Districts Amber Quarter:
- The Amber Quarter is the hub of manufacturing and production in Volgrun.
- Shops with similar wares tend to congregate together along the streets of the quarter, making it easy for shoppers to compare items.
- All kinds of goods are available here, but the streets that bear witness to the most guards are those of the jewelers and crafters of precious metals.
- The people of Volgrun love wearing jewelry to show off their wealth and rank.
- Precious materials commonly available in the quarter include mammoth and walrus ivory, jet, and pieces of amber.
- Recently, rumors have claimed that the Jade Serpent (a priceless idol brought back by some of the first Ulfen explorers to reach The Emerald Glades thousands of years ago) has resurfaced in the Amber Quarter. Such rumors have been circulating intermittently for years, and countless tales tell of those who find the ferocious linnormlike dragon statue, then lose it again as the destiny of the idol conspires to find its way back to The Emerald Glades.
- As one of the newest parts of Volgrun, the Bone Quarter hosts more open space than any other quarter in the city. It is also one of the poorer and dirtier parts of the city.
- Many hopefuls who migrate to Volgrun eventually find themselves here. The city’s residents see little distinction between travel-loving Varisian caravaneers and Tarkovian con artists, and so prevent Varisian caravans from camping in any quarter besides the Bone Quarter without special dispensation.
- The place was initially named for the cattle farmers and hunters who lived and worked here, but at present many in Volgrun say that it’s called the “Bone Quarter” because you can see the ribs sticking out of the desperate and malnourished inhabitants.
- Accommodations and land are cheap, but the quarter is home to a large number of unemployed, and certain streets that run near the outer wall are dangerous to frequent after dark.
- The neighborhoods close to Volgrun’s center are full of humble, struggling families who work the lower-paying jobs in the city. They are most likely to suffer during winter, and there are always some in the Bone Quarter who succumb to starvation or die from illnesses throughout the harsh cold months.
- Whispered stories claim that the rats inhabiting the middens and cesspits in this quarter have developed a sly intelligence and collective deviousness. Some claim that large packs of rats have been known to overwhelm animals and even brazenly devour people, but few reliable eyewitnesses have seen such unlikely horrors.
- Deadeye’s Debris: Named by destitute skalds living in the quarter, this charred ruin was once a towering wooden stave church of Erastil. Severely damaged after a fire tore through this part of the city, the temple’s priests abandoned the place 80 years ago. Today, the only inhabitant of the temple ruins is an old hermit named Arnora the Ancient (LN female venerable human oracle 4) who sees herself as the last guardian of the shrine. She protects it, preventing the townsfolk or anyone else from demolishing the ruins. Her powers and menacing appearance have given her a reputation for wickedness, but she sometimes provides healing to those who cannot afford to go anywhere else. Many in the quarter, however, would like to see her gone and the land cleared for new housing.
- Unlike most other parts of the city, multistory buildings are common in this quarter. Here all manner of Ulfen competition, relaxation, and entertainment takes place.
- While numerous wrestling halls and athletic courts provide places where one can engage in various athletic contests, taverns and drinking houses represent the most common diversions.
- Most taverns offer traditional drinking horns, but many customers prefer to use mugs and tankards, because unless entirely drained, a horn can’t be put down without spilling its contents.
- Every pub or drinking hole employs multiple bouncers, whose main tasks are preventing damage to the furnishings, extracting payment from those who do smash up the place, and directing groups of belligerent customers to an empty area where they can exchange blows without bothering other drinkers.
- The city guard patrols the streets in large groups, and unless it appears someone is about to be killed, they usually let brawlers resolve their grievances before dragging away the loser to recover in the guardhouse.
- In many of the taverns, skalds entertain crowds with heroic sagas of champions from long ago.
- The high skald Thyrie Tarnsdottir often performs at the Whistling Fox and is equally famous in Volgrun both for her poignantly beautiful sagas and traditional Ulfen kennings and for her unbeaten record in drinking competitions—thanks to a seeming near-immunity to alcohol.
- At the House of the Deep-Minded wagers between players and betting on games are common, and the house takes a small percentage in exchange for supplying the boards and venue.
- The taverns here cater to all tastes; at the Grim Harvest, for example, brooding regulars soak up the gloomy atmosphere and down bitter spirits from cups made from human skulls. For those seeking paid companionship, a wide array of services are available, varying dramatically in price and quality.
- The Hall of Splendid Valor: This is easily the finest and most expensive brothel in the city. Inside the hall’s doors, gorgeous “azatas” whose costumes consist of wings and little else escort patrons to an idealized (but inaccurate) version of a feasting hall designed to be similar to tales of Valenhall in far-off Arcadia. The clientele dine on sweetmeats and fine wines served by scantily dressed lovelies of their preference, while warrior beauties clad in impractical and extremely revealing armor perform mock sword and axe duels or wrestle for their audience’s pleasure. Customers then retire with their chosen escorts to luxurious fur-lined bedchambers. The keeper of the house is Belende the Showy (CE female human bard 5), a sensual, wily, and amoral businesswoman willing to go to any lengths to drive her major competitors out of business and increase the profits of her bordello.
