Sunday, April 24, 2011

[A2Z] T is for Tower of the Lawgiver

The Tower of the Lawgiver is the municipal heart of Bridgeport, housing most of the bureaucratic offices for the city, with the exception of the harbor services and the fortified mansion of the Harbor-King. As a result more sermons in more congregations have railed against this den of iniquity and vice then even the flesh bazaar that are the brothels of the Warren. Bribery, graft and embezzlement are not just common, but the way business is conducted in the halls of the Tower, with even the pretense of hiding this having been discarded under the last Harbor-King.

The current Harbor-King, Scolelar, has publicly made his views known that the Tower needs to cleansed of the the corruption in it. While the common people of Bridgeport like the idea most have adopted a wait and see attitude, as other reformers have come and gone before with no changes.

Friday, April 22, 2011

[A2Z] S if for Secrets of the Seawalls

The Secrets of the Seawalls is a collective title for the strange and occasionally useful objects found by the brave, or foolish, adventurers who plumb the depths of these massive edifices. Everything from strange music making floating spheres to the Habor-King's blade of office have been brought to light, and most, in the great tradition of Bridgeport, have been sold to the highest bidder. Amongst the more powerful guild families and the noble houses, the possession of a Secret of the Seawalls are a status item, and the mages of the city have found that some items have uses in their laboratories. This has spawned a small market for recovered items, and a larger market in forgeries and thefts of existing items. The upside as the civic government finds it is that the greater dangers of recovering the items from the bowels of the seawalls tends to limit the number of "practicing" adventurers in the city, without requiring the disposal of bodies.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

[A2Z] R is for the Rock and Rhaum

The Rock
The Rock is a strange spire of stone that is home away from home for the dwarves of Bridgeport. Rising up from below Bridgeport, and made of a stone not native to the area, the Rock is an island of order in a city of chaos. However only those of dwarven blood or proven friendship with stout race are ever allowed inside, and consequently legends of great wealth hidden inside circulate. What is known is the quality of the metalwork that is released from inside is breath taking,as are the prices.

Rhaum is the agricultural center that feeds the city of Bridgeport, collecting the produce of the rich surrounding farmland. The merchants of the town have become almost as rich as the guild leader families of Bridgeport itself by providing for the never ending hunger of the city. Strange stories of cults and obscene practices abound among the poor as they look on the fat, soups farmers in contempt, and maybe some stories are true.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

[A2Z] Q if for Quint's Pub

Quint's Pub has become a landmark where the Bridge district meets the Sailors district, with the enormous shark head mounted above the entrance staring out at the harbor. Owned and occasionally operated by Quint, once an adventurer who retired to a life of fishing that he retired from after losing most of an arm to the huge shark whose head graces the door, Quint's is a mecca for those who take their living from the sea. Virtually any sort of sailor can be found here, though the prices tend to limit it to the officers of the ships of the harbor. Even sailors who will not be staying in the Sailors district make it a point to stop at Quints, as so much gossip and information for the brotherhood of sailors passes through its door.

[A2Z] P is for Patrician Josef of Traer

Patrician Josef is the leader of the Traerian religion in Bridgeport and speaks for the Street of Worship in mundane matters with the civil government. As the leader of the largest congregation in the city, Josef has considerable power, putting him on par with guild leaders, and his word carries great weight.

However in the last month a bedraggled street preacher has been making accusations about the Patrician in his daily street sermons. Strangely no action has been taken against him as he performs miracles after each sermon.

[A2Z] O is for the Organization

The Organization is the organized crime syndicate that has massive control over much of the vice in Bridgeport. In stark contrast to the civil government of the city, the Organization is known for a rather rigorous level of honesty. While this should not be confused for a gentle nature, the ruling council of the Organization has made it abundantly well known that cheating and stealing from the "family" is not acceptable. Those ambitious individuals in the group are encouraged to expand the vices catered to, the range controlled, and protect the "family". The reach and power of the Organization is complimented by a reasonable relationship with the Harbor-King. While quite content to flaunt the usual laws of the land, special circumstances have cropped up to cause surprising cooperation, such as the cleansing of the worshiper's of the Dark God Tz'Anchul from the lower wharf area 5 years ago.

