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Clerkburg--The Halls

 


The city district that houses Greyhawk's universities, colleges, and schools is referred to by two names: "Clerkburg," as a reference to the students, tutors, scribes, and clerks who live here in great numbers; and "The Halls," meaning the large, airy buildings that typically house the schools.

Though it is not apparent from outside the quarter, Clerkburg is an area of plants, grassy yard, and small parks. It is second only to the Garden Quarter in the number and variety of its greenery.

The City Watch does not neglect Clerkburg. Generally a patrol arrives within 2d6 rounds of a summons. The People's Constables tend to avoid Clerkburg, to no one's disappointment.

An interesting feature of the quarter is the outside seating, or veranda, available at most of the small taverns and eateries. It may be squeezed precariously between the building and the street, barely wide enough for a single row of tables, but this outdoor dining area is required of any successful eating establishment in Clerkburg. In fact, the major attractions of this district to the citizenry of the city are these street-side tables. On Godsday with nice weather, the streets of Clerkburg swell with folk from all over the city, coming to enjoy their meal in the fresh air.

The Millstream winds its way through Clerkburg, and much of its bank has been preserved as a grassy parkway. Students often come here to study or relax.

Clerkburg is not a thriving business district--most of the buildings not used for schools are the residences of students and instructor. However, the following types of establishments can be found here:

 

Clerkburg Businesses

 

Art Galleries, Bakeries, Boarding Houses, Book Binderies, Butchers, Inksellers, Launders, Leatherworkers, Locksmiths, Potters, Private Libraries, Scribeshops, Tailors, Taverns, Tiny Food Shops, Weaponsmiths, and Weavers.

 

Millstream

 

Location of the Bridge of Entwined Hearts. Tradition holds that this bridge is the finest setting for romance in all the reaches of the Free City. During all hours of day and night, in weather fair and foul, one can always find a couple, or two, or occasionally three couples, engaged in quiet romantic conversation.

Of course the bridge serves as a thoroughfare and carries a fairly significant amount of traffic each day. The Millstream separates Clerkburg into two parts, and the bridge is the only one in the district. Each of the mills has a dam, with a walkway across it, but this bridge is the only crossing that can carry a horse or coach across the Millstream during its entire course from Temple Row to the Processional.

But travelers use the roadway, and lovers use the balconies set off the road at the highest point of the bridge. One of these balconies overlooks each side, and each has a small bench in it, large enough to hold only two. If a couple comes along, but there is already a pair on each balcony, if the time is right, the space will be there--or so go the stories.

Rumor state that a marriage proposal made and accepted upon the bridge will lead to a life-long union. The theory has been tested thousands of times, but no one has compiled the results. There are no magical effects present on this bridge, but the view is lovely, the passers-by friendly, and who knows what a rising moon might foreshadow.....

 

Bard School

 

Originally a small adjunct to Grey College, the Bardschool broke away nearly a century ago over a dispute in the curriculum. The college attempted to channel students into a specific area of expertise, whereas the Bardschool offered a much broader, more general program. As it happens, many of the Bardschool's graduates have gone on to become great bards of the harp, lute , or flute.

Though small, with only 30-40 students at a time, the Bardschool features superb instructors in each of its fields. These are men and women motivated more by a desire to spread knowledge than to live well, for their skills could command high teaching fees.

The tuition at the Bardschool roughly approximates that of Grey College. There is no set period of instructions at the school, though students generally can gain little more after five or six years here.

The Bardschool has an impact on the city that goes far beyond its size, however. The practical jokes performed by its students (and by other, in revenge upon those same students) are nearly legendary. Bardschool students never cease attempting to embarrass the students and faculty of Grey College, which is their most constant rival. The Bardschool fields teams for every competition and college game at the arena, again overcoming the limitations of its small size. The student body is composed of splendid specimens of physical fitness and wit, so they more than hold their own against the larger schools.

The High Tutor and headmaster of the school is Lactile Furlo (NPC), a master bard. His ribald sense of humor sets the tone for the pranks of his students and faculty.

But the bards serve a serious role as well, particularly in chronicling the day-to-day life, and the grander historical march, of the Free City and its people.

True, the scholars in the Great Library perform much the same function, with access to a greater wealth of facts and figures. One who wishes to learn the exact value of the jewels traded through the city during a specified year will indeed do better by consulting the library's history. But for one who wishes to remember the sunsets that blazed during a misty autumn, or the lyrics of a song raised in celebration of the fall harvest, there can be no substitute for the History of the Bards.

 

Black Dragon Inn

 

This is the largest inn in Clerkburg, offering 60 rooms for rent as well as good food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner---and all night long, for that matter. The Black Dragon Inn also has a large common sleeping room, where a traveler can rent a straw pallet, together with his supper and a pitcher of ale, for 2 sp. A good private room can be had for 5 sp, and the inn offers several comparatively luxurious suites for 1 to 2 gp.

A small stable is located behind the inn, with stalls for a dozen steeds and a courtyard large enough to hold several carriages. The inn employs many young men and women, mostly students, during the full 24 hours of the day. At any one time there might be two stable hands, four cooks, three bartenders, 10 or 12 serving maids, four bouncers (NPCs), and four housekeepers here.

The proprietor of the Black Dragon Inn is Miklos Dare (NPC), a retired adventurer who loves to share stories of his experiences with interested listeners. A great red-bearded bear of a man, with a peg leg and numerous scars, Miklos is affable but assertive in maintaining his establishment.

Miklos has knowledge of the city and has been seen to impart this knowledge with ale and a tentative listener to his tales.

 

Great Library

 

The front of this building, facing the Processional, is a grand sweep of granite walls and tall columns. Three wide stairs lead to a pair of massive front doors, suitable for a castle or fortress.

The building beyond the facade is not so grand, but its true worth lies in the treasures kept within its wall. And indeed, the Great Library of Greyhawk is repository for more volumes than are gathered in one place anywhere else in the Flanaess.

The library is unlocked during the hours of daylight, and all free citizens of the city as well as foreigners are welcome to enter the library and browse through its cool, musty halls. Silence is expected of all visitors, and weapons and armor are not permitted.

Any visitor is welcome to peruse the volumes in the six public halls in the front of the buildings. Only those who are Contributing Members of the library board can remove these volumes, up to three at a time. Contributing Members must donate at least 100 gp annually to the library in order to maintain membership status.

Contributing Membership is often granted by sponsorship. For example, a rich merchant or powerful noble or businessman might not be a member, he will certainly make sure to purchase a Contributing Membership for his scribe.

The high desk of Gratius Saghast (NPC), head librarian, sits upon a raised platform inside the front door. Gratius is always found here. He is crusty and irascible, but a sage of great repute. He shares his knowledge (including simple directions on the library's contents) only reluctantly, though the flattery of a pretty young woman always gets him to open up.

Six wings lead off from the main entry hall--three to the right and three to the left. Each is separated from the entry by an open arch. These are labeled History, Geography, Artistic Studies, Poetry, Science, and General. Each, of course, contains volumes on the listed topic. There are 3-18 thousand books in each wing.

Funded through the good offices of its contributing members, the library is well able to acquire new volumes. Indeed, it has several sages and scribes under contract to actually write books, mostly detailing current affairs in the Free City itself. This surplus of capital also enables the library to maintain a selection of exquisitely rare, even magical, tomes, and to protect those treasures accordingly.

The rear of the library building is a stone edifice, layered over on the outside to look like wood. Only Contributing Members are allowed back here, and even they may never remove any book from these chambers.

An iron door leads to a narrow hallway behind the head librarian's desk. Several scribes labor constantly in here, not so much from scholarly diligence as from duty. Their true purpose is to serve as sentries, for their hallway guards the three locked, iron doors to the Library Vaults. These large metal chambers, surrounded by heavy stone, are the repositories for the library's most valuable works.

Below the library are several cellar apartments. Gratius Saghast lives here in several austere rooms, and other tiny apartments are kept to offer scribes and scholars whose labors keep them in the library often for days at a time.

 

Free City Arena

 

The arena began as a joint effort between Grey College and Lord Mayor Zagig ( past mayor ), to be used for college assemblies and events as well as entertainment for the citizens of the city. It provided somewhat of a bust as the latter--apparently the citizens of Greyhawk had plenty of ways to entertain themselves without the grandiose spectacles hosted by Zagig. And indeed, the arena can seat but 18,000 souls, of they squeeze together, so the bulk of the city's population had to miss each event.

As a college focal point, however, the arena has been a grand success. It serves as a neutral ground for representatives of all the schools in Clerkburg, as well as self-proclaimed fraternities of students using individual tutors, to gather and face off in the endless series of games and contests these students use to amuse themselves.

In addition to these contests, the arena is still used by the city for those occasions when a grand celebration is required. Many holidays are commemorated with a service here. Illusionist shows, offered once or twice a year, are extremely popular. And every few years a traveling circus comes to the Free City, remaining for two or three weeks. These festive occasions are cause for nightly crowds in Clerkburg, even though they occur over Midsummer when the colleges are not in session.

Also, the men of the City Watch hold drills and mock battles here. Only twice a year are the mock battles performed before an audience, once in spring and once in autumn, but the troops often practice here during the day, or even under the light of a bright moon.

The grand stone edifice was once a gleaming white circle of limestone. The color first faded to gray, and then one day nearly 20 years ago, suffered the indignity of a practical joke by the students of the Bardschool: the citizens of the Free City awakened one morning to find that their coliseum had been painted all over a throbbing, vibrant shade of pink.

