Calimport (3.5e Environment)
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As the power of the Brunhelm royal family grew, the need for a secondary port city, one that would link the distant eastern kingdoms to the west, began to arise. The namesake of Brimhaven, the Brimm family, had also gained a notable foothold of the sea-city, and the king was in dire need of a port he could control. Thus, Calimport was born.
The shores in the river-heavy delta were long and gradual, meaning Calimport would either have to be built far into the sea on top of walkways and pillars, or more inland, with the ships farther towards the sea. In a feat of blinding stupidity, the king had the city built as a halfway of these two options: not far enough into the sea for proper docks, not close enough to dry land for comfort.
Calimport lives off the tides: the city is built on top of a series of wooden walkways and supports, and ships set off only during high tide, when the sea comes up to the docks incorporated into the city itself. During low tide, the wet, barnacle-infested area underneath the docks (or ”undercity” as it is commonly known) is a place of beggars, thieves and even monsters that wash up from the sea.
The impotency of the current king is clearly reflected in his port-city: the place is dirty, unkempt, even falling apart, and yet somehow functional. The more adventurous types have made the city their home as well, further lowering (or in some eyes, elevating) the city's status.
Inhabitants & Rulers
The dunner race, well-suited to seafaring and life in the occasionally shaky city, makes up a notable part of Calimport's population; some estimates place their numbers as equaling those of humans, although they're less likely to be accounted for in the city's official archives. They work as shipwrights, sailors, bartenders, cooks, artisans and fishermen, although many dabble in the less legal professions.
The rest of the city population is mostly humans, as most other races take less interest in seafaring. They work in a variety of jobs: sailors, fishermen, craftsmen, merchants, jewelers (of which the city has plenty, thanks to trade with Irid) and other odd jobs. Calimport's humans also take part in illegal activities, and making moonshine (commonly called ”aquavit”) is, although technically illegal, a common and respected career.
Calimport has no official mayor or other ruling party, further contributing to the ramshackle nature of the city. Like all of the west, it is nominally under the rule of the king of Fort Brunid, but in practice most inhabitants would name Eore and Glinda von Marina (see below) as the de facto authorities. Nobles and heads of guilds make up the ruling elite of the city.
The earliest parts of Calimport were built around the high tide line, but this design was soon found out to be lacking: ships could only set off at the highest point of the tide, and the port couldn't support larger ocean-faring ships. Soon, sailors and their guilds began construction of two piers, completely independently of the king's command, to alleviate the feebleness of the port-city as it was.
These two piers are now the focal point of the city. The northeastern one, called Starboard Pier or simply Starboard, is longer, taller and more in use. Ships that carry passengers, fine trade goods (jewels and cloth) or information go ashore here. The pier is built of light beach and lined with stone posts with lanterns set in them. The lighthouse is located at the tip of the pier, and Maid Mary can often be found here.
The southwestern pier, known as Port Pier or just Port, is the more down-to-earth and work-oriented than its finer brother. The ships that go ashore here carry livestock, grain, minerals, fish or tools, and often all of the aforementioned. The port is lower than Starboard, stockier and built of harder, unpolished oak, but would probably fare better in a storm. The Pit, an arena of renown, is found at the origin of the pier, and a shrine to the sea-god Ahti, one of the only religious locations in Calimport, lies not far off.
The parts of Calimport that are built above the tide line are better-constructed and often inhabited by wealthier folk. Since there is no need to build on top of wooden promenades here, there is no undercity area, meaning the criminal element is weaker (or just better at hiding). The few nobles that reside in Calimport make this part of town their home, for example Wilhelm von Morr; his abattoir is situated on the northeastern edge of town. The Raventurn Mill, situated next to the flow of Raventurn River, is also situated above the tide line, as is the House of Commons, the marketplace of Calimport.
