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Murengers and Masons in the Sea of Stars (A to Z)

15 April, 2021

Be safe behind city wallsIt is said that good walls make good neighbors and many places rely on that adage, while castle and city walls are of limited use against dragons they are still popular and common across the Sea of Stars.  Making the people who build them, masons, and see that the walls are maintained, murengers, important.

While some walls are earthworks and the elves (and a few others) have defenses crafted from living trees and plants, most permanent walls are stone.  To built stone walls, one needs masons, while the dwarves are often cited as preeminent among masons, there are many others that are experts in working particular types of stone for particular purposes.  As it did in so many things, the Sundering changed even some sorts of stone and exposing new sources to quarry, giving builders new options.

The field of defensive architecture is constantly evolving to respond to local conditions, as available weapons and siege tactics change.  This also leads to radically different types of walls and defenses from place to place, meeting local challenges and aesthetics.  Of course, some places have not seen war in so long that the walls have become primarily decorative . . . until they are needed again.

Mark of the masonSome masons travel across the Sea of Stars as their skills are needed, other work in one city (or even on one project) for their entire career but their talents are always in demand.  Often masons organize themselves into a guild or other society to control and insure quality in their craft.  It is a technically demanding craft and can be dangerous, they are often working with massive stones after all.

Beyond the usual stones and material, various unusual substances are available such as: Mage Bane, a dark blue-grey stone that resists magic.  Bricks made from the silver clay of Yostile rebuild themselves when struck by lightning.  The pink marble of Heshon absorbs sunlight and radiates its light throughout the evening as a soft glow.  And more rare and strange materials exist for those willing to seek them out.

While mason pursue a highly technical and practical craft, the murengers are as much politicians as anything else, they collect the fees and ensure they are properly allocated to the maintenance of the city walls and other defenses.  Naturally, the opportunities for graft and corruption in such a post are legion but their are usually multiple other official keeping watch to insure that the murenger is properly performing their role.  Naturally, murengers usually employ multiple masons to keep the walls in repair.

Notes: Quests for rare building materials, a mission to hire or escort a mason, or being appointed as a murenger when the previous one failed in their duty (and their are war clouds on the horizon) are all possible plot seeds.

Images, top “Worcester -Edgar Tower and city wall” by It’s No Game is licensed under CC BY 2.0.  Lower, “Mason’s marks, Chillington” by Odd Wellies is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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