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    Prymp: No City for Sissies
    Posted on Thu, March 08, 2007 by Legate
    scottenkainen writes "
    Prymp is the largest city in the Principality of Ahlissa and the most important port in the United Kingdom of Ahlissa. Almost all exports from Ahlissa bound for Nyrond and locales farther afield ship out from Prymp. It is the main base for the Ahlissan Navy and a major base for the Ahlissan Army. It has a reputation as a despicable pirate haven and has suffered reprisal attacks from the Nyrondese Navy several times over the years. When civic authorities became too powerful and plotted to become an independent city state, the plot was crushed by the Ahlissan Army. Such is the history of contradictions that is Prymp.


    No City for Sissies

    by Scott Casper, 2004-2006

    Location: Eastern Ahlissa Coast (hex U2-85)

    Founded: -90 CY (as Sogryp), 50 CY (as Prymp Town, or Prympton), 531 CY (as Free City of Prymp), 561 CY (as Provincial City of Prymp)

    Currency: As per South Province -- copper Vels, silver scores, electrum nobles, gold Ivids.

    Population: 17,000 (85% human, 5% half-orc, 3% dwarf, 2% gnome, 2% orc, 1% hobgoblin, 1% halfling, 1% elf)

    General Alignment: Lawful Neutral/Evil

    Heraldic Device: Three green balls on a yellow field

    Recognized Religions: Orthodox Draken Pantheon (notably Zilchus, Hextor, Procan)

    Main Trade Goods: Wheat, oats, barley, grapes, fruits, roses, cotton, ironware, silverware, eggs.

    Ancient History: At the site where Prymp stands today once stood the Flan city of Sogryp. Sogryp was built in -90 CY.

    Overview: Prymp is the largest city in the Principality of Ahlissa and the most important port in the United Kingdom of Ahlissa. Almost all exports from Ahlissa bound for Nyrond and locales farther afield ship out from Prymp. It is the main base for the Ahlissan Navy and a major base for the Ahlissan Army. It has a reputation as a despicable pirate haven and has suffered reprisal attacks from the Nyrondese Navy several times over the years. When civic authorities became too powerful and plotted to become an independent city state, the plot was crushed by the Ahlissan Army. Such is the history of contradictions that is Prymp.

    Geography: Prymp is a fortified city of 17,000 people on the east end of the Ahlissan Coast, along the south edge of Relmor Bay. The Ahlissan Coast is composed of low rocky cliffs alternating with sandy beaches. The terrain slopes upward from the coast, rising up to 500 ft. above sea level 20 miles south of the coast (the Ahlissan Plateau). Mineral springs abound in and near Prymp. Numerous spring-fed streams flow down from the plateau towards the bay. Flooded valleys serve as small lakes, the two closest to Prymp being Lakes Ayav and Oskavosler (neither lake larger than a mile in diameter). Prymp itself sits on a limestone cliff some 20 feet higher than the sandy beach below.

    Prymp is easy to reach by sea. The bay is deep here and the docks can accommodate large vessels. Ships are expected to weigh anchor beyond Procan's Rock until they have received permission to dock. There is a monastery and a lighthouse on the Island of Procan's Rock, but the chaotic clergy there cannot always be depended on to light their beacon. Woen Keep, the naval base, has its own lighthouse.

    Prymp is reached by land either by the Lantern Road, which runs east to west, or by the Rosbonik Road that runs from Zelradton north to Prymp. Both roads are well-maintained, patrolled, and are equipped with milestones, signage, and tollbooths that collect to maintain the aforementioned road features.

    Laws: There is no equality in Prymp; the laws protect the following groups in descending order of priority: military, upper class, middle class, lower class, foreigners, and slaves. Foreigners would be advised to blend in as much as possible. All foreign currencies are outlawed. Foreigners can air no grievances at court (not even to defend themselves against charges). All non-humans are treated as foreigners (with the exception of hobgoblins who, because of their importance in the army, are roughly equal to the middle class). Bribery is the foreigner's best tool for equality. Luckily, corruption and bribe-taking are commonplace in Prymp. Slavery is a hot issue in Prymp. In an effort to improve its image, selling slaves has been made illegal. Owning slaves is still legal (which has just driven the slave market underground).

