Saturday, August 3, 2013

North Fenlock: Stuff Everyone knows part 3.

51-54. Medium-sized houses, primarily owned by people doing business closer to the locks.

55.  The Old Forest. This intentionally planted forest of white oak, rowan, blackthorn and yew is used by the Ard-Druid of Mistforge. Without a Druid’s pass ability, there is no way to go more than a few feet into the forest. The trees are laden with mistletoe and full of local spirits. A magical silence falls about 5 feet into the forest. People who study dweomers know it is a heavy-duty druidic magical silence. People regularly go into the forest (on purpose) and do not come out-or come back years later through the city’s gates. Attempting to cut it will certainly result in an Entangle.

56. The Treant’s Beard, a restaurant. Fenlock’s only genuine Fine Dining restaurant (excluding the banquet halls of the upper class.) Regularly used as a place for weddings and anniversaries, the restaurant has a glass-enclosed iron-reinforced deck that juts into the Old Forest, and a small ‘grotto’ beyond. Unicorns have been spotted at the grotto, as well as several faerie species. A shrine in back to leave trinkets for the fair folk is constantly filled-then emptied-of foods and gifts. Access to that shrine is very limited.

57a. The Lady of the Oak, a specialty brothel. This large structure is completely made of druid shaped trees, vines, and plants, which have grown together into square walls. The inside is plastered and painted and is indistinguishable from a normal building, save that the rooms don’t follow a normal geometry. The building’s ‘roots’ contain several dungeon-like rooms and tunnels as well. Some of the most exotic species in the city live in this building, or work in the building and live in Rose Court.  The Women of the Oak (there are a few men in the structure as well, including a breathtakingly beautiful drow) have historically put a major hurt on the horrors that come out of the mist using primarily druidic and sidhe magic.  The Lady of the Oak and her fellow courtesans are available by appointment-and invitation-only.   Particularly decorative bards and mages are sometimes hired to entertain the ladies, but never are invited past the common room.

57b. The Lady of the Oak’s Tower (Also called “the velvet treehouse.”) The top of a landmark oak in the Western corner of The Old Forest has an enormous thatched hut with glass windows and a wrap-around deck. Although the curtains are usually drawn, and one cannot see inside when they are not, pale, glowing colored lanterns that neither flicker nor fade are brought out at sunset and brought in every morning. A dome of force protects the Old Forest from above, including the treehouse. Two to five longbowmen (or women, their costumes protect them from identification) patrol the treehouse-both from the deck and from a tiny observation deck on top.  Although the exact path is not known, deliveries to the treehouse come through The Lady’s main building.

58. The Willow Fountain. This exquisite metal fountain is made of iron, yet never rusts. A statue of a weeping willow, the weeping “branches” of the tree are water chains (metal chains that water flows ‘down’ because the nozzles of the water start at the top of the chains) that lead into an otherwise still pool.

59. The Pink Pearl, a brothel. An enormous converted warehouse, five stories plus sub-basements, The Pink Pearl is well known as Fenlock’s “pleasure center.” The raucous common room is famous for its excellent food (generally one meal is served at a time, you get whatever the chef made that day) and copious alcohol (including an extensive selection of wines and imported liquors), dancing waitstaff, strippers, occasional spontaneous choreography and the ‘shoot now, ask questions later’ beliefs of the crossbowmen on the balcony, who are armed with both serious ammunition and sleep poisons. In general, the prices go up the further up you go in the building. Slipping down to the alcoves in the poorly lit basement or even under a table will run a sailor less than a silver, and a visit with the exclusive courtesans in their attic ‘suites’ can cost more than their yearly salary.  The Pearl’s infamous ‘sunset show’ (every dusk, except during attacks, storms or the rare instance when the lock is empty) is best viewed from the lock’s pool itself, and grows more elaborate every year, with pyrotechnics, high divers, shape shifting, and planks being laid between ships to entice sailors to come inside. There is a one-gp fee at the door, which is non-negotiable, except for city guardsmen and the thane, who get in for free. The thane can often be found at dusk observing the show from the bridge. He is well known as a regular, even if he’s not as…regular as he used to be. Many who have retired from the Pearl live in the prestigious 'Rose Court' neighborhood. 


