Chronicles of Khaldun: Crux of Eternity
The City of a Thousand Sights, the City of Looming Spires, or the City of Dread, Scandshar is both the shining jewel and the cancerous heart of the Sorrowfell Plains. Located in the center of the plains, Scandshar sits on the banks of the River of Tears and also forms a nexus for most of the overland trade routes, as well.
Scandshar is a bustling city of thousands of residents. Largely untouched by the Cackledread War, Scandshar contains several boroughs, including residents of many different races. It is a bustling center of commerce, scholarship, and the arts.
And yet, Scandshar has a desperate sickness. Slavery is still legal in Scandshar, and both the famous gladiatorial bouts and much of its menial labor are supplied by this source. When people disappear from the Sorrowfell Plains, they frequently reappear on the streets of Scandshar in chains.
It is perhaps hardly surprising, then, that Scandshar is also a major center of operations for the Illustrious Menagerie of Peacocks, a major crime syndicate that has heavily flourished in the aftermath of the Cackledread War. The Menagerie has its fingers in many, many pies, controlling all manner of illicit activity. The back alley craps game, the corner prostitute, and the drug smuggling ring all pay a cut, as does the slave trade and the assassins’ guilds. It’s even thought that the corruption extends to the noble families of the Scandshar Parliament, but who can say?
Assuming the Peacocks do not control everything, Scandshar is ostensibly run by its Parliament. A council of thirteen noble families oversees operations in Scandshar; twelve form the Parliament, while the thirteenth house — led by the Lord of Fools — holds no official power. The Lord of Fools and his or her family switches every year, meaning that any one family is only marked as the so-called “House of Fools” once every thirteen years. While a noble house is the House of Fools, all references to that family are stricken from the records, and its members are never seen in public unmasked. By tradition, any commandment issued by the Lord of Fools is followed without question, but the Fool Lord issues no commandments (any reference to the Fool Lord issuing commandments is almost always anecdotal). Nobody knows the purpose of this office, but the House of Fools is thought to be a superstition of some sorts, a way to placate the old spirits. Soberer minds suggest that the Fool system is merely a form of checks and balances; no one family can gain too much temporal power because after the twelfth year, that family loses it all.
Those seeking further information on Scandshar might be interested in this article on the noble houses of Scandshar, this pictorial investigation of Scandshar, or this other pictorial investigation of Scandshar. There’s also a briefer article over on the Bread and Circuses Wiki.