The City of Anbar

Something a little different today, as I am on vacation this week celebrating my wedding anniversary!

Here’s the Dungeons & Dragons setting I’ve been running a campaign in for the last few years (well, we started in 2019, and then a global pandemic happened, and now we’re playing again). I wanted to make a fully urban campaign, which meant a LOT more setting prep than a typical traveling adventure. It’s been a really fun world to play in, and I wanted to share in case any Dungeon Masters are interested in using it!

Inspiration pulled from the D&D books Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravinca, Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, the fiction book Dark of the Gods, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels, and the real life island of Manhattan.

The city is called Anbar. With the ocean on one side and a wide river on the other, it is made up of many different people, and the wonders and dangers within its borders are legendary. Its cobbled streets are full of wealth and wonders, of trade and industry, of renowned magical schools and the most diverse population in the world. In the northern reaches of the city, things are more unsettling...an area called Anbar North is little more than a slum, and it’s known to be haunted with ghosts of those who died there.

However, a bit of undead activity doesn’t bother the largest, most populated city in the known world. It is only several miles wide and several more tall, and it exists in the small nation of Anbarria, a fertile nation that consists mostly of bucolic farmland. The symbol of Anbarria is a Bronze Falcon, and ships bearing its flag sail every day from the Anbar port to all corners of the world.

The Wider World:

Anbarria is closest neighbors with Doul, a large mostly human country full of unforgiving coasts and monster-filled mountains. Anbarian citizens often see Doulians as uncivilized barbarians and yokels…their traditional clothing of animal furs and teeth is mocked (rather rudely!) in the big city. There is an uneasy peace between Doul and Anbarria, and a long history of Doulian invasions. Their flag is a White Ram.

South of Doul is Tevec, a jungle-y country mostly populated by elves. They trade extensively with Anbar and are generally peaceful. Their flag is a Green Elk.

North of Doul is Arcadia, a bucolic halfling country surrounded by protective mountains and rivers. It’s historically been difficult to invade, but trade from Arcadia comes up and down the river Drip to Anbar. Their symbol is Yellow Sheaves of Wheat.

Anbar is made up of fourteen districts. The borders between them were codified long ago, in an agreement called The Preservation Pact. It gives each district a representative—to be chosen through their preferred means—and gives each representative equal weight in the Chyngor, the council that governs the city.
A small bit of history: Anbarria used to be ruled by a line of human monarchs, the Taradeins. They were known for a desire to keep their line pure; so pure, in fact, that they interbred and descended into madness. The last King Taradein, overcome by paranoia, never had heirs and disappeared from the palace, never to be found again; although many believe he was quietly assassinated. A war broke out among the nobles of the city concerning who was next in the succession, and after months of chaos and bloodshed, The Preservation Pact was signed. Now the Taradein Palace, on an island accessible by bridge, is a historical site. It’s full of eccentricities: hidden staircases, torture chambers, crypts, built by a line of monarchs with degenerating sanity.
Representatives from each district serve on the Chyngor, or the Council. They are overseen by Prime Minister Marisa Belfast, an elected official who rules the city and the country of Anbarria.

