City of Baldemar
City of Baldemar
City of Baldemar
Baldemar is strategically located on the River Wythyn between two waterfalls. A wealth of trade flows through town from both land and water, and the High Road is a main route for military units in this sector.
The original settlement was nothing more than a collection of rude structures clustered on the west bank of the Wythyn, on the site of what is now Old Town. This rough-and-tumble frontier town was known as Westnedge (a contraction of western edge). It was a stoping point for the many adventurers who passed through the area.
Westnedge became important to the defense of the realm very early in its existence. While the Wythyn is navigable over most of its length, the 15’ (5 m) waterfalls are a hazard to river travel. Any invaders using the Wythyn as an invasion route had to off-load and portage their boats around the falls at this point, so a military installation was established here to make such a prospect unappetizing.
Soon a fortified wall was built around the perimeter of Westnedge, and it was renamed Baldemar, in honor of the earl in whose fief the town lay. The installation was an effective deterrent, for the only invaders to use the river route thereafter were orcs and hobgoblins. Their poorly lead army was crushed before the walls of Baldemar while their boats were destroyed where they had been beached below the Lower Falls.
Trade grew naturally as a result of the falls. Goods and foodstuffs had to be unloaded here and portaged anyway, so Baldemar became a marketplace. As the area became safer and more people settled here, many enterprising merchants and tradesmen moved in to reap the economic benefits. Boats no longer considered Baldemar the end of the line, for more settlements had appeared farther upstream. The flow of trade increased, and the merchants prospered as an endless parade of goods was portaged around the falls of the Wythyn.
As commerce increased more and more people flocked to Baldemar. Soon it was impossible to house everyone within the walls, so a new settlement called ’Cross River sprang up on the east bank of the Wythyn. Many of the merchants settled there to be closer to the portage route. Adventurers still stopped in Baldemar for provisions and relaxation on their way to and from the ever-expanding frontier. Scorning the rather stuffy, military atmosphere of the walled section, now called Old Town, they naturally gravitated to the newer section, now called Crossriver, a place more friendly to itinerants. As Old Town became even stuffier and more concerned with government and money, Crossriver continued to welcome adventurers of all types, even non-humans.
Several years passed. When Earl Baldemar died, his nephew Earl Maurice inherited his title and fief. Having a keen interest in the mercantile aspects of Baldemar, Earl Maurice encouraged merchants and traders to move from the capital to this booming frontier town. The new merchants established themselves on the western bank, south of the original walled settlement, and named their community New Town. The new merchants scorned adventurers who wandered into New Town calling them uncouth shiftless, irresponsible louts, and chased them across the river. Eventually a timber palisade was erected to keep the undesirables out of New Town, especially the non-humans, whom the human merchants hated most of all.
While all this was going on, no one paid much attention to the ramshackle collection of huts that kept spreading, amoeba-like, down the east bank of the Wythyn. The Warrens soon gained a reputation as an unlawful place, where all sorts of unsavory things could be had, or had done, for a price. Since the Warrens was a natural gathering spot for the light-fingered, a Thieves Guild developed there in defiance of Earl Maurice’s edicts establishing the mercantile guilds. The Thieves Guild does what it can to protect residents of the Warrens from the depredations of the wealthy and powerful. Shrewd adventurers can gain valuable information or even wealth here, but danger is always present. Outsiders must remember to keep one hand on their weapons and the other on their purses when walking the narrow alleys of the Warrens.