Wodesville, The Untouchable City
Wodesville is a small city located in southern Akhentour, situated close to the Öste River and a few miles east of the confluence of the Öste and Rava rivers. It has a permanent population of roughly 2,000 people, though that figure rises dramatically during logging season, which is from early spring until early fall. During those times, the population can be anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 people.
The city is best known for its strange unseen force field, sometimes known as the "fighting fog," which prevents anyone inside Wodesville's borders from physically harming anyone else. Whenever someone attempts physical harm on themselves or another, their mind is filled with a "fog" which makes them forget what they were doing, or, at worst, causes them to collapse, unconscious. Accidental harm, such as stubbing your toe, can still occur. Mental or emotional harm, such as verbal abuse, can also occur so long as the abuse does not actually injure the target; a spell like vicious mockery, for example, would cause the caster to succumb to the effects of the fog.
Surrounding the city on the ground is a two-inch thick pewter circle, acting as a physical representation of the end of the magical field's reach. The field is roughly spherical in three-dimensional shape. Because of this natural boundary, Wodesville is a very tight, compact city, built largely upwards, with the center being the tallest point due to the nature of the spherical dome of protection. The only major openings are the five roads into town and the central plaza, which is also fairly small in comparison to other cities' plazas.
In the middle of the central plaza was a large, rose-colored quartz crystal jutting out of the ground at a 28 degree angle toward the west-northwest, about ten feet high and two feet wide at the base, tapering off to a tip about one and a half feet wide at the top. The crystal was originally thought to be the magically enchanted power source for the force field. During the Alrennean War, the crystal cracked deeply, leaving thousands terrified that the force field had or was going to stop working. This caused many people to flee the city as Alrenn's forces approached, which was the primary cause of the Massacre at Stonnet Fields. Over the following three decades, the crystal cracked several more times, and eventually in 4108 VR, the crystal exploded completely, revealing that the magical field was actually keeping a sleeping tarrasque at bay. (See History for more.)
Surrounding the crystal at a 20ft radius was a low marble wall, anywhere from 0ft to 8ft tall. This wall was the ruins of the Ivory Tower, an ancient building that predates Wodesville's founding by thousands of years. The only people with any knowledge of the tower were the elder wood elves of Diomed, and they largely refused to talk about it, other than to accept that a tower made of white marble existed there and that it was very powerful. Redfang Guild founder Peggy Redfang sought to collect pieces of the tower that were strewn around Dorian, and when she died in 4084 VR, the wall was dismantled to construct the mausoleum that holds her body.
Wodesville as a settlement has been in existence since the Bronze Age; for nearly 1,000 years it was a small druid grove protected by the ancient Circle of Vines druids. Prehistory pictography indicates that the crystal originally had large, thick vines wrapped around it, completely obscuring it from passers by and protecting it from attack. After the circle was merged into the all-encompassing Circle of the Land, the druids maintained control of the area until 2108 VR, when a powerful magical force (possibly Ikonovoa, a powerful sorcerer king known as the Storm King) entered the area and completely obliterated the grove, leaving no survivors.
In 2115 VR, the Ivory Tower was constructed, though no one knows who built it, or why. After the Catastrophe, the tower was destroyed (again, by unknown forces), its ruins scattered across the continent of Dorian. It appears that this is when the crystal gained its ability to prevent harm, though it's also likely that the pre-Catastrophe magics of Avo were powerful enough to overcome the crystal's influence. The tower's ruins remained the only point of interest in the area, with numerous and various occupations over the centuries, until in 3609 VR the first permanent settlers arrived, establishing a village known as Crystaltown (also written as Crystalton), which would over time become Wodesville.
Modern day Wodesville was officially founded as a logging town in 3289 VR, following the fall of the Dorian Empire, and after the new Akhentourian Republic eased its taxation requirements for towns. At the time of its founding, the entire land from Wodesville to Garrod was forest; over the centuries the loggers deforested the surrounding area quite a bit. Over time, Wodesville became a central city to rest and recuperate in when traveling to and from the various neighboring cities and towns.
