|Ruler||Speaker of the Senate, Rothdan Ustalidar, the Wise|
|Languages||Juenta 50%, Padashi 45%, Other 5%|
|National Colors||Orange and Yellow|
|Year Founded||1300 CY (estimate)|
|Currency||Mixed, primarily Padashi and Juenta|
|Natural Resources||Gold, copper, sandstone, coal|
|Manufactured Goods and Major Exports||Gold, stone carvings|
|Technology Level||Dark Ages|
|Terrain||Scrublands and hills|
The fiercely independent city of Salhanrasha lies on the boundary between the desert drylands of the Padashan Empire and the grassy Broadlands to the south which gives the city a unique blend of Padashani and Juenta culture and language.
Situated at the fork of the Broad River and positioned to guard the only easy pass to the north, this city sits on an important trade route and is a major hub for merchant caravans, local traders, farmers, mining guilds and more. All of this has provided the city with a great deal of wealth and a strong economy.
Due to its location at the edge of the empire, its history of resistance to imperial encroachment and its proximity to dangerous mountains and forests, this city is very well fortified with crenellated walls, high guard towers and strong gates.
No one knows exactly when the first village set down roots here, but it was undoubtedly many centuries ago. Most scholars place it’s beginning around the beginning of the fourtheenth century. According to history books and maps, Salhanrasha was a well established town by the mid nineteenth century in the common reckoning. The town grew slowly and gradually as a trade center between farmers, miners, caravans and travelers.
Through most of its late dynasties, the Padashan Empire went through various periods of expansion where its borders pushed south and the empire annexed or conquered smaller kingdoms and tribes. This was particularly notable during the recent Lecinar Dynasty (2374 CY to 2518 CY) in which the empire began aggressive military campaigns against its southern neighbors. The last to fall was the great city of Qazadeen during what became known as the War of the River in 2480 CY. During those bloody years, countless refugees fled south, many settling in Salhanrasha.
In 2588 CY, the Empire turned its attention to the city that held the mountain pass. Diplomatic overtures did not win over the Salhanese Senate and several border skirmishes were fought. Eventually Emperor Sashir grew greedy and ordered an assault. In late 2491, the emperor sent an army of imperial soldiers to take the city of Salhanrasha. Several minor battles were fought and the Salhanese militia was driven back. Eventually, the Salhanese withdrew behind their city walls and the imperial forces laid siege to the city.
As the siege lengthened from weeks to months, Salhanrasha managed to get word to allies to the south in the Juenta Kingdoms. During the siege, they also learned that many of the imperial units consists of slaves being forced to fight. Senators called down to the imperial forces proclaiming that any slave who laid down arms would be welcomed by the city and declared free.
A combined force of Juenta militias and a massive mercenary company known as the War Dogs came to the aid of Salhanrasha. These twin forces arrived in early 2492 CY and battle was joined. During the battle, many imperial slave units turned on their masters. The city gates were opened and the Salhanese militia joined the battle. The imperial forces were routed and the siege was broken.
After the battle, many hundreds of slave soldiers laid down arms. True to their word, the Senate offered freedom and asylum to all of the imperial slaves who had switched sides. Almost all slaves accepted and many joined the city militia. This incident helped solidify the Salhanese position against all forms of slavery.
The War Dog mercenaries that had helped break the siege and saved Salhanrasha were granted lands at the mouth of the Broad River. The soldiers who settled there, many of them Juenta, founded the town of Balakrish.
In 2510 CY, Emperor Sashi died and his son, Peng, rose to the throne. Emperor Peng was a jealous and petty man, fearful that he would not live up to the name of his father, who had won the War of the River and greatly expanded the empire. So, on the 25th anniversary of the failed siege, Emperor Peng sent 8,000 imperial soldiers south with orders to take the city of Salhanrasha by force.
For more than two decades, Salhanrasha had prepared for another assault and the Salhanese militia was now a formidable force. The two armies met and fought a great battle in the mountain pass, now known as Salhan Pass. The great Salhanese wizard, Raxmandar, fought along side the Salhanese militia and proved instrumental in the fight. After a prolonged two day conflict, the Salhanese militia crushed the imperial forces and the remnants of the imperial army fled north. The Battle of Salhan Pass was such a major defeat for the Empire that it led to political chaos back in Aramanda which in turn led to a new dynasty taking power. The Hatanalan nobles took power and Emperor Shaylar rose to the throne. Over the next few decades, Emperor Shaylar pursued more peaceful relations with Salhanrasha.
Salhanrasha has remained independent since. Indeed, it holds itself responsible for keeping the pass open and free and guarding the river and trade route from monsters coming from the mountains to the west and Ilraxis Forest to the south.
