Cities and Sites of Halruaa
The population of Halruaa congregates in numerous villages and cities scattered throughout the country's interior. Most of these communities are small, cozy settlements with no more than a few hundred inhabitants each. The folk in such a village can usually rely on a wizard of at least 11th level to provide both protection and leadership. Such an individual serves as the mayor and probably also as a member of the Council of Elders.
The largest of Halruaa's urban centers is small in comparison to the great cities of most other nations, and Halruaa's cities are far less densely packed than the urban sprawls common elsewhere. The capital city of Halarahh is the largest community in Halruaa, but it boasts only about 8,000 citizens, though it easily covers enough acreage for a city twice as large. Most of the other major cities huddle along the shores of the sea, the lakes, and the rivers, though a few have grown up around the resources used in the country's leading industries - namely mining and winemaking.
Life in the cities of Halruaa is touched by magic in many ways. Quiet streets are lined with a variety of houses - some large and ostentatious, others small and modest - each of which has a few built-in magical enhancements. A favorite practice in cities along the coast is to magically coax coral to grow into "walls" to enclose homes and gardens, and streets in all parts of the country are well lit at night with light-producing spells that adjust their brightness in relation to the time of day. Even a common laborer might have a minor magic item or two at his disposal to make some part of his life or work a bit easier. Spells of cooling, cooking, and food preservation are available to everyone.
For those who can afford it, exotic magic is as much a means of decoration as a tool. Spells that produce sparkling light and pleasing sounds are often woven into fine fabrics to enhance their beauty. Strange and highly magical creatures, such as behirs, are favored as pets. Travel by means of floating carriages, carpets of flying, or skyships is common. Everywhere in Halruaa, the people take great pains to show off their abilities as well as their wealth.
Aluarim (Small Town)
Situated near the banks of the river Aluar, Aluarim (population 1,328) is well protected from potential invaders by virtue of its location in central Halruaa. The town functions primarily as a shipping center for exports from the surrounding farms. Most of the acreage of this quaint town is taken up by the produce warehouses near, the riverbanks, where the docks jut into the water. Naval traffic to and from Aluarim is steady, since it is the last stop along the northbound shipping route except for Eru in the far north.
Until about six months ago, Aluarim was the home of Rhodea Firehair (NG female human evoker 18/Halruaan elder 3), the most powerful evoker in the country. Rhodea was known for her absolute fearlessness, and she led troops into combat on several occasions.
Surprisingly, Rhodea died not in battle, but in an accident at the royal mint involving a polymorphed dragon. A short time after her tragic demise, her daughter Thalia was stabbed to death by Procopio Septus and Dhamari Exchelsor, the two wizards whose magic had caused the incident at the mint.
The tower in which Rhodea made her home has stood on the northern fringes of Aluarim since before the town existed. For reasons unknown, tradition demands that this tower always serve as the home of an evoker. Its previous occupant, one Alteb Lazin, was far less friendly with the locals than Rhodea was, though he did his part to help defend the town when necessary. The tower has been vacant since Rhodea's death, but her skyship, the Will o' Wisp, is still docked at the top.
A bizarre remnant of a civilization that predates the arrival of the Netherese, Chasolné lies on the coast of the Great Sea at the southern tip of the East Wall, close to the Bay of Pirates and Yaulazna. Two stone heads with exaggerated features have been carved out of the cliffs that border the ocean here, rising more than 500 feet above the water. Almost caricatures of human heads, these images stare out toward the ocean, flanking an open space in which a winding, narrow staircase leads up the side of the cliff from a narrow strip of handy beach. Cut directly into the rock, the stairs ascend for more than a quarter-mile above sea level to a well-hidden outcropping that also faces the sea.
Atop this rocky ledge are some crumbled and tumbling ruins, plus a large stone table - possibly an altar - carved with bizarre sea life and odd-looking ocean vessels. Flanking this table are two wide, shallow, stone bowls, their interiors blackened from oil fires. Set back into the cliff face to the rear of the outcropping are two sets of columns that flank the mouth of a tunnel, which opens into a large; high-domed chamber with no other apparent exits. More than a few adventurers have visited this site in hopes of discovering more about the area and finding any hidden treasures that might lie inside.
