The Free Cities Edit
The Free Cities are a densely populated, largely ungoverned, series of 13 arcologies in the mountain Kirillyama (formerly known as Mt. Surot). Originally a Ratfolk military fortress, the first Free City became an enclave after the territories were leased to Tieflings in 52. Its population increased dramatically following the Aasimar occupation of the Underdark during the Salt Wars. By 153, the Free Cities contained 248,925 residents within its 329 square kilometre borders. From the 161-176, it was controlled by a large number of hives and had high rates of prostitution, gambling, and drug use.
The Free Cities have a very large slave population with slaves making up a third of the total populace, these numbers nearly approach half the total populace counting indentured servitude. In terms of race the cities’ population is 21% Ratfolk, 15% Tiefling, 13% Aasimar, 11% Dhampir, 8% Drow, 7% Oread, 6% Dwarven, 6% Elven (5.3% non-Human Elves), 3% Goblin, 2% Human, 2% Kobold, 1% Orcish (.6% non-Human Orc), 1% Hobgoblin, 1% Slyph, 1% Halflings, 1% Gnomes and 1% Tengu. Humans of any race represent 24.6% of the population.
With no government enforcement from the Ratfolk or the Tieflings aside from a few raids by the Major Clans, the Free Cities became a haven for crime and drugs. It was only during a trial for a murder of a Aasimar noble that occurred within the Free Cities that the Aasimar government was ruled to have jurisdiction there. By this time, however, the Free Cities were virtually ruled by the organised crime syndicates known as hives.
In 163, during expansion into a new cavern, a lack of care in mining lead to a break in an aquifer resulting in a mass flooding of over 2,700 shacks, home to nearly 4,000 families and 20,000 total people. The disaster highlighted the need for proper surveys in the largely scrap-built squatter areas. The ruins gave new arrivals to the Free Cities the opportunity to build anew; this caused speculation that the flood may have been intentionally sprung.
The destroyed arcology also underwent massive construction during the 170s, with developers building new modular structures above older ones. This style of expansion led to a patchwork construction of communities, being built as they expanded with little to no prior planning. Leading to frequent collapses and cave-ins, the recovery is always quick however as everyone just rebuilds their homes without fuss as it is a natural way of life within the arcologies. The city became extremely densely populated, with over 20,000 people in 200 buildings occupying little more than 4 acres.
Most residents of the Free Cities work for themselves and their families and/or hives, procuring their own supplies from the resources of the mountain and maintaining survival by their own means, looking to outside sources such as the larger families and the various hives for things beyond their reach.
The second largest group of individuals of the Free Cities are slaves, bound to their masters and work to the advancement of their agenda. As opposed to popular belief a large part of the slave population is voluntary, as most of the larger families and hives can provide a far more lavish lifestyle than they would ever hope to live on their own. This is not to say that slave life is always great, it is yet still frequent that slaves will be horribly mistreated by their owners. There is fair chance of someone entering into slavery without knowing of who they will be working for and end up regretting it. The third largest group of citizenry are indentured servants and serve essentially the same role as slaves except for the fact that they have contracts for how long their servitude will last and what role they will fulfill in that time.
The smallest group in the Free Cities are the quasi-rulers, the heads of the largest families and the leaders of the strongest hives. People flock to the strongest even in places of utter lawlessness, the largest families and most power hives
Then there are the explorers, traders, and migrants: the outliers. The Free Cities, being the anarchic state that they are, open to themselves to anything; the dwellers within the cities still have to have demand of what people attempt to trade. Like with many other things in the Free Cities, it can be up in the air how visitors will end up. Amateur traders can often find themselves staking out for the Free Cities, only to end up not being able to trade their goods, or more likely having all their goods stolen and ending up in servitude themselves.
“Survival of the Fittest” is the only law within the Free Cities and it extends to the way of life of all individuals within their borders. People can find any vice they want here, and everything has a price. It’s not at all uncommon for people to sell off their parents, siblings or children to pay off debts to continue with their addictions. Open assault and murder is unofficially prohibited as most people simply don’t want to see it in the streets, and the local “powers that be”, will probably put a stop to it. (OOC: The lawless nature of the Free Cities results in even the common citizen ending up as level 1 fighter or brawler at the very least.)
In contrast to that, the Free Cities are also known as an oasis of scientific and creative freedom, anyone is free to further their business and achieve their goals as they please without fear of backlash from a standing government.
The 13 arcologies that make up the Free Cities all have their own cultures and lifestyles that differ from arcology to arcology. The largest and oldest of the arcologies (recently redubbed New Cloud City after a hostile takeover) has seen an extreme change in it’s architecture and influence. The previous ownership was transferred from a hive that held most of the slaves and land to a Char Kirill. Since the transfer of ownership a non-profit university has been set-up and giving lessons and residency to those interested. This same individual then went on to then dominate the strongest hives in the other 12 arcologies, simply for rights to rename the mountain, leaving them to run their own business.