Cities and Sites of Rashemen
Most Rashemi live outside of large settlements, preferring separated homesteads surrounded by small tracts of farmland or pasture. Their homes are usually built to blend in with the countryside. Some are stone, covered with earth and grass; others are built against small hillside caves; and a few are almost completely buried, looking like nothing more than a low knoll. Rashemi cities are small and compact, with buildings made of dark wood and stone and topped with sod and grass. The thick walls keep out the cold weather and are treated to resist burning (always a danger when a constant fire is needed for much of the year). Rural Rashemi look down on the city dwellers, considering them soft, but in truth the residents of Rashemen's cities live much the same as the country folk, although with shorter walks to their neighbors.
Citadel Rashemar (Village
This great fortress once held a garrison of over 2,000 Rashemi troops, ready to repel bandits and protect traders moving within the country. When the Tuigan Horde invaded in 1359 DR, they left 5,000 troops behind to besiege the fortress. With the hathrans distracted by the main Tuigan force, the defenders of the citadel were left unsupported. Ballads are still sung by Rashemi bards about the valor and bravery of the doomed soldiers, who held out for three months against superior numbers. When the Tuigans finally took the fortress; they mercilessly slaughtered all the defenders and the other locals who had taken shelter within. The Tuigans then pulled down its mighty walls with teams of strong horses, leaving little more than piles of shattered stone. Although the Tuigans were defeated soon thereafter, Citadel Rashemar was not rebuilt.
The fallen citadel is now the haunt of foul creatures. Goblins lair in the upper levels as well as in the remnants of the village that surrounded the fort. Monstrous spiders crawl over the ruins and are sometimes used as steeds by the goblins. The. lower levels are the lair of Chaul (NE female annis hag sorcerer 6/durthan 7), a powerful spellcaster and an enemy of the hathrans, having slain two of them who sought to expel her. Chaul is guarded by eight barbarian ogres and by goblins apt at sorcery, and she is grooming her spellcasting followers for the ability to use place magic. Her closest ally is Durakh Haan (NE female half-orc Clr9 of Luthic) a woman of unknown heritage but a bitter disposition. In combat, Chaul's ogres are enhanced by Durakh's magic, each leading a wing of twenty goblins trained in dealing with berserkers (using hit-and-run tactics to deplete their rage). Chaul and Durakh stay out of sight of their enemies, with Durakh casting raise dead to replenish any fallen allies and animate dead on fallen foes. The undead guard inner portions of the ruins, while the cleric's power to restore the dead to life has filled the goblins with unshakable faith in themselves and their leaders.
Citadel Rashemar was originally a ring-shaped hilltop fortress enclosing an area almost 300 yards across within its outer walls, with towers enspelled against long-range magic like that used by the Red Wizards. Its most intact part is the inner keep that caps the shaft leading to the subterranean levels. The former walls have been rearranged into defensive lines surrounding the central keep, and the scattered stones have been re-formed into crude, one-story towers able to conceal an ogre. Covered passages run from the keep to each tower, allowing troops to move to and from these outer positions without being exposed to ranged attacks. The houses in the remains of the outlying village are little more than empty shells, but the goblins have dug shallow tunnels beneath, which they use as their homes. Anyone approaching is noticed long before reaching the keep, and the goblins use horns to communicate with one another and with their masters.
Citadel Rashemar (Village): Magical; AL NE; 200 gp limit; Assets 7,600 gp; Population 760; Isolated (goblin 77%, hobgoblin 14%, ogre 8%, other 1%).
Authority Figures: Chaul, NE female annis hag sorcerer 6/durthan 7 (ruler of the Citadel); Durakh Haan, NE female half-orc Clr9 of Luthic (Chaul's lieutenant).
Important Characters: Dendurg Two-Axe, CE male ogre Ftr2/Bbn5 (chief of Chaul's bodyguards); Vorshk the Worm, LE male goblin Adp9 (most powerful goblin spellcaster).
Warband of the Citadel. War 9, Bbn7, Ftr7, Bbn6, Rgr5, War5, Bbn4, Ftr4, War4 (4), Bbn3 (3), Ftr3 (2), War3 (11), Rgr2 (2), War2 (39), Bbn1 (4), Ftr1 (4), Rgr1 (4), War (226); Other Characters: Brd5, Brd3, Brd1 (2); Clr6, Clr5, Clr3, Clr1 (2); Drd4, Drd3, Drd2, Drd1 (3); Mnk5, Mnk1 (4); Rog10, Rog5 (2), Rog2 (4), Rog1 (8); Sor6, Sor3 (2), Sor1 (4); Wiz4, Wiz2 (2), Wiz1 (4); Adp6, Adp4, Adp3 (3), Adp1 (5); Exp8, Exp5, Exp4, Exp3 (2), Exp2 (5), Exp1 (17); Com9, Com7, Com4 (2), Com3 (6), Com2 (17), Com1 (346).