Galdel (Large Town)
Galdel, a cozy community of about 3,200 people, lies on the south side of Lake Halruaa. Its primary claim to fame is its population of electrumsmiths. A dozen or so highly sought-after artisans make their homes here, alloying gold and silver into the metal known as electrum and fashioning fine art objects, rings, wands, and weapons from it. Among these artisans is a dwarf craftsman named Boronuil Ironfist (LN male gold dwarf fighter 4/expert 13), who is considered by many to be the best in the business. If the customer can afford it, Boronuil can craft custom-made items from gold, silver, or electrum for magical enhancement. He charges quadruple standard rates and has a waiting list of two years or more.
Halagard (Small city)
With about 7,500 residents, Halagard is second only to Halarahh in population. Situated at the mouth of the Hselagard Channel on the Bay of Halruaa, the city boasts a sizable fishing fleet. The Bay of Halruaa is both a safe harbor and a productive fishing area, and fish is one of Halagard's major exports. About two-thirds of the fish taken from the bay go inland to feed the rest of the nation, and the other third is smoked or salted and packaged for shipping to distant lands.
For many years, Halagard served as the capital of Halruaa, but a little more than a century ago, Zalathorm called the Council of Elders to vote on moving the capital inland, where it would be safer from potential invaders as well as the encroaching danger of Akhlaur Swamp. The vote was close, with a strong bloc led by the mayor of Halagard dissenting, but the measure passed, and the citizens of Halagard have never forgiven the wizard-king for this embarrassing slight. Despite the change, some residents of Halagard still think of themselves as the true bearers of the Halruaan spirit. In keeping with their stand against newfangled Halarahhan fashions (a means by which they silently protest their beloved city's demotion), wizards of Halagard generally specialize in conjuration or evocation rather than divination.
The current mayor of Halagard is Eledric Omanrys (LN male human conjurer 14/Halruaan elder 2), who is also a rather influential member of the Council of Elders. A conjurer of no small talent, Eledric is very fond of apprentices and counselors, so he makes a practice of surrounding himself with numerous conjurers-in-training and Jordaini advisors. The lives of his apprentices are not easy; he works them hard and expects a great deal from them. Despite his reputation as a difficult master, however, he never lacks applicants to fill vacancies on his staff, since he is one of the most powerful conjurers in the land.
Twelve other elders also live in Halagard. The number of elders in residence briefly swelled after the capital moved, but the reason was clear: As the swamp to the west crawled inexorably closer to the outskirts of the city, the dangers it sheltered became more obvious. The situation had to be dealt with quickly to prevent Halagard from being swallowed up in the morass of wetlands. To that end, several prominent wizards moved to Halagard to study the swamp's progress and research ways of thwarting the encroachment. Still others came merely to provide some defense against the dangerous creatures wandering out of the swamp. Now that the portal to the Elemental Plane of Water within the swamp has been closed, most of the wizards who came to study the phenomenon have left, but a few, finding the city to their liking, remained.
Halarahh (Small City)
The seat of Zalathorm's power, Halarahh has a population just slightly above 8,000, making it the largest city in Halruaa. This wide, sprawling town is situated on the northern banks of Lake Halruaa, at the mouth of the river Halar. The city boasts lots of expansive public places for strolling, oratory, and celebrations.
Fully three thousand of the capital city's inhabitants, including seventeen members of the Council of Elders, are practicing wizards, giving Halarahh the largest concentration of magical prowess anywhere outside Thay. Hundreds of wizard's towers - lofty edifices built of colorful coral, stone, crystal, and magical force - dominate the skyline, jutting upward from an otherwise low-slung city profile. In past decades, each wizard tried to outdo his rivals by building the highest tower with the grandest and most breathtaking view of the countryside around the city. Eventually, however, the risks to both towers and skyships forced Zalathorm to actively discourage this "tower war," and the mad building spree halted. In hopes of currying Zalathorm's favor, some wizards have actually reduced the height of their towers, making the skies that much safer for skyships.
Because of its high concentration of wizards and the fact that the wizard-king and his council conduct business here, Halarahh is a difficult place for those not gifted in the Art to live. In all walks of life, favorable treatment and promotions come to those who have the spark but elude those who lack magical aptitude. The obvious exceptions to this rule are the Jordaini. These magically immune counselors vie for positions and prestige alongside their wizardly patrons in the never-ending game of politics that is Zalathorm's court. Though they cannot partake of the vast wealth - both fiscal and magical - that is available to so many others in the city, their stature in the eyes of everyone from the wizard-king down to the lowliest street urchin is affluence enough for them.
