The city of Renen is the oldest of the Majors, and almost coincidentally the city is focused on the oldest human need; food. The city doesn’t produce traditional bland staples, but instead focuses on luxury cuisine, creating dishes that are fusions of many cultures and are often seen nowhere else. The city’s many restaurants and food carts can be seen on almost every street. Some of the food found in the city is dangerous of course, and often ingesting the wrong morsel can kill a man faster than any real poison if done improperly. This, plus the fact that the city pays host to a large amount of food traders en route to other cities, has made the city quite wealthy.
The city’s government is a unique one in that the ruler for the city is hereditary and not elected like the others. The line has remained secure and stable since the city’s founding, with any dissenters to the line having all died of mysterious, incurable illnesses that fit into no defined set of symptoms. It’s a well-known secret that this is due to Renen’s second-most important industry; poisoners.
If there is a poison, irritant, allergen or venom known by man, you’ll be able to find at least some of it in Renen. The city’s a hub for both herbalists and poisoners, though the second is much more numerous than the first. While none of the poisoners sell their services as assassins publicly, it’s rumored that a cabal of them that was brought over with the city’s founding has kept the royal bloodline safe and secure from all those who would seek to overthrow it. The act that both food and poison can be found in ample amounts as earned Renen its nickname; The City of Life and Death.
Make no mistake, there are herbalists in Renen, but those tend to be specialists or masters, with few of middling quality. If you need to come to Renen for herbs or flowers, you come for the exotic, the hard-to-cultivate or the dangerous. While many herbalists seem nice and friendly, it’s well-known that if you offer the right price to the right person, you’ll be led to a back room or basement, where the truly dangerous and downright illegal plants are kept. Rumors of what these might contain are all over the place. Spirit-infused plants with strange behaviors, sentient vines, fungi that feed only on human flesh, mobile saplings, and other stranger things have been rumored. How much of it is true is not really known.
The ruler, named the Pharon, has almost unlimited power within the city and rules primarily through fear and threat of punishment, both official and otherwise. While minor laws are often ignored and never enforced, the Pharon makes sure that every major law he puts forth is followed to the letter. All visitors to the city are provided with a sheet detailing punishments for going against the major laws so as to make sure none are broken accidentally. The Pharon employs a well-paid group of secret police, which monitor the city looking for both lawbreakers and dissidents. Foreign dissidents are simply shunted out of the city for “unpaid docking fees”, while dissidents who actually live in Renen have a habit of ending up dead in the ocean.