Return of Evil
The Free City of Raven
This harbour city is considered the greatest in the land. Massive and sprawling, the city core alone covers three square miles, and over two hundred thousand people live in the city and its outskirts. The Raven River flows through the city, at this point wide and slow, bringing goods and people down from the Landspine Mountains.
Raven itself is made of the Free City itself and a large number of suburbs and villages that have been absorbed over the years. The docks area employs over ten thousand people, and the docks of Raven service nearly nine thousand ships a year.
The Guilds of Raven are famed throughout the land as the source of the best-trained personnel. The most famous is certainly the Mages’ Guild, which maintains its chief office in Raven and has done for generations.
Raven is also famed for its ecumenical outlook. Temples to most deities and demideities can be found within the city. The largest and most well-attended temple is that of Pelor, and the massive white-marble structure occupies a commanding view of the city. The other major religions are the worship of Obad-Hai and the followers of Saint Cuthbert and Heironeous. The leader of the church of Pelor, High Priest Hervor, is a widely-respected religious ruler, and it is believed that his message of peace and good fellowship is a major contributor to the current resurgence in Pelor worship in these troubled times.
Raven is ruled by the Council of Raven, a body elected once every five years. Despite the trappings of democracy, the positions on the Council are decided well ahead of election day, and the Council is mostly made up of wealthy merchants. Given Raven’s city-state nature, however, this arrangement mostly works to everyone’s advantage, as it is in everyone’s interest that commerce in Raven remains as rapid and unhindered as possible.
That is not to suggest that Raven is an insecure place. On the contrary, the Raven Wardens are paragons of integrity and devotion to duty, and their presence has helped the city maintain the stability that is so conducive to good business. Anyone causing trouble in Raven will rapidly find themselves overwhelmed by the excellent tactics, strategy and training of the Wardens, and spend at least a night in the cells pondering their misdeeds.
On the seaward side, the ships of the Raven Navy defend the city and carry out customs inspections. It is the neutrality and independence of these two organisations that ensures that smuggling and trafficking in Raven is kept to a minor inconvenience rather than a devastating plague.
The Raven Navy is only one part of the military might of the Free City, which is unique amongst the cities of the North in maintaining a standing army. The Army of the Free City of Raven numbers less than five thousand, but they are exceptionally well trained and disciplined. Calculations by the College of Warmasters suggests that each solider of the AFCR is the equivalent of three Imperial legionnaires or fifteen orcs. Classed as a section of the AFCR, the Raven Navy consists mostly of light customs cutters and troop transport vessels. As such, it is less of a confrontational military force, but as a support force, it adds immeasurably to Raven’s ability to project its will around the world.
The AFCR and its attendant navy makes Raven the pre-eminent military power in the world. Even the Imperial Legions would hesitate to make war upon this exemplary combat force.
The commander-in-chief of the military of Raven is General Thrusk, an intelligent, cunning half-orc, born and raised in the city. The General’s abilities on the battlefield are unquestioned, and his position speaks volumes about Raven’s racial attitudes, especially when compared with the Orc Quarter of Tomsim or the ghettos of Merro.