“There is no place like Raspian City. The wine, the costumes, the music, the statues. The greatest wonder of the capital is that it holds all of Rasenna in its towers, its avenues, its taverns and its crypts. This is also its greatest fault.” — Vestiri Iluni
The location where the Saan river flows into the great bay of the Saanwater has naturally been much sought-after as a site for civilization for as long as civilization has existed. It has housed a Dysian port in the time of empire, and been the location of many city-states that rose and fell before it took on its current form.
The for-all-intents-and-purposes capital of Rasenna is built on and around three hills standing between two delta branches of the Saan river. It is a beautiful city, particularly from a distance: many of its buildings have been built in homage to the finest ancient works, and generations of noble patrons of the arts have left a legacy of sculpture and reliefs. It is the most cosmopolitan of Rasennan cities, with residents of a wide variety of races and cultural extractions.
Most of Raspian City is built around three major hills, the site of many old constructions and said to be riddled with underworks.
Lawgiver Hill: This hill is home to the civic district, where the Prince’s palace and the Assembly stand. It has the Greyshield artisan ward on its south face and the large working-class district Blueside along its west slope down to the river. On its east face, in the valley shared with Pantheon Hill, lies the Bladesrun district, a lesser “military quarter” where captains and officers tend to enjoy the city’s pleasures while their troops remain in Westbank.
Pantheon Hill: Raspian’s major temples all stand on this hill. The artisan ward Shadeways reaches from its southern to the small valley bordering Sorrowgarden, and a number of wealthy urban estates also decorate the rise.
Sorrowgarden: Built on the third most prominent hill, Sorrowgarden is an immense necropolis converted from the Dysian ruins. It occupies more space than would ordinarily be assigned to the dead, but city edicts forbid diminishing its borders. The estates of many wealthy people who prefer quiet and solitude remain outside the necropolis proper; the hill’s western slope hosts Aurelian Park, an expensive residential district. Outside the city wall, the Downturn slums border Sorrowgarden to the southeast.
Lower City: The area stretching from the three hills to the shoreline contains numerous districts, including the Scintilla (arts and culture), the Fortune Ward (foreign quarter), the working-class district of Wheelrow, the trade-focused Exchange Quarter and the main docking stretch of Gryphon Docks.
Westbank: A few districts sit on the other side of the river from the three hills and the Lower City. They include part of the Exchange Quarter, the military district called the Scabbard (where organized troops must remain when their commanders visit the city), the Stockways, and the lower-class commoner district of the Mills in the north.
- The Sea Gryphons: The Raspian harbor is guarded by two fifty-foot statues of sea gryphons, each raised on stone spars hundreds of yards out into the water. The two are popularly rumored to be able to defend the city from naval invaders, though whatever magic they command has gone untested for centuries.
- The Assembly: Representatives of each Great House meet in the cavernous Assembly (used both for the body of representatives and for the edifice) for legislative matters concerning the nation. When the Assembly is in session, the building is a hotbed of rumors and intrigues, with messengers constantly arriving and departing on House and government business.
The Sterling, an inn and tavern popular with fortune-hunters, blades, and other travelers of adventurous bent.
The Vague Remorse, by night a social hotspot with an attached stage. By morning, a discreet place to discuss business over breakfast.
The Weal or Woe, an old gambling house with a remarkable reputation.
The infamous Botanica, a brothel of the highest and most flavorful repute.
The Grand Phantasmagoria, a leading opera house that makes some use of sorcery and enchantment to enhance its performances.
Rumors, Intrigues and Dangers
Raspian has many threats for those who poke their noses too deeply into secret affairs, and even for those who are simply incautious. The so-called “House Belladonna” is a leading figure in the city’s organized crime, though it has bitter rivals. The Black Veils and Red Tithe are both busy in the city, their skills in high demand.