60.  Fenlock Cemetery. Nearly twice as many people are interred a year here as live in Fenlock itself. People killed near the Mistforge have a habit of coming back, with or without Raise Dead, and often those who are raised come back very different individuals. Fenlock’s stone-walled necropolis is the destination for families who don’t want to see Uncle Joe again after he has been buried, and for a mere 3gp, the body is blessed, cremated and interred with others, with the name of the deceased added to one of the enormous stone monuments that have been erected for nearly 300 years. The Entrance and office of the Cemetery Compound (60a) includes portcullises at both ends of the 20ft ‘tunnel’ that separates the outside from the inside, and the offices of the cemetery keeper. A chapel to Palladian and a shrine to all the good gods are found in the building as well. At the center of the cemetery proper is the MacIntyre family crypt (60b), one of the only places in the cemetery where there are physical bodies interred whole. At least one rumor is that a few of the fully-armored knights interred there (with their weapons) have been raised at times as potent Lawful Good Ancestral Crypt Guardians. Certainly the barrier of the crypt is potent necromantic magic. Stonemasons working on the thane’s own eventual resting place could not enter unless they were ‘right with Palladian.’  Several of the Thane’s uncles, brothers and sisters, as well as many lesser cousins, have chosen to be interred here, rather than back home in Fort Palladian, and their ‘spirits’ are said to be part of the protective magic on the city. The crypt features a tower with an observation deck (which has been seen to be walked by a ghostly glowing soldier at times) and an extensive catacomb.  Another building of note is the crematory (60c) itself, which is running constantly, and is closely planted with trees that help catch some of the stray ash. Less well known, and harder to get to without being stopped by a patrol or the cemetery’s large pack of watchdogs is an area (60d) known only as “The Unsanctified Ground.” This area radiates very strong neutral nature magic, and is known to be where at least one high level druid is said to have once transformed into a great oak and never transformed back.  At least one of the giant trees there is known to regularly change position by more than 50 feet every few years.

61. Rose Court An exclusive neighborhood. So-named for the rambling rose bushes that half-cover the small, brightly colored houses (most in bright blue, green or violet) and give a strong fragrance to the area. Many of these houses are owned by retired whores, and feature lavish painting, expensive ironwork and stained glass. Several are over three stories, although all are fairly narrow, with tiny lawns, often with statuary or fountains.
62. Neuville’s Mercantile Fenlock’s equivalent of a big-box store, Sam Neuville will sell you almost anything, at a fairly cheap price, but things are regularly of a less-than-ideal quality. People from Fenlock rarely go to Sam’s place unless they can’t find a product anywhere else. Sam’s son Arno, however, is one of the best, fastest and cheapest farriers in town, and worth waiting in line for. He usually shoes horses in the morning behind the shop.

63. Arno Neuville’s forge Both Arno and his wife are constantly working horseshoes and small iron crafts.  They can be hired for custom work, but do not do armor or weapons.

64. Campion Manor One of the city’s major chivalric class family, the marble façade of this building is exquisitely detailed. The rear of the building includes an enormous covered garden.

65. Campion Tack and Saddlery In addition to their inherited money, the Campions do masterwork leathercraft and saddlery, including saddles, barding, harnesses and saddlebags. Their extensive store is full of display pieces. Most importantly, they can do repairs to most mount equipment, although they do not do barding above scale.

66. The Firefly Wood This large collection of trees and brush is largely ignored by the populace, although it is technically owned by the cemetery. About one third of the trees are black cherries, and are considered fair game for anyone wanting to climb during harvest time. It is regularly swarmed with fireflies in early summer.