As peaceful trade between the Juenta Kingdoms and the Padashan Empire has increased, Salhanrasha has strengthened its position as the major economic hub in the region.
The city of Salhanrasha is ruled by a Senate. This group of 27 politicians discuss, debate and craft policy and law for the city. Each member is referred to by the title Senator. The Speaker of the Senate leads this group and has special privileges, but is kept in check by the Senate. The Senate is aided by various sub-committees, officers and clerical assistants who carry out the day to day work of running the city government.
The Tribunal is the name of the central building for all legal matters. An imposing edifice of stone and marble, it dominates one of the larger plazas in the west end of the city. Here, all legal matters are debated and judged. More than three dozen judges, of various ranks, work independently and in conclaves to oversee trials on matters than range from land disputes to major crimes. Dozens of scribes maintain a vast library of court records. Overseeing the entire court system is the High Magister, Taithon, known to many as “the Iron Heart” for his unflinching gaze and his unyielding approach toward crime. High Magistrate Taithon is often invited to speak before the Senate on legal matters.
Because of its history, Salhanrasha is well defended. The city is surrounded by immense curtain walls, 30 feet high and 10 feet thick. Battlements line the top with a hexagonal tower extending out from the wall every 200 paces. Where the river passes through the wall, there is a gap in the wall. The river is flanked by two large towers. Any enemy approaching up the river will face archers and ballistae fire from both towers.
The city of Salhanrasha has a single military force known simply as the militia which conducts all military activity. The militia patrols the streets, walks the walls, stands guard at the gates, patrols the countryside around the city and brings criminals to justice. The militia currently consists of 4,000 soldiers and officers. Militiamen wear a simple bascinet helmet and a lightweight, breathable mesh-like form of leather armor that stays cool, even under the summer sun. Most fight with scimitar and round shield, although some specialize as archers, crossbowmen or artillerists.
Because of the trade passing into Salhanrasha along the roads, bandits are a problem. As soon as one group is found and exterminated, another group will pop up. Firedrakes, trolls and other dangerous creatures sometimes wander down from the mountains or up out of the Ilraxis forest and attack a farming village. Because of these, adventurers, sellswords and other mercenary types will find plenty of work at Salhanrasha. The militia does what it can, but will often hire mercenary companies for specific missions. Open bounties on bandits are common and the militia will sometimes hire groups to go out and hunt a particularly troublesome beast.
Salhanrasha is, first and foremost, a city of trade. Its powerful mercantile guilds form an economic link between the southern Padashan Empire and the regions to the south and east. The markets of Salhanrasha are filled with goods from the local lands. Raw ore from nearby mining towns is brought in by cart. Local farmers sell their crops at market day.
Most important is the trade between Qazadeen and the Juenta Kingdoms. Food, furs, textiles, lumber and whale oil from the Juenta Kingdom flows north through Salhanrasha while spices, fruits, precious metals, gemstones and, most importantly, forged metal goods from Qazadeen flow south. Salhanrasha taxes all goods and merchants passing through the region.
The language, culture and food of Salhanrasha is a primarily a blend of Padashani and Juenta. The city draws on the food, songs, dances, folklore and traditions of both its northern and southern neighbors. Most citizens can trace their lineage back to either the Padasan Empire or the Juenta Kingdoms.
Salhanese independence permeates the culture at many levels. One aspect of this is evident in the city stance toward slavery. Slavery is outlawed here and any slave brought into the city is immediately declared free. While the Juenta Kingdoms do not practice slavery, slaves are common in the Padashan Empire. Because of this, Padashani merchants and trade caravans will leave slaves behind and only pass through Salhanrasha with hired mercenaries and paid workers. Nearly five percent of the city population are former slaves who chose to stay and aid the city who freed them.
Another aspect of Salhanese independence is evident in those who work the land. While Salhanrasha does have a feudal system of lords and serfs (like most other kingdoms), nearly half of the farmed lands here consists of smaller, independent farms owned and worked by free men.
The Senate Hall
The Senate Hall is a magnificent domed building with many columns and much ornamentation. It contains the main Senate chamber and dozens of government offices. More than 200 people work here. It also houses important documents, relics and historical artifacts from the city's history.
This medium-sized fortress has protected the trade routes for centuries. The castle is stocked with enough provisions to withstand a year-long siege if need be, though it has never come to that. It has facilities to support a thousand soldiers, mostly light infantry, archers and some artillerists. This fortress is an expansion of the original fort that stood here when Salhanrasha was just a small town. It has been expanded and fortified several times over the centuries.
The Trade Plaza
The Trade Plaza is the city's main market square. This huge octagonal plaza is paved with tightly fitted stones and kept very clean. It is bordred with a walkway, benches and manicured trees. The Trade Plaza is crowded with tents, makeshift shacks and carts every single day.
