Shelzar General Information
Shelzar – Common Knowledge
Shelzar’s racial makeup: Human 76%, Halfling 10%, Half-elf 7%, half-orc 3%, dwarf 1%.
Language: Shelzari primarily and Zathiscan is widely spoken (Characters native to Shelzar begin with Shelzari and Ledean as free languages)
Governing Body: His Most Gracious Host, High Minister Fratreli and the City Council (38 members).
- Citizens in good standing* elect the council of representatives, or ministers, who in turn elect a High Minister from among their number. There is no precept in Shelzari law specifying a term of service, so most councilors serve for life.
- Citizen in good standing as defined by Shelzari law: A person “having resided in the city for no less than 7 years and who possesses no less than 10 acres of arable land and a dwelling worth no less than 1,000 ordu (gold pieces).”
• Districts: The city is divided into ten separate districts (I will be providing each of you with a print out map of the city that shows the district borders).
- Old Town: Oldest part of the city. Home to Shalamar, the Shelzari seat of government and home to High Minister Fratreli. The docks in this area are primarily used to as a mooring place for the leisure craft of the city’s wealthiest.
Places of note: Shrine to Denev, Shalamar Palace.
- Merchant’s Quarter: Trade occurs everywhere in Shelzar, so this name is more of a hold-over to the time in the city’s past when trade was strictly regulated and mercantile activities were relegated to only this district. Still, most of the more successful merchant houses maintain headquarters, offices and/or warehouses in this district.
Places of Note: The Merchant’s Souk, Calastian Embassy, Silver Spire offices.
- Foreign Quarter: Another name that is a hold-over from the past. At one time foreign visitors to the city were kept in this quarter and were required by curfew to remain within its boundaries from sunset to sunrise.
Places of Note: Temple of Nemorga.
- North docks: The original port for official business with the city, now mostly services small cargo ships, passenger vessels. It also houses theatres, art galleries and tea/coffee houses. The more sordid vices of the city are much more subdued here, but they are present if one looks close enough.
Places of Note: Honorable Brotherhood of Sailors and Pilots guildhall, Amah’s Orphanage, The Dark Elixir, Stormtooth Restaurant, Lucky Stone gem-cutters.
- South Docks: The main port of Shelzar, similar to waterfront regions of most any port city: Dozens of taverns, tattoo shops, brothels, drug dens and flop houses.
Shrine to Manawe, Harbormaster’s Office, Paladins of Corean, Piper’s Cup Tavern.
- Shahdi: Home to Shelzar’s working poor. Houses are the remnants of run down shacks that once housed slave workers centuries ago (slavery is now illegal in Shelzar). Several years ago the city council painted all the buildings in the area with bright cheery colors in anticipation of a visit from King Virduk of Calastia.
Places of note: Shrine to Madriel, The various city gates (Old Gate, Padaweh Gate, Enkili’s gate, Newgate, Hedrada’s Gate, Beggar’s Gate).
- Adazi District: Home to many of Shelzar’s lesser merchants and many foreign expatriates and ex-adventurers choose to settle here.
- The Souk: The term “Souk” in shelzari roughly translates to a large vending area (much like a bazaar) so many districts contain a souk, and visitors are often confused when a local gives directions, telling them to ‘turn left at the souk,’ they could mean a smaller local souk while the visitor assumes they mean the Souk district…Anyhoo, the Souk district is a place where the majority of trade takes place in shelzar. Thousands of vendors hawk their wares from virtually every corner of Ghelspad.
Places of Note: Shrine to Enkili.
- The Maze: Also known as the Seven Sins. The most stereotypical “Shelzari” district of the city. Whores advertise themselves openly (and often perform their services just as openly), gambling houses and drug dens outnumber common taverns, and a raucous noise fills the district from dusk til dawn. Years of unplanned growth have twisted the district into a virtual labyrinth.
Places of Note: Temple of Idra, Temple of Enkili, Brunwyn craft Guild, Aqil’s Forge.
- The Pezwahri: The enclave of the rich and powerful. Virtually all of Shelzar’s major figures make their homes here.
Places of Note: Grand Temple, The Fortress (Home to Shelzar’s army), House Asuras Compound, Private home of High Minister Fratreli, The park, The menangerie, The Lighthouse, Ismarhi Island, The Alabaster bridge.
• City Walls – 30 ft. stone wall surrounds the city pierced by seven huge gates. A small shanty town is steadily growing outside of beggar’s gate.
