The Free City of Ralindor
- Members of all of the Six Races can be found here; men and halflings are the most common, but it won't take long before someone spots a dwarf, elf, or orc on the streets.
- Half-elves and half-orcs, and aasimar and tieflings can be found here in surprising numbers as well, although the latter are quick to conceal their identity.
- A sizable population of kenku live in the Free City as well. However, they are antisocial creatures who typically drift around dark alleys and abandoned buildings. They offend many people's sensibilities, and have been historically marginalized. Many are criminals.
- In the city's shadows, in the underground halls of the Sunken City or amid the crumbling ruins of the Hanging Quarter, live the Kin. The "mongrel-men", called by those who fear them, have a fearsome reputation as flesh-eating mutants -- and that's just the way they like it. The Kin of Ralindor are scrappy, pragmatic survivalists that stick to their own, wary of surface-dwellers who have only ever acknowledged their existence to justify the separation of the races.
- The Lord-Mayor:The office of the Lord-Mayor is the last remaining vestige of aristocratic authority in the city. The title was established at the City's founding and functions mostly like a King. The current ruling family is the Silverhands, and the Lord-Mayor is Laeral Silverhands, a powerful wizard who previously was the Guild-Master of the Forum Arcanis.
- The Nobles of the Coin: The time of rule by the landed gentry is over. In a city increasingly dominated by commerce and magic, the Guilds and the Forum Arcanis are the true rulers of the city. The Guilds form a council and draft all of the city's laws; the Lord-Mayor must then approve them. This is meant to create a balance of power, with the Guild-Masters acting in their own interests, and the Lord-Mayor acting in the interest of the aristocracy, but to the surprise of few, the ability to draft legislature tips the scales in favor of the Guilds. Supporters believe that they're far more egalitarian and meritocratic than the old noble families, and cater to the interests of the middle-class and non-humans; detractors claim they're buying their around the law.
- The Nobles of the Land: Most hereditary nobles have nothing to do with city politics, and spend their days idling away the hours in their manor-houses. Nobles are organized into Houses, hereditary lines that live within the city walls, but claim fiefdoms outside of them. They relegate administrative duties to knights and bailiffs, but collect taxes in the name of the Lord-Mayor, keeping portions guaranteed to them, and passing the rest along to the city. Most can secure a steady source of income without doing anything; the best of them follow scholarly or artistic pursuits, and some have gained notoriety for their talents. A few other Houses have begun to engage in banking or trade, but this is considered dreadfully middle-class by other families. All of the city's nobles are humans or elves, or the occasional half-elf (the product of a strategic political alliance or a torrid love affair).
- The Free City has a standing army that both defends the city's borders, and serves in a law-enforcement capacity. However, they're soldiers first and last; solving mysteries and investigating crimes after they happen is neither their area of expertise, or preferred duty. They see keeping the peace and making arrests as more important. They rarely operate outside of the city walls.
- The nobility of Ralindor is well-associated with the Red Banner, and in the event of war, they can supplement the army, as well. Many nobles hire private mercenaries for protection, either from the the Red Banner or other groups.
- The Free City is surrounded by stone walls, peppered with watchtowers. Rather than looking outside, their occupants typically turn their gaze inwards at the city streets.
- The entire economy of the Free City is based on trade. Ralindor is an importer of raw-materials and an exporter of finished-goods. Luxury goods from across the world can be found in Ralindor. The city is large and developed enough to use a cash-economy.
- The only natural resources Ralindor produces on any scale are some grains and vegetables, taken from farmers who live under the city's jurisdiction, fish from the river, and stone from nearby quarries.
- The economy is bolstered by the additional exchanges made between guilds that produce goods (carpenters, blacksmiths, etc.) and the Guild of Merchants and Moneylenders. The middle-man they create results in additional buying and selling across class-lines, contributing to economic growth, although it does not result in any extra production.
- Although a far smaller section of the economy, minuscule even, the amount of adventurers who come to Ralindor seeking to sell their treasures, and potentially purchase magical items has an undoubted effect on the city's economy. A man might live a year on what he could make selling a magic sword.
- Ralindor is extremely modern, sporting paved roads, watermills, several market squares, and the largest sewer system in the Free Kingdoms.
- Due to their proximity to the Sunken City, the sewers are quite dangerous, and are home to strange monsters from below and yet-to-be-sprung traps of elvish make. The Guild of Cellarers and Plumbers sees to the defense and maintenance of the sewers.
- Due to the influence of the elves of the Alphosian Empire and the authority of the Forum Arcanis, Ralindor is the most magically advanced city in the world. People are less afraid of eldritch forces, and they contribute to the local infrastructure. Wizards' familiars flit about the air and deliver messages, glyphs of warding protect the blacksmith's foundry from burglars, and wealthy nobles might pay a healthy sum to use a sorcerer's circle of teleportation to travel about the city.
