The fabled Crown City of Southold, with its majestic, whitewashed walls lies at the mouth of the River Laine. Dunthrane is a rich city, and even the peasants in residence share in this affluence. Towering above the city is the magnificent White Tower of Archmage Bigby on the one side, and the spires of the Royal Citadel on the other. A third of the city lies outside the walls, vast areas rebuilt since they were burned in the siege during the Civil War of 1504-7. Southold’s first King Athelstan declared the city the seat of Tyr’s worship, and his cathedral dominates all others. Despite an excellent Watch, the dock quarter is known for its seediness, and crime is rife in such areas after dark. One of the city’s claims to fame is the Royal Academy, surpassed only by the great University of Videssos. On Midsummer the Dunthrane Trade Fair takes place, where goods from around the world are sold. Even during the rest of the year, there is a vast assemblage of merchants, yet Dunthrane has high taxes to match its splendor. Since the discovery of Aztaltica, Dunthrane has become the main conduit into Arik for gold and exotic goods from that strange land—inflation to nearly double previous prices as well as an influx of foreign merchants has swiftly resulted.
Who Rules: King Edmund III, since 1503.
Who Really Rules: The King, supported by members of the Royal Court, most powerful among them Seneschal Hollend, Lord Chancellor Rolf Geraldor, Lord High Marshal Ethelwulf, and Patriarch of Tyr Stephen Menote.
Population: Varies from 130,000 in the winter to 160,000 at the height of summer (including a large transient merchant and seafaring population of all the major races). The resident populace is composed mostly of Southron blooded humans, though there is a significant Taran minority as well as many elves, and halflings.
Major Products: Craft goods, services, ships, fish, weapons, grain from surrounding fields of Dunador.
Royal Academy of Dunthrane - The most prestigious educational institution in Southold. Countless nobles' sons have been educated at this exclusive center of learning, where only the most intelligent of noble birth are admitted. The Royal Academy has stood since before the Cataclysm and now occupies a large compound not far from the Citadel.
It contains a number of small, specialized libraries each serving a different department. Visiting each library and retrieving information takes a minimum of two hours, not including study time there. To use the libraries, adventurers need to secure permission from the Dean, Tomarkis Anchervar. More administrator than scholar, Tomarkis is a busy, kindly old man. However, he does not anyone to remove books from the College. Granting permission is simple if petitioners mention a senior professor or Archmage, cutting through any red tape.
The noted professor of Siege Artillery, Pavel Pyotrovich, has contracted some sort of wasting disease, and is not expected to see 1515. The libraries include: Architecture, Economy, Engineering, Geography, Healing, History, Literature, Music, Painting, Sculpture, Theatre.
Dunthrane Arcane Academy - This institution, formally part of the Royal Academy, is in fact, a separate entity. The Chancellor is the noted mage Mekkarri, an affable wizard of great power, wisdom, and patience. Assisting him in the Academy's highly touted Alchemy Department is master alchemist Questor Thews. Unlike the Royal Academy proper, any Southron mage of experience can do research and use
the facilities here, providing they pay the hefty one year membership fee (500 sp).
Kieren Jalucian, Assistant Dean of the Dunthrane Arcane Academy. Head Librarian Jawal Severnain is a renegade drow. He is a renegade dark elf, most comfortable in the quiet, gloomy shadows of musty bookstacks. He has little time for unnecessary requests and little patience for those he sees as inferiors. He acts cool and superior to adventurers. It takes 1 hour to fetch a specific book.
College of Justice - The primary center for the study of Tyr's teachings, especially the Code of Athelstan and issues of jurisprudence. This sprawling College adjoins the House of the Just One, and all clerics of Tyr must study here if they hope to move up in the Church's hierarchy.
Algareth, a relatively minor hedge wizard who runs Algareth’s Magic Emporium, which sells minor magic items and components only, but for competitive prices. Nonetheless, his shop does have some impressive magical and construct defenses.
Bigby of the Fist: Lord High Wizard of Southold, Bigby of the Fist is a wizard in every sense, complete with dark-blue cloak and flowing beard, Bigby is famed throughout Arik for his spells, more than a dozen of these are in circulation, most dealing with a hand or fist (hence Bigby of the Fist.) Indeed, all would rank him among the top dozen mages in the world (live and undead). Bigby works for the King because he is provided with funds for his research, and other than an occasional spell, is generally left alone. He dwells in the great White Tower, matched in height only by the Royal City in Dunthrane’s skyline. The Lord-High Wizard has a very forceful personality, though he is weak in body. For years he has refused most audiences, forcing visitors to conduct all matters through the no less abrasive Timmotain.
Mekkarri the Magnificent: Mekkarri the Magnificent is the powerful mage who runs the Dunthrane Arcane Academy (a subdivision of the Royal Academy of Dunthrane). He is quite personable, for a wizard, and is known to enjoy jokes and riddles of all kinds. He was slain a few years back by Lord Soth at the gates of Dunthrane, but was soon resurrected, and has since renounced conflict. He feels he is too old for such battles and only trains others. He has always preferred the life of the academician in any case, though few would call him a sedentary "hedge wizard" due to his great power and noted past exploits. Mekkarri appreciates subtle rather than direct magicks, and is a fond fan of Green Islander music. In conflict situations, he would prefer to immobilize enemies than to slay them outright.
