The Golden Assembly of States is often ridiculed and mocked by outsiders and foreign folks. They refer to this deconstruction of a city as a bunch of bureaucrats, leeches, and clowns trying to coexist in the same area. While the comments are ill-intended, there is a rational basis for their misguided beliefs.
The Golden Assembly of States is, in essence, an exercise in political migration and the struggle of a large community with newfound freedoms unbound. That is how a respectful local would say it. A more honest person would say that the shift from nobility to achievable oligarchy also came with a large number of flaws. The one they quote the most is the unending search for greatness. Looking for greatness appears to be a noble pursuit, but the Golden Assembly of States changed this quest into something different. People, stores, businesses, and bureaucrats want to stand out from those around them. The way they try this is so aggressive that people sell stuff on the streets, they jump customers from behind, politicians self-congratulate in ever-larger parties, people name and rename their businesses large evocative names to attract more clientele. The behavior is particularly competitive in business. People compete so fiercely that the city has a nasty population with travelers. The locals con handle the ongoing barrage of salesmen and businesses on the streets but visitors often find themselves overwhelmed with the amount of pressure they get when outside.
This behavior is less intense in certain areas of the city. The Merchant District is the worst offender in this category. Despite that, the grandiose names are a common thing in any district. Names tend to change all the time, some places change their name once a year to keep up with the increasing addition of adjectives and descriptions from their competitors. This is how a place like an apothecary shop, which used to only have a small wooden sign that read “Apothecary”, had several name changes until they opted for the current one “Joshua’s Healthy Apothecary”. Is it an exaggeration, is it too much? Some locals agree that this type of competitive language should not be encouraged, especially when people open shop. But others care not for the method and only care about the gold coins behind.
The Golden Assembly of States is unique because it is the natural evolution of governments after a large period of kingdoms and empires. It all changed when the last king, King Nami, abdicated almost 30 years ago and decided to shift the country towards a different system. He helped set up a senate and a way that allowed the people to elect their ruler. Democracy is not a tried method but it seemed like an idea good enough to try out. Other benefits were fewer tithes (no more royal family), standardization of taxes, and more opportunities for the townsfolk to rise from poverty and become statesmen. The large kingdom was divided into five states where the locals would elect their representatives for the senate. The largest city, formerly known as Catunna, became the Golden Assembly of States. A place where the senate and representatives from all states would gather to vote on the future of the country. This system has been in place for a little less than 30 years and has functioned somewhat correctly. The Golden Assembly of States is a cosmopolitan city where all humanoid races and a minority of sentient races are represented. Humans remain a majority group with 45% of the population while the rest is split among many smaller groups.
1. The Grand Assembly
Formerly known as the Catunna Palace, the Grand Assembly is a beautiful building where the senate and the state’s representatives gather to vote on different matters. The building remains a small castle but many places and chambers have been remodeled to better reflect the welcoming intention of the senate and the freedom of democracy.
The Head of Senate is a seventy-year-old man named Apojo. He is an advocate of peace and has supported having cordial relationships with neighboring kingdoms. However, he is old and frail. As his vitality vanishes, other representatives gain more power. The new school of thought is to attack close neighbors to “bring them democracy and freedom”. Other people say that this is the same as having an empire and not much of an improvement.
2. Golden Office of Records
As instructed by King Nami, written records of all senate meetings, official events, and foreign interactions had to be as precise as possible, as well as the proper handling of such deluge of documents. Scribes ran out of space at the Grand Assembly six years ago and opened the Golden Office of Records a few blocks away. All documents from the past six years are here. The catalog’s organizing is not perfect and it may take a while to find a particular document or transcript but it is to be found there.
3. Deanna’s Faithful Mounts
Deanna is a sixty years old woman whose vitality refuses to leave her. The old woman works all day with her horses and the stables. She is an interesting woman who likes the current state of affairs in the Golden Assembly of States. She is obsessed with finding the most alluring name for her stables. The current iteration which empathizes how faithful they are is working a little better than the last one. However, it is not simple to prove or test the loyalty of a mount and this is nagging Deanna. She is looking for a new name already.