THE COUNTING DISTRICT

The southernmost tip of the city, where the two major rivers of the city meet. The center of government and of many bureaucratic offices - banks, courts, etc. The center of government is called Chyngor, or just the Council. It’s a tall, majestic tower, carved on its three sides with statues of gods: Tyr, justice; Paladine, rulers and guardians; and Majere; order. It sits on the river like the prow of a ship, and can be seen from anywhere in the city.
The Counting District is represented to the Chyngor by Prime Minister Marisa Belfast, a former hero and adventurer known for her good humor and skill at diplomacy. She hosts the Chyngor, sets the topics, and is generally seen as a woman of the people…although perhaps not the brightest tool in the box.
There are lots of banks and bureaucratic offices, courtrooms and public memorials and pieces of art down here. The biggest bank, which is the only place authorized to mint new money and is known as the most secure, is the Deepvault. It was crafted by dwarves and is a windowless pyramid. Legend says that it’s protected by a demon that haunts its halls. Common knowledge says that it’s protected by sentient gargoyles, who adorn its face and are brutal to thieves. Its inner treasure filled vaults have never been breached, despite many thieves' attempts.
Outside the courthouse is Punishment Square, where people who have committed grave crimes are publicly tortured and executed.
The Counting District is a hub for protests, and so it’s constantly being repaired. Graffiti often covers the buildings, and rotten fruit and sometimes corpses are found on the corners. Common people are permitted to come here to seek hearings and justice from the council or the lesser courts, and so it’s often full of parishioners, who sometimes form tent cities on the streets and in parks.
Food here is a mix of elegant, exclusive restaurants and bars, where after-hours business dealings happen; and cheap places to order food at a counter, as well as food carts, which feed the parishioners.

GNOMINGTON 

The docks on the banks of The Rush, the eastern river, are always clustered with trading ships, which unload their goods into the gnomish neighborhood. Known for good food, dazzling street entertainment (in the form of gnomish holiday celebrations), markets full of clever wares and exotic spices…and as a place where careless shoppers will get pickpocketed. An underground fungi farm runs throughout much of the district, although it is rarely seen by outsiders. This is the major port of the city.
Gnomington is ruled by Boddynock Ell Thumbdinger the Third, a gnomish duke who is nearly four hundred years old. He has countless descendants, and is reportedly as clever as ever. Thanks to him, Gnomington residents find themselves with plenty of contracts and job opportunities in the wider city. He lives in a huge tree in the middle of the district and has a pet python.
The Nimblefingers Guild is a guild of esteemed crafters. Any shop sporting their seal in the window is guaranteed to have high quality goods. They take in apprentices and train them to make the clockwork machinery that only gnomes have mastered. They often work in tandem with the dwarven architects to make and maintain much of the public works in the city.
The Glittergold Gang run the streets here, controlling what comes in and out at the docks and importing illegal goods from all over the world. Boddynock the Third is against them, or at least says he is, but the fact that they haven’t gone anywhere suggests they might be closer to allies than enemies. They also manage a string of underground magical laboratories, which is where to go if you want access to a banned spell or weapon…and if you have gold to spend. Oddly-colored explosions are common. They train some of the most able child thieves and send them out into the city.

SEMPER’S COURT 

The court is a neighborhood of mostly houses and apartment buildings, more wealthy ones to the south and cheaper ones to the north. Many of the wealthy ones have skybridges, linking them to each other and to their own large shopping centers. Notably home to Semper, an adult bronze dragon who lives in the river and also has a palatial estate for when they take human form. They represent this area to the Chyngor, although they are rarely there, and have been known to fall asleep for months or even years at a time.
Semper is mostly concerned with preserving the health of the river, which thanks to their influence teems with beautiful fish and plants. They don’t usually take part in human quarrels. They have an area of influence that stretches over most of the city, and can affect the weather if they desire. In the past they conjured storms to defend Anbar from invaders. Legend says that a great treasure horde is stored in an underwater cave.
Because of Semper’s presence, it’s common to see Dragonborn living and gathering in this part of the city. A popular gathering spot is the Steamden, a Dragonborn bathhouse. Although a few of the baths and mud treatments are quite pleasant to members of other races, it’s advised that only Dragonborn undergo the molten lava soak and the burning room. Dragonborn restaurants serve large feasts of blackened meat and vegetables, with flavored charcoal briquettes for dessert…definitely an acquired taste.