Near the Netyatch's Palace in the heart of the city lies Arbor Square, an expanse of parks, rivers, pavilions, and gazebos designed for strolling, chatting, or orating. A wide variety of temperate to tropical trees, many of which are flowering or fruit-bearing, fills the square. Vine-covered trellises create spaces for private conversations, and bridges span man-made canal-rivers, giving Arbor Square the feel of a vast, perfectly manicured garden. Along the periphery, vendors sell wares ranging from edible treats and beverages to magic trinkets such as cooling caps (hats with minor chilling spells cast upon them) and dazzle stones (pretty colored rocks enspelled with cantrips to make them blink or spark.)
The citizens of Halarahh come to Arbor Square regularly to converse, debate, or listen to passionate orations. Anyone is free to step onto a platform and begin pontificating on whatever subject most concerns him, but a few well-known speakers always draw the largest crowds. Some of the liveliest debates that have led to policy changes for the nation began as passionate speeches in Arbor Square.
As with other Halruaan cities, much of Halarahh has grown up along the shoreline. Its docks, however, are not the tight, noisy causeways abutted by closely packed warehouses that are standard for Faerûn's port cities. Instead, its broad docks quickly give way to an open park known as Dockside Square. This open plaza is paved in colored stone, and large trees provide good quantities of shade for strolling and chatting. Interspersed among the trees are numerous pavilions with brightly colored awnings.
Dockside Square is the customary site for just about every festival and fair that takes place in the city. In the spring, when the Queen's Regatta is held over Lake Halruaa, crowds gather in Dockside Square to witness the spectacle and hopefully gain a bit of the scatted fortune dust that floats down during the traditional light shows. In the summer, the square hosts numerous monster fairs in which exhibitors offer their latest catches from all over Faerûn. Wizards interested in procuring fashionable pets, preparing new culinary delights, or simply restocking consumed spell components flock to these events to examine the wares. As one Durpari merchant said upon visiting Halarahh during a monster fair, "If you can eat it, cage it, put it on a leash, or chop it up for parts, like as not it'll be there."
The Ice House
In a low-slung building near the docks, numerous journeymen wizards are hard at work each day, using their magic to generate huge quantities of ice. Once created, the ice is promptly segmented into blocks, wrapped in insulating cloth, and delivered all over the city to those who can afford the luxury and to those who can't operate their businesses without it.
Because the manpower needed to create so much frozen water is extraordinary, even by wizard standards, the possibility of securing a steady source of ice by creating a portal to the Ice Wastes in the Abyss has recently been under discussion. The cost savings in magic would be immense and immediately felt, but the potential dangers of such an option have thus far kept the proposal bottled up in committee among the elders of the council.
The Netyarch's Palace
Even in Halarahh, where wizards who mix magic with architecture vie with one another to create the grandest homes, the Netyarch's Palace is more dazzling than any other edifice. The sprawling structure is a masterpiece of architecture that features soaring spires connected by causeways seemingly suspended in thin air. Large facings and supports made of transparent material - or sometimes magical force - give the whole building an open, airy feel.
Inside, the heavy-handed use of magic borders on the frivolous. Every room is decorated with a liberal sprinkling of magical enhancements. A night sky, an ocean-caressed beach at dusk, and an otherworldly scene of glowing flora from the distant Underdark are among the many lighted displays designed to resemble majestic outdoor scenes. Various chambers have been built to showcase the more interesting properties of sound, and the hallways are filled with magic constructs designed to frighten, delight, and awe the viewer. Life-sized mechanical dragons, complete with misty vapors issuing from their mouths, crouch in niches along the wide corridors, and specially created display cases filled with living, breathing, miniaturized versions of real creatures form dividing walls between rooms. Deep within the heart of the palace, a few special rooms illuminated with artificial sunlight feature thick rain forests populated by colored birds, snakes, and tree frogs.
But not all the magic in the wizard-king's grand home is for show. The entire place is warded with untold varieties of protective magic designed to prevent entry by thieves and assassins, and to keep treasures safe. Several wings of the palace are strictly forbidden to visitors because they are replete with deadly symbols, animated guardians, and binding magic intended to destroy trespassers rather than just thwarting them.
