A game by Heather Logas and her friends

Dev Diary #10 — A Traveler’s Guide to Thlanviviak

Its been a challenging week for BYCYE. A week full of pitfalls and distractions. But I’m happy to say that I’ve gotten things churning again. I started in full bore on a new scene this evening. Also, today I wrote the following, as an exercise in collecting my thoughts. (RE: Mind-Mapping…I started writing that article and its going to be long. So I am going to wait until I have gotten another good solid chunk of work done before finishing that up for you guys).

Thlanviviak — A Traveler’s Guide to the City of Tears

Oh, welcome! We don’t get many visitors these days. Well, actually we get no visitors these days. I think you’re the first outlander I’ve seen in nearly ten years! Well don’t you worry about that. There are still many interesting things to see here in Thlanviviak.
Is this your first time in the City of Gold? Good Good. Although it’s too bad you couldn’t have seen it back when it really was the City of Gold. It’s not the same place anymore, that’s for sure. But no matter, no matter. Let me tell you a bit about the city, and you can tell me what you want to see first.

That mess you walked through on the way in we call The Brambles. The white marble you saw in the dirt was once part of the Great Thlanviviak Wall. Beautiful it was, massive and strong ivory stone. White with gold veins running through. Beautiful. All gone now of course. Fallen to the ground, covered in vines and thorns. You noticed no doubt the ruined houses out there too. No one lives out there anymore. Well, no decent folks anyway. I don’t recommend going out there after dark, to The Brambles. Has a tendency to fill up with all types of vile creatures – on four and two legs both.

No no, much safer in here. You entered the city by the New Gate, which is set into the New Wall. The New Wall isn’t nearly as grand as the old one, mind you. It’s been cobbled together with boards and slabs of stone from the old wall and anything else people’ve been able to scrape together. Its not a pretty sight, but it does keep the nasties out at night, and that’s the important thing.

Now then. Directly inside the new wall is The Warren. This is temporary housing for those unfortunates who lived outside the boundary of the new wall before it was built. Here you’ll see makeshift huts and hovels, built from whatever the people living in them have been able to scrape together. Some of these dwellings are stacked on the inside floor to ceiling with whatever possessions their occupants saved from their old homes. As the houses in the main part of the city become vacated due to death or abandonment, the citizens of the Warren are able to move in and have a proper home. Of course, the wait list is quite long. Many of those in the Warren have been living there “temporarily” for the last twenty years.

Continuing inward from the wall you find the main residential district. On these buildings you’ll note the quaint high-pitched shake roofs and classic half-timbering. These residences were all built with excellent Thlanviviak craftsmanship and so, even though many of them have not seen much upkeep in the past twenty years, they are all standing just as sturdy as the day they were built. Oh, the stones may be chipped and crumbling in places, and some of the timbers may be nearly rotted through, but these buildings have many years left in them and are still lovely in their own way.

Once you cross Market Street you cross out of the residential district and into the commerce district. Here you will find all manner of shops at which to spend your hard-earned coin. At least, that was once the case. Now most of the shops have been closed up, and townspeople have taken up residence in them. But there are still some fine places to buy basic supplies, food and household goods. I particularly recommend City of Gold Clothiers and Haberdashery. Especially if you intend to spend the winter, it can get bitter cold here and the purveyor of that particular shop stocks fine furs to keep the winds out. Best not to ask where he gets the materials from. Hah!

Many of the shops that are still in business border the Market Square. This was once the jewel of Thlanviviak, and the reason it for it being called “The City of Gold”. Used to be there was an open air market in the square every single day, selling every sort of item you can imagine. Now the square is generally empty, except perhaps for a handful of citizens that sell vegetables they grow in their gardens or hunters and gatherers that have braved the world outside the New Wall to bring back a variety of edibles. Coin has fallen out of favor as well, and the people barter for what they need.

If you find yourself in a pious mood, you can find the Church of Lusitaneous facing the square. It’s quite busy most days but I’m sure you can find space for prayer.

There are also a few inns and gambling houses that face the square. You should have your pick of the rooms, since there should be no other travelers currently present. Perhaps you should try the Crooked Cow. The place fills up with drunken revelry at night, if that’s what you’re seeking. The owners are a good pair – husband and wife. I’m sure they’ll be happy to put you up. Ah, but don’t ask old Gregor about his eye. Inquiring in that direction may get you tossed out on the street.

If you are really looking for an exciting evening, you may try the Fox House. The locals call it the Mad House. It was once an inn, but now is just a bar and gambling parlor. I never frequent the location myself, but I hear wild stories of the goings on there. I’m certain you’ll have a night to remember!

In the very center of the city, surrounded by a small (and unkempt) park is the Keep of the Regent. By all means admire the white marble architecture and carved gargoyles (what’s left of them) but don’t expect to get inside. The place has been closed to visitors for a long while, and will probably remain shut up tight for many years to come.

Well that about covers everything! Enjoy your stay in Thlanviviak and don’t forget the local saying: “Inside with sundown, live to next sunrise”!