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South Market

The South Market offers more shops than open markets, as well as a number of commodities markets and workshops. The proprietors of Blackstock Printing hold an interesting secret, and the Golden Tooth offers wares for those with a taste for gold. But there’s more in this district than just shops. Numerous families live above their shops, taverns and inns cater to the traveling merchants, and more than a few illegal brothels and gambling dens can be found within the district.

South MarketThe South Market is one of two market districts in this highly commercial city. It is also the newest of Ptolus’ districts.  It stretches from Dalen’s Cliffs in the west to Carriage Row in the east. Its southern boundary is the city wall, and its northern one is a rough line drawn from the north end of Carriage Row to the point where the Emperor’s Road ascends the earthen ramp up to Oldtown. The northern border separating the South Market from Midtown has been an imprecise distinction since the district came into being.

No one will argue that the heart of the district lies in a large open square called Star Crossing Plaza, where three major streets intersect. A number of important offices, as well as some of the district’s premier shops, are located at Star Crossing.

The South Market contains many shops and small marketplaces for people to purchase goods, but it also has a number of commodities markets. Commodities markets are always devoted to one type of good, such as cloth, spices, grain, and so on. While anyone can shop at these markets, they are intended for merchants, exporters, or vendors buying in bulk. Ptolus’ only major commodities market not located in the South Market is the Stockyards in the Guildsman District.

The commercial connection between the Guildsman District and the South Market is clear. Many South Market workshops are controlled by the guilds of the Guildsman District.

The Flavor of the South Market
Only a large city could support a district like the South Market of Ptolus, with commodities markets, established merchant companies, and permanent shops. It grew naturally in what was once a more residential area called the South End. In those days, the North Market was “the Market.”

Things are always on the move in the South Market. Business is brisk, and people—both customers and merchants—crowd the narrow, newly paved streets. The smells of baked goods, cooking vegetables, and spiced meat mix favorably with the other, less pleasant odors of the city. Vendors stand outside their shops, enticing customers in with assurances of low prices and high quality. A man in an apron with a broom chases away raggedy children from a large fruit shop before they can steal apples. Laborers load up a wagon with bales of cloth.

Compared with the other districts, the South Market is fairly safe. Even with such criminal enterprises as the Cock Pit gambling den, few muggings or attacks happen here. Burglary is the crime of this district, edging out other “victimless” crimes like smuggling, gambling, and prostitution.

While shops and commodities markets make up the majority of the district, as a traveler heads north toward Midtown, the shops become more interspersed with homes. Heading east toward the Guildsman District, one finds as many warehouses and workshops as regular shops. Near the South and Market gates, the district offers restaurants, taverns, inns, stables, bathhouses, and other services one might need after arriving in the city on the
Emperor’s Road from the south. This list also includes a few brothels, gambling dens, and illegal drug parlors run by the local criminal element.

Shopping Customs
Shopkeepers in Ptolus commonly stand in their doorways and talk to passersby to attract customers. These proprietors are typically aggressive, and sometimes even rude. There are always exceptions, however—a few might seem undemonstrative and reserved, allowing their wares to sell themselves. This is particularly true for shops with few direct competitors, such as the city’s scarce bookstores and perfume shops.

Haggling is acceptable at shops, but not at restaurants nor taverns. Returns and warranties are unheard of, although some shops do guarantee their merchandise. Most shops will buy goods that they deal in at half their normal value, although some shops run by artisans never buy, they only sell.

Clerks often wrap purchased goods in cloth and tie the package with string before giving them to the customer to take home.  Most shops and places of  business stay open as long as the sun is up, which means that business hours are longer in the summer than in the winter. Most are open seven days a week.