Kashin lies at the base of Mount Lavanor, heart of the Rakanus Clan in Rakore. The city was originally a small village of humans called Kashin Ahilar. The village was destroyed in 1312 by an ogran invasion force. The ograns were turned back, but only by a joint force of human villagers, desert elven warriors, Rakanus priests and Warkore warriors. The total destruction of the village and pathetic condition of the humans, forced Father Bryan, ArchBishop of Galgiran and senior priest of the Rakanus Clan, to offer his aid. Calling in aid from a monastery of Mikindim further east, Father Bryan helped lay out the foundations for a new village that would be a joint settlement of dwarves, desert elves, and humans. The War of the Undead brought in a number of refugees from all over Halganeth, and Kashin had a population explosion. By 1323, Kashin had reached its present size and stature, as the largest city in Rakore. In 1329, it was under intense siege during the War of the Four Winds, but managed to survive and now even thrives. The war funneled outlying peoples from the forests of Rakore to the major population centers, and the city had yet another population explosion. Despite the growth spurts, the city's buildings, walls, and facilities all meet codes set up by the leaders of the city.
Kashin itself is built around a boardwalk on the eastern bank of the Slav River, an ancient trail up to Mount Lavanor, and two small hills. Upon each of the hills were built fortified walls, within which reside the oldest and most important of the buildings in Kashin. The northern hill houses the Count's manor, the barracks of the guard, the armory, several warehouses, and a number of underground bunkers and buildings. The southern hill houses the churches, wealthier merchants, and older homes of the citizens. Around the two encircled hills grows the sprawling city of Kashin. Coolie Creek runs down into a blocked off pool, whose dam runs the mill; the resulting lake is called Lake Figinah. From there, the Coolie runs down into the Slav.
A number of smaller villages have sprung up around Kashin, making the region more populous than Kashin alone can account for. To the northeast lies the desert elven community of Halaanam, with a population of perhaps 2,000 desert elves that act as scholars, rangers, and hunters. To the west, across the river, lies the small farming community of Boulderdash. Boulderdash has perhaps 3,000 farmers and workers, half Slate and half Amaran. Just north of Kashin, along the Lavan Trail up to Mount Lavanore, lies the small town of Mithril. Contrary to its name, the small mining community of 1,000 Slate humans and hill dwarves mines flintstone, granite, and minor minerals. Flintstone and granite make up the basic building blocks of most of the buildings in and near Kashin.
Classification: Large City
Seal: a smith's hammer crossed with a short-handled battleaxe, in solid black, on a field of blue
Population: 115,000 (56% Slate, 6% Amarans, 7% mountain dwarves, 6% hill dwarves, , 5% orcs, 4% kobolds, 4% Sylvan elves, 4% variable transient, 3% high elves, 2% Toomarans, 2% desert elves, 1% drow)
Spending Limitations: 400,000 silver maximum
Economy: The primary industry of Kashin is in the service trade, facilitating the trade between the mines of the Rakanus Clan, the local food stores, the timber industries, and all luxuries that come in to support them. Transportation of all sorts can be found in Kashin, as can raw iron ore, cast iron, steel, wood goods, luxuries, foods, leathers, wool, and more. The secondary industries revolve around processing the raw materials into their final forms, and then getting them back out of the city.
Rulership: Kashin is governed by a conventional ruler – a feudal lord by the name Duke Grimshire, promoted from Count after the War of the Four Winds. He and his underlings all wear a rich green tabard with a hammer and axe retort over their armor. Duke Grimshire and his barons meet with the Circle of Priests each month, and with the regional duke, to discuss trade, defense, and the general goings-on of Rakore. Masters of the Guilds, the Circle of Priests, the barons, and other appointed members all make up a council known as the Sages. The Sages of Kashin all wear a special insignia of a set of three censers made of silver with red gold and golden inlays.
