Cities and Sites of Thesk
Large stretches of Thesk are empty plains, rugged mountains, or impassable forests. Most of the land's settlements lie along the major trade routes running from the Easting Reach toward Rashemen and Thay. The cities of Thesk concentrate not on industry but instead exist for trade or providing services to those involved in trade. These cities bustle with activity. The competition for money is fierce, and while most of the people are honest folk, they're willing to push the limits to get a leg up on their fellows.
Most cities in Thesk are not walled. Buildings are made of wood, often stacked high upon one another, as everyone wants to be as close as possible to centers of commerce. This should make them dirty, crowded places, but the merchant councils pay to keep the streets clean. It's a small price to encourage more business to come their way.
The Thesk Mountains have been contested by Thesk and Thay several times over the years. Although the Thayans have never overrun the mountains in their entirety or held their gains for long, they have managed to set up several fortifications and outposts in the eastern hills, extending their control deep into the Theskian borderlands.
Fort Thesk is one such fortification, established many years ago on the far eastern edge of the range. It was originally meant to be a watchtower, keeping a cold eye out for any Theskian attempt to retake the land the Thayans had wrested from them. But when the merchants of Phsant finally hired mercenaries to push back the Red Wizards, Fort Thesk was cold and silent. No one has been able to determine what happened, but expeditions to the stone-walled fort found no Thayans and no sign of a struggle. Plates were left with half-eaten meals, mugs of ale remained half-drained, and a patina of dust lay over everything in the place.
There are many theories about what caused the people of Fort Thesk to suddenly disappear. Perhaps an experiment of the Red Wizards working there went awry. Maybe monsters from the Underdark invaded the place, but the lack of any sign of a struggle argues against that. Sometimes travelers report seeing a great flame blazing at the top of the fort's observation tower, but no one has been able to discover the cause.
Milvarune (Small City)
Located on the southern coast of Thesk, overlooking the Sea of Dlurg and Aglarond beyond, Milvarune is a hard place to get to on foot. Sheer mountains cut off its landward approaches except for a couple of tortuous paths not even suitable for an oxcart. Most visitors to this city come by way of the sea. Boats regularly make the run across from Furthinghome in Aglarond or from Telflamm around Gape Dragonfang.
Milvarune is an independent principality, only loosely affiliated with Thesk. For hundreds of years, the Mindosel family has ruled it. The reigning lord is Prince Auvur Mindosel (LG male human Ari9), a young and flamboyant man whose ambitions seem too large for his tiny realm. Prince Auyssr believes he has the best claim to Aglarond's throne, because his great-great-grandfather Elthas married one of the Gray Sisters who ruled that kingdom more than a hundred years ago, and the royal line of that country has since died out. The Sons of Hoar have secretly approached Auvur about asserting his claim, but the prince of Milvarune proceeds with unusual caution in this matter.
Milvarune is the most cosmopolitan city in Thesk. The human population includes Theskians (mostly of Damaran descent), Aglarondans, Impilturans, Shon, and even a handful of Tuigans. Besides the humans, Milvarune is also home to a large population of gnomes from the mountains; as well as half-elves from Aglarond. The folk of the various races get along fairly well, although there is some tension between the Shou and their old enemies, the Tuigans.
Milvarune (Small City): Conventional/nonstandard; AL NG/LG; 15,000 gp limit; Assets 4,521,750 gp; Population 6,029; Mixed (human 68%, gnome 13%, half-elf 6%, orc 6%, half-orc 4%, dwarf 3%).
Authority Figures: Prince Auvur Mindosel, LG male human Ari9 (hereditary Prince of Milvarune and ruler of the city); Guildmaster Gimbal Gindermoot, NG female gnome Exp15 (leader of the Mining Guild, and spokesperson for the city's gnome community).
Important Characters. Gaptain Dendar Halfaxe, LN male half-orc Ftr11 (captain of the Prince's Guard); Tei-lei Shai-Fang, N female human Wiz9 (noted leader in the city's Shoutown); Kang Yu, CE male human Rog3/Ftr7 (Tuigan gang leader and murderer for hire); Velipet Foamstar, CG female half-elf Exp4/Ftr4 (prominent sea captain, merchant, and secret agent of Aglarond).