    Only citizens are protected by law, but anyone can be a citizen if they can pay taxes. Visitors can pay a citizen tax of 10 gp to gain this status for six months. Taxes can be paid with equivalent goods. Other annual taxes likely to affect PCs include an armor tax (4-32 sp, by armor type) and a horse tax (2 sp per hand in height). Residents pay an annual house tax of 1 gp per room of the dwelling (including inn-residents, if for more than six months). Taxpayers receive a parchment with an official wax seal. Forging this seal is punishable by banishment.

    The City Watch has the right to detain anyone without evidence for 12 hours before turning them over to the military. The military can act as judge, jury, and executioner for the lower classes (even non-officer cavalrymen can kill the lower lower class without penalty, though infantrymen would pay a fine if they did). Only officers can judge middle class citizens and upper class citizens must be transferred to a graf (sheriff) or higher. Ordinary citizens committing crimes against non-citizens and slaves usually means 1-4 days in the stocks. Robbery and killing lower class citizens lead to heavy fines or jail time. Killing middle class citizens leads to banishment, or death if the victim was upper class. Magic is tolerated, but illusions and enchantments are discouraged. Impersonating an official means banishment, and enchanting one means death.

    Leadership and Factions: The highest authority in Prymp is the military council of Graf Reydrich, Fleet Admiral Llarnen, and Commander-General Reynard. Of those three, only Llarnen spends most of his time in Prymp, residing at Woen Keep. The council meets in Zelradton to discuss military matters and the rare intercession in civic or commercial affairs. The military has virtually unlimited freedom in Prymp. The military controls Woenen, the Military District; and partly controls Nowodo, the Dock District. There is no longer any distinction between the military and the city guard (this has not always been the case. At one point, Council Hall employed its own guard). Elsewhere in the city, the military takes on a more mercenary nature -- enforcing the laws for a price. Even routine patrols are "rented" by the district authorities or wealthy guilds.

    The pfalzgraf (prince) of Prymp and his court make up the majority of the upper class. The pfalzgraf alone can petition Zelradton to overturn any military decision in this region. He oversees a region that stretches up to 100 miles from Prymp and his court includes political figures from throughout this region, including one landgraf (earl), two grafs, four waldgrafs (barons), six burggrafs (mayors), and 18 ritters (knights). All of his court has residences in Prymp, but some (landgraf, grafs, and waldgrafs) do not have actual responsibilities within Prymp's walls. Pfalzgraf Ivan Darmen is home for three-fourths of the year, spending his winters at court in Zelradton.

    The six burggrafs make up the Council of Prymp. The Council Hall can be found in Old Prymp not far from the Old Town Hall and the Clerks’ Guildhall. Council Hall receives some traffic, even though the council is virtually powerless. They are an advisory body to both the military and the pfalzgraf. The burggrafs are elected, voting for the council is done every three years by the city's ritters.

    The ritters are supposed to be in charge of training levees, but since the military actively conscripts and trains new soldiers in Prymp, the ritters only offer to train for a fee. They are all heroes of either past war efforts (like the taking of Idee) or the tournament circuit. Ritterdom is an award granted by a graf or higher.

    Since the military and aristocracy cannot (or choose not to) coordinate the running of the city, the daily administration of the city typically falls in the hands of the Clerks' Guild. The guildmaster also bears the title Laird of Prymp. The Clerks' Guild includes all scribes with secular employment.

    The city endorses the worship of the Orthodox Draken Pantheon, a subset of chiefly Oerdian deities endorsed by the church hierarchy based in Zelradton and Kalstrand (with an official nod from Rauxes). Zilchus, Hextor, Procan, Fharlanghn, Beory, Pholtus, Olidammara, Heironeous, Kurell, Celestian, and Pelor are all endorsed in roughly that descending order. Hero worship of the Sword Lord Kelanen is rampant in the military, though not officially endorsed. The worship of Nerull is banned in Prymp (due to some nasty business with necromancers and the civic cemetery 24 years ago), though his cult still flourishes in secret. The devil worship so prominent in Zelradton has never been adopted here.

