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This is the largest of the Corinthian city-states, made fat and prosperous by unchecked economic growth and secretly run by a small cadre of moneyed interests, bureaucrats, priests, and merchants. Through the judicious use of coin, they can manipulate the infrastructure of the city to meet their needs. This air of casual corruption is present throughout the Red City; every transaction feels like an illegal one.

All of the usual conveniences and amenities are available to visitors in Magyar. The city boasts several markets in its heart, catering to the locals and traders alike. The economy is more stable than Stregos and the citizens in a more genial mood. But there is an undercurrent in the city, a resistance to the rampant corruption that crept into the latent bureaucracy, and visitors who are insensitive with their comments may find themselves in a fight they didn’t know they were starting.

Notable Areas[]

The Maze[]

The thieves’ quarter of the Red City is almost as infamous as the Maul in Zamora. This area of the southern district used to be people’s homes before the last invasion from the east left most of the buildings a smoking ruin. The rebuilding effort was abandoned after two years when investors expanded the walls to the east and made a new housing district.

The criminal element moved in and more or less finished the work the honest laborers started. The result is a ramshackle cluster of one-way streets, dead ends, twisting alleys, and small buildings on their last legs. Trade is brisk in the Maze, and it is a favored spot to carouse and spend ill-gotten gains.

Inside the Maze are a number of cantinas and hovels where a thirsty reveler can obtain a drink. But only serious thieves and their ilk frequent The Rat’s Den. It’s not as desolate a place as the name would suggest. Rather, the bar got its name because of the numerous trap door escapes, hatches, and bolt holes that the building offers, no less than five distinct points of exit that don’t include the front and back doors. No guards have ever been able to catch a fugitive from inside The Rat’s Den, an achievement for which the thieves who call this place home are proud.

The Red City has a thriving black market focused on the Maze. Anyone wishing to move illicit goods from one place to the other need only visit Smuggler’s Alley. This blind alley terminates at the back of the Temple of Anu and, for the brave or desperate, there are plenty of people sitting in unlit courtyards and leaning on lampposts who can find, deliver, and transport anything from golden lotus to Stygian princesses, if the price is right.

Player characters may find work here, along with competition from any of the local talent who feel that foreign interlopers are taking their clients away. Sometimes the best way to remove the competition is to send them on a job far away or give them an assignment so dangerous that no one in their right mind would take it.

The Agora[]

In this open-air market, the locals buy, sell, and trade for goods and services. Food, drink, and more can be purchased here, though the prices fluctuate wildly from day to day depending on the commodity and the availability. The Agora is a wide crossroads, with small clusters of booths and stalls and wagons grouped together for ease. The city guard is present in both quantity and frequency, enough to deter casual thievery.

A small gang of urchins roams the Agora, subsisting on scraps, found coins, and the accidental jostle, cut purse strings, and other such tactics. They are incredibly well trained and it’s nearly impossible to catch them at their business. The gang steers clear of the guards, and the guards make no effort to hunt them, even when a cry goes up over some merchant’s missing wallet.

The Nationalist’s Headquarters[]

This boxy and unassuming building that used to be an auction house on the edge of the Agora has been closed for a long time, its windows boarded up from the inside. However, if you know who to ask for a key, you can enter through the front door and find the auction block replaced with a podium and the staggered benches on risers repaired and full of earnest young politicos and malcontents, eager to make a change for the city, one way or another. Gaining access to the building in the form of a key should be a minor adventure for anyone seeking this faction out. It is difficult, but not impossible, since the group is an open secret; that is, everyone knows about the nationalists, but not a lot of people know who they are or what they want.

The nationalists meet every fortnight during the dark of the moon and the full moon to discuss the best way to get the corruption out of their city. They are not dangerous to players unless the players side with the government or claim to represent the entrenched bureaucracy.

The nationalists have two goals: uniting the three city-states under a central government and ousting the criminal element from the local (and national) infrastructure. They are idealists all, and devoted in their endeavors, which include, but are not limited to, spying on known criminals, thwarting criminal enterprises, exposing corruption in the church and state — bringing it to light with songs, poems, and occasionally printed matter — and constantly pressuring the law to crack down on all of the above. To say many despise them is a gross understatement.

Joining the nationalists is easy; all one has to do is show up to one of the meetings and profess the intention to help the cause. Player characters so doing are asked to complete a task or two and, if they are thieves of any kind, that task will assuredly involve breaking and entering and obtaining proof of criminal corruption — for the greater good, of course.

As a faction, the nationalists have scant resources to offer the characters. But they are always ready to act as accomplices for larger plans and provide safe harbor for fugitives in need of a place to rest and recuperate.

The nationalists are allowed to operate because they keep their heads down and are, at best, minor nuisances. If that should change for any reason, or if the deeds of a few new recruits should become well known and place the entrenched corrupt players in the spotlight, the nationalists would find themselves with large targets upon their backs.

The Armory[]

Located next to the western gate, the armory is actually a small, walled district of public houses and barracks, with stables, blacksmiths, armor and weapon smiths, and leatherworkers — all servicing the needs of the mercenary groups that are paid to protect the city-state and its related holdings. There is a pass-through, an inner gate via the city jail that allows access to the rest of the city. There are always guards and soldiers hanging around in this enclosed area. They live, eat, drink, and fight within the walls, and typically handle their own affairs before things get out of hand. Non-military characters will stand out and be questioned incessantly as to their business in a polite but firm matter. Locals with business to conduct do so quickly and efficiently, which is exactly how both citizen and soldier like it. Needless to say, with so many armed guards around, a thief would have to be crazy to try to pull a job in this area.

