Characters of Cimmeria: Restnor

In a way, this post is really about three characters, not just one. Restnor the Third was a character I established previously as the founder of Restnor’s Point. Having him be “the Third” meant that there were two Restnors before him. Additionally, as their lives weren’t mentioned they couldn’t possibly be as important as Restnor. So I came up with a little history for the two of them, but mostly as a way of setting the scene for the environment that Restnor the Third grew up in.

Restnor the Third

In the aftermath of the Dragon War people moved into the wild untamed places of Cimmeria such as the Black River watershed. These early settlers needed protection. Many volunteered to be rangers trained by the Elves that lived in the Valor Forest. Restnor the First was among the initial group of rangers slaying monsters and protecting the people that made their homes along the Black River’s tributaries. Restnor the First had a child with an Elf. When the child was old enough, Restnor took him and raised him on the road while he battled against all manner of threats to civilized life. Continue reading

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Harbinston

Harbinston isn’t nearly as politically important to Cimmeria as the other cities I’ve detailed. It is a small village on the border of the territories influenced by Bradel Fields and Dalleer. I wrote a description of the out of the way town because a series of adventures I ran for my players was based in the village. Maybe the village will be important in my current campaign and maybe it won’t. Time will tell!

Harbinston

Harbinston is a small town of little more than four hundred people. The town sprung up as a trading stop between Dalleer and Bradel Fields. Merchants and traders traveling on the Black River would stop at the easy banking spot close to Robber’s Canyon. As trade increased along the river it also increased the number of robbers from which Robber’s Canyon gets its name. Many of the townsfolks had two lives, one of theft, and another of reprovisioning their victims. No concrete evidence of the duplicity was ever discovered, but the traveling merchants eventually grew suspicious and switched their method of travel to caravans along the eastern shore, safe from the robbers’ ambush tactic.

Harbinston’s large bandit population was a result of no administrative control in the town. No system of government controlled the town and for a long time both Dalleer and Bradel Fields claimed the small town as their own. The dual claim caused a standoff where neither city sent representatives to the town as doing so might spark a war between the two larger city-states.

About sixty years ago a group of adventurers did take an interest in cleaning up the town and cleaning out the nearby dungeons. The adventurers provided a steady flow of income to the villagers from the dungeons they raided. Highwaymen moved back to town and reopened their old shops to draw the heroes’ attention, greatly reducing bandit activity. The peace did not last forever. Eventually the adventurers retired to various mansions they had built close to the town and the highwaymen came back to prey on what little river traffic remained. One of the adventurers, Burne, even led the bandits for a time.

When the adventurers retired Harbinston lost its temporary protection against the many different monsters and creatures that have chosen to live around it. The town had no real guardians to act as predators for the monsters of the world, so every beast imaginable invaded the area surrounding the little village. Constructs, undead, plant monsters, mutated beasts, trolls, minotaurs, and even a dragon with its kobold servants moved to the fertile and previously unsettled fields around Harbinston. The dragon, called Joker, took a maiden from the town every decade.

To make matters worse two decades ago Harbinston had an outbreak of the plague. Without an experienced enough cleric to cast remove disease, the town sought help from Dalleer. Surprisingly, Dalleer agreed to send some strong clerics and medical supplies downriver and for once it looked like the town would have a lord to protect it. Unfortunately, due to a misunderstanding, the town’s bandits attacked the medical barges. The medicine was not lost because of the strong guards Dalleer had hired, so the sick people in Harbinston were saved. The same could not be said for the dozens of young men who lost their lives in the foolish battle. Diplomacy with Dalleer was broken off after the incident.

The same guards who killed so many of Harbinston’s men to defend the medicine took it upon themselves to remove the other afflictions that plagued the town. They slew Joker and freed the maidens he had taken as his captive wives. The guards cut a bloody swath around the town, removing every monstrous threat for miles, save the kobold servants of Joker who were left to their own devices.

The town began to thrive again after the monsters were slain. With the bandits gone as well, trade resumed. Only the occasional kobold attack interrupted the town’s resurgence. During the recent negotiations between Bradel Fields and Dalleer, Bradel Fields agreed to cede all claims to Harbinston in exchange for Dalleer’s entrance into the Second Alliance War against Xoria. Harbinston now has official protection from a large city-state as well and it seems could never be brighter for this small settlement in the wilderness.

Most of the original band of heroes that protected the town are now long dead. The remaining hero, Sherlock the Warlock, built a tall tower for himself a day’s journey outside of town. He hasn’t left the tower in decades. Adventurers visit him occasionally and tell tales of all manner of strange things in the tower. Sherlock appears very knowledgeable if knowledge is what you seek. The adventurers who have gone to the tower also say that the old wizard has lost his mind.