This stout and impregnable stone building houses a fortune in coins. All manner of currency exchange takes place here. This establishment also inspects, buys, sells and trades in jewels and precious stones, works of art, dabbles in gem-cutting and issues licenses and titles. It is run by the city government.
|The Keep Ward||
The oldest part of the city which houses the original fortress. Home of the militia. Sectioned off fro the rest of the city by its own curtain wall. Oldest wall. This is also home to some of the oldest houses and homes to a few senators, including the mansion of the Speaker of the Senate.
|The High Ward||
The second oldest. Houses the senate building, senators offices, several noble houses. Also several impressive statues and gardens can be found here.
The Iron Ward
Home to ore warehouses, black smiths, metal workers and other craftsmen. Home of the brotherhood of stone offices.
The Garden Ward
Wealthy district. Home to several senators, official government officials and wealthy merchants. Known for beautiful homes, beautiful gardens and impressive statues. Home to all three major temples.
The Mountain Ward
Further western section, middle class. Mostly residential.
The Trade Ward
Middle class – mostly merchants, shops and guild offices. A few nice taverns and inns. Home to the Market Square. Home to the Seven Stars Trade Guild and several other guilds.
The Common Ward
Mostly poor residential. Low quality taverns and inns.
|The Outer Ward||Refers to everything outside the city walls. Mostly hovels, shacks and shanties. The poorest level in the outer ward.|
Two massive river gates, one at the north end of the city and one at the south end, protect the city in times of siege. These massive portcullis can be brought down and seal off the river.
Unlike the Padashani and the Nupar river, which is central to the Hramish faith, the Salhanese do not worship the Board river. So, upstream, fresh water is taken for the city. Downstream, the sewers discharge into the river along with garbage.
Several bridges span the river connecting different sections of the city. These are well-built, broad stone bridges that are large enough for four wagons abreast.
A postal system is operated by the city, partly financed through taxes and partly through postal fees. Anyone can have a letter or package delivered to a specific business or address in the city. A letter costs 3cp and a package varies from 1 silver piece to several gold pieces depending on size and weight. Due to the cost, only the wealthy usually take advantage of this service.
The main streets are lit with large oil lanterns. Whale oil, imported from the Juenta Kingdoms, is typically used.
Unlike the northern empire, which uses a great deal of coal and oil because of the scarcity of wood, Salhranrasha has access to coal, oil and wood in equal measures. Any of these may be used in furnaces, for lighting and for cooking fires.
The single most notable celebration of the city is Freedom Day… which marks the city’s victory over imperial armies at the Battle of Salhan Pass. The crushing defeat of the imperial forces decidedly declared Salhanese independence from all foreign powers forever. This festival occurs on Blossom 7 and 8 (the 7th and 8th day of the sixth month).
Like most other places, Salhanrasha also has a day to mark the anniversary of the Sundering and four seasonal festivals.
Finally, there is a festive masquerade ball held once each year in late summer which is hosted by the Trade guild which is the height of the year for the social elite. Nobles from as far as the Juenta Kingdoms and the Empire will make the trek for this one a year extravagance.
Rumors circulate through Salhanrasha as they do in any major city. Below are some of the common rumors which frequently make the rounds:
1. The Padashan Empire is preparing an invasion to take the city once and for all.
2. The dragon Allarixar has gone rogue and could strike the city at any day.
3. A giant has wandered down from the mountains and is attacking mining villages in the hills.
4. The Empire has blockaded the Salhan Pass and no more merchant caravans can get through.
The constant flow of trade and profit attracts many thieves to the city. The Salhanese penchant for independence extends even to its underworld. Salhanrasha has many thieves who work alone. There are few organized groups. The only real organized "thieves guild" is a group that calls itself the Hidden Hounds.
The largest temple in the city is the temple to the Hramish faith. A few other shrines to other gods can be found here and there throughout the city.
The Seven Stars Trade Guild
A powerful and wealthy union of traders and merchants in the city. A wide variety of goods, almost a third of all trade, passes through this guild.
The Farmers Alliance
An agrarian guild that consists of landowners, independent farmers, representatives of farming combines and so forth. The guild negotiates land purchase, the sale and prices of seeds, equipment, crops, labor and so forth.
The Brotherhood of Stone
A guild of miners, diggers, stone cutters and gemstone cutters. The Brotherhood buys and transports quarried stone and raw ore from the local mining villages, It cuts the stone, smelts the ore and sells blocks and ingots to the smiths, craftsmen and merchants in the city. They also import marble and sandstone from the Padashan Empire. This guild is an exclusive contract with the city to repair and maintain the city walls and towers.
The Iron Disciples
A fighters guild that operates from a stout four story stone building. Members can find weapons and armor for sale here, get equipment repaired, spare with training partners and find mercenary work.