Prince's Guard: Ftr9; Pal8, War7, Ftr6, WarS (2), Ftr4, Pal4, War4 (4), Ftr3 (3), War3 (8), Ftr2 (5), War2 (10), Ftr1 (4), War (16).
City Militia:. War7, War5 (2), War4 (5), War3 (10), War2 (34), War (139).
Other Characters: Bbn8, Bbn5 (2), Bbn4 (2), Bbn3 (3), Bbn2 (5), Bbn1 (12); Brd11, Brd9, Brd6, Brd5 (2), Brd4 (2), Brd3 (3), Brd2 (4), Brd1 (8); Clr12, Clr9, Clr6 (2), Clr4 (2), Clr3 (6), Clr2 (7), Clr1 (13); Drdl0, Drd9, Drd5, Drd4 (2), Drd3 (2), Drd2 (4), Drd1 (3); Ftr7, Ftr4 (3), Ftr3 (6), Ftr2 (7), Ftr1 (18); Mnk9, Mnk7, Mnk4 (2), Mnk3 (3), Mnk2 (4), Mnk1 (11); Pal8, Pal4 (2), Pal2 (3), Pal1 (5); Rgr8, Rgr7, Rgr4 (2), Rgr3 (2), Rgr2 (3), Rgr1 (5); Rog9, Rog7, Rog5, Rog4 (4), Rog3 (6), Rog2 (7), Rog1 (31); Sor11, Sor7, Sor6, Sor5, Sor3 (2), Sor2 (4), Sor (4); Wiz14, Wiz9, Wiz7 (2), Wiz5, Wiz4 (2), Wiz3 (3), Wiz2 (4), Wiz1 (7); Adp9, Adp5, Adp4 (2), Adp3 (3), Adp2 (5), Adp1 (8); Ari10, Ari9, Ari5 (2), Ari4 (2), Ari3 (4), Ari2 (6), Ari1 (22); Exp13, Exp9, Exp6 (2), Exp4 (2), Exp3 (7), Exp2 (16), Exp1 (155); War11, War6, War1, War2 (24), War1 (60); Com9, Com8, Com6, Com4 (3), Com3 (14), Com2 (128), Com1 (5,037).
Nyth (Small City)
Lying on the northern section of Thesk's western coast, Nyth is the weaker sister city of Telflamm. Isolated as it is from the rest of Thesk by the Forest of Lethyr and the River Flam, Nyth never became the major port of commerce into which Telflamm has matured. For much of its existence, Nyth has. been under the direct control of the prince of Telflamm. These days, with the prince's power weakened, Nyth stands alone again - at least in name. In truth, the same Shadowmasters who secretly run Telflamm rule in Nyth as well.
Nyth was named after the strange creatures by the same name that once haunted the western edge of the Forest of Lethyr, which was once much closer to the city than it is now. Long ago, the prince of Telflamm sent a cabal of wizards to eliminate the nyths and protect the town. The wizards accomplished their goal in a spectacular battle, but most of them were killed in the action.
To this day, arcane spellcasters are well respected in Nyth - as long as they're not wearing the telltale robes of a Red Wizard. No matter how unrelated an arcane spellcaster may be to the members of that doomed mission so long ago, most Nythans believe all such spellcasters are fated to meet a similar end, likely when the nyths return from the depths of the forest to exact their revenge. Fortunately, there is no indication that this belief is anything more than a superstition.
Phent (Large Town)
Built at the spot where the route from Telflamm to Nethentir breaks off from the Golden Way, Phent is the crossroads for most traffic to and from Thay. Before the normalizing of relations with Thay, Phent was just a way station between Telflamm and Phsant, but today, Thayan trade draws many foreign merchants to the town.