The areas below the tide line that are nonetheless not a part of the wealthier piers are the poorest in Calimport – practically a slum. Crime and violence is more common here, although Calimport is not nearly as rotten as hearsay has it. A visitor is just as likely to be offered a (rather poor) meal as he is to be pick-pocketed. The Pit is the focal point of these slums, and the Shipwright's Guildhouse is the only solace in the area. A famous tavern, named Bellen's Pier by its owner Nicole Bellen and called Rotten Plank by everyone else, is situated directly on top of the tide line: a fantastic metaphor for its divided clientèle.
|When the shrine of Ahti sinks into the tide,|
the day is at its holiest.
Religion has never been a particularly important facet of life in Calimport. 'The sea spares not the servant' is a common saying among the sailors, where 'servant' means a servant of god. The only god to unsurprisingly have any following in the city is the sea-god Ahti, to whom a shrine has been built near the lowest point of the tide: the crude statue is covered by water most of the time. A new quasi-religion, the Cult of the Fathoms, has risen its head among the poorer and more desperate.
Threats & Strife
Traditionally, the only threat to the city has been drunkards, muggers and moonshiners, who don't threaten anyone who's on their better side or puts up an actual fight. The sea-monsters that wash up with the tide can be dangerous, especially those who have to live under the wharf, but the sailor's guild employs a number of guards to fend them off. Among the monsters, stygian minions are a particularly common foe.
The arrival of the East Trading Company, a numerous and wealthy organization of traders and sailors concentrated in Irid in the east, has put the town in uproar. The local shipwrights and fishmongers are strictly against the company's repeated purchases of Calimport property and ships. Dark skin, a clear token of eastern heritage, is currently not a positive feature in Calimport, and might even lead to violence.
Under the wharf and in the poorer parts of town, a cult has began to rise its head. The Cult of the Fathoms, as the unorganized religion calls itself, promises wealth and catch when the religion of Ahti has not been able to provide. Those from poor conditions find solace and hope in the words of the brinepriests, and as the cult grows, it turns more and more fanatical. Who knows what sinister secrets the closed cult harbors?
A - House of Commons
The House of Commons is the largest marketplace in Calimport, and it is here the sailors bring their wares. All sorts of goods can be bought and sold here, although fish is the king of sales. The strange name has puzzled the type of people who get puzzled by such things, but it's probably originally some sort of play on the word 'commoner'.
B - Shipwright's Guildhouse
Building ships is a massive source of income for Calimport: while both Brimhaven and the Twin Cities are larger ports, they don't construct as many ships per year, and the shipwrights of Calimport are known far and wide as the best on the continent, in big part due to a combination of human, dunner and goblin ingenuity. The shipwright's guild gives out permits for building ships and constructing new piers, and only someone very brave or very foolish goes into the business without their blessing.
C - Raventurn Mill
The Raventurn begins in the lowlands of Hundon, passes close to Redford and finally flows into the sea - it was at that river's mouth that Calimport was established. Just before the river descends under the city and into the river, it is used by the Raventurn Mill: a great mill-slash-packaging facility that's manned by a coalition of dunner and goblin traders. As the only mill nearby - the next closes mill is far inland - means that most unground grain brought to the port is processed here.
D - Von Morr Family Butchery
The only other important locale owned by Wilhelm is the Von Morr Family Butchery, run by a minotaur butcher, Tarngoth. Many of the Von Morr businesses operate in the Redford area, but Wilhelm keeps his most prized enterprise close to home. Besides, the requirements of the famous Von Morr Family Butchery can only be adequately met near a good source of water. Thus, the establishment was built in Calimport, and the meat is transported all over the west.
Quests at this locale: Von Morr Family Butchery
E - Calimport Lighthouse
The lighthouse of Calimport is a gorgeously-fashioned beach-wood tower with an alabaster base. While it doesn't rival the majesty of Brimhaven's towers, it is quite tall and beautiful compared to the rest of the homely, flat city. What few wizards have chosen to live in Calimport frequent the tower, since there are well-equipped rooms for sale: these come with well-stocked wine cabinets, artist's tools, alchemist's labs, as well as anything that can reasonably be cobbled together from the city's market; the lighthouse caters for everyone, although at 10 gp a night the rooms are very expensive.
