Under Feet of Clay
“Moderation is the best thing; do nothing by force.” – Cleobulus, Sage of Invention
Cleobonomos rests on the isthmus linking the two major regions of mainland Calopius. Stretching to both landmasses, Cleobonomos has earned a reputation as the crossroads of all Calopene life. A mix of many races from all walks of life, Cleobonomos was founded by the gnomish sage Cleobulus, who is said to have walked every road in Calopius to find inspiration. In her wake, Cleobonomos is the place to find all the newest inventions and art styles. Trade dominates the economy, and trade is sustained by the creation of new goods. Dwarves and humans alike have flocked to study under gnomish inventors.
While the city lacks the grand architecture of Dikethaleos, it nevertheless strikes a unique skyline for its wooden cranes and pulleys. Able to hoist cargo and even small ships to pass them across the isthmus from one bay to another, the so-called Sky Pass is a modern wonder of invention, relying on exactly zero magic to accomplish its task. The guards of the city, in addition to the standard shield, spear, and sword, carry the signature weapon of Cleobonomos, the deadly crossbow.
For all their invention, however, Calopius knows them for their more standard goods, especially pottery. With four clay pits under their control, Cleobonomos is the home of unique vessels for carrying wine, oils, and food across the sea. The interested purchaser can buy red or white pottery anywhere, but only Cleobonomos offers the rare green or black unpainted pot. Home to the most preeminent painters in the world, Cleobonomos boasts a monopoly on the luxury vase market, and is home to some of the most talented sculptors as well.
Outside of the metropolitan center, the city is sustained by herders raising goats and pigs, and hills fertile for the growth of barley. With so many trading ships moving through the city, there is not much fishing to be had despite the prevalence of water. However, tamed hawks do hunt ducks and waterfowl for the populace. Many workers live just outside the city in a region known as the Metoikos, or outer-homes. These villages are inhabited by a mix of herders, farmers, and clay-diggers. Wealthy merchants keep villas outside the city manned by slaves who tend local vineyards for a booming wine scene.
The people of Cleobonomos are friendly and enterprising. Creativity is valued, especially when it saves effort from another. The city is ruled by a landed aristocracy, divided into houses by birth. These houses develop alliances and rivalries that shift with the decades, with intermarriage or the use of mentorship serving as means of supporting relationships. Beneath the aristocrats, the merchant class who employ laborers and earn money by skilled trades are courted for patronage by the aristocrats. An artisan working without a patron is likely to be out-competed, or even threatened by thugs hired by the wealthy supporters of other workers. Beneath these, the citizen class of laborers and hired help enjoy a measure of protection by the law, but are dependent upon the wages earned by their unskilled labors. Finally, the slaves earn no wages, but in Cleobonomos slave are treated much like eternal children, cared for and protected by the family that owns them, but never earning autonomy or freedom. Cleobonomos is roughly 30% gnome, 30% human, 20% dwarf, 5% vishkanya, 5% Halfling, 5% changeling, 5% other. Heroes from Cleobonomos trace their ancestry to many heroes, though the gnomes often look to the Sage Cleobulus or the inventor Taitalan, while humans trace their history back to Nosius.