Cultural Cues: Verrakin culture borrows heavily from Renaissance Venice and Italy, as well as Spain during the Age of Exploration.
Costuming: Verrakins love bright, showy fabrics. A Verrakin will dress in the most expensive fabric he or she can afford, and generally wear many accessories to show off their wealth. Verrakins also love big, floppy hats decorated with buttons, pins and feathers.
If Albeira is decadence in decline, then the citystate of Verrakis is decadence in bloom. In this great trade city, anything can be bought or sold; no king or doge holds sway here, only trade guilds. Building their power on their control of trade and technology, the trade guilds of Verrakis have promoted the use of their city’s guilder as the new coin of the realm, although in truth so many Illumin coins remain in circulation that it is nigh-impossible to overcome the inertia of the ancient economy. Nevertheless, Verrakis is a city all too happy to separate a visitor from his coin, whether by force or by guile. People of this city are said to have a savvy second to none, and they are quite resourceful.
While Albeira may play host to things of old, Verrakis is home to the new: Discoveries, ideas, and trends catch on quickly in this city, and fade back into obscurity just as quickly. Still, it is an exciting place in which to live.
If your life isn’t taken by a black-hearted rogue or your money by a winsome candlestick maker, then you may have time to marvel at the Verrakan feats of engineering that have created not only the city’s well-defended ports but the tremendous towers that rise up in signature form from its sprawling reaches.
Verrakis lies at the mouth of the Blood River, which forms the eastern border of the Illumin Empire. To the south in the ocean are the islands of Circadia. North and west are the Illumin Empire; to the east, past the river, are the Tugha steppes.
That’s what Verrakis was.
In the year A.N. 411, during the Midyear Festival of Verrakis, a portal somehow opened in the great Guildhall of Mages. Most of the mages were cut down within moments as hordes of grimjaws, yeghu and azhara streamed through the opening. They made short work of the surprised magicians, and proceeded to take the entire celebrating city by surprise.
Verrakis burned that night. Not with the fires of celebration, as it should have been. Instead, Verrakis had become a funeral pyre for thousands. Within hours, all the greatest works of Verrakis had been reduced to chaos, tears and ashes.
Out of a city of 50,000, perhaps only 10,000 survived the Sacking of Verrakis. More might have died if not for the lucky presence of several legendary heroes. Due to their quick thinking (and the fortunate appearance of an airship), many refugees were taken to safety. The Verrakan Reserve was secured, and, most importantly, the portal in the Guildhall of Mages was permanently closed.
Though Verrakis lies in ruins now, the Verrakan spirit has not been crushed. Verrakan colonies dot the land, and no few traders were at sea when the destruction happened.
Though what will become of Verrakan culture now, who can say? That depends on the determination and resourcefulness of those who survived.
In spite of its destruction, many Verrakan survivors are still members of the now-fragmented Verrakan Guilds that once held sway over the city, and they still keep many secrets. In the spirit of Verrakan entrepreneurship, many a lowly journeyman or apprentice has claimed the title of Guildmaster for their respective guild, and is seeing how far they might go on that borrowed title. Many other Verrakin refugees seek only for sanctuary, and a new place to live. Some, of course, dream of vengeance.