Thursday, April 7, 2016

World-building Counts as Writing, Right?

Well, here I am at the end of the first week of April. Seven days down, twenty-three to go. Want to know how much script-writing I've done? None. I haven't even unburied my external hard-drive that has the script on it. Haven't talked to ChibiSunnie yet. Haven't even rewatched episodes of "Hey, Arnold!" in order to get back into character. I forgot how crazed April has become.

It's not so bad this year since I don't have to worry about Easter - thanks to it coming stupid-early this year - but the month still starts off with my niece's birthday.
I wanted to have Disney's Rapunzel in this image since that was the party she had,
but apparently all other 3yr old girls are having Disney's Frozen parties still...
It was a chaotic weekend. Between work, the party, yet another unexpected Overnight shift, and Hubby and I getting sick, there was no time really to do anything. I even had to cancel my D&D session for the weekend. Worked out for me though, because I had nothing planned.

Still don't, really. That's the writing I've been doing this week instead of working on actual productive things like my Script Frenzy fanscript with Chibi, or just generic fictional prose. I mean, it serves a purpose, and I'll eventually use it for Gyateara, and I need to know this stuff for my game, and it's still being creative. Still, I wish I had advanced some story somewhere.

Instead, the best I have is further development of my original D&D merchant town of Ashitar. Although, I have to admit - while some facts were already established in my posting last week - I like how much of the background, particularly between Baron Gringroso and his lord Count Keenhale, I was able to come up with:
The Gringroso family were faithful bannermen for Count Keenhale and his family for generations. Due to duty, obligation, as a reward, or a way to keep the Gringrosos fealty - I haven't decided yet - Count Jarvine Keenhale gave Greggor Gringroso a bit of land in his county. It was deemed a bit of a slighting at first because the land wasn't previously populated due to how dangerous the surrounding terrain was. The treacherous Neergreve forest choked the west and south sides of the land. The deadly Razor Beast mountain range loomed along the east and north ends of the property. The plain in between was very nice, but the likelihood of survival was slim.

Still, the Gringroso prevailed. They were tough as nails, and set up their keep with a few faithful servants. They survived a few winters before the first brave travelers happened upon them. Merchants trying to get to and from the Outaka Sea had to cross the Razor Beast. Greggor Gringroso gave them shelter as they either prepared for the long journey, or recovered from it. As thanks, they not only sold the Gringroso's their wares as a discount, but also made sure to spread word of this way station.

Soon a few brave merchants - escorted by adventurers - traveled over the Razor Beast instead of around it; in order to cut their journey from sixteen days to a mere three. Greggor then commissioned for a travel route to be cut through Razor Beast in order to help more merchants brave the mountain with a straight path to the port town of Golden Shell.

Years past, and merchants crossed paths, sold their wares to each other, and soon realized how many truly stopped at the Gringroso estate for shelter. A thorp sprung up around the keep as merchants stayed in order to earn coin from the other travelers. The hamlet rapidly grew into a thriving merchant town, spiraling ever further outward as it expanded. Eventually, it ran smack into the Razor Beast along two sides.

Marauders and monsters threatened the town, as well as some of the more wealthy merchant houses. The six main houses thought themselves the true founders of Ashitar since it was their parents and grandparents settling below Gringroso's keep that allowed the town to form in the first place. They each wished to be the mayor of Ashitar, but the rightful landowners - the Gringrosos - were in the way. Each family - both separately, and as a pooled effort - attempted to assassinate Greggor's sons and grandsons, and this tradition continues to this day.

While trying to crush assassination attempts, Mikhail Gringroso - Greggor's eldest grandson and then-current mayoral baron of Ashitar - also had to deal with the town expanding so far out that it was enticing monsters to leave Neergreve and attack. He had a wall built around the forest boarder; using the natural expansion into Razor Beast as the other half of the wall. It didn't help much. Ashitar became too large, and too dangerous. The economy crumbled when travelers reverted back to their sixteen-day paths in order to avoid the dangerous Neergreve, Razor Beast, and Ashitar.

