Campaign of the Month: January 2013
DANgerous Kalamar 4
Rising up gentle slopes from the rocky shores of the Voldor Bay, Cosolen is a cosmopolitan city with roots buried deep in the elven heritage of northern Brandobia.
As one approaches the city, the farmsteads grow smaller and closer together and outlying buildings offer some respite for those that prefer the open spaces to the confines of the interior of the city. Inside the walls, buildings are tightly packed and streets small, in many cases merely ten feet apart. People move about their daily business in a hurry and the stench is often overwhelming. Garbage, farm animals, human waste, and sweat all intermingle to create an overpowering and unique smell common to large cities.
Cosolen is shockingly crowded, and many of the people are ragged, injured, or just plain poor. Gate guards ask strangers how long they intend to stay and search their belongings to see if they are bringing everything they own. A year ago, a tidal wave struck the eastern coast of Voldor Bay and destroyed many of the villages there. The survivors, who suspected the incident was an attack by an unknown magical force, came to the capital to live.
The tidal wave and subsequent arrival of refugees has begun to change Cosolen in ways city officials could have never envisioned. The city is the jewel of northern Brandobia, a center of learning and cultural acceptance (as much acceptance as can be expected, that is). Civil engineering is the pride of the city. Brick, stone, and tile streets crisscross the city opening into squares with public wells and fountains. Unlike many major cities, Cosolen boasts several large green spaces. Trees line some of the more prominent streets – an influence adopted from the elven cultures in the region. Work crews manage these thoroughfares keeping the streets well maintained.
Lately, however, the city has begun to fall into disrepair. Money for public works projects has been rerouted to help deal with the massive influx of refugees that have arrived in the city over the last year. Skilled workers, artisans, farmers and laborers with no funds or employment (and little hope) arrive daily at the gates, carrying all they own on their backs looking for a new life. Most are turned away.
With the city filled to capacity many people now live on the once glorious streets. The guards and city workers turn these people out only to find they have migrated to another area the following day. With no homes, the alleys have become filled with people, refuse, filth and human waste. Try as they might, the city maintenance workers just can’t keep up with the demand for their services.
In some of the more prosperous areas of the city, public wells and fountains are guarded. City watchmen encourage users to get their water and move along. Cosolen finds itself fighting new problems from within while trying to maintain the city’s foundation of order and civic pride. Complicating matters is the lenient judicial code the city employs that follows the more elven model on how to handle crime.
The guards spend as much of their time at the city searching newly arrived refugees and traders as they do patrolling the streets. Divided and stretched thin, they do their best to maintain the order of the city. Still, like many groups throughout the city, they are not above the occasional con to gain a few silvers. Meanwhile, soldiers are routinely being pulled from drills to assist in patrolling the city, a task they find demeaning and a waste of their abilities.
Cosolen is the capital of the Kingdom of Cosdol, and by tradition, the Royal Heir rules it directly as his fief. Prince Sevlen spent eleven years practicing magic full time. Unfortunately, since the death of one of his father’s principal councilors he has had to abandon his scholarly studies to devote more attention to the kingdom.
The prince takes a direct hand in both organization and leadership of the military. The garrison allows Sevlen to draw upon 200 each light and heavy infantry, pikemen and archers. These troops are familiar with fighting against wizards, skirmishers, and monsters–an array of experiences unavailable to most armies on Tellene. Their morale is high, and they practice against each other often.
The major military threats come from the goblins and frost giants ranging far from their homes in the Krond Heights and bloodthirsty orcs from the Odril Hills. Pirates do not trouble the city because the constant fog in Voldor Bay makes sailing hazardous.
Crime however, is a problem not likely to change in Cosolen for quite some time. After the breakup of Brandobia, Cosolen changed its judicial code more than its southerly neighbors did. Cosolen used the much more lenient elven model.
Unfortunately, since the citizens do not all share the elven morals and social mores, much crime that would be suppressed in harsher governments goes unpunished. Con games are common, as is smuggling. Not everyone who wears a weapon has the right to do so. Forgery is difficult to prosecute. The worst threat might be grave robbing, since the elves often burn their dead and the early law books failed to mention of this appalling offense.
The thieves’ guild is an exclusively human organization that maintains the Brandobian attitude toward demi-humans and foreigners. The Guild master is a faithful follower of the House of Scorn and frequently targets good temples for silent, quick thefts. Violent crime is rare. A mugger never can be too sure that the teetering sot leaving a tavern is not a mage looking for exactly that kind of trouble.