Sails & Sabres
Lake Besmus, Kingdom of Osil
A meandering city sharing a name with the great lake it borders, straddling the Alsind River as it descends from the Algranor foot hills. The rolling, forested hills of northern Osil provide stunning panoramas of the city from every approach, perhaps never so beautiful as in the full of autumn. The changing colors of the forest compliment the many hues of terra cotta rooftops along the lake shore and throughout the city. Plaster and timber construction are the norm, with stylized stucco and decorative ornamentation common features. The socialites of the city, and everyone who is anyone is a socialite, have their garments personally tailored and commissioned by the most renowned clothiers in the country.
A city devoted not only to beautiful artistic expression, but also situated at the center of Osil’s extensive road and river network makes Lake Besmus an important center for commerce as well as culture. Many of the wealthiest merchants and nobles own homes here and in Port of Isles, changing cities with the seasons. The constant flow of travelers and vibrantly creative culture is one that draws many halflings, and in a rare exception to most large settlements, halflings are just as prevalent, perhaps more so, than men.
Lake Besmus is naturally divided by the Alsind river from north to south, and by the Tradeway from east to west, creating four quarters. Each quarter shares the common, outgoing culture of expression and fashion while defining its own color distinct from the others.
Drindee Bridge is the southeastern quarter named after a wide, arched bridge spanning the river there. The Old Town neighborhood is nestled at the heart of Drindee Bridge, which its rustic plank and stone houses and multi-generational boatwrights that supply the characteristic fishing boats used on the lake. The fishermen also call Drindee Bridge home, and the sound of seagulls and clacking gear echos through the streets every dawn.
Still, waterfront property is highly sought after and dozens of extravagant homes and apartments stand a mere fifty feet at times from the docks of local fishermen forced to live half a mile from their livelihoods. The fish market is situated next to the river, and fishing boats pull into Queen’s Wharf to offload their catch every afternoon.
Along the Tradeway stand the more contemporary three-story stucco structures that house shops or taverns on the ground floor and inns or apartments above. Cassius Square sits back from the Tradeway about halfway between the bridge and the East Gate; at its center a fifteen foot sculpture depicting Cassius, a renowned poet, philosopher, and general in the Kenoran Uprising who, according to legend, settled on the shores of the lake.
Drindee Bridge is probably the quarter most dedicated to traditional craftsmanship and the historical roots of the city, and is a frequent stomping ground for the bawdier young nobles and artists seeking the ‘common heart’ for their work.
Named for the small falls that feed Kettybough Creek into the river at the north edge of the city, Seine Linn is home the Hulletoe Market, primary point of trade in both ore and crafted goods from the mountain clans. Most of the city’s smiths, tinkers, coopers, and armorers live and work here alongside jewelers and the rare incantrinni, or enchanter. Many other artisans that work with metal or stone likewise live here. Bridgers’ Circle is a small neighborhood that once housed the workers and engineers that built the bridges and the Tradeway, and many chose to stay. To make a further legacy for themselves, many of the stone-work houses and buildings are connected by arched bridges and catwalks above street level, creating a layered community where shops might be on ground level or three-stories up. The angles and architecture make for a cityscape that confounds newcomers and can even lead to life-long Besmen getting lost.
The riverbank is cluttered by barge traffic to and from the mountains, and riverfolk of all stripes flock through Mullow’s Bluff, many eager to go to the ill-kept “secret” pub called Rainy Day that’s set-up in a cavern behind the falls.
The heart of Osil’s fashion and textiles industry. Clothiers, weavers, and uniquely skilled artisans called Satesons all work in the highly-competitive and highly-publicized fashion community. Aside from luxury clothes, buyers can find rich rugs, commission tapestries, and raw yards of fabric to purchase wholesale.
Surrounding the court square itself are smaller artistic collectives from many mediums including painters, sculptors, and performing artists. The Grand Riverway Theater stands overlooking the river with its garden courtyard offering splendid views of the beautiful Drindee Bridge as well as the docks and Seine Linn falls.
Hidden behind the glamorous shops and aristocrats is a frenetic and exhausting textiles industry that imports raw wool, furs, noraur (Algran goat hair), and even lekesh (traditionally-made camel hair from Benin). Minerals and pigments from across Osil are used to dye the materials and various alchemical treatments used to enhance, soften, or stiffen fabrics, create paints and even cosmetics. Traders come to buy and sell from as far away as the Southlands, the borders of the Delldund forests, the Murksea, and even dwarven holds.
The seat of the county government, including Castle Duloch which sits atop Birch Hill, is in the east-central part of the quarter. The most extravagant, and therefore most architecturally complex and stylized, homes are found along the lake and throughout the quarter. Scattered throughout are sculpture gardens, fountains, and servant housing blocks near stables and wheelwrights.
Willowsheen Concert Hall was built on a small finger of land that juts out into the lake. Live willow trees were shaped with aid of elven charms and visionary architecture constructed around them to yield a truly unique venue in which the most respected orchestra in the midlands plays in residence. Famous virtuoso performers regularly delight audiences during the summer months.
A community of instrument craftsmen live in the dense apartments along the river, buying the fine, rare woods they prefer and able to find the oils and lacquers that bring their creations to another level.
- Duke Beetlefoe: Duke of County Besmus
- Captain Melindee Traflar: Captain of the Guard
- Cecillious Gallion: Bargers Guildmaster
- Eric Fetterer: Engineer in Chief
- “Wallace” Vellillin: the “Baron of Besmus”, respected clothier
NG Large City
Corruption +2; Crime +2; Economy +8; Law +3; Lore +5; Society +2
Qualities: Tourist Attraction, Rumor-mongering Citizens, Holy Site(Heironeous), Insular
Demographics: Pop. 16,000 (11,000 non-combatant)
10% Transient, 40% Oslander, 40% Halfling, 5% Beninite, 3% Kard, 1% dwarf,<1%><1%><1%><1% Other
Language: Kent (Trade common) and Ehelah (old halfling)
Religion: Hieroneous and Yondola dominate, with fewer followings of Pelor, St. Cuthbert, and Veccna. Smaller cloisters of other deities represented.
Government: Feudal Monarchy (Kingdom of Osil)
Currency: 1 kingmark/gp, 1 dukemark/sp, 1 twip/cp…avg. money-changing fee: 3%
Dominant Exports: Crafted Goods, Alchemicals, arcana, services, Luxuries, Art, Textiles
Dominant Imports: Grains, Produce, Meat, Raw Materials, Goods, Exotics
Class Demographics: 12% Wealthy, 18% Mercantile, 35% Tradesmen, 20% labor, 10% diplomatic/military, 5% Destitute
- Skills modified by Attributes: Corruption(Bluff vs officials, Stealth outside); Crime(Sense Motive vs bluff, Sleight of Hand to pickpocket); Economy(Craft, Perform, Profession); Law(Intimidate, Diplomacy vs officials); Lore(Diplomacy to Gather Info, Knowledge using libraries); Society(Disguise, Diplomacy vs non-official)