The Most Serene City of Venza, jewel of the D'Oro coast, is a beautiful old city of many districts built across numerous small islands in a deep saltwater lagoon near where the Orino river meets the sea. The mainland rises up into forested hills where not covered by the intensive agriculture that supports the city.
Venza was first settled by halflings who, acting in response to warnings of their goddess, Issolatha, fled the unnatural disasters of their far home to build crannogs in the lagoon where they could live in safety. Later human refugees found the place and seeing the defensive value of the halfling settlements embraced the idea and began the building of the foundations that would become the city of Venza.
Venzan's have traditionally relied upon their city's inaccessibility and a strong navy rather than thick walls to protect them.
Main Article: Venzan Environs and Territories
The island city of Venza rises up out of the sparkling blue waters of the lagoon like an exotic gemstone. The lagoon itself is deep and the industrious Venzans have changed the route of the nearby Orino River to prevent the lagoon from silting up and invalidating their primary defense. To the north the coast rises up and becomes ever more rocky with stony beaches and riddled with caves. Local rumors tell that in times past the northern ridge was a merfolk city in the deeps but during the Years of Darkness it was thrust upwards and its inhabitants died gasping in the air. The coast southeast of Venza is an expanse of marshland punctuated with areas of jutting stone. The mainland rises up east of the city quickly becoming hilly and covered with both the intensive agriculture to support the city and areas of forest and other wilderness.
Main Article: Venzan Government
The government is highly bureaucratic with several layers and branches of government:
The Lord-Elect: Nominal ruler of Venza and elected for life, the Lord-Elect serves as the head of state and mouthpiece of the government. His power is severely curtailed, however, and most decisions are made by the Grand Council or lesser governmental bodies.
The current Lord-Elect is Mauro da Coronelli.
The Grand Council: The prime governing body of Venza; comprised of the thirty-three members of the Grand Masters, the Eleven, and the Scarlotti.
The Grand Masters: Eleven of the most influential guildmasters of Venza selected from among the House of Masters.
House of Masters: The assemblage of full masters of the various guilds of Venza. Four of the most powerful guilds in Venza include the Glassworker's Guild, the Merchant's Guild, the Guild of Saltworkers, and the Alchemist's Guild.
The Eleven: Representatives of the eleven districts of Venza selected from the popular Council of the People.
Council of the People: A body of commoners selected to represent the various districts of Venza.
The Scarlotti: Eleven of the most powerful members of the traditional aristocracy selected from among Venza’s Houses of nobility and named for their distinct scarlet robes.
The Metropolitan of Venza: A priest chosen from among the priests of all the temples of Venza who represents the temples and advises the Grand Council on matters of religion. This position is hotly contested, particularly with the schism between the worshipers of Cortesia and Cortessa. It is currently held by Priest Raleigh Scarpazzio.
Note: The Land Owners and Cultivator's Guild was originally created to protect the interests of the small land owner and farmer supporting the population of Venza. However, the noble Houses of Venza have recently discovered that the guild charter does not prevent their membership in the guild and so they are joining it with the intention of weakening the power base of the guilds and increasing their own political reach.
Main Article: Venzan Religion
Venza's core pantheon of deities, known as the Veneti, include Cortesia, the Bright Lady, patron of Venza; her rival Cortessa, Fair Lady of the Coin; Hinotheus, the Flame Wolf; the Twins, Sapo and Farino, gods of knowledge and craft; Dessano, a deity enslaved to Akutu, the alien enemy of the Veneti; and the inscrutable goddess, Issolatha. The cosmopolitan Venza with its well-traveled merchants and delegations of foreign merchants sees the worship of many other gods including a new favorite, Penk, Lord of Laughter, and the collection of elemental gods worshiped by Venza's halflings and others who ply the seas, the Stormlords.
City Districts and SitesEdit
Main Article: Venza's Districts
Venza is divided into eleven distinct districts. Citizens feel strong loyalty with their district/neighborhood, much like an extended clan. Districts have their own flags, colors, symbols, district temples, community meeting place, internal politics and local festivals. Some of the more famous districts include the upper-class Twin Roses, divided into Roses di Sanguigno and Roses D'Avorio; Incudine, the craftsmans district; The Gulls, home to Venza's navy and commercial vessels of all sorts; the low-class Ranocchio district, also called Planks; and Báyanmaliít, the ethnic district of the gnomes. Punta Mare is an isolated upper-class district, not connected to the "mainland" of Venza. There are several sites within or near the city that are not a part of any district, such as the Sunken City or nearby islands such as the Tower of Chains or Vega Island.
Partitioned off by a earthen burm on the far eastern edge of the city, the Grand Stable of Venza stands to house intelligent four legged denziens as well as standard and exotic mounts, pack animals and livestock. Venza's coastal road is known as Via di Banchine, and runs through all of the major dock areas of the city, although traffic usually moves at a crawl.
From Venza's eastern shore to the mainland spans the Grand Bridge, also known as Pierinho's Folly after the Lord-Elect who sponsored its construction. South of the bridge and along the shore is the Ratfolk Enclave, where the majority of the city's small (but growing) Ratfolk population is located.
CultureEditOpera di Venza - The opulence of the Venza Opera House is staggering. The ruling houses wanted to make sure that there would never be any question about their cultural superiority, and so they all coordinated and constructed one of the most beautiful buildings in all of E'n. Here, in the entrance hall, the effect on the eyes is dazzling. 
- Calpurnio - actor(?) at the Opera di Venza
- Segunda - Maschera's understudy. 
- Ronaldo the Jungle Orc - Performed Opera di Venza, 1310
Casino di Venza  - High class gambling venue with numerous games of chance including scorpion tables.
The Temple of Blood  - rumored to be hidden beneath the Grand Piazza this dark temple is dedicated to the Blood Goddess, also known as the Red Lady and Her Sanguine Majesty, an ancient goddess who delights in sacrifices of blood, particularly from enemies slain in battle. In 1260 (50-some years prior to the current date) five knights from five separate noble Venzan houses descended into the Temple and slew the cultists to a man. As the last cultist died with his own blood on his lips he pronounced a death curse: the knights' blood would betray them.
Eel-weed , : Spiced grasses buried in clay pots and fermented. The finished product is an oily, half-rotted plant mass that when chewed produces a hallucinatory, narcotic effect. Highly addictive.
Excellent Hill-country wines