-GoCorral

Dalleer

Dalleer

Dalleer is one of the biggest cities in the east. It resides mostly on the eastern side of the Black River, but some citizens live and work on the western bank across the Bat Bridge. Slight amounts of the black coal in the river are still visible by the time the water reaches Dalleer and the mirror quality of the water is retained as well. The walls of Dalleer are fourteen feet high and made of granite stone with trace amounts of iron in them. The blocks made for the wall were sent downriver from Restnor’s Point.

Dalleer has a population of about 160,000 people. Most are Humans; but as always, some other races are present. There is almost no unemployment in the city. The government offers numerous repair and civil improvement jobs to those out of work. There is ample space to expand agriculture work around Dalleer as well.

The staple diet in Dalleer is bread made from the wheat grown along the rich Black River. Enough wheat comes from the farms to export some to the Aractrashans in the south. The meat in a Dalleran’s diet is steak from the cows in the city’s fields and mutton from the sheep of Shalerton.

The people of Dalleer are known for their individuality as well as military strength. The city has a well kept and well paid military and police force. They have eliminated most crime, but have been unable to stop the thieves of the world from burglary. Anybody capable of divination is likely to get a hiring call from the Dalleer Police (DP). The General is Sir Trustgard, the Cavalry Colonel is Sir Mark, the Street Warden is Sir Tucker, the Wall Commander is Lady Discoma, and the Jail Warden and Public Prosecutor is Sir Marius.

Dalleer’s system of government is an appointed dicatorship, where the previous ruler appoints the next. The leader bears the title of Björn and is considered a divine entity. This was started by the first leader, named Björn, who built the walls of the city. He enjoyed immense popularity, but was senile in his late years. As such many strange customs are now still practiced because, “Björn couldn’t have been wrong, could he?” Due to the appointed nature of the office, the insanity is often carried over into the next leader. While the Björn is nominally in control a council of elected politicians is the true power in Dalleer.

The judicial system is sufficiently fair. The only problem is it’s stance on heresy and treason are relatively harsh. The punishments are torture for an amount of days proportional to the amount of damage caused by the individual. Thankfully such crimes are not commonly committed or reviewed. The current Judge is Sir Balander.

The main buildings in Dalleer include the largest pantheon temple in Cimmeria, Dacklack’s Armory, The Inter-Racial Coalition Headquarters, The Brown Library, and Tremble’s Race Course.

The pantheon temple in the town is forty feet high with statues close to that height in the main chamber. The temple has a magical effect that makes it appear as if someone is alone in the temple save for the people they entered with and the priests. The illusion is self-preserving and will anticipate any mistakes.

Dacklack’s Armory is similar in looks on the outside to an 1840 factory. The smoke billowing out of the roof comes from the twenty forges inside. The brick construction is necessary to protect the building against fire. Dacklack’s grandson, Jormunger, runs the Armory. His first responsibility is to provide the DP with whatever they need to keep the city safe. He gives DP members discounts. Jormunger was a master smith before taking over administartion of the factory from his father. He still enjoys filling special orders for unique weapons and armor himself.

The Inter-Racial Coalition Headquarters is a large bar, inn, restaurant, park, and guild training area for all races to meet and develop respect and tolerance for each other. The head of the organization is Kig Yupington. He created it to help the different races come together peacefully and as a good experience for people in their youth. His own race is unidentifiable. Pointy ears of an Elf, stocky body of a Dwarf, hairy feet of a Halfling, tusks of an Orc, and blue eyes of a Human. He is a mystery that even magic has been unable to solve and something the gods refuse to reveal.

The Brown Library is the largest collection of books in the world. It has a restricted section for spells and a no rental policy unless you get a library card. Getting one is as easy as telling your name and giving one strand of hair to the desk clerk. The restricted section is much harder to get access to. It is locked with a powerful magic spell and requires an extensive character test before being admitted. You may only rent one book at a time and may keep it for up to a month before returning it. Spellbooks and scrolls must have a deposit put up before they can be rented.

Tremble’s Race Course is a place of gambling. The track usually has a horse race every day. The infield has an iron fence around it and many obstacles for the gladiatorial fights that take place within it. The betting parlor is connected to a magically warded casion. Any cards, dice, or luck altering items that are brought into the casino glow red. Any abilities used to influence the throw make the caster glow red. Cheaters are thrown out of the casino and forbade to return to Tremble’s Race Course ever again.

