City Guide – Riverton – 6/18/02
The City of Riverton, situated on a large island created by the Southlands River, is the single largest hub for inland trade in The Southlands. Located at the primary split of the Southlands River and at the major crossroads connecting nearly every community in the Southlands, Riverton’s economy is staggeringly large for its size. The entire city is dedicated to the management and facilitation of trade, and since all roads in the Southlands lead to Riverton, so too does all trade pass through Riverton at one point in time or another. Most of the major merchant guilds (and smuggling cartels as well), have their primary chapter houses within the city’s Market District, and the rest maintain at least a noticeable presence. In fact, the only factor that’s prevented Riverton from exploding in size to rival Penshin or Teribain is its geography – and the mayors of the city and its merchant council have for centuries refused to allow the city to expand across the river into the open plains beyond – allowing them to maintain a tighter control on all shipping that passes through the area and reap the additional income from its grain exports.
Geography and Layout
Riverton is a fairly fascinating city in that, despite its immense wealth, it remains geographically and architecturally boring – tending to the practical before any concerns for flourish or artistry. Nestled in the split in the great Southern River in the center of some of the continent’s most unprecedented rich farmland, Riverton occupies a squarish island of roughly ten square miles. The weather is largely temperate for the Southlands – the summers are hot but breezy, and the winters are fairly mild.
The shoreline of the island has long been replaced with the city’s single most fascinating feature: its wall. Long before the Kisharan conquest, the master of Riverton decided to gamble on a defensive plan that has long since proven its worth. The city’s wall has completely replaced the shoreline, acting as a defensive perimeter, a dike, and housing and support for the city watch. It extends roughly thirty feet from the water level and is pockmarked with bolt-holes and a ridge of defensive spikes at the water level to prevent boats from allowing troops easy access to the wall’s surface. Watchtowers extend another twenty feet from the wall at regular intervals, providing a full view of a large portion of the city as well as the surrounding environs. The structure itself extends roughly thirty feet inland and contains extensive barracks, armories, kitchens, lounges, and all the other necessary accoutrements to support the entirety of Riverton’s sizable Peacekeeper force. At the northern end of the wall, two large doors open out onto the water, creating a sheltered harbor for the city’s river patrol.
Ground access to the city is gained through two massive bridges on the east and west sides of the city. A guard station is placed landside, and the gaping tunnel through the Riverwall is littered with murder-holes. Heavy portcullis are placed on either end of the wall, and the city half of the bridge can be lifted up against the wall to allow large water traffic past and act as an impromptu barrier.
A one-mile stretch of the southern wall has been indented several hundred yards, leaving the natural shoreline and allowing the city to construct an impressive wharf. Primarily designed to service river barges, the Riverton wharf features a tightly-packed collection of docks, each with its own very clear path for loading and unloading and moving cargo through the massive opening in the wall to the warehouse district beyond the walls. The open dock area also contains a small dry-dock owned and operated by the Riverton Merchant’s Council to provide repairs and – in the slow winter months – build ships on contract.
The city proper itself is divided into four very distinct and segregated primary districts. The southern quarter of the city contains the warehousing district. Packed solid with privately-owned storehouses yet still allowing wide enough roads for large merchant wagons to pass easily, this gritty section of the city is heavily patrolled by the Peacekeepers and still remains dangerous. Inns, taverns, and brothels and other such establishments dedicated to the support and entertainment of merchants and tradesmen line Turvil’s Way, the large north-south thoroughfare running the length of the city. The warehouse district ends abruptly as the city gives way to the merchant district.
Riverton’s Market District lies in a band through the center of town, occupying about half of the city’s space, the Market District follows Arden’s Crossing – the large East-West road connecting the foot-gates – with a large bazaar at the road’s crossing with Turvil’s Way. Shops, Inns, Merchant Houses, and other places of business are packed tightly throughout the market district.
At the north end of the city lies Riverton Center, containing the Mayor’s manse, a few civic buildings, the Merchant’s Council Hall, as well as residences of the city’s elite. The remainder of the city – the northeast and northwest corners – contains primarily residential areas, moving from the relatively affluent dwellings near Turvil’s Way to the more squalid near the Riverwall. The city contains a fairly well-built subterranean sewage system that runs the length of the island.
People, Places, and Politics
Thaddius Hardeman, Mayor of Riverton, is a man whose girth is exceeded only by his wealth. Elected Mayor by the Merchant’s Council for his shrewd business sense, Hardeman has, though cunning manipulation of taxes, tariffs, and exports, managed to turn Riverton into even more of an economic hub of the Southlands then it has ever dreamed of becoming. The rich of Riverton are extravagantly rich, and even the working class of the city seem to get by fairly well. Wages are higher than anywhere else in the Southlands, and Mayor Hardeman commonly holds festivals for no reason other then he can make the things turn a profit. He’s well-loved by everyone in the city except perhaps the peasantry, who seem to always bear the brunt of his economic plans. It’s pretty common knowledge that he’s paid off the Peacekeepers to go easy on some of his personal shipping and smuggling interests, but with bellies full and pouches bulging, few seem motivated to complain.