SOUTH MARKET

This is a party neighborhood packed with nightclubs, bars, and brothels. There are night markets set up here, where you can buy exotic street food as well as illicit drugs and illegal gnomish experiments. Many of the more exclusive and classy establishments are to the south of the district, and pay a tax to the Delgard—the dwarven police—to stay open.
Llira’s Garden is one of these establishments: a high-end brothel run by Madame Softfoot, a Rakshasa (tiger demon) woman. Guests can eat and drink in beautiful, private gardens—dimly lit to preserve their privacy—and hire workers of all backgrounds to entertain them. It’s well-known as a place where business dealings happen and politicians visit. Madame Softfoot represents the South Market to the Chyngor.
The Laughing Masks are a cult dedicated to Olidammara, the god of revelry. They’re known to dress provocatively and wear colorful masks of laughing faces. Many bars and nightclubs seek their patronage, because in groups they bring fun and life to any party. They are known to be chaotic and can be dangerous, quick to defend themselves if mocked or insulted. They sell Juv, a drug that makes the user appear much younger…for the night, at least.
Other drugs available in the city: Kordosh, an orcish stimulant that grants strength, speed, and endurance for short bursts, originally used in battle; Elfberries, which grant focus (with a nasty hangover the next day), and which elves swear they do not use. Popular with students.
The Goblin Market: a roving phenomenon that appears on seemingly random nights. Goblins pour into the city and set up a market selling strange and exotic goods, as well as a good deal of trash. Bugbears are their bodyguards. It’s always a place to find something unique, but make sure not to get swindled. Goblins usually accept payment in gold, but also love rare fish, bits of gossip, and fingers.
There are fighting pits here where people and monsters battle for money and glory. The most famous is Red Sands, an arena run by Maximillian Heartwell. He is human, and is known for paying extravagant amounts to purchase exotic monsters—and people—for his fights.

VIG-STEINN

The dwarf neighborhood. Known for their cultural pride, their neighborhood rises out of the city like a solid block of stone and can be seen from anywhere; there are so many interconnected buildings that there is little room for daylight, just the way they like it. Constant construction, hammering sounds at all hours, smoke always rising. The easiest buildings to access for outsiders are the stylish, minimalist offices for top architects. It stretches deep underground—no one knows how deep—and is full of hand-cranked elevators. Think of apartment buildings going into the earth…and beneath them, mines, where the dwarves are always digging for more veins of metals and gems.
Vig-Steinn is ruled by Velsa Longbeard, a female ruler (dwarves are matriarchal) with a husband and five sons who carry out her commands. Known for being a shrewd businesswoman who has enriched her neighborhood significantly.
Dwarves are the construction workers and architects of the city, and they can build in any style, not just the brutalist dwarven style. They have several great factory forges, powered by harnessed fire elementals, which produce many of the metal goods of the city.
The Delgard are the dwarven law enforcement, skilled warriors with a terrifying arsenal of weapons. They are in an uneasy truce with the city guard; technically the city guards can go anywhere, but they usually leave the watch of Vig-Steinn to the Delgard. There have been conflicts in the past when the dwarven notion of justice did not align with the city’s. The Delgard leave Vig-Steinn when a crime has been committed (anywhere in the city) which involves a dwarf.
Dwarves are intensely tied to their families. Even the ones that live in the wider city are a part of the culture and return home often…unless they’ve committed a crime so heinous they are shorn, their beards cauterized so they will never grow, such dwarves exiled forever.
Dwarves in the city often serve as judges and on the city guard because of their strong sense of justice and long lifespans, which give them perspective.

EAST MARKET

A shopping neighborhood, full of luxury goods, the East Market is where to go to get delicious expensive food and to see celebrities and nobles out and about. It’s still chaotic, though, not a clean or refined place. Shops and stalls selling the newest magical fashions, backed by workshops full of workers. Most living spaces here are expensive, although it’s not somewhere to live if you like quiet.
The Silk Mayor runs this district, curating with an expert eye what merchants are allowed to open shops and what restaurants pass muster. His name is Pasha Khalid, and he lives in a mythically beautiful top-story apartment behind an iconic clock tower. He is very much a tastemaker.
The Thieves Guild; thieving is, of course, against the law. However, there are strict rules in the city that permit the existence of a thieves guild. A thief who is caught red-handed will be punished; however, when an item is stolen, after a certain length of time it is no longer stolen property (respective to its value). There is, therefore, an intricately layered guild based around the theft of exotic and precious items. The Silk Mayor condones them, and in fact has been known to buy stolen items for his personal collection.

