The “Queen City of the Treaty Lands,” Springdale is a mix of cultures (admittedly, mostly human) and people ranging from the simple honest farmer to the thief and pickpocket, from the traveled merchant’s guard to the intelligent and cultured apprentice wizard, and from the river merchant to the wagon trader.
The city is built on the ruins of the once-capital city of the same name, throne city of the human kingdom Pazienza that fell during the Great War. Credit to this history, the city boasts architecture and city design far superior to nearly any other city in the Treaty Lands, including wards divided off by towered walls, and a massive quasi-curtain wall that guards the entire city—even on its lakeside.
Despite being a powerful player in the region as well as being quite large (a man can easily become lost down the city’s twisting streets), its people are generally quite quaint, with small-town natures, cultures, and values. Unfortunately, this does not reflect in small-town prices.
Trade is the city’s main industry, as it claims both major land routes a harbor into the largest trade-supporting river, Merveille, (or more technically, Merveille’s lake, the Mighty Lake Silvershore), giving it an influx of goods, and cause it to be the central power in the region.
Crime rates are quite high in Springdale, with two groups, the Red Hounds and Jack Pennybrooke’s Men responsible for either directly or indirectly a vast majority of the gang-based activity. The Red Hounds are fairly ruthless, and while oft the city guard will be able to locate a member, lack of proof stands in their way. Jack Pennybrooke’s Men, however, are many times more elusive, and cause a great deal of mischief for the guards—if typically little damage.
The city guard is divided into two groups. The main and older guard, referred to as simply the “City Watch,” is directed by the Town Council, and serves as a policing force, a defensive force, and the common, grunt workers of the city government. Precious few of the City Watch know magic, and by far men outnumber women. The far more recently founded Draco report directly to the mayor. Although smaller, they can easily match the City Watch in a test of arms, and are considered elite. As many men as women serve in the force, and all display some degree of understanding and ability in magic, although the degree greatly varies.
The town is divided into various wards, each governed by a ward master, elected by the people of that ward, and approved by either the mayor, or a vote of the city council, composed of the ward masters with the mayor as the head.
Gate District – Gateway Ward
The Gateway ward is a product of numerous merchants, tradesmen, commoners, and more than its share of wagon guards—like you yourselves once were not too long ago. It’s the only ward that traffic can pass in or out off—save of course, the port district—and because of this, is one of the easier wards to gain access to. Generally, the only commoners who live in this ward do so to do business with the merchants and other non-residents. A couple of professional guilds can be found in this ward.
Market District – Mercato Ward
The Mercato Ward is a place of thriving local business. Local trade floods in from both the Gateway and Portway wards, supplying the Mercato ward with an assortment of goods. These stores boast assortment, low-costs, and quality, like few other non-seaside cities in all the known world can claim. Of course, this ward hosts quite a bit of local goods, including produce, textiles, poetry, and other such goods. Despite its fame as a trading center, more buildings are actually homes than places of work.
Forge District – Ironstove Ward
The Ironstove Ward is also so-called “Dwarf district.” Known for it’s local dwarven citizens, smithies, dated dwarven-influenced construction, narrow streets, interesting local food, and practically minded people, the Ironstove has a truly distinct flavor. If one hunts hard enough, they sometimes can find metal worked goods at a reduced price.
Resident District – Lebeden Ward
A relatively quiet ward, the Lebeden ward sees little excitement or visitors. Although it does support a handful of shops, mostly this ward is composed of housing for the city’s various middle and lower class (although typically the working class house elsewhere). Unusually spacious streets are often dirt as they are paved, and many of the buildings are newer; the Great War saw the destruction of virtually this entire ward, and the Springdale Riots some forty years ago saw that fire destroy nearly two-thirds of the homes.
Noble District – Béni Ward
Both the smallest and one of the richest wards, Béni supports an elite, reclusive society. While technically nobility can’t exist in the Treaty Lands as it is a state-given status, the men and women in this ward come the closest to it. By ward-member-signed agreement, only residential, societal, and governmental buildings may stand in the Béni Ward. Further, this ward is one of the most difficult to get papers into. If you’re not a resident you’re likely out of luck.
Port District – Portway Ward
Boasting a majority of the city’s trade, the Portway ward also supports lucrative rivercraft, fishing, off-season storage, and sailmaker industry. This relative wealth paired with its size makes it arguably the most powerful player in Springdale politics. While it may have wealth, it is not for the wealthy, as poverty, ruin, and rot can be found just off the docks, and even often as a way of life of certain areas of the docks.
Castle District – Central Ward
The geographical and political center of Springdale, the Castle District is the home of the city council, the First Quarters of the city watch, the home of the Mayor, and the location of various other city functions. Some housing can also be found for city officials, as well as stock houses for city emergencies.
FirstBirth Ward – Grubformel Ward
According to local custom, the Grubformel ward was the birth place of Springdale. The buildings are unusually tall here—some towering to six stories—and nearly all are done in stone or paving bricks. While slightly more impoverished than other wards, the locals hold a strong pride and local flavor. Various businesses, governmental buildings, shops, and warehouses can be found here.
Acedemia District – Istruzione Ward
The Istruzione ward is home to several academies and trade schools, teaching everything from stone-masonry to arithmetic to writing to history to tailoring. One can even find Mathew’s School of Ladies here, considered the finest school in the Treaty Lands for a woman to learn how to act like a lady and perform as a housewife. The Trovon Academy is considered the greatest of the school here, and is run by the ward master himself.
Mages’ District – Sorcellerie Ward
One of the last, serious homes of the Mage’s Guild, the Sorcellerie Ward houses not only this guild, but a number of schools of magic that have cropped up around it. Undoubtedly the mages’ influences are the most well known of this ward, however it also supports a variety of shops, storage, and housing.
Jailbroke District – Iganno Ward
The slums of the city, the Iganno Ward is barred and locked down. Dirty, criminal ridden, and impoverished, few venture here if they have to. During the Springdale Riots, Stonelock saw a riot of its own. The prisoners escaped, and brought utter chaos and destruction to Iganno for a solid two weeks. When the guards were able to quell the riots on a whole, they were quick to turn paticular attention on Iganno, however the damage was done. Due to a combination of lacking enough men for a proper search, and having poor records of the prisoners, many criminals were left to wander Iganno unchecked. While it has been some forty years since the jailbreak, the criminal culture has left its mark on the ward.
Events of Springdale
See, Springdale Riots