- Despite its massive size and proximity to the ocean, Ralindor has little area dedicated to housing ships. This is mostly due to the fact that few foreign vessels arrive in the city, although dock areas are extremely crowded with people. Due to the lack of trade, some industrious folk have taken to building houses upon wooden docks, suspended above the water.
- Likewise, the streets of Ralindor have expanded seemingly at random; there are a few major causeways, but most streets are winding and maze-like. Communication in the city is difficult and traffic is a cumbersome affair.
- As its name implies, the ruined collection of manor-houses known as the Hanging Quarter sits ominously atop the rocky shore. An earthquake caused part of the cliffs to tumble into the river, and the Quarter has been mostly abandoned ever since. A few ancient noble families still dwell here, amidst crumbling manors and dead gardens, including some elven houses. Kenku and mongrel-folk also dwell in some of the abandoned buildings found here.
- Wealthy folk dwell in the High Quarter, be they landed nobility, or the more recently-established "nobles of the coin", the wealthy merchants and moneylenders that make up the city's financial elite. It has many scenic parks, and the northern section has numerous courthouses, as well as the prestigious Guild of Litigants and Magistrates, in which select nobility train as legal professionals.
- The Royal Palace was built atop the Isle of Lords, overlooking the rest of the Free City, and the plains beyond. The town that grew around it is now the oldest of the city’s neighborhoods, and also the most moneyed. Noble villas and government buildings can be found here, as well as the city's largest and oldest temples. Unlike the High Quarter, the people that live here are traditionally born-aristocrats, rather than successful merchants.
- The residents of the Low Quarter are commoners and other lower-class individuals (workers from the River Quarter, etc.). The Low Quarter also has many taverns and shops for day-to-day needs, rather than the expensive trade goods found in the Market Quarter.
- Most people who have been to Ralindor associate it with the Market Quarter, a bustling bunch of squares and bazaars, streets lined with countless shops and taverns. Most of the city's Guild-Halls are located in the southern part of the Market Quarter, and most guild-members and artisans live here as well, in the eastern part of the Quarter, across the river from the Low Quarter.
- The River Quarter is full of warehouses, innumerable inns and taverns, as well as gambling dens and brothels that cater to merchants and boatmen from lands farther north. Needless to say, the Thieves' Guild is notoriously active in the River Quarter.
- he Scholar's Quarter houses a number of institutions of learning, including some more academically-inclined Guilds (e.g. alchemists, scribes, cartographers, etc.). It is also the headquarters of the Forum Arcanis, Ralindor's Guild of wizards. Artisans catering to academic-types, like bookbinders, copyists, and glassblowers have shops here. Academics love artists, and many bohemian-types live and work here as well.
- So named because of the awful smell and hazy air generated by the numerous smithies and tanneries, the Stench Quarter is home to meat-packers, slaughter houses, leather-workers, and charcoal burners. Likewise, it offers some of the cheapest real-estate in the city; it is home to the impoverished and sickly.
Guilds and Factions
- Factions of all kinds can be found here, but the most influential are certainly the Guilds, including the Forum Arcanis, and the Red Banner.
- The Cloak and the Order of the Eye are more secretive, but can be found by the persistently knowledgeable (people who know how to ask) and the knowledgeably persistent (people who know how not to ask). The the Order of the Eye considers themselves opposed to the Forum Arcanis and their practice of consolidating and restricting magical power.
- Clans of the Kin rule their own small corners of the Sunken City, and are swept up in the same politics as their surface-dwelling cousins. Some of them have formed an organization called the "Six-Fingered Hand" (a common trait of theirs), a group of stalwarts who defend their people from the true monsters of the Sunken City.
During the Times of Strife, a tribe of humans called the Ralindrii (best described as proto-Heartlanders) made their home in this region. They were named because of their reverence of a demigod called Ralin, who would supposedly smite down any invaders that conquered their lands. Sure enough, when the elves of the Alphosian Empire took over, their city was swallowed by a sinkhole, which now crumbles underneath Ralindor. Today, it is known as the Sunken City, and is a popular spot for adventurers and treasure-hunters. Since that time, the Ralindrii have mixed their blood with other men, and have all but vanished. After the Elveswar, Ralindor was declared the Free City, and it remains so to this day.
- Ralindor is located in the plains of the Heartlands. The land is pleasant and fertile, and the Free City is surrounded by farmers.
- Ralindor sits in a small bay that protects it from the harsher weather that can be seen on the ocean. Boats from Stygia and Iscagna dock here.
- The city is bisected by a large river, the Ralindrii, named for the people who originally inhabited the region. Many river-merchants come down the river to engage in trade.