- The Horn Quarter is chiefly populated by farmers and laborers who cultivate the fields southwest of Volgrun.
- Most farmers here grow small crops of vegetables near their homes to ensure that their personal stores can last through the long winter, and thick turf layers the roofs of their stone longhouses to provide insulation against the harsh clime.
- Superstitions abound among the Horn Quarter’s residents, who often make sacrifices of cattle, goats, or sheep to appease the gods and spirits, displaying the carcasses of such offerings on poles outside their front doors to show off their piety to neighbors.
- The southern end of the quarter is home to a series of farms where beekeepers cultivate flowers during the warmer months and tend several colonies of a resilient breed of honeybee.
- Honey and beeswax from Volgrun are highly regarded trade commodities throughout the Linnorm Kingdoms and in the nations to the south.
- The inhabitants of the Horn Quarter retreat inside the city walls before nightfall, normally having locked their animals in barns or sheds for the night. It’s rare for thieves or wild animals to break into a farmyard outside the city, but when this occurs, the farmers band together, often employing trained warriors to guard their properties during the night and catch the intruders.
- The Stephfir Ostlery: Situated close to the western city walls, this extensive series of corrals and stables gives the appearance of an upright establishment where riders can stable their mounts while in the city. It is also, however, one of the most popular venues in the Linnorm Kingdoms for the northern blood sport of horse fighting. Those leaving their mounts here should be clear with the staff what services they’re looking for—stabling or sport—or they might be surprised at their horses’ temperament when they return. Pairs of these horses are released into an indoor enclosure where they rear up, kicking and biting ferociously at each other, and battle to the death. While considered distasteful by many in Volgrun, horse fighting remains a popular spectator sport, and the Ostlery’s fights draw large crowds who gamble heavily on the outcome. Halldorr Byrakson (NE human male ranger 6) runs the stables. His current prize stallion, Duskgasher, is a brutal beast whose sharpened hooves have crushed the skull of many a challenger—both equine and human.
- The Ice Quarter is the focus of day-to-day commerce in Volgrun, its crowded streets lined with a multitude of shops and stalls selling extravagances and mundane necessities to locals and visitors alike.
- Close by Rannveig’s Run, the stream that runs through Volgrun, looms the crenelated fortress-temple of Gorum, and the ornate and curving sky-shrine to Desna sits in the open courtyard by the quarter’s western gate.
- Near the middle of the quarter rises a worn lump of stone roughly the size of a horse. The people of Volgrun believe this to be the original runestone marking the founding of the settlement. While any markings have long since worn away, citizens often touch the stone for luck.
- Numerous restaurants and eating halls have sprung up to accommodate visitors to the Ice Quarter; most of these establishments serve traditional Ulfen fare, including local delicacies such as grilled horsemeat and seabird stew. Several public bathhouses can also be found in the quarter.
- The Hunting Serpent Inn: This popular lodge welcomes all visitors to Volgrun; its rates are inexpensive and its staff are happy to accommodate travelers with special preferences and exotic pets. The owner of the inn, Tosti Finehall (NG male human expert 2/warrior 2), is one of a small congregation in Volgrun that worships Cayden Cailean. Being a pious man, Tosti owns a rapier but never actually wears such a nontraditional weapon. Always glad to meet and talk with fellow worshipers, he only charges them a nominal amount for food and board.
- Close by the shops of the Amber Quarter lies the business center of Volgrun, where Ulfen merchants broker deals and backers organize trading expeditions and voyages.
- The city’s various trade guilds keep their guildhalls here. Some of the more powerful trading organizations in the city include the Seven Lands group, a syndicate that manages much of the trade between the kingdoms of Galvera.
- The Sunrise Seekers, a consortium that attempts long trading voyages to the south.
- The Iceborne Union, the largest of the merchant guilds, which frequently sends caravans to Icepeak.
- The guildmaster of the Seven Lands group is Hroldmar Ragnarson (N male human rogue 6), an extraordinary negotiator who heads an informal council of the trading guilds, and who works hard to balance their often-disparate interests, thereby preventing the guilds from turning against each other. He periodically requires the services of independent foreigners to complete tasks that must not be traced back to him.
- For generations, Volgrun’s Jade Quarter has served as a home for the steady flow of immigrants. The Jade Quarter reflects many land’s native customs, architectural styles, and traditions, uniquely blended with the Ulfen ways of northern Atexia.
