The Invisible Walls of OCCLO
By Penn-Hedley III
The town is nicely arranged, compact, and isolated from the rest of WoD by its Island location and lack of a Moongate. To all appearances (by day) the citizenry appears to share a common culture. It is in the evening however, that the old separations are revealed, having been hidden just below the surface all along.
That a town with only 20 merchants should have 2 barkeeps and 2 bards is no accident. Islanders (and hardly anyone else) are acutely aware that their Island was colonized simultaneously by two nations: the Occidentals and the Lowlanders. The two peoples learned to cooperate for the sake of survival, but never truly mixed. So it remains. Each evening, roughly half of the community gathers in the Occidental Saloon, guzzling mead and listening to the puns and scatological humor of the Occidental Bard and stomping about the floor to an old favorite Occidental Polka. A few yards away, the Lowlanders gather in the Lowlander Bar gulping ale and watching the pratfalls and physical humor of the Lowlander Bard while prancing about performing the Lowland Triangle Folk Dances.
The other professions in town each have a single practitioner serving both groups (though everyone knows who is Occ and who is Lo). Business is designed to keep the groups from having to interact any more than is absolutely necessary. There is an armourer and a weaponsmith, but no public forge. The baker has a flour mill, but there is no public oven in the town. Only the tailor (a rare half-breed) has a full set of equipment for community use.
There is also one each of the magic professions, a banker, an apothecary, a healer, a provisioner, a cobbler, a decorator, and a leatherworker. There is also the baker, farmer, and a fisherman.
There is no architect, beekeeper, bowyer, butcher, carpenter, jeweler, ranger, stablemaster or tinker. The lack of either carpenter or tinker is particularly vexing. Occlo is polite to strangers from outside, but those visitors are expected to pick an ethnicity to follow (consistently) while in the community. Failure to do so will result in visitors being treated as alien by both groups, and becoming unwelcome outcasts.