Several hundred of the orcs abandoned in Thek by Zhentil Keep live in Phent. Many more live in the foothills and canyons of the nearby Thesk Mountains, eking a living out of small iron mines high among the peaks. The orc population swells toward the end of the tenday, when the miners make their way into town to sell off their ores and stock up on supplies. Orc miners take oven Phent's taverns and alehouses for a day on two, and inevitably, property gets damaged and people get hunt, but Phent's townsfolk have learned when to push back and when to stay out of the way.
Phent can be rowdy when the miners are in town. Sergeant Knaansh (N male orc Ftr 9), the leader of a well-armed and numerous town watch, keeps a tight rein on things. Since he was a commander in the Zhent army most of the orcs belonged to years ago, they quickly come to heel when he harks at them. The town's graveyard is filled with orc toughs who thought to make a name for themselves by killing their old sergeant.
Phent (Large Town): Conventional; AL NG; 3,000 gp limit; Assets 699,300 gp; Population 4,662; Mixed (human 79%, orc 10%, half-orc 5%, gnome 2%, half-elf 2%, dwarf 1%, halfling 1%).
Authority Figure: Lady Feneitia Glantani, NG female human Ari8, leader of Phent.
Important Characters: Sergeant Kraansh, N male orc Ftn9 (leader of the town guard); Zaras Nightblade, NE male half-elf shadowwalker rogue 7/Telflamm shadowlord 2 (Shadowmaster spy and guild leader in the town); Tse-mei Zhou, LE female human Rog5 (agent of the Niiie Golden Swords); Coinmaster Darrow Silverhand, LN male shield dwarf Clr6 of Waukeen (head priest of the Temple of the Lady of Coins).
Town Guard: War6, War5 (3), War4 (5), War3 (12), War2 (41), War1 (138). Other Characters: Bbn8, Bbn5, Bbn4 (2), Bbn3 (2), Bbn2 (3), Bbn1 (6); Brd5, Brd4, Brd2 (2), Bnd1 (3); Clr6, Clr5, Cln3 (2), Cln1 (3); Drd7, Drd4, Drd3, Dnd1; Ftn10, Ftr6, Ftr5, Ftr4, Ftr3 (2), Ftr2 (4), Ftr1 (5); Mnk7, Mnk6, Mnk4, Mnk3, Mnk2 (2), Mnk1 (5); Pal6, Pal3 (2); Rgr6, Rgr3 (2), Rgr2, Rgr1 (3); Rog10, Rog8, Rog6, Rog5, Rog4, Rog3 (2), Rog2 (2), Rog1 (6); Sor7, Sor4, Son3, Sor2 (2), Sor1 (2); Wiz7, Wiz4, Wiz3, Wiz2, Wiz1 (3); Adp4, Adp3 (3), Adp2 (6), Adp1 (16); Ari7, Ari5, Ari4 (2), Ari3 (3), Ari2 (3), Ari1 (15); Exp11, Exp8, Exp6, Exp5 (2), Exp4 (2), Exp3 (3), Exp2 (4), Exp1 (129); War7, War6, War5, War4 (2), War3 (7), War2 (22), War (223); Com6, Com5 (2), Com4 (3), Com3 (11), Com2 (90), Com1 (3,802).
Phsant (Large City)
Phsant is where the armies of the western alliance put a stop to the Tuigan Horde thirteen years ago. A large, thriving merchant city, Phsant is the most popular nest stop between Telflamm and Mulsantir. It lies in the center of one of The most densely settled portions of Thesk and is second only to Telflamm in power and influence. The merchant princes of Phsant do not dance on the strings of the Shadowmasters - at least, not all of them - and if any place might be said to represent Thesk's capital, Phsant is it.
Like Phent to the west, Phsant is home to many orcs from the Zhent legion abandoned here. Although the native Theskians were not pleased by this development, the fact that the orc soldiers had fought hard and valiantly against the Tuigan Horde mitigated the humans' natural suspicion of the Zhent warriors. For their part, the orcs have learned to restrain their more violent nature and fit in as best they can. Few other places in Faerûn are as welcoming of their kind as Thesk, and the orcs know that.
