Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Colony - Turn 2 - Cruisin' the City

Early turns are long and filled with information, but they do lack in the action department. In part, this is people getting their game legs back, but it's also people getting familiar with the setting and figuring out where to go/what to do.

Start Date: July 18, 1027, Morning
Start Status: Queued up
Start Location: The Docks, New Kavlin

The Turn

Party members make their way past the line of tables guarding the end of the dock with faces that betray varying degrees of trepedation. In the end, the process is pretty painless. The doctor asks a few questions (Ever had Wet Lung or the Wobblies? Any lesions or wounds that won't heal?) and performs a cursory exam, paying scant attention to most of the group. Javiera's strange orange eye and Adrienne's missing one draw a little attention, but they raise no red flags.

The officer asks for names and occupations, which he records in a journal, and asks each person if they're wanted for any crimes. He also consults a bundle of posters with names and portraits but comes up with no matches. A few members of the group, particularly those with weapons and armor elicit what seems to be a standard offer, "Marshal Karst is always looking for good guns and blades. Inquire at headquarters if you're interested."

It's clear the money changer is only interested in getting things done efficiently. As each person approaches her table she recites "By order of Governor Tiern, all old world currency, including but not limited to coins and notes from Sarvikar, Alpheg, Mondari, Severlak, and Darubhan, must be exchanged for official colonial coinage. All exchanges are subject to a three percent fee to cover administrative and reminting costs. Please state your name and deposit all such currency in your posession on the table."

Once the cash is on the table, she changes it quickly for gold, silver and copper coins. On the obverse side they show a portrait of the Sarvikarian king, Delan Rugen. Lettering around the outer edge spells out "New Kavlin" above and "Sarvikar" below. On the reverse they bear the colonial seal and a year mark. Most have been minted this year, but a few bear last year's mark. See note one below. After the transaction is complete she says, in the same bored voice, "Should you discover additional coins or notes from the old world after this transaction, you have seven days from this date to exchange them for colonial currency. The penalty for possessing foreign currency within the colonies is a fine of up to five times the value of the illegal currency and a penal sentence of up to six months, to be served at the Grimstone mine. Sign or make your mark here to indicate you understand these terms and conditions." Nogg needs a little help with this bit, and Jinx explains what's going on and sees that he exchanges his cash (and gets a fair deal). See note two below.

The area beyond the line of soldiers (and the three hulking figures who are definitely not human) is chaotic. The piled luggage of other passengers, dock workers cursing at people blocking the area, former passengers regaining their land legs, and young barkers trying to negotiate deals clog the area. The obvious holy symbols worn by some party members, not to mention the many weapons they carry, clears the way to some degree, and only the boldest kids shout their offerings at the group.

"Drink the best beer on the docks at the Flying Wave Tavern!"
"Cheap rooms for rent at the Red Wall Hostel!"
"Share an evening with a beautiful lady or lad at the Silver Moon Tavern!"
"A clean place to sleep and reasonable rates! Look for the Blue Bed in Splitway!"

There's more like this, so it seems some form of lodging will be fairly easy to find. What it'll be like remains to be seen. The north end of the docks bleed into a collection of houses and businesses that look pretty rundown.

While he's waiting for the others to figure out where to go, Nogg notices a kid, one of the group that were trying to round up business for their masters, sitting with his back against a building, crying. He walks over. "Hi. I'm Nogg. What's wrong?"

The kid blinks and looks up, ready to bolt. Seeing Nogg's expression, he relaxes just a bit and mutters, "No one wants to stay at my Da's place. We're gonna be out on the street if we don't get boarders soon."


"Why what? Oh." The kid's voice drops to a whisper. "It's the ghosts. They come at night. They scare people and steal things. I think they killed the house Brakti, and now... people say we're cursed."

Nogg frowns, puzzled by this (to him) complex story. Finally, he asks, "What's a Brakti?"

The kids snorts. "You don't know about Brakti? They're spirits. You can't see them, but they protect the house and clean things. You gotta feed them, of course. They don't hurt anyone, but if you don't have one, a bad Brakti can sneak in and make a real mess."

This explanation doesn't really clarify things for Nogg. He stands in silent contemplation until Xon calls his name. The others are ready to leave. "Maybe my friends can help. I'll ask. Where's your father's place?"

The kid mutters something, but he gives directions to a side street in Splitway. "Look for the sign of the White Tulips. Da has clean rooms and makes breakfast for guests." He watches with a doubtful expression as Nogg rejoins the others.

Several of the Sarvan clerics have business at the temple (OOC: looks like most have chosen the Eastern Orthodoxy). Rennard pays one of the kids hanging around a couple copper to lead them to the main temple. "Where the bishop resides," adds Mendel. Several party members depart, agreeing to meet the others at the Tipsy Spoon that evening.

