View Full Version : [City]Copperclaw

2005-07-19, 07:27 PM
Recycled and fleshed out from a previous contest entry. I love hearing compliments or criticisms, so PLEASE tell me what you think, even if you just skimmed over it (for which I don't blame you)


Introduction: In a region of dry, scrubby hills as far as the eye can see, just beside the Wyrmsblood river, there stands a particularly tall hill. Atop this hill sits the city of Copperclaw. Visitors to Copperclaw usually can see it for miles away and rarely get lost, as it is the only feature of remark on the landscape for a long ways. No trade roads are within sight, only a well beaten path that is starting to be retaken by spindly weeds that can survive the warm dry weather of the region. The road lays empty, devoid even of the halfling caravans pervasive in any other region.
In the valley situated to the city are nestled a vast array of fields and orchards, and the higher slopes are home to pastures of goats and brixashulty. Atop the hills lay grain silos and other large buildings, likely also to be used to store other food supplies. An observer knowledgeable in matters of nature or agriculture may notice that the region appears able to produce well more than the necessary amount of food to feed the small town situated up the hill. Some may wonder why there is so much food for a small town far to far away from the rest of civilization to trade.
Curiously, the town proper is surrounded by a ring of beaten, dusty land, as if an army of halfing caravans had marched over the area for a month. Abandoned two story buildings dot this wasteland.
The town itself is roughly circular, evenly spread about the crest of the hill. Roads appear to all be either concentric circles around the hill, or straight lines traveling up the hill, much like the spokes of a wheel. One of the "spoke" roads, conceivably the main road is very wide and elaborately decorated. With the exception of a rundown gray blotch on the south side of the hill, all the buildings look to be in impeccable shape, with graceful architecture.
The hill is crowned my a massive, elaborate fountain. Water streams from it and flows down the sides of the spoke streets in artificial creeks.
Stats: Copperclaw (Small Town*) Conventional, AL CG, 1500 GP limit; Population 1600 Isolated (Human 94%, Gnome 2%, Half-Orc 1% Halfling 1%, Other 2%)
*Because of the wealth generated by the Copperclaw Appeasement Festival every other summer, and the fact the city is required to house a significantly larger population every other summer, the city of Copperclaw functions as in many ways as a large town and has a higher GP limit.
History: The town of Copperclaw wasn't always called such. It used to be called the Feifedom of the Great and Exhaulted Graglauch, a vain and self-important Black dragon. The town lived under the dragon's tyranny for generations. The town's fate was forever changed when a great Copper Caulraslanolth defeated Graglauch.
The fearful citizens of the Feifedom of the Great and Exhaulted Graglauch immediatly sought to ingratiate themselves to what they expected to be their new master. They asked the great copper what he'd have of them.
The copper was baffled at this response, but decided to have fun with the offer. He demanded the city change it's name to something nicer sounding, and shorter. He also demanded that every other year, the town would have to tell him one joke that he would find truly hilarious, or he would raze the town.
Not realizing that the dragon had no intention of razing the town and believing their lives to be in peril, the people of Copperclaw put out an open call to all people of the nearby realms to bring jokes for the midsummer date of Copper Appeasement so that they may be spared his 'wrath'.
The person who successfully causes the dragon to leave the town is catapulted to instant celebrity status, and bards come from far and wide to Copperclaw in order to get instant fame.
Word of the festival spread far and wide, and became a large event for any who thinks themselves to be funny. These travelers bring much wealth to Copperclaw every other year, and the town’s economy soon grew to revolve around the biannual festival.
Physical Description: Copperclaw city proper is roughly circular in shape. Eight streets, called "spokes", connect the central fountain to the outer end of town. Ravines, coming from the fountain atop the town. These spokes are named based after the direction they point on a cardinal compass. North Spoke is particularly large and ornate, and is lit by continual flame spells. Twelve concentric, ring shaped streets run around the hills. They are numbered in order, with First Ring being the street closest to the fountain.
Most buildings are built of imported white marble and sport elaborate statuary. While there is no overlying theme to the carvings on the sides of buildings, a pair of battling dragons is a very prevalent image. Edging is done in copper. Older buildings can be identified by the green color of the oxidized copper.
