Way of the Wicked
Ten Interesting Facts About Ghastenhall
1. Ghastenhall food is famously spicy.
Thanks to an abundance of foreign merchants in this port town, spices are not rare in Ghastenhall. That means that many of the quintessentially Ghasterly foods are devilishly hot. The most famous local food of all “Scarper’s Stew” is a blend of river-caught seafood simmered in a broth made of onions, herbs, fish bones and crab shells then spiced to the point of being bright red and fiery hot.
2. Rowing is the favorite sport
River boat rowing is the favored sport of the upper crust. The teams often come from the various colleges but even the town watch has rowing teams. Watching a set of rowing is often a picnic-like affair and involves sitting on the banks of the Wellspring during the summer months watching the boats go by. Very genteel indeed.
3. The other favorite sport is Rugagug.
Rugagug is basically a gang fight with a few rules and if you’re lucky a referee. The goal in Rugagug is to get a rather strange shaped ball between two posts no matter who tries to stop you. There are a few other rules and subtleties, fans insist, but to outsiders it can be difficult to tell.
4. Ghastenhall is the only place in Talingarde to reliably get rum.
The “Salties”, the saltwater fisherman, have developed a taste for rum doubtless from hanging out with foreign sailors. Sugar cane does not grow in Talingarde so it must either be imported (expensive) or smuggled (dangerous). The alternative was to use local sugar beets. They make a passable rum substitute except that thanks to the beets the booze is blood red. The scarpers may like their beer, but the salties will take blood rum over it every time.
5. Many street names in Ghastenhall are quite silly
There is a law that anytime the city expands the new street is presented before the duke and he gets to name it. In the past a number of dukes have not taken this duty seriously. That is why Ghastenhall has a Leavemebe Lane, Fetchmeabrandy Street, Rubella’s Rosy Rump Road, and the most powerful wizard in town’s new tower is on Abracadabra Way. These silly names often gets shortened in day to day use. Ruby Road is far easier and quicker to say than Rubella’s Rosy Rump. Some of these silly names have become quite famous. Everyone knows you find the banks on Greedily Road.
6. Ghastenhall still honors Asmodeus’s main festival
Well, sort of. Everyone knows that the major festival of Asmodeus happens on the last day of the Harvest Month. It is said that then the barrier between this world and the realms of death and hell are the thinnest. In order to appease the wandering spirits and hunting devils, you must bribe them with treats and presents. Traditionally children dress up as monster and the adults give the treats (a kind of honey cookie being the usual present). When the worship of Asmodeus was banned by the Mitrans eighty years ago, this festival called the Asmodean Revel was also banned. But here in Ghastenhall, they didn’t stop doing it. They just changed the name. It is now called the Angelian Revel to honor St. Angelo patron saint of monster hunters. But it is still identical.
7. The color of the moment is burgundy
Ghastenhall actually has a modest fashion community that designs new clothing that is aped throughout the kingdom. This year they seem to have decided that the only color worth wearing is burgundy. The shops are full of rich reds both as dresses and men’s doublets. Burgundy is everywhere. Of course the cracks in this trend are already starting to show. Already a few designers are starting to whisper that burgundy is played out. What will next years color be? Who can say. Isn’t fashion exciting?
8. Ghastenhall mints its own money
Most of the currency used in Talingarde comes from Matharyn, but Ghastenhall actually does mint their own coins thanks to an ancient grant given to the duke’s family long ago. Therefore, you can find coins with the duke’s head right along the side the king’s head all over the city.
9. The Duke is unmarried and the city’s most eligible bachelor
Duke Hadrian is in his early thirties, handsome and quite the ladies man. Yet he remains unmarried. This must change soon. The duke needs an heir! But the question on everyone’s mind is who the lucky lady will be. The duke has already rejected the usual suspects amongst the aristocracy. Could it be the duke plans to marry a peasant? Such a scandal!
10. A Magical College?
Rumors fly that professor Tiberius Feign, a powerful and accomplished wizard may soon open Talingarde’s first magical college. It is doubtful the Church will approve but what does the duke think? No one is sure.