Sunday, December 10, 2023

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States -- Week 49

Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States -- Week 49

Compiling week 49 of the project, comprised of an additional 7 posts, this week's subject being a deep dive into people of interest - an introduction to the Guilds, Guild processes, histories and notable members of the City-State of Carasta:


Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #337 

December 4th, 2023 

  • Number: 337 

  • Name:  Deep Dive of Subjects of Interest: Of the Guild Masters and Master Crafters of the City-State of Carasta – Part 1 

  • Location: In the Guildhalls and Workshops of the City-State of Carasta 

  • Population (approx.): Varies 

  • Brief: Individual guild members have become royalty or rulers via their own devices. Whether it be a heroic mercenary or skilled crafter becoming a landed Knight, a harper or adventurer marrying a Prince or Princess, a rich banker or merchant purchasing land to become a minor Lord, or a wizard taking a throne by magical might for themselves. But rarely has an entire guild or guild collective become the ruling class of a region. Over five centuries ago, as the Ta’arnan Empire began its descent, the Guildmasters of the Narrows could sense the Corruption in the heart of Ta’arna to the far south. In an extraordinary and secretive series of clandestine meetings, the most powerful Guilds agreed it was time for regime change. Those still loyal to the Empire were distracted, displaced or simply disposed of and one evening, the combined forces of the Arcane, Thieves and Mercenary Guilds overwhelmed the remaining Legionnaires and their sparse Clerical support. The survivors fled to the south and east where some remain to this day. The Guild Collegium announced itself, the City-State of Carasta was founded and a new local calendar counted the 1st day of the 1st year FC (Free Carasta).  

  • In the present day, Carasta is ruled by the Guild Collegium, their Guild members and associated Mercenary Companies maintaining order and fostering trade along both coasts, in the oceans west and east and in the skies. Guild mining concerns started mines and associated settlements throughout the mountains to the west and north. The recovered ore and gems were traded to the resource-poor south and elsewhere. Carasta maintains relations with the great City-State of Amthor to the north and the smaller States to east and south. The City-State of Carasta also became commonly known as the Guild Coast and exerts a measure of control from Port Lostfort in the east all the way to the border of Amthor in the far north, with the bulk of their population concentrated in the Narrows. 

  • Geography: The City-State of Carasta claims an arc of land from the border of the CIty-State of Noldrune, west and north across the Narrows and up the coast, covering about 17,500 square miles of territory. Total population estimates are over a half million people. 

  • Next Article: Over the course of this week, we’ll present some of the notable peoples, locations, happenings and plot threads about Guildmasters and Master Crafters of the City-State of Carasta. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #338 

December 5th, 2023 

  • Number: 338 

  • Name:  Deep Dive of Subjects of Interest: Of the Guild Masters and Master Crafters of the City-State of Carasta – Part 2 

  • Location: In the Guildhalls and Workshops of the City-State of Carasta 

  • Population (approx.): 4,600 (Arrowwick) 

  • Brief: Hide working, metal working, stone working and wood working. In some estimations they are the most ancient crafts of the Kin of Aenwyld. As time passed, crafting evolved with the working of metal beginning with blacksmiths and expanding to crafters with narrower focuses – weapons, armor, tools, gadgets and machines. In addition, the different Kin developed culturally specific recipes based on their surroundings (unique ores for Dwarves and Gnomes, use of botanicals for Elves and Halflings, etc.)The leadership of the Smithing Guilds of Carasta (Blacksmiths, Armorers, Weaponsmiths etc.) has worked diligently to recruit smiths from all Kins and cultures to broaden the techniques available to be passed from master to apprentice (despite the inevitable objections of the Kin themselves). One such Master crafter, specializing in a unique Elven style armor-making, currently resides in Artisan’s haven of Arrowwick. 

  • Carkian Crimsonvale, 357, male Elf, is a master Armorer. He is chiseled and has brawny arms from his work. He keeps his silver hair short to prevent the embers from causing issues. Carkian has violet eyes with thin eyebrows that he neatly trims. His hands have some scars from when he learned various armor techniques. Carkian wears loose-fitting clothes, which he covers with a special Smith apron. He has never had to fight but knows Elven martial arts for the discipline it requires.  

