Korovia - The Free License Fantasy World
|Chapter Two: Towns, Cities & Guilds
Korovia is dotted with towns and small cities. There are only two cities that qualify as a metropolis in Korovia, and that is Oraknev (31,000) and Sylvania (70,000+). Officially Sylvania has a population of 20,000, but has a much larger population of sea elves and dark elves that live beneath its trees and its harbour.
The nobility of Korovia has three levels: The Monarchy, the Royalty and the Nobility.
The Queen and her Prince Consort are the Monarchy, the Princes/Princesses are the Royalty and the Lords/Ladies are the Nobility. Princes are not actually related to the Queen. They were considered Princes before she even became Queen. When she became Queen, they swore fealty, but otherwise maintained their titles.
The Lords and Ladies of Korovia either earn their titles or are born with them. The Nobility often rules over towns and villages and small communities. The Nobility in Korovia often raises their children to be fighters or wizards, believing that they will maintain their Nobility if they have some physical talent to prevent them from being overthrown (which has happened frequently in the past). If a noble becomes lazy and corrupt, they are often overthrown and quickly replaced. Towns that have more than one lord will often have a town council. Some towns also have mayors who are elected to represent the local Nobility.
The Adventurers Guild
The Adventurersí Guild-house is in Weyvin, and its more of an inn than an actual guild. As a large inn, it includes a magic shop, a small armoury and weapons store, a top of the line stables and a griffon roost on the roof for elvish griffon riders. Inside it is large and is very relaxing. It frequently has well-traveled bards visiting and the best booze in all of Korovia. Patrons often swap stories. It is also one of the best places to find out news from distant parts of Korovia (or other kingdoms) and to hire quality adventurers. The prices of the food and equipment are fair and always good or excellent quality.
The Wizards Guild
There are several sections of the Wizards Guild. They include the schools, wizard towers, stores and various Wizardly Orders. Only Kost, Oraknev and Sylvania have actual guild-houses, which are more like pubs/inns where wizards can trade info. A membership medallion is required for entry into a guildhouse. Members are allowed two guests.
Young wizards often pay to go to a proper wizard school, others apprentice themselves to a known wizard. Sometimes a school will notice a youth with exceptional promise and will allow that student in for free.
The Wizard Towers are small academies where wizards with similar goals sometimes gather to study and share ideas. Some towers are also small schools or may have only a single hermit-like wizard living there. Wizard Towers have small but useful libraries where wizards can find more spells or create new ones with a +2 bonus to their check thanks to extra research material.
Wizard stores are often owned by a local school and usually found only in towns or cities. Some are owned wealthy wizard/merchant. They commonly carry potions and scrolls of 3rd level spells or lower and small trinkets. Stores in larger cities can sometimes be hired to create magical items.
The Wizard Orders operate on a semi-separate basis from the Wizard Guild. They have their own leadership, their own hierarchies & rules and their own internal politics. The Order of Blizzards and many other orders exist (usually for different prestige classes).
Some sorcerers also belong to the guild in order to use its libraries, but otherwise maintain a low profile.
To get access to the libraries of the Guild, a person must pay 100 gp/year for a membership medallion. The medallions change every year and the spell used to create the medallions is a well guarded secret. Only five of the Guildís highest-ranking wizards know the spell, and the spell is then copied onto re-usable wands and distributed to the different schools, towers, etc. There have been attempts to steal wands, but they have failed. It is unknown why anyone would need 50 copies of the spell.
The Necromancers Guild
A sub-sect of the Wizard's Guild, the Necromancers Guild is considerably more secretative. They reportedly have spies within the Wizards Guild (and vice versa, the Wizards Guild likely has spies in the Necromancers Guild. There is no fee for joining, but rather a series of tests that only serious necromancers would know. The spells in the Necromancers Guild library are more impressive due to their emphasis on the dark arts and also more potent wild magics that are considered too dangerous to experiment with by regular wizards.
The Merchants Guild
Guild-houses are found in all cities and several of the large towns. They are essentially marketplaces behind closed doors (and without the goods actually present) where merchants can trade info and make business deals. Membership is free, but a person must be able to pay for the food within a Merchants Guild-house, which is sometimes pricey.
Since Koroviaís new age dawned 12 years ago, the merchants of Korovia have grown incredibly wealthy. New trade routes opened when the snow melted from mountain passes. Foreigners carrying gold, spices and a variety of treasures began to pour into Korovia, making it a land of wealth.
