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Bral was the sole city on the surface of the Rock of Bral[6] and one of the greatest merchant spaceports known to any of the races of the multiverse.[1][note 1]

I hate Bral. It's dirty, noisy, crowded, and dangerous. There aren't more than ten honest men in the whole city. But I wouldn't miss it for the world.
  — Mordreggan Zudrik, dwarven miner.[1]

DescriptionEdit

The city of Bral was built on the upper side of the Rock of Bral. The underside was reserved for agriculture and for government property.[3]

The city was divided into three main sections,[citation needed] termed the High City,[3] the Middle City,[citation needed] and the Low City.[3] The High City was located on the "trailing end" of the asteroid as it traveled through wildspace. Here was located the castle of the prince. A great wall and Lake Bral separated the High City from the rest of Bral.[3]

At the leading edge of the asteroid were the Low City and the docks. Here was where most of the spelljammers would arrive for trade. There were cavern warehouses for storing goods and hoists for lifting things up to the surface. The Low City also contained a dry dock where spelljammers designed to land on a flat surface instead of on water could park.[3] As one passed from the Low City to the Middle City, inns and shops replaced the taverns and ale houses. As one continued on, the prince's palace could be seen beyond the greenery of the noble's villas.[7]

Notable LocationsEdit

The city contained a graveyard, although most of the dead were cremated, composted, or set adrift in wildspace.[3]

GovernmentEdit

The city was ruled by a prince[3][4] and was an unchartered monarchy.[4] The prince could levy taxes, regulate trade, judge laws, and declare war.[4] Typically, he would appoint bodies to enforce any changes that he made.[8]

However, Bral also had three government councils, which hypothetically had the power to overrule the prince, though historically, they never once used this power.[4]

The first such council was the Council of the City, which represented the people and was composed of 30 members appointed directly by the prince for lifetime service. Each Councilman represented one of the many neighborhoods of Bral or one of Bral's Underbarons. This council served as advisors to the prince and could overrule his decisions by unanimous vote.[4]

The Noble Council was composed of all 37 chartered landholders in the city. (Except for these "nobles", the prince owned the rest of the Rock of Bral.)[4] By majority vote, this council could remove the land from any owner, except that the prince also had a vote that counted for 49%, so to remove him of his land would require a unanimous vote.[8]

Sitting underneath this council was the Bureau of Land Distribution and Collection, which regulated the real estate market.[8]

The final council was the Council of Captains, on which any owner of more than four spelljammers was permitted a seat if they also leased or owned land on the Rock. This council regulated trade by means of tariffs or trade rules. The prince could veto any decision made by this council, but he otherwise only had a tie-breaking vote in their decisions.[8]

Law and OrderEdit

Piracy and slavery were both officially illegal, but charges were generally only pressed if the prince wanted to get rid of the accused.[3] Betrayal of Bral was the ultimate crime and could include simple treason against the crown or doing something that put the whole asteroid at danger,[3] such as starting a fire, which could deplete the air envelope.[citation needed] Those guilty of such a crime might be handed over to the illithid embassy to be eaten.[3]

However, for the most part, laws were absent in Bral, and there was not even a city watch to keep order in the streets.[7]

TradeEdit

Bral was the epitome of free trade. Money was power, and anything and everything was bought and sold there, from a vast number of worlds and crystal spheres.[1] Bral was full of shops and contained two major open-air markets, the Great Market and the Lesser Market, or Thieves' Market.[3] Musicians and entertainers filled the streets, hoping to earn coppers for their songs.[7]

Coinage from at least 30 different realms was known to be accepted in Bral, but paper currency was not accepted from even the most powerful nations. Coins from other locations would need to be exchanged by the Royal Exchequer, with a five percent service fee applied. The Royal Exchequer accepted coins from at least 100 different countries.[4]

The cost of living in Bral was much higher than in other places, and most things cost half again as much as they would on the surface of a planet. Rent for an apartment in the Low City cost anywhere from 5 to 30 gold pieces per month. A cheap room at an inn would cost about 3 gold per month, while a fancier room might be as much as 8 gold per month.[4]

A laborer in Bral earned about 12 gold per month, while a longshorman earned double that. The agent for a merchant might take home as much as 40 gold per month.[4]

Four distinct groups engaged in trade in Bral: the large trading companies, who dealt in bulk materials; the smaller, familial merchant houses, who usually specialized in a unique type of cargo; small merchants, shopkeepers, and the owners of inns and taverns; and, finally, independent spelljammer captains.[7]

SocietyEdit

Never trust anyone you meet in Bral. In fact, never trust anyone at all. Anywhere.
— Burkag Axethrower, warrior for hire and "importer of undeclared goods"[7]

