A Godless World
Naramunz - City of Merchants
Naramunz is known today as the City of Merchants. Situated between the Beast Eye Forest and the Sisters, Naramunz once served as a road block to trade between the western nations of Baltheria and Lakar, and the eastern nations of Tareen and Arcaland. The Beast Eye Forest and the Sisters are both dangerous lands, places the smart and weary will avoid if at all possible. The Shifters and Tieflings who live within the Forest are often not welcoming of outsiders, and the Sisters are chaotic and filled with hostile creatures of arcane origins.
And once, Naramunz was no better. The massive ruined city was once home to hordes of undead abominations, ruled over by an undead creature of vast power and intelligence. The Lich of Naramunz. For many decades after the Recovery, the Lich ruled Naramunz and the areas around it with an iron fist.
That was until a young merchant came into possession of a legal agreement that afforded her sole ownership to the ruined city and the areas around it. No country wished to claim the land ruled by a lich and they were happy enough to give it to her. The merchant quickly hired a band of four adventurers, promising them riches and fame, and together they delved deep into the subterranean ruins. They sought out the lich, killing him and returning to the surface as heroes.
While the subterranean ruins, now known as the Undercity, still houses undead in some places, they are not organized by a powerful force, and the surface ruins, now known as the Overcity, is completely clear of the monsters.
Located in a small pass between two nearly impassible obstacles, the first Merchant Queen of Naramunz quickly set up a small empire, taxing goods that came through, and controlling the supply lines with an iron fist. And while she was strict with the taxation of trade goods, she was liberal with what could be bought or sold. Nearly nothing was off limits and Naramunz quickly became a hub for traders of all sorts.
With traders comes customers. And customers looking for trade are often flush with coin. Entertainers and innkeepers soon flocked to Naramunz as well, boosting the economy even further.
Today Naramunz stands as the smallest nation in all of Daenar, but the second most wealthy. Anything can be bought or sold in Naramunz, though if you’re looking for something less savory (slaves, drugs, or information), you’ll need to venture into the Undercity. While not illegal, these goods still hold foul stigmas upon those who buy and sell them, and few want that kind of reputation so they retreat to the Undercity where the darkness hides their deeds.
Only three things are technically illegal to buy or sell in Naramunz. You may not buy or sell services that result in the death or harm of another individual. You may not buy or sell stolen items. And you may not buy or sell State secrets. And even those are generally ignored by the Overcity guards so long as they don’t impact Naramunz herself. In fact, the only crime aside from murder that is punishable by death is buying/selling of Naramunz State Secrets.
With so few things illegal in Naramunz one might imagine that there is relatively little crime. This is not the case. Naramunz has as much, perhaps even more, crimes per capita than most other major cities. This is because with so many goods being bought or sold in Naramunz an organized thieves’ guild has become established. These thieves are given pretty free reign so long as they don’t upset the Merchant Council or King. This allows theft to occur pretty regularly, and for many permanent merchants the cost of a few stolen goods or paying protection money is easily off set by the profit of selling their wares in the city.
Naramunz is run by two bodies, a Merchant Council and the Merchant King/Queen. The Merchant Council is made of the 11 wealthiest merchants in Naramunz, and technically includes the Merchant Queen/King. Every year merchants on the Council, and those hoping to join, submit their financials to be inspected, and the 11 wealthiest merchants become the year’s Councils. From among those 11, the wealthiest is named King/Queen.
Because elevation to the Merchant Council, and to the status of Queen/King, is based on net wealth, it has become very important to check for fraud. To this effect, every merchant in Naramunz pays a special tax that supports the Naramunz University of Investigative Mathematics. The professors of this university are charged with investigating merchant ledgers for fraud and are also used to settle any financial disputes.