4. Golden Fleet’s Grand Tower
The east side of the city is bordered by a large lake. The body of water is so large that it reaches the horizon. The northern end of the city coast is walled and features a military port. Two sections of the city wall go into the water and isolate this section of the bay. The city had a bloody history and there were a few attempts to storm the coasts in the past. The city never fell to outside forces thanks to the coast wall and the king’s fleet. Next to the coast wall, a large squat tower fortress overlooks the bay. This is the largest fortified building in the city that is still in control of the military.
5. The Spice Coast
East of the Merchant District, where the city meets the lake shores, the docks are a large source of work and foreign merchandise. City officials screen every boat as it docks to inspect the cargo and register the contents for tithing. Fishing boats, pleasure barges, and merchant cargo ships crowd the bay. The city needs a larger dock area and the situation is critical already. However, the only way to do that is to demolish a section of the coastal wall. The Senate has not come to a decision about this after years of pondering the issue. The area owes its name to the number of spice merchants that dock her throughout the year. The exquisite smells of foreign spices pervade the area most days.
6. The King’s Sewers
The city sewers work well enough to keep the city clean and with a stench somewhat better than similarly-sized settlements. The sewer system directs its contents to this area where everything is dumped into the lake. The area’s stench is strong enough that property values around this area have crumbled over the years. The place did not have a name until recently. The current state of giving things impressive names reached its peak when the senate had a hearing on what to name the end of the sewers and this is what they came up with.
7. The North Gate
This gate is one of the most transited entrances of the city. The road north eventually connects with three of the states allied with the republic.
8. The Gate of Mud
The majority of farmed land is found south of the city. Every day, scores of farmers come to the city with their horse carts from their farms. The amount of dirt they bring with them, along with horse manure hat collects by the gate as each cart is inspected by city officials are what gives the gate its derogative name.
9. Farmer’s Market
Many farmers and traveler merchants do not like the city bureaucracy and inspections at the gates. On crowded days, a person may take a few hours just to enter the city with a cart. In response, local farmers and barterers opened shop in an open square south of the city wall. This part of town is still considered to be inside the Golden Assembly of States though it is still outside the walls. Most mundane items and supplies are available in this market.
10. Gray Griffon in Prance Inn
Formerly named “Grey Inn”, this place of business is also a victim of the current trends. The Grey Griffon in Prance Inn is a large three-story building with 20 rooms available for travelers and merchants. The owner is a bronze-skinned man named Arcturus Grey. The inn brings in a large sum of gold every month for Grey and with it, a large tax note from the Grand Assembly. Since the Grey Inn is the largest tax contributor outside the city walls, Mr. Grey has been pushing for the Senate to approve the construction of a new section of the city wall that would protect his place of work.
11. Joshua’s Healthy Apothecary
Joshua Green is a person many deem too young to run an apothecary shop. They are correct as he is only twenty-two years old. The old Apothecary, Gushom, had an accident last year and had an untimely death a few weeks after. Gushom had no relatives and Joshua was his only employee. The young lad appears to be a gifted individual that understands his trade as well as the old Gushom did. City officials have threatened to close the shop if it is demonstrated that he cannot handle the apothecary.
12. Perfume Shop
A small house near the outskirts of the city and outside the city walls. The old man who owns the place is named Karja. He is immune to current trends and refuses to rename the shop. Though he has received a recommendation from many sources to rename the place “Master Perfumer Karja’s Incredible Essences”, he remains immutable in his position. Karja often looks for exotic ingredients for his shop and pays a fair amount for the appropriate samples from certain plants and animals.
13. Sundown Gate
The gatehouse of this entrance features a large brass blowhorn over the entrance. Every morning and evening a soldier blows the horn three times to announce the other gates when to open or close.
