Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The Town of Rathor

The tharch of Gauros, updated to show created settlements


Alignment: CN
Races: Rashemi, significant half elf population, half elves are commons slaves
Classes: Druids predominate, rangers common, rogues and experts common
Temples: Beshaba, Malar, Shar, Talona
Shrines: Auril, Geb (open secret), Shaundakul
Age: Recent
Reputation: Discounted
Virtue: Industry
Vice: Vanity
Recent Event: Attacked
Desires: Recognition
Security: Top Notch
Access: Often Visited
Repair: Basic
Impression: Fuming
Sanitation: Comfortable
Lighting: Decent
Streets: Dirt

Rathor is a small town of woodsmen and miners nestled at the base of the foothills of the Sunrise Mountains. What maps do not tend to show are the forests which cover the foothills and provide much of the town's livelihood. There are two reasons for this: first, maps are not made with intimate knowledge of Thay (and are often seeded with false information), and second, because Rathor and its environs are largely forgotten on the country's stage. On one hand, the inhabitants are glad to be away from political nonsense, but on the other hand, they secretly crave recognition for all they contribute. For better or worse, they may soon get it.

Normally, Rathor receives many visitors for trade, so it is set up with more inns than one might expect. They also welcome the druids and rangers who frequent the region, however, so they are mindful of the land when they build anything. Streets have not been paved and the town has carefully developed away from the treeline. The wooden walls are treated with fire-resistant alchemical pastes. Waste is carried by slaves to central vats and then disposed of in batch lots, by magic or creatures. Food animals are used down to their smallest components and composting is mandated. Magical lights are set close to the forest rather than fires, and only trees marked by druids are logged (and are swiftly replaced). This makes Rathor a more pleasant place than it might be otherwise.

The presence (and protection) of druids and rangers is relatively rare in Thay; this is one of the few places they are powerful, well away from the city streets of sprawling metropolises like Eltabbar. The town also has a higher population of elves than elsewhere, particularly wood elves; they have been sent for specifically to benefit the forests. Elves who think they will have an easier time escaping soon meet defeat in the woods, where the druids are not kind, and in the steep, unforgiving mountains. Slaves in Rathor are worked hard and given the more unpleasant tasks, but the townsfolk all work hard, so they do not tend to outright abuse slaves who perform well. Justice in Rathor is swift and harsh for all, with duels to the death, being hunted by beasts of Malar, and being fed to wicker men being common sentences.

Once each year, the temple of Malar hosts a High Hunt. Slaves who wish to participate are hunted in the forests and hunted for the next night and day. They are not forced to do so, generally, because it is a challenge of their will. Those who survive win their freedom. Needless to say, few have ever succeeded. One who did was Vesdan, an elven woodsman who hid his druidic magic. Upon winning the hunt, he left Thay - but to everyone's surprise, he returned to Rathos and married a local Rashemi woman, taking her surname of Szollos. His daughter Lucindiya was born free and developed skill as a wizard. Although he was often scorned, Vesdan worked in the town's defense and won some begrudging respect.

Recently, the tharchioness Azhir Kren fell in battle, trying one last time to strike at Rashemen. There was no clear successor and a number of contenders arose to take her place, throwing Gauros into civil unrest. Attacks from strange Underdark creatures were on the rise, but all anyone seemed to care about was the power vacuum. It was then that Vesdan Szollos threw his hat into the race and petitioned the temple of Malar in Denzar to end the stalemate. He knew this would outrage the populace and wagered that it would get them to work toward a conclusion, and he was right. A Battle of the Tharchions was arranged and overseen by the temple on the plains near Rathor. The various contenders gathered and moved their forces, not against each other, but against hordes from the Underdark that were driven upward.

When all was said and done, Vesdan Szollos had the most - and most impressive -  victories and was declared tharchion. He is the first and only non-Mulan tharchion, and although he moved to Denzar shortly after to take up office, he has brought outside attention to Rathor for the first time in many years. What this will mean for the town has yet to be seen, but if it is going to make a name for itself, the time is now.

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