Eventually, Mikhail sent out a call for new adventurers to come to Ashitar to protect the city and the travelers, but first he needed to beg Javine's grandson Ronan for a loan in order to pay for the adventurers' fees. Over the years the Keenhale family grew bitter of their bannermen and baron. While they required the Gringrosos to pay taxes to them, the Keenhales wished they were the ones who were able to develop the bustling Ashitar. Part of Ronan wanted Ashitar and the Gringrosos to fall so he could have a kinsmen revive the city as their own. However, he knew how it would look to his other bannermen, and if no one were as successful as the Gringrosos the revenue from Ashitar would be lost. Begrudgingly, Ronan gave Mikhail the life-giving loan.

Mikhail was able to revive Ashitar to its once-before glory days. It swelled inside its walls again, and began to spill outside the protection of its barriers. Now it is Mikhail's son Edvard who is mayoral baron. And Edvard who has to now deal with the assassination attempts, the monster invasions, and the anger of Count Marcus Keenhale - Ronan's eldest - about his family's loan not being paid back yet. Edvard is trying to teach his young son about what makes a good baron, but the boy is only twelve and is quick to lose focus. Young Brianan can't imagine being in charge of over 3500 people, but he may have to figure it out sooner than he thought.
I've come up with some other stats about Ashitar, although I'm still tweaking them....

  • Ashitar is about 3.3 square miles within the walls, with some of the newer businesses spilling out onto the sparse clearing between Ashitar and Neergreve.
  • Ashitar is about to celebrate its 70th anniversary of its founding; although the Gringrosos owned it for another five years previous.
  • The tight swelling of the large town created an insanely-tight population density, for medieval-style development, of about 1000 people per square mile, including elderly and children.
  • The whole town population is 3,544 people including 2,356 able-bodied adults, about 154 elderly, and average of 50 sick.
  • Men make up 53% of the adult population with 1249 able-bodied.
  • There are also 983 children.
  • The town is protected by a capable Captain of the Guard, his three lieutenants, 60 city guards, and a ready-militia of 177 additional men, making up 241 of the able-bodied adults.
  • The Assassin's Guild - either named Shadow Knives, Nightwalkers, or TBD - has 27 members.
  • The Thieve's Guild has 119 members. Name still TBD
  • While still subject to change, the six main merchant houses are in charge of the following trade: Silks and other fine "orient" products, fur and game, grain, lumber, gemstones and ore, and the brothel manager who secretly does slave trading as well.
  • The brothel has a few assassins within it's doors; black widow lovers. I'm still deciding if the brothel itself or just this sisterhood of assassins should be called Seducers of Purity.
So, as you can see, I have been doing a lot of research and world building. I just wish I had more actual writing to show for it. I also still have a long way to go before I'm ready for these sandbox-players to run around Ashitar on Sunday.

The largest bit of writing I've done this week was on the X-Future board. I finally got back to my Brotherhood character Trish, whom I hadn't played in about a year. Hubby set her up with an abandoned propane tanker left on an equally abandoned dock. She had fun spending an hour destroying the truck before exploding the tank. I'd share it, but Trish is a pyrophile, and so it definitely boarders soft-core as she.... er.... enjoys herself during the destruction. That, plus that woman's sailor-mouth gives her a firm Mature - and NSFW - rating. Either way, it was fun for me to write, and others seemed entertained in reading.... I mean, I'm no E.L. James, but still. I'm hoping the part of her destroying the truck, and not just the end paragraphs, were amusing as well. I'll have to ask for further feedback from the other players.

Well, it's creeping ever closer to noon, so I should probably wrap up. I might have some NPC character creation and other such D&D-related things to share next week. I'm hoping to also have added at least SOME pages to the fanscript Chibi and I started about four years ago.

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