Sasserine
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Capitol: Sasserine (city population: 16,000)
Population: 21,000 (70% Ralani, 10% Thann, 15% Eloysians, and 5% other)
Demi-humans: 3,000 (55% dwarves, 10% elves, 15% halflings, 20% gnomes)
Humanoids: few (mostly gnolls, tasloi)
Government: City-State
Current Leader: ruled by the 7-member Dawn Council
Coat of Arms: red rose and lion on blue / white field
Exports: fruit, vegetables, grain, textiles, gold

Sasserine is a small, but thriving independent city-state, located in northwestern Avokhar, on the secluded Wyvern Bay. Sasserine is the largest and most influential of the city-states of the Shining Sea region. Sasserine is somewhat isolated, being located on a secluded bay of water, ringed by both the Hellfire Mountains and the Sanjaara Jungle.

The city is ruled by a group of seven noble families; known as the Dawn Council. Each member of the Dawn Council comes from one of the seven Districts in the city. These Districts are important administrative and religious divisions in the city. Each district has its own temple, whose clerics hold sway in local affairs. The seven Districts and their temples are: the Noble District; (Temple of Nerydia), the Champion's District; (Temple of Etahr), the Merchant's District; (Temple of Ethenghar), the Azure District; (Temple of Myrival), the Cudgel District; (Temple of Berevrom), the Sunrise District; (Temple of Ator), and the Shadowshore District; (Temple of S'Thar),

Sasserine's human ethnic makeup is largely Ralani, but with strong minorities of Thannish, Eloysians, and even Vilzari. The city is accessible by ship via Wyvern Bay, and also by the Rockdale Road which runs east to the neighboring city of Caldera through the Rockdale region of Avokhar. For now, Sasserine maintains close relations with both Caldera and the powerful Republic of Kendar; its neighbor to the north. The City profits as a crucial stopover for ships bound north for the Corwyn seaports of Sathay, Kingsport, and Rastios, as well as those traveling south to Stonehaven, and the Seven Cities of Brass. Sasserine derives most of its wealth as a seaport, as a result its harbor is quite busy. At any time, as many as 60 merchant vessels from Eldara, Freeport, Nimbor, Rennsfar, Serathyr, and the Seven Cities of Brass can be found moored here.

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HISTORY


The City of Sasserine was founded nearly 700 years ago in the year 553/6, during the terrible Ralani Civil War, known as the War of the Celadon. As rival Ralani nobles were slaughtering each other on mainland Corwyn, a small group of pilgrims led by a noble named Lord Viktor Teraknian, his wife, Lady Sasserine, and their children left Ralas forever in search of new lands and peace. The Pilgrims chose not to settle in one of the five city-states of Kendar, but instead searched for a new regional home for themselves.

Lady Sasserine was a devout priestess of Nerydia; the Goddess of Magic. Her many followers included loyal pilgrims, who wanted nothing more than religious sanctuary. As a result, hundreds decided to engage in the long and arduous journey south and set sail along with the Teraknian family. For many weeks the small fleet of a dozen ships sailed south across the Wyn Myr, past the beautiful Nimbor Islands and the dangerous Vilzari coast, until they finally reached the western coast of Avokhar. There they eventually found a small secluded inlet, which could only be seen faintly from the open sea, and behind it a small channel leading to a group of islands surrounded by the vast Sanjaara Jungle. This inlet was perfect for the pilgrims. It was well-hidden from the sea, protected from the elements, and made an ideal harbor and anchorage. The settlers had just arrived when their group was attacked by a black dragon named Zelkarune, who killed many of the pilgrims before being slain by Lord Teraknian. Viktor’s triumph was short lived when he realized his true love had been slain by the dragon as well. In homage, Viktor buried his love on Ancestor Island, and named the colony in her honor.

Over the next several centuries, the city was ruled by series of Lords from the Teraknian Dynasty, who took one the hereditary title of "Arch-Duke." During this time, the small colony became a city, experiencing rapid growth from trade by sea and inland. The city rulers governed from Castle Teraknian that was also built by Viktor, and were always aided by clerics of Nerydia. In 1123/6, Lord Orren Teraknian ruled the city of Sasserine. Unfortunately for the people of the city, Orren was a despot. During his cruel reign, the temple of Nerydia was stripped of its power and many people were imprisoned or executed. Just as Orren’s rule became unbearable, a fleet of ships arrived from Kendar, bearing representatives from the Sky-Lords to the North. Promising an end to Orren’s cruelty, the invaders were aided in their assault on the city from within, as the citizens rose up in rebellion. Lord Orren was overthrown and the Sky-Lords of Kendar claimed the city as a colony.

