The Cities of Wyrlde are generally the largest settlements, often located near a river. With a population of over 6,000 people, a city is usually grown by simple population growth, and are therefore the oldest settlements in an area. Cities will have One or Two temples, and one or two shrines – these will be dedicated to the Patrons of that Realm.
Cities have thirty-foot-high, ten-foot-thick walls that are crenellated, made of stone, wood, and fill (often trash). They are solid, with broad plinths at the bottom to discourage laddering and siege towers. The base city, which most try to emulate in some way, is Sibola, with its ten rings and massive seventy-year wall. It remains the only city to have never had a direct Imp or Goblin incursion.
They are manned by a standing guard that will vary but is usually around 10% of the population in some form or other. Guard posts will always have a supervisor on duty, and usually have a team of ten to twenty men-at-arms.
Most cities have at least three gates, some will have four. Cities with Ports will have a wall pulled away from the port, making the Port itself a bit of a free zone. Durango is divided into five regions for each of the Dukes, whereas Lyonesse is entirely overseen directly, and the Shagan has divided the orderly Qivira into twenty five small units overseen by trusted nobles, and keeps her Dukes assigned to out of the way areas.
Cities do not have barter – one cannot pay one’s taxes with bartered goods.
The Towns of Wyrlde are medium sized, located several miles out from a City and having one to three primary purposes in addition to being a trading post. There are several Towns in any given Imperial Realm, and generally speaking at least three. Towns will have a local Noble in charge, appointed and sworn to a given Liege, usually the head ruler of an area. The Noble will be responsible for ensuring the town is safe, that crops come in, that needed supplies are brought in, that trade moves and products are shipped out. Towns will have at least one Shrine dedicated to a Patron of that realm, and likely one or more to other Patrons of that settlement.
Towns will be primarily mercantile in nature, with some limited agriculture, which is primarily the responsibility of the villages that support a town – often several. Towns will have a variety of infrastructure and systems that enable them to operate that Villages lack.
Towns are often walled, usually with wood or stone construction. These walls are at least ten feet high, and usually about five feet thick (stone, rubble, or doubled tree trunks, usually a mixture). They are patrolled at the top, and occasionally will have earthworks meant to delay or harass attackers in case of siege. Towns typically have a population of 1500 to 5000 people or so.
Adventurers are welcome in towns if they don’t disturb the peace. Just inside the Gates each town will have a Tavern, and a Pub.
Towns do not have a standard layout, more or less conforming to the terrain, but they do have a strong structure of what they typically contain. Most towns will be divided into Sections.
All Towns have a full market, usually a designated street or two for varying sellers of wares, most of whom live in their shops. Towns use coinage far more than barter, and barter is frowned on unless they know they person. Barter is hard to disguise on reports to the guilds, and difficult to effectively tax.
Towns are the heart and soul of an area. They set the tone for the villages that come to trade there, they act as the major trade marketplaces, and they usually have the ability to provide the things needed while smaller settlements do not.
Towns are formally designated, and one aspect is that they are responsible for a broad area – it is the task of a Town’s leadership to “tame” the region around it as best they can, and to protect the people in that area from the dangers and disruptions that exist.
As noted in the section on Taxes, Towns have taxes to support the tithe to the Cities, but also for their local needs.
Towns always have a force of at least 15% of the population that is able to be mustered in the town Militia. They will have a Watch, where there will always be a leader on duty, subordinates, and then the majority will be everyday people. Most towns have three shifts of equal or roughly equal size. Gates are opened in the morning, usually a couple hours after dawn, and closed at night, though getting in happens for a few hours after nightfall if it seems safe enough.
Following the Bitter Road, as Sibola was being built, the eldest and most scholarly of those who had endured the hardship gathered together and collected their knowledge of the Ancients, consulting precious books and scrolls and stores of passed down knowledge. From that, they recreated many of the things and ways that much had been done in the ages lost that had come before the God’s War and the ravaging of the world.
Among the most critical at the time were the ways of organizing people within cities to reduce risks to health, to ensure survival, to establish the ways and things that were needed in a city.