One of the most fashionable and enjoyable pastimes for the citizens of Halarahh is to see and be seen strolling the Promenade, especially at dusk. The Promenade is a wide walkway that runs along the tops of the city walls, which for the most part are ceremonial rather than functional, anyway. The path can be reached via several sets of wide marble stairs, making it readily accessible to the citizens. Every evening, hundreds of the city's well-to-do venture forth dressed in their best finery (which often bears magical enhancements) and perhaps walking their favorite Halruaan behir or other pet. These folk have made a game of seeing whether they can outdo one another, but simply being part of the crowd is the most important consideration.
Along the very southern coast of Halruaa, on a peninsula that juts out into the Bay of Taertal, a large, sprawling complex looks out over the Great Sea. This walled compound is House Jordain, home of the order that trains and indoctrinates all the magic-resistant counselors known as Jordaini. House Jordain boasts enough acreage to support large gardens and numerous fields of crops, plus provide plenty of open land for grazing herd beasts. In the center of the grounds stand several buildings that house barracks, a kitchen and dining hall, classrooms, and combat training facilities for the aspiring Jordaini who live there. Like other major plantations and ranches, House Jordain is entirety self-sufficient, though it maintains trade relations with the nearby city of Khaerbaal anyway, so as to acquire trade goods its residents cannot produce themselves.
Not just anyone can come to House Jordain to learn the ways of the magic-resistant Jordaini; its recruits are literally bred for the task. Divination spells select parents that can provide the proper genetic makeup, and special elixirs ensure that the newborns resulting from such planned pairings have, an uncommonly powerful innate resistance to magic. Once a Jordaini is born and determined to be an appropriate candidate, every detail of his life is carefully planned out by the hierarchy of House Jordain.
House Jordain serves as home not only to aspiring Jordaini but also to numerous wizards who serve as instructors and trainers. Each day, they present the Jordaini with a wide variety of magical challenges, honing their charges to physical and mental perfection. At the same time, they use other spells to teach the young Jordaini how to retain knowledge and become indispensable to their future patrons.
Khaefbaal (small city)
On the southern coast, sheltered in the Bay of Taertal, lies the city of Khaerbaal. Like most of Halruaa's settlements, Khaerbaal is open, airy, and filled with wide avenues, parks, and plazas, though it is undeniably rougher around the edges than most of its sister communities.
One of only two bases for the small Halruaan navy, Khaerbaal has about fifteen seafaring ships and six skyships in residence. The navy's principal fortified base and construction docks are on the isle of Rulasuu, which lies just off Khaerbaal's coast. Since Rulasuu has. no real city - just a military fortification and the accompanying docks - most of the sailors based there take shore leave in Khaerbaal. The unusually large number of inns and taverns that have sprung up to handle this trade make Khaerbaal a rather wild town.
In addition to serving as a military post, Khaerbaal also functions as a trading center for the southwestern section of the country. Merchant ships whose captains don't wish to make the trip all the way up the mouth of the bay into Lake Halruaa come to Khaeibaal instead. The prices here are nearly as good as those in the interior, and merchants can shave several days off their travels by trading here. Most of the people in Khaerbaal who aren't wizards or military personnel are merchants who represent all the local villages and farms of the region.
Khaerbaal is governed by Grozalum (N male human illusionist 16/Halruaan elder 2), the leading elder of the city, though he is rarely present. Grozalum prefers to spend his time at the netyarch's court in Halarahh, hoping to curry favor and funding for his endless series of magical research projects. In his absence, he leaves the affairs of the city to the naval officers, who have to spend as much time keeping their own troops in line as enforcing the law. Such ah arrangement has naturally led to no small amount of resentment among the officers, who feel that their time and resources are stretched too thin. Thus far, however, the citizens of Khaerbaal have been disinclined to make a change because they are quite happy with only a small governmental presence.
Perhaps the single most significant feature of Khaerbaal other than its military fleet is the spacious park in the center of the city, where several great bilboa trees grow. These gigantic trees tower high above all the buildings, and experts claim that this great size is almost certainly due to magical influence. The radius of a bilboa tree's top can easily reach 100 feet, creating a self-contained world within its foliage. Transients and vermin often nest in the hollows of the great bilboa trees, creating settlements similar to the slums in other cities of Faerûn.
