Eldorheim is a large port city known for its artisans and bustling trade. The city was founded and is mostly run by humans, but the nature of trade means the denizens are incredibly diverse, racially. The social structure is very hierarchical, mirroring the concentric layout of the city. The city is a plutocracy ruled by a council made up of Guild Leaders under the Merchant Lord. Anyone who does any sort of business in the city must be a member of a guild (except the poor neighborhoods of the outer circle that is ruled by the somewhat underground Thieves Guild).
The city consists of three rings of stone walls. A major road called the Cobbleway runs from the port entrance through each wall directly to the Council Hall in the very center of the city. Inside the central ring wall are the guild houses and the council hall. While every vendor must be a guild member to do business in the city, only a handful of masters in each guild actually live in the guild houses. They are more like corporation headquarters with a few residences attached. The second ring wall houses the majority of the city, where the inns, shops, artisans, etc reside. The prime real estate is along the Cobbleway because they are the first shops newcomers to the city will see. Those places tend to be the most expensive. The quality of goods is phenomenal, but the price reflects that. All of the goods and services in the second circle are of the highest quality and good deals can be found off the beaten path. The outer circle (away from the Cobbleway) is where the peasants (non-artisans) live. They do the manual labor of farming, cutting down trees in the nearby forest, domestic work for the more affluent members of town, clean the streets of the inner and second circle, etc. Meanwhile, they live in poverty. Dirty streets and hovel like homes because their work is wholly underappreciated by a city that only cares about wealth. The peasants are generally not allowed into the nicer areas of town except for work (so visitors don't necessarily know how bad it is).
For visitors, Eldorheim is a beautifully wealthy city where rare items can be found and skilled artisans can be hired, all for a price, of course. The large gated port entrance opens to the Cobbleway in the outer circle, lined with shops of all kinds. The quality of these goods is good for the standards of most cities, but in Eldorheim, they are the equivalent of tourist trinkets. Newcomers are generally escorted by guards through the outer circle (they can stop in shops if they want, but the guards will generally recommend that the quality will be better in the second circle). Once they reach the entrance to the second circle, the guards will allow the visitors to enter and then wander freely. The leaders of the city clearly do not want outsiders to know about the truth of the outer circle.
The Council Edit
Because Eldorheim's economy is primarily reliant on trade, the Merchant Lord (leader of the Merchant Guild) is the most powerful person in the city. The rest of the Guild Leaders buy their spot on the council, thereby displaying their success through their wealth. If a particular guild is struggling to keep up payments, the Merchant Lord can threaten to kick them off the council unless they do certain favors. Or, if an up and coming guild master offers more money, the Merchant Lord may kick one off the council to let another in (this is generally how intra-guild conflicts are settled, such as when the master weaver overthrew the master woolman such that the Guild ruling cloth goods is now called the Weaver Guild instead of the Woolman Guild). In this way, the guilds are always squabbling politically. Certain factions may also form alliances, one helping another with payments in exchange for supporting their agenda etc.
The Merchant Guild (sell exotic goods, spices, wines, etc): Colors- Blue and Gold. Symbol- Ship in a circle. The most powerful and wealthy guild in the city because they take a cut of everything that goes in and out of the port plus the bribes from the rest of the council. Leader- Vinallia Song
The Goldsmiths Guild (jewelry, ornamental metal, gems): Colors- Purple and Silver. Symbol- four diamonds (shape not gem) arranged to make a bigger diamond. They profit from the culture of ostentatious-ness in the city. Everyone wants to display their wealth, so are wearing lots of jewelry and adorning their homes with extravagant art etc. Their biggest rivals are the Blacksmith Guild. Leader- Rysten von Miannvir
The Carpenters Guild (anything made of wood): Colors- Green and Bronze. Symbol- Willow Tree. One of the longest standing spots on the council. They benefit from the nearby Wispy Willows forest. They also specialize in making ships for the Merchant Guild. Leader- Cyprus Daliel
The Blacksmith Guild (anything made of metal for utility): Colors- Crimson and Black. Symbol- Crossed axe and sword. One of the newest guilds on the council (4 years). They actually broke from the Goldsmiths (used to just be called the Smiths Guild) to make their own guild focused on the more practical objects that metal can make, including weapons, armor, and tools (though still very well crafted and beautiful). They took the spot of the Vintners Guild, who dealt with wine and food. It was a fairly controversial move by Vinallia to allow the switch. It is said she was trying to prop up the wine business of the Merchant Guild by eliminating competition. Since the collapse of the Vintners Guild, inns and taverns have had to register with the Merchant Guild instead, but they are relatively overlooked and unregulated compared to everything else in the city. The Blacksmith Guild is still hated by the Goldsmith Guild even though both are in very high favor from Vinallia. Leader- Nell Strongarm
The Weavers Guild (anything made of cloth from making the fabric to end products): Colors- Lilac and Tan. Symbol- Three lines intersecting to form a star. The newest addition to the council (1 year) because of an internal coup to change leadership from the "Woolman Guild" to the "Weaver Guild." The shake up meant that their alliances are not completely set, giving them a small measure of power. Leader- Lucretia Ir'adale