Various beasts and slaves are kept below the arena ready for combat and races. The current champion of the arena is a fire giant named Hoyt. He uses his feet most of the time, but will use a glaive if his opponent is near to his size. He often faces more than one opponent to liven up the matches. The racing champion changes day by day but the notables are Dangal on Hoofbeat, Tiana on Harver, and Unglit the halfling on Joyride. The announcer for the track and arena is Tremble’s daughter, Halfax. She learned from her father, one of the best announcers in Cimmera and she has an amazing voice that matches his in color and timbre. If Björn is not present to render a verdict on a gladiator match then Halfax is honored with that right.

In recent history Dalleer joined the Second Alliance War against the Xorians. Dalleer sealed their entrance into the Alliance by the marriage of the current Björn to Cassandra, the daughter of the now dictator of Bradel Fields, Astyanax.

-GoCorral

Taking the Bus

The college-run bus stop a few blocks from my house.
The college-run bus stop a few blocks from my house.

Because my bike was effectively unusable for the past three weeks I have been taking the bus.

I’ve never really taken the bus before. When I was in elementary school I lived a block from my school, so I just walked.

I was homeschooled for the second half of elementary school and I biked to my middle school and high school.

At college I’ve always biked or walked to class. The bus was for rare occasions when I had a poster board too big to carry on my bike.

I rarely took public transportation anywhere else besides school either. I’d bike, drive, or walk. I do this because I don’t like waiting for the bus. When I transport myself then I can go wherever I want, when I want, and I can leave in the same fashion.

I did take the train every day to summer school one year, but that is the extent of my knowledge of public transportation.

From what other people have told me, public transportation is not a pleasant experience. There are crazy people on the bus or train that yell at you. There are thieves and creepy people who seem like they’ll jump you when you get off at your stop.

There’s also the fact that someone has probably peed in your seat at some point before you sat in it. Sure, it’s been cleaned by the bus janitor, but how well did they clean it? Did they use sanitizer or did they just wipe it off with a pee sponge that has never been replaced?

Do you talk with the person next to you on the bus? My wife’s experience with this is if you do then it’s rarely a good conversation.

When I took the train for that one summer I talked with the person next to me and often had good conversations. That’s probably just coincidence though.

Taking the bus was an adjustment for me. I noticed a couple things.

I am a large man, so people don’t want to sit next to me. If I sat in a seat, it was typically one of the last few to receive another passenger.

Nobody talks on the bus except friends who got on together. There aren’t any crazies on the bus route I rode, but there aren’t any “friendlies” either.

I spent most of my time on the bus playing Candy Crush, writing notes on my iPad, looking out the window, or reading from my pocket copy of Sun Tzu’s Art of War.

My sister says she takes the bus because its like an extra twenty minutes of time each day while someone else drives you to work. I guess that’s true, but I still prefer freedom from the bus schedule on my bike.

That’s all for now!

-Mister Ed

American News

This comic from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal jives with my opinion of American news networks as I mentioned in my previous post.

American news networks seem to universally never cover anything newsworthy. They cover election news and stuff in politics when relevant, but the rest of it is just buzz.

The news networks are often set up where they service an area of about 5 million people or more. Within that area they could pick a story about how one person is over a hundred or how a single school out of the hundreds needs books. The news never covers something like a school district wide book shortage by having in depth interviews with the librarians from that district.

Another example from my local news. They’ve jumped all over a recent murder case. Some of the headlines are “Crime On The Rise” or “What Can You Do To Protect Yourself?” The murder was committed by a self-confessed psychopath. There is no crime on the rise in this situation, its just an individual. There sadly isn’t really a way to protect yourself from crazy people either. What I noticed from these headlines was that the local news is capitalizing on the fear the headlines and story creates to push more of their newspapers/page views.

I do get a little conflicted at times on the issue though. I never feel like reading or watching American news its almost all fear, puff pieces, or politic information I can get faster from the internet. But when I do watch it I occasionally see why they reported on that topic. With the psychopath murderer, how could you not report on that as a local news agency? It’d be foolish not to as it sells papers and it’d be dishonest to the public. We deserve to know that someone like that was in the neighborhood.

It’s just when there isn’t something to report as sensational as that, the new flounders. There could be constant updates on the situation in Ukraine or a daily update on WHY stock numbers changed instead of just the numbers themselves. Those important stories could easily fill the news when something else interesting isn’t happening locally or in DC. Instead, the top story today is “Coaches Turn Out to Hear Athletics Policy Debate”

Really? I can see the value of the story, but is it front page material? I don’t think so.

Just some of my rambling thoughts.

-Mister Ed