Critwall (large city): Conventional
40,000 gp limit
Assets 17,142,000 gp
Population 20,060; Mixed (77% human, 8% halfling, 5% elf, 5% half-orc, 2% dwarf, 2% gnome, 1% half-elf).
Authority Figures: Lord Lyndon Bohdon (Knight of Holy Shielding, member of the Council of Lords, ruler of the city and earl of Bohdon County); Countess Katarina Walworth (Knight Commander of the Knights of Holy Shielding, Countess of Walworth Isle (in exile), leader of the Council of Lords, former High Lady Marshall of the Armies of the Great Northern Crusade.) High Justice Orleset (High Priest of the Church of the Holy Shielding); Truth Witness Stinson Fentak (Leader of the Church of the Honest Protector)
Important Places: Critwall Bridge, Castle Critwall, Dewey’s Tavern, The Deep Rock (Prison), Tent Town
Critwall is a small walled city on the banks of the Veng River. The city is divided into four quarters, each of which is further separated into several districts. Each quarter is divided by a stout inner wall running roughly northwest to southeast and southwest to northeast across the city. Where each inner wall meets the main city wall, a small keep sits to protect against access to the walls. The inner walls meet at Bohdon Center. The quarters are further divided by streets, which run both north to south and east to west. The street running north to south, called the Procession, begins at Southgate and runs to Northgate.
Starting in the north, Northbank is named for the small portion of the Veng River bank falling within the northwestern most part of the city. Northbank is home of Castle Critwall, the walled citadel of the Bohdon familiy and acting headquarters of the Council of Lords. South of the castle is the Garrison district, housing most of the soldiers stationed at Critwall including many of the officers and Knights of Holy Shielding. South of the garrisons near Bohdon Center is the Cathedral of the Shield Reclaimed. A mighty stronghold in its own right, it is the center of worship for the Archpaladin in the Shield Lands. The Procession heads north through the well fortified Northgate and becomes the Ritensa Road.
East of Northbank is the East Quarter which holds the majority of the housing within the city. In the north along the city wall is the Noble District; home to a large majority of the Shield Lands’ nobility until their lands can be reclaimed from Iuz. South of that on both sides of the road are the homes of many craftsmen. Still further south are the Commons, or as they are often called, Low Town. The Commons is home to many of the simple common folk that perform the manual labor of the city. Some sections tend to be a bit shady, particularly along the inner wall adjacent to the Merchant’s Quarter, but the City Watch still patrols the Commons regularly. In the east outer wall at the end of the main road is Eastgate. Eastgate’s twin guard towers protect Critwall from threats coming southwest along the Middleroad.
Along the Veng River, squeezed between Northbank and the Merchant’s Quarter is Southbank, the River Quarter. The smallest of the four, River Quarter is home to many of the people who make their trade on the Veng River. It is also the location of the Guild of Merchants and Traders’ warehouses. Non-members of the Guild own very few of the warehouses, and most of those are owned by nobles with trading interests who ultimately work with the Guild in some capacity anyway. The narrow streets are filled with small fishing shanties, rundown alehouses and brothels. Like the other quarters, a gatehouse protects egress to Southbank, in this case, Westgate. Outside the walls, about one hundred yards down toward the water, the wharfs form a narrow strip of land along the riverbank. Traffic through Westgate is always thick with carts coming and going to the boats moored at the docks.
The Merchant’s Quarter is the first seen by most visitors to Critwall as Southgate sees the heaviest use into and out of the city. Southgate exits the city onto the Tradeway heading south and west into Furyondy. A wide street called the Procession leads from Southgate north through Bohdon Center and into Northbank. On either side of the Procession along the southern portion of the quarter are the homes and shops of the majority of the city’s merchants (to the west) and the homes of visiting foreigners, nobles attending court and other visitors to the city. To the north is Market Square; the center for trade within the city. Numerous markets are open daily, specializing in a vast number of items from across the Flanaess. Because trade is only now starting to pick up within the Shield Lands, many prices, particularly on food, are unusually high within the city. Merchants are forbidden by Guild edict to artificially raise prices, but shortages and the added cost of importing through what most non-Shield Landers consider hostile territory make wholesale prices higher, which merchants have no choice but to pass along to customers. This does little to reduce the traffic in Merchant’s Square, but most people come now only for necessities.
Critwall is a home to churches, temples, and shrines devoted to nearly two dozen religions. Religions following evil deities are outlawed within the city (and the Shield Lands in general) and thus if found are usually small hidden shrines.
Heironeous’s congregation in the Church of Holy Shielding is the largest of the religions, followed distantly by Pholtus’s Church of the Righteous Truth, and St. Cuthberts’s Church of the Honest Protectorate, but all three have at least a large temple within the city. Both Mayaheine and Trithereon have growing followings in the city, as do the Oeridian agricultural gods of the Church of All Winds, Zilchus, Pelor and even Farlanghn, but their houses of devotion tend to be small.
