Monday, July 6, 2015

The Beggar City

art by SkavenZverov
Lardafa, the Shanty City, the Beggar City, lies in the bottomland swamp along the Yellow River in the Country of Yanth. Its sobriquets are mostly accurate. It's buildings, plank and rope thoroughfares, and pubic monuments, are almost are of ramshackle design and built with salvaged or scrounged materials. It's people beg as a vocation, supplemented with "coney-catching," meaning thievery or small confidence games. These activities they practice outside their city, up and down the River.

Lardafans ape the political bureaucracy of other towns and cities, but in truth, this is mainly for propriety's sake. Lardafans look to their families (loose gangs where blood kinship is not required) and informal alliances between them for order and the mediation of disagreements.

This has not always been the case. In the past, Hobo Kings (perhaps Shagrick I the greatest among them) have arisen and set their people on campaigns of mass panhandling and cadging on the roadways around the swamplands, and even on the River itself, causing a great deal of bother to travelers. Such kingships seldom last long, the Lardafans being a people adverse to authority.

Lardafans are masters finding items of value, sometimes very unusual ones in the backwaters of their swamplands. Their stories say that those waters were once a dumping groups for failed experiments by Mirabilis Lum and his associates, but no one knows for sure. It is not advisable to attempt to search the Lardafan's lands without their permission.

The other strange thing found in the swamps are the Heaps, large creatures the Lardafans view with a certain reverence. These beasts or fae-creatures resemble roughly man-shaped, shambling masses of vegetation and detritus. Many stories are told by the folk along the Yellow River about the Heaps: that they've saved lost children, left flowers for pretty maidens, but also that they've drowned hunters, and over-turned skiffs and consumed the occupants. Despite these tales, Lardafans do not hold them to be creatures of menace, if left alone--though they superstitiously view the appearance and activities of Heaps as prophetic. Usually only one is seen at a time and they are seldom heard to make any sound. Lardafans believe they sometimes gather perhaps as many as a half dozen and hold primitive conclaves where they're low howls travel throughout the bottomland.


christian said...

I hate to create extra work for you, but do you think you could stat up a Heap for us? I'd love to take a look under the hood so to speak. Great write-up by the way. :)

Trey said...

I'll hopefully stat one for you this week.

Chris C. said...

Very nice! I definitely don't utilize swampland and its inherent scariness (damp, wet, foggy, overgrown, dark, shadowy, etc.) enough in my games.

christian said...

You are a good man, Mr. Trey.

@Chris: I totally agree. I think I can count on one hand the number of times the characters in my games have blundered into a swamp.

Trey said...

Growing up in South Georgia, swamps and wetlands always formed a part of my gaming worlds. This one I envision to look like Congaree National Park in my current environs.

tug said...

Very cool to learn more about my character's hometown. He'll get to working on some new tunes on his banjho like "The Heap Stopped Loving Her Today" and "She Thinks I Still Beg" and "A Good Year for the Coney."