I'm unsure if this out-of-context DnD makes much sense, but it's a sampling of fictive writing. What's below is only about half of what I'd written up for the town - the rest being either utilitarian (oh, look, a healing temple - how intriguing! -- though I have been building on the theme of Pelor having a brother Pyrite and there being a religious divide on who to worship) or reveals hidden bits of the story. There's the off-chance that a player might read this blog, so keeping some interesting parts excised.
The City of Blithedale
The city of Blithedale is immense. High stone walls and ramparts surround the city on both sides of the river. Arched bridges span the river at several points and cobblestone roads thread throughout. You arrive around 5pm, and the sun is slanting golden against the houses - cramped together in some places, but with a few buildings of clearly higher estate. This city once housed some major military forces. Artillery still stands on the city walls. People are hustling, getting back from their jobs and going home. The streets are filled with an open-air market that wends its way back and forth. Carpet-sellers, food booths, butchers, vegetables, jewelry stands, clothing wares, antiques, and all other manners of goods are displayed and haggled over. A couple of chickens run by your feet and a few children. [Kids are attempting to pickpocket - any rogues with passive perception of 10+ in the party notice.]
The Smithy is run by a dwarf called Oiltank Stain the Stinky Train. She’s not at work at the moment, but someone is using the forge to make iron daggers...lots and lots of daggers. He does not pay you any mind at all but is humming under his breath (Skyrim theme song).
[If asked, he comes from the town of Clavering. His name is Shovelhands and he came to Blithedale because he wanted to go to the Stabbawhay forest and hunt some orcs.]
Oiltank Stain has a forge, an anvil, sharpening stone, hammers, etc. Sells typical goods. Recently, people have been asking for more weapons - stockpiling them.
General Billage, head of this town’s garrison, came by earlier this week to get a bunch of weapons sharpened/armor cleaned/etc. Oiltank shrugs and says maybe it’s got something to do with the House of Wisdom -- strange things have been happening there, but, to be sure, SHE never sticks her nose into the supernatural.
Gillygate inn is run by a very sullen looking innkeeper called Krea. She is snapping at all the servers, arguing with her guests, and generally being unpleasant. She’s a dwarf wearing a plain brown skirt, a hip holster with a billy-club, and her brawny arms are bulging under her shirt and stylish crop jacket. She is wearing ridiculously large hoop earrings that are half as big as her face.
She’s angry because her bae was sent off to the House of Wisdom and has not returned.
Lady Farfalee's House
The Lady Farfalee’s house sits in the more affluent neighborhood. Clearly, this member of the council has a rather garish taste. The building is painted turquoise, the door red, the guards have multiple useless feathers stuck in their functional helmets. Lady Farfalee is known for being incredibly chic, holding parties with exotic foodstuffs, and inviting all the rich citizens or celebrities in town to dine.
Lord Omnium’s Home
[If they approach during the day.]
You approach Lord Omnium’s home and two guards stop you.
“Lord Omnium is not seeing any visitors this evening,” the guard says politely. “If you would like to leave your name, perhaps you may be able to call tomorrow.”
[If they approach during the night.]
You approach late at night and the guards let you in without even a question. Lord Omnium stands at his door and ushers you into his manor. There is a wide hall with doors leading off to various rooms, and a large staircase that leads to a higher level. Portraits of Lord Omnium’s ancestors hang across the wall and a few portraits of Lord Omnium and his wife Peronnell and son Sadon, King Potentate, and other members of the counsel (Lady Creatine, Lord Jarin, Lady Farfalee, and Lord Zalvador). The decor is understated, and elegant. Lord Omnium leads you up the wide staircase to the second level where it branches into two halls.
At the top of the staircase there is a portrait, taken many years ago, of the royal family: King Potentate, Queen Esme, and their children Merek the Brave and Thea the Wise. Lord Omnium pauses for a moment as he looks at the portrait and sighs [See tragic backstory of Merek the Brave.] before leading you down the hall and into a study room. Books line the walls - mostly, it seems, books on agronomy, accounting, and other things of that nature. There is a table with wines and liquors on it. He gestures towards it and said “please, help yourselves - you must be weary from your travels.”
[Players drive the interaction here - Lord Omnium asks them to investigate the House of Wisdom where strange things have been happening.]
Blithedale was a center of learning before the great war broke out. Remnants of its past are still found in Bookbinder Alley where scholars used to go for their books and supplies before heading to the House of Wisdom for studies. The streets in this neighborhood are extremely narrow. No cart or horse could pass through these streets. Shop awnings stretch over the street and a few bookbinder shops are still open, with lanterns lit above their doors. One, in particular stands out: a shoppe called The Shambles. Through the hectagonal window-panes, you notice an old man hunched over a desk, his beard is overflowing and full, his clothes are all black (so that ink-stains don’t show), and he is mixing up a batch of something. Close to hand is a glass of red liquid that he sips from, from time to time, and occasionally consults a small pocket-watch as his ink pen makes scratching noises against the stretched sheep’s hide. There’s a cat that keeps trying to sit on the sheep’s hide and the owner absentmindedly pushes it off.