Thieves & Kings
Village of Briar's Wood
The village of Briar’s Wood is a community of farms, tenements and shops that mostly caters to common laborers in the city, as well as visitors to Mornhaven, the City of Bright Sails’ markets, located just outside the primary North Gate of the city. The numerous small farms, an Ostler’s Common, and a small fishing wharf for the local river men (and not a few smugglers), are typical for most river communities built adjacent to a major urban center, but the “Old Oak Inn” is a notable landmark, as is “Amphitheater Park”.
Most of the village is a collection of fieldstone buildings, traditionally built with thatched roofs. The floods and flow of the Ambarin River have affected the local soil quality, making it very fertile. The “Forest Walk”, the stone road leading south from the Iberian City-States terminates here, and combined with the river trade, means the village is thronging with people, even at night. Thick woodlots and heavy growths of shrubs are common, with trails scattered around the area, and the North Commons just outside the North Gate to the city is usually filled with herds of swine and shaggy forest auroch. The large “Old Oak Inn is a legendary haunt for adventurers along the roadside, and an extensive woodland shrouds the amphitheater from casual view. Despite these features, it otherwise remains a typical little market village.
For long-term residents of the city, seeking lodging is easy, providing rooms in its numerous small tenements for 20 sp per month; such places are usually single rooms with no furnishings, unless the previous tenant left them behind, with a small corner fireplace, and no direct access to water. Locks are non-existent, unless purchased by the tenant. Buildings like this are usually only two-levels high, and consist of a dozen such rooms; they commonly burn down during the winter months. Rooms are not available for shorter periods, and tenancy is expected to begin and end at the turning of the moon. Most such buildings are actually owned by one or more factors in the city, and used to support their own crafts or merchant activities.
Chandler’s (“Singer’s”) : ### $$$$ : A tall fieldstone building serving as a Chandler’s, located just along the main road. Uillean Singer operates the shop primarily to serve caravans searching for last-minute supplies of oil, torches, leather goods, travel rations and a handful of spare wagon wheels. He charges high prices (typically 150%), but most merchants are willing to take the hit in order to get on the road to Hexwater as soon as possible. He also sells a small quantity of crossbows and bolts, longswords, leather armor and shields with a steep 120% mark-up, but they don’t usually sell as well, and are often of second-hand origins. He also sells a few second-hand locks and manacles. He is assisted by a large oaf named “Fuzzy”, who sleeps in the storeroom and gets violent when he drinks.
The Singer clan also maintains a large apple orchard about a mile east, run by his wife Milread Singer, who is shrewd and good friends with the women of the Greenleaf clan. They have a daughter Ailis, and two sons Eoin and Cailean who help around the orchard, though Eoin is a notorious trouble-maker, and Cailean was a sickly child, and now is a pallid boy who prefers to spend his time in the local forests alone. Ailis spends her free time helping inventory in her father’s shop, and is a known gossip.
Innkeeper (“Old Oak Inn”) : #### $$$ : This fine inn is an ancient building; a proud, ramshackle affair of additions and wings centered around a large common room with a large, gnarled oak tree growing in a central courtyard, its branches lit with Continual Flames, providing shadowed light during the evening hours.
The inn is more than a landmark, it has been run by the same clan for hundreds of years, the ancient Greenleaf Clan. Each generation seems to add something to the inn, making it unique among inns of the Grandwood. Although a whirlwind of activity in the dusk hours, the inn’s rooms are built for privacy and comfort, making it a subdued, quiet and safe place to spend the evening.
Presently, the owner is Lentis Greenleaf, friendly and blessed with a good memory, Lentis and his four sons ( Dendril, Keris, Ornask, and Lotho ) remember regulars, greeting everyone with a smile and a welcoming shout of “Wha-Hoe!”. The clan are known for being politically cynical and crafty, and Lentis’ white hair hints at the experience he has in the politics of Mornhaven – and he’s lived as long as he has, because he says little about it and what he really thinks.