LITTLE ARCADIA

A halfling village in the middle of the city. They work hard to maintain their pastoral ideal, although they do live much more closely-packed than their country-living cousins. The entire neighborhood does resemble a country village, though, with homes built into the sides of hills; except it is cleverly layered, and there are several levels of streets and homes. Goats, sheep, and ducks roam the streets, each stamped or beribboned with their owner’s mark. Halflings are known for their generous nature, and Little Arcadia welcomes visitors…but they value tradition, and aren’t shy about expelling outsiders who break it.
Little Arcadia is ruled by a council with voted on representatives from every family, which then chooses one representative to send to the Chyngor. The current representative is Milo Thistlewig, who is young and widely regarded as inexperienced; however, his aunt Clymestra Thistlewig is one of the wealthiest halflings in the city, and is rumored to have paid bribes to get him the position. Several groups and nobles are currently vying for the opportunity to influence him.
The Underhill Boys are one of these groups. A (gender neutral) group of halfling toughs, they are self-appointed guardians of the neighborhood. Anything that is considered too disruptive is dealt with, promptly. Many a human has gotten too drunk in a halfling pub and found themselves dragged out by three or four muscular Underhill Boys and dumped outside the borders of Little Arcadia—or, occasionally, in the duck pond.
The Helping Hands is another halfling group; they are a charitable order, loosely worshippers of the goddess Yondalla. They help the less fortunate in the larger city, and can often be found setting up impromptu kitchens and handing out blankets and clothes at the edge of the Wilds.
Halflings are well integrated into city life, the second most populous group besides humans. They often work as cooks and craftspeople.

UNDERBRIDGE

A large bridge shaped like an angel lying on her side is the most ancient structure in the city. Angel’s Stand spans the western river, known colloquially as The Drip. The neighborhood hit by the bridge’s shadow is known as Underbridge. It’s a student district, home to several large colleges and trade schools. It’s overrun with students and their accommodations: cheap housing and cheaper booze, as well as bookstores and coffee shops and theaters and art galleries. There is always a crowd on the street, no matter what time of day or night.
A city resident searching for discounts can always find them at the schools here; whether you want a cheap haircut, a half-off suit of armor, or a magical healing. There are also opportunities to get cheap services from students eager for practice. You’re not allowed to complain if you don’t like the quality, of course.
Griffinkeep is a school of law. Prestigious—some would say pretentious—it holds itself aloof from the other schools in the Underbridge. It trains court justices, lawyers, and law enforcement officers. Their main focus is not military training, but training in the law. Students wear navy blue cloaks, trimmed with white, green, red, and gold for their levels of education. Headmaster Corcoran runs Griffinkeep, and represents the entire Underbridge district to the Chyngor.
Griffinkeep is so named because two massive griffin statues flank the bridge over the moat—yes, they have a moat—leading to the front door of the campus. Within the moat is an immaculately manicured campus and several beautiful old buildings. It’s tradition for other schools in the area, particularly Wingnut Atelier, to deface the griffins on high holidays and graduations.
The Anbarian Academy of the Occult is a school for students of magic, built directly into the structure of the bridge. It’s known for accepting anyone with a spark of magic, and for a large and eclectic teaching staff that includes a beholder. They are not very well-funded, and the quality of education is so-so, but they have turned out some impressive magic users. They have a cheesy goth aesthetic, and the headmaster, Professor Reginald Darkwing, is widely known to be a vampire. Students tend to be very loyal to their scrappy school, and are in a one-sided rivalry with the elite magical academy of Crystal Hollow (in the district of Whitford’s Purchase).
Crafter’s Guild is a collection of schools, grouped by which materials they train their students in, such as The School of Wood, the School of Metal, the School of Cloth and Leather, the School of Stone, The School of Glass and Clay. Although the more specialized arts of gnomish clockwork and dwarven stone-working are kept within their cultures, there’s a lot to be learned at this school, which is run by a stern centaur named Mara Abresis. There are full time students here studying to become journeymen of their trade, as well as adults taking classes to advance in their craft and get better-paying jobs. Sky bridges connect the schools’ top levels, some say to keep the secrets of the trades taught there.
Wingnut Atelier is a small art school run by a family of eccentric elven art patrons. They accept twenty-two students a year, all expenses paid, from different artistic disciplines. Wingnut students are known as an eccentric bunch, often sporting wild fashions and haircuts and breaking into experimental poetry in the middle of the street. Never turn down an invitation to a Wingnut party; they’re unforgettable.
The Academy of Letters is a school for scribes, researchers, linguists, journalists, and scholars of all types. Although some students delve into magical esoterica, they are studying the theory more than the practice. The entire school is housed in an ancient, squat tower topped with a broken statue; the building’s original purpose has been lost to time. Classes are on the top levels, an extensive research library that opens to the public one a week occupies the bottom floors, and students live in the Warren, a network of apartments underground. A common joke about Letters students is that they can get their diploma without once seeing sunlight.
More extroverted members of the Academy of Letters often work for The Daily Scribe, a student-run newspaper that runs well-researched gossip, inflammatory opinion pieces, and universally panned political cartoons.
Other notable places in Underbridge: The Round, a theater that runs the newest plays and music, and serves food. Veric’s Fountain, a public fountain carved in the likeness of a rearing Owlbear; a regular meeting place. Anderson’s Alley, a street that is packed with bars, tattoo and jewelry shops, and drunken students perched on doorsteps. Seven Stars, a well-known coffee shop built in an abandoned temple, always full of people studying and arguing and sometimes doing slam poetry. The Stinkmarket, a roving, daily phenomenon; the Gruul, the people who live in and care for the sewers, will set up a flea market full of things they’ve found underground. Said things are rarely cleaned before selling. They also freely hand out Gruul Gruel, a thick and nourishing soup of unknown origin.

