Ridgecrest: Geography and Layout
Ridgecrest sits atop of a rather large and rounded plateau at the very edge of the Ire Mountain foothills. The main road approaching Ridgecrest is gently sloping and dotted with a collection of tie-offs to allow pack animals to rest under the burden of their loads if needed. Ridgecrest has also annexed one of the three copper mines in the area, to which it claims ownership. The town charges a nominal fee for use of this mine, and though it is not the richest of the three mines, it is kept free of aggressive creatures and bandits that seek the shelter of such dark places. The other two mines in the vicinity have more productive veins and they can be mined for free, but there is an inherent risk to life and limb. Surrounding the plateau is moderately fertile farm land to all sides but the south, which borders up against the Ire Mountains. A few common trails lead south from Ridgecrest into the mountains and along its edges. Its relative proximity to the Spirit Dunes draws travel and trade from those passing through and from the various halfling tribes.
The town itself has grown in a haphazard way, with streets and buildings being placed where they were needed at any given time. As a result, there is a mix of building styles, a seemingly random arrangement of buildings and a maze of streets that eventually converge on a rather large town square (which is generally circular), which is known simply as the Marketplace and is generally filled with transient merchants, official kiosks for weights and measures and a few more permanent structures. Only the main approach road, which eventually leads to the mountain pass at the south end of town, is comfortably wide for the traffic it carries and gentle in its curves, enough so that one can easily navigate it without getting lost or turned around. At the center of the Marketplace is a simple but tall obelisk formed of stone and plated in copper (that has long-since taken on a mottled blue patina), tall enough to be seen from nearly everywhere in Ridgecrest and which serves as an aid to navigating its confusing streets.
There is no definable border for the town for the most part. The collection of buildings and structures that make up Ridgecrest gradually thin out toward the periphery. A fair number of small buildings can also be seen along the main approach road well outside of the perceived edge of town.