During the Alrennean War, Wodesville was spared due to its protective crystal, and many people flocked there for safety, swelling the population to a near breaking point, a problem that persists to the present day. After the war in 4062 VR and the destabilization of Akhentour as a country, Wodesville became one of the three governing city-states of the land, taking over for Garrod, which was in ruins, and offering protection with the help of the Axebreakers for the southern part of the former country.
In the dawning of the 6th era in Dorian (4083 VR), Akhentour was loosely consolidated back into a country, and Wodesville was chosen as one of the three primary governing cities, along with Diomed and Kavonne, forming the Council of Six (as two leaders from each city formed the Council). A more formal country-wide constitution was ratified in 4091 VR, folding the newly reopened Garrod as well as the orc city of Urthagura into the expanded Council of Ten. This treaty made Wodesville a temporary provincial seat of governance for southern Akhentour for the next 20 years, at which point the provincial seat moved to Garrod permanently.
Wodesville lies an eighth of a mile north of the Öste River and about two miles south of the Rava River. It sits on a relatively flat plain which was formerly, in antiquity, a vast forest that has since been culled through extensive logging. It has no outer wall to keep intruders out. It once had an eastern wall whose foundation can still be seen just beyond the edge of the crystal's field. Nobody is sure why the wall was constructed, though the assumption is that ancient inhabitants began to build the wall before realizing that the town had the "fighting fog" around it. The wall was torn down about 350 years ago to help build foundations for buildings as well as cobblestones for the town square, but the large stone "gate" that Broad Road runs through was left for mostly aesthetic reasons. The gate has two enormous ancient wooden doors that are always open because there is no need to close them. Wodesville has no "wards" or districts per se, though there are five rough sections of town, bisected by the five main roads leading to the town square: northeast, or Guilder; northwest, or Kingsland; southeast, or Gatesreach; south, or Ferry's Crossing (or just "The Crossing"); and west, or Bridgeroad.
Named after Georg Guilder (or, more technically, after Guilder Road, which is named after him), one of the loggers who originally founded modern-day Wodesville. He was instrumental in developing the layout of the city and so they named a road after him. It's kind of a slummy part of town, being close to Broad Road, the main road into town from the east—though it is not nearly as bad as Gatesreach. The Stout Scoundrel is located here.
Named after the gate mentioned above. Basically a slum and a shanty town mixed into one glorious horseshit-smelling pile of garbage. Gatesreach is where you'll find most of the unwanted peddlers and people selling black market goods and such.
Named after the north bridge of the Öste river and the road. Encompasses Bula's Rest/Loggerton, most of which is beyond the circle of the crystal's influence.
The most residential section of town, Ferry's Crossing is named after the end of the road, where the Rava Bridge lies. Since the Rava Bridge is outside the circle of the force field, it is an old, rickety stone bridge, prone to being demolished by whatever passing band of raiders/brigands/undead happens upon it. Thus, at the edge of the northern side of the river is a small ferry company known as "Rorin's Ferry Service." Rorin is a gnome who built a ferry that will take travelers across for a fee of 5 gold one way. His ferry is "untouchable" he says, "Just like Wodesville!" The ferry itself is just a large flat-bottomed paddle boat capable of holding up to 10 medium sized creatures.
There's about 1/8th of a mile separating the southern edge of Wodesville and the ferry crossing.
Named after, well, the king, back when there were kings. It is the administrative district and home to most of the nobility of Wodesville (which isn't saying much). At the western edge of the city is King's Keep, which is where the governor and his council of mayors live and work. At this point, Kingsland is mostly full of people with money. There is also a street dedicated toward a marketplace, with more upscale shops and such. It's the most sparsely built areas of the city, though not by much.
Wodesville is a representative democracy, led by a governor and a council of ten citizens of the city, who are appointed by a democratic election. Elected officials serve indefinitely unless there is a special "reelection," which is started by majority vote of the people. The reelection is generally for when a council member has committed some type of malfeasance, or is considered unfit to rule.
The ten citizens are further separated into a "high" and "low" mayor of five particular public utilities: health and safety, military, industry, arts and education, and treasury. High Mayors oversee the utility's overall operations, while Low Mayors act as the liaison between the agency itself and the employees of that agency.
