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Foreign Quarter

 


This is the most crowded quarter of the New City, not just because this is the residential district assigned to all those who have not inherited or adopted Greyhawk citizenry, but because it is a nice place to live. It offers a variety of eateries and taverns, as well as tiny shops of many unique types.

It has long been city policy that visitors who take up residence in Greyhawk should not be allowed to inhabit certain areas, particularly places adjacent to the city wall. Thus, all foreigners who actually rent a residence (as opposed to taking a room in an inn, even for many weeks) must find such a residence in this quarter. Of course, foreign nobles and official guests of the city are exempt from the restriction.

Foreigners are not permitted to purchase property in the Free City. After seven consecutive years of residence (at least six months each year) in the city, a foreigner can apply for citizenship. Provided he has two citizens to vouch for him, and no record of troubles with the watch or any influential guilds, citizenship is granted.

Certain of the Foreign Quarter's shops and inns retain a distinctive character reflecting their owners' origins. But for the most part this district has blended very well into the rest of the Free City's character.

The City Watch is here, but not in any considerable numbers. The People's Constables on the other hand, are a common and bothersome presence during daylight. At night, the Nightwatchmen's Guild puts regular patrols through this and the neighboring River District. In many ways it is representative of the city in miniature, with its diversity of shops, its theatre (the Pit), and its mix of people from all places and all levels on the social scale. Indeed, the Foreign Quarter even has its own nobility, in the form of The Duke.

Every type of business can be found in this quarter. Problem is though if you asked someone where to find what you are looking for, half the time the directions are wrong.

 

Mercenaries Guild Hall

 

This sturdy block of a building contains the headquarters of the Free City's organization of hired swordsmen and other warriors. While the guild cannot claim the membership of all mercenaries in the city, a great proportion of them make certain to pay their dues immediately upon entering the city, though at ten gp per year, theses are more costly than most guild memberships in the city.

Membership in the guild gains for mercenaries several advantages. Firstly, the guildhall maintains a well-stocked bar, with drinks at no cost to members. A bunk in a community sleeping room is also offered, free, for a member who needs shelter for a few nights. Those mercenaries in town for a week or longer are expected to eventually arrange their own lodgings.

But even more importantly, the guildhall is the most commonly used employment center for mercenaries. Hired fighters who betray their employers are forever barred from guild membership. The guild requires most prospective members to pass a combat test (requiring 1st-level fighting skills). Thus one who seeks hired fighters can be fairly certain of finding skilled, reasonably loyal troops at the guildhall.

Certain mercenaries offering skills other than pure fighting knowledge, such as healing ability, magic use, horse training, or scouting skills, are often exempted from the combat test. These individuals, while still mercenaries and guild members, are referred to as "specialist."

Arms and armor may be worn in the hall, but a rigid code of discipline prevents any fighting--even fisticuffs--within the guild headquarters. Though a pair of warriors may have come here from the same battlefield where they fought against each other, all such differences must be set aside as they pass through the door of the guildhall. Fighters lacking the discipline to observe this restriction--and there are quite a few--generally have the good taste to avoid the guildhall when the potential for trouble exists. Again, violation of this tenet results in banishment from the guild.

 

Silver Dragon Inn

 

This is the grand inn of the Foreign Quarter, often the first place sought by new arrivals in the city. Prices are average and servings are huge. From the spicy bean recipes of the south to the seafood delicacies of the wild coast to the rice and vegetable concoctions made across the plains of the Flanaess, every manner of food and every means of preparation is available here.

Weapons larger than daggers must be checked at the door, together with shields. Customers wearing metal armor are not admitted. A pair of bouncers stands at the door politely enforcing the rule.

The Silver Dragon Inn has three different restaurants on the first floor and in the cellar, specializing respectively in frying, grilling, and baking. Much of the cellar is given over to the kitchens. The second floor is a vast drinking hall always crowded with an assortment of dwarves, halflings, ruddy barbarians, dusky sailors, nomads in furs, other nomads in turbans, even half-orcs and squinting mercenaries from unknown distances.

The proprietor, Olaf Al-Azul (NPC), is an odd mixture of a barbarian mother and desert silk merchant father. He speaks a dozen languages fluently and rules the inn with bluff good humor. He can almost always break up a fight before it starts, generally with a round of drinks for the instigators. Like as not the would-be combatants part the inn as fast friends.

When such tactics don't work, Olaf is swift and sure with the use of force. The two bouncers also quickly respond to disturbances.

The upper level of the inn offers two dozen sleeping rooms, ranging from chambers with one large bed to those containing a dozen straw mats. Cost is reasonable, but not cheap.