From that and based on later developments over the centuries, a fairly basic way of knowing what is needed has arisen, and a somewhat simple way of handling it all has been established.
At the heart of all this is a concept that is called Sections. Towns and Cities are generally divided into Sections, and often a Village’s growth is influenced by the way that a section is developed out over time. A Section is not a unit of population and is more about administration and needs of people who live in it, but also creates strong bonds and a sense of community among those who live there, as everyone in a section has responsibilities that impact their neighbors, such as sanitation, flood control, and other basic needs.
Each Section will have a Market, a Shop Street, a Refuge, a Tenement, a Cesspit, a Cistern, 4 to 8 Wells, and significant housing. A Section will have at least 2 Streets that meet at the Market, 4 Avenues that intersect the streets, and then several Alleys.
Sections are often considered to be “poor” up to “wealthy” based on those who live in them, and there is a strong sense of pressure to ensure that folks do not rise above their station.
Roads are generally grouped into Streets, Avenues, and Alleys. Generally speaking, Roads don’t have official or formal names. At least one of the roads will connect to a King’s Road or Imperial Road in some way, as these are the main
A Street is always cobblestone, a 7-yard wide (about 23 feet), and represents the main route through that Section, connecting it to other Sections. Streets include a perch wide (about 10 feet) Walkway along each side, often shaded by canopies attached to the buildings that protect it from rain. Along the side are drains that funnel water to the local cistern. Streets are slightly higher in the middle than on the sides, and generally graded to enable the flow of water. Streets are often named after the Noble or House that is involved in the Town’s oversight.
Avenues are also 7 yards wide, may or may not be paved. Avenues are slightly higher in the middle than on the sides, and generally graded to enable the flow of water, directing it to the streets. Avenues may or may not connect to other sections, depending on the way the area is built. Avenues are often named, but it is so varied and seemingly random that telling you how they are named could take a lifetime. In Sibola, all Avenues are numbered in a clockwise direction, according to the Section they are in, which is also numbered. So an Avenue might 34th, indicating it is in the 3rd Section and is the Western Avenue in that section.
Most roads in settlements are Alleys, usually unpaved in towns, but sometimes paved extensively in cities (Sibola is entirely paved in cobblestones). Alleys can be akin to mazes and are usually only about 4 yards wide (13 feet or so). Alleys are intended to be for foot traffic only, often cluttered, and are graded to encourage water to flow towards the Streets and Avenues, but often fail at that task.
Arenas will have their own Section, and Guild Halls often have several sections that they are required to group within. The wealthy House Halls will also have their own sections where their business is conducted. Those Sections will not typically have Wells, but will have a cesspit, and will lack residential areas. Tenements are also absent from these areas.
In Cities, the nobility will have a section that is walled and gated to protect them and their Homes, which are often sprawling affairs. Noble homes always have their own wells and cesspits.
In Towns, the Nobility usually resides in a Keep, a fortified residence.
A market will often be a Section unto itself in a city, although they do vary in size tremendously in smaller settlements. Each will have a Cesspit, a space for private Booths nearby, a Water Tower (fed from the Cistern), and a Well. In towns they are usually packed earth, while in Cities they are commonly bricked. Some markets may have a low wall around them with gates, and have controlled entry, while others will be open. Most markets have a small building that is used by the local Watch as an office and base. The Market will be laid out in a pattern of booths and stalls and carts that encourages wandering and obscures the entrances and exits except on the outer edge of stalls. Some will have permanent or semi-permanent stations, while others will be open, and all of them are either traditionally held or first come first served. Spaces will generally have a charge collected each day of use by the local Trusty or Fidge, typically around a Quid in Cities or five Shillings in towns.
Markets that have gates will also charge entry, usually between 5 and 15 pence, with much of the basis for being to limit the number of thieves and beggars that can get in.
Stalls are separated from each other by an Alley, which will have an occasional cart stationed in it (never more than 1 every chain (80 feet)). Traffic flows freely, sometimes chaotically.
Stalls will be either loosely boarded or full tents. A typical stall space is seven hands deep by two yards wide, but larger, more influential shop keeps will have perch-wide stalls that are double the depth (reaching both sides). Some stalls may hire guards, and the number of attendants will vary from one to as many as five.