Duke Grimshire: A wiley and shrewd ruler, the 38 year old Grimshire's dark eyes are very keen and often have a smirk in them. He tends to have a perpetual smile of one form or another on his face, no matter the circumstances, enjoying his 'retirement' of watching over Kashin. The count is tall, at six feet and three inches, and is a formidable maceman, often wearing chain under his surcoat of office. He speaks Common, Dwarven, and Amaran quite fluently, and has a smattering of Elven, as well. He is perhaps best-known for always wearing a heavy gauntlet on his left hand, to hide heavy fire scarring and to protect the fire-vulnerable flesh. He is considered just as formidable with his gauntlet, in a fight, as he is with the large mace he keeps hanging from his belt. The coat of arms of the House of Grimshire is a white hart on a black background.
Alignment: Lawful Good. The wildly mixed population of all races has forced the count and the Sages to impose strong but fair measures, to prevent racial intolerances from getting out of hand. Beyond these anti-discriminatory laws, and a few laws to manage trade and good order, the people are fairly unfettered and free. Most disagreements are brought before the feudal lords, who tend to rule wisely and with consultation from barristers, or they face admonishment from their senior lords.
Defense: Kashin has about 1500 full-time soldiers and reeves, in addition to a militia of nearly 15,000 under the command of the local barons and knights. The city's Guard is led by Lord Reeve Thaleus Morone. Thaleus has proven himself quite capable of maintaining order in Kashin, though he sometimes has to be reprimanded by Count Grimshire about letting certain disruptions go on within the city. Thaleus traditionally wears a dark, forest green and dark brown set of soft leathers, along with a large onyx brooch of the hammer and axe retort of Kashin.
Lord Reeve Thaleus Morone: An average-appearing man, Thaleus was once a spy and an informant, traveling the land as a minstrel. His skills with a rapier and his ability to get to the truth gradually moved him up the ranks in Kashin to Lord Reeve over all other reeves in the city. Thaleus is a formidable opponent in a brawl, but prefers to use his powerful voice and considerable charisma to affect a crowd or opponent.
Ducal Mage: The senior mage for the city is Magus Graegor Ashkynovus, a stern Vridaran man with broad shoulders, a well-trimmed beard going to white, and a set of four scars down one cheek and going into his beard where the hair is white. Graegor is dour, serious, and seemingly unable to smile – putting him often at odds with the duke's perpetual smile. Graegor has a number of apprentices under him who help him enforce arcane discipline and justice in the city.
Kashin has four primary temples of worship, dedicated to its four main gods: Habrem, Mikindim, Rahne, and Lul. A small but growing temple of Xoriah is found in Kashin – with the Chosen of Xoriah, Saranella. As well, a tiny monastery of Whalin is found in the poorer sections of the city. Well-built altars to a number of the other gods are scattered through the city, and are maintained by the Chaplain of the Guard. Altars to Curiss, Galanus, Arpelos, and Olorin are easy to find throughout the city. On the outskirts of Kashin, are several communities with their own small churches, both to Barith, and to Elinthar.
The largest temple in Kashin is the Crystal Wren, which features a two-ton solid crystal wren as its altar. The large, rough-hewn white stone that went into constructing the building, coupled with rich timbers and divine acoustics, have made the Crystal Wren a tribute to music. The church serves as both a place of worship to Habrem, and as a concert and music hall for the city. Most worshippers are actually fairly faithless, but go to church for the entertainment value of the music and the performances. The church itself is fairly strong in its support of the city – especially since it is unauthorized by the Holy City of Karmen; as far as Karmen is concerned, the Crystal Wren does not exist. The sect of the church that does run the Crystal Wren is pro-mage, and thus promotes magic and mages. This has led to a tentative endorsement by the Rakoran government, especially in light of the Inquisition.
High Priestess Aria Collata: A female sylvan elf, Aria stands five feet and four inches in height, and often wears the gold and red colors of Habrem in silks and satins. During the War of the Undead, Aria truly came into her own, defending the people of Kashin from those that refused to stay in their graves. Still young for an elf, Aria is exploring the human side of life, but does not neglect her elven heritage, nor her duties as the high priestess of Habrem in all Kashin.
Easily the most heavily fortified temple in Kashin, is the Wolves' Den. A veritable fortress of stone, complete with a watered moat around its temple grounds, the Wolves' Den is a church dedicated to the study of war, battle, defense, and power. Most of the city's veterans visit the church at least irregularly, and it is here that the militia and the guard are trained. Housing a small monastery within its grounds, the Den also serves as a war college – whose graduates are recognizable by the cloak of the Wolves' Den which they wear. The Master Instructor for the war college is Nicholai Mithralson, a veteran of the War of the Four Winds.
