Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Adventures in Amateur Game Design, part 7: Great Fjord

A concept sketch of Great Fjord, subject to change
So my setting is largely concerned with viking-esque people, so I have to have a fjord, right? And if you're going to have a fjord, why not make it awesome? That was exactly my thinking and it led me to Great Fjord.

Extending miles inward from the cliffs along the western end of Loria, Great Fjord may not actually be a fjord. Geological science isn't very strong and people don't actually know how this vast crevasse was formed. Many years ago, a group of Lorians dug their homes into the walls of this canyon as a way to hide themselves. As time went on, more and more people began to settle there and the largest settlement in all of Loria, and its capital, was formed.

The significant majority of Great Fjord's residents have dug their homes into the walls, carving out the rocks as blocks they can sell to the city to build the walls that protect the city from above. The primary industries are shipbuilding, fishing, and agriculture. Farmland isn't cultivated on the plains above the city and the shipbuilders set up shop at the bottom level.

Generally, wealthier citizens live towards the entrance of the fjord as well as in more elevated positions with the poorest citizens living far back in the fjord near the waterline. The absolute wealthiest of people have claimed space on the front wall facing the sea. Sometimes when a family becomes wealthier, they will simply buy their neighbor's home and dig connections between the two.

Now, cities aren't normally laid out vertically, because gravity is one hell of a thing to deal with. This creates tremendous horizontal and vertical distance than sometimes have to be traveled in order to get to your destination. Adopted from their ship building industry, the city has built in zip lines and sophisticated compound pulley elevators to assist people in reaching their destination. In general, every citizen has a set of handles that they carry to use with the zip lines and elevators. Lateral movement is also done with walkways attached to the faces of the cliffs as well as bridges that the chasm periodically.

The structure of the city, its bridges and walkways is supported by shaman who walk up and down the various structures casting spells to bolster the strength of the rock. The smoke from the cooking fires in the homes is channeled man different complex chimneys which gather together and pour out from the earth above. These chimneys are made especially tight and their openings are high enough off the ground that the smoke stays away from the plants and people above.

The entrance to the fjord has no gate, but the front wall has plenty of cannon positions with which to repel any sea based attack. A great wall runs down the length of the fjord up above to  protect the city and its closest farmland. This wall is made from the rock that was carved out when people made their homes. As of yet, homes do not run the full length of the fjord, so neither does the wall.

Next time, I'll talk about Soaring Peak, the magical academy that lies to the east.