Age of Worms
General Feel of Town:
At a perfumed arcade known as the Emporium, Governor- Mayor Lanod Neff rubs shoulders with common laborers awaiting an appointment in the Veiled Corridor. In an adjoining antechamber, snakes and exotic dancers gyre to a sonorous weave of cymbals and seductive pipes. A floor below, a gaggle of grasping miners presses against the windowed door of a darkened cell, impatient for a glimpse of a two-headed calf.
Out in the street, a gang of rowdies screams obscenities at a crumpled halfling, kicking it as if scrambling for a ball. Their drunken laughter echoes off shuttered windows and bolted doors.
In a tower-flanked fortress across the shadowy square, filthy men with nothing to lose shout hymns to Lathander, clutching to their idealism and principles like cornered animals.
Their wild-eyed chief minister smiles as he draws a cat-o-nine-tails across his bare back, awash in their adulation and the spirit of his god.
But it’s just another night in Daggerford.
Daggerford crouches in the lowland between three hills and the river itself, a splotch of mud, smoke, and blood smeared across uneven terrain marked by countless irregular mounds and massive rocks. The oldest buildings pack the rivershore, where fishing vessels once docked and stored their impressive catches. That commerce has abandoned the town entirely, for the shining waters are now so polluted as to make fishing impossible. Many old warehouses have been converted into cheap housing for miners and laborers, and no one is safe outdoors after dark. As one walks north along the streets of Daggerford, the buildings become sturdier and the spirits of their inhabitants likewise improve. A great earthen road called the Vein bisects the town. With few exceptions, those living north of the Vein enjoy a much better life than the wretches living below it.
All of the town’s social classes congregate in the Vein’s central square. Roughly every two weeks, someone in the town upsets someone else so greatly that the only recourse is a duel to the death at the center of a ring of cheering miners. The bookmakers of the Emporium and the Feral Dog do brisk business on such occasions, which tend to draw huge crowds. On less violent nights, the square is still home to a thousand pleasures and poisons; if Daggerford is a creature, the Vein’s central square is its excitable, irregular heart.