The Old Oak Inn is typically crammed at night with pilgrims headed to the temples of the city, small caravans and merchants, and many adventurers. The in is noted for its “Two-Share” rooms (private rooms with two double-beds, typically rented to adventuring couples) renting for 50 sp (or 20 sp per couple) per night. Common lodging rooms (typically hosting a dozen beds) rent for 5 sp per night. A handful of private suites are available for rent at 60 sp per night, but are reserved until an hour after dusk to allow for caravan leaders a place to stay and conduct late business. Food is simple fare; cheese, roast fowl, stews and ale for a cost of 3 sp per serving. Extra ale or even wine is available by the ewer for 2 sp per pitcher. A small beer brewed on the premises, known as “Old Oak Ale”, is available for 2 cp per tankard. Packaged travel rations are also available on request, usually hard-baked loaves stuffed with sausages for 5 sp per serving.
Mercantyler (“The Lost Ages”) : ### $$$ : A little-known curio shop run by master merchant Brevin Tender, a personable and keenly intelligent halfling, who is best known to lose his patience with customers who won’t follow the conversation regarding the history of each item in his inventory. He wears spectacles, as much as for reading as for its conversation value, taken off and replaced a dozen times during any conversation or good debate.
His shop is the result of a lifetime of collecting odd bits and pieces during his early life as a merchant, but includes a large number of local area artifacts collected for personal interest. Consisting of old weapons, armor and standard adventurer fare, all of it has a history and a tale to tell. His prices are standard cost, but many are ornate and bear interesting lore regarding their origins in dungeons and lost tombs from across the Grandwood. Some are even reputed to be magical in nature, or masterwork items worth far more than Master Tender could sell them for; he’s retired now, and collects to learn lore, not to make even more wealth he can never spend or leave to any relatives. Everything is in good repair and well-maintained.
Metalsmith (“Old Oak Smithy”) : ### $$$ : Seumas Stone runs this smithy all day long, and is friendly with everyone in the community. He is usually busy making ironmongery and shoeing horses on request from the Ostler’s nearby, and has little time for commission work, unless the price is very good. A jolly mountain of a man, his vice is gambling, and is known as the best cardsman in the village. He is known to use his fists to settle an argument, rather than resort to his ever-present hammer.
Ostler (“Northgate Commons”) : ### $$$ : Typical for a commons outside a major city, the “Northgate Commons” serves visitors to the city and keeps livestock bound for its markets. Owned by Master Anoth Carrock, a brawling, rowdy master ostler who seems to have a constant desire to prove himself superior to everyone else. His stable-hands and apprentices are in deathly fear of him, and obey all he asks of them. Prices are usually for a day of stabling (mount must be gone by sunup : 5 sp per day, with 1 sp more for grain). The ostler often has a handful of rested riding horses and draft oxen available at any given time.
In addition to a large workshop for leather goods maintenance, the upper level of which also serves as his residence, is the massive barn-like stables, usually well-stocked with hay and feed grains. The two smaller paddocks serve day visitors and caravan stock, while the large paddock has a central well and its own small woodlot to shelter animals during storms. Caravans often exchange mounts and draft animals here before moving out the following day.
Thespian’s Guild (“Mornhaven Amphitheater”) : ### $$$ : The Mornhaven Amphitheater seats 900 patrons, and is administered by a Thespian’s company, known as “The Company in Burgundy”. While the company has a tenement just outside the extensive parklands that shroud the theater, the main draw is the stone amphitheater itself, which stages plays for visiting thespians during most holidays and festivals. The parkland is maintained by the Company itself, in exchange for a small stipend from the city. The woods are a common site for trysts among the nobility of the city, who pay to visit the theater, but disappear into the woods for an hour or so.
The Company is led by the infamous Balmorrow, a notably talented thespian and bard, who has assembled a collection of talented artists, but is best known for being constantly distracted with new projects and ideas, expressing his art, and keeping his company in silver. His wife, Piania and he reside in their company tenement penthouse with their trained raven Beauty. Other members of the Company are also known for their ease of distraction and flighty concentration, residing in their own suites in the tenement. Fees for most performances are 1sp per evening.