Giura is a town of 7,000 inhabitants. A small population of 400 hobgoblins and 6,000 goblins reside alongside 600 enraptured bugbears. The bugbears are a formidable force that allow Giura larger foreign influence than what its raw population numbers might indicate. Controlling the cannibalistic bugbears is achieved through the use of special medicinal herbs grown in a unique piece of Giura’s architecture, the Undergreen.
The Undergreen was formed during the Goblin War between the Goblin and Olympian pantheons. The great Phoenix engaged the Olympian hero Sadroston in combat above the site of Giura. The scorching flames of the Phoenix melted the entire landscape below, turning the ground into an enormous slab of radiant glass. The glass hardened under the flames of the Phoenix and the magical effusions of Sadroston. It became as hard as stone while still maintaining a measure of clarity.
Giura formed as a pilgrimage site after the battle. Goblins came from all over Cimmeria to see where the Phoenix had discharged its awesome infernal power. As more goblins gathered they began exploring the lands and tunnels around Giura. Eventually their burrows discovered the underside of the glass sheet made by the Phoenix. Realizing that they could appreciate the majesty of the glass sheet from the upper and lower sides, the goblins began a gargantuan excavation project. They worked to create a massive cathedral in the Underdark with the glass sheet serving as a single skylight, letting in the radiance of the Phoenix Sun.
As the goblins’ work on the cathedral progressed they discovered that most any plant could grow in the loosened soil beneath the glass sheet. This effect occurred no matter the season or the natural climate of the plant. Believing the space to be blessed by the Phoenix and the Tree, the goblins started using the cathedral as a farm. Hundreds of exotic species are grown beneath the Undergreen for consumption and export. The staple crops of the Undergreen also provide for the livestock of Giura, most notably a breed of healthy pigs which are fattened for export as well. Meanwhile, the cathedral’s expansion continues as the goblins hope to one day have the entirety of the glass sheet revealed from above and below.
The reverent glory of the Undergreen attracted plenty of goblin warlords who wished to rule over the sacred edifice. To defend the town of Giura, the townsfolk began accepting excess bugbears that were exiled by other goblin communities in Cimmeria. The stalwart strength of this expanded bugbear population provided protection from the greedy leaders of the Hobgoblin Lands. However, the bugbears by themselves presented another problem for the people of Giura. How do you prevent a large group of cannibals from consuming the rest of your town?
The Undergreen presented a solution to bugbear cannibalism. An herb existed that could be refined to control the bugbears appetite, but the herb was nearly impossible to cultivate under normal conditions. Fortunately, everything grew beneath the light of the Undergreen glass. This herb, dimthinguo, was still difficult to grow, even in the Undergreen. A special class of goblins took on the responsibility of growing the herb for Giura while a separate group of hobgoblins took it upon themselves to refine the drug for bugbear consumption. This partnership of the two races of goblins and hobgoblins allowed them both a measure of control over the bugbears as the town’s society crystallized.
Giura is ruled by the masters of the Grower’s Guild and the Apothecary Guild. The Grower’s Guild only permits goblins to join their ranks while the Apothecary Guild only allows hobgoblins. The masters of each guild decide town policy through majority vote at monthly meetings. The criteria for becoming a master of each guild is decided on by both guilds to prevent artificially boosting either guilds number of masters. Serious disagreements are rare between the two guilds. Giura’s control of the bugbears is like holding a tiger by its tail. The goblins and hobgoblins must work together for if they ever fall out of step they risk being eaten by the town’s guardians.
Giura’s art and culture have evolved to emphasize truth, realism, and clarity. Pieces produced by local artisans use a style incorporating perspective and realism to produce almost life-like recreations of their subjects. In addition to producing art that reflects truth, the townsfolk leave their windows and doors open as long as the weather permits, even when not at home. This behavior would normally invite theft, but the mystical power of the Undergreen inhibits such actions. Those who stand upon the Phoenix glass must tell the truth. Thus a suspected thief will quickly be forced to confess. All who leave the town are questioned by the bugbears upon the glass. Those who confess are dealt with harshly to deter future criminals.