A guild and social club of hunters, trackers, scouts, furriers, trappers and outdoorsmen. This place is a trade house, of sorts, for exotic meats and animal pelts, rare flora and fauna, guides to the local region, hunting guides and so forth. This place also does taxidermy and so forth.
The Ebon Tower
A small wizard’s guild and magic school. This small guild operates much like an exclusive social club that is only open to those talented in magic. It has only has 22 members (including students). It is named after the dark grey stone from which the tower is made. The tower sits just outside of town, on a low hill overlooking the city. A single meandering trail connects the tower to the city. The Ebon Tower also sells potions and minor magic items, for those with the coin to pay. This guild was founded by Raxmandar, the wizard who helped win the Battle of Salhan Pass.
Rodan Stalidar, the Wise - Speaker of the Senate
Ustalidor is the Speaker of the Senate and, as such, is seen as the political leader of the city. His position gives him special privileges and a great deal of political sway in the Senate. He is the only Senate member to live within the Hall of the Senate and the only one to have a detachment of city militia soldiers as his personal guard. Ustalidor is a tall and lean elderly man with a clean shaven face and short, grey hair. He leans heavily on an ornate wooden cane and walks with a pronounced limp. He is self-conscious of his limp and is usually carried in a litter by his guardsmen. When standing and speaking, he often hides the cane within the folds of his robes. Ustalidor is seen as a just and fair ruler with the best interests of the city always in mind. He has many allies in the Senate who support him and, for the most part, is liked by the citizenry.
Herathea is the oldest and most respected member of the Senate. One of the few female senators, she is now 80 years old and has been a Senator for more than 40 years. She has helped craft much Salhanese policy and law during her career. She is known for being an eloquent speaker and can often sway the entire senate by the force of her reasoned debate. She wears her long grey hair in a braid down her back and often wears colorful shawls. She is soft-spoken but is known for a sharp wit that she will often unleash upon opponents on the senate floor.
Skallog the Grim, Commander of the Salhanrasha Militia
Commander Skallog is the commander of the city militia. His long face is etched in a permanent scowl and he rarely, if ever, smiles. His demeanor is likewise grim. He suffers no fools and finds no humor in life. He is a harsh task master who demands the best from himself and his men. His soldiers grudgingly admit that he works harder than any of them. Skallog has a dislike for nobles, businessmen and the like as he considers them lazy and weak. Skallog is a broad chested giant of a man with ruddy skin, a bald head and numerous scars.
Jassar Voldor, Guild Master of the Seven Stars Trade Guild
Lord Voldor is the wealthiest person in the city of Salhanrasha. A successful merchant and brilliant businessman, he has spent the last 30 years building the Seven Stars Trade Guild into the economic powerhouse that it is today. Lord Voldor is a charismatic and flamboyant man. His annual masquerade ball is the highlight of the A charismtic and flamboyant man, he
Athalia, Leader of the Ebon Tower
Athalia is a talented sorceress and the leader of the Ebon Tower wizard's guild. She has no apprentices herself, but teaches classes to all the current students. Her particular speciality is charm and enchantment spells.
|Name and Proprietor||Description|
|Parched Sands Tavern
|Tavern - This large and bustling tavern serves a wide gamut of food and drinks. It has a large selection of Padashani meals and drinks. Many of the wall decorations are also Padashani. The Parched Sands is run by a short and round Padashani with a friendly smile and a long braided beard which is now turning grey. His name is Prakesh and he is an exile from the Empire. It’s a long tale involving a love affair with a nobleman’s wife, a stolen letter and a camel race… a tale which he will regale customers with often. Before he was exiled, he was the proprietor of a tavern in the capital city named the Parched Sands Tavern. However, it was burned to the ground as part of his punishment. Prakesh has built a new Parched Sands here in the free city of Salhanrasha. In the years since, he has enthusiastically embraced his adopted home and will speak ill of the Empire every change he gets. Despite his dislike of the Empire, Prakesh is a good information source on the language, people, culture and news of the Empire. Many imperial merchants and travelers will stop here for a meal or drink. Prakesh treats people from the empire well, with one exception. On the rare occasion when imperial noblemen or government officials set foot in his bar, Prakesh will wildly overcharge them and water down their drinks. Prakesh has a tendency to adopt street urchins and runaways and give them jobs. Three of his barmaids and the stable boy are all homeless waifs who Prakesh took in. The tavern has a large fenced yard behind it where customers’ steeds can graze and wander. Both horses and camels are welcome here. Prakesh himself rides a camel. The food here is good and the prices reasonable.|
|Petyar's Boarding House
|Inn - x.|
|Name and Proprietor||Description|
|x - xx|
|x - x.|
This website was last updated March 31, 2019. Copyright 1990-2019 David M. Roomes.