Greetings Wayfarer! We bid thee welcome to the fair town of Haefen. This shall be thy point of introduction to life in Altorian.
Haefen is a fortified town in the south of Altoria. It is located on the King's Highway, the major trade route of the kingdom. I'm sure you can come up with some reason for being there. It has many merchants, mercenaries, and just travelers, getting from one place to another, coming through town. Haefen is well defended and considered a safe layover on the caravan route. All weapons must be peace bonded within the walls of Haefen. This rule is strictly enforced.
We want you to visualize your surroundings. Haefen is partially surrounded with stout wooden palisades and partially walled with stone. You'll just have to imagine these- we'll try to have the boundaries marked off in some way. The main gate, and any other entrances to the town will be designated in some obvious manner. The walls are needed to keep out the bandits and the goblins who plague the border settlements. Wandering monsters and bandits are unlikely to bother you within the town walls. The main gate is set in the stone wall. Building of the stone wall continues and work can be found for stone cutters, masons, and laborers. If you can't think of more interesting work for your character, you can always get work hauling rocks for the masons.
Even though it is in an outlying area it has many transient visitors. Being near the borderlands and on the trade route, it gets many different races passing through. You'll see Ogres, Orcs, Magorians; anyone from all of Ereth could be passing through Haefen at any time. You'll see all kinds, either with a caravan or on their own. It has a much more varied mix of people than most Altorian towns. It is considered much more tolerant and non-partisan than the main Altorian cities. Most people who live in Haefen are non-judgmental and tend to mind their own business, at least outwardly. It has the feel of a border town, not quite as civilized as you may be accustomed to.
Let's take a tour.
Just inside the main gate is the Merchant's Guild house. It has warehouse storage facilities available for a fee and has rooms to let for Merchant Guild members. If you are playing a merchant, you can become a member. It also provides communal sleeping and cooking accommodations for merchants and traders coming through Haefen. If you are a Guild member in good standing there is no fee. Non Merchant Guild members are not allowed. The accommodations are clean but rustic. So, if you're playing a merchant with a Guild membership, you don't have to worry about where your character is going to stay, or how he's going to pay for it. You can designate a spot as "your room", put your things there, and lock it up. The Merchant's Guild is your best bet for money exchanges; they will be more familiar with foreign coin and most likely to give you a fair exchange. Any player can use the Merchant's Guild money exchange.
The open market in Merchant Guild Square sometimes rivals the Town Square. When a caravan arrives in town the merchants will sometimes set up market stalls here. This can be a good opportunity to pick up new information from foreign travelers. Just ask around, someone will direct you to the right place.
The Town Square is surrounded by some well-established businesses. Most popular is the Murky Brew, the favorite hangout for locals. Bach, head of the Hostlers Guild, runs this tavern. The Murky Brew opens onto the main square and is your best bet for meeting people and gathering information. It has a stable and a common room with beds to let and three private rooms to rent. If you need a place to stay, check in here. The rates are reasonable. The barmaids come and go. Bach is frequently looking to hire help. Go ahead; ask him if he knows where you can get work.
Bach has fighting pits out back. If there is a crowd willing to place bets the pit master will find fighters to bet on. He is always on the lookout for promising fighters to use in the pits. He usually works with beasts, but will sometimes hire humans if he thinks they can serve him well. If you are sure of your fighting skills, you can hire yourself out in the pits. The pit master is always interested in buying promising fighting beasts. If you need to make some quick money, check with him and see if he'll send you after some new stock. It's dangerous work, but he pays well.
The wench in charge of the serving girls at the Murky Brew also has her "girls" for hire. She is always on the lookout for new talent for the brothel. Bach may hire the barmaids, but she is the one they have to answer to. You might be able to find work there.
After you've been in town for a while, if you're on the lookout for a fresh face, look for one of Vas's Traveling Entertainments. The girls in her Wagons always have open arms, as long as you have an open purse. Just don't let them sell you any potions...