  • Carkian learned how to be a blacksmith from his father, who died when he was ten. His uncle inherited the family store, The Dreaming Fire, in Feystone Woods. As Carkian grew in his smithing abilities, he met other Blacksmith Guild members including Paxidor (Pax) Conith, 200, Elf. Pax had experience creating special armor just for Elves, and Carkian was fascinated. Carkian learned all he could from Pax and left town to study under several master Elven smiths throughout the Feystone. After he reached the age of two hundred, he met TrisTris Winterfall, 400, female Elf. She taught him the unique technique of taking leaves from Elven trees and treating them with unique concoctions to make the leaves hard. These leaves become armor through Elven spells. 

  • Carkian lives with his wife, Magrieth, 340, female Elf, in a large house in Arrowwick. Every weekday, Carkian makes the trip to town to open his store, Tough Skin. Magrieth spends time with their children and grandchildren and helps plan events for the Blacksmiths guild. They both love to dance and visit The Busy Lute to dance on Friday nights. Carkian is a respected member of the Blacksmiths Guild, and many seek his advice on any metal issues. 

  • Geography: Arrowwick (#163) is a large town on the coast of the Staplefish Bay, well known as a haven for Artisans of the City-State. As befits his station as a Master artisan, Carkian’s store, Tough Skin, is in the central ring of crafters about the town circle. He and his family live in a home in an area of woods on the outskirts of Arrowwick 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #339 

December 6th, 2023 

  • Number: 339 

  • Name:  Deep Dive of Subjects of Interest: Of the Guild Masters and Master Crafters of the City-State of Carasta – Part 3 

  • Location: In the Guildhalls and Workshops of the City-State of Carasta 

  • Population (approx.): 850 (Riverbridge) 

  • Brief: The Mercenaries Guild is one of the key elements to keeping the City-State of Carasta a successful state. The Guild originated as a method to organize and protect free companies of soldiers from predation by the Royalty they served. Systems of standardized contracts and a registrty of duly authorized Guild member group (whether small groups of Adventurers, medium sized troops of Town or Board Guards, or the elite fighting forces serving as Carasta’s armed forces) was created and maintained. Fortunately, the City-State has been rarely threatened and outside forces are few and scattered (mostly Ta’arnan Loyalists and bunches of bandits and villains to the west and southwest and some monsters and aggressive humanoids in the slopes of the Gold Mountains to the north). The Guild provides military training for all-comers, recruiting talented newcomers for Companies with openings. Small fighting groups tend to adventures, quests protection or escort duties or in this case, fighting for a specific cause.  

  • Dorothy (Thea) MoltenArrow, 42, Human, is the Sisterhood of Graceful Talent leader. She is shapely and wears long blonde hair in a bun. Her lake-blue eyes are vibrant and alert. Thea has a tattoo of a four-leaf clover with a pair of crossed swords on top of it. The tattoo is on her left arm, and the symbol is the symbol of her guild of mercenaries. She wears leather pants and a chain shirt over quilted undergarments. During downtime, Thea loves to wear dresses with colorful prints on them. Thea wields two short swords and is an efficient short-bow shooter. 

  • Thea grew up with hardly a care in the world. She lived on a farm and learned how to work hard. Then disaster struck when a pair of ogres struck the farm and destroyed it. Thea swore she would never be in a position not to fight back again. She learned fighting from the local Adventurers Guild and, when she turned thirty, formed the Sisterhood of the Graceful Talent. The guild only allows women who have experienced loss in some way. Thea takes jobs based on righting wrongs done to females. 

  • Thea lives in a small house with her partner, Leyla Noblewoods, 40, female Human. Leyla is a Fletcher who specializes in unique arrows that do elemental damage. The two adopted Robyn, girl 8, and love being parents. Thea and Robyn belong to a small group of people who love swimming in ice-cold water. 

