Text and map by Vincent Darlage.
"It was a fantastic establishment, the great museum and antique house which men called Kallian Publico’s Temple, with its rarities from all over the world - and now, in the lonesomeness of midnight, Arus stood in the great silent hall and stared at the sprawling corpse that had been the rich and powerful owner of the Temple. It entered even the dull brain of the watchman that the man looked strangely different now, than when he rode along the Palian Way in his golden chariot, arrogant and dominant, with his dark eyes glinting with magnetic vitality. Men who had hated and feared Kallian Publico would scarcely have recognized him now as he lay like a disintegrated tun of fat, his rich robe half torn from him, and his purple tunic awry. His face was blackened, his eyes almost starting from his head, and his tongue lolled blackly from his gaping mouth. His fat hands were thrown out as in a gesture of curious futility. On the thick fingers gems glittered." -- Robert E. Howard: "The God in the Bowl"
Numalia is the second largest city of Nemedia, a Hyborian Age metropolis of gleaming spires. Numalia lies on the Road of Kings as well as a southern caravan route, a well-travelled road through Ophir, Koth and Khoraja.
Fortifications and Military Strength
Great city walls separate the city from the its surroundings, including the villas of the nobles. The walls are 20 feet thick and 32 feet high, with towers punctuating the wall for fortification. Numalia does not worry much about invasion, so the wall has turned into a social area; the police patrol the wall, stopping to talk to people they know. The police force of Numalia numbers 612 on average. The police here are identified by their scarlet tunics and they carry short stabbing-swords and bills.
Freedom: Numalia has a saying that claims Numalian air makes a man free. Any Nemedian serf who lives in the city for a year and a day becomes a freeman. His property is protected after that point and his claim on his house is recognised. Numalia also offers freedom of profession and citizenship. The citizens also have the right to bear arms, which relieves Lord Bragorus from having to maintain a standing army to protect the city. This allows the citizens to build its own walls and create its own police force. Each of these concessions are paid for in coin by the citizens to Lord Bragorus in return for continuing to renew those concessions each year. The city is also permitted to collect its own taxes to run its own government – again, this right is paid for on an annual basis by the city to the governor. Numalia is also free to declare wars and fight neighbouring estates, cities and towns.
Slavery: Numalia also has a caste of slaves, often debtor-slaves but not always. Certain punishments for certain crimes may also enslave people.
Inequality: In the eyes of the courts, the police and everyone else, some people are better than others. Law is a means to arbitrate disputes peacefully, not to bring justice in the modern sense of the word. Justice is a means to peace among the people, not a word meaning fair or equitable. The wealthy of Numalia live in villas and usually travel by chariot.
Law: Nemedia has a civilised court system that is complex in its attempts to be just. The courts in the cities are called Courts of Justice, where judges appointed by the ruling nobles sit. A higher court exists in Belverus with judges appointed by the king so that larger cases of national jurisdiction can be tried. The Courts of Justice maintain Inquisitional Councils to investigate crimes and carry out the duties of prosecution. The police, in turn, serve the Inquisitional Councils and are virtually all-powerful in their duties. Few Nemedians would dare to resist one of the police. They are well known for beating and torturing commoners to gain confessions if necessary.
Civilised: As a civilised nation, the citizens guild their words in honeyed phrases, veiling their meanings to preserve a sense of respectability and etiquette. Those who do not conform to conservative Numalians' sense of good manners are disliked and may be treated with a varying levels of hostility (dependent perhaps on the Charisma of the offending party and the importance of the offended party). People who ask questions too directly are not likely to find the answers they seek. The challenge in Numalia is to properly present oneself, to show that co-operation is returned in kind yet without openly saying so. Gather Information DC's for barbaric characters will be much higher in Numalia than for civilised characters. Chains of command, processional order and heraldry are all second nature to the cultured Numalians. Above all is a reverence for noble blood and royal prerogative. It is unlikely the Numalians would ever sponsor a royal coup as the Aquilonians did when Conan led the revolt against Numedides. Such a thing would be uncivilised. When Tarascus desired the throne of King Numa, the king and his sons had to die naturally so his ascension would be unopposed.
Clothing: Numalian commoners wear coarse, knee-length shirts corded about the waist with rope. Merchants wear togas and robes. Servants wear woollen clothing, long belted tunics for the men, embroidered blouses and woollen skirts for the girls. The nobility typically wear cavalry boots, fur or leather kilts and pleated silk shirts. The priests wear silken robes. Numalians take pride in their culture and never dress outside of their station.
Administration and Power Centres
There are an innumerable number of political factions vying for dominance in this free Nemedian city.
Ruler: Lord Ostorio Bragorus is the Governor of Numalia. He gets regular payments from the city in addition to his rents and a guaranteed market for the surplus off of his manors outside of the city. He does little administration work in the city, preferring to let the chancery, the inquisitorial council and the guilds perform those functions, rights which all three entities pay for in coin to the governor. Lord Bragorus retains the right to assign officials in key positions in both the chancery and the inquisitorial council, but has sold his right to do so for the guilds in return for an annual gift of coin by the guilds. In return, Lord Bragorus represents the needs of the city to the king in Nemedia's parliament and is the judge of Manorial Law, overseeing the justice of the communities outside of Numalia but are part of his overall fief. Just over half of the gifts given to him go to the king of Nemedia as a gift for a continuance of his right to govern.
