This site is an online accumulation of the Post Reports for my current ongoing D&D Campaign - for anyone who might be interested in reading them.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Add on-Shakun - Pelis the Rug Merchant

Going back about 30 years ago now, the first official town I had ever laid out was Shakun. It was crude, simplistic, and missing most of the actual buildings that people lived in - a layout of the major streets and the shops there. The people were either lifted wholesale from other places I had read about or my first awkward attempts at populating a town.

As time went on I grew more refined and was able to further flesh out the broad strokes of Shakun. This place holds a special place to me as I have had countless adventuring groups either "start" from here or make it their home after the fact.

However with my current group I have not bee3n describing the city as well as I should have, playing it in my mind and glossing it over to the people around the table (plus it is VERY hard to town adventure properly with 7 players!). In an effort to rectify this, I have been penning a few short essays about prominent places in Shakun and forwarding it to the group.

Here is the 1st one:

Pelis the Rug Merchant’s Shop

Located on the east end of Shakun, this two story large faced shop announces itself long before someone gets close enough to peer inside by the smell of the woolen carpets the trader sells and makes. The aroma of dyes and damp wool hangs low to the ground, scented for half a block before the doorway itself. It isn’t unpleasant, just obvious; more so when it rains.

The main supporting features of the building are brick and mortared stone, encompassing the corners and in 2 places along the building’s front. The roof is a mix of thatch and slate tile canted towards the street with small eaves running off the left and right sides. The rest of the building is wooden planked with a heavy layer of crude concrete (mud and crushed gravel) that has been painted white and shows many signs of repair. The windows are large and spacious, made of leaded glass and kept clean.

A trio of racks line the front of the building just outside the larger of the two doors that leads to the showroom, each rack is over 10’ in length and stands around 5’ high. It is here that Pelis often shows the most colorful of his wares during the dry days, enticing the locals to both see and touch his rugs. The ground around his shop has been laid in with paving stones, and expensive undertaking since the rest of the street is not but one that Pelis and his father in years past had happily put in place regardless of the cost in order to keep the carpets clean and provide a place free from dirt and mud.

Pelis has a young niece (late teens/early 20’s - relatively speaking) who helps him maintain the day to day business, as well as 4 other people who work at his shop. Two of them are journeyman weavers and rug makers, one is an apprentice, and the last is a laborer who often can be seen sweeping the front street clean after a busy influx of traffic.

The shop itself is a sizeable showroom, often times having upwards of 70 rugs and carpets on display. Large wooden racks adorn the back walls where the finished products are shown, folded over the display dowel in a series of 6 rugs per racks. Most of the wares are smaller however he often has a few great rugs shown at any one time. A counter with a raised set of iron bars that runs 3 feet over the counter’s top and the full length of the wooden furniture, is along the right side, beyond which is the workshop. The bars prevent anyone from easily reaching across the counter and getting to the strongbox which is built into the floor and counter itself. The box has not only a first class lock affixed to it, but also needs a special series of turns on the front lever to effect opening the small vault.

Pelis was robbed only once and it was many years ago. Over the doorway to the workshop is a length of old frayed rope mounted on a wooden plaque and if asked about his robbery, Pelis will often look at the ropen trophy and smile to himself before replying that his funds were returned and the thieves were punished for their crime.

The workshop is cramped with the looms and weaving stations practically on top of one another. Great spinning wheels take up the back wall, the two of them are obviously new, replaced after the former ones had been destroyed or taken during the goblin occupation. Most times there are a few spools of finished wool which is ready for dying and weaving. Pelis does not dye his wool until the color requests are made for commissioned work, or until he is ready to have one of his journeyman begin a new project.

There is a door out of the workshop that does lead back to the street, and there is a smaller private one also fitted with a lock that leads to Pelis’ domicile on the 2nd floor. His home is above his shop and contains a kitchen, larder, living room, a lavatory, and 4 other room sone of which is a bedroom for himself, one for his niece, and two others which he lets out now and again to borders (of which a Woodhelvian Grey Elf named Enthir is currently staying in one). There is a cistern on the roof which collects rainwater and holds up to 10 gallons at any one time. This water is what is fed by wooden piping to the lavatory and the kitchen. When the cistern is empty, Pelis will have his niece go to the well and draw a couple of gallone of water each morning.

Finally, Pelis is also the guild master of the Thieves guild in Shakun, a fact that is a poorly kept secret at best. He does not make it his business to promote this fact, and the 37 members of the Shakun Guild who answer to him know that NO ONE in Shakun is to be marginalized at any cost. There is no "sanctioned" stealing here. Most people in Shakun don’t have enough to live on and Pelis demands that we help our own. Most of his people are information brokers and fences of stolen goods from other caravans and towns. Their skills were learned against the goblin occupiers and are well suited for covert missions and spying.

The guild hall is located in a basement level beneath Pelis’ shop. Access is achieved three ways: 1) in the alleyway to the right of the shop, about 15’ down is a slab of stone 3’ x 3’ that can be pivoted up (counterweights below the street level make this an easy prospect), 2) in the shop the 2nd rack from the left, the heavy mass of rugs covers a “hole” in the floor (the hole can be plugged from underneath with a wooden trapdoor that will lock into position), 3) a crude tunnel leads under the city walls and to a gutter that can be lifted aside to allow entrance/exit.

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