    The Church of Zilchus is, appropriately, the richest and most powerful religious faction in the city. More than half the city pays homage to Zilchus and nearly one-third of its citizenry worship him before all other gods. Prymp's only cathedral is dedicated chiefly to Zilchus. The clergy has strong ties with almost all other powerful factions in the city. In some cases, they have built these ties by ingratiating their members into the hierarchy of other organizations (one cleric, Recar Adderal, is also a waldgraf). Mostly, the church makes itself invaluable as a source of loaned funds. There have even been occasions when it was the Church of Zilchus that kept the Bank of Prymp solvent. The Templars of Zilchus is an order of zealous fighters whose activities are sanctioned by the church. It is a mercenary company, but one that enjoys a better reputation than the city's soldiery.

    The Tradesmen's Guild is the second wealthiest entity in Prymp after the Church of Zilchus. They are both active investors in the city. The Tradesmen's Guild has grown through absorption, its largest acquisition having been the old Craftsmen's Guild 15 years ago. The Tradesmen are ruthless in keeping laborers and artisans from organizing and control most businesses in the city that are not under the protection of the Zilchites. The Tradesmen have been known to employ their own mercenaries, but are just as likely to bribe the city guard to do their dirty work.

    The Church of Hextor is the second most influential church in Prymp. The military establishment in Ahlissa recognizes Hextor as its official patron god. No other deity has such widespread iconography in Prymp – he is represented with a shrine in the cathedral, enjoys his own large chapel, and has as well a shrine at each castle. Despite so much patronage, the clergy of Hextor often finds itself on the defensive. The Zilchites blame every notable murder in the city on the wrathful preachings of Hextor inciting violence. Also, every so often, a band of fledgling adventurers will gather in Prymp and decide the chapel of Hextor would make a deserving site for killing and looting.

    The Fishmongers' Guild, despite its narrowly-focused name, actually controls most of the food distribution in Prymp. The Fishmongers have a notorious reputation. Indeed, for many years, the Fishmongers were little more than a front for an underground thieves' guild. In the last decade, the Fishmongers have invested as heavily in the import/export industry as the Tradesmen. They have bought respectability abroad with their increasing wealth, but also the enmity of the Tradesmen who have found themselves shut out of lucrative ventures.

    Prymp's reputation as a pirate haven is not unfounded. Roughly half the membership of the Mariners' Guild are "reformed" pirates. Half again that number is how many have only taken on an air of legitimacy, but are still active smugglers or slavers. For a port city, the Mariners' Guild is perhaps surprisingly small and weak. This is due to the dominating presence of the Ahlissan Navy (itself a haven for ex-pirates) on the city's docks. The Mariners' Guild is often forced to accept what meager commercial contracts in which the navy is not interested.

    The Assassins' Guild, though not directly involved in politics, often find itself employed by various other factions. The Assassins are rightly feared, for they are well-informed, well-equipped, and well-concealed. Some factions pay protection money to the Assassins, though this has been proven not to guarantee protection. Because of their reputation for effectiveness, the Assassins are sought by would-be employers from all over Ahlissa.

    The Church of Nerull is the third most prominent, and least recognized, religion in Prymp. The Nerullites maintain a small chapel in the city's cemetery, located in the Farming District southeast of the city's walls. The Nerullites were forbidden from actively practicing their religion within the city walls after an incident with necromancers 24 years ago, but their cult still flourishes in secret and boasts amongst its membership some powerful individuals throughout the city.

    Defenses: Three miles out from Prymp is a ring of watchtowers connected by a 15 ft. tall earthern rampart (Payidavor's Wall, as it is called, is less intended for defense as it is for stopping people, like escaped slaves, from fleeing Prymp.  Payidavor was an infamous slaver once active in Prymp 50-55 years ago). Each watchtower is manned by six sentries. Along the circumference of Payidavor’s Wall can be found Castle Darmen, where the pfalzgraf can most often be found when at Prymp.  The cultivated fields that surround Prymp are well-patrolled by heavy cavalry. There is a manorhouse for every 600-700 acres with barracks and stables to house these patrols.

    The city itself (except for the dock district) is enclosed by a limestone-block wall 30 ft. high and 15 ft. wide inside a 10 ft. wide moat. There are four gatehouses that lead into Prymp proper equipped with drawbridge, portcullis, and heavy doors that lock. Each guardhouse is manned by 30 soldiers, mostly fighters (some doubling as rogues) and some low-level clerics of Hextor. Each gatehouse and wall patrol has a war dog for sniffing out invisible intruders. Hobgoblin sentries are preferred for their good night vision.

    Security within the city can be completely different depending on the district. In Nowodo, the navy closely watches the docks, but makes no effort to patrol the rest of the district where nothing short of a fire can normally get their attention. In Woenen, the military is everywhere. There is zero tolerance for even horseplay in this district unless performed by someone in uniform. Security is good in Bogat, where entire mercenary companies (which includes army units during peace time) are employed for the protection of the filthy rich. Old Prymp is safe, but only for the followers of Zilchus who are protected by the Templars, an order of zealot fighters. By day, Prymp can seem like a very safe place. By night, all the security in Prymp means little to anyone who has earned the enmity of the more powerful guilds, particularly the assassins. On any given night, some people may be spirited off by the Nerullites, pressed into service on a pirate ship, or abducted by slavers.

    The most heavily fortified structures in Prymp (not counting Castle Darmen outside the city, which is even better defended) are Woen Keep, Prymp Keep, and Castle Bogat. These buildings have expert defenders (levels 4-7) spread out among the rank-and-file soldiery. Human soldiers serve beside hobgoblin and flind mercenaries. Wizards patrol the structures using divination spells to detect intruders. Important portals are magically trapped. Screaming devilkin lurk on the rooftops. Stabled at each location is a pegasus for use in aerial defense.


    Prymp is divided into six districts. One, Old Prymp, is the original town, while four of the others started out as satellite villages that were absorbed into Prymp as it expanded. The six districts are officially named Nowodo, Woenen, Prymp, Warowam, Tyrgowna, and the Tannery. The outside environs of Prymp are often, unofficially, referred to as the Farming District.

    The district that encompasses the docks and the western expansion of Prymp outside its main walls is known as Nowodo, the Dock District. Nowodo consists mainly of temporary shops selling questionable merchandise, taverns selling watered wine and hard liquor, hostels where the drunk and the poor can find lice-infested beds for the night, and bawdy houses where services of a lusty nature come cheap. The Assassins' Guild is believed to operate mostly out of Nowodo, but its guildmasters remain too mobile for anyone to be sure. Nowodo's most important location is Swetlyn Kamar, the fortified lighthouse. Given the chaotic nature of the Dock District, though, it should come as little surprise that the administration of the lighthouse is handled from outside the district. Swetlyn Kamar is considered by the military to be part of Woen Keep, even though the two are a city block apart.

    The district that makes up most of the west end of the city is Woenen, or the Military District. It is the only district that is entirely enclosed by curtain walls. The six pentagonal towers spaced along the outer wall can each withstand a siege. At the north end of Woenen is Woen Keep, where the navy is based, and at the south end is Prymp Keep, where the army is based. Prymp Keep is a triangular-shaped castle perched on a hill surrounded by its own curtain wall. With the exception of the watchmen stationed on any of the city's walls, the remaining 400 active City Watch members are garrisoned here. There is no practical distinction between the City Watch and the soldiery of the Principality of Ahlissa, at least not under Prymp's current rulers. All are well-armed and armored, never possessing worse than simple chainmail. In between are many barracks, as well as armorers, weaponsmiths, stables, and a small shipyard. Businesses and homes in this district enjoy the best -- and cheapest security.