A large cemetery within the moat is the final resting ground for a great many heroic warriors, and it is here that one is interred into the earth with great honor. The tombs and biers beneath the fortress are guarded around the clock from thieves and encroachment, and with the constant fear of the undead, the tombs are also a resting place of holiness and peace.
The temple is led, surprisingly, by a dwarf – Garin Grimhammer.
Father Garin Grimhammer: Garin is a male hill dwarf, about four-foot-one in height and built somewhat dumpily for a dwarf. He enjoys his drink as much as tending to his station, though he is still a good priest for his congregation.
Built as Kashin was from scratch, and with a strong dwarven heritage, St. Kiera's is perhaps the most faithful of the churches in Kashin. The beautifully crafted, marble-covered temple is a tribute to beauty and engineering, with small flying buttress to keep the inside open, and allow maximum light to enter during the day. Located within the compound, and behind the temple itself, is a small college devoted to engineering. Aiding the city, the dwarves, and interested citizens, the college is open to all to teach general engineering, mining, and stone-working, as well as more advanced disciples.
Father Korkil: He is a short, gruff, dryly humerous man that claims he found the faith at birth, “When Mikindim himself smacked my ass, instead of cryin, I yanked on his beard!” Wearing only work clothes of rough-spun wool or canvas, Father Korkil has the best interests of the city at heart, but his rigid engineering discipline keeps him from seeing the bigger pictures of politics or war.
The Libranum is the largest library in all of Rakore, with a clergy mainly consisting of monks, but with a smattering of priests and bards. The church's philosophy is to promote trade, and to promote literacy and the libraries that support it. The Libranum is four separate buildings made half of stone and wood, and half underground. The buildings – one in each of the four cardinal directions – are connected to one another by covered walkways wide enough for a horse-drawn cart. The grounds are immaculately kept, with gardens, benches, walkways, and more to support a quiet, philosophical approach to things. Small gazebos around the perimeter of the temple are meeting places for businessmen that wish the church to mediate dealings or disputes. The North building is the church's own library, which contains the diaries of its worshippers that have passed on, as well as their entombed bodies. For roughly 250 silver pieces a day, the North library can be perused for obscure or specific information. The South building is the general library, open to the public for about 25 silver each day; the congregational attendees peruse the library for free, keeping the Libranum's attendance up. The fees help the scribes in the Western building copy texts, illuminate scripts, and maintain the libraries. The Eastern building is both the actual temple for worship, and the quarters for the priests, monks, and visiting parishioners.
Aeidee Mulan: The Libranum is led by Mother Aeidee Mulan – who is secretly a female doppleganger. Mother Aeidee is a tall, older woman, with a stern expression and a lashing tongue – but she has a heart of gold, dressing in the rich teal blues and brazen purples of Lul. Only the Lord Reeve knows she is actually a doppleganger that has found the faith, and he works hand in hand with her to ferret out crime in the city. Taking on other identities, Mother Aidee sometimes goes adventuring with the Lord Reeve.
There are quite a few taverns and inns in Kashin, but the main ones have earned considerable reputations. Some do double-duty, as both tavern and inn, but others prefer to specialize, in order to cater to their target audiences.
(to name a few)
The Flying Elephant - Amarans
The Silent Spring - Elves
Green Hills (rather bawdy bust of grass-covered bosoms) - Farmers
Located right across from the Crystal Wren in Kashin, the Tongue Wrecker is aptly named for the effect it has on the musicians and priests that visit it from the temple of Habrem. Run by a retired minstrel by the name of Halgun Derivor, the atmosphere is at once entertaining and relaxing, with singing barmaids making frequent trips. The building itself is two stories tall, with the first floor made of stone, and the second made of rough-hewn cedar. The four wings frame a central courtyard with a massive oak tree and several walkways. The Tongue Wrecker supports stables for thirty, and individual rooms for forty, as well as a common sleeping room free of vermin. Heated baths adjacent to a small clothing store are also available, so the Tongue Wrecker is arguably one of the most sought-after inns in Kashin. It is also the most populous bar, holding anywhere from fifty to a hundred and fifty people on any given night. The bar and the inn charge regular prices for everything, working on volume because of its atmosphere and its location right across from the Crystal Wren.
