Thursday, September 9, 2010

Neighborhoods: The Warehouse District

Day or night, the Warehouse District bustles with activity. Ox carts rattle non-stop between the lifts and the warehouses while guildsmen swarm like ants over mountains of barrels and crates. The barely controlled chaos of the district is rife with inter-guild conflict. Fist fights between rival guild groups are common, and sabotage or wholesale destruction of stored goods is not unheard of. To curb the violence the Staircase Guard maintains a very strong presence in the area, based in a permanent station at the Lifts where patrols of at least ten men wander the area.

The buildings of the Warehouse District come in all shapes and sizes, but are uniformly drab structures of stone and wood, weathered by centuries of constant use. Most include not only storage space but alls barracks for guildsmen and stables for oxen, horse, and heavy carts. The Lifts that dominate the northeast corner of the district are more impressive, but still designed for sturdiness and practicality rather than beauty. Greystone Keep borders the Warehouse District to the west, to the south is the Government District and to the east and north the edge of the Disk. The streets of the Warehouse District are unpaved, packed dirt roads marked with the deep wheel ruts and wide enough for two wagons to travel abreast. Oil lamps spaced evenly light the district well at night.

The Guilds and the VanFleet family divide between themselves the ownership of the more than sixty warehouses in the district. By law, guild-owned warehouses must pay a monthly fee to the city coffers equal to 2% of the total value of goods stored. Those who fail to do so for any reason are immediately stripped of the warehouse properties. The VanFleet’s warehouses are exempt from this tax. Guild warehouses take many forms, from groups of grain silos to enormous animal pens and airtight lockers for storing valuable spices.

Seafoam Company: A two-storey building of solid stone with arrow slits instead of windows, the Seafoam warehouse is more appropriately called a bunker as it contains all the wealth of the trading company. Al the doors, from the imposing front door to the most innocuous broom closet, are made of iron and closed by strong, complex locks. Every member of the staff carries a short sword, and sixteen dwarf guards patrol the warehouse in four, four man shifts, equipped with heavy crossbows, hand axes, and chainmail.

The Loyal Order of Herdsmen: The Herdsmen’s’ Guild maintains this enormous, covered pen, suitable for holding five-hundred head of cattle. Next to the pen is a large, wooden barn, stacked to the rafters with hay and oats. In the summer, the stench from the cattle pen is atrocious, capable of “driving an otyugh to drink”, in the words of many an ex-worker.

Twilight House: This small, single storey warehouse is remarkable for only one thing- its guardians. Twin shadow mastiffs prowl the building’s dark interior, magically bound to remain within its walls and protect the valuable contents, which are rumoured to be gems and crystals of the very highest quality. The mastiffs are trained to kill intruders on sight but will not attack anyone wearing official guild markings.

VanFleet Warehouses: Recognizing the premium value of land near the Great Lifts, the VanFleet family moved to snap up as much as they could. Currently, they own just over half the warehouses in the district, renting them for hundred of gold pieces a month to those guilds and independent merchants not fortunate enough to possess their own. Most VanFleet warehouses hold the inventory of several companies at once to maximize profits. As an added service to their renters, members of the VanFleets’ private army are available for hire at the rate of 3gp a day, one going to the guard and two to the VanFleet family.

There are several small, established stores and pubs in the Warehouse District serving the needs of the guilds’ work crews.

The Broke Barrel: Built just yards from the Lifts, the Broken Barrel is a dingy, smoky tavern frequented by off-duty Lifter guildsmen. The ale served at the Barrel is among the strongest sold in Stormhaven, no doubt contributing to the chronic, vicious brawls the tavern is known for.

Captain’s Choice: sells bowls of steaming, thick beef stew for two coppers each and is frequented by the district’s guard patrols.

Tools: This simply named store does brisk business selling high quality tools to the various warehouse crews. The owner, Silus a dwarven male, wiles away the long hours watching and cataloguing the constant traffic riding the Lifts through a cheap spyglass.

The Round: A wheelmaker and wheel repair shop, it has been rumored to be in danger of going out of business by various guildsmen.  An old man named Rudabaker runs the store which is constantly busy.  On some days guildsmen get into a bidding competition to get Rudabaker to finish their wheel first.

Eagel Warehouse & Storage: This warehouse is the subject of constant rumors.  The owners are unknown and while work has been done on the building by a variety of craftsmen no one has seen or noticed any business going to or from the warehouse.  That is the way its been since the sign was put up over ten months ago.

No comments: