Two years ago or so I posted the map of Hurren, City of the Elders, with little more description than
“Hurren is known as the City of the Elders because it is the seat of the Council of Five, a gathering of five potent magi who come to meet here once a year (although two of the five maintain their primary residences here, the other three rarely are seen within the city walls, appearing only for their annual meeting.) All five are older than any human has the right or the natural ability to be, as the council was founded over a hundred and fifty years ago.”
So, let’s bring it up a notch!
Hurren is known as the City of the Elders because it is the seat of the Council of Five, a gathering of five potent magi who come to meet here once a year (although two of the five maintain their primary residences here, the other three rarely are seen within the city walls, appearing only for their annual meeting.) All five are older than any human has the right or the natural ability to be, as the council was founded over a hundred and fifty years ago.
Hurren was a large small city built around a stone keep when the Council of Five first started using it as their gathering place. The city itself has grown slowly over the past few hundred years, never really breaking out beyond the old city walls. It sees modest trade with the nearby city-states and pays lip service to the city-state of Khalis and the Hill Islands.
The city is broken into 4 neighbourhoods as well as two concentrations of dwellings outside the walls.
• Westside – All structures on the west side of the river (which in turn is some times broken down into three areas).
• GreenGrove – The area centred around the Green (the grove in the north side of the city).
• Eastside – The old structures on the east side of the river serviced by the two bridges.
• The Fortress – Still the focus of town affairs, the fortress is on a hill on the northeast side of the city and serves as the gate to and from the north.
Westside makes up all the city on the west side of the White Mist River. With the exception of the warehouses in the two most northern blocks and the buildings built right along the riverfront, Westside is the “newer” part of town and the architecture focuses on larger buildings in a mix of stone and wood.
W1 – Southgate
Now the main gate in and out of Hurren, Southgate is it’s own subcommunity encompassing the businesses and homes outside of the gate (including the very respectable Lurching Swordsman Inn) and the businesses just inside the gate that cater to travellers and merchants. The southgate square is typically an impromptu market during the morning hours as people buy (and sometimes
pilfer) goods directly from farmers and merchants before they make it to the warehouses or common markets.
W2 – Fountain Commons
This large plaza around a fountain depicting four female giants pouring water down upon dancing children is Hurren’s main market. The majority of the plaza is covered in tents four days a week, and even on the quiet days a few dozen vendors can be found here. Local legend says that the fountain waters bless children who play in it and attest to the fountain predating the construction of this neighbourhood.
W3 – Well Commons
Less of a general market, the plaza around the three wells is a gathering place for the locals to exchange information, drink, and generally avoid working. A few vendor stalls of food and drink are here, and many winehouses and entertainments are found nearby.
W4 – Temple of the Pantheon
More a political presence than a place of worship, the temple of the pantheon is the place of “business” for the local clergy. From this massive stone structure the cults and temples present a unified front to the Fortress and the Elders of the Council of Five.
W5 – Warehousing
These two blocks of buildings are mostly dedicated to warehousing for the docks and merchants. Many of the warehouses incorporate small residences to provide a modicum of security.
W6 – Waterhearth
Six of the buildings in this block have either interior or exterior basement doors that lead not to a regular basement or root cellar, but to an underground structure dedicated to the waters of the river. This large underground temple is lit by magical green light, illuminating the clear water that erupts from a spring here and then joins with the river flow. A few low level druids maintain vigil here, and the quiet and peaceful mystery cult of the waters has membership through many walks of city life.
Centred on the Green itself, GreenGrove takes it’s name from the grove of trees that has been nurtured and maintained within the city walls.
G1 – The Green
Originally protected by Cavrus the Hooded (of the Council of Five) as a place for his meditations between meetings of the council, the Green has become central to life on the north side of Hurren, and the stately trees here are a point of pride for almost all residents. Cavrus no longer uses the Green today, but it remains inhabited by many offspring of his toad familiar.
G2 – NorthTower
The original meeting place of the Council of Five, this 90-foot tower looms over the Green. Today it is home to the city records, a small chapel, and Ferus, a young magus who nearly worships the wizards of the Council.
G3 – Morvold Manor
Just north of the Green is the massive ivy-covered stone residence of Morvold of Seven Chances, youngest of the Council of Five. The Lord of Seven Chances invites people seemingly at random to dine within the manor once a month. Morvold does not dine with the guests, instead they are ushered in and fed by a small army of unseen servants.
G4 – Five Hosts
Hurren’s most respected Inn, the Five Host sits in the very centre of the city and offers high quality fare and sumptuous quarters at very high prices.
The oldest part of the city – EastSide was built up around the south side of the Fortress and includes the oldest houses and businesses in the city.
E1 – Brother’s Gate
Once the main gate in and out of the city, Brother’s Gate has a history of fires and misfortunes. The only major inn at this gate reflects this history in it’s name – The Misfortunate Son.
E2 – Malthus’ Retreat
The home of Archmage Malthus, this combination manor and tower has changed significantly over the decades along with Malthus’ whims. Malthus is the only member of the Council of Five who remains active in the life and politics of Hurren, and he seems capricious and fickle, ever changing and fluid.
E3 – The Red Wharf
The structures along this stretch of the river were once run-down taverns and fish-packing operations that were gradually converted one at a time into houses of ill repute and supporting businesses. While this means that there is no lack of low-life, criminals and other disreputable sorts here, there is also access to discreet medical and clerical aid, information, and means of entering and exiting the city unseen.
The original keep and fortress remains the seat of political power in Hurren, and two major guilds also make this their home, cementing it’s place as the true heart of the city. The fortress itself is built up on a 15 foot hillside looking down on the rest of Hurren.
F1 – North Town
Also known as the Fortress Slums, North Town is where those businesses that have issues operating within Hurren (such as the slaughterhouse, the charcoal
vendor and oil rendering) are located, along with supporting businesses and the homes of both those who work here and those who cannot afford to build within the city walls. North town is said to be the home of Hurren’s small thieves’ guild (although in reality there is no “guild” per se – the thieves of Hurren are not so organized and instead operate as independents with a few small gangs in the mix).
F2 – The Yellow Gate
While the gate itself hasn’t been painted yellow in at least 80 years, the sturdy north gate into the fortress retains the moniker amongst the locals although they will often say that it isn’t about colour, but the smelly discharge of the oil rendering business in North Town. Yellow Gate remains closed most of the time and is the best defended gate of the city as it is also home to the city garrison. Just outside the gate is the Northern Sun Inn, a secret jewel of the city – an inn of excellent quality and price marred only by it’s location.
F3 – Citadel Gate
Unlike the Yellow Gate opposite it, the Citadel Gate remains open at all times – only being closed once a month to maintain the hinges and make sure that it can be closed if needed. The Citadel Gate serves as the northern portion of Hurren’s impromptu open market, with many small food and trinket vendors opening small stands around the gate on most days.
F4 – The Halls
These buildings are all multi-stories well-maintained structures. Two of them house the two most influential guilds in Hurren – the Merchant Guild and the Stonemasons’ Guild. The popularity of open markets in Hurren is in part because of the stranglehold the Merchant Guild has over stores and established merchants as well as transportation of major goods in and out of town. With Hurren being built on the side of a river, the stonemasons are a particularly powerful political block as they provide the work needed to keep entire neighbourhoods from sliding into the water. In fact, the stonemason leadership and many of the members are also part of the Waterhearth cult.
F5 – The Citadel
The inner citadel of the fortress is home to Lord Ventner, the master of the city, and his family as well as the various support services and sycophants that are typically found in proximity of such persons of power. Lord Ventner is no fan of the Council of Five, however he understands the benefit of their presence in his city as it has provided for security for a century and a half now when other cities have seen much more chaos and discord.
The Council of Five
The Council of Five used to meet in the NorthTower in GreenGrove, however in the past 80 years they have moved their meetings to the tower of Archmage Malthus in EastSide. The five members of the council are (in order of age from eldest to youngest):
Melnin Twice-Hunted – Eldest of the Five, Melnin does not appear in town twice in the same guise. Some say that he is long dead and a series of actors are hired by the council to pretend to be Melnin.
- Cavrus the Hooded – Renowned sage of all things natural, he is often believed to be more druid than magic user.
- Archmage Malthus – A lively old man who follows the changes in fashion and politics very closely and seems to like meddling in all sorts of affairs.
- Herrivec the Blue – Herrivec claims to be from another plane entirely that he escaped as it was being torn apart by giant crabs. He keeps the council advised on nearby extraplanar activities.
- Morvold of Seven Chances – Youngest of the five, Morvold is very secretive and almost never leaves his home without some form of invisibility.