In this 11th installment for the City of Rookroost we take a look at the festivals celebrated in the city as well as the first installment of places of interest. Once again thanks to everyone that have given me inspiration from Nigel Findley, Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean K. Reynolds, Frederick Weining, Casey Brown, and all the fabulous BK authors and lastly Gygax himself.
Festivals and Holidays
Rookroost is home to many gods, and while they each have holidays and days of celebration, only two holidays are observed in the city, Darkest Night and Unity Day.
Celebrated on the 11th of Goodmonth, at night, the Darkest Night was one of the city's scariest times. As the name implies, the festival is held on the longest and darkest night of the year. The Darkest Night was traditionally an evening for settling scores and taking out rivals. It had once been so bad that the Talons themselves were afraid to patrol the city on that night. Setting fire to homes and businesses of competitors became common on the Darkest Night, leading to several district-wide fires in the past. Seeing this as a problem, the Council of Lords began organizing public bonfire gatherings to hand out free beer to help stem the violence. The Talons came out in full force during the celebrations to help enforce a more orderly chaos. Eventually, the night turned into an all-night celebration, with most of the population either too intoxicated or busy with merriment to cause trouble.
There is still a fair amount of violence and chaos on Darkest Night, but its more easily managed now. The local traditions of scanning the stars for portents and getting one's fortunes told are big business for local fortunetellers.
Celestian, the god of the stars and night sky, Telchur, the god of winter, Nox, the dusk goddess, and Tharizdun, the void creeper, all consider the night a holy time, and followers of these gods conduct rituals on the Darkest Night in public or secret depending on the rights. While followers of these gods are worshiped on this night, their celebrations are not sanctioned by
The second observed holiday in Rookroost is nothing more than an organized celebration of the cities victory over Tenhite forces early in the city’s history. Started by a long-Forgotten governor, who wanted a reason to celebrate city pride like other cities, he picked the date when all of Rookroost's past achievements can be celebrated. Today it is nothing more than an excuse for the populace to get drunk and the rich and influential people of the city to hold parties.
Rookroost after Dark
Since the inception of Rookroost, the city has had two separate and distinct personalities, the Rookroost that everyone saw and moved about during the day, and the much more dangerous Rookroost after dark. Rookroost during the day can be a dangerous place, especially in Outwall, but after the sun sets, the underbelly shows itself and drives most inside behind locked doors. Even in the Outer-City district, it is not uncommon for fights between the rough and tumble brigands and bandits, but after dark, even the Inner-City becomes lawless. Taverns and Inns tend to do a thriving business during the night as many patrons spend the entire night there for the safety in numbers provides. Travel in Outwall, the Outer-City, and the Inner-City is done only in groups of four or more to avoid the dangers that roam the streets.
Only the Peak seems to be immune to this up-tick in violence after dark, undoubtedly because it’s the best lit and most guarded place in the city. The Inner-City and Outer-City have some lights around the more important buildings and the main streets but are predominately dark. The only lighting in Outwall is provided by the citizens, and the Talons at the city gate.
The reason Rookroost is so deadly after dark is simple, it is full of bandits, cutthroats, and brigands. Since its earliest days, the settling of scores, robbing, and stealing goods has waited until night. As the city grew and became more civilized, the number of people willing to do dastardly deeds did not shrink; it grew. Attempts have been made to curb the spike in crime and violence after dark, but the cost and the commitment was not something the Council of Lords was willing to undertake. Easier to keep the Peak well-guarded and make sure that you have good locks on your doors and windows.
The chaos after night in Rookroost has become an accepted way of life, and those that must venture out after dark need to learn to conduct their business during the daylight hours.
Places of Interest
1) The Governor's Palace: The Governor’s palace is more of a fortress than a traditional palace. The Palace is by far the oldest building in the Peak, and possibly the entire city, as it was the first stone fortress constructed on the hill that would become the center of the city. Mortoth lives here, keeping with its tradition being the sitting General's residents going back to the founding of that position.
