Avonmouth

An Introduction To Avonmouth

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Sailing into Avonmouth on a stormy winter's evening with the light failing is an experience even the most hardened sailor would blanch at. With shifting sandbars and a harbour wall too low to offer much protection from the south-easterly winds it takes a skilled pilot to get the boat safely up against the quay. Yet sailors do make the run from Safeharbour or Deephaven in the midst of winter as the rewards can be high. Once within the harbour goods can be offloaded onto the wide quay or onto barges and river boats for the journey up the river. Most of the occupants of the town are involved with the harbour trade in one way or another.

The town is split in two by the river Avon. North of the river is Upper Town, this area is where the richer merchants live. Wealth garnered by trade on the sea has allowed the merchants to build splendid houses decorated in the latest fashion and filled with objects and treasures from throughout the western realms. The land here is higher than that south of the river and the occupants of the well constructed houses can look down on the rest of Avonmouth in both senses of the word. Few houses are built on the land overlooking the bay known as Calitha's Bight as the softer clays and sands here are being eroded by the waves leaving the headland of The Prow ever more prominent. A large lighthouse stands at the end of The Prow to warn ships of the rocks and sand-bars that lurk just beneath the surface.

Lower Town is almost a completely different place. While Upper Town has wide streets and tall well made houses, the older Lower Town is a maze of narrow streets and alleys running between older, smaller properties. A large number of warehouses line the quayside, intersperced with taverns and flop houses. Further back are the shops and houses of the crews of the fishing boats and barges, the latter who ply thier trade up and down the Avon to places such as Avondale and Mercers Crossing. All the facilities such a town needs are also present from butcher, bakers and fishmongers to carpenters, boatwrights and brothels.

The only link between the two halves of the town is the ferry service, for a silver piece you can be rowed across the width of the Avon. If you wish to bring a horse then the price rises to a gold piece. The river is only fifty or so yards across but the strong currents make the journey more difficult than it first appears.

The south eastern part of town has been recently damaged by a large fire which swept through a number of warehouses, destroying five and damaging several others before it was brought under control. The town council has offered a reward for information into what caused the fire. Rumours abound, was it started by the same elf that caused the fire in Avondale? Was it a raiding party of sahuagin? Was it a merchant trying to hide evidence of a crime? Nobody knows for sure and as yet the reward goes unclaimed.

Places To Stay In Avonmouth

Accommodation in Avonmouth ranges from seedy flop houses on the wharfside, the slightly more respectable Curlew, to the Dog and Razor and the Forgotten Dock. Of the latter two the Dog and Razor serves the better food.

The Dog And Razor [2]

Probably the best inn in Avonmouth. The food is good, no lumps of grizzle floating in a greasy stew, and the beverages are better than average. Wine is available but the best vintages are bought by the rich merchant families leaving none for the general populace. The beds are clean and there are some single rooms available, one even has a private bathroom. Prices are high though, six gold pieces a night for a single room with evening and morning meal. A bed in a double room costs four gold pieces.
The innkeeper, Chovkar Toalvenulk, is a strict master and robbery and violence is rare in his inn. He has a small staff, himself a cook and four serving girls who double as maids. The main taproom has thirteen tables, four of which are in cubicles to allow private conversation. It is not unusual to see traders and sea captains discussing deals in one of these. If Chovkar catches you eavesdropping though you will be out on your ear quicker than a rat down a landing line!
There are seven single rooms, ten double rooms and room for twenty six people to sleep in the tap room and a bunk room. A space in either is but a single silver piece a night.

The Forgotten Dock [3]

Although the Forgotten Dock offers the same quality of accommodation as the Dog and Razor its food is not as good. The beer is often stale and the contents of the stews can often only be guessed at. As Tjora charges the same for food as Chovkar few he has fewer takers. The inn is also smaller than the Dog and Razor with just eleven tables in a smoky low ceilinged taproom.
Six single rooms, three doubles and space for twenty eight in the commons make up the accommodation. Tjora charges five gold for a single room including breakfast and evening meal while a pallet in the commons costs fourteen coppers, for which Tjora throws in a bowl of soup and a hunk of coarse bread.

