While most settlements in Norsinovia large villages or smaller, there are a few major cities. They are listed here with a small selection of information that is commonly known about each one.
Located in the lannsberg of Ostlund, Einfarrow is at once the most recent and the oldest city in Norsinovia due to the fact that much of it is built in the ruins of an ancient city long ago abandoned. The largest and most intact part of the ancient city is now Farrowcliff Keep, the residence and stronghold of the region’s Lannsk. Situated atop the White Rock Cliffs next to Sedrig’s Falls, the city covers the heavily stone-worked banks of the Sedrig’s Way river, which more resembles a canal right up to the edge of the falls. Three bridges cross the river to join the city’s two halves together.
Though Farrowcliff Keep shows its age and heritage as a pre-settlement ruin retrofitted and repaired for modern use, the city itself reveals its history in more subtle ways. Much of the rubble has been cleared away with new brick and wood structures built in their place, but keen eyes will spot a block of stone being used for a building that has obvious signs of having been something else in a previous life (part of a statue, column, or similar).
When approaching Einfarrow from the east along the road, there are two ways to reach the city atop the cliffs. The road itself takes a steep and heavily winding path up the side of the cliff some distance to the south of the city before turning north to enter the city’s south gate. Often, this way proves too treacherous for merchants with goods or larger groups. The second way to reach the city is by use of the winchway, a large wooden platform which, through heavy ropes and pulleys, can be raised and lowered up a shaft cut into the side of the cliff face. Capable of lifting several loaded wagons and upwards of twenty people at one time, the winchway carries with it a fee for use. The cost is mostly used to maintain the device and there have been very serious few accidents.
Kohlhagen’s roots are as a logging and fur trading village, one of the first in the northern Norslund region of Norsinovia. Constructed at the intersection of rivers that run south towards Vilsborg, Kohlhagen grew as a river trading port until finally becoming the regional capitol. Though the city is mostly constructed from wooden buildings with relatively few stone structures, there is a great deal of wealth held here. Many rich merchants and traders have taken residence in Kohlhagen in order to more closely oversee their interests in the area. Highly skilled craftsmen in woodworking and experienced hunters and trackers can reliably be found in Kohlhagen.
Nearly every sort of good produced in Norsinovia makes its way through Kohlhagen on its way to being sold, though in general the products are not for sale here. More often the goods have already been paid for an are en route to Willow’s End to be sold in the great markets there.
Kohlhagen is surrounded by a reinforced wooden palisade to protect the inhabitants of the city. Numerous gates in the palisade offer entry and are generally left open to the constant traffic moving in and out but are closed at night to keep out animals. Hungry wildlife regularly attempts to get into the city and access the food supply there, be it grain or meat. It’s not uncommon to see a hunter moving through the city streets commissioned by the city to capture or kill a rogue wolf or snow lion.
The city streets and avenues in Kohlhagen are not paved, but boarded. The woodworkers and craftsmen of the city can offset their taxes by providing their services in maintaining the intricate wooden road system which is in frequent need of repair. Interlocking cut planks and logs produce one of the more interesting and unique roadways in all of Norsinovia. The craftsmen often will take time to carve designs and other interesting visuals into their replacement planks in an attempt to at once display their own skill and reap the benefit of public advertising. Traveling a Kohlhagen street one might see hundreds of carved and stained notices and advertisements beneath their feet. The city, at one time disapproving of the practice, has allowed this behavior and has rarely had to remove offensive or unlawful work.
Vilsborg has the distinction of being the first major settlement on the continent. The first Einovan explorers to reach Norsinovia ran their ships aground on the expansive sandy shelf that lines the Norsinovan coast four miles from the shore. Using smaller boats, they made their way to the beach to set up camp and it is on that site that Vilsborg was built. Over time, Vilsborg has grown into a city called home by nearly 200,000 people.
One of the first major construction efforts undertaken in Vilsborg was the construction of a massive pier designed to accommodate the larger trade and transport ships arriving from the east. Painstakingly built from massive blocks of stone brought piece by piece from granite quarries to the north, the pier, known as the pier of ages, extends out into the water nearly five full miles and is rightfully one of the major wonders of the world. The large vessels dock at the pier’s end and goods are transported by cart into the city. The size and length of the pier has made it possible for buildings to be constructed on and around it giving rise to a distinct community almost city-like in its own right, albeit a long and thin one. Taverns, inns, shops, residences, dry-docks, and even temples can be found on the pier. Due to shifting sand and the large amount of traffic on the pier, construction and repairs are ongoing. Occasionally, major collapses or shifting of the stone blocks will cause portions of the pier to fall into the water, however the overall size of the pier generally means that such things only slightly hamper its operation. Where the pier meets the city there is a grand entryway and gate that doubles as a customs house. New arrivals to the continent are processed here before they enter the city proper.
The main city of Vilsborg is walled on all sides with north and west gates allowing travelers in and out. The eastern wall of the city allows access the shallow water beaches, but these gates are not large enough for trade routing. Inside the walls the city of Vilsborg supports a large open market in the center of the city called Nyvaarden Fair, the campus of Vilsborg University where nearly all Norsinovan men and women of higher learning have studied, and most major guilds and state run services are operated out of head offices located in a city district known as ’Runner’s Way’.