Deep within the foothills of the East Wall sits Maeruhal, the settlement closest to the nation's gold mines. Little more than a rough-and-tumble mining town, Maeruhal is filled with folk who dig for gold by day and carouse in the evenings. The merchants who cater to the miners expect a raucous crowd in the evenings, and they strive to offer goods and services than appease their patrons while minimizing brawls and riots. Plenty of bards and musicians make their way to Maeruhal, as do courtesans of every persuasion and interest. Gambling halls occupy every street corner, and some wizards (particularly illusionists) have made small fortunes offering magical entertainments and shows for the locals to enjoy.
Despite its rough reputation, Macruhal is not completely lawless. Two companies of dwarf mercenaries, the Righteous Hammers and the Golden Shield, have agreed to enforce the peace on behalf of the handful of elders who call the town home. Just as gruff and rowdy as the rest of the folk, these troops bash a few heads when the need arises and brook no nonsense from anyone. In general, however, they keep the place quiet enough that outsiders aren't afraid to visit.
Each of the elders living here has a skyship, though they have little use for such ostentatious items other than personal prestige and enjoyment. Some of the more rambunctious locals occasionally try to swipe one of the flying vessels and take it for a joyride, so the wizards have had to employ creative security measures to dissuade theft without harming the miscreants.
Macruhal (Village): Conventional; AL NG; 200 gp limit; Assets 6,340 gp; Population 693; Mixed (human 83%, dwarf 8%, half-elf 5'%, elf 2%, halfling 2%).
Authority Figures: Mayor Rinlin Pulgro (NG male human evoker 14/Halruaan elder 2).
Important Characters: Kelvrim Errowd (LN male human diviner 11/Halruaan elder 1), Dobyo Flurrig (NG male human abjurer 12/Halruaan elder 2), Inyda Lauz (LG female human diviner 12/Halruaan elder 4), and Drindos Bez-Mont (N male human evoker 13/Halruaan elder 2), members of the Halruaan Council of Elders; Branwig Forkbeard (LN male gold dwarf fighter 13), leader of the Righteous Hammers mercenary company; Holper Stoutshield (LN male gold dwarf fighter 9/giant-killer 6), leader of the Golden Shield mercenaries; Dreela Fallstatter (NG female half-elf expert 14), proprietor of the Winsome Wyvern festhall and gambling parlor.
Righteous Hammers Mercenaries: Cleric 5, cleric 2, fighter 9, fighter 7(2), fighter 6, fighter 4 (3), ranger 8, ranger 4 (2), sorcerer 6, warrior 4 (3), warrior 3 (2), warrior 2 (2).
Golden Shield Mercenaries: Barbarian 4, bard 7, cleric 6/fighter 4, cleric 3, fighter 8, fighter 6, fighter 5 (3), fighter 2 (3), ranger 6, ranger 3, rogue 7, rogue 3 (2), warrior 5 (3), warrior 4 (3), warrior 3 (5), wizard 6/fighter 5.
Other Characters: Aristocrat 3, aristocrat 1 (4), barbarian 1, bard 6, bard 5, bard 4 (2), bard 2 (3), bard 1 (2), cleric 3, cleric 2, cleric 1 (2), commoner 10, commoner 9, commoner 8, commoner 7(2), commoner 6(4), commoner 5 (3), commoner 4(5), commoner 3 (4), commoner 2 (8), commoner 1 (396), expert 6, expert 5 (3), expert 4 (3), expert 3 (5), expert 2 (8), expert 1 (13), fighter 7, fighter 5 (2), fighter 4 (2), fighter 3 (5), fighter 2 (6), fighter 1 (13), monk 1, paladin 2, ranger 2, rogue 7(2), rogue 6 (2), rogue 5, rogue 4 (3), rogue 3, rogue 2 (4), rogue 1 (7), sorcerer 1, warrior 4, warrior 3 (2), warrior 2 (3), warrior 1 (22), wizard 11, wizard 9 (3), wizard 8, wizard 7 (2), wizard 6 (4), wizard 5(7), wizard 4 (10), wizard 3 (12), wizard 2 (17), wizard 1 (19).
