Sajf Vapuri is a major trade center located along the southern coast of Beastland. Our heroes venture here after leaving the small town of Haverton. Originally a small fishing village, it evolved into a major trading port after a major trading vessel from Amn was blown off course in a major storm and had to make an emergency landing. The deep bay made for a great natural harbor, although a significant portion of the bay is set aside for fishing and pearl-diving.
Once it came under control of the Kingdom of Betwayom during the exceptionally peaceful reign of Janjak II (approximately 400 years ago) as a result of a rather generous treaty, it blossomed into a major city in its own right. While it recognizes the nominal authority of Betlavil (the capital), it has nevertheless remained relatively autonomous and as per the charter of the city's incorporation into the Kingdom, and as such is somewhat disconnected from both the political and military exploits of the Kingdom at large.
Just over 1000 years ago, Sajf Vapuri was a small, seasonal fishing village founded by a local nomadic tribe, the Sajji. The deep bay provided for excellent fishing and pearl-diving, and those were its main resources for over 300 years. During its village period, Sajf Vapuri's population never exceeded a few hundred during the fishing season.
When the caravel Shadow Cloud from Amn was forced to land prematurely, caught in a vicious monsoon, Sajf Vapuri was "discovered" by the outside world. However, the Shadow Cloud arrived in the off-season, so only a few dozen inhabitants were actually living in the village; the villagers barely outnumbered the sailors. Nevertheless, the villagers put the sea-swept sailors up in the empty houses, fed them, and nurtured their wounded. Word was sent to the rest of the Sajji that was spending the season in the fertile lowlands, and within a couple of weeks, the seasonal village became a permanent settlement. The sailors were struck by the local hospitality and were delighted to find a reliable source of pearl. After a few months, when the ship was repaired and the winds had changed, the Shadow Cloud returned to Amn, although a couple dozen sailors had elected to stay. Trade, population, and growth boomed over the next few decades as Sajf Vapuri enjoyed the fruits of being connected to one of Faerûn's major trade networks.
Major developments during this period included the construction of the Absaja, a large public square--the first paved area in the city--with accompanying public garden and fountain, with the palatial Beltsala (think city hall) on its NW side. Over time, the seedy Sailor's Ward, by far the smallest in the city, also sprung up, mostly on stilts, jutting into the bay. The Sailor's Ward is one of the only parts of Sajf Vapuri that has continued even into the present wholly constructed from wood even though it has gone through countless reconstructions. On the political level, during this period Sajf Vapuri remained independent, though it never once raised an army--a fact that the city remains very proud of to this day.
After a couple hundred years of exceptional prosperity, another particularly brutal monsoon that lasted over three months hit Sajf Vapuri. No ships could enter or leave the harbor in these conditions and as it was an off-season storm, it disrupted trade in a major way. Although the city did not want for lack of food--fish, sheep, and grain were still plentiful--the almost total lack of economic activity threatened to destroy the city from the inside out. In this time of need, King Janjak II reached out to Sajf Vapuri and offered to establish overland trade in a major way to the Kingdom of Betwayom in return for some political concessions. Until this point, relations between the Kingdom and the City had been friendly, but with the Kingdom across the foreboding Scylla Mountains, all contact had been by sea. Janjak was eager to expand his domain into the southern parts of Beastland, however, and having Sajf Vapuri joining the fold was just the foothold he needed.
The terms of the trade were generous: Betwayom would appoint a sort of regional governor--the Rejya--that would do no more than have a seat on the city council. Additionally, Betwayom could not use Sajf Vapuri as a military outpost, nor could it station regular army troops there. In return, the city would trade tariff-free with the Kingdom and would assist in the cost of building and maintaining the necessary overland trade routes. As a result, Sajf Vapuri enjoyed newfound prosperity and yet another population boom.
Geography and Layout (and Map!) Edit
Sajf Vapuri sits on the southern-most point of Beastland. Its main bulk sits on a jut into a natural harbor formed by two peninsulas: the green and hilly Xell to the west and the high, cliffy Dritt to the east. A series of docks lines Sajf Vapuri's southern coast (also the location of the Sailor's Ward). Huut Bay, to the west of the city, is closed to any large commercial vessels so as to preserve the ancient fishing and pearling trade. The mighty Grandaltiin River empties into Huut Bay. Ummer Bay, to the south of the city, is rather long. At its tip there is a sizeable swamp--the Bassassa--that is generally left alone (because it's quite scary and full of all sorts of nasty things).