2) The Mulden Arms (Tenement): As the city grew and the area known as the Peak turned into the lavish section of the town where the rich and influential people lived, luxury tenements were erected to house the influx of people that sought to live there. The Mulden Arms is currently considered the most lavish place in the city where those who are not part of the Council of Lords can live.
3) Uhltrix’s Tower (Guild of Wizardry): Uhltrix’s tower is the tallest structure in the Peak and has a rather dull appearance to it. A rather large tower, it is rumored to have many entrances into pocket dimensions inside, as well as many magical defenses. Despite it being the Guild of Wizardry's home, none of its members are ever seen using the entrance to the tower, except when they are escorting visitors in and out of the tower.
4) The Cartographers and Academics Guild: Rookroost is not a city known for its architectural beauty. Instead, most buildings here favor a practical design, except for the Peak. In the Peak District, the city has beautifully designed buildings and gardens. The guildhall of the Cartographers and Academics guild is by far the most stunning of all the buildings in the city. Made of rose marble, the only building in the city made of such material and decorated with engravings and statues. The guild is proud of its hall and ensures it is kept in the best of conditions.
5) Architects Guildhall: While the guildhall of the Cartographers and Academics is the most beautiful building in Rookroost, the Architects guildhall is second. One would feel that the architects might feel a desire to outdo the Cartographers and Academics guild, but they designed the building, so when people comment on the beauty of that building, they are still tipping their hats to the Architects Guild. Their own guildhall has a simpler design with flowing and elegant curves. Unlike the Cartographers and Academics guild's grounds, the Architects guildhall has no garden to speak of.
6) Jewelers Guildhall: While the jeweler's guildhall looks like nothing more than a large manor house, it is heavily defended, and a keen eye will be able to pick out the security beyond the bars over the windows and the walled and gated entrance. Doors are sturdy and made of metal, not wood, and the walls of the place are several feet thick. The grounds and the interior are also patrolled by armed guards and packs of Rookroost Hounds.
7) Elara's Mansion: While space is at a premium in the Peak District, there are homes here as well, and the most notable of those homes is the one belonging to Elara Mornstar, the head of the Congress, Rookroost's thieves guild. The mansion is large, three stories all told, with a rooftop garden. Patrolled by at least twelve thieves guild members at all times and two packs of Rookroost hounds. The mansion is a mix of elegance and practicality. Elara spends surprisingly little time here though, instead preferring to be mixing among her fellow members of the Congress in the field.
8) Council Hall: The council hall for the Council of Lords is a small mansion that was converted into the council hall when the city was still young and was actually the General's first residence. The most impressive part of the council hall is its grounds. A lavish garden with a hedge maze, fountains, and groves of trees. The entire compound is walled and patrolled by a special detachment of Talons. If the council is in session during nice weather, they often meet in the garden where marble tables, benches, and shaded pavilion doubles as the council's assembly hall.
9) General's Tower: The general's tower is actually a small fort with a large tower. The tower itself is shorter than Uhltrix's tower but older. The General's tower housed the officers’ quarters of the Army of Rookroost and their staff. Since the army was dissolved, the Red Guard has taken up residence there now.
10) The Crystal Palace: While the Peak is the seat of Rookroost's power, it is still a district of the city with residents and people living there, and those people enjoy a drink as much as the next person. The Crystal Palace is a massive Inn and Tavern that caters to all the district's high-class people. Four stories with the top floor reserved for the most opulent of the city visitors, the Crystal Palace also functions as a proxy guest house for visiting dignitaries that are not important enough to stay within the Governor's mansion.
The common rabble is not allowed into the Crystal Palace, and the front door is guarded, and entry is by reservation only. The Crystal Palace gets its name from the dozen crystal chandeliers that hang from the common room's rafters, which doubles as it's dining area. The establishment has many private rooms and meeting rooms and a lavish garden rivaled only by the one found in the city's council hall.
The Crystal Palace has had several owners, the most recent being Bertrum Glitterstone, a gnome with an eye for the finer things in life, and a knack for providing it for others with discretion. Bertrum is an ex-member of the Congress and is good friends with Elara Mornstar.