|Primary Faction:||Free League|
Tradegate is a city of commerce, a swirling hive of activity, with old structures constantly being knocked down and new ones put up in their place. 'Course, the new stuff's just like the old, but the natives don't seem to mind.
This burg's a walled city of grayish stone, shaped like a star, with a great open plaza in the middle. The plaza's known as the grand bazaar, the center of trade in this part of the Outlands. It's a sprawling collection of booths and stands, built on a checkerboard pattern of gold and purple tiles. Buyers come all the way from Torch and Curst to poke through the goods, and there's always a crowd.
The cutters in Tradegate don't hand out anything for free, not even information. But some say that here a body can literally sell her afterlife to the town, giving up all chance of resurrection for a pile of Tradegate coins.
Tradegate is ruled by the Parliament, an informal council of merchants that hands down regulations, mostly on trading practises. To get on the council, a body needs two things: a nonevil alignment and at least 500,000 in gold. (While it's said that some members cloak their true alignment, berks can't fake the jink - they either have it or they don't.) The Parliament meets every seven days, and a majority of those who show up may enact new laws.
The grand bazaar takes up the center of town, flanked on four sides by the Parliament building, the accounting house and mint, the armory and barracks, and the library. (Interested travellers can stop at the library to see all of the accounting records of the town, though its list of Tradegate's master merchants is a bigger draw.) The fifth side of the bazaar's flanked by the hotel district, where there are plenty of upscale inns to separate a wealthy visitor from her jink. The best known of the lot, though, is the Golden Hound.
Even primes who've done some gate-hopping in their day might have a tricky time with the Gate to Bytopia. The gate's actually a creature named Master Trader, a large bariaur with ornate, curved horns. He wanders the forests near town, sometimes straying as far spireward as Tir na Og, and a body gets to Bytopia by making a successful trade with him. Most of these trades are complicated, involved deals, so cutters had better be on their toes. Master Trader always seems to know what the gate-seekers need, and what they can pay. His price may be high, but it's tailored to each body or group who comes to see him.
Rumors have floated around the Outlands that Master Trader is actually another incarnation of a being called the Peddler. Others swear that moth are masks worn by a third, more powerful figure. And the mercantile bashers of Tradegate say that folks who listen to any of these rumors are barmy.
Many communities in the Outlands are full of petitioners hoping to push the burgs into their related planes. Not Tradegate - natives here like their town right where it is. They want to establish a center of commerce that rivals the Cage itself. ('Course, since few major powers live in Bytopia, there's not much to drive to move the town there, anyway.) This kind of thinking makes Tradegate an attractive place for Indeps.
Humans and gnomes make up most of the population. They're nothing if not industrious, and they expect everyone else to match their work ethic. Begging's frowned upon, vagrancy's punished by a stay in the workhouse, and adventuring's seen as a poor excuse to pillage and peel. Fact is, natives pretty much decide for themselves what's evil, and they don't put up with slavery, thieving, senseless killing, or plenty of other things an average basher's likely to do. Berks caught on the wrong side of the law end up paying the music.
Most of the town's trade is in barter or cold hard jink - there's no such thing as credit for visitors. Tradegate also mints its own coins, which have a star on one side and a picture of Ilmater (one of the few powers of Bytopia) on the other. The townsfolk like to say the coin's two faces mirror the dual nature of Bytopia itself.