Previous Menu  The Fortified City of Karoath
The Population
There are about 7,000 citizens living in Karoath City split approximately 90% human with the remaining 10% elf, dwarf, and halfling. Lifestyle is very similar to the dark ages of our own world. Taxation is high and the laws are harsh. When innocence or guilt in a crime is not obvious then a trial by combat will occur. This means that the accused must either fight the accuser (or his champion) or hire a champion to fight for his own defense. If the accused wins the fight then he is judged innocent. Each time an accused person is forced to fight in this manner, he must pay a gladiator tax. Punishment for a crime is dealt immediately after trial by combat.

  • Murder: Death (by crossbow firing squad or beheading).
  • Rape: Castration.
  • Theft: Repayment of the object or its value and one finger is cut off. If something was stolen from a guild (such as the merchants guild) then additional payment must be given to the guild.
  • Fighting Outside of an Arena: Payment must be made to the king.
  • Assault on a Karoath Soldier: Deportion from the city and a symbol is branded onto the forehead.
  • Treason: Death (more about this in the death section below).
  • Destruction of Property: Same as for theft.

3D Image of a Coin StackResidents are required to pay taxes on a regular basis. Non-residents are occasionally forced to pay taxes as well. A daily tax for the sale of goods applies to everybody.
Merchants bringing specific goods into the city must pay an import tax. Any resident that offers formal magic or combat training must give a portion of the proceeds to the military. A tax is applied to all residents whenever the military needs more funding (usually four times a year). There is also an annual residential tax.

Citizen occupations range from gravedigger to royal knight. Beggars who are discovered are instantly accosted and put to work doing whatever is needed for the military. Racial disputes are uncommon, but conflicts between income groups are frequent. Wealthy citizens isolate themselves from the lower class by building homes in the northwest side of the city.
Only the rich can afford to reside around the inner defensive wall. Since space is extremely limited inside the city, the general populace imports most of their food from nearby towns, Clawfett and Fanchester. There is, however, a small royal garden north of the keep that is reserved for the king and his aids.

There are two major holidays in the City of Karoath. First is King's Day held in midsummer. The people of Karoath gather together to celebrate and praise the king. One popular event during this holiday is the dagger dive. The Merchant Guild throws an ornate dagger into one of the city wells. Whomever successfully retrieves the dagger is granted a feast with the king, a lifelong residential or import tax relief, and the right to keep the dagger. The second holiday, held in early Autumn, is called the Ogre Festival. Citizens from all over the island gather in the city to celebrate victory from the Ogre Wars. Tournaments and dramatic plays are held consecutively for three days. Merchants sell their goods from every available space. The most famous events during this time involve gladiatorial combat against captured Ogres.

The people of Karoath have some interesting superstitions. If someone is alone and discovers a broken sword then it is believed that another person will die shortly thereafter. Spitting into water before bathing is believed to keep evil spirits away. Burning a blade of grass immediately after performing an evil deed is thought to alleviate the consequences. Finally, rubbing corn oil onto a pregant womans feet each day is believed to prevent birth defects.

Most Karoathians believe that once a person dies, the soul will remain bound to the earth until the corpse has been exposed to daylight. This belief has caused many people to have an unnatural fear of the dark. No one wants to die alone in the dark where the body can't be found. This may be part of the reason that the system of trial by combat was established. Anyone who dies from a trial is guaranteed to have their body carried into the sunlight so that their soul may be freed. The only exception to this rule is when a person is guilty of betraying the king. The punishment for this crime is to be locked away in a tiny dark room and left to rot. This means that the soul will be bound to the earth for an eternity.
Once exposed to sunlight, a body is burned and the remains are buried outside the city. This prevents reanimation of the corpse. It is considered a great honor to free an unfairly trapped soul and tremendous acts of courage have been performed for the souls of dead loved ones. In general, people believe that a deceased soul will spend eternity with whichever god most closely matches the persons moral nature.

Fantasy Dungeon Punishment Room

Of the various religions within the city, the gods Khoronus, Valerius, and Diulanna attract the greatest attention. Khoronus represents the wisdom of ages. His worshippers have been granted uncanny wisdom and knowledge of the past. They focus on teaching the lessons of time to rulers. In Karoath, these priests are usually found healing the wounded or offering advice to the populace. Valerius is a fairly new presence within the city. He promotes romance and passion. People tend to confuse this with lust and sensuality. Valerius worshippers consider this way of thinking to be heresy (except for a few rogue temples). Worship of this god has greatly increased with the end of the civil war. Diulanna embodies willpower and strong willed heroes. She is the patron deity of the king and there is a huge following throughout the city. Each Karoath Knight is a templar of this religion. They played a significant role in the expulsion of the Minroth temples from the island.

Noteworthy Personalities
King Karoath (full name Meadrin Karoath) has reigned for 15 years. The small kingdom of Karoath was inherited from his father after his death in the battle of Breakneck Fields. A massive man, Meadrin is feared and respected by his people. