Tuesday, September 10, 2013

World Of Hearth - The City-State Of Logreb

Last time, I talked about how I am working on the world of Hearth (pronounced "hurth", by the way), and how I am scaling down my initial setup ideas. So, here is some discussion about the specific area and situation that the players will start in. It is a small, backwater city-state known as Logreb which lies at the edge of the Paynim Empire, subject to the Grand Imperial City of Payn. This is just an overview, mind you, and the players will be offered any number of ways to go from here, in addition to the hints that are mentioned below.

I really need to get a better camera. These are
five mile hexes. Logreb is the large dot roughly
in the center of the map.
Logreb is a fairly small city, as these things go, having only around 13,000 citizens dwelling within its walls. Still, it is larger than any city that the players have ever seen. Logreb stands at a ford (now bridged, of course) on the southern bank of a meandering river called the Vandin that flows from the Ablashian lands to the north down south toward the central part of the Paynim Empire. Logreb is surrounded by fairly fertile fields feeding 12 market towns, ranging in size from about 1300 people up to around 4200, as well as many smaller villages. To the south of Logreb lie the Stavral Highlands, a stretch of hilly country that hides bandits and fiercely independent hill tribesmen (who may be the same thing, actually). To the north lies the Greenwood Forest, which is also filled with unfriendly tribesmen, as well as fairy creatures (according to local rumor). The majority of Logreb's farming villages are concentrated on a band between these two rough areas.

Logreb is ruled by a sorcerer-king named Traskal Devin (MU17), who is not particularly despotic. Lord Devin simply asks that the taxes are paid according to a reasonable schedule, and will only bring out his iron fist to combat activities that interfere with commerce, such as bandits or excessive graft. Murder is frowned upon, but only indifferently prosecuted (unless it is of one of the wealthier citizens). As a result, Logreb runs riot with a variety of decadent pleasures unavailable in the northern lands. The city's numerous thieves have developed a certain level of organization, modeling their structures on the more legitimate crafts guilds. There are some who say that nearly one out of every six people in the city is involved in these thieves' guilds, but surely they can't be that common. In any case, there seem to be several competing thieves' guilds in Logreb. If there are any assassins in Logreb, they are not publicly known.

Less than fifteen miles to the south of Logreb stands a lonely ruin just within the hills of the Stavral Highlands. It is ancient, so old that no one knows how long it has been there. The locals call it the Pile. It is said that there are tunnels and cellars below the ruin that contain vast treasures, as well as terrifying monsters. Certainly, it seems to be the center of raids by orcs, gnolls, ogres, and such. Perhaps those humanoid creatures have made a home in the tunnels underneath the ruin. The villagers nearby have taken to building wooden walls around their villages to keep out the raiders, but the fields still lie endangered, causing Lord Devin to send companies of soldiers to fend off the raiders. Unfortunately, he cannot spare too many for the purpose, as there are still problems with Ablashian glory-seeking warbands and forest tribesmen of the Greenwood to contend with to the north. Lord Devlin is trying to encourage his sorcerer-knights in the castles nearby to take a more active hand in combating the humanoid raiders, but they find themselves already busy with the hill bandits and tribesmen of the Highlands.

The PCs are all travelers from the Ablashian lands (Ablashian society is a lot more like American society than any others on Hearth, being structured more or less like the towns of the Old West, so it will be easiest for new players to assume those roles) who know each other from childhood (or who met weeks ago on the road). They have recently left their home counties and come to Logreb because it is the closest city that offers the possibility of a better, or at least more interesting, life with the potential for greater advancement than their home. Perhaps they will eventually want to travel further into the Paynim lands, or maybe back north to the Ablashian lands (or even further into the lands of the barbarian Kurai), but right now they have spent nearly all they have to get this far, and have little more than the clothes (and armor) on their backs and the weapons at their belts. What bright future awaits them?

1 comment:

  1. It should be apparent that I intend this area to be relatively "mundane", as fantasy worlds go, in order to give the players a chance to gain a few levels before they start interacting with the wider world and its mind flayers, beholders, dragon-riders, and such.