he city of Marn is by far the largest and most important community in Thar Shaddin. With a population of around 20,000 people, it is the governmental, economic and military center of the region. In essence, Thar Shaddin is little more than a barren plot of land defined by the jurisdiction of Marn and would not exist as an independent entity otherwise. Marn is almost entirely self sufficient, relying only on the nearby town of Shim for agriculture and the few traders who do make the northern route their path of choice. At 165 years of age, Marn is quite young, though it has already developed a strong religion and culture of its own.
Marn has grown and flourished into a city complete with electricity, plumbing, a theater, and many other amenities because it has benefited from the unique and highly successful cooperation of humans, elves and gnomes. By collaborating efforts between the three races, efficient and productive construction and fabrication techniques have kept the isolated city quite modern by the standards of Pal Tahrenor. Because of the secretive and protective nature of Marn, the outside world knows little about the discoveries and advances Shaddinites have made.
The people of Marn pride themselves on their military history and perseverance in the face of a world they perceive as plagued by corruption and magic. As such, they are distrusting of outsiders and often give their support to the much revered city guard and the somewhat less respectable "democratic" government and the politics of the upper class. There are, of course, dissidents and criminals who oppose those in power, but by and large the people of Marn believe that their government and military are the only things keeping them from being swept away by the roaming vagabonds and demonic creatures that wander the arid wastelands of Thar Shaddin.
All along Main Street which spans the length of the city are shops, inns and brothels of every kind, run by every type of citizen. Blacksmiths, weapons dealers, apothecaries, clothing and jewelry stores, furniture stores, food markets with everything from exotic spices to staple foods; the citizens of Marn manage to provide anything one can imagine with the caveat that anything that comes from trade with the outside world is extremely expensive.
The majority of the buildings in the downtown area benefit from electric power and running water. They range in size from single room stalls to the more expensive inns that reach up to four stories high. The larger buildings are situated directly on main street, with smaller ones located on windy roads to the north-east. The length of Main Street is illuminated by wavering electric lighting at night. Some of the more shady creatures linger in the alleys behind the shops, but for illegal trade the best bet is to search the shanty town market, in the historic district.
The sound of rusty machinery lingers in the air all day long in the industrial district of Marn, situated on the north-western quadrant of the city. Despite being largely abandoned or inoperative after years of slow trade, there is always something being produced in one of the many human or gnomish facilities. Powered on a mixture of steam, coal, gas, and a large portion of the city's hydro-power, large buildings made of everything from iron beams with wooden walls to solid stone house manufacturing facilities for armor, weapons, textiles, bricks, pipes, wire... All of which can be mass produced to serve the needs of the city and its military.
Marnian citizens enjoy affordable housing in the south-western portion of the city. Those with more money can afford multi-story houses with electricity, but most live in rather small arrangements. Fortunately the whole of the residential area has running water, which keeps the conditions quite sanitary. Frequent patrols by the guard at all times of day keeps things safe.
On the northern perimeter of the residential district is a large park that spans four city blocks and surrounds a series of statues and monuments that serve to honour esteemed members of Marnian society such as famous leaders, guardsmen and the founders who are known as the First Settlers. South of the park is the university and to the east of that lay the elementary school and the fire hall which sports its very own steam powered fire engine.
The original Fort Marn around which the city was build remains as a series of ruined stone structures into which few citizens dare enter for fear of the strange sorcery that can be felt in the vicinity. The ruins contain various towers, some of which still reach precariously high off the ground for up to a dozen meters - shadows of the grandeur the structure once possessed. The ruins are delineated by an old wall and on the western part of the wall, toward the city, dwell the city's outcasts. Downtrodden, filthy, unemployed and often criminals of the non-human races, the people of this shanty town make their living selling knick knacks and illegal goods. Anyone looking for magical items or drugs knows where to go.