Of course, it has mostly faded by now, but in places an observer can see a streak of pink running though a seam in the limestone. And from a distance, the entire edifice seems to take on a rosy hue when the sun hits it just right.

The arena is capable of hosting all sorts of functions. Its field is large, and normally covered with hard-packed sand. However, it has been covered with lush turf of filled with enough water to float small boats--both transformations accomplished with the aid of powerful priests--on more than one occasion.

Spectators can enter the stadium by any one of a dozen gates spaced around its outside wall. Seating occurs in 12 banks of 1,500 seats each. All the seats offer splendid views of the field, as they are not very far away.

Below the seats is a complex labyrinth of dressing rooms, cages for wild animals or prisoners, and storage halls for the equipment that is sometimes employed in the events of the arena. The short, narrow skiffs used by the various college teams for the rowing races and mock sea battles fought in the flooded stadium, for example, are locked up under a section of the stands.

The arena floor itself has only two entrances, one at the east end and the other at the west end. Each of these is 20 feet wide by 16 feet high, and can be secured with massive wooden doors. These doors fit so snugly that water barely trickles under them when the arena is awash.

Above the western entrance rests the Grand Box of the Lord Mayor. This luxurious accommodation can seat 100 personal guests of the lord mayor. During college events, the box is used by the student and faculty leaders of the college that last triumphed in the event.

The arena floor is surrounded by a wall 15 feet high on each side, and 20 feet high in the east and west ends. The front rank of spectator seating reaches almost to the edge of this wall. In fact, an observer in this row who leans too far forward may find himself flat on his face in the arena.

The arena is used once nearly every week, except during the heart of winter, for some function or another. Usually these are small college competitions, such as the "Sea Wars," or a major city functions such as the welcoming of a new ambassador, draw enough people to fill the arena to capacity. All Clerkburg bustles on these occasions, as graduates return to cheer for their school, or the influential folk of the High Quarter journey here in their carriages and coaches.

 

Roc Oliphant Inn

 

This boisterous tavern is a favorite of students, renowned for cheap drink and ample portions of tolerable food. It is busy at mealtimes, and during most evenings. Earthday evenings are the wildest, usually with music from some group of minstrels or bards. Since most colleges do not hold classes on Freeday, the carousing goes on until well past midnight.

The large building consists of a huge main room heated by a central fireplace, and several smaller rooms to each side. The kitchen is in the rear. The whole place has a distinctive odor combining wood smoke, stale beer, and human perspiration.

 

Grey College Park

 

This renowned institution has long produced many of the best-educated men and women in the civilized world. It has rigorous entrance requirements and offers scholarships to excellent students from distant lands or poor households.

The main buildings of the college are centered around University Street. But certain parts of the school are scattered throughout other small buildings in Clerkburg and even beyond, for the small observatory of the Astronomy School is located outside Garden Gate.

The largest buildings of the College are the Hall of the Dean, College Hall, and Timber Hall.

The Hall of the Dean is the largest; its tower is visible along the Processional for much of its length. It is a mazelike building of classes, libraries, laboratories, closets, and storerooms. Like a grand mansion it rambles up and down wide staircases, with here the faculty offices of the School of Geography, and there the laboratory complex of the School of Alchemy. Since it is the original college building, all departments are represented here, but none is entirely contained here.

The cellar under the Hall of the Dean is a pleasant, quiet tavern and restaurant. Its prices are very high, but students and faulty of any school or tutorial service in Clerkburg are granted a 90% discount. It has become the focal point of literary discussion and liberal ideas within the city. Those not associated with the college community in some way rarely come here.

College Hall is a building of fine, classic architecture. Here are the offices of the faculty, the college library, and some classrooms and meeting halls. Timber Hall, the other structure, is an uninspired block of brown boards, containing most of the classrooms of the college.

Other classes, most notably the School of Music's chambers for both instrumental and vocal education, and the School of Sculpture's studios, are spread among the smaller buildings on the university's park-like grounds.

Grey College has an average of about 400 students during a term. Like the other colleges in the city, a Grey College term begins a month after Midsummer, and ends the following year a month before Midsummer. During the intervening 10 months, classes and school exercises are pursued six days a week, every week except for a break of a week or two in midwinter.

The college offers courses of study ranging form two to eight years in duration. Its schools encompass most of the great realms of learning--Alchemy, Engineering, Healing, Geography, Economy, Architecture, Painting, Sculpture, Theatre, Literature, and History.

Tuition varies, based on the level of program sought. It begins at about 50 gp for the first term. The total tends to double each subsequent year, so the later years of schooling become very expensive.

However, each student can be assured of receiving instruction from knowledgeable and motivated professors. Classes are small, with individual attention common during the later years of schooling.

 


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