"The citizens here are always caught up in their own business, carrying on their lives. It's oddly comforting in a way." —Nerys
Baldur's Gate is a popular series of computer role-playing games set in the Forgotten Realms Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting. The series has spawned two series, known as the Bhaalspawn Saga and the Dark Alliance, both taking place mostly within the Western Heartlands, but the Bhaalspawn Saga extends to Amn and Tethyr.
Baldur's Gate is the largest metropolis and city-state on the Sword Coast, located within the greater Western Heartlands of Faerûn - a major continent on the planet of Toril. It was a crowded city of commerce and opportunity, perhaps the most prosperous and influential merchant city on the western coast. The strong peace-keeping force known as the Watch, along with the presence of the powerful Flaming Fists mercenary company, kept the city generally peaceful and safe. This inherent sense of security allowed the Gate to keep a tolerant and welcoming attitude towards outsiders, whether they were wealthy merchants, poor refugees or, as it historically attracted, less-scrupulous individuals such as pirates and smugglers. The region surrounding Baldur's Gate received an abundance of drizzling rain and sleet with frequent-occurring fog that rolled through the city's streets. Despite the city's engineering and cleanliness, this continual rain led to regular growth of mildew accompanied by a musky smell that permeated the city's cellars. Baldurians took great pride in the inclusiveness of their city. It was a place anyone could call home, or start a new life within, regardless of race, creed or personal history. As a whole, citizens of Baldur's Gate did not tolerate drunk and debaucherous behavior. Despite the city's inclusiveness, three deities predominated the worship of Baldurian citizens. Every so often, Baldurians would gather together on a street around a grouping of crates, barrels and other impromptu seating to share stories and tales with one another. These cobble parties, so named for the cobblestone roads on which they were hosted, were marked by special "rose-red" torches that could be purchased from the local fireworks shop.
Government / Law
Since its famous tax revolt, Baldur's Gate was ruled by four Grand Dukes, whose membership composed the Council of Four. They were elected by the citizens to serve for life or until they wished to retire. The Council of Four were served by five deputies, city officials that oversaw their subordinate bureaucrats and maintained the daily needs of Baldur's Gate.Historically, the Baldurian people had a complicated relationship with taxation at the hands of city officials. Excessive gate tolls incited a transformative revolution in the city in its formative years, leading to the formation of its preeminent form of governance. Ironically, that same governing body enacted nearly identical taxers that remained for hundreds of years. By the 15th century, city officials collected tolls from passersby at nearly every cite gate, through a vast, far-reaching bureaucracy that was constantly under threat of corruption. Anyone caught in the act of breaking the law were immediately apprehended and punished, either by the Watch or the Flaming Fist. Typically, the punishment fit the crime. Lesser crimes, such as violence or thievery, warranted a public whipping or removal of a finger. Those who broke agreed upon contracts were sentenced to forced labor while disturbing the peace or public lasciviousness led to public shaming by a night in the stocks.