The Area now known as the Low Market, Old Market or Petit Bazaar has been a bustling center of activity since Greyhawk’s earliest days, when it rested just outside the city’s old walls on the road to Urnst. Greyhawk’s busiest market stands at the crossroads of the Old City and the New City, serving both communities with goods from around the city and the world. Here a merchant prince from Ekbir sells finely woven garments to middle class women while young men from Slum Quarter orphanages trundle through crowds with handcarts displaying freshly cut sausages. Jugglers, musicians, and more than a few pickpockets work the crowds. Occasionally tempers flare and minor fights break out. All around is the din of the bargain, outrageous claims in a half-dozen languages.
The booths, tents, tables, and stalls are everywhere in the Low Market offering a maze of tiny stores. Some merchants ply their trade from more or less permanent locations here, but most simply pitch their tents wherever they can find space or sell goods hung from their clothing or belts, walking among the shoppers with a small handcart or wagon in tow.
Open every day from dawn to dusk, nearly every common item used in Greyhawk can be found in the Petit Bazaar, from eating utensils to tools and weapons, from clothing to minor jewelry, from toys to farm produce. The atmosphere is calm and business is good. Prices are about average, with some variation as merchants and guildsmen try to undercut each other while making as much money as possible. Luxury items appear almost exclusively in the High Market.
On Starday, the start of each new week, the market really comes into its own. The number of stalls doubles, as does the number of potential customers. The market is packed with buyers in search of bargains and special items and the area takes on a circus-like air with jugglers and games of skill everywhere.
Marketplace activity spawned support structures such as warehouses and the shops of skilled craftsmen, which eventually formed the nucleus of what would become the Artisans’ Quarter. The market remains as busy as ever in the present day, with strangers from dozens of nations selling wares alongside native Greyhawkers.
The Low Market is divided into the West Market, which is rather disorganized and where most out-of-town merchants gather, and the East Market, which has reasonably straight rows of local traders and sellers. The two are divided by the Processional, which wanders a bit between the two, depending on how the booths have been set up.
Every day, about an hour before dawn, merchants arrive at the market to open their tents, tables or stalls. The poorest, or those aware that they might need to make a quick dash for safety should some deal turn sour, arrange their goods on rolled-out sections of cloth. These ephemeral merchants, along with the bulk of foreign artisans or offloading caravancers, generally set up shop in the West Market, that section of the Petit Bazaar west of the Processional.
East Market, which teems with sturdy wooden booths and stalls, is the domain of more reputable merchants. The most prized spot in the market is found at the north end, under the boughs of the Hanging Tree, an ancient roanwood once used for dispatching criminals.
Save for a few permanent stalls owned by powerful or extremely aged merchants each 6 foot x 6 foot section of the market is leased on a daily basis (for one day costs 5 sp). Larger spaces can be rented for proportionately more money. The fee is paid at the Grand Tent in the southern part of the East Market, with a colorful wooden plaque given as a receipt. The plaque, which has a number on it, must be displayed on the stall, booth, table, or tent that the seller erects. At day’s end, the plaque must be returned to the Grand Tent. A lot of people look for these plaques to make sure no one is cheating the city government of its revenue; the punishment invariably consists of a large fine.
Illegal materials are better found in the darkness of Old City or the alleys of the River Quarter, but first contact with those who deal in unsavory services and goods is often made here.