Phsant is also home to the largest Shou-town in Faerûn, a crowded district home to almost 5,000 of these easterners displaced from small villages and settlements by the Tuigans fifteen years ago. The Shou's honesty and industriousness have earned them a welcome in Phsant. Several Shou merchants have risen to the ranks of Phsant's council, and many others run prosperous businesses alongside those of the native Theskians. The Tuigans are long gone, but the Shou have no intention of returning to their homeland.
Phsant is also the base of the Shou secret society known as the Nine Golden Swords. Amid the honest folk who came to Thesk looking for a better life lurked vicious yakuza, and these murderous thugs have quickly returned to their accustomed ways, intimidating and extorting the poor people of the city. So far, the Nine Golden Swords have limited their activities to the Shou districts, but the Golden Master (leader of the society) is gathering strength to extend his power throughout the whole city, whether the Shadowmasters like it or not.
Phsant (Large City): Conventional/nonstandard/nonstandard; AL NG/NE/LN; 40,000 gp limit; Assets 43,128,000 gp; Population 21,564; Mixed (human 74%, orc 12%, half-orc 6%, dwarf 2%, gnome 2%, half-elf 2%, halfling 2%).
Authority Figures: Lord Bartan Helfer, NG male human Ari12 (First Council Lord, leader of the city's merchant council); the Golden Master, NE male human Rog11/Sor6 (leader of the Nine Golden Swords); Gaptain Grattz, LN male orc Ftr14 (leader of the orcs living in town).
Important Characters. Gaptain Tendan Helfer, NG male human Ftr13 (leader of the city watch); Guildmaster Tipret Prenskylvar, CN female half-elf Rog16 (guildmaster of the local Shadowmaster chapter).
Legion of Phsant: Ftr11, War10, War9, Ftr8, War8 (2), Ftr7 (2), War7 (3), Ftr6 (3), War6 (3), Ftr5 (2), War5 (3), Ftr4 (2), War4 (8), Ftr3 (4), War3 (27), Ftr2 (13), War2 (126), Ftr1 (82), War1 (538); City Watch: War7, War4 (3), War3 (9), War2 (24), War1 (61); Militia: War4 (9), War3 (34), War2 (102), War1 (311). The rest of Phsant's citizens are too numerous to describe here.
Tammar (Large Town)
This town is located where the road from Kront crosses the Golden Way before continuing on to Nethentir. Since the Gold Road is actually a better and more direct route from Kront to Nethentir, most of the traffic that comes this way from the north is on its way to Telflamm.
During the Tuigan invasion, Tammar was nearly razed to the ground. Only a few of the stouter buildings, those made of stone, were left standing. For a while thereafter, a massive gang of bandits set up camp here, extorting exorbitant tolls from the merchants passing through. They made a good enough living at it that every cutthroat for 200 miles around flocked to the place to claim a share of the booty. The merchant's council of Phsant could permit this to continue for only so long. When the bandit company struck directly at their livelihood, they leaders of Phsant took quick action to root it out. They hired the best Zhent orc soldiers they could find and sent them off to deal with the matter. The orcs handily defeated the bandits, most of whom fled at the first sight of the creatures. When the original residents returned, they hailed the orcs as heroes. Together they rebuilt the town, and the orcs agreed to stay on permanently.
Tammar (Large Town): Conventional; AL NG; 3,000 gp limit; Assets 539,100 gp; Population 3,594; Mixed (human 85%, orc 8%, half-orc 3%, halfling 2%, gnome 2%).
Authority Figures. Lord Forsten Clast, Ari5/Exp8 (First Councilor of the merchants' council and elected ruler of Tammar).
