Free City of Redmark
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(population: 37,000) Large fortified independent city that serves as the capitol of the Freehold of Norwald. Redmark is the largest and most famous settlement in the Vast, with a reputation as a seedy hive of mercenaries, unscrupulous merchants, and adventurers of every sort.

Towering over the city is the famous Castle Redmark; home of the Viscount Argus Theed.

From the darkest alleys and most fetid cellars of the Old City, along the alabaster spires of temples and the Lhazar Academy, lining the great length of the Processional, and on to the regal grandeur of the Noble District and the looming towers of the Grand Citadel of Castle Redmark beyond, the Free City beckons. Redmark, grandest jewel of the Vast, awaits you, offering adventures to stagger your imagination, treasure beyond your wildest dreams-and of course, dangers aplenty.

The city and its lands lie in the heart of the region known as the Vast. The barren slopes of the mysterious Cairn Hills loom to the north of the city, some within sight of the high stone walls. The placid expanse of the great Granite River meanders past Redmark's bustling docks, giving the city its primary claim to strategic significance, for it lies along that waterway between the great Axehead Mountains to the north and the cities of Marigold and Chelstad to the south. The City of Redmark and its domain are ruled by a appointed Viscount, supported by a representative legislative body known as the "Grand Council." For the last twenty years, Argus Theed has been the Lord-Governor of the city and the ruler of the Freehold. So far, he has been one of the best.

The various guilds of Redmark are all designed to protect and further the social and economic interests of their membership. While not all of the Free City's Guilds have been granted or have been able to maintain a monopoly on the services and crafts they provide, they can nevertheless present a united front to any form of competition and have a recognized degree of political influence with the Directing Oligarchy. On the first days of every month, the Grand Council of Redmark meets at City Hall. All the city's Guild-masters are required to attend (and must send deputies should they be unable to do so). This meeting is used to discuss petitions and legislation before the Viscount that may affect the trade or business of one or more of the Free City's guilds, and allegedly serves the purpose of granting those city guilds not directly represented in the Directing Oligarchy a say in the city's government.

Local protection; The Free City has a large force of soldiers at its disposal, called the City Watch; numbering 250 officers and men, divided into three shifts. Thee are nine watch stations; in addition, a force of over 1,000 heavily armed soldiers are garrisoned at Castle Redmark, under the viscount's personal control.

The City of Redmark is divided into several districts:

Artisans' District


This small District of Redmark is one of the most peaceful, lacking the wild taverns and crowds of most other districts. The Artisans' District is home to hardworking people and their families. Its major features are the guildhalls for many of those craftsmen and women. Sure, the Artisans' District has its share of taverns, but these are quiet, neighborhood places. Most of the customers recognize each other and the proprietor who is usually the owner. Strangers are treated cordially, but any unruliness arouses the resentment of the entire establishment. The City Watch, while not a great presence here, is not neglectful. The houses here are small. At first glance one might think they are crowded uncomfortably close together. Upon closer examination, the buildings all seem to fit snugly together, while leaving a surprising amount of space between them. With its convenient location next to the Low Marketplace, the residents of this District rarely have to go elsewhere in the city for their needs. More than any other district, the Artisans' District seems a self-sufficient community all unto itself. The hallmarks of each tradesmen can be seen on the front of the house: an ornately carved balcony and railing for the woodcarver, a wide, sweeping stairway for the carpenter, an imposing facade of granite for the stonemason, and so on. Weavers, painters, metal-smiths, and the like use an example of their craft to decorate the front of the house with a tapestry, unusual color scheme, or metal rack of tools, for example. While some of these artisans work for employers and travel to a different location for their job, the majority work in shops within their homes. Consequently, a great number of different businesses can be found in the tiny Artisans' District.