City Jail[]

The city jail exists within the converted gatehouse that separates the armory from the rest of the city. The portcullis that once raised and lowered to restrict access is long gone, its chain and winch removed and the gate itself repurposed a hundred years ago. Two doors face outwards toward the Agora, and they lead to a processing area and the spiral staircase beyond leads down into the converted dungeon or up to the still-functioning guard stand, where members of the city watch working off an infraction or a temporary punishment keep a bored eye on the city market. In the event of a large-scale disturbance, a bell is rung and the rest of the garrison can be summoned.

The City Park[]

An open space full of trees and flowers not native to the region, this park boasts cobblestone walkways and manicured lawns. The locals consider the park to be vainglorious excess, but the politicians and the visitors consider it a feature, and so the park is always full of visiting travelers, often in the company of a retinue of guards and dignitaries. Around the edges of the city park, a number of ambitious merchants and hustlers are always on hand, selling overpriced food and drink, or trying to get gullible newcomers to purchase the deed to the park for pennies on the dollar.

The House of Nabonidus[]

Located closer to the city park than the palace in a semblance of modesty, the House of Nabonidus, the Red Priest, is actually one of the most feared places in the Red City. Known colloquially as “the Murder Castle”, this three-story mansion has been heavily modified to suit Nabonidus’ more sanguinary tastes.

No member of the upper class is as influential, as powerful, or as thoroughly corrupt as Nabonidus, the Red Priest (an honorific, rather than an actual title). His ruthlessness, coupled with his vast connections and deep pockets, virtually guarantees that his side business of influencing economic trends and policies, arranging for thefts and seizures of whatever he desired, and his amassing of exotic antiques and tomes for his bizarre devices are always successful.

This estate has high stone wall as tall as two men, and the inner and outer edges are rimmed with shrubbery and tall trees that cast deep shadows across the walled garden.

Inside the house, in addition to Nabonidus, are two servants: a cook and the majordomo, Joka. A third inhabitant, Thak, is never seen, but often heard in the upstairs apartments.

Nearly every room in the house features some form of fatal encounter. The estate is a giant mechanical death trap that only Nabonidus can operate and navigate with ease — and possibly Joka, as well.

Ground Floor[]

An entrance hall which leads in three directions, as well as stairs leading to the second floor. To the left is a sitting room, followed by a study. To the right is a meeting room, followed by a conservatory. In the center is a circular dining room. Going up the stairs leads to a circular gallery around the dining room and the stairs continue up to the third floor.

Possible hazards Nabonidus might have readied could include poisoned food, a floor opening that deposits victims in the dungeon below, or even hidden blowgun darts that fire when books are pulled from a shelf.

Second Floor[]

In addition to the large gallery, there is a balcony overlooking the garden in the back. Five bedrooms are here, including Nabonidus’ room at the end of the long, broad hall.

Possible hazards include blade traps over bed, poisonous animals released through a hatch in the wall, and chutes that deposit victims in the dungeon below. There are no traps in Nabonidus’ bedroom.

Third Floor[]

Storage space, servant’s quarters, and a small observatory. Possible hazards are that both of the servant’s quarters are airtight and the air can be sucked out of the room, creating a vacuum that suffocates the inhabitants. There is a control room with mirrors for spying into the various rooms of the dungeon, as well as operating mechanisms for many of the traps. The mirrors can be adjusted to peer into several different basement rooms by opening and closing valves and adjusting levers on the copper tubing. Stairs in this room lead down into the dungeon in the basement.

Dungeon Level[]

Copper tubing runs across the ceiling in a confusing array. There is a long, wide corridor in the center and several rooms on each side. Two of the rooms are actually sunken chambers ten feet deep. One of the rooms seals with thick glass and can be flooded with gas. The other room can be flooded with water.

The greatest danger in the dungeon level are the pits: one of the pits’ walls slowly comes together to crush victims, and another pit can be filled with corrosive acid to quickly dissolve bodies, leaving only metal behind.

The central corridor feeds into the sewer, and the entire basement can be flooded so that the corpses and remnants of Nabonidus’ victims are easily washed away into the river. The entrance to this sewer under the house has a spear trap over the mouth of the pipe.

The North Side[]

Only the wealthiest and most influential people live on the north side, in the neighborhood surrounding the king’s palace. As the homes run from the city park to the king’s palace, the ground slopes gently upward, meeting the walls of the palace at the edge of a sharply defined hill.

It’s impossible not to look up to the residents of the north side. Mansions, two and three stories tall, break the symmetry of the rooftops, allowing for some of the wealthier citizens to look down upon their less-affluent upper crust neighbors. Politicians, priests, and many merchants call the north side their home.

The King's Palace[]

The loftiest and most expensive land in the city lies on the hill upon which the king’s palace rests. This castle is actually a small keep with defendable walls and a well-maintained, if not opulent, inner tower. For infrequent entertaining, the gates are thrown open and parties are held all around the small tower on the grounds. Inside the tower, on the ground floor, a small phalanx of royal guards lives and works.

The second floor is dedicated to the affairs of state. Stairs leading up to the second floor flank the left and right side of the hall on the ground floor. Up here, the king holds court with the politicians and priests and merchants and citizenry, depending on how one interprets his bizarre and complicated schedule.

The king, Koval Cedomir, resides at the top of the tower with personal guards and council at his beck and call. Smaller, mostly empty chambers are found up and down the hallway leading to his bedroom. No guests stay overnight at the king’s palace.

The Sewers[]

Part of what makes the Red City so desirable as a destination is its ancient sewer system which takes the muck and filth of civilization and deposits it in the swamps southeast of the city. There are several entrances to the sewers within the city, but few people venture down there for fear of getting lost in the twisting and turning corridors and, of course, the persistent rumors of foul creatures dwelling just below the pavement, waiting to snatch anyone foolish enough to go blundering around in the dark.

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