The Fancy Times

Fine Slop for the Discerning Tastemaker

Place Sketch: Cruxham

Cruxham is a small city sprawled over three hills. It is surrounded by the massive Cruxham timberlands, the largest and last remaining in the de-forested Lowlands zone. Unfortunately, the timberlands have not made Cruxham prosperous. Soft evergreens have few uses in building, certainly no high-value ones. Their primary use, and the region’s key export, is the sticky wood tar made harvested from the trees by slow burning. This is hardier than the peat pitch tapped from the Spital Fields. The region’s architecture represents the predominance of both materials. 

Tar harvests in the timberlands.

Black asphalt roads wind around the tangles of lanky pines. Some stretches are the smoothest grades of the Lowlands zone. Others are a patchwork mess. The city’s homes are board-and-batten, topped with pitch roofs and pitch-coated frames. Fields of shale and siltstone provide the building materials for the more sparsely populated Spital Fields. 

The Fog Quarter of Cruxham

Almost all of Cruxham’s employment opportunities are in one of the tar industries. Be it the brutal manual labor that harvests it, the co-op guilds that endure the smoke to refine it, or the factories that turn it into usable material. Education in the area has never been robust. A handful of under-attended day schools were the slim pickings of the pre-revolution ages. Now the Directory struggles to fill its new educating centers. Like most of the Lowlands zone, Cruxham has a branch of law enforcement exclusively devoted to truancy. This has boosted attendance a bit in the list city but has been a constant struggle to enforce in the rural Spital Fields settlements. 

“Cruxham fog” is a cheeky reference to the tar smoke that hangs over the region.

The executive of the region is House Usher. Their holdings are ancient and precede the Good Revolution. The First House of Usher sits centered on the highest hill of Cruxham’s three. The family’s Lesser House overlooks the Spital Fields from the plateau of the Ochre Steppes.

The First Estate of House Usher, seen from the courtyard.

Life doesn’t necessarily thrive in the piney hills, it gets by. Opportunity beyond the industries is not abundant. There is just enough work to live, and in Cruxham culture the son follows the path of the father. 

The Spital Fields.

Read the story that this world’s been built for here.

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