Immilmar (Large City)
Overlooking the icy waters of Lake Ashane, this city is home to the Iron Lord's citadel and is the Rashemi capital. Immilmar is one of the few places in Rashemen where foreigners are tolerated, and a number of Nar fur-traders and Theskian merchants are always abroad in the city. Foreign legations to Rashemen come here as well, although the Iron Lord permits few permanent embassies from other lands. Consuls from Aglarond, Impiltur, and Damara maintain homes in Immilmar - representatives of all other lands are dispatched to the city for specific missions and are not encouraged to linger after their business with the Iron Lord is done.
The Iron Lord's citadel dominates the center of Immilmar, and many stone buildings cluster about the feet of the castle. As one travels away from the citadel, the city's construction becomes more and more Rashemi, with fieldstone and roughhewn timber replacing dressed stone and smooth-sawn lumber. Other than the Huhrong's castle, most of the city's large buildings are steep-sided lodges built of heavy timbers in the Rashemi style, with a double row of inward-slanting heavy beams sunk into the ground and meeting along a high peak directly overhead.
Built atop the foundations of an ancient Nar keep, the Iron Lord's castle is a mighty fortress of iron and stone. More than five hundred years ago, the Witches used great magic to raise this stronghold. Grim and forbidding, the citadel is one of the strongest castles in the land, capable of with-standing almost any assault. Its walls are reinforced with spells designed to blunt magical attack and block ethereal and teleporting invaders.
The current Iron Lord is the clever Volas Dyervolk the Bear (CG male human Bbn18), a crafty and strong-willed man who does not shy away from arguing with the Witches when he feels they are wrong. On more than one occasion the Witches have considered his removal, but Volas's forthrightness and keen insights have won their grudging respect. The Witches awarded Volas his seat on the death of Yvarrg, the previous Iron Lord, who was murdered by a Thayan assassin.
Immilmar is known for its leather goods, woodcarvers, and ironworks. The tanneries and smelters are located in the hills north and east of the town, as a long-dead Iron Lord ruled that any enterprise producing fumes or reek must be away from the city's center. Dozens of woodcarvers and stonecarvers still labor in workshops in the tangled streets around the Iron Lord's citadel, but for the most part, Immilmar's heart is a pleasant place of young trees and winding ways.
Several inns of note cater to foreigners calling on the Huhrong. Blackstone House is the best of them a comfortable building stocked with wines and ales from several lands. Varro the Fat (CG male human Ftr8) is the proprietor of the inn. North of town, amid the cheerless foundries and forges of the Smiths' Quaater, is the well-worn workshop of the armorer Tholli Ironweaver (NG male human Ftr4/Exp8). Tholli manufactures both swords and mail of masterwork quality, and his blades often sell for two to three times the normal price due to his excellent reputation.
Chauntea is one of the more popular deities in Rashemen, although she is more often known as "Bhalla" here. The House of Bhalla is a medium-sized temple to Chauntea located in an old stone building near the Iron Lord's citadel. Brother Denyarn (NG male human Clr7 of Chauntea) is the leader of this temple. An Impilturan by birth, he was sent here to ensure that Rashemi veneration of Chauntea does not stray too far from her worship in other lands.
Although it is not really a temple, one, of the most sacred sites in the city is the Witches' Hall, a whitewashed longhouse with crossbeams carved in the shape of dragons, hounds, and unicorns. Forbidden to all but the hathrans, this mysterious building, sacred to Mystra, is the meeting place and refuge of the wychlaran of Immilmar. Othlor Fydra Night-Tree (CN female human Clr3/Sor9/Hth5) presides over the local Witches and guards the hall from any desecration.
Immilmar (Large City): Conventional/Magical; AL NG; 40,000 gp limit; Assets 42,420,000 gp; Population 21,210; Isolated (human 93%, spirit folk 6%, other 1%).
Authority Figures: Volas Dyervolk, CG male human Bbnl8 (Iron Lord of Rashemen); Othlor Fydra Night-Tree, Clr3/Sor9/Hth5 (leader of the Witches in Immilmar and overseer of the wychlaran who advise the Iron Lord); Brother Denyarn, NG male human Clr7 of Chauntea (leader of the temple of Chauntea in the city).