(The Organization is a mafia inspired organized crime group with a twisted but stringent code of honor. Blending elements from the Godfather with the traditional thieves and smuggling groups of fantasy)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

[A2Z] N is for the New Day Sewers

The New Day Sewers were once a point of pride for citizens and slaves of Bridgeport, but have not aged gracefully, in recent years becoming overrun by vermin of the criminal and animal sort. Part of a citywide program to improve and beautify the city, and built with masters guidance the sewers were planned to be the unseen heart of the project. While completely successful at removing the sight of filth and refuse from the streets of much of Bridgeport, it also became an artery for illegal commerce and travel in less than a fortnight. Consisting of a spiderweb of tunnels under most of the city, all manner of beast can be found in the dark spaces. Amongst the people of the Warrens there are rumors that the builders used existing tunnels and hidden rooms to save money, meaning no known map of the true extents of the tunnels remain unknown to this day.

[A2Z] M is for Magister of the Hidden Light

The Magister of Hidden Light is the official title of the city's sanctioned witchfinder. Needless to say, his encounters with the various mages of the city are tense and stressful encounters.
As the head individual tasked with rooting out the worshipers of the Dark Gods from amongst a population that is alarmingly oblivious to the threat until it is confronted with it, the Magister was given authority to use any means he or she deems necessary to protect the general people. There is always terrible suspicion of misuse of this amazing power, as no one, not even the Harbor-King is above suspicion or reach. This has led to horrific purges, though the current Magister is a quiet retiring woman known for a keen eye and pale features.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

[A2Z] L is for the Light Seawall and the Librarium

Light Seawall
Rising only 85 feet above the eastern entrance to the habor, the Light Seawall is so-called because of the flickering patterns of light on its side that appear at times. Made of a similar strange metal as the Dark Seawall and the core of the great bridge, the Light Seawall holds back the storm swells of the seasonal storms without the slightest problem.

Of much more of a problem has been the numerous religions and cults that have sprouted up around the strange lights. Everything from pacifistic cults that believed the light patterns were messages from a higher power to guide them to enlightenment to nihilistic doomsday religions that believed that the patterns were signals that the wickedness of Bridgeport need to be purged with fire and blood.

The Librarium is the repository for knowledge in Bridgeport. Created over 175 years ago to maintain and record all the literature that passes through the city, the goal of the Librarium has been expanded and changed over the years. As various proscribed and debauched documents have been recovered when dark cults are discovered and ferreted out, a permanent storage location had to found. With funding from the Harbor-King of the time a special wing was added to the Librarium to serve as a repository for documents deemed too disruptive to be sold or allowed free.

Friday, April 15, 2011

[A2Z] K is for Knut and for the King of the Rats

Knut is the grizzled and stoic leader of the guards of the Stores. While not officially in charge of any group beyond his own men, in any matter that does not directly involve their employers interests even the other guards in the Stores will listen to Knut due to his repeated actions to improve and protect all the guards in the area. Knut is never seen without his magical falchion, a thick heavy cleaver blade with the rumored ability to protect its wielder from any sort of poison.

King of the Rats

The King of the Rats is a legend with two major stories tied to it. Inagio, the master cheesemaker, swears by all he holds dear that this mythical monster is active in the under-city realms of Bridgeport. Somehow manipulating and controlling the numerous rodents in the city, this being uses them to work towards some unknown goal.
Amongst the dregs of the Warrens, those too poor or crazy to have a place to sleep indoors, there is a tail of a strange beast that is occasionally seen, though those who have seen the creature usually disappear or are found gnawed to death a few days later. Described as a massive rat with a cluster of smaller rats attached to the tip of the massive rats tail, and all the rats have eyes that glow with an eerie green light.

[A2Z] J is for Johann DeGrapheneed

Lord Johann DeGrapheneed is the tall and gaunt unofficial leader of the non-magical inhabitants of the Walk, the home to the most powerful families and the wizards of Bridgeport. Known for his wisdom, patience, and uncanny knack for building groups through compromise Lord Johann is the spokesperson for the Walk when an overall consensus is needed, such as when issues arise with the Wizards of the Walk.

[A2Z] I is for Inagio

Inagio is the master cheesemaker of Bridgeport, maintaining a shop with over 5 journeymen and 20 apprentices and a burgeoning clientele amongst the most important people in the city. However he is also whispered about in rumors throughout the city for his fantastically stories of an ongoing "war" with an unseen enemy known as the Rat-king. The normally jovial figure who has been a fixture of the city for almost twenty years has become a nervous and paranoid shadow of his past self. What does he know?

Friday, April 8, 2011

[A2Z] H is for the Harbor-King

The Harbor-King is the official title of the lord of Bridgeport, arising from the Harbormaster who first drew the Ebon Blade forth into the realm of man and defeated the liche who was manipulating the city for its own weird pleasure. In theory the title is hereditary but in the 300 years it has existed it has passed peacefully less than a dozen times, usually do the great popularity of the holder among the masses and an impressive magical backing from the Walk.

