Friday, August 16, 2013

Numenera: The Trade Town of Ashar (An RPG Nerdery Entry)

Ashar is a large town that lies on the upper reaches of the Sadara River.  Nestled in the foothills that, further north, become the Black Riage mountain chain, it is not the most friendly town to travel to.  During the summer months, the land route is hilly and the roads are rough.  The river has a fast current, passable downstream (If your pilot is an experienced hand at the river), but upstream it's an impossible challenge.  During the winter the town is practically impossible to reach.

However what it has going for it is a expansive bridge across the river reaching into the northern reaches of the Matheunis desert.  From that bridge it is but an 80 mile trek to the town of Guran in the former nation of Seshar, and from there, a simple trip to the famed canals of the land.  And so Ashar grew to be a trade town, booming especially in the years since the Garl Nave pass further north had been anchored by criminals.

Due to the geography of the area, the main town of Ashar lies upon a hill, up against a canyon from where the Sadara River has cut through the land.  Further downhill on a road that is frequently being repaired lies the docks upon the river from which goods are transported further into the empire.

The town sits just outside of the bridge's entrance, for they found no real way to control its operation.  Completely made up of light, it forms itself whenever anyone approaches either end of it.  They keep guards near both ends of the bridge to collect fees or to attempt to force travelers not to cross.

The ruler of the town is Viscount Juritrier, who has presided over Ashar (as well as the surrounding foothills) since early in the reign of Challadien II.  He is gaining in age and his small court is beginning to fracture as each member tries to show the new Empress why they would be the best next choice.

Crime is virtually non existent here, as the Viscount is serious about keeping trade running through his town.  The Baronets in his court act as judges before any case and any crime is given a monetary penalty.  The perpetrator's goods are confiscated until the penalty is satisfied.  If the perpetrator doesn't have enough items to fulfill the penalty, they are thrown off the canyon into the river below.

The town's trade is in the hands of the few nobles that preside here.  While there have been attempts from some to create a Mercantile Class, it has been strongly squashed by Viscount Juritrier.  Baronet Kilkoral is trying to subtly create one (and thus gain a type of peasant support) by hiring commoners to handle the shops he owns in Ashar and paying them a percentage of what the shop makes.

The shops are, as intimated above, owned by nobles and frequently operated by staff or younger family they want occupied.  Inside Ashar, many things are available due to the trade that passes through.  And nearly anything that Explorers would want.  Both Common and Rare special items in the Equipment List are frequently found for sale here.  Very Rare ones are still Very Rare.  Cyphers and Artifacts are almost never found for sale here as they are too precious, and often are shipped to Rarmon or held by the Viscount.

Hearsay in Ashar

  • Baronet Verilien has found a device that teleports someone to another location.  It is being kept quiet as to where those teleported end up, however she has put out the call for Explorers to come and help her with it.
  • Baronet Kilkoral is using some of his wealth to send medicine to the town of Redstone in the land of Seshar.
  • While there are several farms devoted to taking care of livestock, given the vibrancy of the grass in this hilly area, it is rather risky due to packs of undomesticated brehm (Reptilian Coursers) hunting the livestock...and occasionally the farmers. 

The Weird in Ashar

  • During certain solar events, the bridge has been known to oscillate through various colours.  No one has attempted to cross it during these times.
  • There is a hill three miles from the bridge that has a rough stone staircase going up it.  It was there before Ashar was founded, and has never seen any damage in the years that followed. No animal sets foot freely on that hill and if forced the animal immediately turns feral.
  • The people of Ashar, and of the farms surrounding it, have yet to succumb to any disease. It is unknown what has affected the health of the people so positively.

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