The Scriveners Guild (paper products, books, scholars): Colors- Orange and White. Symbol- Owl in a square. Mostly care about accumulating knowledge so they try to stay as neutral as possible when it comes to the political squabbles. They help out each side when they ask for historical information, but they are not a spy network (that is done by the Thieves Guild), and it is well known that they will keep inquiries confidential while also helping everyone. Leader- Tyver Clearwater
The Masons Guild (anything made of stone): Colors- Grey and Red. Symbol- Pyramid made of three rows of bricks. They are relied upon to build and maintain the main roads (including the Cobbleway) and the walls that designate the different levels of the city. As such, they spend more time than any other guild in the outer circle where they see the peasants. There is pressure from the lower ranks of the guild to do something to improve the lives of the lower class, but masters who get rich doing the council's jobs don't want to disrupt the status quo. Leader- Dante Shurbeam
The Enchanters Guild (magic users, specializing in enchanting items and teleportation): Colors- Navy and Yellow. They are of the opinion that the magic users should be the ruling guild of the town in place of the Merchant Guild. They don't make overt moves against them, but there are rumblings of a coup being planned in the background. They are trying to recruit other members of the council to their cause. Leader- Adrianus Zarthum
The Tanners Guild (butchers, tanners, leatherworkers): Colors- Olive and Brown. A long standing seat on the council, but not as wealthy as some of the other guilds, they have always felt vulnerable in their position. They are the biggest supporters of the Enchanters Guild's coup, which Vinallia knows, but she kind of overlooks them (not entirely, she's not stupid, but she underestimates them). At the same time, they really like the Blacksmith Guild because 1. they took out the Vintners Guild instead of them, 2. Vintners Guild gone means butchering meat fell to them which means more business, and 3. Nell is very open to collaborations for armor etc whereas Rysten was always above working with the lowly Tanners Guild. Leader- Dylon Pumol
Important NPCs Edit
Merchant Lord Vinallia Song Edit
Vinallia Song is a middle-aged female half elf who took over the as the Merchant Lord position after the death of her human father, Lord Feldrich Song. She insists on keeping the title Lord instead of Lady because she fears she will be seen as a weak leader if everyone is constantly reminded of her gender. Vinallia was Lord Feldrich's pride and joy, having fallen in love with her elven mother who died in childbirth. Feldrich was always oblivious to the hardships being a half elf brought to Vinallia as he would provide her with everything she would ever want, including training on becoming the next Merchant Lord of Eldorheim. Vinallia was 37 when her father grew ill and she began acting as the head of the council. He died 2 years later and she officially assumed the title of Merchant Lord, which she has had for almost 5 years. Vinallia is a politician and businesswoman to the core. She understand when to flatter, when to threaten, and when to bribe. She is always thinking five steps ahead so she will always have the upper hand in interactions and negotiations and she will rarely speak to strangers unless her spies have already told her who they are and generally what they want with her. Her number one priority is staying in power. She never married and has no children because she is a lesbian, but this is not known outside of her inner circle. Vinallia's decision to allow the Blacksmiths Guild to break from the Goldsmiths (and her father's good friend Rysten) and overthrow the Vintners Guild is the most controversial things she has ever done. The truth of the matter is that she started accepting bribes from Saga Meadery in Shimmering Relief (under Mechalen) to suppress the Vintners Guild, which will allow easier imports of their mead. In addition to the bribes, importing more mead means more business for the Merchant Guild so Vinallia sees it as a win win.
Goldsmith Master Rysten von Miannvir Edit
Rysten von Miannvir is a male gnome who wears gems and rings of gold and silver in his hair and beard. Classic bureaucrat who cares more about things being done the "proper" way than consequences on the lives of the little people. He was a good friend to Lord Feldrich, but his relationship with Vinallia has slowly deteriorated since Feldrich's death because she feels he isn't capable of adapting to changing political landscapes.
Carpenter Master Cyprus Daliel Edit
Cyprus Daliel is a sycophantic male human generally considered Vinallia's closest confidant outside of the Merchant Guild. There are rumors that he is also Vinallia's concubine because they spend a significant amount of time behind closed doors plotting, but they are not true (because Vinallia prefers women).
Blacksmith Master Nell Strongarm Edit
Nell Strongarm is a female human who started with the lowliest background compared to all the other leaders on the council. She was the daughter of tavern owners, but she always preferred the forge to the kitchen. She joined the Smiths Guild as an apprentice and worked her way up to master (not the leader of the guild, just of the highest ranking). She is a pragmatist and always hated Rysten von Miannvir for his gawdy style and bureaucratic nature. Politically savvy, she knew there was no chance of replacing the powerful Rysten, so she led the coup to make her own guild and overthrowing the Vintners Guild to get a spot on the council. Quest: Having accomplished the first stage of her plan, Nell is determined to get the Blacksmith's guild of Eldorheim recognized by the grandmasters of the Shimmering Relief. She wants to be the fourth grandmaster on the land's overarching blacksmith guild and she wants the Smithing Olympics to rotate through Eldorheim as well as Shimmering Relief and Etherforge. While the water of Shimmering Relief is said to give their smiths an advantage, Nell is confident that growing up in Eldorheim, known for the most beautiful trade goods in the world, will help her wow the grandmasters in the forging competition. She has sent her most trusted spy (Magdal, male dwarf, a master smith in his own right) to the city to report on current forging trends and try to learn any secrets about the blacksmith guild there that could be useful to her.