As the final authority on all things involving the harbor, the Harbor-King literally has his hand wrapped around the heart of the city, an idea that has spawned innumerable assassination plots.

The current Harbor-King is Scolelar of the house of Adean, a man in his thirties with an iron hard determination to run the city as he feels it should run. This determination surprisingly has a major goal of improving the lot of the poorest of the city and reforming the civic government.

[A2Z] G is for Great Mere

The Great Mere is the massive cool weather swamp/bog just to the south of the city, whose history has been tangled with Bridgeport since recorded (human) history in the area. Currently used as a dumping ground for city waste, both chamber pots and the occasional servant who has heard too much, there is also deep ties to the Mere with the Lizardfolk of the city. The frightening mystics and literally cold blooded blades-in-the-dark of the lizardfolk all trace their heritage to this massive swamp. Rumors hold that somewhere deep in the interior is an ancient city, a remnant of the past glories of the scaled folk, however the floating islands, dangerous predators and the clannish folk of the swamp have kept any of the glory hounds from returning with tales, at least as far as anyone knows...

[A2Z] F is for Far Az-Hrad

Bridgeport exists because of trade first and foremost, and the far land of Az-Hrad is one of the most dangerous and riches trade routes known. Only the great seawalls of the harbor of Bridgeport can protect the big ships needed for the long voyage from the vicious storms the Sea of Storms spawns every Spring and Fall.

With a travel time of roughly 3 months, only the best provisioned and largest ships can safely make the whole trip to Az-Hrad, however the rich spices and exotic goods they bring back have built many trading dynasty over the years. The various island colonies and harbors used as way points for the voyage also work wonders as convenient places to "retire" a troublesome family members among the dynasties, as no one of value pays attention to the strange stories that common sailors bring back...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

[A2Z] E is for Eramus, seneschal of the Organization

     Eramus is a name only whispered in Bridgeport, as he his the right hand and mouthpiece for the shadowy syndicate known as the Organization. Known as the "Seneschal" due to his direct hand in running and maintaining the various businesses that the group runs or takes its cut from.

     A very non descript man of average height and weight with bland brown hair, until someone meets his eyes, which are described as the most soulless that can be found in a man who hasnt traded his soul to the Dark Gods. Considered an old fashioned sort of criminal, Eramus is known for using a straight razor of the sort barbers are known for unless his target is known to be immune to such mundane weapons, and for following through on any promise or threat he makes.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

[A2Z] D is for the Dark Seawall, Dreamers and Disturbed Cultists

The Dark Seawall
     Rising over 120 feet above the western edge of the harbor that is the heart of Bridgeport, is the dark and forbidding edifice of the Dark Seawall. One of the few parts of "Old Bridgeport" that hasn't been built on by squatters, or they haven't lasted long. The stark angular shape of the Seawall is a frightening but solid edifice that can be seen from all but the most tangled and dark sections of the Warrens, providing both a home to bogeymen and protection from the highly destructive storms of the Spring and Fall. Stories abound that great riches, wonderous objects and frightening foes can be found inside the Seawall, as it is not solid like a mountain its size, but more like the various ruins found in the surrounding areas. Even more unusual is the material it is made of, a strange metal that even the most skilled dwarven craftsmen can work with only the greatest effort. As a result only a few entrances have ever been created, and are all heavily guarded or sealed. However cthonians still manage to escape from time to time, implying more exits exist but are unknown.

The Dreamers
      Roughly one in one hundred children born in Bridgeport are special, known as Dreamers due to their uncanny and disturbing habit of whispering secrets and disturbing truths while sleeping or in drug induced trances. It is almost like another force takes control of their voices while they are unconscious and enjoys the chaos and disorder caused by these revelations. More than one decadent noble house has been destroyed by the whispers from a common born Dreamer revealing secrets that none should know. Needless to say there is a thriving black market of those who would find these children and keep them drugged into unconsciousness to reap any secret they can. However there are dark rumors of what terrible fates inevitable be fall those who seek to manipulate the Dreamers as though the force that loosens their tongues does not approve of anyone trying to monopolize or control the chaos the secrets can create.

Disturbed Cultists
     A frighteningly regular occurence in Bridgeport, there are always those who are seduced by the whispered offers of the Dark Gods and Demons that haunt the world. Worse still, not all these offers are lies, tricks or half-truths that are used to tempt the weak willed. Using dark rituals, ancient spells and unwholesome congress with cthonians, they seek to bring the Dark Gods back into the world or reawaken those who sleep in the world.