- Visitors often feel as though they’re entering an alien community when they happen upon the Jade Quarter, baffled by the bizarre intermingling of artistry, people, strict traditions, inscrutable faiths, and even the occasional rare creature, all buzzing amid the din of strange languages.
- Jade Arches: Inn
- Madam K’s Perfumery: While Madam Kawaoh (LN female human bard 9) knows an astonishing amount about fragrances and perfumes, this knowledge has absolutely no bearing on her business. Crammed into the basement level of a disreputable butcher’s shop, her tiny establishment appears to be a single room of shelves teeming with strange bottles and a riot of tear-inducing aromas. Few Ulfen visit her boutique, having neither the coin nor interest to indulge in such vanity. This suits Madam Kawaoh fine, though, as it disguises her actual work. Behind her miniature showroom lies an archive many times its size, filled with curiosities and exotica from across Atexia. Madam Kawaoh has made it her business to collect the relics and heirlooms many immigrants are forced to sell after their long and dangerous treks to secure a place in Volgrun. While she doesn’t return these items to their original owners, she tries to inform them of their treasures’ new home, giving them the first opportunity to buy the items back. Although these onetime owners can rarely afford to repurchase their former possessions outright, Madam Kawaoh knows the value of service and favors, and so has dozens of her neighbors indentured to her. Her secret shop is also open to those she deems worthy of exploring its treasures, as many of the items in her keeping are magical or quite valuable in terms of price and sentimentality.
- The easternmost quarter in Volgrun is the industrious Oak Quarter. Here booms of lumber brought downstream from villages and towns are stored and crafted into a diverse assortment of finished goods.
- A large number of woodcarvers, carpenters, and craftspeople live in the quarter, supplying the shipyards as well as producing furniture, carts, tools, cutlery, and diverse other merchandise.
- Wooden blocks pave many of the streets here, both to provide firm footing and to keep mud and snow from the shoes of residents.
- Several of the larger surface entrances to the Undercroft are located in and along the Oak Quarter’s riverfront.
- At the quarter’s northwest end stretches the Street of Winged Thorns, which features a series of shops selling well-made archery equipment.
- The Guhailla clan, a family of crafters renowned for carving linnorm figureheads for new longships, resides in the Oak Quarter. Their carvings are exquisite works of art, and most Ulfen sailors consider a Guhailla figurehead to be both a status symbol and a good luck charm to protect them from disaster at sea.
- Volgrun Shipyards: The shipyards are a chaotic series of piers, dry docks, and warehouses built seemingly at random along the Rimeflow’s edge. Owned by numerous family concerns allied together into the shipbuilders’ guild, the Volgrun Shipyards produce the finest longships in the Linnorm Kingdoms. Volgrun’s reputation for graceful, resilient, and swift longships often attracts sea captains from the other Linnorm Kingdoms seeking new vessels. The Master of Shipyards is Sigfastr Gunnarsen (N male dwarf expert 8), a dwarf whose family has long resided in Volgrun. With an innate affinity for woodcraft, Sigfastr journeyed to distant parts of Atexia to perfect the craft of shipbuilding.
- The Stone Quarter rises upon a rocky incline east of the city’s center, and much of the stone used in the city originally came from here.
- At the center of the quarter stands a grand temple dedicated to the Forge Father Torag, surrounded by the workshops of many highly skilled blacksmiths and armorers.
- Traditional Ulfen society holds these artisans in high esteem, as historically Ulfen sea raiders trusted their lives to the quality of their arms and armor.
- As a general rule, the quality of smiths in the Stone Quarter corresponds to their shops’ proximity to the temple, and there is much competition among metalworkers to obtain land as close to the temple as possible.
- While scholars are far more scattered and informal than “civilized” academies, a patient and respectful pupil can learn a great deal from them.
- Numerous magic items can also be purchased in the various shops found here. Stonemasons in the quarter chisel intricate and flowing designs into runestones. A few older runestones in the quarter are known to hold mystical powers or forgotten knowledge.
- The Great Temple of Torag: From atop a knoll at the highest point in the quarter looms the imposing temple of Torag. Constructed from huge blocks of granite, the structure has the shape of an enormous warhammer, with the main worship area and holy forge at the hammer’s “head” and the “shaft” of the hammer housing the priest’s chambers. Elaborately etched steel paneling covers much of the interior, and highly decorated metallic bracing reinforces the vaulted ceiling. The high priestess is Nauma Irongleam (LG female human cleric of Torag 7), a hardworking woman also regarded as one of the foremost armorsmiths in Volgrun. The temple offers spellcasting services but also occasionally needs the assistance of competent individuals to escort special shipments of ore from Cinderhold to the temple in Volgrun.
86% humans, 10% dwarves, 1% gnomes, 1% halflings, 1% elves, 1% other86% humans, 10% dwarves, 1% gnomes, 1% halflings, 1% elves, 1% other
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