Guards direct all visitors to the Guild District of Gethamane, the site of most of the city’s commerce and one of the busiest parts of Gethamane. Guild caravans and other merchants move in and out, citizens of Gethamane visit to do business and the Guard is always checking for any breaches of the city’s laws. There are Guard checkpoints at each of the 20 passageways leading to this area, though some checkpoints are only manned by a couple of the Guard at any given time.
The central three large chambers of this district hold the main markets. Surrounding rooms serve as storage, while rooms farther out are used for accommodation, both for travelers, merchants and slaves. Lesser merchants and miscellaneous travelers rent rooms from the Guild or from Gethamanian owners. Some visitors just camp in the warehouses or disused corridors. All the stalls are made from wood, though some have been in their current location for decades, passed between allied trading groups when one leaves the city and another enters. Truly old stalls are a sign of prestige, and the stallholders can command respect from all the nearby merchants.
Instead of trying to regulate stall space and locations, Gethamane's government allows the merchants themselves — and primarily the Guild — to sort things out. Naturally, this means that Guild members get preference, while non-Guild merchants get shunted to any small leftover areas. It also means bribery is frequent and heavy.
The Guard move in if a situation descends into open brawling or destruction of property, but stay out of things otherwise.
The Guard watches the Guild District closely. Guards at each entrance keep careful records of everyone who enters and leaves, and what they bring to the city. In daily sweeps through the district, the Guard seeks and removes people who overstay their one-month welcome. Guards also remind visitors who have a day or two to go that they should prepare to leave soon. The Guild District sees a constant turnover as traders come and go.
Guard patrols make daily sweeps through the Guild District to locate and remove people who have outstayed their month and to remind those who only have a day or two left that they should be preparing to leave the city. There are always a few fugitives hiding in the Guild District, overdue to leave and trying to avoid the Guard. Guild mercenaries (unless ordered otherwise) cooperate with the Guard in locating these targets — particularly if the person in question is an independent merchant or otherwise antithetical to Guild interests.
THE THREE MARKETS Edit
The Food Market sells all sorts of food, raw or prepared. The room has a pungent tang to the air, from centuries of food being exposed and sold here. Experts can sniff the air 100 yards down the corridors and recognize new shipments of cheese, pork, or other foodstuffs have arrived. Large stalls selling raw or preserved foods are at the center of the cave, while the smaller ones farther out provide luxury foods (including wine and beer), snack stalls, or cooking services. The biggest stall here is owned by Gethamane itself, selling food from the fungal gardens at a low price, undercutting most of the other food stalls present and bringing more revenue to the city government.
This cave is also the venue for those selling drugs and medicines, which can be found at the northern end of the room. These merchants often hire local citizens to serve as security and prevent petty theft from their stalls.
The Metal Market deals in metal and stone goods, both raw materials and finished products (the primary trade here is weapons, and the iron and steel necessary to produce them). This market is the noisiest (and smokiest) of the three, as around 25% of the stallholders offer on-spot smithing services and have brought in their own anvils and other equipment in order to be able to work onsite. As with the Food Market, some smithy stalls are passed between traders as one group enters and another leaves. This practice is more common here, as it allows merchants to avoid having to move all the equipment.
This is also the traditional spot to sell treasures recovered from the underways, even in the (admittedly rare) cases when such items are not mineral in nature. Many merchants here are very willing to buy anything that can be recovered from the underways. Treasure-seekers who proclaim their discoveries too loudly are likely to be besieged by Guildsmen and other traders offering them prices for whatever found.
The Wood Market began by selling timber, firewood and furniture, then branched out into cloth, books, and maps. It has now become a catchall for any commodity or service that doesn’t deal with food or metal. Space is at a premium, and the Guard is frequently called to break up squabbles or stop brawls.
Knowledge is the Wood Market’s most distinctive trade: petty thaumaturges, charm-sellers, diviners, guides to the city and the surrounding countryside, books, and of course “true and verifiable” maps to the underways. The Guard turns a blind eye to such frauds, as Gethamanians believe anyone stupid enough to fall for such a scam deserves whatever happens to him.
TRIBUNAL CAVE Edit
The most opulent chamber in the Guild District is the Tribunal Cave, located directly above the Courthouse (though there are several layers of rock and passageways in between). Its chairs and divans are made from wood imported from the distant South, silks brought from the Far East and West, jade that could grace the Blessed Isle itself. Ornaments of porcelain and jade serve to impress visitors with the Guild’s wealth. One cabinet holds a selection of alcohol and drugs that, though not actually illegal, would certainly draw the Guard’s attention.
In short Tribunal Cave is designed and decorated to impress, and is reserved for high-level consultation among visiting Guildmasters and wealthy or powerful merchants to have earned the Guild’s respect. Meetings range from staid discussions of tariffs and commercial law to wild debauches — with a contract and pen offered at a strategic moment.
Guild mercenaries always stand guard outside Tribunal Cave. The Guild doesn’t trust the Guard anywhere near the room. There have been several occasions when Guard representatives took advantage of criminal charges and evidence of lawbreaking elsewhere to search the place for incriminating documents; indeed, the Guard takes any opportunity to investigate private Guild quarters, on the “guilty till proven innocent” principle.
THE DWELLINGS Edit
In principle, accommodation in the Guild District is available for whoever wants it. In practice, people who’ve arrived move into any rooms that are vacant, often squatting in warehouse space or even the corridors if nothing better is available.
The Guild itself partitions and arranges the caves it controls so that any visiting members have somewhere to sleep and put their goods, even if it’s just a corner of a shared cave or a small pocket of a room near the edge of the district. Other merchants can either pay the Guild or owe the Guild members a significant favor or scrabble for space in the area that’s left, often forming temporary coalitions to secure themselves some room. If this degenerates to open fighting, the Guard moves in to restore order, arresting everyone. (A few of the Guard take bribes, but not many.)
High-ranking Guild members and rich merchants get dwelling areas close to the markets, while poorer Guild members and merchants are situated nearer to the passageways coming up from the gates. Truly poor merchants or travelers find themselves left to struggle for living space in the areas to the far east and west, distant from both the gate passages and the markets. Of course, the one-month residency rule keeps people rotating in and out at a fairly rapid pace, but the basic principles of who lives where remain constant. The Guard uses its records at each gate to keep track of who are due to leave Gethamane at the end of their month.
CHARACTER CONCEPTS FOR THE GUILD DISTRICT
Warrior: Cheap Thug, Guild Mercenary, Traveling Weaponsmaster
Holy Man: Devout Missionary, Visiting Immaculate
Savant: Archaeologist, Realm Dilettante, Scavenging Treasure-Hunter
Criminal: Con Man, Map-Seller, Pickpocket, Scam Merchant
Entertainer: Actor, Courtesan, Minstrel
Bureaucrat: Administrator, Guard Clerk, Guild Accountant