Punjar: The Tarnished Jewel
Both a ward and an immense bazaar that gives the ward its name, the Souk is synonymous with Punjar. The driving force behind the city’s economy, the Souk is bustling at every hour of the day and night. Sailors unload ships by the light of the moon, hoarse traders hawk their wares at every hour, and taverns are packed day and night. It is challenging not to be drawn into an adventure or plot of some sort, with rogues beckoning from dark alleys, mysterious ladies smiling from behind thin veils, and the roving merchant captains perpetually setting sail before the next bell.
The Souk is an eclectic mix of new and old, with stone block counting houses dating back to Punjar first golden age, and flimsy tent camps hastily raised the night before. Caught between the two extremes are beam and plaster buildings, ranging in two to four stories or greater in height. Though less dense than the Commons, the Souk’s constant energy can make it feel more claustrophobic than its neighbor to the south.
It is said that every man, woman, and child in the Souk has a scheme to get ahead. The residents of the Souk are enterprising folk with a feverish love for life. Enjoying the risk as much as the reward, the folk of the Souk are always up for a gamble of some sort.
Going hand in hand with their love of the long odds is the unspoken – but unshakeable – assumption that debts are to be paid. Those that fail to remedy their debts, or make arrangements with moneylenders, quickly find themselves on the wrong end of a dirk. Souk regulars entertain no illusions in regards to cold, hard coin, often cheering on the thugs hired to extract delinquent “blood gold.”
Locals welcome foreigners of every sort, as evidenced by the chaotic array of dress and races filling their streets. The Souk has no tolerance for racism or bigotry of any sort; this is not born out of high-minded morality, but rather the simple dictum of good business. Dragonborn lords, demon-blooded tieflings, and conniving gnomes – all can be found in the Souk drinking, gambling, and bargaining for that last copper piece as if their lives depended on it. In the Souk, gold makes equals of all.