Back in the Karfelon days it was a small fishing village with a seperatist population that talked funny. At the breaking of the seawall it became an obvious place of trade for Lojem isle (way easier to get to than Karfelon was, it already has docks, etc…). The native population quickly sucumbed to capitalism.
The old-style Gendels (now called Gelnds as a group) are still around and still stick to their way of life and traditions. Most stay out of town except to buy or sell stuff. They still have weirdly accented Paroli (hard to understand if your not paying attention) and their own way of doing things. The Charter of Gendel guarentees that the Gelnds way of life cannot be infringed upon and that Gendel can make no laws that do so and that citizens doing so will be punished to the maximum extent of the law. The Gelnds are also not subject to normal taxation but are still, in theory, protected by the courts and the Watch of Gendel. The Gelnds are devout followers of Neptune, Osirus and Isis. There are around 500 Gelnds believed to live in and around Gendel. The number could be off as there isn't a regular census and they stereotypicaly have large families.
The current population (10044) of Gendel township is 8500. The surrounding area that makes up the whole Greater Gendle tax base probably has 15K (those outside town are farmers, fishermen, hunters, tanners, some small bit of copper mining, etc…).
A lot of trade comes in by ship. Way easier to land in the north than to circle around to the south and dodge reefs, sea walls and small islands. That many people can actually be self supporting. A lot of what they make is used internally. Foreign trade is just to get hard currency to buy foreign made stuff. The portal farm is pretty close and has definately had an impact on trade. The mayor, Selic, is in negotiation with Terminal-3 to get a good rate for goods exchange with at least one off world civilization.
The Road - A large scale improvments project was conducted and completed mid-10044. A path 20 feet wide spanning the entire distance from Gendel to Portal Farm was cleared and graded. Several bridges were built and some hills dug down. The road started out dirt but has since been mostly cobbled. Work continues. There is a low-intensity project ongoing to put rails in the center of the road. Gendel is working with neighboring villages to ramp up iron and steel production. Until then the center 5' of the road is being re-dug and more stable foundation laid to support heavier weight traffic.
A second road is being constructed between Gendel and New Alimar. The leadership and peoples of these two towns have also agreed on borders and mutual protection treaties.
The current mayor of gendle is a human by the name of 'Selic'. He's been in that position for at least 5 years. Elections are free and democratic. He usually wins on personality and because he is very fair with the settling of disputes. He has a staff of three working for him (a pretty young woman that the public books call his “assistant” and he calls “wife” and who calls hersem “Shari”, a somber, middle aged man called “Scote” who is a wiz with numbers and negotiation and a young, flashy bond man called “Bezil” who is clearly of Nomadic birth).
There is a volunteer court system. The judge position is rotated among the leaders of the trade guild. They are not paid for their time and, of course, some are better and more fair than others. However things are held in balance. Make a blatantly bad or self interested ruling and you will suffer elsewhere (probably in your pocket where it hurts). Any citizen may appeal to the court (actually to the judges staff of two that sits permanently at the courthouse. These two usually elderly or inferm and take a small stipend for their time.). Actual court sessions occur every Dran at noon and are usually done by 2-3PM. The crime rate is pretty low.
Speaking of crime. The city employes a civilian watch consisting of 7 persons who cover the city 24×6. There is also a reserve watch that can be called upon in times of emergency. Reservists are required to serve 1 day per month when not activated. Most crime is theft or crimes of passion. The leader of the watch is an ex-adventurer who calls himself 'Cab'. He's quiet but has good leadership and sword skills. He is also responsibile for training the watch and reservists. Rumor says he fought bravely in the 2nd Bastadorian War and was given meddles by some foreign government before returning to his home in Gendle.
Gendel also maintains 2 “war” type vessels and the crew to staff them. The Gendel “Navy” is mainly to discourage pirates and to serve as a coast guard.
Fishing has always been a staple industry in Gendle and continues to be so today. The calm northern waters are ideal breading ground for several varieties of large and tasty fish. Several thousand feet of shoreline near the city have been reserved to raise Grakken and the ever popular 'sea buffalo'. Their import treaties with the great rice paddy are solid and they serve as the major distribution point on northern Lojem for goods from the GRP. They export Grakken (in the shell, salted or pickled (Good eats) and buffalo meat as well as the ubiquitous fish. Grakken shells (which turn translucent when properly treated) are decorated and exported.
Bizarrely I thought this staple meet product was in the book but I guess not. It looks much like a hippo but without the attitude and with hooves more adapted to swimming, mud and sand. It likely has an Inferior INT and PER and is a ready target for any predator if it can't make it to land (and some would get it even then). Movement about 50 on land and maybe 30 in the water.
The best place to eat breakfast in town (according to the watch) is Maxies. They serve pancakes that are to die for and provide free refills on java.