Sandwatch is a strange combination of styles. At its heart is the original city, a colossal structure of stone construction. It’s unique in that it is seamless, as if the entire structure were made of one single stone, carved from an ancient mountain perhaps. Rumors abound, but the majority of historians believe the structure was originally a Mage-king’s fortress in ancient times. The city center is weathered with age, but still exceptionally strong. In the recent history of the region, the consolidation of Benin under Sultan Maled and the resulting boom in trade between Osil and Benin has lead to a rapid expansion of Sandwatch. At present, a sprawling labyrinth of traditional nomadic huts, simple adobe structures, and the occasional wood-constructed building spread out from the base of the old city. Sandmaze, as it’s known to locals, provides a buffer zone one mile thick all around Sandwatch proper. A light, wooden sand-wall surrounds the current limits of the city, doing little more than keeping out the blowing sands and harassing winds of the desert flats. The lord of the city and territory is Lord Martin Corger VIII, and his lordship is centered in Sandwatch proper. The Lord and city infrastructure has struggled severely with this sudden increase in population, and as a result civil services had fallen by the wayside when it comes to dealing with the sandmaze population. Most of the people moving to Sandwatch are merchants, diplomats, and entrepreneurs all looking to expand their wealth into the Eastern markets. Some have been displaced with the unification of the tribes of Benin, they feel obsolete or displaced at home and they leave seeking a new life in Sandwatch, usually as a stepping stone to the East.
With the influx of optimistic immigrants and general increase in population, coupled with the already strained civic establishment, crime has run rampant in the sandmaze. The West Watchers, as the city guard is known due to their traditional role as border patrol of the Kingdom, do have a presence in the sandmaze but it is a hopeless battle given their numbers. As a result, one of the more powerful syndicates of Sandwatch proper, The Sandmen, has made a deal with Lord Corger to assist in keeping the peace in the sandmaze in exchange for more relaxed prosecution towards the Sandmen. Thus far, they’ve kept up their part of the bargain, preventing large scale gang wars from erupting and keeping major threats off the streets. Of course, their methods differ significantly to those of the Watch, resulting in rampant petty thievery, cons, and a very healthy black market rife with foreign and domestic contraband. Initially, slaves were traded, but that has been put to a stop by the joint efforts of the Sandmen and the West Watchers. The greatest, and most predictable, effect of this agreement is that the Sandmen have become exceedingly powerful, throwing off the city underworld’s balance of power. The Sandmen have largely exploited their legal freedoms to keep the other syndicates in check and to expand their influence inside Sandwatch proper as well as maintain themselves as the dominant power and policing force in the sandmaze. This has lead to increasing tension among the rest of the city’s criminal organizations and indeed the West Watch as well. Rumors have been spreading of new alliances and schemes. All parties are keeping tight lids on their activities given the recent expansion of the Sandmen’s sphere of influence, however.
Water Barons, Whisperwind, Scorpions, Venom Fangs, the Wise Men.
Current Alliances: Water Barons and Venom Fangs, Scorpion and Whisperwinds. Wisemen are allied with Water Barons and Scorpions but not Whisperwinds or Venom Fangs.
Syndicate Dajis: Whisperwind.: Morath; Water Barons: Svolnis; Scorpions: Tang Faynar; Venom Fangs: Hassin; Wise Men: Ahlenar (Lieutenant of Cobranis). The Dajis are the syndicate chieftains that are respected and feared by their underlings. The Venom Fangs and Scorpions are newly arisen and originated in the sandmaze before the Sandmen could secure their dominance. The Whisperwinds, Wisemen, and Water Barons are all longer standing syndicates that have seen a generation of leaders pass and are now in the hands of the heirs chosen by each Daji upon their deathbeds.
The Wisemen are unique in that they are known to have significant resources outside the city itself. Those resources are a closely guarded secret within the organization, but it has been agreed upon by nearly everyone of import that they have allies, powerful allies. There is a lot of speculation as to why the syndicate has not utilized more of its potential in working against the now ever-expanding Sandmen.