Important Characters: Green Huldra, CG female human Ftr6 (innkeeper of the Guardian Witch); Ythar Wolfmaster, CN male human Bbn 13 (leader of the Owlbear berserker lodge); Varro, CG male human Ftr8 (innkeeper of Blackstone House); Yuthnim, CG male human Ftr4/Bbn5 (leader of the Great Stag berserker lodge); Tholli Ironweaver, NG male human Ftr4/Exp8 (most skilled smith in Rashemen).
Iron Lord's Guard: Bbn15, Bbn12, Bbn10 (2), Bbn9 (3), War9, Bbn8 (5), War8, Bbn7 (5), War7 (3), Bbn6 (11), War6 (4), Bbn5 (13), War5 (8), Bbn4 (24), War4 (22), Bbn3 (32), War3 (70), Bbn2 (37), War2 (270), Bbn1 (81), War1 (1,230); Great Stag Berserkers: Bbn13, Bbnl2, Bbn9 (2), Bbn8 (2), Bbn6 (4), Bbn5 (3), Bbn4 (8), Bbn3 (21), Bbn2 (22), Bbn1 (47), Owlbear Berserkers: Bbn16, Bbn14, Bbn13, Bbn10, Bbn9 (2), Bbn8 (3), Bbn7 (3), Bbn6 (4), Bbn5 (3), Bbn4 (7), Bbn3 (8), Bbn2 (14), Bbn1 (15). The rest of Immilmar's citizens are too numerous to describe here.
Mulptan (Large City)
Rashemen's northern trading gateway to the outside world, Mulptan is a sprawling, windswept city enclosed by an old stone wall dating back to the Narfell-Raumathar wars. Damarans, Nars, and even Tuigans come here to trade, meeting in a great field outside of town that is crowded with the caravans and wagons of traders. Farming is difficult this far north, so Mulptan subsists on vast herds of rothé sheep, reindeer, and longhaired goats that do better in the frigid winters than southern cattle.
Most foreigners bound for Immilmar and the Iron Lord's citadel actually pass through Mulptan on their way to the country's capital, even though Mulptan lies eighty miles to the east. No ferries cross Lake Ashane opposite Immilmar (the western shores of the lake are quite wild, this far north), so travelers come up the Golden Way or the Long Road. Either way, Mulptan is the first Rashemi city they come upon. While Immilmar is a city of craftsfolk and smiths visited by a few merchants, Mulptan is a city of merchants catered to by a small number of Rashemi craftsfolk.
A number of foreigners reside in Mulptan, making it the most cosmopolitan of Rashemen's cities. The Shou Quarter occupies the south side of the city, while people of other nations mix in the Western Quarter, so named because it is populated by folk from western countries such as Thesk or Damara (the district is actually located on the northeast side of the city). In the wintertime, most of the merchants (and those foreigners who have not actually settled in the city) depart for warmer lands, since snow and wind make travel along the exposed roads of the region virtually impossible for several months.
Two large Rashemi clans, the Ydrass and the Vrul, sponsor many contests as friendly rivals. The competition has improved both families, who are accomplished warriors, hunters, and artisans. The two clans number in the hundreds, and while they do not rule Mulptan outright (that privilege is reserved for the Multrong, or Eastlord, a title granted by the Iron Lord), they wield great influence over the trade and commerce of the city.
Mulsantir (Large Town)
At Mulsantir, the Golden Way meets Lake Ashane and halts. Several large ferryboats ply the waters between Mulsantir and the western shore, carrying landbound caravans over the lake to continue their trek west. A large and prosperous town has grown up at the crossing point, where caravaneers often provision themselves and purchase new mounts before they unload, cross, and load up again: Mulsantir's ferry operators and innkeepers make a good living from the passing caravans. The town also boasts a large fishing fleet that nets sturgeon in the lake. Farmers from miles around sell provisions to the caravaneers.
During winter, the River Mulsantir freezes enough for caravans to continue without interruption, but in spring, the lake's thaw makes it impossible to cross on foot or by boat for several tendays. Westbound caravans fill up the town during this time, waiting for the ice to break up.
Mulsantir's strategic location and prosperity have made it a frequent target for Thayan attacks. It has been besieged at least five times but has never fallen, due to the extensive stone walls that protect it. The town is made up of rugged stone buildings separated by broad dirt streets that become muddy in the fall and freeze solid in winter.
