SASSERINE began not as a city, but as a woman. Over 700 years ago, a cleric of Wee Jas named Sasserine woke one night after a particularly vivid dream of a hidden cove, protected from the sea by vast cliffs and from the land by steaming swamps and jungle. In this vision, she beheld a thriving city and a glittering spire of scarlet stone, and knew Wee Jas had visited her with a prophecy. Sasserine called together her followers, including her lover Teraknian, a soldier and worshiper of Kord, and set out to find this hidden cove. Diseases, accidents, and monsters took their toll, and near the end, despair gnawed at Sasserine’s pilgrims. Finally, their numbers reduced to less than a quarter of their initial strength, these pilgrims emerged into a bounteous stretch of land with fertile soil and fields of exotic plants sheltered by twin shoreline cliffs. Sasserine recognized the landscape at once, but WeeJas had not warned her of the black dragon that had taken the cove as his territory. Mere hours after the pilgrims had thankfully fed on the abundant plants and had only just begun to hope they had found their new home, the dragon Zelkarune struck. Enraged at this final trial, Sasserine stood her ground against the dragon and defeated it-but at a terrible cost. For in delivering the final strike, Sasserine had been forced to step between Zelkarune’s claw and Teraknian; The blow meant for him instead laid her low, just as she called down a bolt of fire from the sky to slay the dragon. In the days to follow, the survivors turned to Teraknian for leadership, who vowed to found a city in Sasserine’s name.
It was the year-124 CY, and over the seven centuries to follow, Sasserine would mature into one of the great hidden wonders of the south.
SASSERINE IN BRIEF
Sasserine is located at the westernmost edge of the Amedio Jungle, nestled in a sheltered harbor. Most travelers come to Sasserine via ship, as overland routes are fraught with peril. From the sea, Sasserine isn’t much to look at; two ragged cliffs of stone jut from the coastline, their faces home to seahawks and gulls but little else. Then a vast rent in the cliff slides into view, its summit crowned by the shattered remnants of an immense stone bridge. Sailing between the slowly eroding stone pylons that once supported the bridge above, a visitor passes nom open sea into a thriving harbor of commerce, whaling, and intrigue. Certainly the smell of the city is breathtaking-a tremendous riot of exotic spices, smoke, humanity, and sewage that assaults the senses. Perfumes and scented candles are popular commodities in Sasserine.
Sasserine is split into seven distinct districts, each with its own personality. These districts are separated by inner walls, by networks of canals or rivers, or simply by age. Friendly competition between the districts is common, especially during festivals, yet the citizens of Sasserine do not hesitate to come to each others aid. Perched at the edge of civilization, Sasserine is (and has always been) often the target of assault foom land and sea; the pirates of the Crimson Fleet, the navy of the Scarlet Brotherhood, the bullywugs of the surrounding marshland, and even gangs of ogres and giants from the nearby mountains keep the city on constant alert, yet to date the fiercely proud city has fallen to the enemy only once, and even then only through the act of the city’s most notorious traitor.
Sasserine (Large City): Conventional; AL NG; Population 15,650;40,000 gp limit; Assets 31,300,000gp; Mixed (77%human, 6% half-elf, 5% halfling, 4% gnome, 4% dwarf, 2% elf, 1%half-ore, 1%other).
Sasserine’s History: For 150years after its foundation in -124 CY, Sasserine experienced phenomenal growth. In 30 CY, Sasserine had its first conflict with the notorious assassins and slavers of the Scarlet Brotherhood. Brotherhood wizards and clerics managed to destroy the stone bridge known as Teraknian’s Arch and burned much of the waterfront before the defenders managed to repulse the attack. Over the next four centuries, Sasserine would be variously assaulted by the Scarlet Brotherhood, the Great Kingdom, and local tribes of giants and bullywugs once or twice a decade, so tempting were the vast plantations of coffee and spices the city protected. Yet with each assault, the soldiers of Sasserine grew more adept at defending their city. Teraknian’s Arch was rebuilt and destroyed nearly a dozen
times. The final decision to abandon the bridge entirely and leave it in ruins marks the only remaining physical scar nom years of warfare. Over the years, a line of lord-mayors descended nom Teraknian ruled Sasserine in conjunction with advice from the churches of Wee Jas and Kord.