 

Blue Dragon Inn

 

The owner of this inn, Felipe Namarhz, doesn't have a lot of originality, but he knows what he likes. And he likes the Silver Dragon Inn.

Felipe set out to copy the Silver Dragon in every way possible, from the appearance of the building to the contents of his menu.

He has succeeded in every aspect save one: quality. The Blue Dragon Inn is indeed a poor sister to the grand establishment next door.

Nearly everything available at the Silver Dragon is available here, in imitation form, though the price is an exact replica of the Silver Dragon's. Consequently, the Blue Dragon Inn is rarely crowded. Even so, the service is still terrible.

Felipe imposes the same dress code as does Olaf Al-Azul at the Silver Dragon, though his bouncers are less formidable.

 

The Pit

 

The Pit is a large and distinctive building in the Foreign Quarter. Various forms of gladiatorial-based entertainment are held here: both warrior against warrior (lethal and nonlethal), and warrior against monster. The Pit is visited by the respectable and well-to-do, whenever they feel like slumming and indulging their jaded tastes, and by the common rabble, simply to satisfy their lust for mindless violence. The Pit is owned by Andrade Mirrius (NPC), but the day-to-day business of the Pit is run by Petain Morvannis (NPC).

Pietain is 5'11", 170 lbs., 32 years old with red hair and a fair but somewhat weathered complexion. A native of Jetsom Island in the Hold of the Sea Princes, after a fairly disastrous career as a merchant seaman (privateer). Penniless and in a strange city, he was drawn to the Pit. His skill with the trident (a fairly rare weapon proficiency) was highly useful in gladiatorial combat, and he won two good purses in one day. This success caught the eye of Andrade Mirrius, who, recognizing Pietain's potential, summoned the young man for a drink and a discussion. Impressed by his intelligence--unusual in a fighter--Andrade offered him a permanent position at the Pit. Peitain has never looked back since.

As Manager of the Pit, Peitain is responsible for regular combats (Andrade occasionally organizes special events), hiring a firing all staff, the procurement of monsters, and the establishment's finances. Pietain runs a tight ship; he is harsh but fair.

 

Entertainment at the Pit

There are four basic types of entertainment at the Pit. The first is nonlethal gladiatorial combat, typically fought with blunt weapons such as clubs and shields or nets. The second type is full-blooded gladiatorial combat which can be fought with any of a variety of edged weapons. This is where the real money is; these events are the biggest crowd-pullers. The third form of combat is warrior(s) against monster, the most common monsters used being large humanoids (such as bugbears), trolls, owlbears, and others such. The management frowns upon the killing of any of the monsters because of the replacement cost, although the death of a gladiator is regarded as an occupational hazard. To this end, the warriors are equipped with blunt weapons and are expected to beat the monster unconscious. The exception to this is combat against trolls, in which edged weapons can be freely used due to the trolls' regenerative abilities.

Monster combats are always well attended, and for the last two years the Pit has featured regular fights against Oswald, their resident manticore. The manticore's tail spikes have been docked (although he has learned to use a sideswiping, clubbing action with his tail), and his wings have been clipped to prevent escape. Oswald is a firm favorite with a faction from the River Quarter who cheer him on, hiss and boo his opponents, and purchase exorbitantly priced leather and feathered models of the beast for their children as presents.

The fourth type of event is unarmed combat between wrestlers and pugilists. For these contests, which are very popular with the older generation. Rashif Iqbal being the champion wrestler, 33 years old, 6'4" tall, 430 lbs., with a shaved head and a bound topknot. Rashif has black hair and eyes, and the deeply tanned skin of his native Tusmit. This man can even wrestle the owlbear into submission. He keeps strict discipline and accepts no nonsense or fooling around from his gladiator minions.

Gambling is a major activity here. The bookmakers take up stations around the lower tier, signaling changes of odds to their companions with a special and secret sign language because of the noise, while the workers clamber from tier to tier collecting the bets. Monies place as bets are exchanged for colored tickets that serve as receipts, and after each bout, winning bettors wave their tickets and scream for their winnings.

 

The Red Serpent

 

This restaurant specializes in an assortment of pepper-and-rice dishes, all of which are exceedingly spicy to the unprepared Greyhawk palate. The Red Serpent has a small but slowly growing and very loyal clientele. Also served here is an assortment of strong, cold drink, much recommended for soothing the fiery burn that lingers long after the food is gone. The meals are expensive but proclaimed very much worth it by the restaurant's loyal customers.

 


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