In this 12th installment for the City of Rookroost we take a look at the second installment of places of interest in the Inner-City and the Outer-City. 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.
11) The Merchant's League Guildhall: By far, the biggest guildhall in the city is the massive complex of the Merchant's League. It not only functions as a typical guildhall but also as an inn and tavern for traveling merchants. A vast stagging area for merchants preparing caravans for departure dominates its inner compound ringed by warehouses for arriving caravans to store goods. The entire complex takes up more than four city blocks, is walled with towers, and dotted with guard stations.
The Merchant's League employs a small army of workers that stay in dormitories on the grounds itself or live in nearby tenements. In addition to the dormitories, there are barracks located on the site for the nearly one hundred men at arms hired from the mercenaries and free-swords guild that guard the entire compound.
In addition to the living quarters, there are stables for horses and pack animals. A blacksmith, cartwright, and several other craftsmen needed to help keep the caravans operational. Behind the stables are the kennels housing more than three dozen Rookroost Hounds that are also bred onsite.
12) The Rookroost Courts: The courts of Rookroost are a series of drab buildings always in need of repair, adding to the somber atmosphere around them. Open only three days a week, the courthouse is shuttered and locked the rest of the time with a handful of guards on duty to dissuade theft. A small dungeon can be found under the main courthouse, where those found guilty and in need of being transported to other facilities await their departure date. These dungeons are guarded around the clock as it can take up to several weeks for those convicted to labor to be taken away. The courtrooms themselves are small, stuffy, and have several benches for witnesses and the judge's seat, placed upon a dais. Those presenting cases to the court are expected to stand.
13) Temple of Istus: While the city is home to several temples, only two of them have grand buildings of consequence, the temple of Istus and the Temple to Hextor. The temple of Istus houses more than two dozen priests, with only a fraction of them able to cast any kind of divine magic. The building is large and cathedral-like, but with simple architecture and designs. The main chapel is divided into several private rooms for sacrifices, which is the temple's primary stock in trade. Those wishing to gain the goddess's blessing come to the temple to donate to her church and make sacrifices on consecrated grounds. All forms of sacrifices are permitted to the goddess, even human sacrifices, but those are conducted in private chambers.
14) Temple of Hextor: Hextor, the god of war and plunder, is by far the most popular god worshiped in the city, and the temple to the Red God as he is often called, is proof of that. The temple itself doubles as a fortress, but the doors and compound are open day and night for visitors. In addition to two dozen priests, there is a small army of zealots that act as the church's acolytes and double as the temples own personal guard.
The clang of steel and the grunts of fighting can often be heard from the temple as followers in good faith can come to the temple to train with the Battlemasters, the highest-ranking non-priest position in the religion. These battle masters practice martial arts and study tactics and conduct mock war games outside of the city and inside the temple using miniatures and sand tables and complicated rules to simulate units' movement and abilities. The chief Battlemaster is called Graxton and is an imposing half-orc.
15) The Bank (Pawnbrokers and Money Changers Guildhall): Called the Bank because it is built like a vault and contains the third-largest concentration of wealth after the City Vault and the Jeweler's guild house located in the Peak, it is also the only one open to the public. While the bulk of Pawnbrokers transactions are conducted at satellite locations throughout the city, exceptionally large transactions occur at the Bank itself.
The Bank is staffed round the clock even though it is only open for business during the day. A compliment of fifty guards hired from the Mercenaries and Sellswords guild are on duty at all times. The vault is rumored to also be guarded by several gold golems.
16) City Sewer Works: Located in a tucked-away corner of the district is the maintenance entry into the sewers and the control station. All of the mechanical valves and levers controlling the diversion of the cities runoff and waste. The Inner-City and the Peak are the only parts of the city fully serviced by the sewers and a small portion of the Outer-City. A kobold clan operates the sewers and can be found here, but they rarely are allowed to roam about the district and then only to repair the sewers many exits and entrances for runoff.
17) Greymist's Arms and Armor: Greymist's Arms and Armor shop is by far the most famous weapons dealer in the city and is well known for dealing with the most exotic and even magical weapons. The shop is unaffiliated with any guild in the city and functions off a private writ it has arranged directly with the city. All of the city's elite shop at Greymist's, and Greymist, the owner from which the shop gets its name, is said to have a network of adventurers that bring him his stock. While past his prime, Greymist and his employees are all masterful warriors, and only the most foolhardy of thieves would attempt to steal from his shop.
18) Barbers and Dentists Guildhall: This large and simple guildhall also doubles as the cities only official hospital. Staffed with a guards' detachment, the guildhall is stocked with healing potions, herbs, and other medicines. While smaller shops can be found throughout the city, the guildhall is where all the severely wounded and ill people are taken. There are some alchemists, druids, and priests of various deities that are part of the guild. While the building is locked up during the night, those in need can come to the front gates and gain entry if the guards allow them to pass. They will often simply tell those who bring wounded or sick people to the entrance to leave them there with a payment, and the guards will then open the gates and gather the individual after they believe the coast is clear.
19) Messengers Guildhall: The Messengers guildhall is a small building that is merely a collection point where those who need to have a message delivered will come, meet with a representative, and leave their message and payment. How the message gets from there and into the hands of an actual messenger is unknown, but no messengers are seen leaving the building.
20) Mercenary and Free-Swords Guildhall: Despite its name, the Mercenaries and Free-Swords guildhall is not a large fortress, keep, or tower as some would suspect; instead, the guildhall is a three-story building that looks more like a tavern or inn. Used as a meeting place for members to mingle with prospective employers and fellow members. The place is called the Hall by locals and is usually packed with guild members.
