I’m a day late because I was halfway through making a cool city map and I wanted to add it to the entry from the get-go. Because Xansillispe! The goblin port of pirate-hunters and imperial resistance, the den of scum and villainy where anything can be had for a price, the knot of political machinations that withholds trade and licenses piracy to stay afloat… this is one of my very favorite bits of the Speaking Lands setting.
…but really, all the cities are my favorites, because I just love cities.
Anyway, here’s Xansillispe:
The largest port city on the southern coast of Mergather Gulf, Xansillipse is a direct entreport to Verdas. The city sits on a sheltered lagoon with its back to a pass through the Jolliballum mountains. Its population is largly goblins, but also includes gajanana, humans, kobolds, and satyrs. Xansillipse is a bustling port city full of traders, pirates, and other schemers, where anything can be had… for a price.
The city’s history begins in a murky past as a quiet fishing community that slowly developed into a trading hub. During the Imperial Wars the nascent port was conquered by Loratha in an attempt to penetrate Verdas and surrounding northern Kharzan. To divide the city, the occupation favored the goblin citizens and persecuted the kobold population. Many kobolds abandoned the city en masse, wandering and eventually pillaging their way westward. This wave of displaced kobolds would traverse the entire continent and become the Ruhradim. The goblin city elders spent nineteen years courting the favor and sympathies of the satyr garrison occupying the city. When the Bucoli Uprising erupted, the garrison murdered its elven commanders and returned authority to the city elders. Since that time, Xansillipse has fiercely maintained its independence.
A profound amount of trade passes through Xansillipse, which inevitably attracts hostile interest in the form of pirates as well as foreign powers. The city operates a small fleet of pirate-hunting vessels that patrol the southern Mergather, maintaining safe trade lanes to northern ports. Unlike its western counterpart Cowsport, Xansillipse is not controlled or protected by a powerful state; instead, the elders of Xansillipse play power broker among a handful of small neighboring states and kingdoms.
Xansillipse’s allies are gifted with contracts that allow them preferential access to the port, lenient customs duties, and—very occasionally—sanctioned piracy on rivals. The terms of these contracts never last for more than a year and a day; to maintain their advantages, local allies must continually prove their loyalty. While this practice generates some resentment, it is also effective. More than once in the city’s history their coalition has pushed an Ivory invasion force back over the Jolliballum.
The city is rife with conflict, both within and without. What kobolds remain in the city remember when their people ruled alongside the goblins; some insist that the goblins fomented the occupation’s persecution of kobold leaders. Neighboring states and kingdoms vie for access and influence to the port, more than happy to throw an elbow into their rival’s operations if it means they can gain an advantage. And the Ivory Queendom perpetually looms to the west: they have learned to love the trade that Cowsport brings them, and would love to secure an eastern port, as well.
For the record, I did not intend for the city silhouette to end up looking like a tall ship, but I’m absolutely embracing that little snippet of serendipity.
In any case, now we cast our eyes forward to next week, where we have a traditional grab-bag of options. A mountain range, people, a historical event, another city? Where shall we go next?
And as always, thank you so much for your support!