67. Desmarais Forge and Home Paul Desmarais was an adventurer, until…well, you know, you get a few too many injuries to certain joints and you decide to turn your talents to other things-in his case making blades and armor. Desmarais is generally unremarkable, except he’s known for having repaired the thane’s enchanted armor more than once.

68.  Martin MacIntyre’s fortified manor house. The thane’s heir and generally accepted as the next thane, Martin is sometimes referred to as “the thane’s complaint department.” Martin’s house is not just where his wife and ten kids live (and he’s not even 30 yet), but also is used as a sort of secondary home for many of the Thane’s men and city guards. It’s particularly well known for having a fairly extensive bath and is one of the only houses in the city with its own forge and stable. It is regularly undergoing construction.   

 69.Temporary housing. The charter of Fenlock requires it to house most people within 50 miles in times of emergency, but it doesn’t have to be in luxury. These glorified cabins feature bunks laid five high and only a few feet apart, but have never been fully used in all of Fenlock’s history.


70.  Ruby Fournier’s Manor Owner of the Pink Pearl, Ruby is easily the richest woman in town, and her house shows it.  Widely reputed as a bitter and mean old lady, she has also been known to help out more than a few people in dire situations.

71. The Muckhouse A vital component of the city’s tannery and chemical industries, despite being well planned and very solid, anyone inside the building unaccustomed to the smell will be very uncomfortable, and within about 25 feet of the building the smell of animal waste is pretty intense. At 50 feet, it is still perceptible, and only those more than 100 feet away are generally not bothered (except when the wind blows just the right way.) The Muckhouse uses screens, pumped water, rushes, fire, chemical reactions, alchemy and maybe even magic to produce a number of products for local industries, especially the tannery. Getting a job or apprenticeship at the Muckhouse is considered a pretty terrible thing, but the pay is exceedingly high. It is one of the few local jobs regularly filled by local chain gangs.  While heavily mechanized, there still is a lot of hauling and pumps working required.
The Muckhouse is also the distribution facility for the city’s large dung collecting operation.  The flame from the Muckhouse’s gas burn-off chimney is nearly constant, despite the fact that a large amount of that gas is funneled off to the crematorium or the iron works. The Muckworks is the center of many connected tunnels, including one of the largest dumping tunnels leading to Black Fen.

72. Fuelbrick Seller Solids from the Muckhouse compressed into largely scentless, high-potency fuelblocks are sold from this semi-covered stone building with a heavy leather tarp roof. The tarp is designed to be dropped in the event of a fire, and no open flames are allowed near the building. The bricks are lightweight, and burn hotter than hardwood (which is actually quite expensive in Fenlock.)  The fuelseller primarily arranges deliveries, and many houses in the city have iron or steel boxes filled with these fuelbricks, which can be broken and lit to start a conventional fire or used to heat a large quantity of water or an oven with very little smoke and a great deal of heat.

73. Herbalatrix (Alchemist) Styling herself an ‘Herbalatrix,’ Belladonna is primarily an alchemist, selling raw chemicals, herbs, highly refined oils and fuel alcohols, legal poisons (such as those used on rats). While human, she has a definitely halfling-esque feel about her and her shop, which is twice as large below ground as above. Despite proximity to the Muckhouse, there is never a smell inside her shop except that of high-end incense. 
74. Paper maker and seller. Another business primarily selling to other businesses, the paper maker here generates a number of paper and paper-like materials, primarily working with papyrus, rushes,

rushes and hemp, but also bleached woodpulp. On dry days, large rolls of paper are stretched out around and over bamboo stakes in the sandy soil of the attached paddock, where a well-trained pair of mules and an enormous dog know to leave them alone. The owner’s woodpress, screens and the like have occasionally been rented by bookbinders to make specialty papers, but most of what is sold here is in enormous heavy rolls. 

75. Laundry. This slate-roofed three story stone building is both the home (for many) and workplace of the city’s large force of professional laundresses. It’s a dirty job, and the pay is sort of crap, but any strong back is welcome to it.

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