The free city of Pacht stands atop three large hills at the confluence of the Median Sea and the River Katrax delta. Pacht’s government claims the whole of the delta plain, up to and including the surrounding rivers, and all the villages and towns within that range. This is a hotly contested issue, as all five of her neighbor kingdoms, Atarach, Umbrook, Haelmgood, Siresalm, and Fisfen, report that they have documents giving them land rights to that fertile territory. For many years, war was avoided until 1341 N.R. when the armies of Siresalm annexed everything but the city proper itself in a lightning-fast land-grab. A great siege followed.
Pacht was once the capital of Cinquerre — a kingdom that was whittled down to a lone city-state through a succession of wars. As such, it has no king, but is instead ruled by a viceroy who has much the same authority. Viceroy Alistaive Castillion is the current ruler and is well-known as a cunning manipulator, masterful swordsman, and dashing ladies man. The Viceroy has been assassinated twice and died falling from a tower once, but, like many very wealthy people, has contracted several Churches of the Light with the responsibility of bringing him back when such unfortunate events occur. In turn, he allows all churches a great deal more freedom than they might find in other lands.
Serving directly beneath him is The Hand, who acts as a kind of vice-viceroy. The Hand is traditionally a man of action and has great authority.
Viceroy Castillion’s government is managed by a Close Council of four who advise him in most matters. Only the most powerful nobility sits on the Close Council. Below them is the Council of Twelve, a body of lawmakers divided into The Red Staves and The Black Staves. The Red Staves oversee The Ruby Knights and The City Watch, the first of which is responsible for the Viceroy’s safety and the second of which polices the town at large. The Black Staves oversee judges of the High Court, Low Courts, and outlying Town Reeves.
The Army, Navy, and Sky Guard are all controlled directly by The Viceroy through a General, Admiral, and Sky Admiral, respectively. The forces of Pacht are not large, but they are very well equipped, especially The Sky Guard which boasts the latest technological advances. The military of Pacht must act very carefully when on the march, as any perceived threat to their neighbors might provoke open hostility.
Places of Interest:
- Bandlebarge Village — A tiny village north of town that was incorporated into the city as its borders expanded over the last century.
- Castle Hill — The center-most of the three hills, this walled-in mound houses Half Moon Keep at its center, where The Viceroy lives and conducts the business of governance. City Watch and military security is especially pronounced, here.
- Duskvale — A sparsely-populated valley between Castle Hill and Overlook Hill, this region is where many farm-owners make their homes.
- Fort Bayne — An imposing stone fort on the coast south of the city that serves as home port for the Pacht Navy. Underground chambers have been made into a military prison.
- Fort Urson — A squat, five-sided tower at the mouth of the River Katrax, Fort Urson sits across the water from The Chain Keep. Huge chains are strung between the two structures and can be winched up from the riverbed to block access to ships.
- Hillbottom — At the center of Pacht is the township of Hillbottom. It is a mix of its surrounding townships, and many merchant-class people live and work here. The Sleeping Tabby Inn and Tavern and the New Haelmgood Embassy (now empty) can be found here.
- Lake Enddeep — This large, freshwater lake is extremely deep. A popular spot for fishing, the lake is surrounded by sparse woods and the occasional home of those who prefer pastoral quiet to urban bustle. Hasnim ebn Alzi ebn Is’a of the Fallen Moon Tribe built a secluded retreat at its western edge.
- Lakeside Park — Lakeside Park was a gift from a previous Viceroy to her loyal subjects. These public gardens and green-spaces are tended by volunteers from the nearby Elven Quarter. The Royal Menagerie is also here. Tournaments and festivals are often held on the greens.
- Manorton — On the gentle eastern slopes of Castle Hill is the township of Manorton, which, as its name suggests, is peppered with the Manor Houses of the fairly well-to-do. Rich merchants and lesser nobles make their homes in this quiet neighborhood, traveling down to Hillbottom to do their shopping, or at least sending their servants. The Old Haelmgood Embassy (currently occupied) is in Manorton, on the uphill side.
- Overlook Hill — Overlook Hill is the westernmost of the three hills of Pacht, separated from the bulk of the city by a tall palisade and a screen of tall trees. If you are granted permission to enter one of the gates, you would find steep boulevards cutting back and forth between the large estates of the extremely wealthy nobles and royals that deign to spend their winters in the capital. A large crater-like depression marks the site of an underground complex that required demolition due to safety concerns.
- Southpoint — The Southpoint neighborhood is a newer and well-groomed area where many military families dwell.
- The Aerodome — One of the Wonders of the West, The Aerodome is a massive crystalline dome of stained glass that can be rotated and opened to allow huge airships to land within. It serves as a landmark throughout most of the city, as it’s colorful glass can be seen from far off.
- The Canal District — The sprawling squalor of the Canal District squats on one of the oldest parts of the city. Narrow alleys and raised bridges crisscross the stinking canals that interlace themselves between river branches. Most of Pacht’s poor call this place home, packing themselves into whatever unused space they can find. This is not a place to traverse at night without watchful friends and weapons at the ready. City Watch barricades keep some troublemakers from crossing the bridges into the rest of the metropolis, but only some. The militant Church of Fyros keeps a stronghold in the center of this rough area.
- The Chain Keep — Across the River Katrax from Fort Urson is the Chain Keep, which helps guard the river mouth and the bay. It is a very tall, four-pointed star-shaped tower that commands a good view of the northern roads.
- The Docks — This busy port is full of industrial life during the day, but a playground for miscreants and thieves at night. A great fire related to a cult uprising gutted the old burg known as The Waterworks, leaving a swath of soot-stained warehouses and taverns.
- The Dwarven Quarter — Thick walls and straight, well-made streets mark the Dwarven Quarter as quite different from the rest of Pacht. The Dwarves tend to keep to themselves, but welcome those who wish to come and spend their coin in the shops of the best craftsmen and builders in The West.
- The Elven Quarter — This thickly wooded neighborhood seems terribly out-of-place adjacent to the noisy sprawl of the rest of the city. The Elves who live and work here seem to turn a blind eye to anything going on outside of their sylvan grove.
- The Market District — This great hub of mercantile life is a constant bazaar and festival. Fortunes are made and lost here every day, and canny buyers may find almost anything in the crowded shops and shadowed stalls, if they only know who and how to ask.
- Tower Hill — Tower Hill is crowned by the mystical and massive Cinquerre College of Magic, a fortress-like crag of multi-colored, crystalline towers where wizards of all kinds live and teach their arts. No other school like it exists in the world, and gifted people from many lands travel here to learn the ways of magic. The College tends to its own security and does not take kindly to trespassers.
- Watchwater Rock — This wave-battered island of stone in the center of the bay is topped by a tall, black tower that also serves as a lighthouse.