The Town of Lixus (Paludia supplement)
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Lixus is by far the largest lizardfolk settlement in Paludia, being over twice the size of the next-largest town. It is the focal point for trade with the outside world, and is known for its magic, salt, arena, temple, and busy market. While the population of Lixus itself is only about 5,000 inhabitants, the area controlled by Lixus around the city stretches out for up to 100 kilometers. Hence, over 100,000 lizardfolk live under the rule of Lixus, even if few of them live in the city itself. It is important to note that only about 15,000 residents are directly loyal to the Lixian king himself; the other residents are loyal to their local chiefs, who, in turn, have pledged loyalty to the Lixian king. If the chief of the local village decided to revolt, his villagers would join him. Of course, this action might very well get the village slaughtered. Most lizardfolk living in the town are common or crested lizardfolk, but Lixus was founded by, and is still ruled by, crested lizardfolk.
Population: 5,243 (2817 male, 2426 female.)
Land Area: 10.6 km squared, not including settlements around the town.
Population Density: 494.6 inhabitants per square kilometer.
Language: Draconic for most of the population and common used as a major second language and the language of commerce.
Lixus lies in the middle of a salt marsh which is at the mouth of a river, where the stream meets the sea (an estuary.) This gives the town the advantage of being able to trade with other towns along the river, and be able to trade with nations across the sea.
Lixus began its history as a fishing village on an estuary near a salt marsh. For many years, it was isolated from the outside world. This was, at first, a good thing, as the salt marsh's tough terrain hindered many attacks which would have otherwise damaged the village. The location on the estuary was another good thing for the town as estuaries are generally rich fishing grounds. As time went by, the village grew to the limit of its resources, and like so many other successful lizardfolk settlements, the excess population split off and settled a new village several kilometers away. After the settlers left, the population of Lixus rapidly rose again, and a new group of settlers had to split. This happened a number of times, and within a century, the area was filled with settlements, and Lixus was the largest of them. This pattern of settlement had happened before; a well-located central town with many related break-away villages in which the central town's population was at least three times the population of any one village in the surrounding area. The pattern had been expected, and this was by no means considered unusual. The unexpected event, however, came not from within the villages or town, but rather, from the outside world. The fact that Lixus is located near the near and next to a river makes it easily accessible to ships. Of course, the lizardfolk didn't consider that, which is why it was all the more surprising when a small ship came sailing in from an unknown human nation. The ship contained a small group of explorers who had been commissioned to find a good harbor from which to conduct trade. After paying tribute to the chief of Lixus, the explorer and his men set out to survey the land and determine how deep the water in the harbor was. As it turned out, the harbor was ideal for ships of even the largest size. The explorer than offered to give the chief a larger sum of gold in tribute if he would allow trade between his nation and Lixus.
Not realizing what this meant, the chief agreed. Soon, several large ships came in to the harbor. The ships came with merchants offering to sell various practical and luxury goods to the lizardfolk of Lixus. After quickly saturating the market for goods in the town, the merchants spread out, searching the other villages for buyers. As expected, each village was too poor to afford many goods, but it was clear that the desire for the items was there.To take advantage of this situation, the chiefs of Lixus and its surrounding villages were offered a deal by the merchants; that the Lixus and its surrounding area be made into a "free mercantile realm" (where merchants could buy and sell any good they wanted to without regulation), and that the merchants enjoy extraterritoriality (free from prosecution from crimes.) In return, the merchants would pay the king and chiefs an annual tribute in exchange for the privileges. They would also recognize the ruler of Lixus as a king, not just a chief. Within five years, trade was soaring, merchants from far and wide were coming to Lixus, and lizardfolk villages from all over Paludia sent merchants to the town in order to buy rare luxuries and sell them back home at a higher price. But, in spite of all the money to be made, not all was well. The influence the merchants wielded over the king was intense, and after the construction of a sizable port, the outside control only became worse.
