Crowald

"A city unlike any other. The residents are friendly and open, the air is filled with notes of smoke, either scent of meat and sausages or burning coal. Despite of the smog, the streets are kept clean and buildings have a pristine white coating. If it wasn't for the relentless winter, I would like to spend all my days in here." - A. Helfman
  Crowald is the name of the county and capital city in the areas surrounded by The Black Forest. It is the largest county in the realm, mostly due to it's undeveloped state. Only small areas of farmlands and few settlements have been developed in the county, including the city of Crowald. A large river crosses Crowald and it is a lifeline for logistics and trade.   The largest minority population of dwarves in Crowald offset the lack of natural resources, making their craftsmanship an invaluable export. Many artisans travel to Crowald to learn from the dwarves. Their craftsmanship make for over two-thirds of the revenue in Crowald and no other county in the realm can rival in quality of craftsmanship.    

Seasons

 

Spring

  The snow melts early during spring from the fields and Crowald, where as the snow in The Black Forest melts more slowly. The fieldwork starts late spring as the soil dries. Food production slowly ramps up during the spring and travel becomes easy.   During this time the people become more active, and the annual Hops n Burn festival takes place which includes drinking and carousing. During the festival, couples play hide and seek. It is customary that the women are seekers and that the men are hide in the local bars and taverns. When found, it is the ladies turn to have fun.   During evening, everyone is drinking and carousing freely. The women are also allowed to confess their love by finding a man in the tavern who are sitting at a singles table. Though, this only ever happens with the very good looking ones and during the early day, no one wants to marry a drunk.    

Summer

  During summer, life thrives; fields glimmer and flower. There is a large surplus of food during summer, and most effort goes towards drying vegetables, meats, mushroom and the smell of smoked sausage and meat fill the air. Summer is the most popular time for tourism and many of the artisans who come to learn from the dwarves, time their visit during the summer days.   Most fishermen from Dwyrsport travel to Crowald to sell their fresh catch in the summer markets.  

Autumn

  During autumn, the local people hold harvest festivals and beer and fresh sausage are a famous staple. Food production moves from fresh produce to sausage and dried products. Tourism slowly dwindles as the people prepare for winter. Many visitors leave Crowald after the harvest festivals are over and only the truly dedicated artisans stay behind to learn from the dwarves. During the harvest festivals it is customary to pay the taxes communally by sending the best foods to The Snowcrow Palace.  

Winter

  The winter in Crowald is harshest from all the counties in the realm. People eat preserved food and sausages, and famine is not common. The nomadic Poro tribes from the north and east often trade with Crowald during winter, providing a fresh supply of Reindeer meat. In exchange they receive the services of the sausage artisans of Crowald and famous winter ale. Purveyors of exotic goods track down the winterbees for their immaculate honey, unfortunately many of the hunters never return.   All roads and pathways are blocked by the snow during the winter with the exception of the King's Road that lead to the private lands of House of Acedia . The King's Road is used as the primary trade route during winter after ice forms on the river.  

