a town mayor and there is no longer a permanent garrison, only a few farmers who have volunteered to stand watch.

Things were greatly shaken up recently when twelve of the town's most able-bodied workers went up the hill to the standing stones because of an old story he heard from the wise-man. Only four returned. Soon afterwards, The four, accompanied by eight others, opened the sealed gate to Duirnhold. Only four returned from that foray. In a town of 200, the loss of seventeen townspeople, almost ten percent of the town's population, was a huge blow! The town has lost its wainwright, several farmers, and other key town positions. Luckily, a few were recent arrivals with a travelling merchant.  The little town has no more potential adventurers to give, and certainly no potential hirelings and henchmen from which to recruit.