Era of Upheaval - Of Legends and Heroes
Saerloon was one of the original colony cities established in the land that would be Sembia, and was known in those times as Chondathan. It gained the name Saerloon from the master merchant Saer, whose brave and industrious nature helped establish the city as an economic powerhouse. It is an old, refined city of exotic architecture and varied tastes. Its buildings are laced with cornices, friezes, carvings, and the ever-present gargoyles. Its people epitomize the head-down, continual bustle that marks Sembia, pausing only briefly (and regularly) to check to see if someone is creeping up on them.
Saerloon is ruled by Lady Merelith of the Guard (NG hf F11) in the name of the Council of Sembia, but as in almost all Sembian towns, it is the merchants who rule, and the markets (under the gaze of statues of Saer) are filled with their calls and competitive shouts.
Saerloon is home to two powerful magical churches, who aid the merchants in protection spells and abjuration magics. They are dedicated to Mystra and Azuth, and have in their service a number of powerful wizards. The most mighty is the Lady’s Mage Cadellin Firehands (LN hm W24) of the church of Mystra. The city also has shrines to Lathander, Tempus, Lliira, and Tymora.
Dusky Saerloon is also a hotbed of thieving activities and intrigue, some of which is supported by the local merchants. The Night Knives are local thieves, smugglers and fences, though they are infiltrated by other groups. The Eyeless Mask is a group of slavers with a hatred of mages, priests, and the nobility that is supported by the Red Wizards of Thay. The Cult of the Dragon, the Zhentarim, and the Red Wizards of Thay all have their agents operating in the area.
It is no wonder that the typical Saerloonian is paranoid about his or her holdings, and there are an abundance of hidden caches of gold, gems, and magical items tucked away throughout the city, such that whenever a building changes hands, a unit of the local helms must search the building for any hidden treasures (which are then claimed by the state).