In the year of 480 CY, Orren Teraknian ruled the city. For the first time in centuries, the church of Wee Jas was stripped of its power when fabricated charges of devil worship led to the arrest, imprisonment, and even execution of its faithful. Just as Orren’s rule became unbearable, a great fleet of ships arrived-representatives of the Hold of the Sea Princes to the north. Promising an end to Orren’s cruel rule, the invaders were aided in their assault on the city from within as the citizens rose up in rebellion. Orren Teraknian was overthrown and the Sea Princes claimed Sasserine as their own. Over the century to come, Sasserine’s resources were savaged. The Sea Princes kept Sasserine a secret from the rest of the world, hoping to hide the valuable port from invaders by destroying any references they could find to it. Spies infiltrated cartographer guilds and libraries throughout the world, altering maps and sea charts with magic. Ship captains who knew the route to the city were bought off or murdered. Sasserine suffered in these 100 years, but the underlying spirit of her citizens did not die. Their prayers were finally answered in 584CY,when the Scarlet Brotherhood assassinated nearly all of the Sea Princes. The resulting turmoil threw Sasserine into chaos. Without the support of their homeland, the leaders of the city were overthrown in a fortnight. In the decade since their emancipation, the people of Sasserine have rebuilt their city with astonishing alacrity, but they still work to restore their navy, to re-establish trade routes with lands to the north, and to heal the rift of hatred between the churches of Kord and Wee Jas. Burgeoned by events in their sister city of Cauldron (which recently survived a disaster of its own), the city of Sasserine seems to be perched on the edge of glory. Sasserine’s Citizens and Enemies Sasserine is governed by a council of seven noble families known collectively as the Dawn Council. Decisions are put to a vote amongst the city’s citizens, and their appointed representatives among the nobility take the results of these votes to guide their leadership in the Dawn Council.
Money once again flows into the city coffers as the trade routes are reestablished, bolstered by the trove of absconded funds recently liberated from the Sea Princes. Dress style in Sasserine ranges from rags to riches, but the one thing that applies across all classes is the fact that in this hot, humid city, less is more. Public nudity is generally frowned upon, but it’s not uncommon to see outfits that leave little to the imagination. After a hundred years of oppression, the law in Sasserine has finally relinquished its
stranglehold on the citizens. Murder, arson, treason, assault, theft, and other violent or destructive crimes remain illegal and are severely punished by the Sasserine Watch, but lesser crimes (drug trade, prostitution, gambling, vagrancy, and similar offenses) remain unrestricted. Many come to Sasserine precisely because of the fact that their vices may be pursued here without fear of legal repercussions. Some public groups (in particular, the church of St Cuthbert) are attempting to rally the Watch back to more conservative ways, but for now the income generated by visitors and the recent memories of repression serve to keep the majority of the city’s populace open-minded and accepting. Each of the seven districts of Sasserine is represented not only by an appointed noble, but by an allied church.
Religion Traditionally, the seven churches of Sasserine have been on good terms, but unfortunately the last 100 years have placed an undue strain upon them. In particular, the faithful of Wee Jas and Kord have suffered. The terrible rift of suspicion and hatred that formed between these churches during Orren Teraknian’s rule exists to this day. The remaining four primary religions include Olidammara (in the guise of a fictitious patron saint of merchants named Worgul), Pelor, Fharlanghn, and St Cuthbert The final church is in fact comprised of the worship of three sea deities: Osperm, Procan, and Xerbo. Numerous smaller shrines can be found in Sasserine, each dedicated to different gods, but these shrines rarely have congregations of more than 50. There are few evil religions operating in the shadows of the city-the two most notable are the secret cult of Vecna that uses the Historian’s Guild as a cover, and a fairly sizable temple of Nerull hidden below one of the plantation houses south of the city.
The Scarlet Brotherhood has traditionally been an enemy of the city, but times may be changing. A diplomatic monk named. Anteki Alresian represents the Brotherhood in Sasserine. Anteki’s methods are a bit unorthodox for the Brotherhood-he openly acknowledges his allegiances and asks the same of those who serve under him. Meanwhile, the Scarlet Brotherhood’s plans for Sasserine remain hidden, possibly even from their amiable ambassador.
from the works of
Artemus Buttwyler, Scribe of Chatwin