Ghosts of Fallen Stars (Iron Gods)
Chesed: Prosperous port city and gateway to Mendev
The huge city of Chesed is the last port of call on the River Road for most pilgrims heading to the Mendevian Crusades before they reach their final destination of Mendev. It is the final port (or first depending on the direction of travel) along the length of the Sellen River, sitting where the river meets the Lake of Mists and Veils. Because it is so near the lake, the city is often shrouded by the fog.
Most of the city’s industry lies on the eastern side of the Sellen, which now predominantly houses the poor, as well as the more odoriferous businesses, such as butcher shops, tanneries, and alchemical labs.
Frequent barbarian raids-known locally as “barrow sieges” have forced Chesed’s government to move to the so-called “New Heart” district on the river’s west bank, and the more affluent and prestigious residents and businesses followed.
Mighty Chesed, the largest city in Numeria, is an economic powerhouse that rivals settlements many times its size. The influx of crusaders since the First Mendevian Crusade has caused river travel through Chesed to explode over the last century. Trade is the true ruler of modern Chesed, politics her handmaiden, and wealth her brutal enforcer. It is the most law-abiding and organized settlement in Numeria, and the best location for visitors to buy strange technologies from the futuristic ruins that dot the land. Anything purchased in Chesed have some heavy taxes on it, with the funds from this tax used as tithes and bribes for the Technic League, whose increasing influence may soon bring a new and unwelcome age of control to the proud city. As long as Chesed maintains these crushing taxes, it can continue to pay the League to leave the city’s inner workings alone, but each year these payments seem to buy less and less freedom.
Docks span nearly every foot of riverside property, and vessels from Mendev, Brevoy, the River Kingdoms, and occasionally even Razmiran drop anchor here every day.
Slavery is a fact of life for the Technic League and the barbarian tribes of Numeria (where the slaves are known as thralls). However, in Chesed, slavery was abolished in 4309 AR when the god Abadar sent its herald, the Lawgiver, to inspire the slaves in taking arms and aiding in the defense of the city against barbarian raids. The people of Chesed subsequently abolished the sale of slaves, and any slave not registered as such within an hour of arrival in the city is declared free.
Government and Security
The current leader of the city is a charming Councilmaster named Harpam Gavers. He knows his position is tenuous, however, and makes sure his every move meets with Technic League approval. It is an open secret that he is really a puppet dictator installed by the Technic League
Chesed is under much tighter control by the rulers of Numeria than some of the other cities like Castle Urion and Hajoth Hakados. As the last city that pilgrims visit in Numeria, the Black Sovereign, ruler of Numeria, sees this as the last chance to squeeze every drop of money from the visitors. The Technic League who support the Black Sovereign employ a variety of methods to separate the pilgrims from their money including gambling houses, crooked merchants, and river bandits. It is not uncommon for a pilgrim who has visited Chesed to arrive in Mendev with nothing but his weapon and his faith, and even that is often shaken by his experiences along the Sellen.
The Technic League overseer in Chesed is a man called Merisk Kaffaun.
Technic League Presence
Captain Merisk Kaffaun is the leader of the League’s office in town. Merisk, a solidly built man with a keen mind for magic, technology, and politics, has spies and agents throughout every level of society, as well as several robots of varying size and function, though mostly smaller varieties suitable for infiltration and information retrieval.
- For decades, there have been numerous rebel groups that aim to overthrow the Technic League out of Chesed, but these groups come and go as their leadership die, are successfully arrested, or simply vanish. These groups are usually composed of freed slaves, mostly liberated gladiators (especially Tymon gladiators from the River Kingdoms) who found a new life in the city after fleeing servitude from other lands.
- There are a variety of underground tunnels and dungeons below Chesed where it is rumored that terrible devils live that abduct people for gruesome rituals. The city guard states that these are old obsolete legends.
Here are several popular persons of Chesed:
1. Harpam Gavers (male human): Councilmaster and local ruler of Chesed.
2. Merisk Kauffan (male human): Captain of the Chesed Technic League office.
3. Brissel Klivauther (female dwarf): High priestess of the cathedral of the Lawgiver and Abadar.
4. Velesk Bindergorp (male gnome): Velesk is the owner of the shop Bindergorp Salves and Tonics (formerly known as Boom Alchemics). Only a small number of persons think that he might be involved with anti-Technic-League rebel groups.