GURPS on Golarion
Westcrown, Cheliax (4710 AR)
Population: 114,700 (Search +3); 88% human, 7% Halfling, 5% other
Physical and Magical Environment
Terrain: Plains, Island/Beach
Appearance: Average (+0) Hygiene: -1
Normal Mana (Common Enchantment)
Culture and Economy
Language: Common, Infernal
Literacy: Broken (Native among nobility)
Wealth: Struggling (Wealthy among nobility)
Status: -2 to 5
Government: Bureaucracy (mayor backed by Chelish monarchy)
CR: 4 (Corruption -2)
See PathfinderWiki for further information.
Westcrown at a Glance
One’s location in Westcrown determines the size, height, and opulence of the surrounding buildings. Every building, however, begins with a stone foundation, most often the light stone quarried from the surrounding hills or along the Adivian River. The richer areas of town contain all-stone construction, if not rarer or more specialized materials. Most places add three or more levels made from wood, either light varieties of local trees or the dark barroak felled in the Barrowood and brought downriver. Buildings lean upon each other at the higher levels where necessary, with the sight of freestanding buildings usually denoting the money and influence of nobility.
Streets and walkways in Westcrown almost undulate in places, evidence of the random nature of the building spaces. Stone paves every surface within the city walls, and while main avenues in richer areas have stone slabs, mirror-slick in the rain, cobblestones fill other areas. All runoff gets channeled to sewer grates or back toward the river, and keeping grates clear of blockages becomes an informal task for dottari during the rainy seasons. While there are hire-sweeps to tend to the streets and keep them clear of offal, few folks beyond the rich can afford them, and garbage piles up in the alleys of poorer sections of town until cleared by locals or benevolent priests.
The city’s pride and arrogance has dimmed over the decades along with its lost influence as the failed “Home of Aroden.” As a result, many Wiscrani no longer take as much pride in keeping their neighborhoods clean or in the best repair. Structures exposed to the elements remain unmended, garbage chokes some alleys, and things change only by the influence of dottari spears or coins. While the faith of many people crumbled with Aroden, his priests and worshipers of his founders continue to watch out for Westcrown and its people, shoring up and repairing temples and common buildings alike.
The City of Twilight carves itself up into three distinct Paregos (“great regions”) used and understood by all the city’s residents: the Regicona (“the Floating Palace”), or Westcrown Island; the Spera (“Hope’s Altar”), the still-occupied sections of the city; and the Dospera (“Despair’s Altar”), or the ruined northern regions of Westcrown.
When locals provide directions in the city, though, they split it up into regos (regions or sectors). The five on the western shores are Rego Cader, Rego Crua, Rego Scripa, Rego Pena, and Rego Sacero. The three island sectors in the river are Rego Corna, Rego Laina, and Rego Aerum. Some folk add on two more sectors: Rego Funda (“Farm Sector”) encompasses the hills and dales between the city and the Adivian Bridge and includes the city’s farms and food supplies. The Pripatra (or Rego Patra to the sycophantic) generally covers all the manor houses and noble estates bordering the Dhaenflow.
Wiscrani call Westcrown Island Regicona. Encircling the 8 canal-riddled islands are the Regiconan Walls, the Chained Arches spanning each of the canals piercing them. Most of the city’s population never sees inside the walls built by their efforts and coins, so rumors run rampant of what happens within the Regicona. All they and most city visitors see are the grandeur of the tallest buildings rising above the walls, like the former royal palaces and a grand opera house.
The Parego Dospera (“Despair’s Altar”) refers to the abandoned ruins and downtrodden slums of the northern shores of Westcrown. The roads are often in disrepair, and running in the Dospera invites a twisted ankle or a broken leg, leaving one fair game to the many threats in its shadows. While the northern sector is entirely a ruin, only kept in vague control by the sureshots of the rundottari on the walls around it, the southern rego acts as the buffer zone between it and “civilized” Westcrown.
“Dead Sector” refers to the northern ruins, though older Wiscrani can tell you this used to be Rego Plea (formerly home to house slaves, servants, and lesser trades) before Aroden’s Fall. Inside this sector are the “low trades” the nobles wished not to see, including many forges or smithies still useful, if not in good repair. The bulk of the abandoned or ruined buildings were once taverns, inns, rooming houses, and stables. Now, most are either squats and partial homes for barbaric humans, dens of thieves, or even the lairs of monsters from leucrotta to goblins and tieflings strong enough to survive. There may even be gargoyles still bound to guard areas that have long since fallen to ruin around their perches.
“Blood Sector” once held all slave trade and a wide array of low-end or less-desirable businesses, from tanneries to slaughterhouses. As a result of the stench and filth, this sector also contained the northern slums of Westcrown, nestled up against the walls of Rego Cader (which sometimes makes them safer due to the near-constant presence of rundottari above them). The farther south one travels, the more buildings rise in height and cleanliness until you cross the eastern Pegasi Bridge into Parego Spera.
The Spera (“Hope’s Altar”) contains the still-thriving sections of the city, once looked down upon by the city’s elite and now recognized as its money-making lifeblood. The western city still holds many nobles, but unlike the Regicona, trade and coin rule here more than politics. The three sectors of the Spera are Rego Scripa (“Scribe Sector”), the commercial hub and mercantile class sector that was the site of the empire’s scribes and printers; Rego Pena (“Coin Sector”), the fine trades, high-quality goods, and “new money” class sector; and Rego Sacero (“Priest Sector”), the temple and “old money” sector.
“Scribe Sector” was once the center for the bureaucratic work of the Chelish empire, the area dominated by ink- and paper-makers, printers, binders, scribes, and messengers. Now, precious few such businesses remain beyond cartographers; trade warehouses and ship-related businesses (rope- and sail-makers, navigators, and shipwrights) now populate this sector.
“Coin Sector” houses the more lucrative trades and many houses of dubious standing, politically or monetarily. This also acts as home to a rising class of rich merchants who, by choice or fate, lack the political clout or connections to gain noble status or the notice of the Imperial Court.
“Priest Sector” contains more shrines and ecclesiastical real estate (extant or ruined) than five other Chelish cities combined. For centuries, priests and nobles alike kept all land east of the Arodennama (on and beneath the Rise) vacant for Aroden’s personal gardens. That land became a flashpoint of land grabs and assassination among many nobles, officials, and priesthoods after the Last Azlanti’s death. By 4614, various faiths and houses had bought up much of the land.
Government, Politics, & Order
Under Chelish law and tradition, the Mayor of Westcrown (or lord mayor, as its current officeholder insists upon) controls the Dottari and the tax coffers that maintain city stability (by fostering order, infrastructure, and payments to extortionists). While the royal seat of power, Westcrown had imperial forces ready to put down dissent, collect taxes, and help build grand displays of wealth for the nobility’s gratification. Over seven decades, three mayors watched taxes dwindle to a fraction of their original sums, forcing many cutbacks in services (and funding indulgences for said mayors). When matters began impeding commerce, other influences stepped in. In 4689 ar, Aberian Arvanxi was made lord mayor of Westcrown by Her Infernal Magestrix, Queen Abrogail II.
The first forces of law and order encountered in Westcrown are often the dottari, the city’s guards or wardens. Regardless of where their posts lie, dottari all wear the city’s mark—Aroden’s Eye—stenciled in black over a red field on a shield or tabard. Dottari officers wear a reversed mark (red on black field) on their left arms, their rank rising as the mark moves from the shoulder (for lesser officers), to the forearm, to a ring for the duxotar or warden- major in command of the guards who answer only to the mayor. Dottari, regardless of postings, always travel in squads of seven—six soldiers and one lieutenant.