F - Bellen's Pier (Rotten Plank)
Bellen's Pier, as it is called by its owner and no one else, was established when the renowned Nicole von Bellen was stripped of her title and driven out of Fort Brunid for spreading slander about a strange experience she had with one of the Blazonry Guard. Never one to despair, Nicole changed her noble title into a surname and moved to then-recent Calimport, where she established a tavern to rival all taverns. Showing utter disregard for the infrastructure of the city, Nicole situated the tavern smack in the middle of the tide line. This led into the tavern being a divided one: the upstairs is a place for fine folk and fine drink, while the downstairs (which has passageways to the undercity) is filled with bawdy song and violence.
Nicole continues to ignore the division of her tavern, serving both floors with equal passion, and sticks to her name of Bellen's Pier, whereas everyone else has long since started calling the place the Rotten Plank - the only thing dividing two completely different worlds. Only the dangerous downstairs has rooms for sale, while the upstairs is solely a bar - 5 sp buys you a room, but bring your own lock.
G - The Pit
A rough town has rough people living in it, and subsequently caters for rough fun. That's why the Pit exists: a half-hushed underground fighting arena where the strong and savage can vent their violence and the rest can bet on their blood. The Pit changes hands so often it can't really be said to have an owner. The fights are usually fistfights fought until one combatant is knocked out, but fights to the death are far from rare, and not always consensual. Good fighters become celebrities of the undercity, and thugs from Redford and even Brimhaven sometimes come to see a particularly promising fight.
H - Shrine of Ahti
While far from a religious city, Calimport is a port, which means the god of the sea is rightly feared and venerated. Ahti has no desire for complex churches or organized priesthoods: a massive statue of his titan likeness is the only shrine the city has to him. The statue is fashioned of coral imported from Irid and Eros, and is covered by the tide except for a short period on low tide. This makes the statue a breeding ground for clams, seaweeds and other marine life - just as Ahti would like it.
|Maid Mary is a massive ship, but unlike this one,|
it doesn't have cannons.
I - Maid Mary
Captained by Admiral Taselhaf von Horinz, Maid Mary is a famous oared barge that transports goods up and down the rivers of western Pansaer and along the coastline. Admiral Taselhaf (he always goes by his first name) has scrounged together quite the crew for his barge, and considers himself quite the seaman - even though the barge couldn't survive in the deep ocean for a minute.
Quests at this locale: Maid Mary
As an artificial city built on the orders of the king (as opposed to one that forms naturally), Calimport has little inhabitation in its surroundings. Some smaller towns and farmsteads can be found along the Raventurn, with them getting more common the further inland you go. Unlike many older settlements, the forests surrounding Calimport aren't all cut down yet, lending the city a wild countenance.
Skills & Professionals
As a port town Calimport does quite a bit of trade, and thus stocks goods and gear of all kinds. Weapons and armor aren't as common here as they are in some other cities, but when it comes to specialized gear, Calimport's hard to beat. One can buy even rarer goods in the undercity, if they know where to look.
Some weapons, armor and shields, as well as some pieces of adventuring gear, are available in masterwork quality, but this must be mentioned to the merchant beforehand, since no one keeps such items in stock.
- Appraise (up to DC 25)
- Craft (any that seem sensible; up to DC 25)
- Decipher Script (up to DC 20)
- Forgery (up to DC 25)
- Handle Animal (up to DC 20)
- Heal (up to DC 20)
- Knowledge (architecture and engineering, history, local up to DC 25; arcana, geography, religion up to DC 20)
- Perform (up to DC 25)
- Profession (any that seem sensible; up to DC 25)
- Spellcraft (up to DC 20)
A variety of services can be bought at Calimport, although the professional field tends to focus on more sea-oriented skills. Buying a skill check costs DC x 5 gp (rounded down) or 50 gp, whichever is higher. Skills that cannot be used untrained cost twice this amount. Skills that have to do with marine life, sailing, fishing or other sea-related activities can be found for +5 DC higher. These skills can be "bought" from Calimport, although for check DCs over 19, a Gather Information check of the same DC is required to locate a proper professional.
- Simple Weapons: all.
- Martial Weapons: all, except kukri, light pick, heavy pick, falchion, guisarme, lance, composite longbow, composite shortbow, battle ram, and greathammer.