14. Tithe Collector’s Office
The Collector’s Office is a hell of paperwork, bureaucracy, and unending document cabinets. It is just as full, if not more, as the Office of Records. Careful documentation of all places of businesses and the records from all the gates for the past thirty years are in this building. The name of the place adds salt to insult because the office does not employ any collectors as citizens are expected to show up and pay their tithes and taxes every month. The unending queue of grim-faced individuals waiting for their turn to pay is enough to discourage the most optimistic person.
15. Rushan’s General Store
A popular corner in the Merchant district, bustling with people and itinerant salesmen, is the location of Rushan’s General Store. Rushan is a retired adventurer who claims to have lost a leg fighting an “evil demonic minotaur”. His shop sells all kinds of mundane traveling gear, herbal potions, hunting gear, and a few weapons and shields. From time to time, he claims, a magical item is on sale too.
16. The Exclusive Dawn Saloon
This tavern is the most exclusive leisure location in the Golden Assembly of States. It is located in Harold’s Reach. The district owes its name to the next to the last king. The Exclusive Dawn Saloon is large enough to accommodate 50-60 patrons. However, the dress code and prices prevent most cityfolk from attending. They sell the same beverages as in other parts of town except for a few rare brew wines they make locally. Other than that, the only interesting feature is that the often hire great artists and entertainers.
17. Valiant Conscription Office
The Golden Assembly of States still employs a large army to protect the city and the neighboring states. Anyone, local or foreign can come to the conscription office and sign up for the army. Foreign individuals become citizens after two years of soldier work.
18. Spice Market
The spice market is a medium-sized building with twenty tiny booths where merchants sell their wares. The only requisite to rent a booth here is to sell spice. Spices are valuable and a large amount of its equivalent in gold can fit in a little box. A large body of city watch guards is in the area most of the day to prevent robberies.
19 Grand Almirant’s Office
The Grand Almirant works from here. Almirant Triesle is a serious man who takes great responsibility in his position. He is in charge of the Golden Fleet and answers to the senate only. The Almirant’s office controls the entrance and exit of all vessels in both docking areas. This is a slow and boring job but the almirant only needs to sign a bunch of parchments every day as the clerks handle the bulk of the paperwork.
20. Gordran’s Amazing Weaponry
Gordran is a dwarven forgemaster that found a niche in the Golden Assembly of States. His masterwork pieces in weaponry and armory are the best in the city. They are so good that no one even comes close. As it is now, Gordran works on commission but the queue is so large that he is not interested in new orders. He still has a good catalog of exquisite weapons in his shop that will draw the eyes of anyone familiar with blade weaponry. Armors are a different story, he mostly only does armor work for the last renowned knights in the city and the guards of the most powerful in the senate. Gordran is looking for an ancient dwarven forge mask. Such legendary artifacts are said to be lost but he would be able to forge magical items with such a mask. Or at least he claims that.
These are the general features of the Golden Assembly of States. It is located on the shores of a large lake. The city is the capital of an emerging proto-republic. Representation of six different states is common throughout the town.
Terrain. The general area around the city consists of rolling hills and farmed land. The closest forested area is 3 miles from the city walls.
Gates. While the city has outgrown its walls for decades now, the schedules and control of the gates remain strict. All gates open at dawn and close at sunset. Most people are let in or out of the city without much questioning. The only exception is merchants. All merchant parcels, carts, crates, and similar are registered and inspection at the gates. The main purpose is to ensure that the correct amount of taxes and tithes is paid for any incoming products.
Light. The city does not lack for open space areas and decorative vegetation. A system of public lighting with oil lamps is maintained by a group of laborers called the fireholders. Other than that, lighting conditions are dependent on the time of the day and weather conditions.
Smells and Sounds. The sounds of fast-pace life, ongoing carts, horses, businessmen, and salesmen are the staples of the Golden Assembly of States. Every day is packed with energy, barter, sales, and angry folks. The city smells bad like most dense settlements, but the sewers system works well enough to keep things in check.