I love your thinking!
You took a few of my thoughts and extended them to their natural conclusions. Here is the updated backstory, with all my new ideas.
Big change: I have found an area that might work for the village, pending approval from the devs. This might be a good place to put this idea into action. You can read about it below.
Backstory for the Village of Saltern
The first thing that must be considered is the basic geography both of the city and the surrounding terrain. Saltern is located in a relatively mountainous area, surrounded by impassable cliffs on all side. The only way to get to the village is through caves and abandoned mine tunnels that snake through the interior of the rocky mountains. The village of Saltern was not always so cut off from the rest of the world. Once there was a mountain pass that led up through the mountains to the village.
The village of Saltern would fill up with rain water if it werenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t for a canal that runs through the village and drains off through the mine tunnels. Some times during the year this canal dries up because the natural springs in the walls of the cliffs dry up and there is little rainfall. Then the water level falls, allowing explorers to go down into different parts of the caverns that are now accessible because they are dry.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI picture a seasonal reloading of the outdoor map where some time the channel is empty of water (maybe a seasonal quest available down there in the water bed), sometimes it is peaceful, and some parts of the year it is moving so quickly it is dangerous to cross (not really dangerous, just has white-water to it, you know?) or maybe the bridge is out/submerged.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
How the Location fits into the rest of the World
Saltern is located near the Rocky Northern Coast. Notice how it would fit into the description on the wiki:
Cliffs and a few small plateaus separate the valley below from the coast. Various summits can be reached without climbing the rock-face, only by entering the caverns within the cliffs, but beware; the caves can be very dangerous. Going up leads you with moderate ease to the summits, but going down leads to unknown depths. Since the caves were discovered, people have been trying to reach the bottom, but lower levels continue to be found.
Information taken from wiki at:
So basically, Saltern would be a stopping point in the mountains. It is a place for explorers of the caverns to rest, and regroup before going back in. This place fits my idea very well, and I think Saltern fits the wiki idea very well.
Basic History of Saltern
The first Saltern settlers travelled up the open mountain pass and settled in the small area because the discovered that the surrounding mountains were full of valuable minerals and ores. Over time digging the mine tunnels resulted in slag piles that were imprudently dumped in seemingly convenient areas of the mountain. These slag piles increased in size, and gradually they became unstable. Then an earthquake occurred.
Part of the village was destroyed by landslides, and the giant slag piles shifted and fell, completely blocking off Saltern from the rest of the world. Many of the people of Saltern panicked, but some cool headed miners decided to create an escape route through the mountains. Unfortunately the formerly safe mine tunnels were now very dangerous. Not only had many of them been damaged by the earthquake, but a strange fracture of the mountain had created an opening to a dark, dangerous system of caverns that were full of mutant monsters that had been cut off from the rest of the world for decades. They now flooded the mine tunnels, killing many of the miners. Only the bravest and strongest miners survived to fight off the monsters and finish the tunnel that would allow people to escape from Saltern.
By the time the tunnel was done most of the people of Saltern had already used it to escape. However, some people remained to live in Saltern.
People of Saltern
The people of Saltern fall into two main categories: tough miners who were willing to fight off the monsters to gather the valuable things still to be found in the mines, and a newly developing group of artistic, hippies who use the isolated area of Saltern as a base for their socially advanced, herb growing, peace loving lifestyle.
The tough miner group leads the way in efforts to explore and map the dangerous new cavern tunnels that were revealed by the earthquake that cut off Saltern. The tunnels seem to have no end, instead the lead deeper and deeper into the earth. Within these tunnels are numerous treasure chests. They are not easy to open, involving difficult procedures, special keys, test, etc, but when opened they are full of valuables such as pearls, dark crystals, money, etc. The miners are convinced that some ultimate treasure lies at the bottom of the caverns, far beneath the ground. But no one has ever found the deepest level of the caverns. They just seem to descend farther and farther without end.
The hippie group lives in the open area of Saltern, some on the ground, others on platforms built onto the walls of the cliffs.
The hippies are religious and they pray, worship, and do good deeds in order to appease the Gods that they not do any more damage. They feel that the earthquake that destroyed the first Saltern was a judgement from the Gods on the materialistic lifestyle that had been prevalent.
The hippies spend their time performing on the local stage, meditating in the aura of Soul Menhir and mixing up herb concotions. They grow herbs in Saltern to sell to people in the rest of the world. No one has ever been quite sure why the herbs grow so well in the area of Saltern. The miners claim that herbs grow here because of nutrients in the soil, the monks believe it is evidence of the gods' appeasement.
What is Needed for the Project
Items (also involves Graphics for the items.)
- Rocky mountain tileset. This tileset should look like mountain cliffs, boulders, a very rocky terrain. It should have large cavern openings to put in the side of the cliffs.
Saltern tileset. This tileset should be made up of buildings that fit into the surrounding terrian. They should be mostly wood, some should be suspended on platforms along the cliff walls. There should be a stage for performing arts etc.
NPCÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s: Characters that look like tough miners, characters that look like hippies.
Comes from hippie quests, things like a tie-dye shirt, a peace symbol amulet for the neck. Ideas for the peace symbol amulet: It keeps normally aggressive enemies from attacking you. This item would be in high demand from players who arenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t high enough level to make it through the dangerous caverns that lead to Saltern.
A pickaxe. This weapon should have an attack similar in strength to the scythe, but it should have an extremely high attack speed. Basically this is a weapon that you can swing back and forth and strike both ways. Maybe an attack speed twice as fast as the setzer. However, this would probably require a new player attack animation.
Old woman hippie and her herb garden. An old woman who has a fenced in area full of herbs. When you click on her she says that she is willing to let you in for a price. You have the option of distracting her attention ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œhey look over there, its a jacko!ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â and slipping in to ransack her garden. Once inside though, if you cheated the poor old woman you discover that the fence is magic and you canÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t leave until she lets you. You need to pay some sort of restitution or do some work for her until you pay off the damage you did to her garden. On the other hand if you pay for the privilege she lets you gather a certain number of herbs before she kicks you out of her garden because you have damaged to many plants. Then you have to pay another fee to get back in later.