Carts are always small, hand pulled carts, usually belonging to peddlers, that have a limited number unless the market has set aside a space for them to congregate. Peddlers and Tinkers are the most common users of carts, but there are always the food sellers.
Each section will have one Shop Street. It is along this street that buildings, often doubling as homes as well as shops, requiring more space than a Market can offer or have special concerns. A Bakery, a brothel, a blacksmith, and others will sometimes be side by side, ach using their workshops to create and sell their wares.
This also includes the few who own and operate Cafes, which are very popular in the cities (Sibola adds an entire street of them in each section) but are rarer in smaller settlements.
A Café is a small, three to ten table, two to four people per table, restaurant. Seating is outdoors, covered, and open to the street or avenue. Café buildings are usually set back in comparison to others, and many are run by families.
Immense buildings with yellow roofs, a Refuge is where the common folk gather in times of danger or threat. A Refuge will be able to house several hundred people, the largest ones able to house up to four thousand. Accommodations are spartan – a family will get one or more large, wide bunks (able to sleep three adults) and singles will have to share on a gendered basis. Changing rooms, baths, a kitchen with chimney hearth, a dining space, and a common area with a low, small stage are all standard features of them.
Refuges originally were an occasional feature of many locations until the second Skyfall, and the reason that the roofs are painted bright yellow is that in the aftermath of the last Skyfall, the yellow painted refuges were the only ones that had not been touched.
Refuges are always made of stone and brick, supported and double walled (a stone and brick wall, supports within it, and then another stone and brick wall), with clay tile roofs, and typically are two stories to four stories, with a cellar below.
Refuges have an appointed overseer in cities and many towns, while in the villages and smaller settlements they are handled by the local elderman or similar.
While larger towns may have them, Tenements are a major features of the Cities. A tenement is a large, three to five story building with stairs along two of the inside walls that lead up to each floor. Each floor has a long hall that leaders to the stairs on the oppose side. A tenement floor will have 8 single room dwellings on it, with a window and a door that locks. The rooms may have a faucet located on an outside facing wall, but not typically much else. Several people may live in one, or just one person.
The cost of a tenement room is usually paid seasonally and varies by the building. Tenements are often built under contract with the local noble but will be the property of someone who then collects the fees and provides the tax to the noble. A typical Tenement room will run about 1500 a season in poorer Sections up to 15,000 in the wealthier ones.
Cesspits are for the disposal of waste, chiefly that of humanity and animals, but also general refuse. The general space is usually about Rod square (around 400 feet) and consists of a pit, bunkers, a collection area, and space to move around in.
A common cesspit is six yards to a side (about 20 feet) and a fathom deep. The Cesspits are run by appointed Overseer who typically has a crew of nine to fifteen who work at the location. Cesspit crews take in community garbage, clean the streets through the use of open laborers, and attend to the Booths.
Cesspits are where people bring their garbage to. The stench of them is infamous, but some of that is mitigated by the ways that the crews that work the deal with it. Ash, collected from across the city, soil from wherever they can get it, and an assortment of small insects and related creatures are used along with long paddles rigged by clockworks to stir the massive piles all act to slowly turn the morass into something akin to a useful tool that is then hauled into small bunkers to the side of the cesspit area where it is allowed to compost. The resulting end product is then shipped out to farms that supply the city.
Cesspits do not handle metals, resins, or glass. These are generally not discarded and are instead brought to those who have a use for them, as they can be repurposed and reused, although ceramics are often ground and used in mortar, which is something that brick swains work with.
In my old world, we had a strange material that is absent here, but would have been very difficult for the cesspit crews to deal with.
Scattered throughout a city are small rectangular booths that have a door and venting at the top. Each booth is a toilet, and they are checked and cleaned out daily, the refuse going to the Cesspit. Tenements have indoor Booths that are serviced the same way, and most homes have a similar place where the refuse is collected, though it can be either connected to an exterior wall or be an outhouse.
Arenas are the locations of the Grand Games, and the
Halls are official buildings, the headquarters of the thing that they are the Hall of in that area. Halls are usually very extensive, very large, and have differing features based on the kind of hall they are.
