This is a lively port town where the trade across Lake Amsorak from Akesoli comes into Darokin . It is controlled by the “families” to whom laws are guidelines to beat other people with but can be broken if you can get away with it. Since they control Akorros, they and their henchmen and women generally can get away with it – anyone who objects too loudly is likely to be found in pieces on the lake shore (if at all). Particularly suited to rogues and shady characters, but all classes can be found. Akorros is, in the minds of many citizens of Darokin, a "sister city" of Akesoli across the lake. While there are quite a few similarities, the comparison quickly draws anger from Akorros residents, who want nothing to do with the "frontier town" across the lake. Because of its more central location, Akorros does not have the bandit and monster problems that Akesoli does. As a result, the City Guard is much more relaxed and easygoing, though they are still a competent armed force that should not be disregarded. Politically, the Toney merchant house is the most powerful in the city, though several others also exert influence. According to GAZ 11 The Republic of Darokin, Akorros is one of the nine great cities of Darokin, but the thieves’ guilds and criminal elements have become rather too powerful, and this is impacting the profitability of the city. In the words of the Gazetteer:
The most important political institution in Akorros is the Thieves’ Guild. Like most of the Thieves’ Guilds in the Republic, this one operates on two levels. On the legal, above-board side, the Thieves’ Guild offers its services in lockpicking and trap disarming, as well as “advisors” on matters of security. On the illegal side, of course, are the traditional activities of burglary, mugging, extortion, and protection. The Akorros Thieves' Guild, like its brothers throughout Darokin, has been around as long as anyone can remember, certainly long before the Great Merger and the establishment of the Republic. At first, the government allowed the Guild to continue for several reasons. First, they thought they were "controlling" the thieves by keeping them in one place and under a careful eye. Second, the Guild promised to police itself, hunting down "renegade" thieves on its own, and forbidding the more violent crimes. Lastly, the Guild is not too greedy and, since the guilds pay taxes on their proceeds, most city governments figure they would lose more to thieves if there were no Guild than they do now. In Akorros, however, things have gotten out of hand. Through payoffs, intimidation, and even assassination, the Akorros Thieves’ Guild has risen to such a level of power that nothing of consequence happens in Akorros without the Guilds’ approval. The Toney merchant house is a member of the “Great Nine” houses, but it is number nine. Just ten years ago, Toney was the 6th-largest house, and their losses to the Thieves’ Guild are the main reasons for their decline. The national government in Darokin is just beginning to realize how serious the situation is here, but they recognize that rooting out the Thieves’ Guild will not be an easy task.A slip in net worth may be the case for the city and ruling Toney family…but there is still plenty of money about, and the leaders of the different “Venerable Societies” live lives of luxury in palaces, surrounded by their faithful acolytes and minions. At least until a minion decides it is time for a new leader, in which case the floors can run with blood (another good reason for having your palace floored with marble). And of course, it’s quite an incentive to be faithful when the alternative is being floated out into the lake in pieces along with the remains of your family. The gazetteer goes on to say Akorros is on the eastern bank of Lake Amsorak, the side nearer to Darokin City and the centre of the country. Consequently, while many Darokinians think of Akorros as similar to Akesoli at the opposite side of the lake, the city inhabitants themselves see the two cities as very different.
“Akesoli is a hinterlands border outpost, suitable for traders and their caravans of goods through the Sind desert but not much else, uncouth and sand-beaten, whereas Akorros is much more civilised and sophisticated, where connections rule and money can buy anything. Sure you have to watch yourself, but pay the local thieves guild fee, display your badge and you should be fine. Who wants a quiet life anyway? There are daros [Darokin currency] waiting to be earned...or at least acquired/liberated.”(You can imagine the people from Akesoli put a rather different interpretation on things.)