Important Characters: Captain Gurzze, LN male orc War12 (captain of the guard); Ghou Pei Gong, LE male human Rog8 (master of the Nine Golden Swords in Tammar's small Shou-town); Li Pao, NG female human monk. 4/fighter 4/Shou disciple 5 (renowned martial artist and crusader against the Nine Golden Swords). The Tammar Guard: Bbn10, War8, Bbn6, War6, Bbn5, Ftr5, War4 (3), Bbn3 (2), War 3 (7), Bbn2 (4), Ftr2 (5), War2 (21), Bbn1 (9), Ftr1 (8), War1 (107); Town Watch. War3 (2), War2 (4), War1 (14); Militia: War2 (3), War1 (17), Com2 (8), Com1 (22); Other Characters: Bbn7, Bbn6, Bbn4, Bbn3; Brd7, Brd5, Brd4, Brd3 (2), Brd1 (2); Clr9, Clr6, Clr4 (2), Clr3 (2), Clr2 (4), Clr1 (5); Drd5, Drd3, Drd2 (2), Drd1 (3); Ftr8, Ftr3, Ftr1 (2); Mnk10, Mnk5 (2), Mnk4 (2), Mnk3, Mnk2 (4), Mnk1 (5); Pal6, Pal3, Pal1; Rgr6, Rgr4, Rgr3 (2), Rgr2 (2), Rgr1 (3); Rog9, Rog7, Rog6, Rog5, Rog4 (2), Rog3 (2), Rog2 (7), Rog1 (12); Sor8, Sor6, Sor4 (2), Sor2 (3), Sor1 (4); Wiz6, Wiz5, Wiz4, Wiz3 (2), Wiz2 (2), Wiz1 (2); Adp5, Adp4, Adp3 (3), Adp2 (2), Adp1 (9); Ari5, Ari4 (2), Ari3 (3), Ari2 (4), Ari1 (8); Exp11, Exp6, Exp5 (2), Exp3 (4), Exp2 (9), Exp1 (84); War5, War3 (2), War2 (3), War (4); Com13, Com6 (2), Com4 (2), Com3 (4), Com2 (10), Com1 (3,073).
Telflamm (Large City)
To many people outside the country, Telflamm is Thesk. The foreign merchants whose ships call in the city's harbor have no reason or desire to proceed farther inland. To them, Telflamm represents the westernmost tip of Kara-Tur, the mysterious lands of the east. Like Milvarune to the south, Telflamm is an independent principality and not officially part of Thesk, which is run by an oligarchy of the leading merchants and lords of the land's various communities. In truth, Telflamm's influence over the land is so great that the oligarchs might as well declare the city to be their capital.
A large Shou community has developed in Thesk over the years, mostly merchants who traveled the Golden Way from Kara-Tur. Some of these people liked what they saw in Telflamm so much that they decided to stay. Others were fleeing troubles back home, although there have been fewer of these since the defeat of the Tuigan Horde. Still others simply ran out of money and have never been able to afford passage home.
Shou Town is a quarter of the city that favors all things eastern. The buildings here feature the architecture of Kara-Tur, and there is no better place in all Faerûn to find a Shou restaurant or inn. The people here are mostly poor but honest, happy for the chance to carve out a life for themselves in this new land. But along with peasants and minor merchants, the Shou brought with them the criminals of their native land - the yakuza of the Nine Golden Swords. The Swords hope to one day wrest control of Telflamm from the city's Shadowmasters, but they do not yet dare to challenge the shadowlords directly, not in their home city.
About four and a half centuries ago, an Impilturan merchant named Windyn Balindre founded the city of Telflamm. He had a vision of a gateway to the east, and he invested all of his prodigious fortune and business savvy into making that dream a reality. The Royal Gompany of Shou-Lung, Balindre's company, pioneered the endless miles of the Golden Way and established a chain of outposts along its length. Balindre declared himself Merchant Prince, a title of respect he hoped would impress his business partners in Kara-Tur.
When Balindre died, he passed his royal chanter and his assumed title to his son. Each heir to the house of Balindre has taken on this mantle ever since. Today, Prince Wendren Balmdre (LE male human Rog4/Ari4) rules oven the city from his family's castle, a fortified building right on the waterfront that has been so important to Telflamm's fortunes oven the years. While the prince may rule the city in name, in practice he has long been the puppet of the Shadowmasters. The thieves have a habit of killing troublesome princes, so Wendren Balindre does nothing to clean up the corruption of his city watch on his merchant council. Instead, he demands a suitable "consideration" from the Shadowmasters to continue their activities, and has his minions stop the occasional crime of note so the cityfolk won't see the ineffectiveness and graft of their overlord.
