View Full Version : [City] Westhaven

2005-07-11, 07:38 PM
Introduction: Westhaven, last stop for civilization. Great walls surround the city proper, easily as tall as a giant and broad enough for two humans to walk shoulder to shoulder. Guards patrol the walls frequently, always on watch for potential invasion from what may lie beyond the charted civilized lands. Westhaven has quite a reputation for being 'adventurer friendly', having several establishments that cater to their needs, and a bazaar area large enough for them to procure nearly anything they should need for their next journey.

Stats: will be posted as soon as I can find the stupid charts. In general, big city, population in the thousands. Any non-magical item found in the PhB will be able to be found at listed price. Magical items may be found, but likely expensive unless there's a wizard who is a member of the Mage's Guild in the party. Players can expect to pay 15%-50% over book price for magic items depending on the item in question (i.e. how willing the GM is to allow said item in the party). A wizard in the Mage's Guild can get magic items at book value, and would have a wider selection to choose from.

Background Information: This is the major political center for the frontier area. As such, all the major nobles and rich people in the area live here in the 'Noble Quarter'. It is also on several major trade routes, so it has a large bazaar area. Since it's in the Frontier area, it sees plenty of adventurers, and has several establishments which cater to their needs and comforts... for a price.

Physical Description: The first thing you see when you approach Westhaven is the thick stone walls with guard patrols walking on top. There are three gates: South, North, and West. The South gate leads on the major road to the coast, the North gate will eventually take you back to the more civilized parts as it eventually curves back in that direction. The West gate will take you out to the mostly untamed and unexplored regions. There may be a few minor towns, or mabye a ranch or farm, but that's it. All three gates are designed the same: there are two portcullis's, one in the front, and the other in back. Murder holes in the celing and arrow-slits on the sides of the gate turn this area into certain death should both grates slam shut. There is also a second wall seperating the Noble's Quarter from the rest of the town that has a similar gate.

The 'common' area, which spans the western two-thirds of the city, has the majority of the taverns, shops, and other things a common adventurer might need. The taverns and inns where adventuerers might stay tend to be clustered near the gates, and the merchants are mostly in the center. Minor magic items, or ones which are of particular interest to adventurers, are able to be found here, but at a markup.

The 'Noble's Quarter' is the eastern third of the town, and is walled off from the rest of the town. Behind that wall is the wealthy part of town. The Mage's Guild is also behind this wall, where one might obtain magical goods and services. Note that most adventurers will not be allowed in here, except for those wizards (not sorcerers) who are a part of the Mage's Guild, unless they have an invitation.

Arts and Culture: The nobility and wealthy are, of course, always after new and impressive works of 'art', used mostly to impress other wealthy people and uses as status symbols, and art can be found in the bazaar, along with nearly any other luxery goods, however there isn't a whole lot of desire for artwork, the general trend being 'function over form' outside the Noble's Quarter.

Economics: Being on the main trade route from the Coast to the rest of civilization, it has a lively bazaar. The majority of Westhaven's income is in tariffs and sales tax. There is little hope for someone to raise in wealth here, though. The rich stay rich and the poor stay poor, and that's how the system is set up to keep it. The nobles are often ones who have suffered some sort of humiliation or political disaster and has been moved here to stay out of sight. The wealthy here are often 'merchant princes' who own large shipping businesses and stay here to keep an eye on their interests.

Religion: By Edict, all religions are allowed to practice equally, although they are bound by the rules. Thus, you might find a temple to Nerull or a temple to Pelor just as easily. Sacrafice of sentient life, however, is still considered Murder and cleregy are not exempt from being charged and sentenced.

Government: Law enforcement is mostly in the hands of the Captain of the Guard. Technically, you can appeal his decisions to the Count, but unless you have bribes worth thousands of gold, he probably isn't going to even consider the appeal of a common adventurer. Weapons are to be peacebonded or confiscated at the gates. Spellcasters are specifically prohibited from casting any offensive magics, using magic in a crime is an additional and very serious offense. There are several powerful wizards at the Mage's Guild who are on retainer by the Town Guard to be called in should they have problems with a magic user.
The 'city council' consists of most of the inhabitants of the Noble's Quarter, the Captain of th Guard, and a couple of others to represent the interests of the bazaar merchants. Needless to say, it is slanted to be in the favor of the rich and titled, so the laws and taxes are set up to keep the rich rich and keep the poor poor.