The economic forces that drive Akorros are quite similar to those in Akesoli. Goods are ported in from all over Darokin, gathered together in a large warehouse district, and ported out across the lake to Akesoli for travel further west. Goods coming east from Akesoli are transferred to land caravans for the trip to Darokin or elsewhere.Naturally Akorros has a docks area. In fact it has two run by different groups. As well as that different sections of the docks are under the control of different groups. And that’s without mentioning all the individual tie-ups where business can be conducted more privately. Part of the docks area actually spreads out into the lake on stilts, with waterways serving the purpose of streets, and warehouses, merchant halls inns, taverns, shops and other businesses. Of course being on stilts gives nooks and crannies actually underneath which small boats can slip through. The shoreline outside the city proper is quite undulating with lots of shady inlets, and there is a scattering of islands just offshore which shelter the harbour areas from the wild squalls which can whip up on Lake Amsorak. Other transport connections: on the eastern side of the city, obviously we have the main road to Darokin City. I see this as a busy, well-maintained highway to speed the flow of trade goods. We also have the plentiful agriculture of the Streel basin to transport:
There is more to Akorros … than a simple lakeside warehouse town, as the residents will be quick to point out. As the largest city in the rich agricultural lands of the Streel Plain, all of the biggest farm combines are headquartered here. A good percentage of the fruits, vegetables, and livestock produced in the area are brought to Akorros before they’re sent on to points throughout the world.There is a coast road heading north and south, probably well travelled for quite a distance, getting smaller and less well-maintained once you get away from the farmlands into wilder lands. There is also a network of smaller roads, farmsteads, townships spread out across the basin.
Size and Layout
Most urban environments average a population density of 20-60 people per acre. Larger cities, royal cities, or cities on major trade routes have higher growth potential because of the amount of money flowing through the city. Population density in these cities is as high as 200 people per acre.Since this is a larger city, we can assume it will be at the higher end, certainly in central districts, although it will probably tail off as you move towards the outskirts. To make the numbers easy, let’s make it an average of 100 people per acre. So that gives a size of 230 acres. With 640 acres to the square mile, that’s approximately 2/5 square mile. I also assume it will have a roughly semi-circular shape, having grown north and south along the coast and east up the road to Darokin. Area of a semi-circle is ½Πr², so with a bit of rearrangement we have r² = 4/5Π mile². 4/5Π is roughly ¼ (certainly close enough for our purposes), giving r² = ¼, so r = ½. This gives us approximately 1 mile north/south along the coast, projecting about half a mile east inland.
Toney Plaza and the city centreThe centre of the city is the harbour area, and particularly a large street/plaza called Toney Plaza – an open area about 50′ wide and 400′ long sloping down from Toney palace to the harbour (partly inspired by Las Ramblas in Barcelona). The view down from the palace and out onto the lake is impressive, looking out to the Temple of Khoronous on the south end of Khoronous Island and to the lake beyond. Toney Plaza and Toney Palace are, of course, named after the Toney Family, the largest in Akorros. The Town Hall stands to the side of Toney Palace at the upper end of Toney Plaza, and both sides of the Plaza are lined with official guild headquarters, mercantile main offices and other forms of headquarters, all imposing buildings. These are where the high-powered formal business takes place. Of course most of these organisations will have other buildings in other places of the city where the more mundane and less public business is carried out. In the early years of Akorros, Toney Plaza was originally the main marketplace, with animals, fruit, veg, fish, meat, baking and everything, but such noisy, smelly stalls are no longer welcome on the stone-paved plaza, and the stalls which remain sell clothing, jewellery, ornaments, keepsakes and other more up-market goods. A couple of discreet stalls sell elegant knives, swords, rapiers and daggers, and if you know where to look you can also find remedies for personal issues (such as a potential amour not realising how much they love you, or an inconvenient rival being too alive...) as well as the more common healing tinctures. The cattle and chickens have long ago been banished to the outskirts of the city.
Cormyra District "The Glantri of the South"Islands dot the lake near the harbour, providing shelter and additional building space, and most of the area sheltered by the two largest islands has been covered with a network of walkways, buildings, and bridges which span the many waterways in and amongst the buildings. Originally these were wooden constructions, but now in the area near the foot of Toney Plaza, granite and marble dominate, supported by a network of great stone pillars built up from the lake bed. Most of this area is far too up-market to contain warehouses and the trade docks. This is the area of the rich and successful, the churches and cathedrals, and those who serve them, with the richest and most opulent palaces on the island itself. At the northern end of this area, the inner city wall has been extended across the water to the island, providing extra protection to those houses within that section of the enclosed area, and coincidentally blocking off passage from the lake to the north...unless you happen to own one of the buildings there, of course. There are multiple discrete passages both above and below water if you know the right people. Due to its similarity with Glantri City, this area is known as "The Glantri of the South". By decree, the area of the lake near Toney Plaza is not covered over – no buildings may be erected on the lake in the direct line of sight down the Plaza to The Temple of Khoronous on the southern tip of the island. Instead it contains the most exclusive anchorages where the boats of the rich and famous dock. Another cathedral graces the promontory to the south of Toney Bay, and beyond that the character of the city changes.
