The True Power in Karnstown

I know ya saw 'im runnin' outta th' buildin', Probie! But I'm tellin' ya ta let it be... Y'd be more than wastin' yer time if ya chases 'im down... y'll be wreckin' yer career as a watchman in Karnstown... or worse.
— Senior watchmen talking to new recruit as they investigate a crime in progress
Jasric Karn was one of the first pioneer/explorers to venture deep into the Feywood since the Great Strife. After wandering about the region, he decided to settle down near the large lake he "discovered", and thus established the roots of what would become the second largest city in all of the Frontier Lands.  
Yes, yer honor... I saw 'im leavin' th' buildin' with me own eyes. Had a sack o'er 'is shoulder. I chased him down an' caught 'im red-handed wi' th' loot from th' warehouse. 'E admitted t' me that 'e'd broken in and stole th' stuff... Even laughed at me, 'e did, as I was bringin' 'im in t' th' gaol.
— Recruit watchman testifying before the Karnstown Magistrate regarding a captured thief

Power Structure Within the Family

The power structure within the Karn family is quite simple and straightforward. Family leadership is passed from father to eldest son since Jasric founded Karnstown, and as long as he can breathe and speak, "the Karn" as he is referred to, is lord and master over all of Karnstown and all of the family. Unfortunately, but not unpredictably, this has, in years past, resulted in significant rivalries between sons of the Karn, since a premature death of the eldest would mean ascendancy for the next in line. Those in line to inherit are expected to master the family business and learn the family secrets to ensure their grip on power.

The rest of the Karn family is also pretty much left to its own devices. As long as they do not interfere with the business workings of the Karn family (the land ownership, the main casino in the heart of the city, and the ownership of the mining cooperative that harvests wealth from the mountains to the south and west."  

Power Structure Within the Town

Officially, Karnstown is a city that, like the Free Cities in the north, democratically elects its leadership. Every year, elections are held on the Solstice Holiday for one of the three leadership positions: City Mayor, Court Magistrate, and Chief of the Watch. Each serves a three year term. But in practice, things are not so democratic. It has been at least 75 years since these elections offered more than one name as a choice for the citizens casting votes, and that name has always been the hand-picked choice of the head of the Karn family. These officials understand all too well that their power - as well as a healthy unofficial stipend in gold - stems from the Karn family, and so they know to look the other way whenever some illicit activity is traceable to a family member.    
After reviewing the details of this case, I find there is insufficient evidence to tie the accused, Pietr Karn, to the crimes of burglary and theft. Case dismissed! Pietr, this court apologizes for the character slight implied by this arrest.
— Karnstown Magistrate ruling on a case before the court


The Karn family... Jasric Karn founded the town 193 years ago, in the year 1979CR. It was nothing more than a small trading post and a small house where his son Josten was born 2 years later. Three years after that, though, gold was discovered in the Western Barrier mountains, and Jasric Karn's small trading post was the logical last jumping off point before prospectors braved the southern wastes and the mountains themselves. Almost overnight, a real town sprung up.

Jasric was shrewd, though. In possession of what he claimed was a Charter from King ? of the First Kingdom, he claimed ownership of all the land within a mile of the trading post - land he was willing to lease to those wishing to build houses and shops. The family has retained ownership of the roughly half-square mile of land ever since; only a few plots have ever been sold outright.

Jasric declared himself the first Mayor of Karnstown in 2113, and he appointed two of his friends as Reeve and Magistrate to manage the rapidly growing town. When Jasric finally died in the year 2150AS, his eldest son Josten inherited the mayoralty; he held the position for most of his exceptionally long life. But by the time Josten's health began to fail, the Karn family had grown so wealthy and powerful that they decided they could maintain their control over the town without the vulgarity of holding public office. And so, in the year 2210AS, the first elections for the positions of Mayor, Reeve, and Magistrate were held.

Despite giving up the formal positions of power, though, the Karns had no intention of actually relinquishing any control. the first election saw only one candidate for each position - the candidate favored by Josten Karn. Every subsequent election in the 60 years since has featured a single candidate for whichever of the three offices is up for election that year, and each of these candidates is "endorsed" by the current patriarch of the Karn family. There have been three times a citizen attempted to run against the chosen candidate; all three ended in mysterious deaths of the upstarts.

In the 61 years of electing Mayor, Reeve, and Magistrate, there has never been a Karn family member found guilty of crime. Now, nobody even dares to accuse them, despite any evidence of their guilt.
Founding Date
founding of Karnstown
Karn Family Assets
The Karn family owns the entire city of Karnstown. While they do not hold title to every property within the city walls, they are the owners of record of a majority of the land and buildings. The properties they don't legally own, they can control using their influence over the commerce and trade within the city. As for businesses, the Karn family officially owns only one: the Karn Casino in the center of town.

While they do not own every shop, tavern, and inn within the city, the fact that the do own the land beneath them gives the Karn family considerable sway over the ultimate success or failure of any business that decides to establish itself in Karnstown.

And if that isn't enough, the fact that the Mayor, Magistrate, and the Chief of the Watch all receive significant "supplemental pay" from the Karn family means that the family gets what it wants when it wants.

Living Family Members
The current holder of the title "the Karn" is Jandric, age 75 and the great-great-grandson of town founder Jasric.

His son Marcius, age 45 is essentially the heir apparent. Jandric has a daughter named Maryana and a younger son named Carlius. Maryana is married to the manager of the Karn Casino; Carlius spends most of his time pleasure sailing on Karn Lake with sycophantic friends.

Marcius' son Pietr, age 21 is in line to inherit the family power after his father, but there are many in town that quietly discuss the likelihood that Pietr will suffer an abrupt demise long before that. It is well known that if he sees something he likes, he takes it - whether or not it is his for the taking. He has been involved in numerous thefts, burglaries, and even killings if an unwise citizen attempts to defent property.
Yeah... a shame wha' happ'n'd ta that poor kid... all excited ta be a watchman... but I tried ta warn 'im off. Wouldn't listen, though... Now where is 'e? Feedin' th' worms in th' boneyard, 'e is... an' 'is family out o' their home wi' nothin'.
— Senior watchmen talking with a colleague over an ale in the tavern.


Tokens and Character images, including side panel fey images, made by RPGDinosaurBob using HeroForge®
Banner image by RPGDinosaurBob using Flowscape on Steam.
Side panel forest images by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Cover image: The Inn from the Bridge over Daphinia's Stream by RPGDinosaurBob (with Flowscape)


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