- "“To keep a friend, avoid sharing these three: coin, cup and crown.”"
- ―Nicaean saying
Nicae is a Good member of the League of Free Cities. It’s the most populous city of the League and often fights against the Thalassocracy of Ashur over the trade in the Samite Gulf. It is currently in a civil war between Basileus Leo Trakas and Strategos Zenobia Vasilakis.
The city has three ports, developed over centuries from the biggest three villages that later become Nicae. They are protected by the Greenstone Rampart, a set of greenstone towers jutting out from the sea, warded intensively and bristling with dwarven engines. Despite having a big wall surrounding the old districts of the city it has not been built to resist villains, unlike the cities of Callow.
Typical Nicaeans are full figured, tanned and have dark, curly hair.
The city of Nicae was first established by a handful of fishing villages banding together to facilitate trade with the Baalite colonists settling the shores of Ashur. They were conquered and occupied for decades by the Free City of Stygia, which had a profound impact on their government.
The Trakas used to rule as kings in Nicae, styling themselves Basileus as a means of claiming descent from the legendary emperor Aenos Basileon. Basilea Hypathia Trakas was defeated in the Second Samite War, which led to the formation of the office of Strategos.
The conflict with the Thalassocracy of Ashur colours much of their history. As a maritime state they are driven to control the Samite Gulf to facilitate trade, which has often resulted in wars and skirmishes. There have been four Samite Wars altogether, none of which were won by Nicae though it has also never been subjugated by the other naval power. Beyond the wars, the two rivals skirmish and test each other with episodic regularity.
Being the most populous member of the League, while also Good and geographically near to the Principate of Procer, they were often used by the larger polity to push Procer’s agenda. Nicae was the one that brought forward the idea of a ten-year truce with the Principate for the duration of the Tenth Crusade and in return they were also supplied with fantassins (professional mercenaries), silver and grain. In addition, Cordelia Hasenbach managed to lift the Ashuran restrictions of Nicean commerce.
Siege of Nicae
Despite significant support from the First Prince, Nicae wasn’t engaged in the war against Tyrant Kairos Theodosian until he laid siege to the city, after both Atalante and Delos had fallen. Prior to the siege, the Ashen Priestess was killed in the city by a redirected curse of the Tyrant's mages.
The siege itself involved the combined forces of Helike and Stygia, the Calamities and White Knight Hanno's heroic band. Warlock was allowed to use the Red Skies protocols to unleash certain properties of a hell on the city and even though Evil triumphed, the Black Knight was barely alive and Sabah - the Captain - was killed by the Valiant Champion.
The city's ultimate authority stems from two individuals: the Strategos and the Basileus. The Strategos is in charge of the city's fleet as well as the military and while originally the office of Basileus had absolute authority, it nowadays seems confined to matters of diplomacy and law. It is to the office of the Strategos as the Nicaeans were hoping to elect one to represent them at the conclave to choose the Hierarch.
- Eudokia the Oft-Abducted, Basilea of Nicae. Past leader of the city, famous for her epigraphs.
- Leo Trakas - the current Basileus of Nicae
- Eleusia Vokor, Nicaean ambassador to the Principate. More epigraphs.
- Strategos Zenobia Vasilakis
- Nicae produces Baalite Eyes - spyglasses - though they are not as good as those from Ashur.
- Iason and his band of heroes, further consisting of the Gallant Brigand and the Red Mage, formed in the city.
- It's also where the White Knight landed, after his training in the Titanomachy. This is where his first heroic band was formed.
- Cheap tea is often imported via Nicae.