Black Markets exist in almost every town in some form or another. From the tiny hamlet where someone knows someone who can perhaps find what you’re looking for up to organized markets with multiple vendors opperating with tacit approval from the regional powers. Obviously knowing someone in a hamlet who can ‘find’ things is usually limited to items that are ‘gray’ in the eyes of local authority and most likely doe not extend to items beyond their local region. If said region is on the border of two countries, then they may have accees to illicit items from either at any given time. Blackmarkets are not always simply a place to purchase items branded as illegal. It can also be a place to find very hard to find items, rare items, and items that are simply not popular with the local culture or customs. Items without a sustainable market in traditional shops may be more accessable in markets that focuses on filling missing niches in the economy. Shoddy or dubious craftsmanship is always a risk no mater what the size of the market is. What follows is a summary of what each region has outlawed, and/or made very hard to acquire through normal merchant channels. The Independant City States of Placent: Given the unique trade agreement between each city with every other city, the position of a black market here is ever fluxuating. What was perfectly legal last week is suddenly illegal (via new or revised trade agreements) resulting in a something that is really more of a diffused kind of Gray Market where many items are sold ‘off the books’ when they are not legally allowed to trade them, then revised to be back on the books the next time the laws change back in their favor. Given the nature of the City’s relationship to each other, any importing of weapons, particuarly larger weapons of war (siege engins, balista, catapults, etc) is seen as a prelude to war. Trafficing in poisons is also illegal (though growing and brewing your own is not). Magical items are seen as suspect and destructive ones are outright banned. Dangerous flora and fauna are also watched closely in regular merchant channels. Fathom Fire is outlawed. Narcotics are also banned across the lowlands. The Credtara Empire: Most likely the region with the largest legal and cultural restrictions and the one with the most illicit trade. With it’s close ties to the Church of Saladron, it has woven cultural and religious regulation around legislated guidance. Ironically, the empire has the highest number of merchants trading in contraband items. Some of this is due to the larger list of prohabitions, but it is compounded by the Empires lack of resources to combat and squash this kind of trade. Enforcement is haphazard and very inconsistent, ranging from the turning a blind eye to such tranactions to imprisonment and execution. In relation to the neighboring regions, the empire does not offically ban anything items coming from Sierborn; they simply have anything the empire sees as valueable. House Flay on the other hand is heavily regulated in trade and while not illegal per se, it is subject to significant taxes and tariffs. Religious artifacts from the JUNGLE are prohibitied by the church, and all magical items and texts related to the Witch Kings are forbidden by both church and state. Other religious texts (not related to Saladron) or magic texts are culturally frowned upon, so while not technically illegal, they are not found in most traditional merchants supply. Rare metals and gems are heavily regulated to protect the weaker mining industry within the VALLEY from it’s more robust neighbors. Exotic ingredients; be it flora, fauna or other (provided it doesn’t already violate the law or the precepts of the Church) are frowned upon and discouraged in the open market, forcing some legitimate traders into less legitimate markets. Cities with Black Markets of Note: Abacarga - The Black Market of this mediteranian coastal city is robust and thriving. It has it’s own governance (not unlike Dualgate’s Master of the Canvas in the Night Market) but unlike the Night Market, it’s location moves constantly. Larger items are sold in the market but delivered at different locations and at pre-arranged times via a coded system of small color tiles with carved symbols. Buyers and sellers exchange a complex set of tiles that must then be matched up at time of delivery. While it started as a gathering for illegal goods, it quickly incorporated legitimate goods as well; fruit vendors next to untaxed kegs of beer from House Flay, next to rare and arcane book sellers. Both the Mage Council and the Knights keep an eye on the Black Market here. The Mages so as to know what’s going on behind the scenes, the Knights to enforce both church regluation and the law (in that order). Dualgate - The Master of Canvas polices the Night Market with a very firm hand. Anyone found trading in goods that are deemed illegal by the Empire (and to a lesser degree, the Tribal Unions of the Sun Sea) will not need a trial to see the matter resolved. It is said that Izel’s Market does not exits within the borders of the Night Market for this very reason. He is widely known as a man who can lay hands on just about anything provided you have enough coin and enough time. Palmguard - This seedy little outpost at the edge of the Empire is just far enough off the trade routes as to be missed as a merchants stop, but close enough to skim off the scum and filth from traders. Once a garrison station for regional defense, the forces were moved closer to the trade route and the Sierborn and Moana border as trade with the JUNGLE incrased. What remains is a haven for all that is unsavory within the Empire. Weapons are traded with the Sierborn for food and what little else they can provide in ore. It is one of the few places you are almost guaranteed to be able to find Fathom Fire. This rough and tumble town is not a good place to find texts but if you need arcane objects or items from outlawed religions, look no further though the supply is constantly ebbs and flows through the dark warehouses here.
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