Gideon City is one of the largest, wealthiest, and oldest cities in the world. It is a semi-autonomous city-state, and also serves as the capital of the Empire of Gard.
Gideon City is the seat of the Emperor of Gard, but it is also a city-state in its own right, and it has its own government. For more information about the rulership of Gard, see the Gard page.
The government in Gideon City has two branches – the Emperor Rommestilanis and the Senate. The Emperor’s authority over Gard as a whole is measured, but in Gideon City supreme authority rests with him. Emperor Rommestilanis, or Emperor Romm as he’s known to locals, is very popular, more so than in any other Gardish realm. They see his presence as a symbol of Gideon City’s continuing authority and might. Even those people who have a problem with being ruled by a dragon admit that Emperor Romm has been an able and effective administrator, and that Gideon City has prospered during his almost 500-year-long reign.
GIdeon City’s Senate has existed continuously for over 1600 years, with one 80-year interruption during the Cestrian occupation. It handles most of the the day-to-day affairs of Gideon City, and must technically approve all of the Emperor’s decisions (which it has not failed to do since Emperor Rommestilanis assumed control). Membership in the Senate is elected, but only members of one of Gideon City’s great Houses are able to vote or serve.
The Senators and other nobles of Gideon City include some of the wealthiest (non-dragon) people in the world. They trace their lineage all the way back to the founders of Gideon City, or to other great heroes raised to Senatorial rank in ages past. For more on the noble houses, see Nobility of Gideon City.
Although members of the lower and middle classes are not eligible to be in the Senate, they can join the bureaucratic corps of Gideon City, which the Senate relies on to conduct business.
The peace in Gideon City is kept by the Vigilant Order of Quaestors, another ancient organization which has gone through many reformations over the years. The quaestors they technically serve the Senate, not the Emperor. Historically, the quaestors have been known for their swiftness, efficiency and professionalism, although in recent years this reputation has waned. Corruption and bureaucratic officiousness have infiltrated the organization, making them somewhat unreliable. The noble Houses all employ private guards to protect their estates.
The city-state of Gideon City is located in southern Gard. The city-state actually includes both the City itself, and some outlying manors. The manors collectively are known as the Heights, and are the homes of those nobles who do not live in Gideon CIty proper. A number of free farmers work on these manors. This land is irrigated from the Brassica River, and carefully tended to. Many nobles even hire druids to ensure maximum long-term fertility.
The city proper is situated on five small peninsulas jutting out into the southern ocean, very close to each other. The peninsulas are collectively called the Gideon Gauntlet for their resemblance to a gloved hand when drawn on a map. They are caused by the splitting of the Brassica River into four, which carved out four channels in the surrounding coast by erosion.
To the north of Gideon City is the kingdom of Pecsmuth. Gideon City’s claims along the southern coast technically border Chester’s, but the coastal road is rarely used, as travel by sea is a faster route between Chester and Gideon City.
Boasting a cosmopolitan population, a natural harbor, and a powerful history, Gideon City is a true metropolis. Its citizens are very proud. They frequently boast that Gideon City is the greatest city in the world, although many others would dispute this.
Gideoners prize their diversity and their freedoms, guaranteed by the Emperor and Senate. Freedom of inquiry, speech, assembly, and religion are all of utmost importance. Other freedoms, however, are not especially prized. The concept of a wealthy, aristocratic upper class ruling over a lowborn lower class is strongly ingrained in Gideoner culture. Common people voting, as they do in Wick, would be an odd notion. On the other hand, Gideoners are accustomed to a powerful governmental structure operating for the benefit of all its citizens; this puts it at odds with Chester and Eustace, which abhor bureaucracy.
Apart from being an economic and political powerhouse, the culture of Gideon City is also envied by the rest of Gard, if not the rest of Occident. Gideoner music and literature is bound to make its way to Gard’s other kingdoms, even those with very different cultures. Gideon City is especially known for its dances. Dancing is the greatest social activity among both aristocrats and commoners, and dancing steps originating in Gideon City spread throughout Gard, and even in Arcland and Lasant. Gideon City isn’t well known for its theater, however; it is consistently dominated by other towns in this regard.
The economy of Gideon City is based on trade and finance. Nobles from Gideon City financed many of Gard’s colonial ventures, and continue to reap the rewards from their investments. Goods from all over Gard, indeed all over the world, are bought and sold in Gideon City. The city’s trade guilds are quite powerful, and the recently-created Great Austran Trading Company has been granted what promises to be a lucrative monopoly on trade with newly founded ports in Freedland (except for Dragonfall).
One of the least admirable things about Gideon City is the stark divide between its richest and poorest citizens. The poor neighborhoods of Gideon City are truly pitiable. Crime is on the rise as the quaestors become less and less efficient, though plenty of arrests are made. Because they can’t afford to pay the fines associated with even minor crimes, poor criminals usually face the alternative punishment of banishment, often to hard labor in Pecsmuth.
Meanwhile, the members of the great houses are some of the wealthiest humanoids on Meier. The same seven houses have controlled the Senate for the last century, although there are another 30 or so minor houses which have no small influence either. Their shifting alliances and political machinations have been going on as long as anyone can remember, and are difficult to keep track of for those not a party to them.
The deities Ielda and Dilentu have the most worshipers in Gideon City, but there are so many people that devotees and temples of every god can be found there. Gideon City’s commitment to freedom of thought is such that, while evil gods are not socially acceptable for worship, their religions are not forbidden. The exception is the cult of Isp – anyone with a symbol of Isp is considered an Arcish spy and ejected immediately.
The most common response to evil cults in Gideon City is preaching by the clergy of good religions. The cult of Mayacidow has been a major problem in recent years, especially among young people, and clerics of good-aligned gods rail against Mayacidow almost constantly. Other evil gods get similar treatments, except Wynang and Poktlarok – anyone worshiping one of these gods is presumed to be praying for destruction to come to Gideon City, and quaestors will happily look the other way as cultists of these religions are beaten by public mobs.
The settlement of 472 brought all of the rebelling realms back into the Emperor’s dominion. But the clash of cultures continues. The Archmages of Eustace have pursued a path of reconciliation with Gideon City, but a rivalry in the new world continues between Gideon City and Chester.
Almost all of Gard’s colonies in the Bocan Islands properly belong to either Gideon City or Chester. The split is roughly even, but most of the older colonies, including Morgan, belong to Gideon City. Until recently, there was little visible difference between Gideoner colonies and Cestrian colonies, as the distinction between realms blurred in the face of the threat of the Arcish fleet. But the rebellion in the Old World has started to affect things in the New. A three-way battle between ships from Gideon City, Chester, and Arcland recently resulted in a temporary Arcish siege of Morgan.
Gideon City has recently been attempting to settle the newly discovered continent of Freedland as quickly as possible, in order to compete with Dragonfall, Eustace’s major colony there. One GIdeoner settlement has taken root. It’s called Rommstown. Rommstown is not physically close to Dragonfall, but the two have begun to compete in the cocoa trade.
Humans are barely a majority. A true metropolis, Gideon City has representatives of virtually every race, including even Jujulings and Meta-Reptites from the New World. Elven and dwarven families can be found among the great Houses that have governed the Senate for generations. On the other hand, prejudice against normally evil races (like goblins and kobolds) runs high. No laws discriminate against them, but most private citizens simply refuse to deal with such creatures.