Halgun Derivor: He is a man of five feet and six inches, with fine, dexterous fingers that can work any stringed instrument as though it were a lover. His come-over hair is still dark, despite his age, and he has a highly mobile face that makes many friends very quickly. Halgun has been known to sell worthwhile information to the right people, and many suspect that he has a small network of runners within the city.
Located in a seedier side of the city is the Barbed Brew, run by Avold Barb, an accomplished apothecary and brewer. During the War of the Undead, Avold discovered the secret to making Lead Gut, a potent haggis-bourbon concoction that is only appreciated by dwarves. The small compound, with its fourteen-foot stone walls, seems like a fortress, at first glance. Wealthy dwarven patrons have contributed greatly to defending the Barbed Brew, because Avold is the only brewer of Lead Gut in all of Gaeleth. A fifty-weight cask of Lead Gut has been known to fetch as much as a 18,000 silver down in the Granite Clan, so the secret to brewing Lead Gut, and the facilities to make it, are kept very safe. The Barbed Brew is crawling with mercenaries, both to defend it, and those looking for a place to work. Perhaps half of the tavern is filled with dwarves intent on partaking of the Lead Gut, which only runs about 15 silver a tankard. The atmosphere is somewhat tense because of all the secrecy, and the proximity to the brewery and its workers, but it is a welcome atmosphere of adventurers, mercenaries, and well-funded men looking to hire.
Josin Cavekiller: The bar keep is a dour duergar by the name of Josin Cavekiller, that bears a Kur Maen slave brand from the old days. Josin (and another dozen mercenaries) keeps the bar calm with his highly-equipped self – knives, daggers, darts, dirks, and even a short-sword are part of his normal work uniform. The apothecary attached to the compound can only accessed through a guarded door that also leads further back into the brewery. Josin knows enough about alchemy to identify those truly knowledgeable in the arts, and can signal the guard to escort someone into the apothecary – where Avold and his apprentices truly work.
Avold Barb: He is a tall man, at six-three, and has a lean build and countenance. Despite this, he is always willing to talk over his trade, save for giving away the secrets of Lead Gut. He also hires escorts for his many wagon-loads of drink (which may or may not include Lead Gut).
The dockside Whiskey is a barroom full of those looking to drown their sorrows or aches, without much coin or care. Seedy and somewhat run-down, the Whiskey is run by a former sailor by the name of Kruger, who lost his leg to a scrag during the War of the Undead. Using a peg in place of his leg, Kruger has earned the nick-name 'Peg Leg Scrag' among his usuals – but they never call him that to his face. The Whiskey is located near the docks, and is where most of the sailors and boatmen go when in town. Patrons usually just pass out in place, and so the Whiskey is an informal inn of sorts. Kruger yells several times a night, that “If ye pass out drunk in yer own piss, then don't be surprised if your purse passes out without ya!” He doesn't maintain security with more than his salty tongue, but his regular patrons – composed of the tougher men from the guard – help keep things reasonable.
Kruger: Kruger is a short man, at five-four, and walks like a sailor. He tends to keep a longsword over his shoulder, and has a rough and tumble sense of humor. A good fight makes him happy, as long as he can pay for the damages from the unconscious' purses.
Geared towards the profitable tomanths, the Chicken Coop lives up to its name, with cock fights weekly, and a hundred different varieties of chicken. Run by an Amaran named Reutel Rayamentalay, the Coop boasts seating for one-hundred tomanths on tomanth-constructed furniture. Twenty or thirty tables for other races are scattered throughout the room, and the Coop can be found filled to the doors with patrons on fight nights. Betting is fast and furious, and so is the drinking, but few bigots can be found in the Coop because of its aim at tomanths – and so few fights break out among the patrons. When they do, Reutel's Amaran family breaks them up. It should be noted that Reutel is seven-foot one, and his two sons are just shy of seven feet tall.