Mulsantir (Large Town): Conventional/Magical; AL NG; 3,000 gp limit; Assets 727,200 gp; Population 4,848; Isolated (human 92%, spirit folk 7%, other 1%).
Authority Figures: Urphong Brak Keldurn, N male human Bbn8 (urphong, or lord, of the town); Othlor Sheva White-feather, CG female human Clr8/Sor4/Hth3 (ranking Witch of the region).
Important Characters: Fyldnin of the Eleven Chairs, CN male human Bbn9 (son of the previous Ircin Lord and leader of a small band of buccaneers who harry Thay's coast); Shelvedar Nuum, CE male half-elf Rog9 (Shadowmaster spy masquerading as a Theskian merchant).
The Urphong's Host: Bbn11, War9, War8, War7 (2), Bbn5(2), War5, Bbn4 (3), War4 (10), Bbn3 (5), War3 (21), Bbn2 (6), War2 (96), Bbn1 (15), War1 (261). Other Characters: Bbn9, Bbn8, Bbn7 (2), Bbn4, Bbn3 (2), Bbn2 (2), Bbn1 (2); Brd7, Brd5, Brd3 (2), Brd2, Brd1 (2); Clr5, Clr4, Clr2 (2), Clr1(3); Drd7, Drd6, Drd3, Drd2 (2), Drd1 (2); Ftr5, Ftr4, Ftr2, Ftn1 (3); Rgr6, Rgr5, Rgr3, Rgr2 (2), Rgn1 (2); Rog8, Rog6, Rog4, Rog3, Rog2 (3), Rog1 (8); Sor9, Sor7, Sor6, Sor4 (2), Sor3 (2), Sor2 (3), Sor1(5); Wiz11, Wiz7, Wiz5, Wiz4 (2), Wiz3 (3), Wiz2 (3), Wiz1 (4); Adp6, Adp5, Adp4 (2), Adp3 (2), Adp2 (5), Adp1 (16); Ari5, Ari4, Ari3 (2), Ari2 (4), Ari1(18); Exp12, Exp8, Exp7, Exp6, Exp5, Exp4 (3), Exp3 (5), Exp2 (16), Exp1 (118); War7, War6, War4 (2), War3 (3), War2 (11), War (55); Com17, Com14, Com8, Com5 (2), Com4 (9), Com3 (23), Com2 (78), Com1 (3,938).
Shevel (Large Town)
This trader settlement is the largest community along Rashemen's part of the Golden Way. As in Mulptan, foreigners are allowed to settle here if they practice a valuable trade or are involved in moving goods along the Golden Way. Since the fall of Citadel Rashemar, raids by bandits and evil humanoids have been more frequent, so mercenaries can easily find jobs here, although the Witches evict any who seem intent on loitering or settling down.
Walled to deter attackers, Shevel does not look like a traditional Rashemi settlement, with many wooden houses and a complete absence of stone-hill dwellings. Within the town are several mini-districts settled by people from other countries, from Damara to Kara-Tur to Mulhorand, all arranging deals with incoming merchants to benefit their businesses back home. There is even a contingent of shield dwarves here, forging and selling iron weapons, which are popular among the axe-wielding berserkers.
Taporan (Small Town)
This small settlement is primarily a river community, and its boaters are responsible for most of the traffic on the River Tin. The river folk are brave and reckless, fond of songs and drinking, although usually not while ferrying passengers. The settlement itself is a jumble of Rashemi rough stone buildings separated by cobbled streets (a rarity in this country). The town is long and hugs the waterfront, sporting many noisy alehouses and berserker lodges. The Wolf Lodge is the largest of these, and Taporan has a much higher proportion of berserkers in its population than its primary trade requires.
Thasunta (Large Town)
Rashemi normally disdain folk who live in cities, even other Rashemi, but for the men and women of Thasunta (population 2,150), they make an exception. The people of this town have a reputation as fierce berserkers - an exaggeration, but the locals do little to dispel the myth. Even non-berserkers pretend to fly into a rage when they fight.
Most of the time, Thasunta is a stopping point along the Golden Way and a mercantile center for nearby farmers and ranchers, but in times of war, its true purpose comes to the fore. A fierce horde of hundreds of experienced berserkers can be mustered here at the call of the Witches or the Iron Lord. Many times have the berserkers of Thasunta answered this call, as the town lies along Thay's primary invasion route. The barbarians also played an important part in the war against the Tuigan Horde, holding the enemy long enough to give their allies time to circle around and attack from the rear.
Now that the Thayans seem to be pursuing ends other than overt conquest, there is talk among the townsfolk of mounting raids against the savage humanoid tribes and other monsters in the High Country.
