As always, you can find a full list of posts in this series by clicking here.
The Who’s Who Doing What’s What
Eisenstadt, as you’d expect, is an exceptionally busy place. The vast amount of trade coming and going from its various points of ingress and egress keeps millions employed and an almost incalculable amount of money in play. It should therefore be self-evident that the city is home to numerous organizations, both legitimate and criminal. In this post, we’ll examine two legitimate organizations: companies that have their headquarters in the city and what they do there.
A quick note: this is not intended to be anywhere near an exhaustive list of the companies and organizations in Eisenstadt, but rather some highlights of ones adventurers might interact with. For example: South Shore Chemical is a large, wealthy company based in Eisenstadt, but they don’t cause any trouble, don’t hire adventurers, and mostly sell various cleaning products to normal people all over the world. So unless an adventure revolves around enormous vats of middle-of-the-road laundry detergent, there’s not much reason to include them or the hundreds of other companies like them that do very mundane things and never do anything dangerous or exciting on purpose.
Commerce and Industry
Maxandra Financial: Maxandra Financial is the city’s largest financial institution and also the owner of its tallest building, a massive spire that exceeds the height of its neighbors by a solid fifteen floors. It functions as a full-service bank and investment company, handling everything from personal bank accounts to mortgages and stock portfolios, commercial real estate ownership, personal and commercial lines of credit, and more. Basically, if it’s a financial product or service, Maxandra offers it.
Maxandra financial is owned by Maxandracargan, an ancient red dragon and keen financial mind. She’s also a terrible boss. Like a lot of red dragons, Maxandracargan is primarily motivated by greed and tends to assume everyone else is too.
This means that while Maxandra is an awful place to work, with grueling 80+ hour workweeks, abusive management, dubious ethical practices, and harsh punishments for minor mistakes. Despite all of this, the company never lacks for staff because they pay extremely well. Maxandra employees make anywhere from half again to double the going rate for their positions and that’s before you factor in the long hours, all of which are subject to the city’s overtime pay laws. Far from generosity or benevolence, the high rate of pay is intended to secure obedience and give leverage over employees so they can be pushed into actions that may be in the company’s best interest, but not theirs with a minimum of fuss and effort from management. As a result, even a short stint working for Maxandra can solve a lot of a person’s financial issues, but they’re exposing themselves to substantial legal and mental health risks by doing so.
Maxandra tends to keep itself out of the most scandalous legal territory through systems designed to shift risk and blame onto lower-level employees through high-pressure management tactics and “ethics” rules that leave anyone who gets caught twisting in the wind. The company still pays a fortune in fines every year, but they also handle the finances of a great many of the higher-ranking city officials because at the end of the day, they are very good at turning massive piles of money into even larger massive piles of money.
The company has tight security (both to deter theft and fraud and to keep its employees in line) but they aren’t a private army. Maxandracargan keeps a solid line between the workings of Maxandra Financial and her personal projects, but she does lair atop the building, where she has the top ten floors entirely to herself.
In her personal time, she does get into all kinds of shady business involving evil artifacts, mercenary armies and bankrolling crime syndicates, she just does it through intermediaries and shell companies legally disconnected from Maxandra Financial. This isn’t for any sort of benevolent reason; Maxandra Financial is a significant income stream for the dragon and she doesn’t want to lose the revenue.
Arcanius: Arcanius is a magical and alchemical R&D company. Unlike Maxandra, it is a very ethical company that strives to improve the lives of people the world over with magical research. It is particularly concerned with more potent and reliable magical medicine, and there is an ongoing partnership with the orders of both St. Azar and St. Gertiana in the fields of magical medicine and protective warding.
Arcanius is also deeply involved in magical engineering, agriculture, and consumer goods. Basically if there’s a benefit to putting a little magic into something, Arcanius is there trying to make it workable and affordable.
Arcanius is also privately-owned, and the president and CEO is a high elf named Rithien Dorasha. Rithien is a former military wizard and officer from Eisenstadt’s military arm and founded the company after retiring from active service. He is a brilliant man, but also a kind-hearted and warm one and his estate is a surprisingly-modest one. He also tries to get either himself, his company, or both involved in virtually every charitable venture in the city, even if it’s just some illusion magic to snazz up the proceedings or a small donation.
The building itself is a beautiful example of neo-elven architecture with sweeping, twisting lines, living greenery, massive stained glass windows, and carefully-managed magical lighting. A large part of the building is actually alive; the elven art of treeshaping has been imported from the Tashvarn, and significant portions of the building were grown.
There’s a lot of living wood among the stone and glass, and the heavy use of both that and large windows makes the inside of the building very light and airy feeling. There are a few sublevels where high-security magical R&D labs are located, but for the most part, the building is a huge administrative center and those who work there are not of a sorcerous bent.
However, that doesn’t mean that they don’t interact with magic daily – as previously mentioned, there’s a lot of magical lighting and construction in the building, and in addition, a lot of the facilities management is magical in nature. Rooms tidy themselves on a set schedule due to embedded prestidigitation spells, flying carpets supplement elevators and stairs as a way to get around the building’s interior, and some of the higher-ranking executives have access to teleportation-based commuting. Casting detect magic within a block of the Arcanius building is a great way to wind up with a nasty migraine.
Probably the most well-known and popular product of Arcanius is the “mercy wafer,” a small square of enchanted rice paper about an inch square with a low-intensity healing pattern woven into it. The wafer can be placed on the tongue of a critically-injured person (or in a pinch, directly into a bleeding wound) and it will dissolve and stabilize them for up to an hour so they can hopefully be transported safely to a place where they can get more complete treatment. It also provides significant pain relief.
Just Getting Started
There’s lots more to Eisenstadt, and we’ll keep digging in for the next few blog posts. See you then!