ARMS DISTRICT

Much of this district is taken up with The Training Ground, a collection of military training academies. This is where to go to buy practical, high quality weapons and armor; there are several notable dwarven blacksmiths here. There is a specific school for the city guard, and The Anbarian Police Bureau is located next door. Although there are other police stations throughout the city, you could go here to report a crime, look into a past case, or turn yourself in. There are holding pens for petty criminals in the basement.
Captain Llewyn Cuthbert is the captain of the city guard. He is known as a practical, down to earth man who came from poverty. He represents this district to the Chyngor.
Tibe is an adjacent island, accessible by boat. It is a prison island for long term prisoners. It’s guarded by trained rocs.
The Sinner’s Mile is the red-painted road from the police bureau to the Counting District. This is where criminals are led to trial, often in public viewings. If they are notorious, people will gather to watch…and throw things.

SCRIVENER’S DISTRICT

North of the Underbridge, a neighborhood of bohemian intellectuals flourishes. This is where you can go to find artists exhibiting their work in galleries and plying their trade in small street-level workshops. Bards strum on the streets and magicians create glowing illusions at night. Cafes stay open all night, fires stoked, people gathered around tables debating politics. It’s a bohemian scene, and no one seems to mind too much that the buildings are rather decrepit.
Caerwidion Holdfast represents this district. She is a half-elf, a famous singer and performance artist, and prefers parties to politics. She’s popular in the district, although it’s her negligence in council meetings that deprives her district of funds and public works.
The Torch is a public newspaper printed here three times a week. Their journalists can be found digging into stories everywhere in the city. Less salacious than the student-run Daily Scribe, the paper has a definite loyalty to the Chyngor council and to Marisa Belfast in particular.
The Anbarian Archives is an expansive public library. The tall stacks of books and low lighting can make it feel a bit dungeon-y, and it’s not unheard of to run into monsters in the lower stacks. The library is staffed entirely by dryads, whose trees were made into books. The dryads are imprinted with the knowledge put down in the books. And be careful about returning books late: they always know where they are, and will come after them. A library card costs one silver piece every month, or a gold piece for a year.
The Anbarian Post is located here. They employ hundreds of postal workers and use a stamp system. Letters that need to arrive quickly are sent via faerie dragon or pixie. Sending a normal letter is several copper pieces, and a quick one is a silver piece. There are also desks full of mages who can cast sending, allowing them to speak into the minds of people; they can communicate with the front desks of other public institutions in this way. This costs several silver pieces.

