The Rathurbosk

by Shaun Hately

Copyright Notice: This document is based on material contained in The Lands of Legend Book 6 of the Dragon Warriors RPG by Dave Morris and Oliver Johnson, published by Corgi Books in 1986. No claim is made to the ownership of the concept of The Rathurbosk as contained in that book. The Rathurbosk was originally created by Leo Hartas. No claim is made against any rights that Leo Hartas may have over the concept of the Rathurbosk. However, all original material contained in this document is 1998 Shaun Hately, except in cases where prior copyright exists. No profit will be made from this work.

An Introduction to the Rathurbosk

The Rathurbosk is a bridge city that spans a narrow section of the Gouge between Krarth and Kurland on the continent of Legend. It was built in the distant past by agents of the Magi of Spyte and lay on the main trade route between Krarth and the more southerly lands of the continent of Legend - most notably Emphidor at the time it was built but later Selentium and it's provinces. It is an imposing structure, that many believe is supported by some sort of magic, such is the legend of Spyte. But it has seen better days and while the bridge itself is sturdy and strong, many of the structures on it show the ravages of time.

Notable buildings include the Flynt Ridd Tavern, the Citadel Guidor, the Tower of Helgryak, the Great Library of Jastel, and the Church of St Petrov.

General Game Information on the Rathurbosk

Most people speak a strange variety of Kurlish - easily understood by those who speak the language, but it also has many words from Cabbandari, and Latter Mercanian. A sizeable proportion of the people also speak Latter Mercanian fluently and Cabbandari to an intermediate level, and knowledge of other languages is reasonably frequent. This is a reflection of the cosmopolitan nature of the Rathurbosk. Most residents are also literate. It is, for this reason, a common place to seek tutoring in the various languages. The rules for languages are outlined in The Lands of Legend, p87-97.

The Rathurbosk is built something like a shallow arch arcing over the Gouge. It is built on three levels, the lowest of these being located at each end, with a pair of higher levels located further towards the centre of the bridge on both sides, and finally in the centre, a great plaza which contains the major administrative buildings of the bridge. Only the richest and most powerful people in the city live in the central plaza district. The areas closest to each end of the bridge comprise the middle class areas with the poorer districts lying between the wealthy and powerful on one side and the respectable middle class on the other. Each district is separated from its adjacent district by stairways going up or down. The plaza is spacious and easy to navigate while the middle classes live in more cramped but still well planned environments. The poorer areas are a confused mass of small, often dilapidated, buildings and twisting streets and are largely avoided by those who live in the more prosperous areas.

The Rathurbosk is surrounded by a stone wall with a gate at each end of the structure leading to the land on each side of the gouge. Viewed from outside the bridge, the wall is of a uniform height - about 10 metres tall, with towers about 15 metres in height. But because of the terraced nature of the bridge, within the bridge the walls are of variable height - about ten metres tall at the ends closest to the bridge, seven metres or so in the poorer districts, and less than two metres tall in the area around the plaza. It has never been considered necessary to raise the walls any higher - the Gouge lies 300 metres below so anyone attacking the centre of the bridge would be flying in any event.

The streets are paved in dull grey rock flagstones. In the poorer areas these pavers are often cracked away or removed altogether showing a cement beneath. There are rumours that tunnels run below the streets of the bridge and it is certain that ancient sewers and water conduits do exist. All homes have sewerage and running water, and disease is consequently less of a problem on the Rathurbosk than in some other areas. Each PC has a 5% chance of contracting a disease each month (See The Elven Crystals, p184-185).

The Rathurbosk should be considered to be a Castle for the purposes of determining availability of general equipment for sale (Dragon Warriors, p62-63). However due to the difficulty (and illegality) of possessing weapons on the Rathurbosk, they are only available with the frequency of a normal village and only in very few places.

A History of the Rathurbosk

The Rathurbosk was raised in 532 PD by one of the Magi of that time, Guiduz (Magus Uru - a distant ancestor of Jani, Fata Uru (The Lands of Legend, p28), who may believe she has a right to control the Rathurbosk at some later stage). It is believed by many historians that he was in fact the Magus who at the time of the blasting of Spyte, became known as Gift Star (see The Lands of Legend, p64)

He established it in the primary hope that he would be able to control the trade route into Krarth from the south, and make a great deal of money from this control. His secondary hope was that he might use the bridge as a staging post for control by the Magi of the southern lands, perhaps a useful place to send ambitious apprentices. The Magi in Convocation (530 PD) opposed his first aim, but supported his second. They deprived him of much of his political power so he could not achieve his desired control, and according to some legends, he used much of his remaining wealth to weave spells that prevented Magi from crossing into the south. If this is true, he may have been responsible for safeguarding much of Legend from their rule, and also indirectly responsible for the Selentine Legions not crossing into Krarth - they knew they were safe south of the Rathurbosk and so chose not to risk their forces by invading to the north. But it may well be only a legend. Some say that the Magi of Krarth would go insane if they crossed south (to which others ask "how would we tell?").

At Guiduz's death in 512 PD, he left the Rathurbosk in the care and control of his apprentice, Halka dul Guidez (the name of the modern administrators of the Bridge, duul Guidor is a corruption of this, and the modern duul Guidor's' claim descent from Halka, probably correctly). Over the next centuries, it became common for people to flee to the Rathurbosk from Krarth if they had offended the Magi, in the belief they would be safe there. It became a tradition that any serf who lived on the Rathurbosk for a year and a day would become free. Many arrived and many stayed. Most of the hereditary clans of today arrived in this fashion. They built on the Bridge and gradually a city grew up. The people of the Rathurbosk levied taxes on trading caravans going both ways and so grew prosperous and rich.

In 121 PD, the Dragon Helgryak took up residence in the Drakken Peaks, that surround the gouge. He virtually ruled the area, and for the first time the people of the Rathurbosk regretted that they could not allow the Magi to come south to deal with him. Eventually they came to an accommodation with the Dragon. They raised a large tower in his honour on the centre of the bridge in his honour and paid him large amounts of gold and gems in tribute. This marked the first decline of the Rathurbosk's wealth. For over three centuries, Helgryak took most of their wealth and rumour of a large hoard in the area still persists. In AS 192, Petrov of Kalistan, a priest of the True Faith came north as a missionary to convert the heathen peoples of Kurland and Krarth. He met with Helgryak in the peaks above the Rathurbosk and according to legend, battled him for an entire week. Then he descended alone. Helgryak has not been seen since (although myths about him persist). Petrov actions lead to the conversion of the Rathurbosk to the True Faith, and he then passed north into Krarth where he disappeared. A Church was raised in his honour on the bridge and now forms the major shrine to the Saint he later became.

Following the disappearance of Helgryak, the Rathurbosk flourished again for a time, although it never regained it's Golden Age. The Flynt Ridd was built in 804 AS, and was the last major construction. Since the Blasting of Spyte, the Rathurbosk has once again begun to decline, and rumours have begun that it will be destroyed in the year 1000 AS. Of course, rumours exist that just about everything will be destroyed on that date . . .




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