Most of Telflamm's citizens know the city watch is for sale but believe that the prince is earnestly working to get rid of the most corrupt officers. Should the depth of Prince Balmdre's complicity ever be revealed, Telflamm would likely revolt against the prince's rule.
The Merchants' Fortress
The power in Telflamm rests in the hands of the Merchants' Council, the wealthiest and most influential people in Telflamm and - by extension - the whole of Thesk. The number of people in this august group vanish from year to year as elder members die and promising new entrepreneurs are brought on. The Council is a legislative and regulative, body, intended to balance the power of the city's ruling prince and moderate the city's commerce. To house their operations, the members of the Merchants' Council pitched in to build the Merchants' Fortress, a sprawling stone complex perched atop the tallest hill in the center of the city. The polished, white stone walls of this edifice can be seen throughout Telflamm.
The prince controls the city watch and the militia, but every councilor has a private force. At least half of these are head-quartered in the Merchants' Fortress, while most of the nest are traveling along the Golden Way, escorting caravans safely to their destinations.
The House Of The Master's Shadow
This is the hidden temple of Mask as well as the headquarters of the local thieves' guild - the infamous Shadowmasters of Telflamm. People who are new to town may have a hard time finding it, but anyone who has lived and worked here for any time knows all about the Shadowmasters and the secret citadel from which they operate.
The Shadowmasters have their fingers in just about every pie in the city. Through racketeering, prostitution, drugs, extortion, murder, and other, even fouler practices, they are by far the most successful "business" in Telflamm. Directly or indirectly, just about everyone in the city works for the Shadowmasters - whether they like it on not.
The House of the Master's Shadow looks like any other temple in town. The only difference is that this building has absolutely no locks. The Shadowmasters know such safeguards are useless against most of their members, and everyone else in town knows better than to even dream of taking something from them.
The business of Telflamm is business, as they say, and the town's streets are crowded with merchant emporiums, trading costers, and shipping agents. Telflamm produces little for export itself but instead is a gateway to the rest of Faerûn for the exotic goods of the east - mostly silk, spices, smoke powder, and small handcrafted works of art.
Telflamm is home to one of the older Thayan enclaves, a small, cluttered district conceded to Thay more than twenty years ago. The enclave is set up on a hill to the north of the city, a fortified structure enclosing several other buildings within a 20-foot-tall stone wall. The Thayans sell all manner of imported items, but discounted magic items are their most popular merchandise. The prices on these are consistently 10% less than those listed in Chapter 8: Magic Items in the DUNGEON MASTER's Guide. For more details on Thayan enclaves, including a full description of a sample enclave, see the Lords of Darkness accessory.
Besides the House of the Master's Shadow, Telflamm has temples to Shaundakul, Waukeen, and Tymora. Cyric's faith is common in the city, although the clerics of the Black Sun must worship their sinister deity in secret. In recent months, the Hall of the Avenging Hammer, a small temple of Tyr, has grown more prominent with the appointment of a new high priest, the Lady Justicar. Vala Destrayal (LG female human Clrl3 of Tyr} She is determined to put an end to the Shadowmastens' ruthless domination of the city and has launched a crusade against corruption. The Shadowmasters have already made three attempts on her life, but the Lady Justicar still persists in her efforts to clean up the town.
Telflamm (Large City): Conventional/nonstandard/nonstandard; AL LE/NE/N; 40,000 gp limit; Assets 46,722,000 gp; Population 23,361; Mixed (human 84%, orc 5%, half-elf 4%, half-orc 3%, dwarf 1%, elf 1%, gnome 1%, halfling 1%).
Authority Figures: Prince Wendren Balindre, LE male human Rog4/Ari4 (Merchant Prince of Telflamm and ostensible ruler of the city); Grand Master of Shadows Keshna Finlothleer, NE female human shadow-walker rogue 9/assassin 4/Telflammar shadowlord 9 (leader of the Shadowmasters); Councilor Pren Salgirk, N male half-elf Exp7 (leader of the Merchants' Council).
