Culture Level: Medieval (7) for the peasantry & lower classes of Rookhausen as they seldom see the luxuries and wonders of the higher classes. Chivalric (8) in the aristocracy & higher class areas of Rookhausen’s upper city.
Landscape: Rookhausen lies in the southeastern empty quarter of Darkon, near its border with Nova Vaasa. The city lies on the shores of the Nocturnal Sea along a long low cliff known as the Breakwall. The Breakwall averages about 35 to 40 feet in height and divides Rookhausen into a lower city, predominantly inhabited by its lower classes, and an upper city, ruled by the noble houses and their merchants, servants and minions. To the southwest of the city lie the Grey Moors, inhabited by remnants of the savage Wolf Cult. Northwest of the city are the fae-haunted Creeping Wood Fens. These wet rugged lands are pierced by the western road as it curves past the mysterious great Wight Hill. North from the city runs the northern road towards the more populated areas of Darkon. Far off to the west are the Dnar River and the Mountains of Misery
Major Settlements: The city of Rookhausen (pop. 12,000+), Village of Anchor (pop. 500), Southmoor (pop. 300), Northfen (pop. 300).
The Folk: Population – 12,000+. Humans 75%, Halflings 10%, Half-Elves 5%, Elves 4%, Dwarves 4%, Gnomes 1%, Other 1%. Languages – Balok*, Terg*, Darkonese, Vaasi. Religion – The Lawgiver*, Ezra, the Eternal Order.
The two dominant human ethnic groups are the Baloks and the Tergs. Baloks tend toward thick, stocky builds with broad shoulders and wide hips. Balok skin tones run from pale oliver-tan to light brown. Dark hair and eyes are typical, the former ranging from light chestnut to nearly jet-black, the latter from pale hazel to deep brown. Tergs are taller and large of limb. They share the dark hair and eyes of the Balok, though their skin tends to be ruddier in tone.
The official state religion of Rookhausen is the Lawgiver. Since the coming of the Lord Protector Argen Wolfsbane however the church of Ezra has grown more and more notable in recent years, and the Eternal Order from Darkon is also growing in strength. In the Grey Moors, it is said that the remnants of the ancient Wolf Cult lurk, emerging only to harass villagers and travelers.
The Law: Hereditary Aristocracy, Feudal hereditary aristocracy. In the city of Rookhausen, as in most its size, one is born into their station. Rookhausen is ruled by nine noble houses: the Floretti, Gorkoski, Mirari, Parfonte, Sergevski, Szechski, Tarok, Wyrog and Yaroslav. The houses select the Lord Mayor from amongst their own number, though the political wrangling and backstabbing which precedes this is a byzantine morass beyond the ken of most common folk. The current Lord Mayor is Sydney Parfonte.
Law and order are maintained within the city by a paid constabulary simply called the City Guard by most people, or other less pleasing terms by those who hate them. They bear a red and black standard with the city coat of arms, and most of them also wear the badge of one of the noble houses as well.
The city walls and outlying areas fall under the purview of the Lord Protector, Argen Wolfsbane, and his troops. The Lord Protector’s soldiers are trained to dispatch bandits and invading forces. They patrol regularly, and often clash with the Wolf Cult near Southmoor. They bear a white standard with an upright sword, reminiscent of the symbols of Ezra. Indeed many of those most loyal to the Lord Protector refer to the lands outside of Rookhausen’s walls as Ezra’s Promise.
Trade and Diplomacy: Resources – fish, wheat, cattle, beer, usury, culture. Coinage – solar (gp), lunar (sp), penny (cp).
Rookhausen has established strong trade with the surrounding areas since its emergence from the Mists in 750. The near regions of Darkon are relatively empty and unforgiving, but ready access to the sea allows easy trade with the elves of Nevuchar Springs and the merchants of Egertus. Overland traders from Sidnar, Barovia and Tepest also make the journey.
Relations with neighbors so far have been polite if strained. Darkon sent an emissary whose underlying words seemed to suggest that King Azalin saw Rookhausen as part of his lands, but simply allowing a branch of the Eternal Order to break ground in Rookhausen seemed to mostly pacify his dignity. The ruling houses of Rookhausen worry about potential future problems with Darkon, however, and have been steadily currying favor with other states, particular Nova Vaasa. The Lord Protector’s men have many tiny fortifications in place across the surrounding landscape in case of invasion, though many fear the reputation of the sorcerous king of Darkon. The Lord Mayor seems confident that so long as Rookhausen is beneficial to its neighbors that the city will find tolerance and acceptance in the politics of the land.
Characters: Classes – bards, fighters, rogues and aristocrats are especially fitting classes for Rookhausen. Experts and commoners also abound of course. Barbarians and druids are not usually comfortable in the city, as it has long ago lost the uncivilized edge. Skills – Gather Information, Profession (fisherman, sailor). Feats – Skill Focus.