Akorros DocksSouth of the cathedral is the working docks area. Here the construction is practical, warehouses, cranes and derricks dominate, and carts, wagons and porters staggering under large loads are everywhere. This is the life-blood of trade, and large ships come and go at all times of day and night, loaded with trade goods. It is also where the many fishing boats which work Lake Amsorak come in to berth and offload their catch. Among the warehouses, there are also holding pens for livestock destined for trade and transport across the lake or down the Amsorak River. Like in Cormyra District, the buildings have extended out over the water, but the structures here are predominantly wooden, and it is not unknown for rotten boards to give way under unsuspecting victims, dumping them into the waters of the lake below. Since these waters provide a tempting place to dump waste, this is seldom a pleasant experience... The area between the harbour and the outlying islands is filled with moored boats and ships, sheltered by the islands from the vicious squalls and their associated high waves which can come up suddenly on Lake Amsorak and capsize or swamp the unwary.
The city wallsReferring back to MMSWE-3:
The city walls separate the city from its surrounding, offering protection and regulating people and goods going in and out of the city. They are often thick stone walls, some as thick as 20 feet and as high as 30 feet. ... City walls may keep size and population under control in the early stages of city development, but as people settle outside the walls for lack of space inside the city, merchants, craftsmen, and peasants create suburbs. As these groups become important to the city, town lords, city officials and other high-ranking people extend the walls to protect the suburb. With rapid growth and limited resources, some cities’ walls do not extend fast enough, leaving whole wards outside of the walls. ... The determining factor in extending the city wall is the importance of the people living in the suburb. Merchants and craftsmen usually have little problems convincing the city to protect them, but peasants and laborers are not so fortunate.There are two circling walls with another partial loop to the east where the city grew along the Darokin Road. There are also some suburbs outside the walls for people who can’t afford the inner rents (or don’t want the same level of overview).
In cities where invasion is not a large concern, a certain laxity behind the martial use of the wall turns the wall into a place of socializing. Guards, who are simply local guild members in most towns and some small cities, patrol the walls and streets, stopping to talk and chat with people they know. On hot summer days, people climb on top of the walls to catch a cool breeze and talk about local affairs. Gates are where the city and the outside world collide. There is usually more than one gate into a city, and each gate is manned to regulate and tax people and goods coming into the city. Certain gates see more traffic, usually on roads linking the city to other urban centers. These gates become the city’s main gates.
Because of its more central location, Akorros does not have the bandit and monster problems that Akesoli does. As a result, the City Guard is much more relaxed and easygoing, though they are still a competent armed force that should not be disregarded.There are three main gates – the coast road gates to north and south, and the main gate on the highway to Darokin City. These are the official gates...of course there are various unofficial clandestine routes past the walls, but they are all closely guarded secrets owned and managed by particular organisations. The original city walls encompass the harbour areas of Akorros Harbour and Cormyra District, as well as Toney Palace and Toney Plaza, but Akorros has had a couple of extensions over the years. First to the north, where Umbarth and Pennydown Houses had established a rival settlement with its own harbour and marketplace to bypass the Toney House docking, storage and transport fees. Originally two separate settlements, the two grew over time and ended up merging about 150 years ago, although the northern portion still has its own character, and is known as the Spice Quarter due to the trade in spices and exotics from the lands beyond Akesoli. The second extension to the city wall was to the east along the Darokin Road, bringing the joining point of the two routes inside the larger city. The joining point of the two roads is the site of the main livestock market, with cattle pens, sheep, goats, pigs, ducks, chickens, geese, horses and other livestock bought and sold, providing a constant noise of animal sounds and a melange of odours which definitely lowers the prices of accommodation nearby.