  • Geography: The Sisterhood of the Graceful Talent is currently contracted to Hwan Souza, Guildmistress of the Collegium offices of Riverbridge (#73) to protect the Carasta side of the village. They supplement a small number of guards, on the other side of the Noldrune River, loyal to the small ruling noble house (part of House Berian). Thea has an agreement with Souza and an understanding with the Lady-Mayoress that if an applicable threat arises, the Sisterhood can disengage from Riverbridge at any time to address said threat and will return if possible. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #340 

December 7th, 2023 

  • Number: 340 

  • Name:  Deep Dive of Subjects of Interest: Of the Guild Masters and Master Crafters of the City-State of Carasta – Part 4 

  • Location: In the Guildhalls and Workshops of the City-State of Carasta 

  • Population (approx.): 700 (Branhurst) 

  • Brief: As is the nature of the Kin, in parallel to the development of the artisan and services guilds there developed groups providing creations or taking actions for usually evil goals of the darker side of society. They were artisans created items with ill-intent (poisons, curses, traps, forgeries, etc.) or agents providing services against the better good (stealing, killing, bribery, extortion, etc.). The underworld, as some would call it, in larger communities organized itself into essentially a Shadow Guild Collegium where the gangs and criminals would divide territory, barter services and assist each other for a price. These Shadow Guilds” included gangs of thieves, orders of assassins, covens or individual dark spellcasters (necromancers, alchemists, etc.) and crafters. By might, tradition or rare agreement, one Shadow Guildmaster controlled the “trade” of each town or city. The “trade” in the fishing village of Branhurst is controlled by the leader of the Grey Sea Clan. 

  • Hok, 52, Kobold is the leader of the Grey Sea Clan, a “Guild” of thieves consisting of Kobolds and Humans. He is stubby and dexterous, with quick hands and a crooked smile. His fur is iron gray, and his crow-black eyes are beady. Hok has a nervous tick that acts up when he is nervous. He wears various clothes and costumes, whatever is appropriate for the job. Hok uses throwing stars as his weapon of choice. He wears a bandolier that has ten stars attached to it. He is also a skilled trap-maker and is always working on some type of new contraption.  

  • Hok started out as a ship architect working for Ship Shape Ship company in Carasta. The work was good, but one day, the company was robbed of its ship designs. The company shuttered, and Hok looked for work. After a year of trying to find a job, he clumsily stole breakfast from a tavern and was imprisoned. There, he met Sed, 25, male Kobold, who had been a thief for many years. The two became friends, and upon their release Hok joined the local Thieves Guild in Branhurst. Hok became a skilled thief, tracker, and trap-maker, quickly taking over the guild. After several successful years, Hok was Shadow Guildmaster in all but a fancy ceremony. 

  • Hok lives in a lovely house outside of town with his wife, Akba, 48, female Kobold. They have two children, Moss, a boy 12, and Depa, a girl 8. Hok puts them all to work in his elaborate heists, and they are mostly successful. Hok maintains the facade of owning an antique store named Tests of Time. Akba maintains ordinary stock for the store, but then Hok runs a black market in the ground beneath it. 

  • Geography: Branhurst (#97, #168) is a prosperous fishing town on the coast road between Carasta (#162) to the west and the Noldrune border town of Port Lostfort (#2) to the east. Hok’s manor is among the fine houses of the Fishing Guild elders on a hill southwest of town. His “antiques” store is in the merchant quarter of Branhurst next to a variety of artisans and shopkeepers. Hok’s fa├žade is the idea of Sasha Nighbough Shadow Guildmaster of Obermarsh (#165). They’ve met once or two in Carasta during the yearly meetings of the Shadow Guild Grand Council (anyone who is anyone and anybody who is anybody attends). 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #341 

December 8th, 2023 

  • Number: 341 

  • Name:  Deep Dive of Subjects of Interest: Of the Guild Masters and Master Crafters of the City-State of Carasta – Part 5 

  • Location: In the Guildhalls and Workshops of the City-State of Carasta 

  • Population (approx.): 9,200 (Carasta) 

  • Brief: Scholars of history of the Kin on Aenwyld argue that the two most important developments were the evolution of the spoken and written word. Whether such was instilled by the First Ones at the moment of creation or developed naturally over the course of time is unknown and probably unknowable. All nations of the past and present rely on an oral tradition, a written tradition or a combination of the two potentially augmented by magic where available. As such, the Scriveners (or Scribes) Guild provides a vital Service to the Collegium and the City-State. All legal documents (contracts, bills, invoices, licenses and certificates) are drawn up by the Scriveners, to the specifications of their customer, and then sealed (sometimes magically) and registered in the libraries of the City-State, under the watchful eye of the Librarians Guild. Being the capital of the City-State, Carasta is home to a half-dozen Master Scriveners. 