    At the center of the city is Old Prymp, or simply Prymp District. This small district contains some of the most important buildings. Town Hall (or Old Town Hall) dates back just seven decades to when Prymp was still smaller than a full-fledged city. It has, during Prymp's flirtations with independence, even been the center of government at one point or another, but is now little more than a museum. As the current hub of Prymp's civic administration, the Clerk’s Guildhall bustles with courtiers, couriers, clerks, and heralds all vying for each other's attention. Nearby is the Bank of Prymp, one of only three such institutions in the Principality. Its finanical offerings include moneychanging, moneylending, and savings accounts. Council Hall is where the burggrafs do their business and senators from the army come to report to the civilian population. More infamous is a building known only as the Wizard's Tower. A wizard who is said to have adventured as far from here as Castle Greyhawk took up part-time residency here some years back. Delfina's Brewery is the only brewery in the Old City, and the most respected brewery in this area. The brewery is over 100 years old and makes a spectacular ale from imported barley. There are some old shops here and the city's original (and much smaller) marketplace, but those businesses that did not learn to cater to the clerks usually found their mortgages due.

    East of Nowodo and Old Prymp is Warowam, the Warehouse District. Once the province of fish and salt mongers, spice merchants, and butchers, the Warehouse District has, in the past 15 years, gradually taken on the role of a "thieves' quarter" in Prymp that the Dock District used to fill. It boasts a thriving blackmarket that has grown out of a humble pawnshop into a larger, and more elusive, network that shifts from building to building to elude the law. There has not been an actual thieves' guild in Prymp for years though, since the last one was crushed by an adventuring party known as the Band of the Grinning Gargoyle just before the wars. However, there is no shortage of shady businessmen here, particularly the Fishmongers' Guild. The Fishmongers control the black market, making them an economic force to be reckoned with in Prymp. Warowam boasts few buildings of note. The Civic Slaughterhouse at the south end of the district is used by farmers for miles around. Both the Civic and Common Stables are located near the slaughterhouse, to the torment of many a horse.

    South of Old Prymp and Warowam is Tyrgowna, the Merchant District. Here, ironware (including weapons and armor) and silverware are the primary commodities controlled by the Tradesmen's Guild. Three days a week, the Tradesmen convene a market day in the New Market -- a fenced-in yard near the Tradesmen's Guildhall. These market days are always busy, as they are the only times when non-guild artisans may legally sell their wares in the Merchant District. The most famous inn in Prymp is here. The Inn of the Grinning Gargoyle is the city's largest inn and doubles as an adventurers' guildhall. There is no separate religious quarter for Prymp, and because of the main deity worshipped here, it is appropriately considered part of the Merchant District. The Cathedral of Zilchus is the dominant house of worship in Prymp. Because the clergy of Zilchus enjoy such good relations with the ruling class of Ahlissa, the patriarch of the cathedral is also granted the title Spiritual Leader of Prymp. Although named for Zilchus, it is a pantheistic cathedral and most of the Draken pantheon is recognized here. The cathedral is located a mere block from the New Market. There is also a large chapel to Hextor located just two blocks from the cathedral. It is heavily guarded, as it used to be a frequent target for neophyte adventurers.

    Except for the extreme north end, the entire Tannery District reeks from its famous leatherworkers. Much of the poor, legitimately employed citizenry of Prymp live in squalor in this district. There are numeours cheap hostels and taverns here, as well as traders and resale shops. The district, despite its generally sorry state, boasts at least four locations of note. One is the Champion Cock Tavern, Prymp's premier gambling den, specializing in cock and dog fights. Abigail's Rest Inn is the second best inn in Prymp. It actually offers few amenities, but a safe place for a man of means to sleep at night is a rare commodity in Prymp. More impressive, though less safe, is Perdo's Palace. One of the few stone buildings in the district, boasting impressive and expensive architecture, Perdo's Palace is a house of ill repute. Owned by a retired adventurer with the vice of unquenchable lust, Perdo's Palace caters to a large, well-to-do crowd with similar tastes. Lastly, Castle Bogat can be found here along the city's curtain wall that circles the south side of the district. It is also has the only gate directly connecting the Tannery District to the outside of Prymp. The traditional home of the pfalzgrafs of Prymp, the environs of Castle Bogat now embarrass the title’s current holder, Ivan Darmen (leading to his adoption of Castle Darmen).

