Monday, November 5, 2012

Thorn's Mystara: Kor-Karrest, the City of Crystal Splendors

They say a dragon sleeps beneath Kor-Karrest. They say the Karrnath defeated it in single combat, and when it refused to serve him, he cast it down into the deeps, bound in chains forged from the gold and silver of the dragon’s own horde. The Karrnath built his fortress of brass from the melted-down copper coins of the dragon’s hoard. 

The first thing one notices, approaching Kor-Karrest, is the glow. The city at first appears shrouded in billowing, glowing red fog. As one draws closer, it becomes clear that it is not fog, but steam, rising from countless vents and pipes. The black walls of the city shine with the condensed moisture, and radiate a faint heat. The very ground throbs and rumbles. This, they say, is from the slumbering dragon below.

Most peculiar about the city-- it is brightly lit. While the steam surrounding the city is lit red from the dragon’s fires below, the mists within the city shine with a steady, golden light, like bright torchlight, but unwavering. Great bowls of blown glass enclose brilliantly shining threads of light, spaced at precise intervals, leaving but the smallest of gaps of shadow. Each globe is linked to another along a great chain by humming bundles of copper wire that occasionally spit showers of sparks down on the cobbled streets.

Kor-Karrest is built in a series of concentric rings, each bridged by twelve expanses of stone. Each bridge is built of a different type of stone, gilded and gated with a different precious metal. The bridges span huge gaps, through which the boiling sea of steam is visible, far below.

Oddly enough, though kept as slaves outside the city, gnomes, halflings, orcs and goblins are free citizens within the walls of Kor-Karrest. So long as the Karrnath’s laws are obeyed, the other demi-humans are allowed their own businesses and to keep families. Gnomish gemcrafting is second only to dwarven work, and the Karrnath’s army employs many such gemsmiths to cut and set the dragonstones for the shock troops’ armor and weapons.

The Outer Circle is the domain of the warehousing and shipping for the city. Lumberers, wainwrights, coopers and the like are found here.

 Further in, the Merchant’s Circle is a maze of shops, bazaars, and trade businesses. If it exists in the Empire, it can be found here, in one stall or shop or another. The “low trades” are found here: cobblers, weavers, brewers, etc.

The Guilds’ Circle comes next, and is the place of training and business of the “high trades:” gem cutting, glass blowing, leather making, jewelry making.

The Immortals’ circle divides the “public” city from the private. Temples to various Immortals are found here, as are the Remembrance Monuments. Seers and spirit-speakers can be found here. Weapons of any kind are forbidden from this point inward.

The Tordar’s Circle houses the minor nobility and their families. Access to this circle and those further within requires invitation or legitimate business with one of the Twelve Families.
Harrodar’s Circle houses the city’s military. The foundries, weaponsmiths, armorers, training and parade grounds can be found here. 

The Brass Fortress stands in the center of the city, a great mass of brass-plated stonework. The Karrnath’s keeps watch over his realm from the Great Spire. The twelve ministries are housed here, their leaders handling the day-to-day running of the Realm.

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