The House of the Just One on Athelstan Avenue is the center of Tyr’s worship in Arik. The leader of the faith is the Patriarch Stephen Menote, who also exerts much influence in King Edmund of Southold's court as Lord High Chaplain. It is a magnificent cathedral, some say the best in all of Arik. Menote is in his 70s and known for his quavering voice, yet is respected by all.
The Temple of the Silver Hand is the large Nuadan church in Dunthrane. It is administered by Vicar General Philmore, who laments being stuck behind at the church and wishes he were on the Cortal Front fighting the enemy.
The Temple of St. Uther is a monastery a few miles outside Dunthrane’s walls, where this militant sect of the Nuadan faith is based. It is administered by Abbot Roderick.
Temple of Lady Luck: This medium-sized cathedral in central Dunthrane on Athelstan Street is the seat of worship of Shinare in Southold. It is presided over by High Priest Volo Aramis, a cheerful, red-bearded cleric well-known in Dunthrane gambling circles. Unlike the many other seats of faith in Dunthrane, Lady Luck’s worshippers rarely involve themselves in politics. There is a detachment of fantra--warriors dedicated to Shinare’s way--stationed at the refectory/barrack building to the north, while to the south is a small cemetery. While the Temple has been rumored to have offered sanctuary to the occasional mischievous criminal, it has a policy of not associating with the Thieves Guild, although many members are thought to be followers. Given Shinare’s popularity, the church often has visitors. Worshippers traditionally throw a silver noble into the fountain in the temple’s antechamber.
Temple of the Lady: Is dedicated to Adora, and is well attended by women across the capital.
Temple of Selune: Given Dunthrane’s status as a major port city, this small temple to the godess of travellers is well attended. The Temple of Selune is administered by High Priestess Arel-Lhasso of Dunthrane. It has been particularly active in aiding the Yazakh refugees recently pouring into Southold, and funded the establishment of the new Yazakh/Selunite colony in Aztaltica, pioneered by Silver Legionnaire Latna So, and now led by her sister Gaetmo So.
There are shrines and small churches to most of the other gods of Arik as well.
Notable Rogues' and Thieves' Guilds
Dunthrane Thieves Guild: Little is known about the guild by outsiders, though it is often in conflict with the stronger Thieves Guild and Slayer’s Brotherhood of Alcester.
Lancers Tavern--nice wines, fancy bar/restaurant
Adventurers’ Bounty Decent tavern fare/drink
Broken Cask Okay, in dockside
Bleeding Orc very cheap, rowdy
Dory’s Spice Shop with apartments above, previously home of the Miscreants
Red Rose Brothel, run by Mistress Rosy, rumored to have Thieves Guild connections
Important Individuals: (See Southold Background for the powerful Royal Court members, who all live in Dunthrane)
Captain Jack: A one-legged, one-eyed ex-pirate who plied the Rivers Laine and Greyflood for well-nigh twenty years. These days Jack runs merchantman cog up the Laine from Dunthrane to Luln, occasionally, it is rumored, smuggling the odd cargo of zonga (Videssian drug) or fugitives into Dunthrane. Jack is quite the crusty old seaman, and is rather difficult to get along with.
Conclave of Wizards - Though not really an “adventuring company,” the Conclave--Southold’s six most powerful archmages--ocassionally go on missions when the nation is threatened, and are nominally based out of Bigby’s White Tower in Dunthrane. The band meets occasionally at the White Tower of Bigby of the Fist, the Conclave’s leader. Other members in order of power are: Gondal the Great head of Bywater’s College of War Wizardry; Zenjik Demonslayer based in Liveoak; Mekkarri the Magnificent, head of the Royal Academy; Amstard the Artificer based in the Forest of Arden; and Otliuke the Illustrious based in Athelred’s Tower. The Conclave was first to move against Vecna during the Great Disjunction, but were slain except Bigby, who escaped to another plane and communicated to the Intrepid Paragon to continue to fight. Bigby soon used wishes to bring back the rest of the Conclave, though in late 1511 the band again gathered to rescue Gondal, who had been kidnapped by Banite cleric Colstan Rhuul and his undead army. The Conclave has been divided over helping Southold directly in the war; with Gondal and Mekkarri offering direct aid, while Bigby provides only items, while Amstard and Otliuke believe it is a war of aggression and none of their business. Even so, the Conclave stands ready to defend Southold from any great threat, and has on occasion been one of King Edmund’s greatest, if unpredictable, assets.
The Four - A highly mercenary adventuring band, this quartet was recently expelled from Dunthrane by the Captain-General of the Watch Sir Balto. This exile was imposed for their role in assassinating several minor nobles in succession (despite the fact that such assassinations were always at the behest of this or that rival noble). Active throughout the South, the Four is not welcome in Tara, the Cortalish Empire, or Hule (as all such groups are in that country) and maintains a low profile when traveling through those lands. The Four carefully plan their activities so as to slay any possible enemies or those who know too much about them (such as former employers), and are experts in unseen or "accidental" death. They are all Southron males and reputedly mix thievery with magic, especially illusion.