The problem came to a head when a shipment of cattle to Lixus was attacked and looted by some lizardfolk brigands, and the merchants who shipped the cattle wanted to be reimbursed for their losses by Lixus' king. In order to raise the money needed to pay for the lost cattle, the tax rate had to be raised. This sparked a revolt by the king's eldest son who despised the control the merchants had over Lixus.
Lixus is a highly-stratified patriarchal hierarchical town, with a system based on class, race, and gender; merit counts for relatively little, and familial ties count for much. A male crested lizardfolk with significant wealth and noble ranking has the highest status, while an enslaved female torvadian lizardfolk has the lowest status.
The population of the city is more male than female. This is so because a large number of young male lizardfolk travel to the town in hopes of earning wealth, but will later return to the surrounding villages from which they came, bearing money for their families.
Corruption is a serious issue.
Inequality is another serious issue. The richest 10% of the population has well over half of the wealth, and the poorest 10% has only about 2% of the wealth.
Overcrowding is a problem. The relatively high population, combined with the small living space in the town (most of the town is set aside for markets, temples, the palace, the arena, barracks, or other non-residential structures) has led to many families of six or more living in huts which are hardly suitable for a family of four.
Overview: The economy of Lixus is based on three pillars: trade, the salt marshes, and the presence of many mages and temples. Trade with the outside world gives Paludia access to many items which are normally scare, such as forged metal items and wine. The most important point of importation of these goods is through Lixus, and its merchants have done well as a result. The most important export from Paludia is salt, which is obtained from the local marshes by slave labor. Sadly, Lixus also has a slave trade, one which traffics in workers, all of whom are lizardfolk or another Paludian species.
Resources: Near Lixus, fish and salt can be easily obtained. Peat is also available for extraction from the surrounding bogs. While there is wood available, it isn't of very good quality by the standards of most human nations. Metals have to be imported.
Employment: When calculating employment, it is important to remember that only a certain percentage of those who work in the town of Lixus actually live within its walls. Many workers have to leave their homes in the morning and enter the city from the surrounding villages. The workforce of Lixus proper makes up about 2/3 of its population (3,460), due to no expectations of retirement for most citizens and no compunctions about using child labor. About 20,000 individuals work in the city, and this number includes slaves, but does not include traveling merchants or temporary workers.
Merchants: The largest sector of employment, selling goods at the marketplace is vital to the economy. The division of merchants according to what goods they sell is as follows:
Wooden products: 100
Metal goods: 75
Cloth and clothing: 50
Other goods: 1100
Artisans and craftsmen: The second-most important source of regular employment (in terms of value for the city), artisans and craftsmen make a wide variety of goods for sale. Note that some craftsmen sell the goods they make, and so some of them overlap with the merchants shown above. They are divided as follows, rounded to the nearest five:
Manual laborers: Critical to the development of Lixus, these workers build and maintain the town, dig ditches, and perform the necessary hard labor needed for the town to grow.
Clergy: Every well-balanced city has a significant religious presence, and Lixus is no exception. As the focal point for trade and commerce in Paludia, it comes as no surprise that there would be a significant diversity of religious traditions, although all of them must follow some basic regulations set by the king.
Many deities are worshiped in Lixus, and there is some toleration to be found. There are, however, severe limitations. First, every religion must recognize the claim of divinity made by the Lixian king. Second, while there is tolerance for common citizens to follow certain deities, a central pantheon is recognized by the state, with Semuanya at its peak. Third, any perceived dissent from the official line of the city's priests can lead to punishment by beating, flogging, enslavement, or, in some rare cases, even death. This is so because the city of Lixus is concerned first and foremost with its ability to survive, and the ability to survive is, in the minds of the king and the priests, linked in no small part to the favor of Semuanya and the other deities. Even so, worship of minor deities is still tolerated, as long as they are subservient to Semuanya.
