The City-state of Ammadhur, Republic Eternal
Ammadhur was one of the first independent states formed after the Death of the Gods. Refugees from all races came together in this sheltered coastal area and huddled for protection from the insanity raging across the world, and when things died down, they stayed, and built. Ammadhur grew, and grew, and is now an immense urban sprawl, spread out over a stretch of coastline and a number of small islands - some natural and some artificial. It is positioned at a perfect natural harbor, in an area where a number of major ocean currents and major rivers happen to come together, and has thus become incredibly wealthy as a trade center and gateway to the interior of the continent.
Politically, Ammadhur is a representative republic. It is led by the Tyrant, almost always an elder merchant, head of one of the greater trading houses. The Tyrant is elected for life, via an incredibly complex system, designed to prevent favoritism or nepotism. Thirty members of the Great Council, chosen by lot, were reduced by lot to nine; the nine chose forty and the forty were reduced by lot to twelve, who chose twenty-five. The twenty-five were reduced by lot to nine and the nine elected forty-five. Then the forty-five were once more reduced by lot to eleven, and the eleven finally chose the forty-one who actually elect the Tyrant. While the system may seem impossibly burdensome, it has now been in use for almost 1000 years, and serves the city well. The Tyrant has a fair degree of power in and of himself, but he is checked in many ways by both the Great Council and the League of Guilds, both of which groups are quite powerful in their own rights.
[Out of character note: Ammadhurian politics are based on the political structure of Rennaisance Venice]
The Tyrant is invariably shrewd, intelligent, and very very careful to keep the best interests of the City in mind. While he is elected for life, this comes with the loophole that a general vote of no confidence can result in his removal or execution at any time. The traditional Tyrannical costume in fact comes with a noose which the Tyrant always wears, on the theory that it will keep him humble and in his place.
One of the Tyrant's major power bases is actually the Customs department. Ammadhur being such a hub for trade and merchantilism, the customs department has a tremoendous amount of leeway to enforce the rules. Their leeway is so great, thaty a prior tyrant used it to create a special customs enforcement guard squad, called the Office of Causal Oversite , that acts as Ammadhru's unofficial secret police.
Description and City MakeupEdit
Ammadhur rests in a cove in the southern hemisphere on Maeleff. It is a coastal city, surrounded by tall hills. The valleys between those hills carry three major rivers through the city, to empty out into the natural harbor there. The city center is on an island in the middle of the harbor, and the other quarters surround the shores between the rivers.
[Out of character note: Physically, the city is based on Mantua]
Physically, the city is breathtaking. Immensely rich, the city is famed for its densely packed but beautiful architecture, between and among which flow thousands of canals, and nearly as many roads. The city is also unusually multicultural, representatives of nearly every race and people can be found there, some keeping to their own neighborhoods and walled ghettos within the city, some intermingling. Peace is kept by a (typically for Ammadhur) complex system of watch forces, one answering to the Tyrant, one to the Counsel, one to the League, and smaller forces retained by the individual guilds and merchant houses.
There actually remain several standing temples in Ammadhur. All are maintained by the city as museums, to remind the people of the death of gods, and it's effects on the world. The names and faces of the gods have all been defaced from each temple. The temple museums are all heavily guarded and protected by the enchanters' guilds and schools, as they are by their nature storehouses of powerful items of corrupted magic.
Along with the merchant's guilds and various guard companies, the city is rife with other organizations vying for control. Competing thieve's guilds, mercenary companies, universities of magic, adventuring companies, etc. Archaeological relic hunters undertake expeditions into the wild. Bounties on undead and on the gods' blood cults lead to professional hunters making hunting forays. Travelers' Societies work to keep the roads safe.
Note that the various guard companies double as a standing army when necessary. On the rare occasion that Ammadhur has to go to war, the Tyrant takes overall control of all if the various guard companies, with the officers of those companies taking command roles in the resulting army. If necessary, the Tyrant may negotiate with the various mercenary companies that have their headquarters in the city.
The wealthier sections of Amadhur have an alchemically powered commuter rail, streets lit by magic globes, high buildings with magically run elevators. The wealthiest have cars, electricity (for all intents and purposes), many or most of the modern conveniences. Middle class and higher have good medical care (some magical, some merely good care).
The poorer sections of town of course have none of this, just a typical pre-enlightenment city. Little or no medical care, few conveniences, almost no available magical resources.
The other side of the equation of course, is the danger inherent in the heavy magic use in the wealthier areas of town. While all of the magical amenities and enchanted items are manufactured using the safesteans possible (which is in no small part why they are so imcredibly expensive), there have been problems in the past. It was not all that long ago that the power in a simple light globe turned out to be ever so slightly corrupt, and slowly over the course of a few years caused several shopkeepers in the area to go mad, and ultimately die slowly and in horrible pain in the mage guilds' isolation cells, after each killed their loved ones.
Ammadhur is surrounded by farms and smaller towns that are loosely associated with the city-state. They pay taxes to the city, in exchange for being guarded by the Tyrant's troops. There are also a handful of large estates of rich and powerful folks that fall outside the city walls. Most have their own troops to keep them safe, some even contract with one or more of the schools of magic - which operate as guilds on their own right - for magical protection.
One of the biggest holidays celebrated in Ammadhur is the Day of the Falling of the Gods, usually just called The Falling or Falling Day. It's a chaotic day that falls between the last day of one year an the first day of the next. Nobody works save the absolute necessities. By tradition it is a day associated with reversals of fortune. For 24 hours, servants rule over their masters, peasants command soldiers, and children command their parents. The Tyrant traditionally spends the day a a common laborer somewhere in the city. The day ends with a "rain of blood", when thousands of gallons of red wine are sprayed over crowds of people all over the city.