Chancery and the Inquisitorial Council: The chancery is a bureaucratic institution that coordinates the work of courts and city treasures. The chancery orders judges, tax collectors and deals directly with the local lords, guilds and the aristocracy. Crime is a constant problem in Numalia, though most of the crimes involve some sort of theft and is not usually violent. The Inquisitorial Council oversees what is known as Charter Law, a type of civic law. They do not oversee Manorial Law, Feudal Law, King's Law, Guild Law or Canon Law. Law is mostly a matter of custom before precedence, although there is a strong movement in Numalia to move toward precedent law, creating wars of authority among the administers of law. Punishments are brutal in Numalia. The courts are harsh taskmasters, though they try to make the punishments fit the crimes and to make restitutions as fair as possible. Also, the courts will attempt to exonerate the innocent if the guilty can be found. Unfortunately, if the guilty cannot be found, sometimes the innocent must suffer so that at least the illusion of justice is served. Those who cannot pay their debts may find themselves sold into slavery, along with their families if the debt is high enough, to raise the revenues necessary to pay creditors. Debt slaves are branded on the shoulder, preventing them from ever again entering free society. The law is explicit in other ways as well. The murder of a commoner sends the killer to the mines, the intentional death of a tradesman sends the assassin to the gallows and the slaying of a rich man calls for burning at the stake. Attempted theft merits ten years of hard labour at the mines. The Nemedians are civilised enough to submit to the police and the courts and their cruelties are accepted as necessary.
Guilds: The guilds of Numalia hold a considerable amount of power in Numalia, including the right to administer Guild Law and to hold their own courts. A Governor of Numalia gave the city the right to form guilds several hundred years ago, and successive governors have renewed that right. Membership in the guilds or being born in a noble family is the only way to become a citizen of Numalia. A member of a guild is called a burgher. Citizens of Numalia are tax exempt from most goods sold in the city and gain a +1 circumstance bonus to Diplomacy, Gather Information and Intimidation checks. Becoming a citizen of Numalia also grants a +1 bonus to Reputation. The guilds primarily function to regulate trade in the city. The influence of the guilds in Numalia rival the influence of the duke. A list of guilds in Numalia can be found at the end of this chapter.
Temple of Mitra: The overseer of Canonical Law, the Temple of Mitra is an important part in Numalian society and politics. The religious institution does more than oversee the spiritual needs of Numalia but they also deal with secular matters because they, like everyone else, have ties to ownership, especially land ownership. The temple of Mitra is a symbol of community even more than it is a symbol of Mitra's power because it gives the people reasons to gather together, to celebrate and to associate with each other. The Temple of Mitra makes sure each district of Numalia (defined further in following sections) has a physical temple in it to make sure the religion has both presence and power. Almost all of Numalian life happens in the temples of Mitra, from weddings, blessings, funerals and a thousand other religious rites. Temples are so important that even Kallian Publico's museum and house of antiques is referred to as a temple – it is a gathering place for the wealthy and the elite, after all. The Temple of Mitra owns dozens upon dozens of manors around Numalia, a fact that frustrates both the king and the governor. The Temple, through the process of alienation, often offers last rites to aristocrats and land owners in exchange for their land – land which, by Nemedian Manorial Law, cannot be forced to return to the king. The temple also has the right to police itself and often interferes in Numalia's civil police, claiming jurisdiction over any event happening to a priest or on temple-controlled grounds.
Layout of Numalia
The city of Numalia has grown in leaps and bounds throughout the long centuries. The original castle has been extended many times, creating a sprawling edifice of walls, towers and strongholds in the centre of the city. Surrounding the castle, the city has grown, needing new city walls constantly. The remnants of old city walls still can be found in sections of the city, and in some places old city walls form walls around the different districts. Built on high ground, the city overlooks the farmland and noble estates surrounding the city for miles in all directions.
The streets of Numalia are a virtual spider web of curved streets formed from ancient paths where people and animals naturally walked. Most of the winding streets are only five to ten feet wide. However, the widest street in Numalia, the Palian Way, is 32 feet wide. The main streets are cobbled but the alleys and small streets are still little more than dirt paths. The streets bear the names of the original craftsmen who founded the districts, but the names currently have little to do with the people currently living on those streets because of the constant shifting of population centres as the city grows. For example, there are no vintners living on Vintner Avenue anymore.
The buildings are built in block fashion, groups of homes sharing external walls, with the wall of one home built right against the wall of another, making the homes safer from crime by eliminating alleys. Open spaces within the blocks once were gardens but are now mostly sheds, workshops or shanty housing. The blocks are rarely square or rectangular in Numalia. Around the newer parts of Numalia, nearest the newest outer wall, the houses are wattle and daub with thatch roofs. Moving inward, the houses become wooden with thatch roofs, then wooden with wooden roofs, and finally in the older sections the homes are built of stone with slate roofs. The grandest sections of town are comprised of the towers and spires of the wealthy.
One of the roads of Numalia is called the Palian Way.
Districts of Numalia
Numalia is segregated into sprawling wards and districts to separate the city into manageable social units and neighbourhoods. People in these wards and districts know each other, vouch for each other, celebrate with each other and work with each other. People native to a particular ward with Knowledge (local) of at least one rank know everyone else in the ward, so Reputation bonuses always apply when a character is in his home ward and dealing with other natives of that same ward. Most ward or district information is based on the acre, which is 43,560 sq. feet or a roughly 210 ft. by 210 ft. square. Also given is a statistic on how many structures are in each district. Structures can include pavilions, stalls, barns, sheds, houses, wells, fountains, temples, civic buildings, barracks, cemeteries, cisterns, coliseums, corrals, granaries, inns, libraries, mills, offices, plazas, shops, stables, taverns, tenements, theatres, warehouses and workshops.