Talecia (Tah-lee-sea-uh), also called ‘The Free City’, lies just past Nerath’s northern borders and inland from the Circle Sea. It is the most populous city in the world, and is the primary center of trade for much of the Arisielian continent.
Talecia was once the second largest city in the vast empire of Nerath, and was a instrumental in staying Nerath’s destruction in the Shadows War. First established as a crossroads city by a order of powerful mages to facilitate trade between the more developed center of Nerathi territory and the outlying towns of the (NAME) peninsula, it continued to expand and grow wealthy over the centuries as traders and merchants settled in.
During the Shadows War, the now substantial private forces of this merchant empire and its easily-defended topography made Talecia an impenetrable line of defense. With Underdark forces controlling (NAME MOUNTAIN), the city was cut off from the main Nerathi territories and forced to militarize itself to survive, hemming in Underdark armies and supplying constant pressure to their holdings in the mountains. The Talecian Guard was one of the few branches of the Nerathi military not to make extensive use of Warforged; conscription was easy in the cramped and highly-populated city, and with trade routes under constant threat the resources required to build one of the great Creation Forges were redirected to more immediate solutions. By the long-awaited end of the conflict, Talecia was one of the few population centers of Nerath not ravaged and left in shambles; in fact, the city had steadily grown during the war as clever merchants profited from the death and destruction.
In more modern times, the highly libertarian Talecian government experienced a period of dissatisfaction with Nerathi rule – as they were now the largest and most powerful community on this side of the world by far, the Talecian state seceded 60 years ago and with only token resistance became its own city-nation independent from the Nerathi Empire. Tensions between the two nations run high even today, and there are lords on both sides who stand to profit from such a war.
Geography & Layout
Talecia is a city built above and around an ancient caldera lake that is honeycombed with underground rivers and streams that both feed and drain it. It was long ago hollowed to a perfect circle by magic, with all the residential and military districts lining the walls of the caldera, and the commerce districts floating high above the lake on massive stone platforms held aloft by enchanted cable and chains. The House of Law lies in the very center of the city, with the Talecian Magics University towering above it.
The outer ‘rings’ of the city are hold the majority of the population. The first layer hold the military and policing barracks and offices of the city, and is the most heavily secured section of the city. The second through fourth layers hold the general residential districts, endless looping rows of apartments and homes from mansions to hovels. The lowest two layers are nicknamed The Shades, and are much less secure and safe than the rest of the city. Mostly run by the Rezna Syndicate.
The Talecian government is a bicameral parliament: The Board of Authority, made up of owners and representatives of the many organizations and guilds in the city, and the Chamber of Commons, a group of elected officials who represent the people and the workers. The Board is the far more powerful of the two, having absolute veto authority over the Chamber. Both answer to the Tyrant(so called after the reign of the utilitarian and lighthearted Johnson III, who remarked “I’d rather save the people some time and just make the title official as soon as possible”), an elected position chosen by a weight vote of the public and the Board.
The Talecian government is mostly motivated by money, with rights and other moral issues being held in check by the Tyrant and Chamber of Commons, but only just. Business oversight is thin, with most laws dictated by large companies and nothing standing in the way of financial or technological advancement.
Economy & Military
Talecia is a merchant’s city first and foremost. Every able-bodied person is employed in one of the many industries, from factories to fishing to magic to military to leisure services. It is the richest city in the world, although looking at many of its denizens you may not realize this.
Talecia’s military is officially run by the government, and practically run by a private company. It is vast due to its well-paying nature, and the city sports a guard or soldier for every five citizens. While the training, employment, equipment, and supervision is managed by the company’s owner, Michael Drauht, both the Watch arm, headed by Commander Samuel Vimes, and the army branch, headed by a team of four Generals, answer directly to the Tyrant.
Guilds – The most powerful include the Alchemists, Lawyers, Assassins, Thieves, Merchants, Craftsmen, Clergy, and Fishermen, but Guilds exist for all professions found in Talecia.
Thieves’ Guild – A ‘decriminalized’ organization of licensed thieves that operate as more of an insurance company than a thieves’ liar in modern times. The vast majority of the city’s businesses and homes pay Thieves’ insurance to the guild, and in turn are not robbed by licensed Thieves. However, as these policies still cover unlicensed thievery the Guild is considered by many as the second police force of Talecia, as any amateur unlicensed thief seen robbing an insured home will often spend the next night, and many after, at the bottom of the lake. The Guild’s battle with the unlicensed smuggling and thievery of the Rezna Syndicate is only a few degrees from civil war in some parts of the Shades.
Assassins’ Guild – Assassination is just another industry in Talecia. Widely regarded as the best education in the world for children of nobility, as the Guild considers it shameful to be executed by an uneducated man.
Talecian Magicks University – This large wizarding school is the largest authority on magic on Arisiel, much of the time consisting of more professors and senior wizards than students.
The Rezna Syndicate – The secretive criminal underworld of Talecia. Trafficking in the few things left illegal, like life and extraplanar commodities, the organization is headed by Vondal Rezna, a former dwarven nobleman who was the one to rouse the interest in Talecian secession in order to get Nerath’s much stricter trade laws out of his business. Once successful, Vondal earned the ire of the entire city, leading literal hostile takeovers of competing businesses and blatantly threatening his detractors. His ruthless tactics openly decried by the rest of the Board, Vondal was soon stripped of his merchant license and disappeared before the authorities could incarcerate him.
Within months, crime rates spiked as rumors and hearsay about Vondal’s continued existence within the Shades became common gossip, and to this day his shadowy crime syndicate has more pull and clout within Talecia than most are ready to admit.
In a ‘melting pot’ city such as Talecia, every form of religion is recognized in some way, from the grand Cathedral of Pelor taking an entire island to itself to classes on Zehir’s teachings in the Assassin’s Guild to tiny shrines to Asmodeus in the alleys of the Shades. The various ‘good’ gods receive the most adoration, with Erathis being held in especially high regard by the government. Bane and Kord are popular among the city’s large soldier population, and none will say who exactly the members of the Board of Authority speak their prayers to behind the walls of their offices.