The city itself is enormous, with over a million buildings. While the original village sat at the southern bank of the Grandaltiin, where it meets Huut Bay, nothing of it remains except for a large stone monument, erected after a flash flood decimated the area now known as the Village Ward. The Absaja and Beltsala were constructed near the top of the only hill on the jut (Vapur Hill), originally designed so someone standing atop the Beltsala could view both bays easily. The building of very tall edifices have since obstructed that view, however. Sajf Vapuri's admission to Betwayom inspired the building of the enormous Zanmitay Wall and its Berija Gate, although in the centuries since, the city has sprawled out beyond both, despite the city council's attempts and building higher rather than wider. The area beyond the gate is split into the East Far and the West Far Wards and are technically, albeit begrudgingly, considered part of the city.
The Merchant Ward lies between the Sailors Ward and the Absaja and houses the renowned Cartographers' Guild. This ward is the center of trade within the town as it also houses the city's two largest bazaars, though the buying and selling of jewelry is allowed only within the Huut Ward, the westernmost ward of the city, in acknowledgement of Sajf Vapuri's pearling history. The Ward of the Magi is located towards the center of the city. Sejemet is the city's longest and thinnest ward, following along the traditional path that the Sajji chief Sejemet took from the top of Vapur Hill to the wrecked Shadow Cloud, originally an old sheep trail. The two other wards, Grandaltiin and Dritt, lie along the bodies of water they were named after.
A large number of villages and towns have also popped up over years along both Huut and Ummer Bays and up and down both Xell and Dritt, although they do not appear on the map. Many of the villages and towns trade with Sajf Vapuri, but they are not incorporated into the city proper.
Sajf Vapuri is administered by a city council of 12 members--one from each ward and one for the Rejya as a representative of the Betwayom. The representatives are chosen by inhabitants of their respective wards by various methods as decided upon within each ward. The city council regulates commerce and treaties, commands the city guard, and oversees the judiciary as the highest court (although virtually all such matters are taken care of in lower courts). Appointment to the city council is a mixed bag--representatives have all kinds of responsibility thrown at them, but are unpaid. They do, however, get a large apartment suite along the Absaja for their whole family, and the position comes with great esteem and social standing. City councilfolk may retire at any point (and may be recalled by their ward at any point), but it is customary for members to serve at least 5 years.
Governance of the various wards varies from ward to ward. The Far Wards are rather unruly, "governed" by a loose confederation of powerful bosses. The Ward of the Magi is ruled solely by the Mages' Guild, for example, but membership in the Sailor's Ward Council rotates through any merchant family who makes over a certain amount in a given year.
Notable People and Places Edit
- Main article: Category:Places of Sajf Vapuri
- Main article: Absaja
The Absaja is both a place and a city ward; as such, it is the most politically and culturally important ward in the city. It is the seat of government, houses the Bonm Vali Theater--the city's premiere entertainment venue, hosts the major parades and festivals, and is immaculately clean and taken care of.
Cartographers' Guild Edit
- Main article: Cartographers' Guild
The Cartographers' Guild gained prominence early on in the history of Sajf Vapuri. It was founded by Olam Calil, grandson of the captain of the Shadow Cloud.
Mages' Guild Edit
- Main article: Mages' Guild
The Mages' Guild is one of the most powerful organizations in Sajf Vapuri. It is led by the Council of Archmagi.
Boss Khafa Edit
- Main article: Boss Khafa
Boss Khafa runs the equivalent of a Tammany Hall in the East Far Ward. An enormous fellow, with a generosity and fury that match his girth. Of late, he's fallen into a deep melancholy but is keeping it pretty close to the vest.
Tain Forge Edit
- Main article: Tain Forge
In Grandaltiin Ward. Molric is the dwarven foreman of the forge.
Baha(mut) Temple Edit
- Main article: Baha(mut) Temple
Full of stoners. In the Sejemet. Across the street from Tiamat's Temple.
Mobani University of Higher Learning in the Sciences and Mystical Arts Edit
This is also in the Sejemet. Professor Gydd Nephret works here.