Hell of a Summer
Controlled by the Dragonmarked Houses
Points of Interest
- The Bank of Throneport – block-sized bank and secure office building and Kundarak enclave
- Bastion of the Twelve – headquarters for The Twelve Shields and small Medani and Tharashk enclaves
- Cloudspire – tallest structure in the city, public airship tower, and Lyrandar enclave
- Court of the White Bull – dangerous wild magic zone
- The Eluria Building – hospital/research center and Jorasco enclave
- Everbright Neighborhood – tourist attraction for the latest inventions and technology and Cannith enclave
- The House of Green Vines – Vadalis enclave
- The ICA Building – talent scouting agency/creative workshops and rehearsal halls and Phiarlan enclave
- The Orien Building – minor Orien enclave
- The Piper Building – legal offices and Sivis enclave
- The Sleeping Hound – enormous inn/tavern/restaurant and Ghallanda enclave
- The Warrant Building – Deneith contracting office (not the Deneith enclave)
The official ward for enclaves of the Dragonmarked Houses, Trades Ward is the center of commercial activity in Throneport and playground for the rich and fashionable or those who like to pretend they are. When the Treaty of Thronehold parceled out administrative districts to the surviving four of the Five Nations, it was thought that by putting the powerful and neutral Dragonmarked Houses in between bitter rivals Thrane and Aundair and Karrnath and Thrane would make for a more peaceful city. As such, all but Deneith and Vadalis, with their critical facilities on Thronehold itself, were directed to move their enclaves from their various locations around the city to the Trades District.
In exchange for giving up their existing enclaves, the Twelve bargained for virtual autonomy in their section of the city. The Dragonmarked Houses reign supreme in Trades Ward, and even the City Guard will ask for permission before stepping foot east of the High Road. That said, chaotic and energetic Trades Ward is far from lawless, as each member of the Twelve has a vested interest in keeping the streets safe for commerce and keeping its rivals from completing their schemes for market domination.
Where you will find sailors and longshoremen in Dock Ward, drovers and teamsters in Southern Ward, guild halls in Castle Ward, and the most exclusive shops in Sea Ward and North Ward, Trades Ward is packed full of storefronts dedicated to commercial activity like nowhere else in the city. Shopping, eating, drinking, event spaces, lavish accomodations- you can find all this and more in Trades Ward.
Trades Ward is the most vertical section of the city. When the Dragonmarked Houses consolidated their activities here they realized spreading out was not an option, so they decided to build up. Assisted by magic and artifice, in a very short time the Houses have been able to create a Ward that looks like it was lifted out of Sharn instead of growing up alongside quiet North Ward or stolid Castle Ward. The Dragonmarked enclaves tower over the older, existing buildings, and their neighbors who can afford it are working hard to try to catch up.
The Market in Castle Ward is the largest market square in the city, but Trades Ward is like an entire market city all by itself- and is easily five times the Market’s size. This ward bustles day and night with activity, both on the street and on balcony walkways that run the length of entire blocks and are layered dizzyingly high above the ground.
Shop signs appear to leap out from buildings, whose sides are plastered with advertisements all vying for the attention of the eye. Illusions as tall as buildings glow at all hours of the day and night and beckon shoppers to buy this or that. Announcements call to passersby and some of the most advanced advertisements even interact with those who care to stop and talk to them. Glove shops, shoe shops, jewelry stores, perfumeries, flower shops, cake shops, taverns, cafes, tea shops, inns, row houses, boarding schools, offices, dance academies, grocers, pottery stores, armor vendors-as long as it’s not illegal, you can find it in the Trades Ward. And even if you are looking for something illegal, then Trades Ward is likely the place to get that too.
Do not do so too loudly, though. The Dragonmarked Houses all keep a close eye on Trades Ward, both in the form of open House guards at official establishments and the Twelve Shields, a uniformed watch made up of rotating security forces from each of the Dragonmarked Houses. Members of the Twelve Shields are pledged to serve in the best interests of the entire Ward for their period of service and rotate in and out of the Shields depending on the preferences of their House. Trades Ward also probably has the heaviest concentration of clandestine House agents outside of Sharn, so watch what you say and to who.
Magic users should be wary in the Court of the White Bull. Long ago, this plaza was a grazing area for livestock, including an albino calf that was born here. The calf’s owner built the White Bull Tavern, which thrived on the spot for years and gave the area its name. You’ll not find the tavern now, though. It vanished, utterly destroyed during an infamous spell battle between the archmage Thongalar the Mighty and the evil mage Shile Rauretilar and his apprentices. In the storm of magic that touched down here, an aberrant manifest was torn in the fabric of the planes. To this day, magic brought to bear in the Court of the White Bull sometimes goes awry, and the use of magic items and spells is forbidden in the area.
The Trades Ward uses green and purple as its colors, and its mascot is the mimic. This tradition supposedly arose because when mascots were first chosen, the Trades Ward took a chest of gold as its own-and was roundly mocked by citizens of other wards for not picking a creature. Now, every four years, the ward reveals a new object for its mascot, declaring it to be the mimic. The nature of the object is subject to much speculation and rumor until its unveiling. For months afterward, the object becomes the source of practical jokes in Thronehold. Gnomes and wizards cause illusory mouths to lunge from real versions of the object, artisans craft beautiful fakes out of cake or paper that are easily crushed when assumed to be real, and so on. As of the writing of this enchiridion, the current mimic is a tankard.
Ward Entry Procedure
Like Castle Ward to the west, Trades Ward’s borders are open to all. No papers are required to transit from any other Ward into or through Trades Ward, though the most exclusive properties cater only to those with House affiliations.
The streets are patrolled by the Twelve Shields- a combined force of guards and other personnel from each Dragonmarked House. They are highly visible but keep a light touch for anyone who isn’t making trouble. Extremely well equipped and rigorously trained, the Shields are extremely efficient at getting troublemakers off the streets, since danger is bad for business.
Off the streets, though, the Houses each maintain their own guards and protect their own properties, with varying levels of visibility and reputations for use of force.