- Exotic Weapons: bastard sword, whip, spiked chain, net, and harpoon.
The weapons sold in Calimport encompass all aspects of marine life, with tridents, nets and harpoons being very common. Both Medium and Small weapons are available, due to the ubiquity of dunners in Calimport.
- Light Armor: all.
- Medium Armor: hide, and chainmail.
- Heavy Armor: splint mail.
- Shields: buckler, and light and heavy wooden shield.
- Extras: locked gauntlet.
Armor can be bought both in Medium and Small sizes, due to the large amounts of dunners living in Calimport. Heavier armor isn't common in the seaside town, as drowning is a very real threat when walking on the rotten wharf.
Goods and Services
- Adventuring Gear: all, except caltrops, grappling hook, miner's pick, portable ram, and signet ring.
- Special Substances and Items: acid, antitoxin, everburning torch, and tindertwig.
- Tools and Skill Kits: all, except alchemist's lab and water clock.
- Clothing: all, except noble's outfit, and royal outfit.
- Food, Drink and Lodging: all.
- Mounts and Related Gear: guard dog, donkey or mule, light horse, pack and riding saddles, saddlebags and stabling.
- Transport: all, except sled, and warship.
- Spellcasting and Services: untrained hireling, messenger, and spells of 3rd level and lower.
Staying in the port for a day with a vessel costs 5 gp a day for a rowboat or other vessel of similar size, 50 gp for a keelboat or other vessel of similar size, 200 gp for a longship, sailing ship or other vessel of similar size, and 500 gp for a galley, warship or other vessel of similar size. The actual costs may change depending on your relationship with the local authorities, as well as any longer deals.
A DC 15 Gather Information check makes the following items available:
- Kukri, lance, light and heavy steel shield, caltrops, signet ring (fake or custom-made), alchemist's fire, sunrod, tanglefoot bag, thunderstone, spidersilk rope, and spells of 4th level.
A DC 25 Gather Information further makes the following items available:
Examples of Townsfolk
What follows is a list of random personalities and characters that one can bump into and associate with in and around Calimport. No stat blocks are given, since for the most part they're not meant to be notable NPCs: that's what the fleshed-out NPCs are for. If you need to play the characters, either wing it or use simple, premade stats (appropriately-leveled, of course).
- Carming: In a city of sailors, Carming is the eldest. Originally hailing from Remoras, Carming left as soon as able, as he was no fighting man. The sea called to him, and he answered. His passion for the cold sea cost him everything: his wife died a victim of break-in while he was at sea, both his son and his daughter drowned in the high tide, and his seaside house was devastated by an ocean storm. Yet he's never lost his love for the sea. The old man can be found sitting on the Port Pier, staring wistfully at the sea he both hates and loves. The lines that crack his face and hands are like the pattern of foam on a wavy beach, and both his eyes and his hair are sea-gray. Mechanically: as 3rd-level expert.
- Eore and Glinda von Marina, Shipwrights Supreme: Eore inherited the rulership of the shipwright's guild from his parents, who in turn had inherited it from theirs, all the way to the establishment of Calimport. Eore, like his parents, is a quiet, awkward man, and the guild has traditionally been run by the more boisterous figures in the guild instead of its rightful ruler. This all changed when Eore married Glinda, a widower from the poorer parts of the city. Glinda is everything her husband is not: she is loud, obnoxious and has a head for business like no other. Her husband meekly follows her around, with "yes, dear" being a common utterance, but the couple do really love each other. Eore is a fat, tall man who tries to hide his size by crouching (which his wife nags to him about), whereas Glinda is thin as a stick but makes herself seem twice as big with a large voice and a large ego. Mechanically: both as 2nd-level aristocrat.
- Garam bin Muredo: This unassuming, short-stature jeweler reveals his true colors through the bulky goliath bodyguard that follow him everywhere. Garam likes to present himself as a humble merchant and gemcutter, but is actually a high-ranking official of the East Trading Company. His dangerous bodyguard is the only reason he is not antagonized more, and, well, the nobles have to buy their jewelery from somewhere. Garam is sharply dressed, wears immaculate make-up and keeps his short hair perfectly groomed. He speaks in a low, pleasant purr with just the tiniest edge of scorn. Mechanically: as 4th-level expert; goliath guard as 2nd-level fighter.