Since Wodesville is protected from harm, all of this has been codified intimately, due to people having a lot of time on their hands. Similarly, the government is very serious despite not really needing to be.
Health and Safety
The Health and Safety Board operates the Temple of Ota and oversees granting healer licensures to those with the ability to heal, magical or non-magical. They also survey the edge of the magical ward on the city every year to ensure it is consistent.
The smallest and arguably least important of the boards, the Military Board consists of the city guard, who do catch criminals within the city (mainly pickpockets), but otherwise tend to not have much to do. Thus, over the years, the military has sort of joined the Industry Board in its various construction projects. Guards also accompany travelers to Stonnet and other nearby places.
The largest and most diverse board. Oversees various projects, including construction, the logging industry, and the election process, among other things. Industry is where you go to get a license to build something, tear it down, change it, or start a business in it.
Arts and Education
Basically helps funnel tax money into these things. Leans more on the "education" side.
Operates the bank in town, as well as takes tax money and does all the accounting stuff.
The majority of Wodesvillians worship the Living Gods, with a few outliers worshiping gods from other lands.
There is one temple in Wodesville, the Temple of Soredd. Its bishop is high elf Imelsellyn Mericoss of Diomed. She is a newly christened bishop, being only 258 years old, and has been in Wodesville for 56 years. Her head cleric was Landallyn Tinavoi; there currently is not a cleric at the temple. The temple is officially dedicated to Ota, but respects all worship within its doors.
The Stout Scoundrel
The major inn and tavern in town. The Scoundrel is a 5-story inn and tavern, homey and in no way elegant, owned in whole by Urgak Vrokk, who was given full ownership by prior co-owners Peggy Redfang and Everd Leon, the barkeep. It is the headquarters of the Redfang Guild, Wodesville's only adventuring guild. The entire structure is old and wooden and no one knows exactly how it's all held up. The leading theory is "magic."
Wodesville Goods and Services
Wodesville Goods and Services is the general store, run by Hagar Mudwattle, a friendly dwarf, who took over the store when the original owners were killed in the Stonnet Fields Massacre. It is colloquially known as "Wigass" because the sign has the letters running down rather than sideways (the original owners were weird gnomes from Iro) and so at the top it says "WGAS." The gnomes hated the nickname but Hagar likes it. Hagar sells general goods, food and housing supplies, and also offers wagon rides to Stonnet, Kreven Mines, and Bula's Rest. He will also rent out his wagon for 10gp/day to reputable folk.
Formerly known as Loggerton, Bula's Rest is a suburb of Wodesville, located north-northeast of town. It is primarily a place for loggers traveling from other parts of the land to stay during logging season, though more recently it has become a popular tourist destination for Bula's blink dog conservation and adoption organization, Boop, as well as for the annual winter event, the Club and Fist Dance.
Marty's Magic Goods
A very small and humble magic shop owned by Marty Macardi, a human. Marty is not a wizard but is a collector, and he has a small collection of magic goods. Most are common magical items that are insanely overpriced because Marty doesn't know any better.
The local beer brewery. Owned by Ian Fisher, human, and operated by a large contingency of Redfang halflings ("Eh, my lot are a bunch of drunks," said Peggy about this). Brews four main beers:
- The Scoundrel Stout
- Logger Lager
- Peggy's Red Ale
- Myconid Mead (Technically this is a mead brewed from a recipe learned from the myconid people, NOT a mead brewed OF myconid people. "We should really change the name," says Ian.)
The Potion Cellar
A potion shop run by Flanders Redfang, a halfling and Peggy's second cousin. Flanders sells an assortment of low-level potions for a decent price, including several medicinal salves, poultices, etc. The shop is in the cellar of Backbreaker Brewery, hence the name.
Leon's Adventure Shoppe
A store with basic adventuring gear. Leon is a half-orc and relative of Urgak who gives a 10% discount to Redfang Guild members.
The Faerie Fire
An upscale brothel run by Hortencia Tyr-Redfang, halfling, Peggy's third cousin. Caters mainly to smaller humanoids.