Crime: Being the largest political arena in the area, plus being a major trade town, there is a hive of scum and villany, organized crime is very organized here. With the number of guards on the walls and the lack of funds to support them, guard's wages are fairly low, so a fair number of them augment their income by being 'on the take'. Adventurers who are of a larcenous bent are encouraged to at least pay their respects to the Guild and are informed that operating inside the city limits without being a Guild member is a Bad Idea. The benifits for joining the guild are explained to those hesitant to join... information on the local commings and goings, fencing of stolen goods, purchase of certain 'tools of the trade' which might not ordinarly be available on the open market or even exactly strictly legal to own normally, plus you don't get hassled by the guards on the take. Should this prove ineffective in convincing someone, the downsides of not joining are also pointed out... harassment by the guards on the take, leaning on merchants to refuse you services and goods, sometimes even 'accidents' happen to reluctant rogues. If the larcenous adventurer doesn't actually operate inside city limits and isn't in very often, they'll usually leave him alone, with polite hints that it might be a good idea and leave it at that. However, should an independant try to operate, he will encounter significant resistance, being shadowed constantly, being accosted by guards on the take, and alerting the guards whenever the independant tries to do something illegal. Continued independant operation slates the person for elimination.

Power Struggles: Actually, there aren't many power struggles. The thieves guild operates and is allowed to continue to operate mostly because it's too much effort on the part of the nobles to eliminate them. The nobles and wealthy are largely ignorant of the depredations and are happy to remain so. Their only interest is staying wealthy. The nobility are all content right where they are, with little inclination to leave the Noble's Quarter, and show little inclination to snipe at each other. The Captain of the Guard is not on the take, but he is mostly powerless to do much about it. He takes a vindictive pleasure in assigning the maximum penalty to any known members of the Thieves Guild, however such cases rarely are presented to him. The Count has an apathetic view towards the Thieves Guild (this view being helped along with a steady stream of kickbacks), so he can never seem to get enough funding to make much of an effort to clean up the town. He'd welcome any chance of sticking it to the thieves guild, and would be grateful to any band of adventurers who managed to hurt them significantly, although he wouldn't be able to pay them.

Adventure Hooks:

1) The party (particularly if the party contains a paladin or cleric of a good diety such as Pelor or Heironeous) catches someone trying to con/scam/pickpocket them, and insists on bringing it to the Captain's attention personally (the sargent of the watch is on the take, so it may take some convincing and/or intimidating. Feel free to make his corrupt nature as obvious or as subtle as the GM feels necessary for his party). It seems that this particular thief is a member of the Thieves Guild, and in return for not getting has provided information about a major hiest. The party is asked to disrupt this heist and see what they can do about hurting the Guild.

2) Posted on the gates is a notice informing all who enter that there has been an upswing in Orc activity lately, so the Captain of the Guard has offered a one silver bounty per orc ear. The orcs are rumored to be in the west, along with numerous other dangers...

3) Caravans are always in need of guards out here in the frontier lands. Going south to the coast, or heading back to civilization, caravans leave on almost a daily basis. Of course, some caravans are more valuable than others, and some carry things not in the official packing list...

4) The party rests at a tavern for food and drink, then a commotion erupts, consuming the whole tavern in a free-for-all brawl. When it's over, an off-duty guard is dead, and a member of the party is implicated. Actually, it's an elimination by the Thieves Guild since the now deceased guard refused to be on the take and managed to get one of the Guild hung for crimes committed. The guard investigating the murder, of course, is on the take, and the set-up is on both sides. Several 'witnesses' (also Thieves Guild members who started the brawl in the first place) claim to have seen the murder, the investigating guard will discount everything the party says, and the offending party member is locked up in prison, pending execution. If they can manage to get the case in front of the Captain of the Guard, or if they can find a clean guard to appeal to, they can get the jailed party member cleared and be a lead-in for adventure number 1. Or, they can try to spring him from jail. This will definatly make them persona non grata at Westhaven, and getting out will be a challenge since the gates will crash shut the moment a Jailbreak is announced. Or the party can come up with their own ideas of how to spring their buddy.

Notes: This city was originally used in the PbP game I GM'd in the IC thread 'Imperial Antics'. In that setting, mithril and adamantium were so scarce that no weapons or armor made of those substances could be found, but that could be adjusted appropriatly to your campaign setting.