Surrounding the town is a large ring of dusty, barren land. To the east of Copperclaw lays verdant orchards and fields and the Wyrmsblood River.
Copperclaw has a number of distinct districts that stick out from the rest of the city and are of particular interest to visitors.
The Books: The libraries of Copperclaw have flourished under the presence of so many bards during Copperclaw Appeasement. They take much bardic lore in, and are known for having wide ranges of obscure lore. Many an adventurer has had to travel all the way to Copperclaw to follow up on rumors that a bard’s diary, stored in the library, holds the key to the location of a dungeon. While much of the lore is rare, some of it is based merely on rumors or even creativity. Any information gotten from these libraries has a chance of being incorrect, or having incorrect parts. DMs using these libraries are encouraged to be fiendish.
There are four different large libraries, all of whom compete for any type of lore they can get their hands on. One of such is also a citadel to Boccob and is the best source of clerical services in the region. Both the Boccobian Citadel and the Tower of Pages deal in scrolls, spells, and spellbooks. They are excellent places to find rare or uncommon spells.
The rest of the district is filled out with small schools, libraries, annexes to the larger libraries, and houses and businesses to accommodate those that work in the above mentioned buildings. A small gnomish minority has gravitated towards this district.
Also found here is the Wall of Saviors (see below).
Old Town: Centered about Southeast Spoke and Ninth Ring, this district holds the part of town that has existed since the black dragon Graglauch ruled the region. The buildings are derelict, made of ages-old wood or worn granite. This is decidedly the bad part of town. Travelers to Copperclaw who lack the money to purchase supplies for the route home, as well as scum left over from previous Copperclaw Appeasement festivals. While violence in this district is rare, locals of Copperclaw are almost never seen in this district.
Wyrm’s Crown: The area about First Ring is devoted to the governing of Copperclaw. The vice-dragon’s office, the city guard, and the Copper Temple can both be found here. Buildings here are ornate, and the streets are lined with pillars made of basalt and copper shaped into dragons. At the center of wyrm’s crown stands the Dragon’s Perch fountain, a magical fountain that creates it’s own water which in turn helps the dry area.
Wildfolk’s Haven: Copperclaw is the only city for miles in a wide open region populated by tribes of orcs, half-orcs, thri-kreen, and even barbaric humans. Those that see the benefit of trading with civilization come to wildfolk’s rest, which is centered about West Spoke and Twelfth Ring. Middlemen, many of which are half-orc, offer to trade on the behalf of any visitors that feel uncomfortable entering the city proper.
This district contains vendors for herd-animals, mounts, weapons, and armour. There are numerous taverns, and shrines to some of the more savage deities here. Smiths in Wildfolk’s Rest specialize in exotic weapons and armour, as well as armour for nonhumanoids.
Economy: The economy of Copperclaw is dependent on the Appeasement, which brings much wealth to the city. The months building up to the coming of the copper dragon are spent stocking up for the Appeasement. During the festival, prices can be driven up to as much as triple the standard price.
The only other influxes of wealth are travelers come to get information from the libraries, and trade with the nomadic tribes of the area.
The biannual influxes of income has caused the people of Copperclaw to become quite wealthy. Farmers get premium prices for the lowest quality of crops. Smiths can sell whatever they can make. The city can’t brew enough ale. This makes Copperclaw very difficult to set up permanent shop in, because newcomers must be able to survive two years on little business and high competition. As a result, there ends up being a clear division between the permanent residents and the seasonal hawkers and visitors. Those who find themselves in Copperclaw without the resources to make the trek back to other towns find themselves in bleak conditions. Citizens of Copperclaw see these as the worst of what the Appeasement brings to town, and feel little pity.
Crime: In the past, criminals would steal amongst themselves in the old town district. Individual thieves and two competing thieves’ guilds would bicker over what little wealth was in the slum. However, only recently the two rival guilds merged and have turned their eyes on the rest of town. Since doing so, they have gathered much wealth, and brought it back to the old town district. The guild has a Robin Hood image in the old town, and some citizens of the rest of Copperclaw are beginning to take the same view.
Others (especially those who have suffered the effects of the guild) are pushing the Vice-Dragon for advice on the issue.
