"Situated at the midpoint of the main road to Aldeville from the Grandian border, Duford had been a prospering town until the escalation of war between the neighboring states. The recent expansion of House Rysmarck’s holdings led to battles taking place in the surrounding areas, and Duford’s former lords to flee their own lands...
Approaching the settlement, the border guards lazily allow you into the town, trickling in with the two or three other travelers lugging wares on their packs and animals. Passing the wooden fences, your gaze is met with the rows of wooden structures along the main street. On one side of the street are cottages and other homes which stand alone, leaving small gaps between their perimeters, while the opposite side gives way to contiguous wooden, terraced buildings containing shops and establishments. Farther in the distance, you can make out the open area of a town square, right beside a deceptively impressive stone town hall.
Duford's native population is comprised mainly of humans. However, it's status as a trading town leads it to host any diverse number of travelers. Most of Duford's populace belongs to the middle class. Currently, the wealthiest denizens are those who control the town's trading posts as a result of the Duford family relinquishing lordly responsibilities over the town.
Once more aristocratic in nature, the local government has since fallen under the control of the town guard, which in itself was little more than a militia until recent months. The town imposes heavier taxation on roaming traders while providing cuts to enterprises which settle in its borders.
Duford proper is surrounded by a perimeter of wooden fence enforced with wooden palisades, erected since the start of the Rysmarckian Conquests.
With its location, Duford serves as a trading center en route from Grandia to Avon and vice versa. Two sawmills can be found in the vicinity but are used more for the town's maintenance purposes than direct trade. It used to have a burgeoning lumber industry, but the conflicts in the surrounding lands have closed off those avenues. The surrounding farmlands mainly support the town's population, though what surpluses are reaped from good seasons may be traded for further profits.
Duford is known to host and oversee a large portion of a major road that serves as a major trade route from Grandia to Avon. The settlement also boasts a stone paved town square in front of the city hall. Duford Manor also stands less than half a mile away from the town's main perimeter. It serves as the center to the higher end residential area of the town.
Guilds and Factions
The town possesses a city guard which has, since the Duford family's abscondment, served as the main government.
The town of Duford began as a hamlet in 3399 3E when the noble Duford family settled in the building that would become known as Duford Manor. With a prime location on a direct route between Grandia and Avon, the family invested in the development of its surrounding road system. The improvements brought on more traders and ensured the growing settlement had a lifeline in trade and, to a lesser extent, tourism. Growing into a town, Duford continued on a steady pace of growth over the next seventy years. Among the major changes to its growth involved migrating the bulk of the settlement from the hamlet around Duford Manor to its own nearby center. However, on the onset of the Rysmarckian Conquests, the town's lifeblood for expansion, its trading routes, gradually grew more constricted with the surrounding areas devolving into war. Eventually, its steadiest source of trade came from the South, with passersby having to take caution of the conflict in the town's vicinity. In early 3498 3E, the Duford family relinquished their influence over the nearby city of Duford and left the area, supposedly to immigrate to Grandia. In the following months, the large town began to suffer from the lack of a concrete government as well as mismanagement from the few officials within. However, with the intervention of some adventuring good samaritans, the town guard and, by extension, the town itself began to recover by the mid-year.
Duford shares the same architectural style as those found in most of Avon's major settlements. The town's layout has wooden structures arranged close by one another in well-divided rows separated by streets, most of which lead to the inner town square. The city hall, however, is built of a mixture of marble and granite in the Sarodian-style of formal governmental buildings found in major cities.
Duford, established on relatively flat, grassy land, is surrounded by more farmland and woodlands. However, swaths of the terrain farther north of the town have either been razed or trampled as a result of the warring states.
Duford relies on surrounding fields and farmlands for grain and other nourishment from plants. Smaller herds of livestock are also available, again from nearby farmsteads. The woodlands closer to the town can also provide wood, though the settlement has been more careful in its harvesting in light of the lack of timber to the north. The Lifurion Mines to the west once provided a local source of metals and minerals; however, it had been taken under the control of the Order of Avalon and operations suspended when traces of the Corruption and Scourge appeared from its depths. Otherwise, Duford imports other necessary natural resources.