  • Brenrilla (Bren), 83, female Half-Elf, is a Master Scrivener. She is tall and has an athletic frame. Her pointed ears look Human unless you are physically close to her. Bren has frizzy brown hair and acorn-brown eyes. She favors linen pants and blousy tops. She wears a toolbelt that has containers for the various inks she uses. Bren believes, "The quill is mightier than the sword." She carries just a pocketknife for eating and practical reasons. 

  • Bren belongs to the Scriveners Guild of Carasta. She has always loved to read and write and was sent to a private school by her parents. Once she graduated, Bren apprenticed at the local library and did many jobs there. A scrivener, Keldan Bluebreeze, 130, male Elf, took her under his wing and taught her the beauty of the written word. Keldan's shop, To The Point, sells scrolls and large decorated books. Bren has worked there for many years now. The Guild Collegium frequently hires Keldan and Bren to create letters, certificates, licenses and legal documents that need their special touch. 

  • Bren is married to Varo Springriver, 122, male Elf. They have two children: Nilhorn, daughter 40, and Faequarin, son 35. The family lives in a sizable house in town near the shop. Bren loves to draw and paint and has a room in her home for that. Her best friend is Coona, 90, female Half-Elf. The two of them play several instruments and play duets together for fun. 

  • Geography: Carasta (#162) is the largest city and capital of the City-State. Keldan’s shop To The Point, can be found in the center of the city near the seat of government, the Hall of the Collegium. The Scriveners Guildmaster prefers their Master Scriveners to be near the Hall so they can be summoned at a moment’s notice to record any time sensitive material for the record (if not already present by prior request). Bren’s townhouse occupies three stories of the residential building rising over Keldan’s shop. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #342 

December 9th, 2023 

  • Number: 342 

  • Name:  Deep Dive of Subjects of Interest: Of the Guild Masters and Master Crafters of the City-State of Carasta – Part 6 

  • Location: In the Guildhalls and Workshops of the City-State of Carasta 

  • Population (approx.): 411 (Halfwich) 

  • Brief: Members of the Guilds can be found providing vital services or producing necessary products throughout the City-State and beyond. The individual Guilds support the members via robust training through apprenticeships, conduct regular inspections and evaluations of the quality of a member’s work and award the coveted designation of Master (and the rare and unheard-of designation Grandmaster) to Guild members with exemplary service and an extraordinary body of work. A settlement with several strong Guild members or a Master artisan or two can succeed where others struggle. The village of Halfwich, with its windmills surrounded by fields, has prospered and its bakeries supply many common foodstuffs as well as variety of unique delicacies relished by the coastal elite despite a local population one would not associate with finer fare. 

  • Hanin, 48, Half-Orc, is a Master baker and an elite member of the Bakers Guild. He is tall and thick-waisted. His eyes are coal black, and his enthusiastic personality shines through them. His black hair is scraggly, so he always wears an orange wool cap. Hanin wears loose trousers and handsome shirts in the colors of the rainbow. His big white apron was a gift from his apprentice during the last holiday. He doesn't like to fight but knows how to use his fists in a jam.  

  • Hanin's mother, Estrid, 70, female Human, taught him to bake as soon as he could reach the table. He loved baking and won over the local kids who teased him by bringing baked goods to school. Fresh out of school, he joined the Bakers Guild and became an apprentice for Caglar, 65, male Half-Orc. Caglar owns Beatin Dough Bakery. Since Caglar has no children to leave the store to, Hanin hopes to inherit the bakery. Five years ago, Hanin became a Master baker and has done many things to improve the Bakers Guild. 