Most religions place temples and shrines close to their congregation, but a few place them in parts of the city where they compliment the activities favored by their gods. Thus you’ll find many shrines to Zilchus in Market Square and shrines of Farlanghn near each gate.
Frothy Mug: Located in the lower section of the Market District. It is a rough section of the city, especially at night. It is very close to “Low-Town” (i.e., the housing district for most of the common folk living in Critwall). The Frothy Mug caters to workers returning home from their jobs in the Market District. The bartender’s name is Jorig. He knows a lot of local gossip for the nearby districts.
Brightdawn Inn: Located along the border between Market and Visitor’s Squares, this posh Inn caters to the wealthy, usually visiting merchants from Furyondy. Its Innkeeper Emripes is known for his strict rule of confidentiality toward his patrons and never reveals any information regarding who is at the Inn or what room they stay in.
The Twisting Tune: A well-sized, respectable establishment. Generally a place for visiting knights, merchants and particularly bards; above average prices, average quality. Most patrons come for the music and news from afar, though mainly gossip.
Castle Critwall: Located in Northbank at the highest point in the city. The castle, often called Critwall Keep, as the original keep still stands within the larger castle walls, overlooks the city and the Veng River. One of two protective citadels within the city, the castle acts as the headquarters of the Council of Lords and the army of the Shield Lands. Prior to the war, the castle was the ancestral seat of the Bohdon family.
Cathedral of the Shield Reclaimed: Center of the Church of Holy Shielding and currently the largest temple to any deity in the Shield Lands, the Cathedral of the Shield Reclaimed is as much a place of worship as a stronghold. With Admundfort still occupied, the church has made the Shield Reclaimed the temporary seat of the High Justice of Heironeous in the Shield Lands until the proper seat, the Church of the Holy Shield in Admundfort, can be reclaimed. One wall tower within the Shield Reclaimed called Valorkeep acts as the headquarters for the Knights of Holy Shielding and contains a barracks, armory and food stores on par with Critwall Castle. Located near the center of the city in Northbank just north of Bohdon Center.
Bohdon Center: A large set of parks, squares and gardens located in the center of the city north of Market Square and south of the Cathedral of the Shield Reclaimed. Bohdon center is surrounded by the inner city walls and pierced by four gates allowing access to all four quarters of the city. Where each inner wall meets Bohdon Center, there is a garrisoned tower, and a manned gatehouse protects each gate. All four gates are closed at sundown and reopened at sunrise.
Eldritch Library of the Arcanists’ Society: A vast library of arcane knowledge under the control of the Arcanists’ Society. Located in the Noble District near Northgate. Because much lore was lost during the occupation by Iuz, the library serves as an important tool for relearning and locating lost knowledge. Though typically forbidden to non-members
(with rare exceptions), the library contains all manners of arcane lore and knowledge and seeks to re-establish the glory of the days before the occupation. Only the Bardic College’s library might compare to the library as a storehouse of knowledge.
Library of the Bardic College: An impressive library of lore on a huge variety of subjects. Located at the Bardic College of Agridagh Cuach in the Merchants’ Quarter the library contains the largest collection of books and scrolls in the Shield Lands. Focusing mostly on subjects such as history, politics, economics, not to mention performance arts of every imaginable type.
Tent Town: The large sprawling mass of tents and small communities living outside Critwall, primarily on the east side of the city, due to gross overpopulation. Despite the poverty, there are surprisingly few beggars and most people, while poor, dirty and tired looking, carry themselves with at least a small measure of pride and hope. Tent town has a little stream running nearby that fills its banks only after heavy rains. During these times it supplements the wells that are scattered throughout the area for the refugees to use. The stream starts as a spring in some hills to the north and east of Critwall. The recently built Temple of Spirit is the only permanent structure in Tent Town and acts as the center of the Open Spirit congregation.
The Middleroad: A road heading northeast from Critwall to Gensal, Lardon, Docamald, Eastfork and then north to Nalren and finally Stazer. Properly named the Critwall-Docamald Highway, most people just call it the Middleroad. This road is most heavily traveled from within the Shield Lands as it, or a road crossing or branching from it, leads to most other places within the Holy Realm. Along with the Ritensa Road and the Tradeway, the Middleroad was meticulously maintained prior to the invasion. Now, all three roads are in comparatively poor condition, though still better than many roads in other parts of the Flanaess.
The Ritensa Road: This road heads north from Critwall along the Veng and Ritensa Rivers turning east at Law’s Forge and looping around through Stazer, Bolam, the Plaque Fields and eventually into Alhaster where it becomes the Tradeway.
The Tradeway: The main highway from Furyondy into the Shield Lands, crossing the Veng River at Critwall Bridge. The Tradeway continues east into occupied lands and eventually through the Bandit Kingdoms, including the former province of Redhand, and eventually into the County of Urnst.