A horse stable run by Sally Novar, a half-elf. Offers horses for rental or purchase. Also has ponies for l'il folk.
Miriam's School for Youngsters
A primary school for children aged 6-16, run by Miriam Trennelman, wood elf originally from Iro. Miriam is definitely one of the oldest elves in Wodesville, aside from Landallyn, and has run her school for over 400 years.
The Wodesville Bank and Loan
The only bank in town. Run by Urich and Lester Redfang. Can store money in exchange for "cheques," which serve as money in the three city-states.
The Rose Pit
In the southern part of Gatesreach lies the Rose Pit, a "fighting" arena where, instead of fighting, opponents insult each other until one gets mad enough to try and attack the other; that person loses.
Wodesville has a small but thriving arts scene, led by the Wodesville Players, an acting/musical troupe founded by Brenda Fawnswell, human. Brenda is a former bard who retired after the war to spend time with her husband, John. The Players typically perform commedia dell'arte style plays (lots of pratfalls and comedic moments). They are ... decent at this. Brenda outshines the rest of them and typically will sing and play the dulcimer in between vignettes. The Players currently are:
- Brenda Fawnswell - Human, actor, musician, and emcee.
- John Fawnswell - Human, actor and musician. Brenda's husband. Probably the worst actor but plays a mean shawm.
- Tybir Mudwattle - Dwarf, Hagar Mudwattle's brother. Actor. Typically plays the villain roles due to his meticulously waxed mustache.
- Ansel William Burgundy Manfred III - Halfling, actor. Always plays the kid roles despite being 95 years old. He hates it (but he's kinda good at it).
- Kelsey Tidmann - Human, actress. Young, plays ingenue roles in plays and a diva in real life.
The Redfang Guild
Wodesville’s adventuring guild, and pseudo-thieves guild. Founded in 5e 751 (4026 VR) by adventurers Peggy Redfang, Aloysius Pridd IV, Landallyn Tinavoi, and Roderick Havenshield. Currently owned and operated by Guildmaster Urgak Vrokk, the guild has been pared down considerably since Peggy passed away in 6e 2 (4084 VR).
The most famous adventuring group within the Redfang Guild (aside from the founders) are the Dragonslayers, consisting of Aalari Unalla, Bula, Glendower Brightraven Ambersole van Montelle, and Talmuq ur'Tak. Their adventures through Dorian and the rest of the world of Avo (and beyond!) are well known thanks in part to Talmuq's connections to the Storybearers and Bradford Whitney, as well as Aalari's well-received and numerous operas and operettas.
The Dragonslayers largely disbanded in 6e 6 (4088 VR) but reunited in 6e 26 (4108 VR) after the tarrasque was set loose upon Wodesville following the destruction of the Crystal (see below).
As stated above, the most famous feature of Wodesville is its crystal in the center of town, which emits a field around it that ostensibly prohibits anyone from harming anyone else physically while within its space. No one is sure of its origin, though in the early 800s of the 5th era it was discovered that there were a network of caverns below the city, and that the crystal could be found protruding through the earth to a distance of up to 1000ft. Notable adventurers from the Redfang Guild known as the Feywild Four traversed these caverns in early 807 (4082 VR) and discovered a village of sorts containing firenewts and a large ooze known as a magmaloth, which they dispatched. Moreover, they found that the crystal protruded this far down.
Over the years, the crystal on the surface has begun cracking. As of present day, it has cracked five times, and many arcanologists are concerned that it may stop emitting its field of protection soon. However, all investigations into how or why the crystal is cracking have proven fruitless.
Human warlock. The Old Man in the Tree. “Trains” warlocks for Peggy.
Human man. Co-owner and operator of the Stout Scoundrel. (Peggy owns the other half.) The Miller family built the Scoundrel generations ago. Everd retired after Peggy died and gave his half of the Scoundrel to his daughter Emilia, who co runs it with Alacrity.
Human woman. Daughter of Everd. Barmaid, now part owner, of the Stout Scoundrel.
Human woman. Leader of the Wodesville Players, a bad acting troupe in Wodesville. She’s the only good one of them. Trains Shitkicker bards.