Military and Defenses
The military of Lixus is comprised of several classes of warriors. Most fighters are simple spearmen, sometimes armed with a shield or a javelin. A significant percentage of Lixus's army is made up of slingers and archers. Some rare slingers fire pellets, which unleash a small cloud of poison. Most of these troops are simple militia called upon to defend their homes. The regular army consists of city guards, who are armed with scale mail armor and spears, and heavy infantry, who have heavier armor and helmets. Lixus is unique among lizardfolk settlements in that it can afford to equip a regular army with metal weapons and armor. In addition to the spearmen, Paludia also arms certain infantry with two falchions, which are short swords that can cause great damage to enemies at close range.
Lixus also maintains some elite troops as well. While many troops fight to defend their homes and families, and others act as guards who rarely leave the city, some troops are kept around at full preparedness at all times. These soldiers are known as the Swamp Guards, and it is their duty to protect and serve the king of Lixus. They are armed with curved swords, and protected by some of the finest armor, if not the finest armor in all Paludia.
In addition to the free armies of Lixus, there are also some slaves who fight for their cause as well. Some slaves who have proven their loyalty are armed with tridents; the best 20% of the slave warriors are given a breastplate in order to preserve them in combat, as they are considered more valuable than the common slave fighters. Maintaining loyalty among enslaved fighters is very hard to do, and taskmasters armed with whips are used, as well as the threat of death if they turn on Lixus's armies.
The chiefs of the villages under Paludia's control receive various benefits for their loyalty. In addition to being protected by the Lixian army, the chiefs themselves are given weapons and armor. A minor chief might be made a commander, and he will receive armor and weapons from Lixus. He will be expected to organize and lead his troops according to Lixian standards. A major chief who controls over 1,000 individuals in his local territory can be made into a Lord. This individual is given better armor and weapons than a simple commander, and he is even trusted to lead troops from other villages if no other leader is available.
The sons of chiefs have the option of being placed in the prestigious but dangerous position of Lixus's most powerful troop; the charioteer. This unit is commanded by the sons of the Lixian king, and is considered too dangerous to risk chiefs and the king on. These chariots are pulled by a large, two legged lizard, and are very fast in short bursts. The chariots of the Lixian princes are scythe-wheeled, enabling them to cut down enemies with great ease.
The religious structure of Lixus occasionally goes to war; when undead or demonic threats emerge, priests are often called in, as are Hierodules from the temples. Some cultic dancers armed with magical staff may also join combat on occasion. Mages are also called into war, and Lixus has a wide variety of Sauromancers, Shamans, and Marshmasters to call from.
Lixus is surrounded by a wooden wall that is 20 feet high and only a foot or so thick, being comprised of cylindrical wooden sections cut from trees. A long wooden platform extends across the walls, enabling guards to stand on top of the walls and gain an advantage over opponents trying to fire into the city. The town has seven gates, each of which is comprised of two heavy wooden doors.
Lixus is home to many important buildings, far more so than any other lizardfolk settlement in Paludia. Some of the structures have foreign names (ending in "ium" or "um"), indicating that human foreigners played a part in their design.
The Port: Key to linking Lixus to the rest of the world, the port was built at the behest of foreign merchants, located in an excellent natural harbor. Like many ports it is a very rough place.
The Marketplace: The Lixian market is easily the largest in all of Paludia. The merchants come from all corners of the land, as well as lands outside of Paludia to sell their goods. Commonly traded goods include food, salt, pottery, cloth, tools, utensils and weapons, and jewelry. There is also a large slave market, which is also easily the largest in Paludia. This evil market is kept separate from the rest of the vendors, stalls, and specialty markets. The marketplace is the keystone of the Lixian economy, and is physically larger than the housing areas in Lixus. In addition, the marketplace includes many inns for visitors and traveling merchants to stay in.