Over the following century, the city’s resources were savaged. The Sky-Lords of Kendar kept Sasserine a secret from the rest of the world, hoping to hide the valuable port from invaders by destroying any references to it they could find. Spies infiltrated Cartographer’s Guilds, altering charts and sea maps; Ship Captains who knew of the inlet and the city beyond were bought off or even murdered. Sasserine suffered greatly in these 100 years, but the underlying spirit of her Ralani inhabitants did not die. Their prayers were answered in 1227/6, the year of the "Uprising." The Uprising began when a group of seven nobles conspired together, and assassinated the Kendarum governor of the city. This Governor; Diego Montravon was a corrupt bureaucrat, who kept much of the city's tax money for himself, and had his enemies arbitrarily thrown into the dungoens of Castle Teraknian. When the Kendarum discovered the reasons why he had been assassinated, they agreed not to militarily intervene. Kendar did not want another brutal, bloody occupation. It was easier to simply free the colony. The seven adventurers, became the the first members of the "Dawn Council."

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The resulting turmoil threw Sasserine into chaos. Without the support of Kendar, the leaders of the city were overthrown within a fortnight and Castle Teraknian abandoned. In the twnety years since their freedom, the people of Sasserine have rebuilt their city with astonishing success. The Republic of Kendar, the neighbor to the northeast, no longer wished to use the city as a colony, but found that it was preferable as a trading partner. In fact, the Kendarum have a treaty with the Dawn Council of Sasserine for protection against the Corsairs of Tar Vielca, if they ever again become a threat. As the end of the Sixth Age looms, Sasserine seems to have a bright new future.

Sasserine is unusual on the continent of Avokhar, in that its population comprises a majority of olive-skinned Ralani from Corwyn, but there are also large minorities of copper-skinned Eloysians from Kendar and the surrounding Sanjaara Jungle, as well as a few black-skinned Vilzari from Vilzar and the Island-Realm of Nimbor.

The surrounding region:

Hellfire Mountains: Large volcanic mountain range in northern Avokhar, that serves as a barrier between the region of the Wild Coast and the Sanjaara Jungle.

Sanjaara Jungle: Enormous rain-forest covering much of the continent of Avokhar. The Wild Coast has a string of settlements along the coastal areas of the Shining Sea, that profit from trade between jungle expeditions and imports shipped from Corwyn.

Wild Coast: Term for the northern coast of Avokhar, which is dotted with human settlements dating back to the great colonies of the Kingdom of Ralas. The largest city on the Wild Coast is Kendar, but other smaller cities such as Sasserine and Caldera are located here as well.

Caldera: (Population: 7,630) (also called Cauldron) A small inland city located 80 miles inland from Sasserine. The city is located in a dormant volcanic valley, thus its name. the residents of Cauldron are key trading partners with the merchants of Sasserine and the two cities have been known to ally together if need arises. The current ruler of Cauldron is Lord Severen Navalent.

Shining Sea: The name given to the southern expanse of the Wyn Myr. The Shining Sea is home to the following island chains: Nimbor, Narrow Isle, The Serpent's Teeth, The Mist Kingdom, and The Firestorm Islands. The Great Sargasso is located in this region as well.

Olman Islands: The only known civilization of the Olman people is located on this chain of three islands. The largest city is the city-state of Xamaclan on the largest Island. There is little trade between the other human civilizations along the Wild Coast and the Olman people of the islands, who usually keep to themselves.

Pirate Islands: (also called the Serpent's Teeth) These sparsely populated islands are avoided by most as they are home to many wretched bands of pirates and corsairs who raid the sea lanes of the Shining Sea. The infamous Crimson Fleet is based out of these islands, their fleet harbored at the squalid coastal town of Scuttlecove. Although not as well-known as the Corsairs of Tar Vielca, these pirates have a well deserved nasty reputation. Another small city located here is Freeport.

The Mist Kingdom: Very little of these islands is known, other than they are perpetually covered in thick mists which cause such a danger to ships that most sailors steer well clear of the area.

The Great Sargasso: Massive area of tangled seaweed, debris and broken ships that stretch for hundreds of miles across. The Sargasso is located in the center of the Shining Sea.

Firestorm Islands: A chain of active volcanoes, covered in clouds of ash and poisonous fumes. Very few humans dwell on these islands out of safety, but there are rich mineral and gem deposits located here, so hearty adventurers and miners have been known to try their luck for short visits, usually until the next eruption.