The above is the first part of a Bordeland world setting for old-school gaming. It has been inspired by Tom Moldway's Red Box scenario example, but doesn't need it to play. More countries will come soon.
Rodentia is a city of dirty canals and old piles-build palaces in a river delta. Its surrounding land is a vast swamp, which was partly dried to fit human agriculture. Since centuries, it has been a Republic guided by a Senate of wealthy merchant and ship-owners families. The most famous of these families and the most powerful is the Rodemius House. In fact, this is not a secret they rule the town trough a dense network of blackmail, plots and spying. Rodemius family members are very secretive people, living in rarely visited palaces, and tend to marry between different branches of their vast family tree; this habit gives them distinctive features, easy to detect: long nose, small eyes, dark hair and thin complexion. Rumors of wererats have often been distilled, but nobody lived long enough to spread these improbable ideas…
These rumors could be linked to the cult of the Rat God, which is the city powerful deity and patron. As most families in the town, Rodemius supports the cults by donations and big ceremonies each year; some members are even priests, canons or even bishop. The Rat God is considered as a protector of harvest, ship-sailing and good fortune, including hazard game players. He is really popular among the town, from the bourgeoisie to the poorest people.
St-Melrose church has tried to develop itself in the city, but is in obligation to do it clandestinely. This do not stop Rodentia ship-owners to help Melrosians crusades by providing boats for troops transport. Being in relation with numerous countries makes Rodentia an highly cultivated city, with foreign artists, painters, sculptors and poets living there in despite of its rainy and moisterous climate.
One distinctive trait of Rodentia has been, since centuries, the alliance with surrounding goblin tribes from the marshes. Goblins first have been recruited as mercenaries, then as town militia, and as sailors, dockers and so on. They are now a part of the city life, as dwarves or Halflings are in more friendly towns. People despise this fact, as these goblins wards are violent, stupid and easily bribed, but no Rodentia citizen could imagine pay more taxes for better ones, or worst, to become themselves wards. Probably the Rodemius also plays some part in that fact.
The town is very big and its urbanism on piles and canals very chaotic. Nobody knows exactly were is the coastline under the houses and palaces. Barks and gondolas are the main way of move trough the city islands, as well as lanes and narrow streets maze. Lanes are so small sometimes that roves nearly touch themselves form on side to another. The powerful thieves’ guild, which is also rumored to be in very good terms with the Rodemius, is quite happy of this situation.
A few villages and boroughs surrounds Rodentia, in the dried part of the swamp, where market gardening is the main part of economy. Most of the swamp is still a wild and dangerous aera, filled with monsters and ruins. This small farmland is far from being able to feed the city, so most of subsistence comes from abroad. Rodentia has been successful as an intermediate between both continents and its sailors are famous both for their courage, talent and bad manners.