Government: The official ruler of the town is Caulraslanolth, but he almost never takes any interest in the government of his "realm". The people of Copperclaw then elect a representative to rule on the dragon’s behalf, as vice-dragon. Anyone who has lived in the city for longer than two years is entitled a vote (this is to keep the rabble that come for the Appeasement from wielding too much power over the actual residents). Elections are held exactly one year after the Appeasement. Leaders have in the past consulted with the Caulraslanolth on government, but that has not happened recently.
The current vice-dragon is Cruiva (LE female human Ari4). She was elected on a stance of wiping out the guild in old town, but her many failures led her to blockade the district. This was a massively unpopular move, and popular opinion has swayed strongly away from her. It is a widely accepted fact that she will not be re-elected.
Religion: Aside from worship of Boccob in The Books, and a few small temples in Wildfolk’s Haven, there is one other worship of which to speak: that of Caulraslanolth. A small cult decided to worship the copper, claiming that worship of gods could anger the great and merciful dragon. The church is small but well founded. The strangest part of this affair is that some god (conceivably one with a healthy sense of humor) grants spells to the clerics of the dragon. Clerics of Caulraslanolth can choose from the domains of Chaos, Good, and Dragon.
The Monument: The one thing all visitors to the city of Copperclaw end up doing is visiting the Wall of Saviors. This is a large circular black marble wall with entryways and a small garden in the middle. Inscribed at random intervals are the names of those who have saved the town from Caulraslanolth and the joke they did so with. These are widely perceived to be the funniest jokes in the land. The DM is encouraged to be silly.
Power Struggles: The main struggle currently facing the town is over the thieves’ guild. The vice-dragon and the city militia are dead set on wiping out the guild, led by Alxrig Oneeye (CN Halfling Rogue 12). However, the current battlefield is over the opinions of the citizens of Copperclaw. Cruiva knows she won’t be able to stop the guild unless she regains the support of the people, and the guild knows that they could potentially get the support of the people. Propaganda and staged scandals are the preferred weapons of this war, and both sides will drag any outsider they can find into the conflict.
Meanwhile, there is much political maneuvering for potential candidates to be the ones to replace Cruiva. Dienda (CN human cleric 7), the high cleric of the church of Caulraslanolth would like to see her religion play a greater role in the city. The heads of the libraries of the Boccobian Citadel (LG gnome cleric 12), the Tower of Pages (CG human Wizard 12), the Epic Tome (CN Gnome Bard 2), and the Hall of Archives (N human expert 5) all would love the prestige for their libraries. The thieves’ guild is considering either fielding a candidate openly, or trying to find a contender who’d be willing to accept ‘campaign donations’.
Adventure Hooks:
-The head of the Epic Tome wants the adventurers to act as middlemen in a deal with the thieves’ guild to steal a particularly valuable tome purchased by the Tower of Pages.
-In an attempt to save face, Cruiva hires the adventurers to seek our Caulraslanolth and ask his wisdom. As a backup, she sends an informant as a ‘guide’. When the great copper gives advice she doesn’t like, she tries to have the PCs killed.
-The PCs are hired on as extra guards for the Appeasement.
-An escaped mass murderer (CE human wizard 7 with a want of fireballs) is believed to be hiding in Copperclaw at the time of the Appeasement. Can the PCs find the criminal among the revels when the city is at its most crowded and chaotic? Can they do it before he murders again?
-The PCs overhear a man practicing his terrible jokes before the appeasement. Fearing they’ll use the jokes and steal his fame, the man makes false claims of slights by the PCs, and turns other adventurers on them for a reward.
-The Wyrmsblood river is believed to have magic properties, explaining the successes of the Copperclaw crops year after year. A group of orcs decide to keep the water for themselves, and divert the river. The PCs have to get to the river and break the damn before the year’s crops die.
-Contacts from the thieves’ guild and the office of the vice-dragon attempt to solicit the aid of the PCs. Shortly after, there is an attempt on the PC’s lives. Which side betrayed them, and why?

2005-07-27, 04:04 PM
The concept of the Appeasment is very cool.

And I really enjoyed the hook about the jealous (bad) joke teller.

I'd love to look at the players faces as they get into trouble over something like:

Knock, knock?

Who's there?


Orange who?

Orange you glad I said knock, knock?


2005-07-28, 12:44 AM
yay! Comment! Much appreciated.