Mount Talath (small Town)
Considered by some to be the center of magic in Halruaa, Mount Talath is a small town located high on the slopes of one of the tallest mountains in the Walls. The town is really nothing more than a series of houses for the folk who work in the high temple to Mystra carved into the mountainside.
The high priestess of the temple is Greila Sontoin (LN female human cleric 20 of Mystra), who is said to have gained unearthly wisdom and insight into all things magical through both her own magic and the favor of Mystra. Though Greila is very old and seldom leaves the temple anymore, she is still capable of powerful magic, and she could be a formidable challenger to Zalathorm should the two ever cross one another. Fortunately, the wizard-king and the high priestess are on good terms and communicate regularly because each trusts the other's judgment about most issues.
The Temple of Mystra is a magnificent structure with soaring spires that seem impossibly tall alongside the steep mountain slope. Like the grand towers of the wizards in the cities below, the temple is built primarily of stout stone, but it also includes crystalline walls and permanent walls of force. Anyone wishing to pay homage to the Mistress of Magic may enter here to worship, but those who come expecting to get their hands on unique spells or magic items are invariably disappointed. All items of true value are kept behind and beneath the temple proper, in a huge cavern complex designed to store centuries of magical knowledge safely.
Gaining access to the temple storerooms is no easy matter. Visitors who wish to enter the storehalls must undergo a rigorous series of magical screenings. Those who pass muster are admitted, but the depth to which any particular individual may roam is strictly defined, and the temple staff might require the visitor to be escorted while inside. A member of the Council of Elders is permitted access to almost every section, but other natives of Halruaa are restricted to the more mundane areas. Visitors to the country can only scratch the proverbial surface, and each must pay a ridiculously high fee to gain access at any level. Travelers who return to their native lands from a trip to the temple at Mount Talath often speak of its wondrous libraries, not realizing that they have not seen a third of its treasures.
Despite the best efforts of the priests, thieves and spies occasionally gain entrance, but ample abjuration magic is always in place to deal with such intruders. Many are not found for several days after they have been fried, frozen, or partially disintegrated.
The complex has some degree of organization - visitors can usually locate any desired piece of magical knowledge with no more than five or six years' worth of diligent research. Halruaan wizards pride themselves on their ability to track down the information they need in Talath's caverns, and some diviners have actually devoted their lives to the goal of devising new spells expressly for speeding that process. In the end, though, no one in all Halruaa - except perhaps a lich or two with knowledge of such matters - has any real idea just how vast the body of information within Mount Talath is.
The fortress of Talathgard sits in the bottom of the pass at the base of Mount Talath. The military force stationed here is charged with guarding the path that leads to the settlement of Mount Talath and the entrance to the High Temple of Mystra near the mountain's summit.
Talathgard is staffed with an elite, 200-member force of potent wizards and battle-hardened warriors. No wizard of Halruaa is foolishly prideful enough to believe that such defenses can keep out every creature intent on gaining entrance to the temple or the cavern complex behind it, but the force does deter most potential threats. Ninety percent of the prowlers are chased off before they get beyond the gates of Talathgard; the other ten percent know better then to come at the temple from the front road anyway.
In addition to serving as a gatehouse for the temple, Talathgard also provides a first line of defense for Talath Pass, which connects Halruaa with Lapaliiya - a nation with which the wizards of Halruaa have squabbled in the past.
Yaulazna (Bay of Pirates) (Hamlet)
Hidden deep within the inlet known as the Bay of Pirates, the secret shantytown of Yaulazna serves as a refuge and hangout for many of the pirates who ply the waters along the coast of the Great Sea. Half of this hamlet lies on shore; the other half on a floating platform composed of derelict ships that have been lashed together. The landbound portion was built on a much older site - a collection of ancient foundations and odd stone columns dating from the same time and culture as the ruins at Chasolné. Numerous tunnels, warrens, and chambers honeycomb the ground beneath and behind the shantytown, where the mountains rise up from the ocean.
Unlike Purl to the east, Yaulazna has a strong central authority figure - the legendary Pirate King Yargo (LE male lightfoot halfling rogue 9/Great Sea corsair 8). Yargo considers himself the owner of Yaulazna, and for all intents and purposes, he is right. He maintains iron-fisted control of the community, and he has the hired muscle to back up his word. But despite his authoritarian nature, most of the pirates welcome Yargo's authority in Yaulazna.
