Vertisse is ruled by Marquess Duchamps and part of the Ornesse Duchy. The Marquess is not, as such, an evil man but his Captain of the Guard is, taking bribes from the rich and trampling over the poor.
Because of the Marquess fondness for executions a new breed of smarter criminals has evolved in the city but the Marquess doesn’t care, he sits safely in his castle half a days ride away.
Vertisse is a somber and dark city. The people are poor and crime is everywhere and the guards are spread thin, except for in the rich(noble) part of town where guards are a common sight.
Population of the city is roughly 10.000 inhabitants including the slums both inside and outside of the city gates and is seperated into four districts:
- The Upper City
This district is home to the noble families as well as the most wealthy merchants in the city. There is no open marketplace though there is a high street with individual shops selling wares marketed towards the wealthiest. Because of the heavy guard patrols in this district, open crime is very rare here. Many of the wealthiest families of the underworld also make their legitimate homes here.
- The Shades
The inner city slums are home to the poor and destitute. While the wealthiest of the city enjoy a walled-off existence in the Upper City, the Shades are almost not patrolled by the city guard, so “private security” is prevalent here, wether it be hired guards or individual street gangs protecting their own neighborhood.
- The Markets
This district lies at the center of the city and is centered around two open market areas; the High Market and the Open Market. The High Market is located in a large plaza. It is highly organized and enjoys a significant, if somewhat corrupt guard presence. Setting up a stall in the High Market requires a license from the city guard, often involving a significant bribe. The Open Market is nothing more than a maze of narrow alleys in which the people of the city sets up their own vendor stalls. Since the Open Market is not sanctioned by the city, anyone can set up in an open space. This also means that the guard cares very little about what goes on in the Open Market.
- The Muds
Outside the city walls is a collection of shoddy huts and houses inhabited by those who either could not afford to live inside the city or who have been evacuated. This slum functions much like its own city, with its own law enforcement (since the Vertisse guards never come here) and its own craft and trade.
The criminal underworld is made up of mostly street gangs, some working to expand their area of influence through crimes and intimidation and some solely interested in protecting their local neighborhood.
The thieves guild of Vertisse is a small group consisting of only a handful of expert individuals. While it started out long ago as a consortium of criminals seeking to better distribute the criminal activity in the city for improved profit, the changing times have forced them to don an almost completely different role.
Because of the poor state of living for the citizens of Vertisse crime is running rampant, threatening to consume the lower parts of the city. If this happens, the Marquess Duchamps will be forced to occupy the city using the well trained troops of the Ornesse military. If this happens, the deathtoll in the Shades, Markets and Muds districts will be catastrophic.
The thieves guild understand this problem and have taken it upon themselves to keep the citizens safe from military occupation by keeping the gangs in check so as to not draw the attention of either the Marquess Duchamps or Duke Ornesse and their military. Using the threat of dire repercussions to any offenders, the thieves guild makes sure no gang oversteps its bounds within the city walls. Not all gangs are happy with this arrangement but none who have crossed them so far have survived for long.
Common magic items are available for purchase in the Markets and Upper City districts.
Common alchemical items are available in all districts.