• The majority of travel within the city is on foot or by sedan chair, the streets are generally too crowded or narrow for carts or horses. Sedan chairs can carry two people and may be hired for only 3 ouda (copper) per quarter mile.
• Coinage and Finances: Shelzari merchants rarely accept foreign currency at face value. Shelzari coins are minted by a local merchant house that is contracted to do so. The contracts run for seven year periods. House Asuras has held this contract for the last four terms, but it is soon coming up for negotiation again. The city mints six different coins, the platinmum ayam-kebir (1 pp), the platinum kebir (5 gp), the gold ordu (1 gp), the gold argenti (5 sp), the silver sayar argenti (1 sp), the copper ouda (1 cp). Coins are commonly called: ayam, kebir, ordu, argenti, sayar and ouda.
• Criminal Sentences in Shelzar:
- Theft – Remuneration or prison term and loss of hand. Five years in prison and loss of a hand for second offense.
- Rape: Castration/loss of offending appendage.
- Blasphemy: Public flogging, with the number of lashes based on the severity of the offense.
- Trespass: From one to six months in prison. Five years in prison for a second offense.
- Weapon Posession: Variable stay in prison.
- Arson: Death by burning.
- Murder: Death by beheading.
- Treason: Death by quartering.
- Assault: Variable stay in prison.
- Casting harmful magics: Variable stay in prison.
- Casting Mind-affecting magics: From one to five years in prison, dependent upon the severity.
- Raising or commanding undead: Death by quartering, and the pieces burnt.
- Broken, False or missing peace bond: One month field labor per weapon.
- Public drunkenness: Usually a fine, taken care of on the spot by the guardsman. ( wink-wink)
• The Underground: Beneath the streets of Shelzar exists another city virtually separate unto itself. Long forgotten crypts, tunnels, catacombs, and cellars form a vast subterranean network. All manner of dangers exist there, both mundane and monstrous. In some areas the city’s homeless have carved out a tiny niche in the city’s most modern sewers, living off the coins and scraps that sift their way through the sewer grates.
• Hago: The most popular game among the citizens of Shelzar, a deceptively simple board game involving shifting stones around a 20×20 board to conquer territory. Playing Hago is done with a profession (Hago) or a knowledge (game-craft) roll (or a straight intelligence check).
- The month of Enkilot (In Shelzar only) is a month-long holiday. During the day the shops are closed and people pray at homeor in temples and shrines, fasting from dawn to dusk. From sundown to sunup there are wild celebrations and feasts in virtually every corner of the city.
- There are two Enkili days in the Shelzari calendar: The first day of Enkilot and Enker respectfully. These days are for family and loved ones. The giving of gifts and familial feasts are the order of the day.
- Carnival of flowers (Falls on the second Wildday of Tanot): Features feasts, hunts, music and dance honoring Tanil the Huntress. The Gods allow four days to honor the land and the seasons. The carnival of Flowers is the first among them. Though it is celebrated all across Ghelspad it is usually celebrated differently according to the local culture.
- Festival of the Sun: (Falls on the second Vanday of Madrot) – During this festival, the faithful give thanks to Madriel and ask that she bless them with a bountiful harvest. 2nd among the days set aside by the Gods to honor the land and seasons.
- The Feast of Wheat: (Takes place on the second Belsaday of Madrer) – Marks the autumnal equinox. Once more, the Goddess Madriel is honored, as is Enkili, who is thought to control the winter weather. On this day, the dead are also honored with prayers and ceremonies dedicated to Belsameth. 3rd among the days set aside by the Gods to honor the land and seasons.
- Grim Day (The shortest day of the year, observed on the second Vanday of Belsamer) – On this day the faithful perform acts of penance and atonement, in solemn ritual intended to cleanse their souls in the coming year. 4th among the days set aside by the Gods to honor the land and seasons.
- Divinities’ Day (Celebrated on the first Corday of Chardot) – Corean and Chardun are invoked and honored as Gods of war. Festivities generally include great mock battles, feasts, and dramatic recreations of the events of the Divine War.
- The Carnival of Masks (Celebrated on the last day of Corer) – Taken from the Hallowfaust tradition of honoring the dead on this night. In Shelzar the original holiday is perverted into a night-long revel and sexual party. Citizens wear masks and masquerade around town, anonymously having sex. No one has an identity save for their mask, no nobility, no Merchant class. Station and status is set aside and you may couple with whoever desires to couple with you. Obviously many illegitimate children are conceived on this night, only adding to the large numbers of unwanted children in this city (As you all can attest to no doubt).