Guild Halls often provide a space to eat and drink, hold meetings, conduct official business, and oversee operations. When making a deal with someone, you usually do it as the Guild Hall, where contracts can be signed and agreed, and escrow can be held for large purchases.
The Adventurer’s guild includes short-term occupancy rooms.
Most Guild Halls are two stories with a cellar.
A House Hall is where the head of the House resides, alongside their staff and attendants and functionaries. House halls are usually three stories tall with one or two cellars, and typically set back amid sculpted grounds, the objective being to show off the wealth and importance of the family.
House Halls are where official business of the House is conducted and have special importance in the lives of all peoples. Halls and Communes are examples of House Halls.
Vanguard Halls, usually called Campuses, are where Vanguards in service to a sponsor live, train, and prepare for their next event.
The principal government spaces. They will contain jails, Courts, Audience spaces, and meeting rooms for people to interact with the local government. In cities, there will be one stone Noble Hall for every four sections, while in Towns the Noble Hall may be a simple building or a great Hall depending on the size and wealth of the town.
Wyrlde strives to stay clean. Bath Houses range from formal, concrete and tile baths to hot springs that have been tended to and cared for. They are communal bathing spaces, usually divided into several sections (by gender, with cubicle rooms to store belongings and change into bathing clothes and put on robes) as well as typically having three pools in each section: Hot, Warm, and Cool.
They may also offer special baths for children, although Youths are always required to go to the gendered spaces.
Rainfall and often a diversion of a local nearby water source fall under the responsibility of those who store, clean, and prepare that water so collected. Cisterns are run by an appointed overseer whose task it is to collect water, ensure that water is as clean as they can make it, and store it for use throughout the city, particularly in baths and fountains. Cistern water is treated differently from well water, although cisterns are often responsible for both.
A Cistern proper is a six-yard cube (20’ cube), and a Cistern building will have four of them, each connected by a wide pipe that will have multiple screens and filters in it. The final cistern will also have a pump that is used to push the water up to a water tower located somewhere according to a complex series of pipes and screens to direct the flow.
Water is normally brought in from some source external to the settlement via aqueduct (a long wide pipe) to the cisterns scattered throughout the settlement, with the goal of keeping a constant flow in place and maintaining the water levels of the Wate towers under that Cistern’s watch, as well as ensuring that baths and other places have access to it.
Cisterns do not service individual homes, but in some locations may service a Tenement in their section with running water for washing clothes and dishes and such. When they do, the owners of the Tenement have to pay a weekly fee to the Cistern to provide for the people who have to maintain the pumps that allow that water to reach the tenement.
All pumping is done by hand on Wyrlde, although there are folks in Lyonese who are working on ways to use clockwork mechanism to do it, or to reduce the amount of labor required.
Cisterns run pipes made of clay and sheathed with metal (often copper) beneath the settlements, and in several places will have handpumps that are available above ground for people to use.
Firefighting, another duty of the Cisterns, is usually done using long fabric hoses that have been lacquered or waxed and oiled, drawing water from the Water Towers.
Settlements always have several wells that are dug as among the first things done when establishing them, even if there is a water supply nearby. Wells are usually about 3 yards in diameter, (10 feet) and have simple bucket and rope approaches for reaching the water.
Wells are surrounded by a Wellhouse, which is usually much larger than the well as they are often essential areas and places of community life.
Some wells are able to push up their own water, and these are often turned into fountains with broad basins and decorative central figures typically sculpted to honor someone or remember some event.
Wells are gathering places, open sided, and most provide the water that a family uses each day, hauled from the well to the home. Well water is used for drinking and cooking. Cistern water is only used for that in extremely rare and dire circumstances.
Cistern water is stored in immense water Towers, which typically consist of a two-story tall wooden tower and an immense barrel measuring 3 yards high and as much as a fathom in diameter (10 by 16.5 feet). Spigots allow special fabric hoses to be used with it that are normally stored in coiled positions around the base of the tower.
The Water is also taken by pipes to bathhouses and other facilities, as well as to the scattered hand pumps throughout the city.