The city of Bral was full of rogues and unsavory characters of all kinds.[6] Nevertheless, everyone was polite to everyone in the city of Bral; mind flayers could be seen conversing with elves and dwarves with beholders. This was not because they were friends; rather, the city had a policy of "check your vendettas at the docks".[1] A simple walk down any of Bral's main streets would introduce a visitor to hundreds of languages.[7]

Humans maintained the highest population, but almost all manner of races lived here. The city contained several districts where the various races were dominant. These included:[3]

Also found in the city of Bral were gnomes, beholders, and mind flayers. Neogi were not welcome in Bral.[3]

While severely overcrowded, there was little poverty in Bral, because there was always work to be found, even if it was hard work at the docks, and visiting ships very often took on new crewmembers.[7]

The nobles of Bral were the 37 persons besides the prince who actually owned land on the small asteroid. All other lands belonged to the prince, and all other citizens rented from him or the nobles.[8]

ReligionEdit

The city contained a number of temples, mostly located near Lake Bral. In addition to many faiths or pantheons from Toril, there were also churches for the Polygots, Pantheists, the Church of Ptah, the Oriental Path, and the Way. Nonhuman faiths also had a presence in Bral.[3]

HistoryEdit

The settlement that would one day become Bral began near the start of the 13th century DR as a pirate hideout for the Black Brotherhood, whose leader was one Captain Bral. When Bral fell in an ambush to elves, the remaining pirates on the Rock named their town after him.[6]

Over time, the population of Bral shifted, until by the end of the 13th century, there were more merchants and shopkeepers in the city, selling goods and ale to the pirates, than pirates themselves. One pirate, Captain Cozar, saw this as an opportunity. He purchased all land in the city and the rest of the asteroid from the merchants and forced any pirates to lease from him or run actual businesses if they wanted to remain. In this way, Cozar became ruler of the city above all the other pirates.[6]

Prince Cozar ruled remarkably fairly for a former pirate, and the city thrived and grew as a legitimate center of trade, as trade turned out to be more profitable than piracy.[6]

Prince Cozar's successor, Prince Frun, was not as good a ruler as his father. Nevertheless, the city continued growing from its trade, as companies from at least twelve different crystal spheres established businesses there. Frun commissioned the building of the Citadel and the Donjon and rebuilt and expanded the royal palace.[9]

At one point during Frun's 35-year reign, he had insulted a neogi trader, which triggered an attack from a neogi fleet set on razing the city. They succeeded in destroying a part of the Middle City by crashing an abandoned dwarven citadel into it, but then retreated.[9]

After Frun died, Prince Calar ruled for only six days before being assassinated by being jettisoned into space. His brother, Prince Andru, then took the throne. Within fifteen years, Andru had doubled the size of Bral's army, tripled the size of its navy, and strengthened the law-enforcement of the government.[9]

Rumors & LegendsEdit

The older and more superstitious citizens of the city believed that Bral would one day be destroyed by the asteroid's original inhabitants.[2]

AppendixEdit

NotesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Because there was only one city on the Rock of Bral, there is ambiguity whenever the terms "Bral", "the Rock", or "Rock of Bral" are used as to whether they refer to the city or to the asteroid. In most cases, the distinction is unimportant, but technically, according to p. 6 of Rock of Bral, "Bral" is the name of the city, and "Rock of Bral" is the name of the asteroid.

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Richard Baker (1992). Rock of Bral. (TSR, Inc), p. 4. ISBN 1-56076-345-0.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Richard Baker (1992). Rock of Bral. (TSR, Inc), p. 5. ISBN 1-56076-345-0.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 Jeff Grubb (August 1989). “Concordance of Arcane Space”. Spelljammer: AD&D Adventures in Space (TSR, Inc.), pp. 94–96. ISBN 0-88038-762-9.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 Richard Baker (1992). Rock of Bral. (TSR, Inc), p. 9. ISBN 1-56076-345-0.
  5. Steven E. Schend (July 1990). “Bazaar of the Bizarre: Magic from the stars”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Dragon #159 (TSR, Inc.), p. 18.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Richard Baker (1992). Rock of Bral. (TSR, Inc), p. 6. ISBN 1-56076-345-0.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 Richard Baker (1992). Rock of Bral. (TSR, Inc), p. 8. ISBN 1-56076-345-0.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Richard Baker (1992). Rock of Bral. (TSR, Inc), p. 10. ISBN 1-56076-345-0.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Richard Baker (1992). Rock of Bral. (TSR, Inc), p. 7. ISBN 1-56076-345-0.
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