Slumming it

Posted by  | Saturday, December 4, 2010  at 6:30 PM  

As a consequence of directing the action to a sprawling city-port there will be nautical and piratical trimmings aplenty. What else? Hopefully it won't come as too much of a shock to hear that our maritime campaign is heavily themed around upholding, bending and breaking the law! Previous posts indicate that crimefighting agencies and criminal gangs both play significant roles in the struggle.

One of my conspirators has been encouraging me to introduce the wards and boroughs of the city. Another great idea from Cianty! The districts of Marienburg might help inspire hobby projects because they certainly will be influencing many new scenarios and game links during campaign play. You have a super sexy map to drool over! But what of all these designated zones?

Marienburg is broken down into a number of districts. In addition to the recognised wards, local boroughs are given recognition on the Great Map. These ghetto districts harbour criminal enterprises and the dens of vice they lord over. Ghettos are affected by laws which govern the city, but each borough tends to be subject to rules (local laws, not game rules) of its own kind. Crimelords and racketeers maintain lordship over nearly every slum and its denizens. Their perpetual state of lawlessness tailors them perfectly to suit the needs of any Mordheim fan.

The Dead Canal, Old Money Ward and the South Dock are the slum districts in Marienburg. The rule of law is greatly reduced in these areas. While there is a semblance of order in the decaying mercantile district of the Old Money Ward, and watch patrols covering most of the South Dock, the remaining slums from these major districts can be described as being virtually ungoverned. The Dead Canal is the worst of all, a blight stricken domain that is shunned by all excepts cultists, mutants and foolhardy thrill-seekers. Here in the worst of slums and in shady corners of the South Dock (Three Penny Bridge in particular) is where illegal activity runs rife.

With precious few exceptions all backroom deals and violence (the fighting!) takes place in the areas described where appointed constabularies fear to tread. The character of each foreign ghetto can be defined by its inhabitants. Here is a brief rundown of expatriate communities, designated hot-spots for street brawls and illicit dealings.

Arabtown is renowned for fine tutors and strange wares. The Arabyan district is also infamous for its drug dens and vice houses offering a safe haven for drug cartels, slavers, Hashishin assassins, and Pirate Lords of the Twin Seas hailing from Mahabbah in Araby. It can be a dangerous place where harsh criminal punishments are meted out by deposed sultans and desert sheikh focusing mainly on the removal of offending body parts.

Indic District on the surface is the place of dark-skinned traders, spice merchants, house servants, petty magicians, and subscribers to the drug parlours and bordellos. Spice traders eagerly travel to Marienburg to auction valued herbs. Of the three nations to the east Ind is closest. Their gods and traditions puzzle scholars. Observing local customs is advisable because the deeply spiritual culture of Indic District is as exotic as the Spice Islands of Ind. Something as simple as crossing a bridge the wrong way, or eating meat can stir up the ire of the locals, bringing down swift retribution upon confused outsiders.

Kislevan Way is a tough neighbourhood populated by mercenaries and labourers, as cold and unforgiving as the Oblast itself. Their vices are funded by fat fur-hatted traders from Erengrad.

Knife Alley is the Estalian district, predominantly known among other things for violent crime, criminal gangs and extravagant facial hair.

Nippon Town lies in the shadows of the Palace District suiting their ridged class system. The ghetto is home to labourers and fishermen from the islands of Nippon, preferred house staff for the elves. Here is where a wealthy patron might recruit a ninja, the deadliest of assassins. The distrustful Nipponese hear more tales than they tell making the district a valuable haunt for information brokers.

North Miragliano is a hotbed of political wrangling and the home away from home for mercantile elitists branching out from the sphere of influence controlled by the Merchant Princes of Tilea. There are frequent brawls with the Remeans.

Norscan Town on the edge of the South Dock. The moon-faced plainsmen of Norsca transport their wares on the backs of snow mammoths in the Northern Wastes before transferring their cargo aboard longships which sail out from the icy fjords of Ormskaro and Olricstaad eventually crossing the Sea of Claws to reach Marienburg. Traders in amber, furs and ivory provide passage to barrel-chested employment seekers, Norse mercenaries embarking for the city of islands rather than doom in battle admitting them to Norscan Valhal. Sailors, dockers and mercenaries frequenting mead halls and whore-huts are all subject to the vendetta law of Norse Town.

Remas Way is the stomping ground for the Swords of Solkan. Remas is the seat of power for worship of the God of Law and as a consequence his masked reactionaries possess a firm grip of authority in the Remean district of Marienburg. Tileans from Remas, will often brawl with the Miraglianese.

Wine Sack was named for the Bretonnians refusal to drink the local water. Agents of the court sent to spy on Imperials find a home for themselves in the district alongside mercenaries, artists and adventurers. Due to the pungent culinary preferences of its residents the Bretonnian quarter has also become known as Garlic Town.

The Silk Market supplies high quality silks, tea and fireworks. Rich merchant houses frequent the market district to employ swaggering Cathayan bravos with heavy curved swords and Oriental masters of the Mystical Martial Arts. Small banking houses offer financial services to clients from all over the city. Persistent rumours suggest Chaos cults operate behind the scenes in the Cathayan quarter.