21) The Nest (City Keep): The main base for the city's watch is officially called the City Keep, but unofficially called the Nest. It is a small keep outfitted with a dungeon and swarming with Talons at all times. Connected to the Nest is a stable, blacksmith, and a barracks to house up to 300 of the Talons. The Nest used to keep provisions on hand in case they would need to close the gates in the event of a siege or major riot, but the stores haven't been refilled in recent history.
22) Benedict's Trading Company: Benedict's trading company serves two distinct purposes, the first being it's the largest general store in the city. They carry everything that can be found in the player's handbook, and if they don't have it in stock, then no one has it in the city. The second is being a front for the Congress, the city's dominant Thieves Guild. By outfitting bands of bandits and brigands, they can find out where and when they are planning on marauding, and they can even foretell the plans of some of the other guilds by what they are stockpiling.
23) Raven's Square: The city's main square and gathering place is the Raven's Square. The square is decorated with statues and a graffiti-covered fountain but is still an impressive place. Permanent scaffolding is erected at the center of the square, where those condemned to death are hanged. Around the perimeter are large posts over fifteen feet tall with cages dangling from hooks where those not fortunate enough for a quick death die slowly from starvation and exposure to the elements. The square is where all major announcements are made, and all city-sanctioned festivals are held.
24) The Black House: This unassuming two-story house blends perfectly on the street where it is found, but it doesn't get its name from the color of the stone its made from but instead from the deeds bought inside. The black house is the home of Rookroost's assassins guild. No assassin can be found at the house, at least according to those inside, and all those people appear to be unassuming clerks. If a commission is desired, a customer leaves a description of who they want to be eliminated and how with a representative. The information is then passed onto the associates as the assassins are called. Once the associate reviews the commission, a message is delivered to the customer, letting them know if the commission was accepted, the commission's final cost, and where payment can be delivered is then determined. Once the final payment has been delivered, no further contact is made between the associates, the guild, and the customer.
25) The Kitchen (Bakers, Butchers, and Cooks Guild): Despite the nickname given to the guild house of the Bakers, Butchers, and Cooks guild, there is no kitchen on the premises. In fact, the entire guildhall is nothing more than an office keeping track of paperwork and members. A common joke is that someone stops and asks a stranger where they can find the Kitchen, and they are standing in front of it.
26) Smiths and Armorer's Guildhall: The house that Ollie built as it is called is more a factory than a traditional guildhall as it is also the personal forge of Morley Clanless, head of the Smith and Armorer's Guild. The guildhall's entire bottom floor is home to four active forges with all of the guilds offices located on the second floor of the facility. In addition to the two floors above ground, it is known that there are several sub-levels to the guild house, mostly used for storage of their creations and a vault for extremely prized creations.
27) Leatherworkers and Masons Guildhall: Another guildhall that has no manufacturing on-site, especially the foul-smelling tanneries of the Leatherworkers. The guildhall is strictly an administrative office that helps coordinate work and sets up jobs for its members. The guildhall is easily identified by the leather-covered and studded door and its temple-like columned building.
28) The Apothecaries and Herbalists Guildhall: One of the most unique and readily identifiable guildhalls in all the city is the Apothecaries and Herbalists Guilds. The building is made of white marble and has the look of a sanitarium, except for the garden that dominates its entire roof and the vines and creepers growing down the building's side. Even more impressive that the garden is that a huge tree over one hundred feet tall grows in the middle of that garden and towers over ever other structure around it.
The garden is not just for show but is full of rare herbs and plants used in poultices, salves, and potions. Like most everything else in the city, the guildhall is only open for business during the daytime, even though it has people working there around the clock.
29) The Green Egg Inn: The Green Egg has the reputation of being a fine Inn accepting everyone who can behave themselves but is widely considered the best restaurant in the city. The place is packed from sun-up to sun-down during the day, and it, like most common houses, remains open for business after hours, but the front door is heavily guarded.
The Green Egg’s main claim to fame is its menu, which has the widest variety of things that one can order in the Free Lords' lands, and probably the Flanaess. Rookroost imports nearly all its foodstuffs, and because of this, stocks are never reliable or the same day to day. Because of this, cooks at the Egg have been experimenting with new dishes for thirty years, which is how long the Crabden family, a wily family of gnomes, has owned it.
30) Wila’s Apothecary and Specialty Shop: Characters can find many strange things in Rookroost to buy, but the weirdest shop in the whole city is Wila’s. The three-story wooden house looks more like an aged haunted house with its weathered iron fence and gate. The sagging house is rumored to be animated and said to defend Wila if the need arises. Those who shop in the place can hear low breathing and feel a slight change in the wind as if a giant monster is just in the next room and breathing in and out. Doors open and close on their own accord, or even simply vanish and appear on other walls. Windowsills, railings, and molding detach and move about on its own, and holes can appear on the floor, allowing items to rise from lower floors. The wood is not flammable, although it can be hacked apart.
There have been instances where some customers have entered the house and have never been seen again. There have been rumors in the past of destroying the house and Wila, and If her wares weren’t so strange and wonderful, they might seriously consider it. The number of stories of customers finding rare and amazing magic inside her house for sale far outnumbers the stories of people disappearing.
Willa is a very unassuming woman, with long dark hair that favors dark clothes, but not just black. She is a soft-spoken, polite, and petite. She is also known to be a spell caster, but what kind or how potent her magic is no one knows. Where she gets all of her wonderous items is also unknown as the only people seen coming and going from her place are customers.
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