Monday, April 4, 2011

[A2Z] C is for Cthonian

Cthonian is the name used by scholars and wizards to describe the creatures found inside the Dark Seawall. Rather than any particular breed of creature, cthonian describes any beast that is not naturally found outside the Dark Seawall. Ranging from the smallest anklebiters that even the scum of the Warrens can be fight to horrendous beings that blast the sanity from most that encounter them, cthonians are described as malleable creatures especially prone to mutation and change. Even within a breed individuals can vary widely, where one is small and easily injured, another may be resistant to any sort of non magical attack.

Rumor has it that the ratmen of Bridgeport are partially bread from cthonians by a mad wizard roughly 350 years ago when the crafting new lifeforms was a rage amongst the denizens of the Walk.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

[A2Z] B is for Bridgeport

Day 2, the Letter B

Bridgeport is a city without pity, a Noir city in a fantasy world. Heavily inspired by Ankh Mor-Pork and Tunfaire in fiction, Bridgeport blends in some darker elements from the stories by H.P. Lovecraft and Robert Howards among others, at the expense of some of the humor that defines Ankh Mor-Pork.

Bridgeport is intended to serve as a possible setting all in itself, with a mix of urban and dungeon adventures available, in sandbox form.
Bridgeport consists of;
  • the Guild district - on the tip of the peninsula, home to the moneyed class that provides much of the commerce that makes Bridgeport the city that it is
  • the Walk - the district that the upper and magical class dwell in on the rise of shoulder of the peninsula. Access is restricted and troublemakers, the poor and other undesirables are generally kept out
  • the Warren - the twisting and twisted slum where those who are down and out live and extending from the Guild district west to the harbor mouth on top of the Dark Seawall. Many weird occurrences are almost commonplace here, along with crime and stories tell of entrances to the Dark Seawall that are not regularly known about.
  • The Sailors District - a small but important district at the mouth of the harbor built on the Light Seawall, this is where sailors from all different cultures on the Sea of Storms meet and mingle.
  • The Bridge district - those who dwell on the great bridge connecting the seawalls, a bridge so high even the tallest masted ship can comfortably sail under, are generally considered a weird group. Inevitably richer than those in the Warren, an odd (and disquieting amount as far as the Lords of Bridgeport consider it) array of Secrets of the Seawalls can be found here. Home to what would amount to the adventurer class in Bridgeport, the Bridge is known for brothels, barrooms and flophouses, and those stores were anything can be had, for the right price.
  • the Stores - are known for the warehousing and storage capacity of the city, and among the quietest area in the city due to the sheer amount of watchers and guards in it. Theft is dealt with extreme harshness and lack of "due process"
  • the Street of Worship - is the dividing line between the Walk and the Guild district and home to all the official temples of allowed religions in the city, in addition to some empty or closed buildings.
  • the Rock - an unexplained rock spire jutting up from the edge of the Guild and the Warren, the Rock is the unofficial home away from home for all dwarves in the city. Visitors (only humans or lizardman, as ratfolk dont count) without a proper dwarven escort or special credentials will be turned away with varying levels of pleasantry depending on where the visitor is found.
  • the Light Seawall - the Light Seawall is a strange metal wall of unfathomable depth that protects the eastern entrance to the harbor, named because of the strange openings that will occasionally light up with an eerie light. Several current and past religions have sprouted up, based upon interpreting the strange lights.
  • the Dark Seawall - a much larger, taller and altogether grimmer looking companion to the Light Seawall, the Dark is the defense of the western entrance to the harbor. As this side of the harbor bears the brunt of the seasonal storms coming off the Sea of Storms which makes many of the residents of Bridgeport willing to put up with the occassional weird noises, strange creatures and horrific stories that afflict the Warrens

Friday, April 1, 2011

[A2Z] An Artifact - Bridgeport

The Ebon Blade - The hereditary (when succession manages to occur) symbol of rulership of Bridgeport, the Ebon Blade is a short sword, with an intricate hilt and a blade made of the blackest color known to the world. Rumored to have been found in the depths of Dark Seawall, the Ebon Blade shows up roughly at the same time as the Consolidation of the Guilds and the defeat of the lich who had been manipulating the Guildmasters into their war.

The Ebon Blade ignores armor, striking its target as though unarmored (magical bonuses are still added in) and shields its wielders mind from any scrying, mind reading, and mental influencing, from any source weaker than a demigod.