Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cities of Urbis - Building Bodenwald, Part VII

Continued from Part VI...

Now we come to Berg am Laim, whose name derives from the large clay deposits in the area which in turn resulted in the construction of many brickyards. As Bogenwald has seen massive growth (like most other city-states in the region), presumably they are doing very good business indeed, but this might also mean that there are all sorts of huge, human-created holes in the district where the clay was taken out of the ground. These will likely fill up with water, and those where most of the clay has already been removed won't be drained of it.

There is also a neighborhood named "Baumkirchen", whose name derives from "a church built from tree logs". In Urbis terms, we could make this an actual "tree temple", likely maintained by elves worshiping the Silver Lady. This could be the center of the elven community in Bodenwald, which probably isn't too happy about all the polluting clay extraction going on nearby. Berg am Laim was also the center of a major railway depot, which lots of railway employees living in local settlements - something we can easily port over to Bodenwald.

Trudering-Riem (which had the old Salt Route passing through) has an interesting legend of the "Noble Lady Uta". Her husband, knight Cuno, oppressed the local peasants, but Uta attempted to alleviate this by secretly donating food to the peasants from the castle stores. One day while Uta was away doing this, the whole castle sank into the ground and vanished into a depression that still exists to this day, and Uta donated all the land to the church.

Well, this sounds like a ready-made subterranean dungeon if I ever heard one. Of course, it might be even more interesting if that dungeon seems to have expanded from what was supposed to be a fairly standard castle, with strange tunnels winding all across the district which haven't been fully explored. There is (of course) an archaeological dig site established shortly after the site was recently discovered, but they have only begun to explore the tunnels, and as yet have not found any inhabitants. Thus, there is plenty of exploration left to do for the player characters...

One possible explanation for the name "Riem" derives from a German word for "belt", as the various farms owned by a local noble surrounded a local church like one. In Bodenwald this might mean that the local district is still radiating out from a central temple - avoiding the deities which already have found a niche in Bodenwald, let's pick Kortus - who, as a god of agriculture (among other things) has a rather widespread following.

There is also mention of the so-called "Hüllgraben", a small stream which emerges to the surface in Riem. Since we are building a fantastic world we should exaggerate this and make it a full-fledged river emerging to the surface (likely at the rim of the impact crater). And to make it more fantastic still, maybe in recent months corpses of strange creatures have been washed up on its banks - so obviously someone needs to dive in and explore where these creatures are coming from, and whether they are a threat to Bodenwald. Don't worry, that water breathing spell will last for a few hours...

The history of Ramersdorf-Perlach mentions that the area had some church holdings which passed into the hands of the government during the Secularization of 1803 where an attempt was made to reduce the power and influence of the Church. In Bodenwald, this might have been temple holdings of a religion that became unpopular. Perhaps of the Underworld deity Cryelis? Her temples might be an old holdout from Atalan times (since she originated in the Atalan Empire). But of course, closing the temples won't necessarily banish her influence, and quite a few long-running local families might know where the bones are buried. Literally. And the pilgrimage church Sankt Maria Ramersdorf in Ramersdorf-Perlach might turn into hidden pilgrimage sites to a darker deity in Urbis...

Another bit local color worth mentioning is the "Fasanengarten", a park that used to have an attached pheasanty (pheasant breeding farm) - likely for hunting purposes. It is possible that the nobles of Bodenwald thirst for more exotic birds to hunt - preferably ones that don't fly well or at all. Something like a cassowary would certainly make for interesting prey...


To be continued...