TEMPLE DISTRICT

Although area-specific temples can be found throughout the city, this district is crammed with temples to every known god. Magical lights flash on the facades of buildings, the smoke of incense and burnt sacrifices drifts through the streets, and chants in a half-dozen languages can be heard at any given time. The largest temples are spectacles, covered in statues and bright illusion magic and crowded with pilgrims. The smaller ones, sometimes just shrines in the nook of a wall, crowd the alleyways. There is always some kind of celebration going on, usually several, in the temple district. There are disasters here as well; sometimes two gods will feud, or a god will be disappointed with a sacrifice done incorrectly, and will escape the temple to rampage through the district. Angels, devas, and the like are not uncommon sights here, doing the gods’ will or battling on their behalf.
The temple district is represented by Grandmaster Rheon, the head priest of the temple of Paladine. She is a true believer, bringing the fear of god to the Chyngor.
There’s a thriving market of inns for pilgrims, street food vendors, and vendors selling sacrifices (everything from the pure-white cows preferred by Pelor to the flower garlands preferred by Sune). There are also many places to buy small tokens of the gods.
A few major temples:
Paladine, the god of rulers and guardians, has a tall and solemn temple where you can often spot members of the Chyngor and other nobles praying for guidance.
Tyr, god of justice, has a temple with a great fire always burning at the heart of it. Pilgrims here write down injustices, tie them to sacrifices, and throw them into the fire. The Paladins of Tyr, fearsomely skilled warriors, are sometimes inspired by the god to go and carry out justice.
Eldath, goddess of peace, has a temple that is magically enspelled to block sound from the outside world. It’s a mother-of-pearl dome that sparkles in the sunlight. There are meditation groups inside. No fighting is allowed inside, and it’s known as a safe haven for criminals and refugees.
Sune, goddess of love and beauty, has a beautiful water-filled temple built around a statue of the goddess draped in flowers brought by pilgrims. People totally go here to make out. On festival nights, the statue is carried through the city, and touching her grants luck in love.
Pelor, god of the sun and healing, has a large open-air plaza raised above the city. Worshippers can be spotted doing morning sunrise salutations. Pelorian clerics are some of the best healers in the city and have many smaller temples around that serve as hospitals.
Mishakal, goddess of healing, is mostly a midwife goddess. Her priests and priestesses oversee births in the city, and always have food and medicine for new mothers. 
A few small and odd temples:
Talona , goddess of disease and poison, has a narrow, dim temple. Inside, a massive snake coils in a cage.
Tharizdun, god of eternal darkness, has only a crack in a wall, carved with writing, where offerings can be left. When you look into the crack, though, it seems to have no end and to lead only into darkness.
Deneir, god of writing, has a temple where the walls are covered in paper and pilgrims come to write stories. His priests are tattooed from head to foot with their life story.
Silvanus, god of wild nature, has a small and overgrown temple. His parishioners will go out at night and plant seeds, magically making them grow overnight…much to the distress of everyone who maintains the roads and buildings of the city. Plant Blights flourish in the temple.