Notable District locations: The Clay Dragon Inn, the Green Frog (tavern),

Clerical District


The city district that houses Redmark's famous Lhazar Academy and other schools is referred to as the "Clerical District." The term is a reference to the students, tutors, scribes, and clerks who live here in great numbers; and the large, airy buildings that typically house the schools. Though it is not apparent from outside the District, the Clerical District is an area of plants, grassy yard, and small parks. It is second only to the Garden District in the number and variety of its greenery. The City Watch does not neglect the Clerical District. Generally a patrol arrives within a few moments of a summons. Ruffians tend to avoid the Clerical District, to no one's disappointment. An interesting feature of the District is the outside seating, or veranda, available at most of the small taverns and eateries. It may be squeezed precariously between the building and the street, barely wide enough for a single row of tables, but this outdoor dining area is required of any successful eating establishment in the Academy District. In fact, the major attractions of this district to the citizenry of the city are these street-side tables. On most days with nice weather, the streets of the Clerical District swell with folk from all over the city, coming to enjoy their meal in the fresh air. The Millstream winds its way through the Clerical District, and much of its bank has been preserved as a grassy parkway. Students often come here to study or relax. The Clerical District is not a thriving business district—most of the buildings not used for schools are the residences of students and instructors.

Notable District locations: Millstream Bridge, Lhazar Academy, Black Dragon Inn, Redmark Library, the Arena, the Old Crone (Tavern)

Noble District


What a grand array of buildings and personages await the fortunate traveler who decides to stroll down the Promenade! What marvels of architecture! What splended grace and beauty, such impressive style! The grand edifices of the Free City's High District are, in general, mansions that would be fit for the ruler of most political entities. In Redmark, however, such homes are the just rewards for successful merchants, important ambassadors, the city's own Directors, and others of wealth and station. (Actually, in the Free City, wealth is station. In the mansions sprawl over large estates—an equivalent amount of property might hold the homes of 1,000 souls in the cramped confines of the Old City. Stores and shops are not found in the Noble District, the residents can usually find everything they need at the city's High Marketplace. The only businesses in the District are those gambling houses, taverns, and clubs that cater to a wealthy clientele. The Noble District is the best illuminated of the city's Districts after dark, for each mansion maintains a lamp on the road before it, and the city maintains other lamps at frequent intervals along each thoroughfare. In addition, the guard patrols of the city watch are diligent and common in the High District. A standard patrol will arrive within 1d6 round following any loud cry of alarm in the Noble District. Also, the private mercenaries are employed throughout the High District, sometimes to watch a single mansion, and other times to patrol a region of several estates. When the mercenaries make such roving patrols, they go in groups of five, accompanied by two great hounds (war dogs). The roads of the Noble District bustle with crowds only on the occasions of parades and festivals. The district receives a lot of traffic every single day, attracted by the grand array of booths and stalls in the High Marketplace. Otherwise, the District is quiet, with only a few people moving about at any one time. These travelers are nobles in carriages, on horseback, and afoot, their servants (with or without their masters), craftsmen hired to work in the High District on their way to and from the job, and many others. Travel is allowed to and from the Noble District with no restrictions, but a visitor to the district who appears to be up to no good (loitering about, acting furtive, associating with known criminals, etc.) is quickly accosted by the City Watch. If the visitor can produce no good reason why he is in the Noble District, he is escorted to the Garden Gate with orders not to return without a valid purpose.

Notable District locations: Greyhawk Inn, Erindar Embassy, Alveron Embassy, Ammarind Embassy, Orrek Embassy, Derianor Embassy.

Garden District


The Garden District marks a great arc about the city's Noble District, In truth, an untutored observer could not tell where one district ends and the other begins. But the boundaries are clearly defined in the collective social consciousness of the city's elite. If the estates in the Garden District tend to be a little smaller than their uphill neighbors, if their statuary is less exquisite and the architecture more plain, these deficiencies are more than made up for by the brilliant profusion of blossoms grown here. The sweeping expanses of manicured beauty have given the District its name and its character. On a pleasant spring day the fragrance of lilac is carried by each passing breeze, while in summer a stroller can sample the dewy aroma of the lilies, and so on. The patrols of the city watch are as diligent and common here as in the Noble District, though there are fewer hired security agents in the Garden District. There are no shops in the Garden District, save for the region of the High Marketplace. Several fine inns and clubs offer fine cuisine and often gambling to wealthy patrons.