Ykirt Jak, a Glimmer who was an old compatriot of Bach, oversees the Murky Brew's gambling den. Bach generally gives him a free hand in running the games. Play at your own risk.
Located in the Murky Brew is the Adventurer's Guild. You will usually find the head of the Adventurer's Guild there, if you can find her at all. If not, she should have someone on duty. There you can find the adventurers board. This is public and anyone can place a posting on the board. If you are looking for work, this is a good place to check. If you're a member of the Guild you get the choice assignments that may not be posted.
There are other business establishments around town. The Weapon and Armor Shop is run by the Smith's Guild. They do repair work and sell items. The general store has almost anything you might need for adventuring. The Two-Headed Dragon is an apothecary shop. Check it out for herbs and potions. The Book & Scroll is run by the old sage and carries many interesting items. The 'old sage' himself is an interesting character. If there's anything you want to know, just ask him. He has a library that is open to the public. There is a Tower owned by the Mage's Guild. If you're interested in joining the Mages Guild, you might want to check with them. Farther out is the Caravan House, a business that sells surplus and damaged goods from the caravans. You never know what you might find there. The proprietor has a fondness for tobaccos and frequently has a good supply.
If there is something your character needs to buy, or something you want to investigate, just ask around. You will be directed to the appropriate place. There will usually be markers indicating where the different shops and other buildings are. If you need to talk to a shop proprietor and there doesn't seem to be anyone at that particular shop, check with a Pooh-Bah. The N.P. Corp players have to wear a lot of different hats; give us a minute- we'll find the shopkeeper for you.
The most impressive building in town is the mansion of the High Sheriff. Her honor, the Lady Aristam nic Nathireun, a renowned Elven mercenary, appointed as High Sheriff at the request of Count Arlen. She is well thought of by most residents, trusted and respected. She doesn't spend much time at the mansion though.
Her honor makes the rounds of Haefen, checking out any newcomers and keeping tabs on things. She makes frequent stops by the Murky Brew, to keep an eye out for trouble. It has nothing to do with her favorite Elven brew being in plentiful supply, or the gambling or other entertainments. It's her job- yeah, right- she's supposed to be there. I wouldn't advise questioning her on this.
The left wing of the Sheriff's manse houses her office, the jail, and the sheriff's garrison. If you have official business to conduct, this is the place to be.
The right wing houses the sheriff's private quarters and provides lodgings for nobles and dignitaries traveling through Haefen. If you are a high ranking noble, you can request lodgings here. You will most likely be graciously accommodated.
The local Altorian temple is a modest affair with only a small cell for visiting clergy. If you are a priest of Toran, you can stay here. It does have a lovely shrine to Toran, tended to by Ancar, a local monk. I'm sure you'll meet Ancar. He doesn't spend much time at the Murky Brew though, something about Demon spirits in the Ale??? He has some peculiar theories, which I'm sure he'll tell you all about. If you are a priest of Toran, you may find some of his theories are bordering on the heretical. Could explain why he was sent to this outpost in the borderlands.
There are numerous shrines dedicated to various gods scattered throughout Haefen, but these tend to come and go depending on the number of followers in the area. You are welcome to set up a shrine to your personal god or goddess of choice. Altorians do believe in religious freedom.
There are also houses for other guilds, such as the Healer's Guild, run by Ilana nic Bavall, a forest Elf of considerable skill, and Agricultural Guild. Other places of note are the council hall and courthouse, and the local Beadle's office. Beadles are the official messengers of the crown. Neither sleet, nor snow, nor dark of night, shall keep them from their appointed task. They will send messages for you for a fee.
Haefen was located in County Arlen. Count Arlen died this past year on a quest given to him by the Church of Toran. His widowed Lady has now moved to the new Castle Arlen, located in what was once county Alderwood.
A new Count has come into power. Count Azthar, appointed by King Wesley for meritorious service. The citizens of Haefen hope he shall be a just ruler.