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 been 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 6th one:
Tannery – Tanner’s Way
Shakun has always been an agricultural town, with a strong secondary foundation of livestock. With denser stands of trees to the south and east, the land here has always been good for grazing and some of the earliest settlers had fairly large herds of sheep, goats, and even some cows.
Although various industries did grow from the various livestock available, it was the tanning that had the most growth. Since the leather industry is typically a filthy and smelly process it was placed far enough outside the heart of Shakun’s town center that the smell of rotting flesh and tanning wouldn’t upset too many of the citizens.
As Shakun grew and eventually the outer wall was added, the smell of the tanning industry grew fairly rank to the citizens. The Tannery’s configuration was changed with all the open doors and window now facing the south east along what had originally been named “Wall Road” but was quickly changed to “Tanner’s Way” by the populace.
The Tannery itself is a large warehouse looking building, close to 25’ tall, and filling in an area 100’ wide by 40’ deep. A large set of double doors provides entrance. At this time the Tannery is not operating and given the recent history of the building, there is little interest in refitting and reopening the place for use in the near future.
Once inside the main door the visitor will notice the entire ground floor is open. Most of the place has been picked over by daring vagrants over the years so there is little remaining. A few drying racks in very poor condition, some of the metallic rail posts are still seen near the western wall where livestock would be brought in, even a few low brick beds where fires for curing would be lit.
The layout of the place can still be seen. Animals would be brought in through the western door where they would be killed, hung, and butchered. The meat would then be carted off to the butcher and the smokehouses while the skin would be brought to large tables where they would be flensed and then washed in big stone tubs. These tubs would have a mixture of water, urine, and wood ash and would require the hides to be soaked for up to a week.
After the leather was cleaned and scraped it would be taken to the stretching and drying racks where it would be placed over warm coal beds and treated with various mixtures that included charred bark, animal brains, and dung that would be painted onto the heated side. Every 12 hours the racks would be turned over and the process continued on the opposite side for 2 days total per skin. Eventually the leather was washed a final time an hung on long rows of beams that stretched across the middle of the Tannery where it would cure slowly over time taking in some cases up to a month.
There is a second floor to the Tannery placed across the middle of the building. Two sets of metal steps climb up 15’ to a wood and metal catwalk. There are 4 doors up here that lead to what was once the manager’s office, the sales office, the records room, and the meeting room. Each room/office is roughly 20’ wide by 15’ deep. Windows look out on the floor on both sides, allowing those above to watch the work that went on below. The only blind spot was directly beneath the 2nd floor locations and Tannery workers learned it was a good place to congregate during the slower times.
At this time the Tannery is home to what few vagrants and homeless souls that dare to stay in the creaking, aged building. Most will stay a few nights, maybe a week or two, but all eventually leave with a feeling of uncomfortability that take a few days to shake off.
During the goblin occupation, the Leech had used the Tannery as not only its original purpose, but also for the torturing and eventual skinning of the people of Shakun. Many dissidents found themselves strapped to racks and hung from hooks above and their skins cut from their bodies. The skins were then treated like any other hide and treated accordingly. The Leech would bestow these fabrics to his upper echelon to have fashioned into clothing and worn proudly around town. There were also times when the Leech would use foul sorceries to trap the souls of those being tortured within the very skins they were removing, and those same skins would wail, yell, and moan piteously many days or even weeks after they had been flayed.
With Shakun being mostly reclaimed and repaired; only the Tannery and the hovels that line Tanner’s Way stands out in need of work. But there has been a lack of interest in doing so due to the still denuded potential herds that don’t demand a large scale Tanner, the blood soaked walls and sorceries that took place within the confines of the building, and the in general filthy and foul industry that Tanning and Leatherworking is and how even years later those that lived near the Tannery still talk about the noxious odor that came from the site.