The Curlew [4]

The Curlew looks out over the harbour and is the place where sailors returning from arduous trips to Safeharbour or Deephaven spend their coin. The food is cheap and of a poor quality as is the beer, but beggars cannot be choosers. Eyvan, an ex-sailor himself knows what sort of person frequents his establishment and serves what they want at a price they can afford. Brawls are common and it would be a strange night when someone doesn't complain about his purse being lifted. Eyvan just shrugs and suggests that the victim needs to take more care. He is a burly man of above average height with closely cropped white hair. He is missing two fingers from his left hand the result of an accident with a fast moving rope, but this doesn't prevent him from laying a disruptive patron out with a blow from his beefy fists.
There are ten single rooms available but the beds are poor and there are no private facilities and he charges but five silver pieces a night for one of these rooms. The rest of the accommodation is in a large common room or the floor of the tap room for which a place can be had for five coppers.

Other Places Of Interest

The Stables [5]

Avonmouth stables is a smallish establishment but it does a brisk trade with heralds travelling to and from Avondale. It usually has a few mules and light riding horses available for sale or hire. Food and water is not the best and you have to look after your own mount as the owner Galus keeps a very small staff and most of their time is spent looking after the mounts of the official messenger service. Stabling cost is one silver piece per day.

The Lighthouse [1]

Standing proud atop the headland known as the Prow is Avonmouth's lighthouse. Built of alternating bands of purplish red sandstone and grey granite to a height of sixty feet it dominates the rest of the buildings in the town. A fire burns from twilight to dawn every day of the year and is tended by the Guild of Lighthouse keepers. Without out the light even more ships would run ashore on the treacherous rocks. Not even the light can save ships from the treacherous shifting sands however, experienced local pilots are needed to guide the ship the final mile or so into the harbour and out again.

The Temple Of Calitha [6]

Calitha, goddess of the oceans, has a large following amongst the people of Avonmouth, especially the sailors. They will leave an offering before a long voyage and on their return. The clerics of the order are also given a fish from every catch that the fishermen bring in. The temple is glazed with thick greenish glass giving the appearance of an underwater grotto on even the brightest day. The pillars are carved with images of undersea creatures, shells and plants. The altar is a large water worn boulder into which a large basin has been carved. This is filled daily with fresh sea water taken from out side the harbour. It is the duty of one of the clerics to row out and collect this water each day, whatever the weather. No burials are allowed within one mile of the sea and all waste drains into sealed basins beneath the buildings before being spread on the surrounding farmland to ensure that Calitha is not despoiled.

The Temple Of Koryis [7]

The temple dedicated to the god of peace and prosperity is situated in Upper Town and is frequented mainly by the rich merchants and those who have little or no dealings with the sea. The temple is finely built but smaller than that of Calitha. Despite the small size of their congregation the temple is quite a rich one and the clerics have made many attempts to improve the lot of the folk in Lower Town but their efforts have usually be rebuffed by the people there who do not want to anger Calitha.

Places To Avoid

The Dock Quarter

The far south-eastern end of town, the Dock Quarter, is as rough as Upper Town is wealthy. Press gangs walk the streat and it is rumoured that slavers have been seen. A number of warehouses were destroyed in a fire, the cause of which is the subject of much discussion in the taverns and flop houses of the town. The town guard tends to let this area police itself and as such if you go there you had better be prepared for trouble.
The docks are dominated by a number of large slab sided warehouses. These well guarded buildings house the goods brought downriver from Avondale and Dal Skyr as well as those about to be shipped up river having been transported from other towns in the Free Isles and beyond. A fire ravaged the dock area recently destroying a number of the warehouses. No one is sure what caused this. The rebuilding work has brought a lot of people in from out of town including a number of half-orc labourers from the Dal Skyr area. They are hard working but tension has been high with the local population.

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