Important Characters: Lord Master Most Hidden Jalaunthen Ithbreeiur, NE male human Rog9/Clr9 of Mask (leader of the House of the Master's Shadow); Lady Justican Vala Destnayal, LG female human Clrl3 of Tyr (high priest of Tyr and crusader against the Shadowmasters); Captain Fen Haldryon, CG male human Ftr11 (leader of the city watch and so far incorruptible).
City Watch: War11, War10 (7), War8 (2), War7 (2), War6 (5), War5 (8), War4 (15), War3 (49), War2 (137), War1 (393); Militia: War4 (11), War3 (31), War2 (54), War1 (160), Com2 (44), Com1 (221). The rest of Telflamm's citizens are too numerous to describe here.
Two Stars (Large Town)
If Two Stars were anywhere else in Thesk, there wouldn't be much to say about it. However, the town is situated at the crossing of the two most important trade routes in the Unapproachable East: While it's certainly not the largest community in the region, more commerce passes through Two Stars than anywhere else in the whole of Thesk - Telflamm and Phsant included.
Lady Yolatir Gallidy (CG female human Ari2/Exp 10) is the latest in a long line of Gallidys to govern Two Stars, a town originally named for the stars of east and west that meet in the heavens overhead. Her general style of rule is to not stick her nose too fan into anyone's business. In her opinion, whatever anyone is doing is probably okay as long as no one, gets hurt.
The Gallidys make their money by changing a road tax on wagons passing through town. Individuals without wagons are exempt, but all others must surrender a payment equal to about 1% of their cargo's value. This is a reasonable enough cost that few people try to avoid it or even complain much. However, with all the traffic passing through the place, the fees add up quickly. It has made the Gallidys the wealthiest family in Thesk, other than the great merchant lords of Telflamm itself.
The Gallidys live in an expansive castle at the center of town. Both the Golden Way and the Gold Road pass through its gates, coming in from each of the cardinal directions. The crossroads is right in the castle's main courtyard, emphasizing the influence the Gallidys have over trade in the region.
Lady Gallidy is currently struggling with an incursion by the Shadowmasters of Telflamm. The Shadowmasters would love to claim Two Stars, but they hadn't reckoned on the ferocity with which Lady Gallidy fights to protect what belongs to her family. Still, a darkness has fallen over the town, and only Lady Gallidy's stubborn good-heartedness keeps it from engulfing Two Stars.
Two Stars' entire economy is based on serving the wants and needs of the merchants passing through. Here almost anything that can be legally sold is, and everything else changes hands just outside its walls. The 30-foot-tall stone walls that surround the place have withstood tornadoes, fended off bandits, and even persuaded the Tuigan Horde to pass it by in favor of easier pickings. The Gallidys are a wealthy people, and they don't stint on making sure they stay that way.
The Crossroads Inn is the most popular in town. This was the first business ever built by Prasso Gallidy, the town's now legendary founder. It sits on the northwest corner of the crossroads, right inside Gallidy Gastle's main courtyard. The Gallidys themselves spend most of their evenings here. Merchants from Telflamm and far Kara-Tur drink at adjoining tables on even share a flask of wine.
Two Stars is also home to a small Thayan enclave. It boasts the lowest prices on magic items outside of Thay itself. Most common magic items can be had here for 15% off the normal market price. The Thayans originally asked to build their enclave inside the walls of Gallidy Castle. Remembering Thay's previous attempts to take over all Thesk - including Two Stars - the Gallidys balked at this. Lady Gallidy didn't want to permit the Thayans in her town at all, but their fabulous and exclusive new business was too much for her to resist.
While there are many different types of shops in Two Stars, the most interesting - outside of the Thayan enclave, of course -would have to be the Seer's Eye. This is a storefront opened up by an enterprising group of former adventurers to sell their services as high-level spellcasters. They include a former Red Wizard among their ranks, along with both good and evil clerics. They can cast just about any spell on 24 hours notice, as long as they can obtain the necessary material components (not always an easy task). The most commonly requested spells are divinations to determine the potential fate of caravans heading across the Endless Wastes. This undertaking is always fraught with peril, and many merchants find it worth their while - and their lives - to hedge their bets by seeking useful prophecies before setting out on the long journey.