Notable District locations: Wise Wizard Inn

Foreigner's District


This is the most crowded District of the New City, not just because this is the residential district assigned to all those who have not inherited or adopted Redmark citizenry, but because it is a nice place to live. It offers a variety of eateries and taverns, as well as tiny shops of many unique types. It has long been city policy that visitors who take up residence in Redmark should not be allowed to inhabit certain areas, particularly places adjacent to the city wall. Thus, all foreigners who actually rent a residence (as opposed to taking a room in an inn, even for many weeks) must find such a residence in this District. Of course, foreign nobles and official guests of the city are exempt from the restriction. Foreigners are usually not permitted to purchase property in the Free City. After seven consecutive years of residence (at least six months each year) in the city, a foreigner can apply for citizenship. Provided he has two citizens to vouch for him, and no record of troubles with the watch or any influential guilds, citizenship is granted. Certain of the Foreign District's shops and inns retain a distinctive character reflecting their owners' origins. But for the most part, this district has blended very well into the rest of the Free City's character. The City Watch is here, but not in any considerable numbers, except at At night, when they put regular patrols through this and the neighboring River District. In many ways it is representative of the city in miniature, with its diversity of shops, its theater (the Pit), and its mix of people from all places and all levels on the social scale. Indeed, the Foreign District even has its own nobility, in the form of The Duke. Every type of business can be found in this District. Problem is though if you asked someone where to find what you are looking for, half the time the directions are wrong.

Notable District locations: The Pit (theater), the Red Serpent (tavern), Steelfist Mercenary Guildhall, Blue Dragon Inn

Old City District


This maze of alleys, shacks, boarding houses, and everything else is the true soul of Redmark. Herein lie the city's roots, and herein also live its most volatile citizens. The Old City, separated by the Black Wall from the New City, has taken on a life all its own. The Old City is actually two districts, known as the Slums and the Thieves' Quarter. The two are divded by the Processional; the largest street in Redmark. If the New City should suddenly disappear from the earth, the Old City would function much as before. The same cannot be said for the reverse. The Old City sees more of the City Watch than do its neighboring districts. Crime and misery are commonplace here, but so are gallantry and decency. Thieves' Guilds control the bulk of the business ventures and other activities, but nowhere else is the proverb "honor among thieves" more in evidence. The City Watch maintain two regular stations here, and many families devote a proportion of the precious incomes for the additional protection provided by various private mercenary outfits. The City Watch in the Old city take their duties very seriously indeed; their fee is always money well spent. The City Watch patrols are scarce to nonexistent, but the Nightwatchmen usually respond quickly, but only when the alarm is raised by one of their clients. The People's Constables are a major nuisance here during the day, nit-picking every possible weapons violation, subjecting disreputable-appearing characters to searches, and quoting an assortment of vague and obscure regulations. ( "And that'll be another two silver, oaf! you should know better than to blow your nose on the same street as waves the city banner! Be thankful I don't run you in!") The balance of power in the Old City centers on the Thieves' Guilds, which control the major sources of income here, except for the Public Bath, which is owned by the city. The Beggars' Union is a force to be reckoned with in the Slum District, however, and the Merchants and Traders are also well represented in the Old City. The patrols of the City Watch move unchallenged here during the daytime, but at night two patrols always march together. Even then they remain on the lighted thoroughfares of the Processional, Caravan Street, and other major avenues. The border between the Old City and the Slums is ill-defined.

Notable District locations: The Grinning Gargoyle (tavern), The Brass Dragon Inn

River District


This most riotous district is centered around the great curving avenue known as the Strip. With its taverns, brothels, gambling dens, and worse, the Strip at night is a cacophony of noises, a shadowy land of flickering torches and blazing lamps. And always, day and night, it teems with drunks and toughs, river-men and city-folk. At any given moment, there are many who fight at any implied slight, and there are never enough patrols of the City Watch to keep the peace. Mercenary guards are common during the hours of daylight, especially near the Cargo Gate. . Naturally, adventurers love it here. Lodgings are cheap, and news from the world beyond is plentiful. There are numerous merchants and innkeepers willing to relieve a traveler of his heavy load of treasure. Behind the Strip, the River District is a mixture of boarding houses and warehouses. While much cargo brought up the river is stored on the wharf, many small warehouses are offered for rental here as well. Cargo moves quickly in the lively economy of the Free City, so a load generally remains in a warehouse only for a week or two.

Notable District locations: the Silver Garter (brothel), the Green Dragon Inn, The Rusty Anchor (tavern), the Bargeman (tavern)