Wine from the Spiraled Lighthouse (see Maximilian the Blizzard in Chapter Four. He owns the Spiraled Lighthouse.), weapons, iron-works and iron ore from the dwarves, halfling food, horses and beer, and elvish arrows, wine and wood-works. A myriad many things all for sale, a huge demand and the merchants have started to organize into family owned merchant companies.
Food production in Korovia is also up. Sylvan forests of snow have now been converted into orchards, vineyards and farms. Agriculture is a booming industry in Korovia. Farmers in Korovia have entered a golden age of mass production and high yields. Not being able to eat all of this food, it has been up to the merchantís guild to buy this food relatively cheap and transport it to a place that needs more food.
Transportation therefore has become very important. Shipbuilding, horses and wagons have also become quite profitable. Major caravan and shipping companies have started to build up mass wealth. What do they do with all that money? Build new mansions/castles, buy more goods and invest more in their companies, which in turn makes other people rich as well and the wealth becomes cyclical.
The problem with all this wealth is thatís it is mostly owned by the growing bourgeoisie upper-middle-class and out-of-work, lazy or just plain greedy people have become jealous of the wealth they see around them. Thus the Merchants Guild has a growing problem: Thieves & Pirates. The Thieves Guild has grown more powerful too. Therefore mercenaries and caravan guards have become an additional necessity in order to protect a personís wealth. Sometimes Diviners have even been hired to predict if a caravan might be attacked. Sometimes bounty hunters are hired to go after specific criminals and retrieve the stolen objects.
A crime war is on the horizon.
There is also rumours that some merchant families are trying to hire a wizard to create a portal for them, to speed up the transfer of goods from city to city.
The Thieves Guild
When the merchants become rich, so do the thieves. Indeed, some of the merchants may even be thieves themselves. Secondary in wealth to the Merchants Guild, but certainly more deadly and dubious, the Thieves Guild oversees the underground black market of Koroviaís back-alleys and hidden streets. Every major town has its own black marketeers, fences and worse. In some smaller towns the Thieves Guild is actually the center of power and the Mayor or town council is either puppets or full-fledged members.
The larger towns and cities have more complex black markets, with everything ranging from prostitution to trade in the dark arts. Not all of the people in a local thieves guild is evil, but they do turn a blind eye to the corruption they see around them.
For example, in coastal towns like Weyvin and Koastmark, where prostitution is more common because of the sailors the local law enforcement turns a blind eye, as do the dock officials and many others. In towns like Oraknev and Kost however, prostitution is firmly outlawed and the pimps and brothel matrons who run the show are dealt with swiftly.
Everything is always cheaper on the black market (anywhere from 20% to even 70% off, depending on how desperate the seller is to get rid of a hot item). You name an item and even if itís not in stock, you can make an order for it to be found (with payment on delivery, of course). Contract theft is a growing crime between rival merchant caravans.
Bounty hunters are often members of the Thieves Guild, but maintain a low but impressive profile as their occupation often means they must go hunting for a fellow thief.
Pirates often associate themselves with the Thieves Guild, but usually only to sell off their stolen goods.
Mercenaries often keep contacts within local thief groups, in hopes of gaining extra employment.
The secretive nature of the Thieves Guild drives them to set-up legitimate businesses as fronts and then sells their stolen goods under the table. They often have a complex network of thugs, front men and bribed john-laws that allow them to operate. Organized gangs of thugs and/or burglars are becoming more common and efficient, but also sometimes have gang wars. Behind the scenes, crime lords with their own internal networks have begun fighting over who has the right to be on top. Itís not a fight of good against evil; it is dog eat dog.
The Assassins Guild
Even more secretive and more rare is the Assassins Guild, which is closely linked to Derek the Deadly's Obsidian Dragons. The group maintains temporary locations in major cities, but it is the headquarters that has Korovian authorities more concerned about. Some people have claimed to have penetrated the headquarters of the Assassins Guild only to find out it was part of an elaborate test or a false location. There might not even be a headquarters for the guild in Korovia as the group works internationally.
The guild reportedly takes in bounties on specific people's deaths and then pays whichever assassin kills the target. The bounty must be paid in advance however, and there is no precise guarantee that any assassin will take the risk involved in killing a particular target. Otherwise it is up to a person to simply attempt to contact a specific assassin and come up with a payment agreement.
Chapter 1: The History of Korovia
Chapter 2: Towns, Cities & Guilds
Chapter 3: Cosmology & Gods
Chapter 4: Races & Classes
Chapter 5: Feats & Skills
Chapter 6: NPCs & Plots
Chapter 7: Spells Chapter 8: Monsters Chapter 9: Treasure & Special Items Chapter 10: House Rules Chapter 11: Maps