Bryce's Landing Edit
Bryce's Landing is a city of transportation. Located on the leftmost bank of the Harton River Delta, it boasts access via sea, river, and road. In addition, the city center has a public teleportation circle with a regular schedule of outbound and inbound trips. There, those who can afford it can quickly reach other places both in the realm and, for a greater price, more dangerous and exotic locations.
Bryce's Landing started generations ago as a remote fishing village and quickly grew due its diverse food sources. The fisheries at the mouth of the river and around the islands of the delta have been consistently productive. In addition, the large wetland areas of the delta provides habitat to a diverse collection of fauna. The “Swamp Folk” of Harton Delta make frequent river crossings with their boats laden down with shrimp, crawdads, and various other edibles, including some exotic and extreme cuisine. Thag Hoodak, for example, became a local celebrity when he pulled into the docks with freshly killed catoblepas atop his barge. He achieved full icon status a month later when he docked again, gunwales a pixie's wing above the waterline, a froghemoth filling the entire vessel and then some. Agriculture primarily consists of rice and other wet climate produce. The land along the floodplain of the Harton river is famously fertile. In addition, a strip only a few miles wide between the sea and the much wetter inland area is particularly well suited to agriculture. This area is mostly larger farms planted in cash crops within a day or two’s cart ride of the city, giving way to a collection of subsistence farms farther out.
Bryce's Landing's port sees ships from all across the realm. While the surrounding fields and waters produce abundant and diverse food sources, Bryce’s Landing is almost completely devoid of mineral resources. The area is devoid of mining and quarrying to the point that merchants are able to sell the ballast stones out of empty ships that come to buy grain. The city's primary trade partner is Shimmering Relief, which provides iron and steel goods in exchange for grain. For products that are very expensive or coming from great distances it is often more economical to move them via the teleportation circle, provided of course that a suitable circle exists at the destination. The city enjoys brisk trade in this manner with Ebreosea in addition to regular passenger service to this destination.
Most of Bryce’s Landing’s industry involves processing things that can be caught or harvested.
Mill Races Edit
Although the power that today grinds grain into flour comes primarily from animals, magic, or wind, there are many early examples of attempts to use water to power mills in the city, particularly in the northern section. The typical method was by mill race, where a trench was dug from the river to point sufficiently far upstream to create the desired fall at the mill. These were often not successful due to the relatively flat landscape, which requires a very long run to create enough elevation change. These mill races still exist in many places, branching off and coming together in a complex pattern under the city, but they have largely been built on top of and forgotten. They are occasionally uncovered accidentally by builders, who often tell stories about the frightening and fantastic characters and creatures that they found there, although these stories rarely can be verified. Only a couple of working water powered mills still exist in Old Town and the Market District, where the topography makes them marginally practical.
The Battle of The Circle: Edit
During the current lord's governance, a band of miscreants backed by cultists attempted to overcome the tight security of the teleportation circle and use it to open a portal to Hell. Although this was ultimately unsuccessful, property damage in the area was high, and much of the logistical capability of the administration was disrupted. This allowed an opening to organized crime, which was already established in the city, to gain a piece of the daily operation of the Circle.
Rat's Flats Edit
50 years ago, rival forces laid siege to Bryce's Landing and were successful in breaching the long southern wall of the city. The neighborhood between the wall and Municipal Mount was at the time known as Shadyside, as much it was shaded either by the adjacent city walls or tall government buildings depending on the time of day and season. Shadyside was a battleground for 30 straight hours as Bryce forces poured forth from the governmental center to meet the advancing horde. The invasion was eventually repulsed, but Shadyside was by that point completely engulfed in flames. Although the walls were repaired, no serious effort was put into rebuilding Shadyside or keeping order in the days and weeks after the fire burnt out. Surviving residents who returned were able to build little more than shacks. People from outside the wall who were displaced by the invasion were also shunted toward this area and the neighborhood became a massive shantytown with no order. The area has yet to recover and is now colloquially known as Rat's Flats. Residents view the fact that the lord's manor looks over all the city except Rat's Flats as evidence of abandonment, often saying, "Even Bryce himself turned his back on the Flats."