Weaver Master Lucretia Ir'adale Edit
Lucretia Ir'adale is a 75-year-old human woman who finally achieved her dream of landing a spot on the council for her children and grandchildren, a move she had been plotting for years. A master manipulator in her sphere, she has been having a tough time adjusting now that she is up against politicians at her level (not that she would ever admit that openly). She doesn't quite know who to align herself with to ensure security for her seat.
Scrivener Master Tyver Clearwater Edit
Tyver Clearwater is an ancient male gnome who wears long, intricately embroidered robes. He believes that knowledge is the ultimate power and only tolerates the bribes and political jostling so he and his guild keeps access to the fascinating stories that travel from all over the world to Eldoheim. While he doesn't actively seek to perpetuate the current system, he does nothing against it and even favors the emphasis on beautiful presentation. He especially likes the Masons Guild because they are constantly building taller towers in the Scrivener guild house to house their ever growing libraries.
Mason Master Dante Shurbeam Edit
Dante Shurbeam is a middle aged male dwarf who grew up in a privileged family. He took the council spot from his mother, who played favorites with him. Therefore, even though he did have to work his way up the guild, he always got the best jobs and didn't have to work in the outer circle. His friends told him about the plight of the peasants and there were very hopeful that Dante would speak up where his mother would not, but as soon as he assumed the seat of power, Dante followed his mother's advice of not disrupting the status quo. It's not that he doesn't care, just not enough to inconvenience himself.
Enchanter Master Adrianus Zarthum Edit
Adrianus Zarthum is a conniving human male, approximately the same age as Vinallia. Wanting the magic users to gain more renounced in the city, and knowing Vinallia was Feldrich's pride and joy and thus the obvious next Merchant Lord, Adrianus tried courting Vinallia when they were in their twenties. When she rebuffed him, he moved to plan B: making the enchanters in charge of Eldorheim instead of the merchants. It would take him years to position himself as the right hand man of the former Enchanter leader and get himself named as his successor. He finally joined the council about 6 months before Vinallia became interim Merchant Lord. His plots were not well established by that time, but he planned on moving on her quickly after Feldrich died. Unfortunately, he was not counting on her being ready for him and even a few moves ahead. It became a chess match, but Adrianus is careful because he currently doesn't have the same standing as her so he can't move against her openly. He is mainly trying to sway more council members to his side, saying they don't have to openly oppose her, but when the tide turns they should be on his side.
Tanner Master Dylon Pumol Edit
Dylon Pumol is an aging male human. He is pretty whiny about his lot in life (not being the most powerful guild even though he is still one of nine ruling members of the council) and most others find him very annoying and end up ignoring him, enraging him further. He feels the Merchant Guild has been very unfair to him and his guild, which motivates him to back Adrianus and the enchanters in the feud. He likes Nell and the blacksmiths because he feels they are now the lowliest members of the council since they are the newest addition. What he doesn't understand is that Nell is respected so her voice actually does carry more weight in discussions than his. Dylon is a pretty ineffective leader. The other master tanners are loyal to him so won't remove him from his seat, but more adept people handle the actual business of the guild, keeping them in enough money to continue paying the bribes for a council seat.
The Outer Ring Edit
The Thieves Guild Edit
An unofficial guild of the city, they don't have a seat on the council, but they are essentially the spy network of Lord Song. They have absolute rule of the outer ring and the peasants who live there. As long as the peasants do their work and don't raise suspicions, Vinallia doesn't care what happens to them. Peasants who are in the good graces of the thieves guild can get better jobs, better food from the second ring, and protection. Those who cross the thieves guild may be murdered, tortured, maimed, ridiculed in the street, or extorted for anything and everything they could possibly give up (including family members). Possibly the most frightening thing is that the punishments are seemingly given out without regard to the seriousness of the crime. The journeymen and masters (they farcically use the same ranking system as the legal guilds of the city) can choose punishment on a whim. The biggest offense is talking about the outer circle while in the inner rings or on the docks where tourists might hear you. It is in the guilds best interest to keep the peasants looking presentable so they frequently press apprentice tailors for new peasant clothes for free (one of the reasons the tanners guild has some problems).
The Peasants Edit
The people who live in the outer circle learn early to keep your head down and your mouth shut. If a guild member tells you to do something, you do it, no questions asked. Never talk to outsiders, don't even look them in the eye. The thieves guild has made it very clear that they are the best kept secret in all of Eldorheim. Some peasants who have won the favor of certain thief masters (and thus have less scrutiny upon them) will open up speakeasy type underground bars for the people to escape the fear of the outer ring. A few small rebellions have been tried out of establishments such as that, but the thieves guild always find out and they always squash it before any word can make it back to Lord Song.