In this article we finish our tour of Gransys by examining its capital of Gran Soren, which is also its only settlement worthy of the name “city”. As there is only one very specific place to deal with this time, you’ll get more details on its history and layout, as well as important NPCs and a GURPS City Stats writeup. This is the last post on the setting of Gransys. Next we’ll move on to characters!
A Tour of Gran Soren
Gran Soren became the capital of Gransys around the time Edmun Dragonsbane became Duke, fifty years ago. Since then the fledgling town has grown into the beating heart of all Gransys, as the pawns in the original game are fond of saying whenever you approach its walls.
The city was built at the mouth of a river near the site of an ancient castle that predates Gransys itself. Some of its walls still stand, and the roads in the surrounding countryside weave through them. The city’s own walls are much newer, and as sturdy as their builders could make them. The space inside them is further divided into quarters.
This is where most of the city’s many workshops and guild halls stand. Blacksmiths, builders, and other artisans work here. There’s even a small field worked by tenant farmers. This quarter is also where the Pawn Guild is located. Its leader is a pawn named Barnaby, who is more articulate than most of his alien brethren. In addition to hiring out as mercenaries, they also guard a secret in the guild’s basement: the entrance to a mysterious underground ruin known to them as the Everfall.
Most weapon and item stores likely to cater to adventurers are in the Urban Quarter (below), but this is where PCs would come to make large orders or to hire a large workforce to build a manor or a boat. The Pawn Guild would also be a frequent destination for groups that include Pawn PCs or that make use of NPC Pawns.
This is the city’s largest residential and commercial area. Many of the artisans who work in the Craftsman’s Quarter have homes in this one, and it also hosts a large permanent market that sees movement at all hours of the day.
This is where all the “adventurer-friendly” establishments are: inns, taverns, and stores with large and varied inventories. Any non-magical item that doesn’t need to be custom-made can be found on sale here, and the stuff that does can be ordered easily. Fine-quality equipment and even minor magic items are often found on display, too. Basic necessities such as food or clothes are considerably more expensive in Gran Soren than in smaller towns or villages, but their quality and variety is often higher than can be found in those smaller locations.
This is technically part of the Urban Quarter, but you’ll definitely notice when you’ve wandered into it. It’s the bad part of town, comprised of shabbier houses and shadier businesses. It’s also where the river meets both the sea and the city’s sewers. A slum has grown on its margins, and the city’s poorest inhabitants dredge the mud looking for stray valuables.
There are few guards here, and those are the type that can be bribed to look the other way. This makes the Venery the perfect meeting spot for criminals and malcontents. Rumor has it that a skilled forger does business from here, and it’s also the best place to buy illegal tools.
This is where the other end of society lives. Somewhat smaller than the other quarters, its area is mostly occupied by large mansions, an ornate cathedral, the mint, and the Duke’s palace. Politically, the noble quarter is where all the real action is at. Duke Edmun’s centralizing efforts mean that to gain favor with him is to gain power, and the nobles and merchants who make their home here engage in constant intrigue to do just that.
Others take alternate routes, brokering illicit deals right under the nose of the Duke’s most loyal agents. Either way, the deals made here affect the entire duchy.
The Duke holds court from his palace, and is always surrounded by a rotating set of nobles and merchants. Aside from Edmun himself, other fixtures of the court are his nephew Fedel and his chamberlain Aldous. Fedel holds the title of Count of Aernst, but that is a mere formality, as Aernst Castle was attacked and razed decades ago. Though Fedel is wealthy, he lacks the resources (and, some say, the will) needed to retake and rebuild the castle. He currently lives in a mansion in the noble quarter, and makes a living from trade.
Aldous also holds an honorary title (Count of Windbluff), and also has no interest in claiming its associated land. He is the Duke’s Chamberlain, and the one who actually conducts most of the day-to-day work of running the duchy. Most who seek audience with Edmun will find themselves dealing with him instead.
The Noble Quarter is also where Fournival Frescobaldi, Gransys’ wealthiest merchant, makes his home. He owns a lot of real estate in Gransys and smaller towns, and his organization moves a lot of goods between these settlements. He also deals in goods imported from foreign lands, both legally and illegally.
Population: 11,000 (Search +1)
Physical and Magical Environment
Terrain: Plains; Appearance: Average (0); Hygiene: -1; Normal Mana (Common Enchantment)
Culture and Economy
Literacy: Accented; TL: 4; Wealth: Comfortable; Status: -2 to 7
Government: Dictatorship, Municipality; CR: 4 (Corruption -2); Military Resources: $1.1M; Defense Bonus: +8