  • Hanin is married to Urisha, 44, female Half-Orc, a childcare worker. They have three children: Zuraz, son 17, Tanam, daughter 12, and Gizara, daughter 5. Hanin’s family lives in a large house near the bakery. Hanin loves fly-fishing and goes with his best friend, Belum, 45, male Half-Orc, once every other week to Loch Pitoloal. 

  • Geography: Millenia ago a large Orc Hive covered a swath of the Narrows. The scouts of the Noldrunean Houses stumbled onto Orc territory as the nobles led their people to the south. A short and brutal war ensued leaving but a handful of Half-Orc and Orc survivors. They abandoned the underground workings of the hive and settled on the surface. Beating swords into plowshares, the remnants became proficient farmers and ranchers. Halfwich was founded well over eight centuries ago over the abandoned Orc hive about 2 days south of the coastal highway on a path that continues south to Loch’arbor (#63) on Loch Pitoloal. The surrounding farmland and pasture, dotted with windmills and grain silos, is a breadbasket for the City-State of Carasta. 



Settlements and Sites of the Four City-States #343 

December 10th, 2023 

  • Number: 343 

  • Name:  Deep Dive of Subjects of Interest: Of the Guild Masters and Master Crafters of the City-State of Carasta – Part 7 

  • Location: In the Guildhalls and Workshops of the City-State of Carasta 

  • Population (approx.): 9,200 (Carasta) 

  • Brief: The Guilds of Aenwyld and the City-State of Carasta are many and varied. Some, such as the Arcane, Merchant and Mercenaries Guilds, are very large and have broad areas of interest. Others, for example the Bakers and Gaming Guilds, are of varying size and have narrow specialities. In addition some Guilds are inevitably linked a groups for example the Blacksmiths Guild, in small area, often handles Armorers, Weaponsmiths and other metalworkers. Some smaller Guilds, for example Astrologers, Healers and Seers might be associated with the Arcane Guild or the Services Guilds depending on whether the Guild members use magic in their job or not. As their scope and influence grew, the larger Guilds formed what they called “Wondrous Companies,” trade associations that provide networking opportunities, training, regulate fees and standards and in addition provide various forms of support of the local populace such as charitable giving. One of the largest and oldest is the Wondrous Company of the Mercers of Carasta growing out of the cloth and wool trade and now supporting merchants of all types. 

  • Vicnis, 211, male Eladrin, is the Guildmaster of the Merchants Guild and Grandwarden of the Wondrous Company of Mercers in Carasta. He is tall and stately and thinks highly of himself. His white hair is long and worn casually about the shoulders. His clover gray eyes have lush, full lashes, and one of his eyebrows darts up when something interests him. Vicnis wears very fine-tailored pants and shirts, along with an embroidered vest. He wears a dark blue cape out and about, thinking this makes him look dashing. On his belt, he wears a rapier with an elaborate hilt. 

  • Vicnis grew up in a wealthy Eladrin family who knew everyone in the city. He applied himself to learning and graduated from several local colleges. His interests then took him into crafting, and he learned how to make bows and arrows, pottery, and paint pictures. With all his contacts, he applied first to the Mercers Guild, was accepted, and then to the Merchants Guild. His apprentice years involved learning the wide variety of the shops that the guild represents. Vicnis became the new Guildmaster once the previous leader passed away. Finally, he was honored with an appointment to become the Grandwarden of the Wondrous Company. 

  • Vicnis owns a small mansion in Carasta with many servants that maintain the property. He has frequent visits from his large extended family. His children find him a bit stuffy, but his grandchildren and great-grandchildren think he is terrific. Vicnis best friend is Joryth, 200, male Eladrin. The two of them play board games and love talking about the latest new stores in town. 

  • Geography: Wardens of the Wondrous Companies can be spotted throughout Carasta by a unique livery devised by each Company (an innovation that does appear to mostly benefit the Mercers Guild). Company offices are typically found in each of the larger Guilds’ main Guildhalls in the central governmental district of the city. South and west of the city center, near the outskirts but not beyond the city walls, are the opulent mansions of the wealthy and influential.  


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