First and foremost, Yargo provides pirates with a suitable place to hide when either the law or a rival is hot on his trail. The Pirate King couldn't care, less what a pirate does on, the high seas. As long as he minds his manners while in port, he's free from persecution or retribution.
Second, Yargo happily resolves disputes between feuding corsairs who come before him. His one stipulation is that anyone who chooses to submit to his counsel must abide by his decision or never be welcomed back in Yaulazna again.
Third, Yargo maintains a standing offer that anyone wishing to store plunder can keep it safely in the caverns beneath the town for as long as desired, so long as Yargo gets ten percent of its total value, payable upon placing the goods in storage. The Pirate King has demonstrated his own trustworthiness on so many occasions that most of the pirates feel comfortable taking him up on his offer, and an astonishing amount of booty is hidden in the network of chambers underground. Once in a while, a rogue pirate sneers at the thought of handing his treasure over to Yargo for safekeeping, but the Pirate King never has to defend his practice. Almost every other pirate in town quickly speaks up on Yargo's behalf when such a situation occurs.
An outsider might find it somewhat surprising that the navies of the coastal countries have made no effort to shut down Yaulazna, but Yargo has planned for such a contingency. In fact, both Halruaa and Dambrath have tried several times to sail an armada into the Bay of Pirates and burn the shantytown to the ground, but each time ships have arrived, their crews have found nothing to put to torch - as if the whole place had simply vanished. This impression is actually not far removed from the truth. Yargo has a powerful friend - a renegade wizard from Halruaa named Zuusted Nimderval (NE male human conjurer 20), who has developed a variation on the plane shift spell that actually causes the entire shantytown to vanish to another plane temporarily. For security, Yargo simply posts watches near the entrance to the bay and higher up the sides of the mountain (to watch for skyships), and Zuusted uses magical means to detect scrying spells and creatures trying to approach with magical stealth. At the first sign of trouble, the shantytown and everyone in it shifts away until the heat is off. Yargo uses a good portion of the money that pirates pay him for storing their treasure to keep Zuusted happy.
Yaulazna (Hamlet): Conventional; AL LE; 30,000 gp limit; Assets 9,000,000 gp; Population varies (about 180), averages 300; Integrated (human 37%, halfling 23%, half-elf 13%, half-drow 9%, half-orc 7%, elf 5%, tiefling 4%, other 2%).
Authority Figures: Yargo (LE male lightfoot halfling rogue 9/Great Sea corsair 8), the Pirate King of Yaulazna.
Important Characters: Zuusted Nimderval (NE male human conjurer 20), Yargo's right-hand man; Cam Beely (NE male human rogue 7/Great Sea corsair 4), captain of the Starsnake and formal rival of Yargo; Ly'stri Faerow (CE female half-drow rogue 4/fighter 7/Great Sea corsair 8), captain of the Black Widow and considered the most notorious pirate on the Great Sea; Wamdra Brooling (N female human rogue 3/expert 14), former courtesan of Calimport and proprietor of the Purple Genie tavern and hostel.
Targo's Butchers: Bard 5/sorcerer 8, cleric 9, fighter 10, fighter 7, fighter 6(3), monk 12, rogue 15, rogue 12(2), rogue 6/sorcerer 5, rogue 9, rogue 8 (3), rogue 7, rogue 5 (2), sorcerer 7, wizard 13, wizard 8, wizard 7 (2).
Ships' Crews: At any given time, 1d6+4 ships are in port. Each has a captain with character level 8th - 12th (usually a rogue or fighter with several levels of Great Sea corsair), plus 2d20 fighters, rogues, experts, and warriors of 1st to 10th level.
Other Characters: Barbarian 1, bard 3, bard 1 (2), commoner 7, commoner 6, commoner 5 (2), commoner 4(3), commoner 2 (7), commoner 1 (18), expert 6, expert 5(3), expert 4 (3), expert 3(2), expert 1 (2), fighter 6, fighter 5(3), fighter 4 (7), fighter 3(8), fighter 2 (11), fighter 1 (13), rogue 3, rogue 2 (4), rogue 1 (7), sorcerer 2, sorcerer 1, warrior 3, warrior 2 (5), warrior 1 (8), wizard 1.