The rest of the group makes their way along the docks, ignoring the rundown area to the north by silent mutal agreement. Despite the lack of ships, the Rose is the only large sailing vessel, the place is busy. Small fishing boats dotted across the harbor or pulling into the docks suggest everyone better like seafood, and a row of warehouses along the cliff base indicate some form of trade goes on. What's more curious are the large openings in the cliff base. Smoke asks a passing worker about them. "Old caves cut in the cliffs. Use em for storage and workrooms. There's old tunnels and caves all through them cliffs. Haunted, some say. Them up top, the Governor and Marshal, boarded and bricked up most of them old passages, but there's still places you can get in, or things can get out."

After passing through the stench of the butcheries and tanneries of South End, the quality of buildings improves. Most structures are wood with stone foundations, but some brickwork is evident. The party finds the Tipsy Spoon easily, and several people immediately take a break for breakfast and beer. Others depart on personal errands or random wanderings.

The church-bound group reaches the Holy Congregation of Sarva in Top Bank, a fine structure of pale stone (though two other churches further north have taller steeples). The group leaves their weapons with the door warden and Mendel states his business with the Bishop. The warden says it may be some time before the Bishop is available and suggests the group waits inside the sanctuary. Rennard inquires about housing and the door warden mentions several lodging houses (most run by older members of the church), who lease rooms to church members in good standing. It's clear that these folk would not be able to accommodate a large group.

The wait for the Bishop is not all that long, and she comes out to speak with and bless the group before inviting Mendel and his mysterious package back into her offices. A short while later, Mendel is back, minus his package, and the clerics and their friends depart to explore the city.

That evening, everyone gathers at the Tipsy Spoon, which is a fine but rather boring establishment – most of the patrons are local merchants and craftsmen. Everyone shares their information. (let me sum up):

There are several hostels around, although most are going to have a hard time accommodating all 18 party members. They vary in cost and quality. A bunk in a common room can be had for as little as a copper a night, a private room might cost a silver a night.

Some residents take on lodgers, but these will take a bit of effort to search out, and the owners may be picky about who they allow to share their home. More expensive than a hostel, but some include meals.

There are a few inns that provide accommodations for travelers, but they're fairly small. The cheapest runs a silver a night. A room up in High Point might cost a gold a night.

Several people saw houses with 'for rent' signs showing. It's unclear whether the sign refers to the whole house or just a room. No one answered when Kessel knocked at one such house.

The general atmosphere in the colony seems relatively calm on the surface, but there's some underlying tension between the major land grant holders and the Governor. It seems the influx of new settlers is creating demand for farm land, and the grant holders have something of a stranglehold on territory near the city. The land grants were directly issued by the crown when the colony was first settled, and the Governor doesn't have the authority to overturn or change them.

At least some of the land grant holders have private mercinary forces at their disposal. Others may be hiring swords.

The land squeeze is pushing exploration efforts, particularly to the north and south. Although there are no good maps of the territory beyond the borders, mountains to the west (big mountains) form something of a barrier to expansion. Exploration is hampered by scary flora and fauna that includes some really dangerous predators.

The guild system is well-established in the colony, and those seeking mundane work will likely have to join an appropriate organization before they can find a job. Even the dock workers have a guild. Outside the city, the guild system may be less rigorously enforced.

While no one objects to the obvious weapons and armor the party carries/wears, they do draw careful looks from city patrolmen and shop owners. Maybe it's because the group represents new faces in the city, or maybe it's because there are almost 20 of you.

The business section of the city seems prosperous, and there's a fair selection of goods available. Most crafted goods are rather plain, functional rather than decorative, but there are plenty of well made products on the shelves. Grocers stock familiar foods as well as some unusual stuff (sweet fruit called pears, a hard vegetable called squash). The grocer mentions spring is the best time of year for fruit, when several native berries are available.

Other things you notice:

Merchants and people on the street are willing to talk, but seem very reserved.

Armed foot patrols wearing colored sashes are a common sight in the streets. They're obviously not regular military, but they move in formation and keep a sharp eye on their surroundings.

The military posts are fortified and appear well-manned by soldiers wearing Sarvikarian uniforms.

Many homes in the better parts of the city, High Point and Northside, have walled yards and fortified lower levels.

There are bowls with milk, water and fruit out on many porches you pass. Food for Brakti, perhaps? Not that any of you have heard of Brakti.

Note one: After everyone is through at the docks, Shade mentions that the new coins are all a bit light compared to standard coins of the old realm. "Someone's shaving some gold somewhere."

Note two: deduct three percent from the value of currency you exchanged. If you haven't recorded coins owned, please do so ASAP.

End Date: July 18, 1027, Evening
End Status: Dinner at the Spoon
End Location: The Tipsy Spoon

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