The town of Sandwich lives up to both parts of it's name; the soil is very sandy, and there are wooden derricks standing over the half dozen brine wells which provide most of the town's income. Now a casual observer would swear that there aren't enough people present in Sandwich for it to be listed in the Imperial Census as a town; nor could there really be unless the shacks of the peasants are severely overcrowded to the point of bursting (which they don't seem to be). Nonetheless, Sandwich remains a town from Census to Census; neighboring villages like to spend the occasional evening in their various taverns wondering how, and if they could use the trick themselves.
What else would the casual observer see? Flowing by the town is the Softwater River; barely navigable by canoe, prone to flood in season, and somewhat mineral to the taste; but a good source of fish. In the town itself, somewhat above the river, is the provincial salt warehouse/boiling house (and the wood pipes of various sorts leading to it), a tavern, a smithy, a general store with an adjoining pawn shop (two owners, a connecting door, and a valuable source of men for the townsfolk to hate), some barns; and the assorted shacks, huts, and homes of the residents reflecting their taste and income. Well, mostly their income.
One other noteworthy aspect of this town turns up after a bit of asking around. As with many saltworks, several salts are actually isolated from the brine as it boils. One of them, mixed with some other ingredients, yields firedrug (gunpowder); the provincial salt warehouse sells it in modest quantity to citizens of respectable appearance at the legally specified price. Others have to pay a bit more, or so it is said.
Outside the town, down the road a couple of furlongs, is a small monastery. Most of their income comes from their grape arbors, though they also raise a few coins providing hospitality to travelers. The abbot is considered an important man by the townfolk; many (if not most) of their various problems and squabbles are taken to him for resolution. The mayor (every town must have one) is quite content with this; he can usually be found in the tavern carrying out his official duties over games of chess and glasses of monastic wine. Indeed, one could be forgiven for thinking those are his official duties; it would take a careful observer to tell otherwise. His wife, alas, is vocally not such an observer; hence his frequent custom of the tavern.
The tavern itself is a wood frame building, in need of some paint, called The Salted Bush. This midday it has half a dozen locals sitting around one of the half-dozen trestle tables, the mayor and a friend playing chess at another, a tapster behind the bar, and three adventurers coming through the door. Though not strangers to the place, they are not natives.