Athkatla

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Forgotten Realms city
Athkatla
Country Amn
Ruler Council of Six
Population 130,000 (est.)

Athkatla is a fictional city in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. It is the capital of the nation of Amn, which in turn is a country on the continent of Faerûn. Athkatla first appearead in the tabletop D&D role-playing game, and later featured greatly in the videogame Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn.

Overview[edit]

Athkatla is a large port town that rests a few miles south of the Cloud Peaks, a prominent mountainous region. It is located in the middle of the trade route between southern provinces such as Calimshan, and northerly ones such as Waterdeep. Because of this, it is by far the largest and busiest harbour in all of Amn. It is the capital of this nation and features very prominently in the video game Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn. Within this game, it is accurately depicted as a predominantly human city of great wealth and diverse culture. Races such as Dwarves, Elves, Gnomes, and Halflings also inhabit and frequent Athkatla in significant numbers.

Athkatla is led by a wealthy but ultimately corrupt government. The city is rife with crime and possesses a long standing fear of mages and sorcerers. As such, arcane magic is officially banned within the borders of the city by an authority composed of mages known as the Cowled Wizards. However this has not prevented magical atrocities, the villainous mage Jon Irenicus once blew up an entire section of Waukeen's Promenade, a prominent marketplace within Athkatla. Those who enter Athkatla wishing to cast or otherwise use magics must 'earn the trust' of the Council by either doing some dirty work or paying a large sum of money as a bribe, or both. Divine magic as used by clerics is tolerated.

Athkatla is divided up into 8 main districts. The Bridge District, the Temple District; the Government District; the City Gates; the Slums; the Graveyard District; Waukeen's Promenade (a large marketplace); and the Docks (home to the Shadow Thieves, Harpers and other organizations).

The city is much larger than its northerly counterpart Baldur's Gate. The overall environment of Athkatla attracted some positive sentiment from players of Baldurs Gate 2 who have commented that it possesses a greater feel of a real town. This in part due to the many NPC's within its confines, as well as the many varied locales, quests, and activities also available therein.

Locations, people, and government[edit]

Presiding authority

Athkatla's government is an oligarchy. Ruled by a merchant council dubbed the "Council of Six" (In reality however, the Shadow Thieves also play a prominent role in general governance).

Population

Athkatla's population varies greatly by season. Roughly 130,000 natives live within its confines during the winter and spring. The population is greatly bolstered during the summer, rising to around 400,000. The populace is roughly 90% human and 10% other races.

Major products

Every conceivable product is available in this city-for a price, indeed many of the adventure stores frequently restock with finer weapons, armor and accessories from every imaginable part of Faerûn.

Armed forces

Athkatla's 4,000 man garrison is led by Captain Beelars Orhotek, with a small Council Navy (eight ships and crews, 900 trained sea-warriors). Each of the major mercantile houses and families of the city personally control 100 to 500 (the legal maximum) guards.

Notable mages[edit]

Vynmarius is one of few wizards openly known in Amn, he emanates an aura of distrust and menace. He is feared as a well-known agent for the Council of Six (and, some say, for the Cult of the Dragon).

Puhrain Bollivar is a guarded woman in her late 40s, she is known as a book peddler and odds-taker in the Quill District of Athkatla. She is secretly a diviner, agent, and lover of the Council's Tessarch.

Any wizard of notable skill permanently inhabiting Athkatla are either puppets of the Council or are very well hidden.

Waukeen's Promenade[edit]

The promenade is a prominent, oval-shaped marketplace, located in the heart of Athkatla. The Promenade is named after Waukeen, the missing Goddess of Wealth. A good portion of it was destroyed by the evil Mage Jon Irenicus. Located within the Promenade are general shops, bookshops, homes, a carnival, shops carrying various sundries, inns, and the Adventurer's Mart, run by former adventurer Ribald Barterman.

Clergy & churches[edit]

Arbalest's House, a monastery and temple to the god Milil on the hills north of Goldspires and the harbor is one of the most prominent churches in Athkatla. The mysterious Patriarch of Song oversees developments. This temple is significant for three reasons: It was Milil's place of rest during the Time of Troubles; it houses the mighty organ called the Bellows of Milil (which can be heard well out into the harbor); and furthermore, Milil himself made a gate linking this temple and the bards' college of New Olamn in Waterdeep.

The Dome of the Rose, monastery and temple to Lathander is another significant religious structure located in the city's Gem District. Mornmaster Thaddin Dawnhunter, a quiet priest with little inclination to mercantilism, oversees the other priests, monks, and followers. The three-story temple hall is capped with a dome of rose tinted glass that glows at dawn during morning song and prayer services.

Moonhall is a seven-sided conical temple to Selûne in the Wave District located near the waterfront. High Priestess and Lunar Aryn Gallowglass, an aged half-sister of the tyrant Ernest Gallowglass of Tethyr, is a shrewd business woman with three trade ships to her name. She ploughs back most of her profits into the temple fund.

Given the symbols of Waukeen (pearls or coins) stamped into many doors and signboards in Athkatla, nearly every street comer there could be considered a shrine to the Coin Goddess.

Many smaller, opulent shrines honor gods such as Chauntea, Talos, and Umberlee; one lone shrine is Ilmater's.

Rogues & thieves' guilds[edit]

The Shadow Thieves, Harpers, and the Rundeen all have a presence within Athkatla. The shadow thieves are by far the strongest guild, with many hundreds of operatives and much influence within government.

The Shadow Thieves were once the Thieves Guild of Waterdeep, until they were driven out of that city by the Lords of Waterdeep; the Shadow Thieves subsequently set up a massive training complex and testing ground for an Assassin's Guild in Athkatla, which they intend to use to eventually slay all the Lords of Waterdeep.[1]

Taverns and inns[edit]

The Mithrest Inn - A very old, cultured and stylish inn, with much pride and attention lavished on the comforts of each guest.

The Five Flagons - A brand new, clean and bustling drinking establishment. This tavern has fast become famous for serving every known drink in Faerûn.

Den of the Seven Vales Festhall/Inn - Another new, clean and sizable venue that caters to adventurers and foreigners alike. The unusual and rather confusing name serves one function; to attract any passing curious folk, thus bolstering trade (there are no Seven vales anywhere near Athkatla).

The Seas' Bounty Festhall/Inn/Tavern - The Seas is one of the oldest taverns still standing, but is quite well kept. This tavern prides itself on poor service, flat beer, and cold sandwiches. Its single merit is its good hot fish stew. This is the place of choice for monied Amnian youths to go slumming; the hook-handed owner known as "Thumb" raised his prices to fit his new clientele.

Silverale Hall Festhall/Inn/Tavern - One of the oldest venues in Athkatla, it is a stone four-story building. It boasts much good food and company, is very clean and well-kept, and is very often busy but never crowded.

Delosar's - An old, well-kept, yet short-staffed pub. Most often frequented by town guards.

The Adamantine Mug - Another bar, its main crowd are established, up-and-coming mercantile folk. As such, the clientele is wary of new faces, settling often enough whereupon a round of drinks is purchased for the house. The conversation is most often away from that of mercantile pursuits and trade, adopting a more casual tone.

The Copper Coronet - A very large, but decrepit meeting place of smugglers, pirates and peasants located within the slums. It also functions as a brothel, and also frequently stages illegal animal fights in a small arena hidden in the back.

Other media[edit]

The city featured in the 2000 computer game Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, as an initial setting for the player to collect quests and equipment.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ed Greenwood, Jeff Grubb and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set. TSR, Inc. ISBN 0-88038-472-7.