The Ditch Edit
Officially known as Hoozz Creek, The Ditch runs through the center of the city, eventually emptying into the sea. Fully two thirds of the city's streets drain toward the ditch, making it quite unpalatable except when a good rain has washed through it, although it could never be considered anything approaching clean. In dry weather it becomes nearly unbearable, leaving a foul pall over the Sea View area of the city. Cleric Acolytes and other young spellcasters are often assigned to perform public service by practicing the creation of water at the upstream end of the The Ditch in an effort to flush some of its contents out to sea. The Ditch's crossings through the city walls are secured through a weir on the upstream side and series of gates on the downstream.
Organised Crime Edit
The Power Edit
The Power are a loose collection of two-bit thugs running (and fixing) games of chance, loan sharking, and running protection rackets in less savory corners of the city. Recently the opportunity of the chaos of the Battle for The Circle allowed them to break into the businesses of smuggling and bribery at the gates as well as in The Circle. This new business had the potential to step on the traditional business of the Syrellians from the Blood Fens. However, an agreement was reached where by The Power would serve as the retail "front end" for goods moved to and from Bryce's Landing. The handoff of goods and money are accomplished in the swamps outside of the city. The Syrellians thereby avoid any interference from local law enforcement and receive upfront cash for their goods. In exchange, The Power preserve their perceived exclusive rights to smuggling within the city. Unbeknownst to The Power, this part of the agreement is regularly violated by the Syrellians.
The Power has a diffuse power structure, but all operations are at least nominally controlled by creature known only as, "The Boss." Operating from a secret location below street level in The Neck, The Boss is highly secretive and is in regular contact with only a few trusted lieutenants. It is whispered that The Boss is extremely vain and paranoid. The few creatures that have laid eye on The Boss (and lived) report that The Boss wears a crown with eight gems as a sign of power and has never been seen without it.
The Syrellians Edit
The Syrellian influence is found in cities across the realm, and Bryce's Landing is no exception. They have traditionally been the go to for bringing illicit goods into the city, although recent agreements with The Power has allowed them to concentrate on the more lucrative and less dangerous aspects of smuggling. However, the smuggling of particularly expensive, unique, or power items are still handled completely "in house" as The Power is generally considered to be insufficiently competent and trustworthy for such important tasks.
The Shaking Hands Edit
As would be expected with any trade driven city, The Shaking Hands are active in Bryce's Landing. Their interests frequently clash with that of The Power and The Syrellians.
Lower Ward Edit
The majority of Bryce's Landing sits relatively far from the water's edge and has several meters of elevation above high tide. The northern area of the city is situated close to the water's edge and is known officially as the Lower Ward. However, this neighborhood is known colloquially as Old Town, as this was the site of the first permanent structures of the original fishing settlement.
The Circle Edit
The entire area of the city around the public teleportation circle is a gated community, a city within the city. Security is generally tight, and anyone in The Circle must openly display credentials at all times. These are typically in the form of badges on cords worn around the neck. There are even credentials for residents, although The Circle has few permanent residents, in part due the severely inflated property values as well as the continual annoyance of living in a virtual police state.
Market District Edit
The area directly between The Circle and Old Town is called the Market District. Traditionally the main commercial area, many of the old shops selling goods for ordinary folk on the main road have given way to high end items imported from either across the sea or from The Circle. The area has remained a home to skilled artisans of all stripes, who still live, make, and sell in the Market District, albeit a block or two off the main drag.
New Market Edit
Bounded by city walls on two corners and currently having no public gate to the outside New Market is a confusing mass of old and new shops selling mostly cheaper goods mixed with densely packed residential blocks.