Trade and Commerce

  The trade in Crowald is very seasonal. Usually spring to summer is a busy time for imports for metals and other raw materials. The payments for these are often brokeraged through merchant guilds, and no actual coins are exported from Crowald. Instead the payments for the imported raw materials are often done with the down-payments from exports. This is all handled by the merchant's guild who take a small cut for the brokerage.   In general the export model of the craftsmanship is predatory, the price is set according to time and demand. If you are willing to wait for a longer period of time, you will receive a discount. However, for each year there is a limited availability on orders. All the normal priced exports are gone immediately with the current and next year booked almost always completely full. In general you have to pay double or triple the price, if you want to order a dwarven masterwork sword in a year or two. With the prices becoming significantly cheaper, should you wait.   This has resulted that most of the normal priced exports are always ordered by merchants guilds that resell the items at a much higher price. This has in turn raised the price for normal consumers. Making the 'normal' resale price almost double.   Crowald is one of the only counties in the realm that struggles with slight annual inflation. This can most notably seen in the value of real estate. While the value of food remains moderately unchanged, the current housing is unaffordable for regular people. It is common that families pool together to buy an apartment. Often this results in a very cramped space for an individual, especially during the winter.   The high standards of living, infrastructure and cleanliness ensures that the worker class enjoys much longer lives. Healthcare is universal, and supported by the healers of the One Church. This lets the residents and commoners amass more wealth than in the other counties. This has allowed the service business to boom, including a vibrant restaurant scene providing some of the best food in all of realm. Some of the restaurants see visitors that come from far, and it is not uncommon for the chefs to visit The Snowcrow Palace to cook for a special occasions.   Crowald offers some services for free, such as clean drinking water and the use of Crowald Tramway System. During the Harvest Festivals of Crowald food is also often free. Poverty is also rather uncommon, though there is some transitory homelessness. There are a few barracks in the city that provide free shelter, however, they can be extremely cramped to live in.   With daily food donations made to the One Church in Crowald, the homeless and poor don't need to worry about starvation. It is customary that residents donate old food away instead of throwing it away.  

Crime

  The crime rates in Crowald are lowest in the realm. The harsh conditions of the The Black Forest, and scarcity of wealth and trade outside the capital effectively eliminates the livelihood of bandits. Still it does not stop people from trying, The Black Forest terrain is very difficult to navigate and a small band of bandits can easily lose a tracking party from the neighboring counties. Commonly all bandit subjugation raids in Crowald are ones commissioned by the nobles from the neighboring counties, as the bandits who call the The Black Forest their home, would prefer to remain away from the vigilant watch of the House of Acedia.  

Trade Guilds

  Most of the major trading guild in the realm have branches in Crowald. Additionally, Crowald has three of its own Trading guilds that specialize in different types of commerce. The biggest of these guilds handles all of the imports and exports from Crowald. They have branches in all the major counties that do trade with Crowald. Additionally the three trading guilds also function as banks, providing these services to the citizens.   In order to curb with corruption, the guilds are set to compete with each other. And they are under far more scrutiny and regulations than normal. While merchant's guilds that work in Crowald are not taxed heavily, they are forced to be more open. Any discrepancies are fined heavily, often resulting in loss of all profits from the last few years. This has forced the otherwise ruthless merchant guilds, play by the rules in Crowald.  

Education and Society

  The most common form of education follows master-apprentice model. The wealthy and nobility hire private tutors or attend school. Unlike most counties, there is no university or academy in Crowald. Still most magitech innovation happens in Crowald, the university of CAPITAL Name TBD has a branch in Crowald for recording the accomplishments of the dwarven master craftsmen.   Despite of the shortcomings in education, the ability to read and write is considered common in Crowald due to it's lack of feudal class system. Taxation in Crowald is one of the lowest in all of the counties. The core of the commerce in Crowald focuses on providing services around the backbone of dwarven industry. This has allowed Crowald to grow wealth and population beyond of what would be considered possible in any other city.  

Demographics

  80% of the population are humans, 20% are dwarves.   Relationships between dwarves and humans are common, and there are no social prejudice or stigma towards or between either of the two groups. This can sometimes come as a cultural shock to outsiders who travel to Crowald. The dwarven and human population have cohabited Crowald for centuries. This feat is strongly credited towards House of Acedia who managed to bridge the mistrust between the two races. Many have attempted to replicate this collaboration between the two races, however all other attempts have failed to produce lasting bonds.  