Notable segments of the market (apart from the general stalls and vendors) include:
The Boarium: The place where cattle and beef are imported to Paludia and sold. Beef is a luxury good in Paludia, and the meat can fetch a very high price. The Boarium also includes stalls in which meat is preserved with Lixian salt, and then sold to merchants, who can sell it at high price to villages in Paludia. Slaughterhouses are located here as well.
The Holitorium: Spices, herbs, and other related goods are traded here. While Paludia has to import spices from abroad (mostly), the Holitorium actually makes money for Lixus by exporting salt from this site. Plants used in magic potions are traded out from and into Paludia as well, with a net surplus going out.
The Piscarium: The least important of the specialty markets, this area is the main trading center for fish. Fish is a staple of the Lixian diet, and is very common. Hence, the price tends to be low, and few merchants come from very far to sell their goods here. Even so, many local merchants still sell their goods here, and the Piscarium is indeed the largest fish market in Paludia.
The Suarium: The second-least important market, this area specializes in selling less expensive meat (other than beef.) The only kind of meat sold here which has any significant value is pork, which is expensive, but not nearly so much as beef. It lies at the edge of the marketplace, near the barracks and training grounds of the Lixian army. Other meats sold here include veal, mutton, and poultry.
The Viniarium: The specialized part of the marketplace which sells wine and refined alcoholic products. This is the smallest, but by no means least important part of the market, as wine and other related goods are hard to come by in Paludia, and merchants who purchase goods in bulk here may be able to sell them at several times markup in other markets. Just about all wine in Paludia is imported from foreign lands as a finished product.
Overall, the marketplace is the key to Lixus's prosperity and power.
The Green Palace: The Green Palace is easily the largest structure in the city, and one of the largest in all of Paludia. It is here that the King of Lixus lives along with his family (including a dozen wives!) and many servants. The Palace is mostly made of wood and has a green roof which is covered with green stone tiles, hence giving it the name "Green Palace." The structure contains over 50 rooms, including a private shrine, two dozen bedrooms, a throne room, several storage rooms, a "kitchen" (a place where meat is prepared, perhaps better compared to a miniature slaughterhouse), a dining room, and a library containing some of the very few pieces of indigenous literature the lizardfolk have access to.
As the center of Lixian power and wealth, the Green Palace has come to be the centerpiece of the town. It is not a pleasure-palace; in order for Lixus to have risen to its place of wealth, the people of the town had to work for it, and these values are reflected in the palace.
The Temple of Semuanya: The largest temple in the city, the temple to Semuanya is also the second-largest structure in the city (the marketplace is simply a series of stalls, vendors, and small structures.) The temple consists of two main sections: an outer area in which worshipers can gather, and an inner area in which those offering sacrifices can have them burned on an alter. Also in the temple are sections for storage of the temple treasury (filled with donations and fees for services charged) and the private shrine for the temple's priests themselves. Votive statues are sometimes placed in the temple.
The Lacertium: This is the largest arena in all of Paludia. With a capacity of over 10,000, this venue can hold almost twice the population of Lixus itself. Of course, when there is a tournament held in the arena, visitors from the surrounding area flood into the city and the seats fill up fast. Tournaments are held on a regular basis, at least once a month. Usually, the fights consist of slaves and/or criminals fighting each other, often to the death, but twice a year, special tournaments are held. The first special tournament is held on the King of Lixus' birthday; during this event, champions from far and wide are travel to earn a special token from the king, usually a wife or a magical artifact. The second special tournament is held on the sixth day of the full moon, which is a very holy time for the worshipers of Semuanya. During this night, a powerful magical beast will be brought in to be killed by the strongest and most powerful fighters in all of Lixus.
The Pugnaculum: The main barracks and training grounds for the army of Lixus, the Pugnaculum is the largest and most important set of military structures in all of Paludia. Located near the Suarium (cheaper meat market), the Pugnaclum can house up to 5,000 soldiers at one time, as well as provide training services, weapons and armor maintenance and repair, and even house a small prison for captured enemies.