Baker's Row Edit
Baker's Row lies between The Circle and the old and new market districts. When the city was much smaller this neighborhood was covered in mills, granaries, markets, and bakeries. At the time, both main roads from the farming areas and the main docks led to this neighborhood and Baker's Row fed the city.
Creekside is mostly lower class housing with some markets, artisans, and shops. It has the misfortune to be adjacent to The Ditch, but still lucky enough to be at the most upstream end. The areas near The Neck and the Circle are gentrifying, pushing poorer residents into other neighborhoods, including Rat's Flats.
Sea View Edit
Seaview was formerly known as Browns Bottom after an early resident. It was renamed Seaview in an attempt to improve its image. It has the misfortune to be situated around the lowest length of The Ditch, and in any warm or dry weather, the smell permeates the neighborhood. It is a mostly lower class neighborhood, although there are some more affluent streets near Port View, The Circle, and The Neck. The Sea View Portcullis once carried The Ditch through the city walls, but nasty debris becoming caught was a frequent problem. The great engineer Henry Clay headed up a project to divert The Ditch through a cleverly contrived gate system that was clean, secure, and allowed access to carts and people. The Portcullis still stands, but is nonfunctional and the Clay gate is Seaview's only access to the outside.
Port View Edit
Portview is an older and diverse middle class neighborhood just south of Old Town. It is primarily residential with a smattering of shops and taverns. Portview has narrow gates facing the sea, and many fishermen work from the small seaside dock rather than the main docks on the river. The corner tavern is a particularly strong tradition in this neighborhood, where fishermen, artisans, and common laborers alike can be found every evening getting the day's news. Outsiders will find it intimidating to enter any such establishment at first, but once a round is bought, they will often find an old elf or gnome grilling them about their history and family until a common friend of an in-law of a third cousin is found, whereupon many more rounds will ensue.
Ye Olde Inn/The Dead Tiefling Edit
The most famous of these tavern is The Dead Tiefling. The bar was originally simply named, "Ye Olde Inn," and was owned and operated by one the neighborhood's original residents, a tiefling bard named Harmony. He and his bar became so beloved, that upon his death a stone statue in his likeness was erected at the entrance to the tavern. Over time the statue became colloquially referred to as the dead tiefling, and eventually the tavern itself became known by that name. The tavern itself is cozy and simple. Food is served in the evening, although the drink and conversation draws the crowd much more effectively than the food does.
South Side Edit
While the South Side is not the southernmost tip of the city it retains the name, being formerly known as South Bryce's Landing, or The SBL as some older residents still call it. The SBL was a fishing village settled shortly after Bryce's Landing. The residents of both towns agreed to connect the walls into a single ring when their original palisade was destroyed in the Bullywig Incursion.
Henry Clay Edit
Henry Clay is notable as the only neighborhood that is named for a person. Henry Clay was the head of public works and is solely responsible for the completion of the city's impressive wall and series of gates on the upstream side. The neighborhood adjoins much of this same wall and is a mix is artisans, laborers, and civil servants that work on the nearby Municipal Mount .
The Neck Edit
The Neck is a thin strip of high class residences, temples, and businesses located between The Circle and Municipal Mount. Almost all the buildings in this area are newer than in surrounding neighborhoods due to the relatively recent redevelopment of the neighborhood. The Neck was for years hindered by being located around a particularly narrow length of The Ditch, which in addition to the typical odor, led to frequent flooding as The Ditch would leap its banks, spilling its foul contents into the streets. However, once The Ditch was dredged, bricked, and covered over through the entire neighborhood, upwardly mobile residents from other neighborhoods as well as outsiders swooped in and took advantage of still low property values. This ingress included an element of organized crime, which settled in The Neck and still operates there today, taking advantage of proximity to both The Circle and Municipal Mount.
Municipal Mount Edit
Municipal Mount houses governmental and military buildings, including The Lord's Manor.