Into the Burning Wastes
“I regret that we have lost so much for our God’s choice to challenge the God of the World – yet that hubris is echoed in our streets daily. It must end, lest another reckoning fall upon our city – a ruin that will end not only slay the soul of our city, but render is very body into dust.”
-Unnamed Templar in Tyr
Tyr at a glance:
As far as most Athasians are concerned, Tyr has always existed. Certainly it has endured through the entire Desert Age, and even with the fall of its sorcerer-king, it seems likely to endure for centuries to come.
If the Dragon allows.
In the courts of the other city-states, rumors of King Kalak’s hubris are only whispered, but in Tyr, the repercussions howl through the streets. Many scheme to take the city for themselves, and the templars and Old Guard vie against countless others for control to keep the city-state from disintegrating onto anarchy at the hands of people eager to take Kalak’s throne. Nobles and merchants clamor for influence, commoners and slaves openly starve and howl, and those those with the influence challenge civic authority every turn.
Thousands have fled into the Wastes seeking a better life in other City States while the Trade Houses seek not only to claim as much wealth as possible from this desperate situation – but have too thrown their kufi into the arena.
About 15,000 within the city with many more in the surrounding mining colonies.
Seventy percent Human, half-giants and dwarfs are the most numerous minority at ten percent apiece. The remaining population is made up of small populations of muls, elves and halflings. Thri-kreen, and other races are practically unrepresented.
Cisterns gather runoff from the Ringing mountains, and deep wells exist throughout the city. Their are rumors of underground steams screaming in the depths of the mines – but no slave has ever been able to say where.
Tyr enjoys a specialized economy best known for its constant but trickling supplies of iron. Textiles, silk, ceramics, and glass once produced from land belonging to King Kalak continue to produce under the crumbling Old Guard, at much diminished quantities.
Tyr’s armies are focused inward and made up largly of slave levies. The Dragon’s levy weighs heavy on the City-State, unable to cull sacrifices from the Wastes, and many fear Urik’s gaze – no doubt watching only for the Dragon’s shadow to pass.
Inns and Taverns:
Travelers can find accommodations in the warrens of seeking out lodgings maintained by House Vordon, just outside the walls.
The Elven Market: The Elven market is located inside the Warrens. Several nomadic Elven tribes trade at the market regularly, bringing a wide range of goods and curiosities from across the Tablelands. Many tribes own a building or two that borders on the square. Others take ownership of unoccupied buildings for the duration of their visit in Tyr. Anything can be found in the Elven market, legal or illegal. The customer just has to know the right people to ask. The market has a reputation for pick pockets and dubious merchandise, but people come from all over the city in order to find items not available anywhere else in Tyr.
Gladiator Stadium: The Gladiator Arena of Tyr is the second largest building in the city, with only the ziggurat, which looms over one end of the stadium, being larger. The stadium’s rectangular floor is some 300 feet long and 80 feet wide. The floor is of a hard packed sand with a reddish hue, which Tyrians say is caused by the spilling of the lifeblood of a thousand fallen gladiators. The stadium is unique in the Tyr Region as it has upper and lower seating sections. The upper section is generally referred to as “The Sun Seats” because of the lack of shade, and is open to the general populace. The crowd in the upper section is more raucous and enthusiastic than in the lower section. Seats in the lower section cost more and are traditionally used by merchants, and nobles. Due to the unrest in Tyr, gladiator matches are held in the stadium at increased intervals to distract the masses, but the supply of skilled gladiators diminishes with each bloody bout.
Golden Tower: The Golden Tower was the imperial home of the King of Tyr. Constructed of a rare golden granite, the tower gleams harshly during daylight. The only public entrance to the tower is to cross Tower Bridge from the Observation Tower. The public receiving areas are on the top floors, with the King’s private chambers on the levels below. These included the King’s library, an enormous collection of scrolls and books, many from ancient times – still sealed behind glowing runes and wards.
Iron Mines: Tyr’s iron mines are the largest in the Tablelands and help the city exert leverage over the other cities in the region. The iron mines are located two days travel northwest of the city. Death has always surrounded the mines, from cave-ins to the “hej-kin’s curse.” The iron ore is transported to Tyr in heavily guarded caravans.
Kalak’s Ziggurat: The ziggurat built by Kalak still towers over the squalor of the city from its center. The ziggurat is a stepped pyramid with each level finished in a different colored glazed brick. An enormous staircase runs straight from the base to the summit of the ziggurat. Since the passing of the Dragon’s Shadow, the ziggurat has fallen into disrepair. Few have dared enter the ziggurat since Kalak’s death and it has become the focus of numerous rumors and frightening stories.
School of Thought: The School of Thought is the only major organized institution for the study of psionics in Tyr. The school was founded a little over 30 years ago by the noblewoman Chessia. Chessia provided the funds to establish the school and made contributions to help the school operate over the years, but she is not involved running the school. The current headmistress of the School of Thought is Sycia Strimmen, a young and enthusiastic woman with considerable charm. She has been the headmistress for almost nine years now, since the previous headmaster, Thanik Arkos, disappeared from the school after murdering one of the master instructors. Sycia is very organized and well liked by students and instructors alike.
Shadow Square: Shadow Square is a small entertainment district in the Warrens near Kalak’s Ziggurat. Five lanes end at the small plaza around which sit six wineshops, a gambling house, and two hostelries. Most business in the square happens between sunset and dawn.
Under Tyr: The site the city of Tyr was built on has been inhabited for thousands of years. The current city sits atop the ruins of these previous civilizations. An undercity of interconnecting byways, crumbled buildings, and dilapidated courtyards exists under the streets of modern Tyr. From buildings used as businesses to former residences and temples to forgotten gods all make up the structures of Under Tyr. It is not possible to travel from one side of the city to the other through Under Tyr. Instead pockets exist throughout the city. The location of the eight largest pockets is scattered and unconnected across the city. With names such as the Sorrows, Elven River, and Merchant’s Maze, these underground locations provide opportunities for the brave or foolish. Many strange and wondrous items can be found in Under Tyr, as can the forgotten dead and malicious magics.
The Warrens: The Warrens sprawl across the northern quarter of the city. The slum is filled with dilapidated structures and trash dumps. The district is filled to overflowing with the poor, mostly ex-slaves. Many are out of work, and the desperate and ambitious have chosen to prey on their neighbors. Gangs roam the Warrens targeting anyone who looks like they might have a ceramic piece. Templars and the city guard rarely patrol the Warrens anymore for fear of being overrun by mobs. Parts of the Warren are said to be cursed. Other buildings are said to be haunted or the lair of some wild beast. Anyone who enters the Warrens does so at their own peril.
Pillage Pit: Established by the slave tribe known as the Unfettered, the Hidden Village sits in a remote crater in the foothills of the Ringing Mountains between Tyr and Urik. Originally the tribe survived by raiding as most slave tribes do. Now the tribe has become bold, raiding Urik’s mines and caravans – for lack of any competent response from the city. The villagers have developed into such a strong threat that bounties have been issued with increasing frequency.
Kled: Kled is a Dwarven community that has ties to Tyr. Possibly the largest Dwarven community in the Tablelands, Kled was built near the ruins of the city of last Dwarven kings, Kemalok. Nearly five hundred dwarfs live free here – seeking the depths of stone and to complete the last tasks of honored ancestors.
Mira’s Halo: Mira’s Halo is a merchant outpost owned by House Qual, one of House Vordon’s dummy trading houses. The outpost is used in the iron trade between Tyr and Urik. The name of the outpost comes from an unusual rock formation nearby.