Reutel: He is a seven-foot-one Amaran man that rarely smiles, save for a very good joke. He speaks Amaran, the common tongue, and understands the Tomanth tongue fluently. Getting on in years, he's begun to have a bit of gray in his thick beard, though he keeps the top of his head shaved smooth. Reutel keeps a cudgel behind the bar, and though he has a long reach, he leaves most of the violence to his two sons and his tomanth friends.
The merchants, scholars, and other 'more formal' visitors to Kashin prefer to stay at the Mithril Shield. With well-maintained individual rooms and suites, and a small army of attendants and maids, the Shield is a luxurious inn with luxurious prices. Suite baths, blessed soaps that cure diseases and restore health, scented candles, and privately-delivered wine stocks make the Mithril Shield well-known to all the merchants of Gaeleth. Though it has a common room with a bar, it is geared more towards serving as a meeting place for merchants, and has out-of-the-way tables with soft-cushioned chairs and low-lighting. The stables are immaculate, and there is a barn that fits twenty carriages or freight wagons with ease. Located on the northern side of the city, it sits within its own compound with ivy-covered walls and a fountain fed off of the Slav River. The Mithril Shield is run by the Merchants Guild of the city, and administered by a retired knight, Sir Retarif.
Sir Retarif: Ratarif appears to have run soft, not having seen combat since he was fifty, during the War of the Undead – but his skill with the sword is still considerable, and his veteran experience more than makes up for his aging body. He is an inch shy of six feet, and is a retired smith of fair skill, an able rider, and a formidable opponent in a fight, despite his age.
Animal Merchant: Located on the south side of the city, Amal's Animal Emporium features rare and exotic animals from all over Gaeleth. Amal is a slight Amaran man who rarely smiles, but whose light brown eyes seem to say everything his face does not. Rumored to be part-druid, and a refugee like much of his druidic clan from the Golin Sea, Amal has no compunctions about telling a customer 'no' – that he cannot purchase the animal for whatever reasons.
Armorer: Vaden Stonegrudge is a barrel-chested dwarf whose arms are larger than most men's thighs. He charges reasonable prices as a merchant for Rakoran armors, but charges extra for custom-made armor of his own design. A Rakanus dwarf with a nasty tongue, he never-the-less is the best there is – both at bar-room brawling, and at smithing armor.
Cartographer: Selistar Arelae is a tiny sylvan elf – married to a massively-built desert elf by the name of Falkor Histaralaalus. Together, they run the Quill and Compass, a specialty store that sells maps, travelling scroll cases, magnetic compasses, astroguides, star-charts, and more. The kindly, soft-spoken couple even pay well for maps that can be verified.
Cloth Merchant: The Silk Shoppe sells more than silk – it sells bolts of cloth of all varieties and types, and holds a strangle on the market with slightly marked up prices. Shavon Taneletank of Vridara imports the best cloths, as well as local materials, and sells them all within his large building. Not only does this slick and oily merchant with a comb-over sell raw cloth, but he also has a host of seamstresses and tailors to make more custom clothing in mere marks.
Cobbler: Tenegrin Feather is a Toomaran that doesn't know the meaning of the word 'quit'. Though his back was long-since healed by the priests, the broken shards of bone still pain him, and he refuses to have them taken out. Unable to ride due to his bad back, he has transferred his passion of riding, to a passion of leathers and skins. Very good at the shoes and boots he makes, he is most renowned for his speed, though his quality sometimes suffers for it.
Equestor: Eval Sorenson explored the Toomaran Plains as a youth, and brought back the seeds of a great horse enterprise. A tall and lanky man, Eval imports and exports horses, mules, ponies, and even hippotauns for the right price. He keeps a small ranch on the east side of the city, along with a small army of workers and ranchers.
Farrier: The main farrier in Kashin is a Toomaran by the name of Goblinskull. Called 'Skull' for short, he is a fierce warrior with many goblin's skulls decorating his small smithy and stables. An excellent farrier, shoeing horses is only the tip of his iceberg. As a horse healer gifted with some small measure of the druid's healing energies, Skull is the mounted man's savior. Quiet and somber, Skull only speaks to criticize the owner's negligence – but his fame has spread by word of mouth, and now few can do without this hard working farrier.