Geography

  Surrounded by The Black Forest and mountain ranges that act as natural defense, there are no tall walls or fortifications in Crowald. There are only very few limited entry points to the county of Crowald, and many have naturally occurring bottlenecks that limit the volume of traffic. While it hampers the trade, it also makes invading near impossible. The King's Road follows the river that leads towards the CAPITAL Name TBD. Nobility often travel the King's Road to visit The Snowcrow Palace, and it is not uncommon that they'll make a stop and rest in Crowald before continuing with their journey.   Only a relatively small portion of the county is developed into farmland and rest is thick woodland, and these farmlands are scattered around the county. House of Acedia advocates for efficient utilization of developed land. Any extensions to the city borders or clearing additional farmland from The Black Forest are heavily regulated and it is not uncommon that there may not be any new development during a year.   From all other counties in the realm, Crowald has seen slowest development during the time of peace and prosperity. The slow rate of land development has also resulted that The Black Forest is as dangerous as the uncharted wilderness. This slow pace of development should not be mistaken with the development of infrastructure, an area where Crowald leads the rest of the world. The Crowald Tramway System has allowed Crowald to efficiently connect all notable farming settlements in the county to the city of Crowald.    

Government

  Crowald is managed by several councils, each with their appointed head nominated by House of Acedia.   Some tasks also go through multiple councils, such as land development or city expansion. While the decisions of a single council are relatively quick and agile, the cogs of bureaucracy truly come to a halt when some decisions go through multiple councils. As such permission to build on a new lot can take up to a few years to be approved (or declined).  

Crowald Legistlative Council

  The main body governing Crowald, answering directly to House of Acedia. This council oversees the other councils. It's primary function is to ensure everything runs smoothly and the other councils don't overstep their boundaries. It is also responsible for drafting laws for House of Acedia to ratify.  

Crowald Judicial Council

  The main justice in Crowald. It is responsible that all the citizens receive due process and that the justice system remains impartial. In rare cases it will also pass judgement in complicated matters. However, typically small disputes and misdemeanor are left for common courthouses.  

Infrastructure Council

  Plans and implements the city infrastructure, and works to resolve issues before they surface and affect the lives of the citizens. The primary responsibilities are: fresh water, sewage system, district heating and road system. Majority of the seats in Infrastructure Council are dwarves.  

Crowald City Council

  Handles all the affairs related to the residents in Crowald, including complaints and permissions.  

Agriculture Council

  Yearlong planning for crop rotation and winter preparations. Includes also meat products and food imports and exports. They are also one of the most closely audited councils as neglect may result in famine and starvation of thousands during the winter.  

Trade and Commerce Union

  This council is filled with trade- and merchant guild representatives, and local businessmen. All things related to imports and exports and import and export taxation.  

Crowald Security Council

  Responsible for defense of the city and the county. This council answers directly to House of Acedia. However, it also provides functions for local law enforcement, hiring mercenaries and subjugating monsters or bandits.  

The Council of Hammers

  Administrating the dwarven industry in Crowald. They are also the regulative body towards outsiders who wish to learn from the dwarven artisans in the city.  

Ministry of Transportation

  While the Infrastructure Council concentrates on basic necessities, the primary focus on the Ministry of Transportation is the Crowald Tramway System. Ministry of Transportation may have perhaps even too much autonomy on planning and building the tunnel network exploited by the Tramway. The Ministry of Transportation and Council of Infrastructure tends to preemptively approve the documents of each other, which has allowed them to address potential issues with the required autonomy.  

Religion

  The religious head in Crowald is Bishop Father Desmond who oversees the One Church operations from a modest size cathedral in Crowald.
Population
~2,300,000
Location under
Included Locations
Owner/Ruler
Owning Organization
Vehicles Present

Comments

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Sage nnie
Annie Stein
11 Jul, 2022 19:24

A solid article! I don't think I've seen anyone write about the seasons and how they affect a settlement. I really like it, and might just steal that for some geographical locations of my own down the line.

Creator of Solaris & The Morning Realm -— Worldember 2022
11 Jul, 2022 19:29

Go ahead, it makes me really happy that I am able to inspire someone as an WA-newbie. On that note, the time of day could also be very big in some locations/cities for that added immersion. =)

Sage George Sanders
George Sanders
16 Aug, 2022 12:38

Could be an interesting bureaucracy. House Acedia being demon slayers and protectors of the realm in the past hints at some stories!   "Crowald County value artisans and craftsmanship. The forest and land is protected and used wisely. Seems like a great place to visit during a festival!" -Lavani

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