The Iron Lord has traditionally left the governing of Thasunta to the leaders of the berserker lodges, in particular the Old Lodge - a brotherhood reserved for the wisest and most experienced warriors. A berserker must master the fighting techniques of no fewer than three other lodges before being considered for membership in the Old Lodge. Currently, the Master of the Old Lodge is Jhorrgel the Black (CN male human Bbn20). For someone so fierce in battle, Jhorrgel is a surprisingly patient and perceptive leader.
This small community is partially hidden in a wooded vale along Lake Tirulag, and most travelers on the Golden Way pass it without realizing there is a settlement just out of sight. In addition to the typical Rashemi dwellings, there are several white-washed buildings in the style of western Faerûn. The villagers are mainly fisherfolk, supplementing their food With small gardens. The village sees some traffic from travelers on the lake, and the Lakeside Inn caters to those who would stay overnight.
The inn is an old two-story structure run by Vrulla the White, a friendly old woman fond of telling stories. Legend has it that Chauntea blessed some of the rooms of the inn so that anyone who slept in one would be granted wondrous dreams and good fortune in life. However, the blessed rooms change often so trying to find the right one is a gamble. The inn is guarded by Nyella, the spirit of a dog belonging to the man who built the inn over a century ago. Nyella is fond of barking at strangers but is very protective of the inn, Vrulla, and anyone she seems to favor.
Tinnir (Village): Conventional; AL NG; 200 gp limit; Assets 5,400 gp; Population 540; Isolated (humans 99%).
Authority Figure: Urphong Vazsil Breshk, NG male human Ftr6 (lord of the town).
Important Characters: Vrulla the White (NG female human Clr2 of Chauntea).
The Urphong's Guard: Bbn4, Ftr3, War3 (2), Bbn2 (2), War2 (8), Bbn1 (2), Ftn1 (2), War1 (23).
Other Characters: Bbn5, Bbn2; Brd6, Brd3 (2), Brd1; Clr5, Clr2 (2), Clr1 (3); Drd5, Drd4, Drd3, Drd2 (2), Drd1 (2); Ftr5, Ftr3, Ftr1 (2); Mnk2, Mnk1 (2); Rgr6, Rgr2, Rgr1 (4); Rog3, Rog1 (2); Sor4, Sor1 (2); Wiz5, Wiz1 (2); Adp6, Adp4, Adp1 (4); Ari4, Ari3, Ari2, Ari1 (2); Exp6, Exp5, Exp4, Exp3, Exp2 (2), Exp1 (14); War7, War3, War2 (4), War1 (11); Com7, Com6, Com5, Com4 (2), Com3 (5), Com2 (19); Com1 (381).
This community is easily overlooked by the ignorant. It looks like nothing more than a grove of alders and evergreen trees growing among clusters of grassy mounds. These mounds are in fact the homes of the Witches of Rashemen, built in the traditional style and covered with soil and plants. Most of the inhabitants are hathrans, their spouses, and servants (ethrans normally live among the common folk add only come here to meet with their superiors). Foreigners are not forbidden here - and certainly are not executed for visiting - but anyone other than an ethran, a hathran, or an immediate family member is encouraged to leave after a day or two.
One of the larger mounds is the Green Chapel, a quiet inn for those who have come to speak to the hathrans. Any who stay at the Green Chapel are warned of the consequences of entering the Urlingwood. The inn is run by Selov (LN male human Wiz15), a former Old One who accidentally stripped himself of all magical ability while testing a mage-negating spell he created to use against the Red Wizards. Selov is trusted by the Witches and is protected by several spells that will wipe portions of his memory if he is ever interrogated about the secrets of the Old Ones.
The leading hathran of Urling is the Lady Yhelbruna (LN female human Clr6/Wiz12/Hth10), the oldest and most powerful hathran in Rashemen. Yhelbruna spends little time looking after the town; the hathrans keep their own affairs in order and quickly deal with troublesome intruders. Nythra of the Seven Rivers (NG Wiz4/Clr4/Hth4) is Yhelbruna's spokeswoman. She is friendly and talks openly with non-hathran Rashemi, and even consents to speaking with the rare foreign visitor whose business takes him to Urling.
Heroes and Monsters
Most characters from Rashemen are barbarians, clerics, druids, fighters, or wizards. Rangers from Rashemen may choose Thayans as a favored enemy. Humans are far and away the most common Rashemi characters, but hagspawn, spirit folk, and taers exist in various portions of the country and often take up the adventurer's career.