Note: The official writeup for this city (and kingdom) is not complete. This text is somewhat outdated and likely to change.
This city is rich and prosperous. Large veins of gold and silver are shipped in from the Ire Mountains to the northeast. If an adventurer is looking for something special, she is likely to find it in this city.
Six hundred years ago, this great city was destroyed by a combined force of Dark Elves and dragons. The city was left shattered and stripped as the forces plundered over five million gold from it. The city struggled to rebuild, as the Duke had lost his former power and its resources had been plundered. The only sources of capital in the wake of the destruction were the individual merchants. They pulled together and as quickly as they could began rebuilding the city and raising armies. Their interest in the port and their links to the invaluable resources in the surrounding areas were dear enough to risk everything to defend it.
The Duke, still attempting to retain authority, could do little to stop the organized merchants. On several occasions when he attempted to defy them, the merchants quickly placed him under house arrest and kept his castle guarded at all times by their own superior troops, effectively making him a puppet. For centuries this arrangement persisted, and the Dukes of each successive generation increasingly came to accept their fate as adjuncts of the city economy. Every attempt to act otherwise was swiftly curtailed.
Now the Duke's tradition in Port Hempstead is to work for and within the systems of power established by the merchants. Through this arrangement, the merchant organizations and the Duke have merged interests and formed a coherent power structure. The city's coat of arms is that of a phoenix, symbolizing the rising of the city from the ashes left by the destruction by the Dark Elves.
The bottom line in Port Hempstead is still an economic one. The peasants and landowners who live in the surrounding areas complained for years about being under the boot of the Port, while those within its walls knew better than to speak aloud. The laws of the land were implemented to protect the interests of the major merchant powers, who sometimes used this fact to expand their exploitative labor practices and resource capturing endeavors. Some say this was the cause of the unrest which emerged in the southwest region. Others believed the uprising was not a legitimate grass roots movement in the interests of those in the shadow of the port, but a machination implemented by Milara or demons or both to destabilize the region in preparation for future maneuvers. Some believed it was both.
In the 1370s revolutionaries tore the masks off, and revealed to the world what the locals had known for some time: that the temples were corrupt, that the "council" was in fact a single powerful Guild, that the Manyfaced herself in various guises controlled the port and its major powers, that the only one profiting from their labors was Branderback. Laborers and craftsmen made their anger known for the first time in years, and every side of the conflict had difficulty controlling the riots. Temples burned in the night, and though the Guild could not be entirely eliminated, its agents were driven from the city.
Harmony Vaeran emerged from the troubles as a heroine, loved by some in the city more than Good Queen Allurial. It was her work that kept the city from falling apart when the Guild collapsed, and Harmony that refused a crown from citizens sick of councils, citing belief in the idea. Clan Vaeran remains a prominent force in the city, but as many of them embrace Deliar's ideals, they tend to make those that would trade lives for gold uncomfortable rather than emboldened.
Some years after Harmony returned to her clan to take her mother's place as Storyteller, her daughter Joy was overwhelmingly chosen as the leader of the trade council. Once criticized for being chosen on the basis of her name rather than experience, Joy has proven herself to have a clever mind, with a deep understanding of trade and communities. In particular, granting Duke Seamus Naech Kieran's line a hereditary seat at the council outraged the higher ranks of the guilds, but was strongly supported by everyone else. In her years at its head, however, the council has inevitably made decisions unpopular with one faction or another, and so she has never enjoyed the unreserved support - even love - that her mother still has today.
Location: Port Hempstead is the major city and port on the tropical southwest coast of the continent of Mistone.
GP Limit: 84,000gp
Alignment: Neutral Good
Government: Trade Council
Defenses: Superior masonry walls surround much of the city. In some key places the walls are also reinforced. In addition to this, some of the walls have also been magically reinforced.