The Peacekeeper detachment assigned to Riverton is officially named the 37th Pacification Company – it is composed of roughly five-hundred men, most of them trained in Lactanburg. The unit is led by Captain David Thames and Lieutenant Hamid ibn’Farhallad – both trained especially for the assignment at Whisper’s War College at Tablenhelm Keep. Thames is a native of Penshin and served in the palace watch there, and Hamid comes from a long line of easterners who had served the rulers of Evereach for generations.
The Riverton Merchant Council is composed of the heads (or duly designated representatives) of the most powerful, influential, and Kisharan-endorsed merchant houses of the Southlands. Brief descriptions follow.
· The Esteemed Order of Metalcrafters and Smiths
o Secondary Guildhouse (Primary in Evereach)
o Master Smith Eddard Grimm presiding.
· The Exalted Order of Legalists
o Secondary Guildhouse (Primary in Teribain)
o Justice Joseph Phanan presiding.
· The Moneylender’s Guild
o Primary Guildhouse
o Sylus Artul presiding.
· The Order of the River-Traders
o Primary Guildhouse
o Teribor Snee presiding
· The Avanti Trading Company
o Primary Guildhouse
o Fritz Avanti presiding
· The Sciences Guild
o Tertiary Guildhouse (Primary in Teribain, Secondary in Penshin)
o Gustav Snigglewit presiding
· Shara’s Exotics and Domestics
o Primary Guildhouse
o Shara Tev presiding
· Undermountain Goods
o Primary Guildhouse
o Dorin Oakenfist presiding
Places of Note
The Laughing Oak
Location: Riverton Civic District
Proprieter: Janse Brugelhorn
The Laughing Oak is the finest tavern in all of Riverton, and is reflected in this by its selection of spirits, food, entertainment, and clientele. Run by the no-nonsense Janse Brugelhorn, the Oak can also boast a clean environment, and the finest of pugilism engineers. On any given evening, it is not an uncommon sight to see opulent merchants, wealthy nobles, and even the mayor himself enjoying the atmosphere at the Laughing Oak.
The food served is nothing but the finest, with the freshest available vegetables, fruits, and butchered meats being used by Brugelhorn’s head chef. Only the palest of ales, finest of wines, and most aged of spirits are served. And while the Laughing Oak does not offer the services of an inn, it is possible for the wealthy patrons to spend the night in the rooms upstairs with some of the tavern’s more discreet employees. How Brugelhorn keeps that end of the business so discreet is anyone’s guess. On a full night, the Oak can serve just under one hundred patrons.
The Spinning Coin
Location: Market District
Proprieter: Dougam Scriver
The Spinning Coin is the most popular of taverns in Riverton’s Market District. Run by a dour but fair man, Dougam Scriver, the Coin’s prices are slightly high, but then again, the quality of food and drink is also higher than average. The tavern is frequented by many of the city’s native and visiting merchants, as well as a number of middle class guildsmen. As it is located right next to the bazaar on Turvil’s Way, the Coin never has want for visitors.
Certainly, the food is plainer than what a fancier tavern might offer, but it is of good fare. A solid ale or average glass of wine can be had, and Scriver also offers good security for guest’s belongings. Those who do take a room at the Spinning Coin can deposit their items in a safe, which is firmly sunk into the foundations of the tavern. Unlike other establishments, Scriver does not condone the presence of escorts of companions of the night. Scriver has a pair of brutes, Ivor and Klaus by name, who handle any problem customers.
The Weeping Blade
Location: Warehouse District
Whether or not MacGee has a real name or not nobody knows. The Weeping Blade is everything one would expect from a seedy, rundown warehouse tavern. On the outside, the paint on the sign is peeling, and splattered blood on the cobblestones outside the tavern door is a common sight. Many of the Blade’s customers are sailors, rogues of all natures, and those on the run from the peacekeepers. MacGee has no love for the peacekeepers, and only cooperates with them enough to be allowed to keep his place open.
The food is of poor quality, often stale or sour. The ale is thin, and the other drinks are often watered down. And while it is not common, neither it is surprising to see a patron have a drink, and keel over dead from poison. MacGee claims to run a legal establishment, but it is rumoured that if you need to hire someone for illicit purposes, the Weeping Blade is the place to do it. More than person has been €œaccidentally” killed in a barroom brawl in the Blade.
Due to the fact that Riverton sits at the conjunction of rivers, it is smuggling which is the predominant crime in the city. The peacekeepers would have people believe that smuggling is kept to the barest of minimums – nothing could be further from the truth. The smugglers owe their success to three factors: intelligent leadership, efficient organization, and clever tactics.
There are two men and one woman who lead the major smuggling cartels in Riverton. Each of them handles and oversees different types of smuggling.
Lee Graven – weapons and armour
Dervish MacDawson – magical items and texts
Loria Ro’Veris – poisons, alchemical items and forged documents
Each of these nefarious smugglers all came to their present line of employ through different methods. Graven was born into the business, they say. MacDawson just showed up in Riverton one night with illegal trading to run. As for Ro’Veris, no one knows how she became involved.