The h1. Channel Cities h2. and the World of Aernth
Welcome to the Channel Cities. Home to the brightest lights and the darkest shadows within the World of Aernth fantasy RPG setting. The cities are the economic, political, and social center of this vast fantasy world. It is comprised of five separate cities, each with its own system of government, its own economy, varied social beliefs and morays, and the behind the scenes intrigue and espionage that accompanies such a vast and varied metropolis.
The Channel Region is the area around a channel that connects the North Sea and the Great Sea. The channel also separates two large continents at their closest point (think of the importance of Istanbul throughout the last 1,000 years of history on our own world). There are several islands within this channel, as well as two rivers that empty into it. This is also the location of five large cities: Argentum, Gorled, South Shore, Martelain, and Dorgard. With all of the cities being separated by water there is only one permanent bridge (between Argentum’s main island and one of it’s small islands), and one semi-permanent bridge (between Gorled and Dorgard). This second bridge is built out of wood and is burned every couple of years or so, when trouble flares up between these two cities. There are several ferries that cross the channel at different points and two that cross the Clearwater River between South Shore and Martelain.
The population of the cities and the area immediately surrounding them is about 570,000 people, within approximately 13 square miles of land in an area of about 23 square miles (the remainder of the area is water). There are approximately 10,000 visitors to the channel cities on an average day (non-residents), either there on business (more often than not, merchants, traders, and sailors) or for a wide variety of other reasons. The cities are very crowded in the way that they are laid out and the buildings are set one against another throughout most of the metropolitain area, with very narrow and sometimes winding streets many with dead ends (many a wagon or carriage has been stuck due to a wrong turn).
Of the twelve islands around the Channel area, 2 are owned by one of the wealthy merchants in Argentum (one has his manor, warehouse, and docks; while the other is home to his shipyard (in addition to being one of the wealthiest and most successful merchants in the area, he also operates the largest of the three shipyards that supply vessels to the many merchants and shippers that comprise Argentums upper class). One is controlled by the family that operates the many ferries that service the Channel cities, thus allowing them to keep clear of the political turmoil that often embroils the five cities and their governments. The remaining nine islands are controlled by a secretive and reclusive group of people who operate the most prestigious school in the world as well as being the unofficial historians and record keepers of the world’s history and events. These islands are known simply as the Isles of Stars.
The five cities have widely varying political systems and economics as explained below. Argentum is a Republic; however only landowners are considered Citizens with voting rights who elect a Council that oversees the city-state’s operations. It is also the trade and transportation hub of the world, and as such is home to many of the wealthiest merchants. Its coast is lined with warehouses and docks. Gorled is a large and militarily powerful Feudal Monarchy with a strong agricultural economy and some manufacturing. Dorgard is a smaller allicance of petty kingdoms, thus also uses a Feudal system, but with less of a hierarchy. It is also an agricultural powerhouse with its rich soil and great weather and growing season, especially in its southern regions. South Shore is the manufacturing powerhouse of the region with a very extensive and active system of artisan guilds, and is as close to a true democracy as exists within the world, with everyone who pays taxes a voting Citizen. It is also the only one of the five cities where slavery is outlawed and personal freedom is highly valued. Meanwhile Martelain used to be the manufacturing powerhouse and also operated some of the riches mines in the world, however the city fell to the Northern Empire many years ago and has since become the slums of the Channel Cities, currently ruled over by the “Governor” who is some outcast noble from the Northern Empire. Riots and unrest is common in Martelain, with an active but weak rebellion that is still trying to free itself from the oppressive rule of the powerful Empire.
This endeavor is a compilation of over 25 years of creative work, and remains a work in progress, as any fantasy setting should be. After all, our own world is not a constant place, but is a changing, growing, and developing entity. I have tried to make the Channel Cities setting as alive and detailed as I possibly can, while at the same time keeping it open and available for change. As you will see, considerable detail has been incorporated into it, but yet, there are enough spaces and undeveloped areas that it still has a lot of room to grow and change. As a user of this setting, it is expected that you will use what you feel will fit your needs as a GM and will ignore other aspects of the setting. It is also expected that you will fill in some of the areas that have intentionally been left blank to suit your needs.
After that, take a look at your wiki. There is some more helpful info there.