Once, this was the home of the rulers of the city. Since the Day of Green Smoke, however, it has become a lower class neighborhood. Most of the mages’ towers still stand, and some are still empty, guarded by the traps and wards their erstwhile owners established. The majority of the towers have been converted into cheap housing, with new partitions built inside large rooms, and staircases added to the outside.
This area is home to about 1,500 of the respectable poor. The residents have a cheerful sense of community, and the crime rate is relatively low. Very occasionally something escapes from one of the towers and adventurers have to deal with it, but most of the time this is a fairly safe area.
The hill itself is extremely symmetrical, and most people suspect that it is artificial. Pharran’s tower stands on its peak, still abandoned and the grave of at least a dozen groups of adventurers.
Immediately after the Day of Green Smoke, beforethe New City was walled, the remaining mages of the city established themselves in this area. Once the New City had been walled, they moved out, to be further from the hill. Since this area had fewer bad associations, wealthy members of other professions replaced the mages.
Today, this is still a nice area, but its proximity to the Docklands means that the truly wealthy do not live here. Instead, it has evolved into an artists’ quarter of sorts. A couple of hundred people make their homes here, but it is the city’s main center for civilized entertainment, and thus is much busier in the evenings.
The bridge from New Mages to the Spires is known as the Upper Bridge, because it is the furthest upstream. It has a very high arch to allow riverboats to pass under it, and it is built of decorated stone. It was supposed to be a beautiful ornament to the city, but the architect layered too much decoration onto it, with the result that it is overly busy. Urban myth has it that there are as many carved faces on the bridge as there are people in the city, and that everyone has a portrait there. As the bridge is non-magical, this seems unlikely.
Docklands is the rough, low-class area of the city. It has a population of about 2,000, of whom about 1,000 are half-orcs. Most people avoid the area at night, although the portions of the district near New Mages aren’t too bad.
The docks are almost all within this district, although there are a couple in Market Ward, and some of the houses in the Spires have private jetties. Almost all shipbuilding takes place in this area, and most sailors live here when not at work.
The Lower Bridge, joining the two parts of Docklands, is an aging structure of wood, supported on stone piers. The central area can be raised to allow ships to pass, and sometimes the bridgekeepers leave it raised for long periods, to save themselves work.
Market Ward is the commercial heart of the city. It has a fairly low population, about 1,000, because many of the buildings are shops, warehouses, and workshops. Just south of the Market Bridge linking Market Ward to Docklands is the Market Square. This is a large open area, with marked spaces for booths. The booth areas are rented out every morning, in principle on a first-come, first-served basis. The market warden (an office that changes hands every month) often “fails to notice” some people, and hands out spaces to known traders. However, this can only be maintained for a so long, so everyone shows up shortly before dawn.
During summer, the distribution of spaces is utter pandemonium, as traders from outside the city want somewhere to display their wares. Street trading elsewhere within the walls is illegal, and the Council has banned fairs outside the walls. This ban comes under increased pressure every year. Elsewhere in the district, shops selling just about any sort of legal goods can be found. People with the right introductions find that many shops do not display all of their wares.
Market Bridge is mostly stone, with a central section that can be raised to allow the passage of boats. Unlike Lower Bridge, Market Bridge is kept down unless a boat is actually trying to pass.
Stonewall is described as “Solidly middle class. Very solidly middle class” by residents of the Shambles. Most of the houses in this district are made of stone, and it is very popular with the dwarves. It has a population of about 1,500, and almost all buildings are homes of some description. The neighborhood is close enough to Market Ward that most residents shop there.
Stonewall gives the impression of being well-organized. The streets are straight and broad, and it is difficult to get lost. Many of the roads are partially paved, and the main routes are lit at night.
The Shambles is the second middle class area of Marchion, and it is very, very different from Stonewall. It also has a population of about 1,500 and it is popular with halflings and gnomes. The streets wind and twist with little sense of logic, and tiny alleys snake between the houses.
The buildings themselves are tall, making the narrow streets dark, and they are built of a wide range of materials, in many different styles. There are a fair number of shops, especially in the areas west and south of Tree Town. The Shambles is also known for having the some of the best places to eat in the city, although New Mages is the place to go for livelier entertainment.
Tree Town looks like a small forest in the center of the city. There are paths through it, but no buildings on the ground. Instead, all structures are nestled in the branches of the trees. This area has a population of about 1,200, and is extremely popular with elves.
The ground level of Tree Town has become a park for the general use of the inhabitants of the city. The residents are vigilant about litter, and it is strictly forbidden to start fires in the area.
The Spires is the rich area of Marchion, with a population of about 1,000. It gets its name from the many towers and spires surmounting the buildings here. The first families to build here echoed the towers that Marchion’s early rulers had built on Mage Hill, and it became the fashion to attach at least a small tower to every townhouse.
Temple District contains the city hall as well as the temples, and is the center of Marchion’s ceremonial life. The seven temples and the Council Hall are arranged around a long plaza, while behind them are the complexes of subsidiary buildings needed to support them. Only about a hundred people actually live in the temple district, but nearly everyone visits it, at least occasionally.
The Council Hall is at the northwestern end of the plaza. Going clockwise around, the temples are to Mercer, Grandin, Shaskal Torin, Merianath Thousand-Eyes, Herath, Dancing Cloud and Plianna.