WHITFORD’S PURCHASE

A neighborhood of wealthy families, many of the buildings linked by sky bridges so the residents don’t have to walk on the street. Notably, it is home to a large college, Crystal Hollow.
Crystal Hollow is considered the best of the best, training magic users and fighters. It has an extensive, private library and a unique campus: areas of city which have been enchanted to resemble different environments, deserts and elven forests and rolling hills. This is the ideal place for nobles to send their children to get a good education…and to meet other nobles.
Crystal Hollow is run by Eliza H. Whitford, a direct descendant. She represents the district in the Chyngor.
T. S. Whitford was a human who invented the Message cantrip. He sold scroll versions of the spell for years and accumulated a fortune…until someone hacked the scroll and realized how to cast message without him. He used his fortune to buy this entire neighborhood, back when Anbar was a monarchy (and the ruling queen had acquired a great deal of debt from her obsession with collecting and breeding rare fairy dragons). His ancestors founded Crystal Hollow—there is a large, permanent illusion of his face hovering over the campus—and sold homes to their favorite families.

THE ENCLAVE

A huge green park at the heart of the city. It is where the majority of Anbar’s elves live. The tall trees have a city of elevated buildings installed in them, although they’re so elegantly incorporated into the forest that a visitor might not notice at first. Paths wind through the park, which is kept in a state of carefully contained wilderness.
It’s a popular place to visit, and the elves keep a rotating catalogue of art pieces displayed along the paths. Many of the elven buildings are private homes, but city residents can climb rope ladders and winding staircases to visit delicious plant-based restaurants, elven massage and meditation parlors, elven healers, mages, and more.
The Triesta represent the enclave to the Chyngor. They are three elves, chosen to represent different parts of the elven experience—heart, body, mind—who serve as one. 
The Enclave has wild animals living in it that are important to the elves; a pack of wolves and a herd of elk are commonly seen.
Oddly, living in close proximity has given elves a great taste for Gnomish culture. There are many gnomish restaurants in the Enclave, and wealthier elven households will employ gnomes as entertainers or tutors for their children, or be their artistic patrons.

ANBAR NORTH

The Wilds begin here, stretching further north. The neighborhoods grow more cobbled together, and crime is more common, the city guards fewer and more corrupt.

Worse; the streets are haunted, no two ways about it. Ghosts of those who recently died are known to rise and attack people. Everyone can agree that the area feels…unclean, somehow. Evil. No one sleeps well in Anbar North. Whole buildings of people have been found mysteriously dead or vanished, and animals behave oddly. It is not a place where tourists visit, and the residents often don’t have the means to live anywhere else.
Tybalta Greeneye represents this district. She is an honest human who fights hard for her area to reduce crime.
Several gangs control the wilds. The southern fringes are controlled by The Family, who handle exports in and out of the wilds and rule from the shadows with a combination of efficiency and bloodshed. They are run by twins, Asterios and Medea, who are famous for the amount of times they have appeared and been released from court.
Malar’s Sisters is an all female gang who worship the god of the hunt. They are known to hunt people through the streets at night, and people leave them offerings to ensure their safety. They are most dangerous under a full moon.
The Nobodies is a guild of assassins that is rumored to exist. Very little is known about them, but when clean quick deaths happen with no clues, it’s assumed that Nobody did it.
The Helping Hands, the halfling charitable group, are often found in Anbar North handing out blankets and food.

THE GRUUL

A group of people who live underground. They have members from all races—although a large amount of them are drow and deep gnomes—but they’re united by their kinship. They tend to the sewers, fishing out useful items and corpses, disposing of garbage, and finding everything lost by the upper city. They are widely looked down upon by the citizens of Anbar because of the stench that follows them and their pale, luminous eyes, the result of a type of fungi they all eat regularly. They are rarely seen above ground during the day, and when they are—such as when they sell goods at the Stinkmarket—they wear wide brimmed hats and wrap themselves in rags.
There are tales of a whole other city stretching under Anbar, of beautiful gem filled caves inhabited by the Gruul, but these are considered myths. The few who ventured below the streets have found dark and confusing tunnels and, though they are not aggressive while above ground, the Gruul are not friendly to those who intrude on their realm. The exception is the dwarves; the Gruul are close allies with them, often pointing them towards rich veins of ore underneath the city.
They speak common, but there is a written Gruul language left on buildings and in tunnels.

