This week’s Player Owned Town spotlight takes us to Knight’s watch in Hidden Vale. A bustling suburb of Kingsport, this vibrant coastal town is governed by Astor Cerberus. I (Berek) am about to arrive by boat at the docks to meet with him. Read on as the town folk provide a great tour!
I clamber off the boat to meet a charming promenade of row homes along the water. There is a bustle of commerce as vendors advertise their wares to bystanders. Taking in the view, I notice that Astor is not yet present. Instead, I’m approached by an intriguing looking outlander who introduces herself as Belladonna Rose.
“Berek, welcome to Knight’s Watch! Astor asked me to walk you around until he gets back from showing a new resident around. May we start here on the promenade?”
I graciously accept her offer as she ushers me past the merchants’ waterfront stalls. “These vendors sell the various wares that are crafted and scavenged by our adventurers and craftsmen” Belladonna states. She leads me through an arched bell-tower nestled between the row homes and into an impressive town square. An ancient colonnade surrounds a generous stage – there must be enough room for a full orchestra here!
I ask here a question that I’ve been thinking about on the boat ride over: “I’ve heard from a traveler that Knight’s Watch provides tax-free housing at no cost at all to Outlanders. Is this true?”
“Absolutely!” Belladonna responds, “Astor has acquired quite the collection of row and village sized lots, more than twenty in fact, to which he grants rent-free and tax-free access to Outlanders in need.”
She leads me through avenues of beautifully decorated homes, pointing out the town’s lavishly equipped crafting center in an elaborate shogun-style pavilion. “We have some truly excellent master crafters in town. The Hidden Vale presents us a diverse landscape, so we have access to a wide range of natural resources right on our doorstep.”
As we stroll through another crowded avenue, I finally see an out-of-breath Astor Cerberus heading towards us.
“Hail Berek, welcome to our town! Please forgive me for not being able to greet you upon arrival. I’ve just finished inducting a new citizen into our free housing program.”
A smile draws across my face “I was just going to ask about that. You must be throwing significant resources into making so much housing available at no cost. That’s admirable!”
“It’s certainly not a small undertaking, but it’s something I’m very passionate about. Many of us outlanders arrived in this world with little more than the tunics on our backs. The vast majority do not have the means by which to acquire a place to call our own. I’ve personally met many outlanders that I’ve grown close to through living together in a community. I want every new outlander to have a chance at the same experience I’ve had. As an early investor in the seed industry, I’m fortunate enough to be a landowner, and I cannot think of a better way to put my lands to use.”
“What do you expect from your residents in return?” I responded.
“Not much at all. I expect no financial return of any kind and there is no compulsory guild membership. We do have a fine guild that’s operated and run by a group of our residents, but it’s completely optional to join. We just ask that residents use their homes and remain active in the town. That means furnishing and living in their homes, buying or selling from local vendors, and maybe ask for or offering to help on the occassional hunt.”
We walk around for another hour or so as Astor shows me where his residents have settled. “Over there on the hill Caspian and Sharp have set up a fine home industry growing all manner of crops. They’re under the watchful tutelage of a man we refer to simply as ‘Sensei’.” Astor calls out his residents by name as we continue along the perimeter. “Dirk and Marlena have both settled on small islands, one in the lake and one just offshore. They like the privacy these parcels afford them.”
I’ve seen many towns all across New Britannia and The Hidden Vale over the years, but still I find this town impresses me. It really feels like Astor has a great relationship with each of his residents. The town looks grand and the community has a great reason for pushing forward.
I ask Astor one final question: “What does the future hold for Knight’s Watch?”
“Thank you for asking! We’ve just received word that our town has received Metropolis status, so we’re wide open to accepting new residents, both in our free housing program or those who want to establish their own lot. We are also gearing up for several types of social events, starting with hosting a gustball tournament and a musical performance. And, of course, like most outlanders, we spend many nights keeping the evil creatures that permeate our lands at bay.”
The sun starts to set over the bay and the time has come for me say farewell. I thank Astor and Belladonna for the tour as we walk back towards my boat calmly bobbing in the water. I am eager to visit the town again in the future to see how it continues to grow!
There are so many towns to explore throughout New Britannia. If you are interested in becoming a part of the Knight’s Watch community, you can contact Astor Cerberus, Belladonna Rose, or any other community members that live in the town.
Do you have a town, guild, or other group we can spotlight? Message community manager Berek with the details!