General Store: Run by an older tomanth named Virik, the Tooth and Fang is the best place in Kashin to purchase miscellaneous sundries. From minor luxuries to strange imports, Virik – the third tomanth in the line to bear that name – is a shrewd haggler. His twin eye turrets can size a man up in an instant, and Virik would rather have long-term business, than short term rip-offs. A good salesman, he also is always interested in strange imports or new markets in Rakore to send his family, though his son Hesik helps him out with the store.
Glass Merchant: Samirin al Fashiran is an Al Fahiman from its capital city of Aboris. Sent by his powerful shah to open up trade routes with Rakorans, Samirin has brought his entire family to Kashin, where he makes various glasses. From stained glasses for cathedrals to tiny vials for holy water, Samirin and his family can make any made-to-order glass product. To make the glasses requires a vast merchant network for importing rare ingredients, and Samirin's honest (sometimes blunt) talk helps him get what he wants.
Jeweler: Dagvulf Stonefist is a mountain dwarf in his late three-hundreds, with a floor-length beard gone to white with hints of brown in it. A master jeweler, silversmith, and goldsmith, he is the jeweled heart of Kashin. Certified by the crown and the Libranum to verify currencies, Dagvulf is a well-respected advisor to Count Grimshire. As both a jeweler and a valued citizen, his nameless jewelry store serves as both a home and a fortress, with several full-time bodyguards living in the shoppe with him.
Magic: The Lyle House is run by an elf named Gabriel, who recruits mages in the largest city in Rakore, as well as catering to Lok Magius' interests in the city, supplying occasional minor magic items to the city, and dealing with and identifying magical things for small fees. The Lyle House is located in the residential area of the town, among the homes of guild leaders and major merchants, and not too far from the open market.
Mercenaries: Tornold Youngblood is rumored to be half-ogre, for how else to explain his massive size? At seven feet and four-hundred fifty pounds, the middle-aged Slate warrior is considered the most deadly man in Rakore – but it is all bluff and story, for he is usually defeated quite easily in combat. His mercenary outfit, the Youngbloods, hires out at reasonable prices to the various merchants in Kashin, as well as where needed. Tornold takes great care of his men, and is extremely well-respected throughout the city despite his own lack of battle prowess. The count apparently offered him the position of Lord Reeve, but Tornold turned him down because of his hatred for politics.
Musical Instruments: With a large congregation of Habrem's worshippers, the only music shoppe in Kashin has to maintain a large stock of many instruments. Anita Fellar, a Slate woman in her prime with luxurious black hair and pale skin, supervises the construction of most of the instruments herself. Though most of the instruments are made in her large shoppe by skilled journeymen or apprentices from the Crystal Wren, she imports and exports a number of specialty instruments. A collector of rare instruments, Anita is willing to pay good money to add to her collection.
Tanner: Wraith is a skeletal sylvan elf of middle years, missing the top off one of his pointed ears. Evidently a fine swordsman long ago, he has taken to leather-working with typical elven passion. A master tanner and former adventurer, he crafts the best leather clothing, equipment, and armor in the region. Located on the far eastern side of the city, because of the stench of the leather vats, the unnamed shoppe draws many customers. Though Wraith rarely speaks of his past, he speaks with a passion for leathers, and knows a great deal about them.
Weaponsmith: Elkar Stormblade is an ageing dwarf with a bald palate and a jovial laugh. Quick to smile, Elkar crafts the finest blades and weapons in Kashin, along with his sons and grandsons. Forsaking the warriors of Mount Basilisk, Elkar and his kin were the first to rush to the aid of the humans in Kashin, and offer them aid. Somewhat bitter about the Warkore bloodlust for battle, he never-the-less makes blades for everyone that are amazing.
Woodworker: Sienna Flightarrow is a sylvan elf with a human build. Reportedly one-quarter human, the well-built elven maiden is a master of carpentry and woods. Running a small business that caters to the city, her workers create everything from cabinets to clogs. Sienne herself crafts special-order items, when not managing her small work force. Dispassionate and cold, she warms up to anyone with a knowledgeable passion for wood or rare works.