MONEY

10 coppers is a silver. 10 silvers is a gold. 10 golds is a platinum.
Rents in the city for houses/apartments/rooms in inns: a poor place would be 2sp/day. Modest, 6gp/day. Comfortable, 1gp/day. Wealthy, 3gp/day.
Food: a cheap meal is 3-10 cp. a decent meal is 2sp. A fancy meal is 8sp. A banquet is 2 gp. A bottle of wine is 1-5 sp.
Wages, very roughly: an unskilled laborer would make a few silver pieces a day. A skilled laborer would make a few gold pieces a day. An artisan would make a platinum piece a day.

TRANSIT

The city is not huge, a few miles from top to bottom. There are many ways to get around for those who don’t want to walk. Many people ride horses, ponies, or other steeds around.
Drays are basically buses, drawn by large horses and going on preordained routes. They cost 2 cp to get on and are often crowded.
Rickshaws are common. They cost 5 coppers - 1 silver for a ride and can carry a large human, or two halflings, at a time. Larger carriages that can fit up to 5 people are drawn by horses, elk, mastiffs, goats, even ogres. They cost 1-2 silver pieces for a ride. A palanquin, more of a luxury experience, would cost 2-3 gold pieces to rent for the day.
Teleportation circles are located in all the districts for fast travel to other fixed points in the city. They cost 2 silver pieces, and there’s usually a line.
Teleporting mages will ferry important people around the city. They are very expensive to hire, at a platinum/day.
It is also possible and common among certain shady people to get around via the sewers, although watch out not to trespass on Gruul territory, and don't do this wearing clothes you like.
Some urchins, aarackoa, and flying monsters have made the tops of buildings their homes and roads. There are makeshift bridges and ladders to travel them, a whole elevated system of streets, although again, you might be infringing on someone else’s territory without knowing. Guards rarely patrol the sewers or the roofs, so they’re more dangerous.

LAWS

Physical assault of any kind of illegal, although mitigating factors such as self-defense will count in court. It is legal to carry weapons and armor—although some places require weapons to be left at the door—but heavily armed people will attract attention and put citizens on edge.
Magical spells that cause harm to others are illegal. ALSO spells that intentionally deceive others or coerce them, changing their mental state or invading their mind (charm, modify memory, detect thoughts, etc) are illegal. (You can always check with your DM about the legality of different spells.) This applies to casting the spells on sentient humanoids, not on monsters.
An illusion spell to make an advertisement flash neon is okay; an illusion spell to make a cheap shirt appear like a fancy suit of armor in order to sell it is not. 

(DM note: just because certain spells are illegal doesn’t mean you can’t use them! Just expect consequences if you are caught by a guard...)
Thievery is illegal, although there is a thieves guild and stolen items can be kept after their period of jeopardy has expired.
The Anbarian City Guard is the police force, reporting to their local watch station or the larger bureau in the Arms District. They wear green tunics and tall helmets with ACG inscribed on them. They have whistles that they blow and often use truncheons and non-bladed weapons.

Punishment can include fines, community service, jail time, punishment, and execution. Complicated and extreme matters are settled in court. A few examples:

  • Being caught stealing bread requires the fine of paying the baker back threefold. Inability to pay will result in community service, or the fine being paid off to the baker through labor.

  • A merchant using an illusion spell to make their goods look pricier than they are will have to pay a fine. Repeated offenses will result in jail time.

  • Assaulting a citizen requires a fine to be paid, relative to how hurt they are, and jail time. Assaulting a noble or city guard member warrants a greater punishment.

  • Murder not in self-defense results in life in prison, or execution.

Of course, there are lawyers who can change these results in court, and plenty of crime goes on without the guards seeing...

Continual Flame spells light the main streets. Lamps lit every evening by city officials light most other places, although in poor and desperate neighborhoods they are often stolen.


That’s Anbar! There’s a lot of places we’ve barely explored (the PCs, 3/5s of whom are catboys, may have gotten involved in a guild war, which has been keeping them busy) and there are many secrets lying beneath the surface.