- Jack the Knife: An inhabitant of the undercity, Jack is a cold-hearted killer with no morals. Jack makes a living killing people: anyone can hire him, and he only has (fleeting) loyalty to the one currently paying him. He's a thin man who invaribly wears sleeveless vests, with all sorts of sharp implements sticking out every which way. A crooked, uneasy smile decorates his face. Jack can be made an ally with money, but don't be surprised when the hired knife is suddenly in your back. Mechanically: as 5th-level rogue.
- Laville Ropersson: A sailor with no equal, this dunner is a master of the sailing trade. Laville's family have been ropemakers for centuries, but never sailors - that is, until Laville was born. She embraced the seafaring life, disliking the making of rope but loving the feel of it as she ascends into the mast at incredible speed. Laville is excitable, has a bad habit of snooping other people's secrets and then revealing them to others, and has a bit of a drunkard streak. When loaded, she insists on wrestling (arm or otherwise) with the strongest-looking people of the bunch. Mechanically: as 2nd-level monk/2nd-level expert.
- Nora von Balentin: A minor noble with a major secret: Nora was born with a sorcerous gift, and a particularly powerful one at that. Nora makes a living as a glassblower, both her practical and her decorative works are celebrated, but what most don't know is that she keeps her forge hot with a well-placed fireball. Nora's a young woman with strikingly blond hair, a round, kindly face and a plump body. She's wary of showing anyone her powers, but if someone were to gain her friendship, they could probably benefit from her sorcery. Mechanically: as 6th-level sorcerer.
|Don't cool your feet in Raventurn.|
- Old Man Maw: A ridiculously large pike lives in the waters of Raventurn: nicknamed Old Man Maw by the fishermen, it has eaten yards of fishing line, thousands of fishhooks and plenty of fingers as well. The beast is both hunted and respected, and many hold that only a master fisherman can catch Old Man Maw; hunting it through other means, such as trying to spear it, would provoke outrage. At least a dozen nobles have put a prize on the creature's head, so as to mount it on their walls, and a gourmand would pay top gold piece for the pike's flesh (although such a large and old fish doesn't necessarily taste all that good). Mechanically: as Medium shark.
- Rudy Red-Nose: Drunks are ubiquitous in cities, but they are divided into the Johnny-come-lately's and the legends. Rudy is firmly in the second category: hearsay goes that Rudy hasn't been sober in well over a century, and that could very well be the case. Rudy is rarely direly drunk and never a bother. This leads to most bars, inns and taverns into giving him free beer in exchange for entertaining guests with his rambling stories. His nickname comes from his massive, bright-red nose which dominates a rather small and unassuming, bald head. Mechanically: as 1st-level commoner.
- Vilja Salmonborn: Vilja is a goliath fisherman from a minor tribe that lives on the bank of a river near Tull and venerate various fish as their patron deities. She came to Calimport to earn for her family, but when she discovered just how much more of a challenge sea fish are compared to the small fry of a river, she decided to stay and hone her craft. She devotes most of her time to fishing, either on one of the piers or aboard a ship, but her past has molded her into a vicious hunter as well. Vilja keeps her hair and her sentences short, has a habit of spitting constantly, and has several fishhook piercings in both ears - these double as actual fishhooks when needed. Mechanically: as 4th-level ranger.
- Zhalom bin Noi: The pitch-black centaur offspring of Mieli mostly stay in the east, but Zhalom is an exception. Unlike most centaurs, Zhalom has little of spiteful Mieli in him, although the forest titan's wilderness does live in his heart. Zhalom cast away his high position (and his name: bin Noi means "son of no-one") as a messenger of the Twin Cities and instead journeyed far and wide, eventually ending up in Calimport where the many ships mean he has quick access to all corners of the world. He makes a living with his incredible fighting prowess: Zhalom is a master of the spear, and makes short work of his enemies in the Pit. Mechanically: as outlined in the gladiator class.