BAND OF IRONS
1,000 years ago a band of wanderers settled atop a low ridge overlooking an inlet of Woolly Bay. Exiles and vagabonds all their lives, they were determined to claim a new home for themselves. Quarrying the abundant local stone, the inhabitants fortified the settlement against the unnumbered bands of marauders that roamed the lands. The settlers were fierce in the defense of their new home and after several attempts to storm the high stone walls came to bloody grief, the place came to be known as Safe Town (later shortened to Safeton).
From the very beginning, many doubted how well the name suited the place. Certainly, the loose alliance of families that came to form the town’s nobility ensured that it remained safe from attack from without. However, the haphazard attitude of the Old Families (as the nobles are called) to lawmaking meant that walking the streets of Safeton could be anything but safe. Might made right and the Old Families had might to spare. So, along with fishing, quarrying and trade, brigandage and, later, piracy filled Safeton’s coffers. Like their forefathers, the population of Safeton used slaves to work their quarries and their fields.
Current Ruler is a corrupt warlord type calling himself Szek of Safeton. His large private army controls the surrounding lands extracting tolls from travelers and ruling the city with an iron fist. But there are plenty of places where his army does not bother with leaving areas of the city racked with crime and violence.
There are 4 districts of Safeton
The Marine Quarter
The Marine Quarter is the oldest, standing atop a low rise on the site of the original settlement. Cloistered away from the rest of the city by the Old Wall, the vast majority of the buildings in this district are of stone; many are centuries old as evidenced by the sagging lintels, listing arcades and weathered facades. The stone mansions of the Old Families and other wealthy burghers, past and present, stand here.
The Dock Quarter
To the south of the Marine Quarter, the Dock Quarter lies enclosed within its own walls. A filthy, and dangerous, slum the area serves as Safeton’s port, the rest of the waterfront being too shallow for sea-going cargo ships to load and unload. The shore is lined with wooden wharves and warehouses. The Custom House is the single forlorn outpost of authority on the waterfront, but even here the officials are hopelessly corrupt.
Between the shore and the Old Wall, there sprawls a bewildering network of narrow rat-run alleys lined with taverns, brothels, flophouses, drug dens, bear pits and gambling dens. There are few things that cannot be bought in the Dock Quarter. Life is cheap and virtue scarce. Even the Militia do not attempt to enforce law and order here. The real authority lies in the hands of the gang bosses who have carved the quarter up into a patchwork of rival territories. Each gang gets a cut of all the businesses operating on their turf in return for protection – from other gangs and from themselves. Though they are bound by a loose code of rules, skirmishes between gangs are frequent. Territorial boundaries are fluid, shifting with the fortunes of various gangs.
The Freeman’s Quarter
The Freeman’s Quarter lies west of the Marine Quarter, just outside the Old Wall. As the name suggests, it is home to the city’s artisans, merchants and other tradesmen. Safeton’s many guilds have their halls here and for the moment business is good.
The Low Quarter
South of the Freeman’s Quarter lies a marshy bowl of land known as the Low Quarter, which houses Safeton’s poor – unskilled laborers, freed slaves and the like. The largest of Safeton’s wards, it sprawls westward from the Long March – the paved street that runs directly under the Old Wall. The Long March is so named because condemned prisoners are paraded along the street before being burned at the stake in the plaza that stands before the aptly named Black Gate. Drover’s Row runs west from the Black Gate, ending in the Kine Market. Home to Safeton’s livestock market, as well as its butchers and tanners, this stinking, muddy expanse of open ground once stood right at the edge of the city until it was enclosed by the New Wall.
Traditionally home to Safeton’s poor, swathes of the Low Quarter are covered in wooden shacks and shanties. Here and there, crumbling stone tenements loom above the shanties. In many places, the narrow streets and alleyways are almost completely overhung by sagging, dangerously over-crowded buildings. The inner (and more dilapidated) reaches of the quarter are akin to a chaotic maze
Safeton is ruled by Szek of Safeton who is advised by a council of 6 nobles who are themselves in contact with the rest of the gentry and businessmen. Szek has a private army in addition to the town guards and soldiers. Most of the guard and soldiers are brutal in their treatment of crimes but the private guard has judge jury and executioner privilege. Town Guard can be identified by their Light Blue an White tunics worn over armor. The Private Army has the addition of a large yellow and black striped patches and shields hence their name Wasps.
Haves and Have Nots- Nobles and business owners control the government and treat all others harshly. There is no middle class other than soldiers and shop keepers who pay strong tithes to their owner/controllers or work for low wages. A vast majority of the population are very poor workers. Although slavery is technically “illegal” indentured seventies are little more than slaves owners are able to use ‘slave’ labor and pay very little to others.
Quarries-Safeton has a vibrant trade in stone and stonework from many quarries that surround it. Its port ships stone providing dock working jobs and artisans craft sculptures from the carried materials. There is a large masons guild and dockworkers union but they only hold as much sway as they can pay off Higher ups with bribes.
Safeton is predominantly human. Dwarves and Gnomes who’ve migrated in from the Mountains far to the west make up the largest of the minorities. Dwarves and Gnomes are employed in both dock working for this strength and Quarries for stone working knowledge. There is a much smaller population of elves most archers in the army or private guards. Safeton also boasts a small population of Half-Orcs, and Hobgoblins most employed as personal guards and strong"men". Half Orcs and Hobgoblins also toil as “slaves” in the quarries due to their strength.