Intrepid Paragon/Miscreants - The Miscreants are a band of rather powerful adventurers in retirement, though nominally based in Dunthrane. The ex-Reaver Hernando is perhaps the most powerful, active in Skullport, Alcester, and re-establishing thieves guilds in the Cortalish Empire. Another ex-Reaver, Stonne, is one of the most skilled elven wizards outside the Galathiene, and now guards the Forests of the Day. Greywolf is a stout dwarven cleric of Tyr, a moral challenge for this authority figure given the lack of morals among several of his comrades—he is now a roving High Justice. Agrippa is a foul-mouthed, fire-eating mage who fled from his fellow cabalists in Videssos, only recently saved from his transformation into a vampire, now on missionary work in the Serpant Peninsula. The last of this company's three mages is Wildcard, from the hills of Irrudium who often acted as the conscience of the party—after a visit home to Irrudium, she is now wandering Southold. Kliff is the bold, straightforward barbarian from the Thonian tundra, who wields one of the most powerful blades in the realm, Immlingdrank the Defender., and is back in Thonia fighting off the monsters of the Thaar The itinerant human ranger Black Arrow, noted hunter of lycanthropes, occasionally reunites with his old comrades. (see entry for Black Arrow.) Lady Araselle of Hador left the group after accomplishing its initial quest, and is now active in the Church of Tyr in Aztaltica. For a time the halfling swashbuckler Fharo, Baron Ryan Hamfast, joined, but tragically died, while Khoresh, a skilled human archer, is Master Gunner on Magooan the Pirates famed Liberator.
This group was formed in 1504 and, as the tales go, travelled far into the Underdark from an entrance tunnel in the Cruth. Little is known of what transpired there, but they went back and forth between there, Dunthrane, and the Galathiene for over a year. Finally, in 1506 they returned, claiming to have slain Lloth in her very lair, and witnessed the destruction of the legendary Drow city under the Cruth, Erelhei-Cinlu. The band also achieved a great personal quest by slaying Garth, a prince of werewolves.
Afterwards the group renamed itself the Intrepid Paragon, and soon became ensnared in Vecna’s attempt at godhood. The band fought the archlich’s plot at every turn, from Rockhome to Alesia, to the Yazakh steppes and even to Vecna’s extraplanar prison, Citadel Cavitius. They eventually suceeded casting both Vecna, and their perennial enemy Janus, another being seeking godhood, into an extraplanar abyss. This act ended Vecna’s Great Disjunction, and all were rewarded by the gods themselves for the act. While the Paragon is largely in retirement, they ocassionally reassemble, as they did recently to destroy Garth once and for all, in the service of Banite priest Colstan Rhuul.
Questor Thews: One of the best alchemists in the realm, Questor Thews works under Mekkarri the Mage at the Dunthrane Arcane Academy. He prepares potions and minor magic items for adventurers, primarily. Indeed, he even spent some time adventuring in the Green Isles with Thingol & Company, and has developed a friendship with Fingon, the elven mage of that company, as well as many of his prominent pupils, like Lieutenant Dmitry Vladimirovich of the Silver Legion.
Thingol & Company - This, Southold's most famous adventuring company (though arguably not the best), is led by Thingol Half-Elven, the roguish son of Dorian, Ranger Lord of Arden. Following this stout ranger, who has acquired the nickname "the Phantom Archer" for his shimmering magical bow, are five companions: Gaheris, human Knight of Athelstan; Fingon, elvish sorcerer; Balin, dwarven scout; Norlan, priest of Tyr; and Celebimor, a Green Islander Druid. Their exploits are too long to list, but are best known for the Succession Crisis of 1502, when they rescued Prince Edmund from the clutches of Duke Aimar I, killing him in the process. However, Thingol, the group's leader, failed to best the treacherous Lord Edrin in a trial by combat, to his shame. The band fled Southold soon after, pursued by the Slayer's Brotherhood after slaying a number of their assassins. They were in exile for a year, though none know for certain what they did during this time (tales abound from a mission to save the fabled Tower of the Stars in Tara to fighting off a demonlord in the Green Isles and even traveling to another world.) Upon returning, this group hunted and slew the band of necromancers, Death's Head, that tried to kill the King in 1504. In the 1505, they mustered a small army and defeated Duke Aimar's northern army in the Civil War. Thingol was called again to act as the King's Champion against Lord Edrin at war’s end in 1508, this time winning. The band all have at least knighthoods, with Gaheris a Baron, and Thingol a Count; he has occasionally been active leading the Fourth Royal Army in Sylvania, or operating behind the lines. Their homes remain in Dunthrane.
Vistani Smugglers’ Syndicate: Yagos Slevak, former cultist of Vecna, now runs a prominent Vistani smugglers’ syndicate in the Dock Quarter, with his Vistani servants bearing the same name--fingers, hands, eyes, etc. as the cultists of Vecna once did. They still pray to their fallen god, though they have no more clerics, and don’t really believe he will return.