    Farming District

    As mentioned previously, this is not officially a district of Prymp because it does not have a senator representing it on the Council of Prymp. However, since no one listens to the Council anyway, the name endures. Prymp's four mills all lie outside the city walls. There are three windmills and one watermill fed by stream flowing from a spring, located a mile southeast of the city. Prymp's graveyard also falls outside the city walls to the southeast, but closer than the watermill. A simple old, wooden fence surrounds a yard that holds over 500 dead. The last time the dead were buried here was in 581 after the city's last siege. Concern over necromancers has led the military to encourage people to bury their dead at sea now, even though there has not been a strong presence of Nerull's followers for nearly 15 years. Several wineries can be found in vineyards within a few miles of Prymp.

    Relgion:  The most urban area on the Draken Peninsula is the city of Prymp. It is a small city, but a new city. A young city has little use for old gods and old ways. Most Godsday observances, particularly in peacetime, are more entertainment than solemn reverence. At dawn, followers of Pholtus light candles and march to the cathedral. There, the most pious (decided by size of contributions) are allowed to light a golden brazier that is called “The Lighthouse of the Sun” before the cathedral. References specifically to Pelor are not made at the cathedral, though the older sun god receives his due at some smaller chapels. The highest-ranking shining priest of Pholtus leads a prayer to Pholtus, wishing him godspeed in his journey across the heavens and vowing to maintain order on Oerth in Pholtus’ absence. At this point, the warrior-clergy of Heironeous come forth to protect the brazier. Since their following in Prymp is small, their part of the ceremony is largely for entertainment value, as the clerics parade about the brazier, displaying their martial prowess with the battle axe. They extinguish the brazier, give their sermon, and carry the brazier back inside. By now a large congregation has gathered to follow the clerics into the nave of the cathedral. There, the clerics of Hextor wait to engage in ritual combat with the clerics of Heironeous. Though no love is lost between these two groups, the battle between them on Godsday is symbolic and bloodless. After this “dance” is complete, the clerics of Heironeous yield and the Hextorites begin their ceremony. They display their sword prowess as they ritually sacrifice an animal (usually an aggressive one, such as a jackal or even a bear). The highest-ranking Hextorite gives a sermon on the glory of battle and honors those who have done bloody deeds, such as the veterans of Ahlissa’s many conflicts with Idee and Nyrond in the past. Next come the clerics of Fharlanghn, who tell the congregation stories of far-away places. For the remainder of the morning, clerics of Olidammara perform music and share wine with the congregation – sometimes with a prankish splash in the face.

    With the passing of noon comes a procession of Zilchite clerics, all pomp and splendor, handing copper coins to the children thronging the aisles in anticipation of their handouts. After they give, they take – collecting donations from the congregation while the church leader preaches fiscal responsibility and respect for authority, plus more propaganda the city’s civic leaders have paid for them to say. The Zilchites end their part of the ceremonies by blessing the largest donors with holy water. Next come the clerics of Delleb, storytellers who regale the audience with stories of Prymp’s past. Clerics of Celestian then lead a prayer for those who sail the sea (the only official nod to water deities is often made here) and divine the chances of stargazing that night (the closest most people in Prymp come to hearing the results of a predict weather spell). At that time, most law-abiding citizens leave the cathedral for supper. Those who stay are served a very light meal of water and fish, while clerics of Kurell amuse them with bawdy jokes and riddles. Those who stay do so at their own risk, for the clerics of Kurell are known thieves and recruit laymen thieves to help them work the stay-late crowd. What keeps people staying late, besides the lowbrow humor, is the chance to observe the unannounced arrival of the clerics of Trithereon. They keep an eye out for pickpockets at work, capture them, and punish them to the delight of the audience. Clerics typically receive paddling. Laymen thieves often meet far worse fates.

    The cathedral can only hold so many, and the Godsday theatrics always draw a huge crowd, so clerics wait outside throughout the day to prosthelytize to the overflow.

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