Zalazuu (Large Town)
Zalazuu, located on the Bay of Azuth, is a large town of nearly 5,000 people that serves as the main trading center for the south-eastern portion of Halruaa. Like Khaerbaal, Zalazun functions as an urban getaway for a nearby Halruaan naval base. Almost 2,000 military troops and nearly twenty warships (both seagoing vessels and skyships) are stationed at Fort Zalazuu, a large walled fortress located just outside the town.
Lailuu Gyrrite (LG female human cleric 19 of Mystra) rules Zalazuu, but she is more concerned with defending Halruaa than ruling the city. She leaves the day-to-day administration of the town to a bureaucracy of petty clerks and officials that has become more massive and unwieldy with each passing year. Most of these civil servants have little or no skill with magic, but they have managed to elevate their own importance (and thus, preserve their job security in a nation predisposed to favor wizards) by creating a tangle of forms, procedures, and regulations that no one else understands. As a result, trade in this port of call is less lucrative than it could be, simply because most merchants know it's easier to conduct business in other Halruaan cities. Despite the extra travel time, most of them believe it's better to sail up the channel than to stop in Zalazuu.
The Kilmaruu Swamp
Just east of the town of Zalazuu lies the Kilmaruu Swamp. Though slightly less famous than Akhlaur Swamp near Halagard, it is still a fetid, dangerous spot and a threat to those who live nearby. In fact, this bog is part of the reason that the Halruaan navy has based so many of its vehicles and troops in Zalazuu.
Somewhere in the middle of the swamp lies a ruined city. Few have managed to reach the ruins and return with any details, but those who did come back revealed that the city was built by elves before the swamp existed. For reasons unknown, a trio of powerful Halruaan wizards diverted a river that normally flowed into the Bay of Azuth and flooded the elf community. The elves attempted to battle the wizards, hoping to drive them away so that they could restore the river to its normal course, but, they could not prevail. Their community was destroyed, and the slain elves rose as undead creatures. Their festering negative energy eventually pervaded the entire swamp, saturating it with foul diseases, twisted and corrupted creatures, and still more undead.
Soldiers and adventurers alike have tried time and again to rid the swamp of this foul pestilence, but until recently, almost every effort served only to make the swamp more deadly. To quote a common Zalazuu expression, "The swamp helps keep the number of fools in town low." A few months ago, however, the magehound Kiva took a group of Jordaini into the swamp and destroyed the green sphere (an artifact created by the necromancer Akhlaur) that had been responsible for their creation. Ever since, the number of undead creatures in the swamp has been shrinking rapidly. Now that their reign of terror has ended, more mages and other adventurers have started to search the ruins, hoping to recover the lost treasures of the elves.
Heroes and Monsters
Most characters who hail from Halruaa are human, though a hero of some other race could easily originate in that country. A gold dwarf, for example, might be the offspring of gold miners in the eastern mountains or craftsfolk from any of a dozen cities that export fine jewelry or items destined for magical enhancement. An elf or half-elf could be the child of one of the elf wizards on the Council of Elders. In addition, a few halflings from nearby Luiren have migrated to the coastal cities over the centuries, finding urban life in a land of wizards to be interesting and filled with opportunity.
Since wizards are especially abundant in Halruaa, any wizard character could easily hail from that nation. Bards are also common, though most have heard more than a few snickers about their "parlor magic." Sorcerers are not unknown in Halruaa, but they are exceedingly rare, and many take up adventuring to leave a life of suspicion and persecution behind. Priests of the deities of magic and spellcasting are common enough in Halruaa, but those devoted to other deities are almost nonexistent. Druids and rangers are more common in the rural sections of the countryside - particularly on or near the mountains - than they are in the cities. A few monks have trained in the temples dedicated to the deities of magic, and an occasional paladin champions an esoteric cause, but neither class is prevalent in Halruaa. Likewise, rogues and barbarians are exceedingly rare.
Few monsters roam Halruaa, primarily because its citizens have taken such careful pains to ensure that their home remains free of such threats. However, adventurers are likely to find a few monstrous creatures between the Walls, including the beguiler, the Halruaan behir, the laraken, and the starsnake. Other creatures - typically those with the strength and endurance to find their way across the mountains - include dragons, lizardfolk, werebeasts, summoned creatures, and yuan-ti.