There are many chapels in Two Stars but few temples. Most of these are staffed by a single cleric who ministers to the needs of the followers of his deity as they pass through. The only exception is the temple of Shaundakul, the patron of travelers. Just about everyone who passes through Two Stars stops to pay her respects to the Rider of the Winds. This keeps the head priest of the temple - Shanton Gallidy (CN male human Clr 12 of Shaundakul), cousin to Lady Gallidy - in great comfort. He has constructed the grandest temple to Shaundakul in all the East, despite the community's relatively small size.
Two Stars (Large Town): Conventional; AL CG; 3,000 gp limit; Assets 728,100 gp; Population 4,854; Mixed (human 84%, orc 5%, half-orc 3%, dwarf 3%, half-elf 2%, gnome 2%, halfling 1%).
Authority Figures: Lady Yolatin Gallidy, CG female human Ari2/Exp10 (ruler of the town).
Important Characters: Captain Knekehaw, LN male half-orc Ftr6 (captain of the town watch); Nismer Ghontalyni, LG male human Exp4 (proprietor of the Crossroads Inn); Haipal Kom, LN male human Div8/Red3 (proprietor and chief diviner of the Seer's Eye).
Gallidy Armsmen: War10, War8, War7, War6 (2), War5 (2), War4 (6), War3 (7), War2 (24), War1 (167); Town Watch: War3 (2), War2 (5), War1 (9); Other Characters: Bbn4, Bbn3, Bbn2 (2), Bbn1 (3); Brd5 (2), Bnd4, Brd3, Bnd2 (2), Brd1; Clr5, Clr4, Clr2 (2), Clr1 (3); Dnd7, Drd5, Drd4, Dnd3 (2), Drd1 (2); Ftr9, Ftr6, Ftr5, Ftr4 (2), Ftr3 (3), Ftr2 (4), Ftr1 (5); Mnk4, Mnk3 (2), Mnk2 (2), Mnk1 (2); Pal4, Pal2 (2), Pal1 (2); Rgr5, Rgr3, Rgn2, Rgr1 (4); Rog8, Rog7, Rog6, Rog4 (2), Rog3 (2), Rog2 (3), Rog1 (5); Sor9, Sor7, Sor6, Sor4 (2), Sor3 (2), Sor2 (4), Sor1 (4); Wiz10, Wiz6, Wiz5, Wiz4, Wiz3 (2), Wiz2 (4), Wiz1 (5); Adp4, Adp3 (3), Adp2 (4), Adp1 (17); Ari7, Ari5, Ari4 (3), Ari3 (2), Ari2 (4), Ari1 (16); Exp9, Exp4 (2), Exp3 (7), Exp2 (14), Exp1 (125); War8, War5, War3 (2), War2 (2), War1 (8); Com11, Com5 (2), Com4 (3), Com3 (28), Com2 (83), Com1 (4,192).
Heroes and Monsters
Characters native to Thesk are most often humans, halflings, or half-orcs, although a number of gnomes inhabit the Dragonjaw Mountains. The humans of Thesk are mostly Damanan, Rashemi, on Shou (although some Tuigans still remain, having decided to settle in the lands they formerly tried to conquer). Bands of gnolls from the Plateau of Thay sometimes wander down into the eastern portions of the country, and some of these humanoids find work as sellswords, guarding caravans and serving as bodyguards. Most Theskian adventurers are bands, clerics, fighters, on rogues.
Monsters native to these lands most often come from the laboratories of Thay. The blooded ones are common here, most often blood orcs sent from Thay to "patrol" the bonders. Dread warriors and juju zombies spawned in Thay also harry the frontiers and plague the eastern reaches of Thesk. Hagspawn and spirit folk are not uncommon in Ashanath, as the eastern reaches of Thesk are close to Rashemen culturally and demographically as well as physically.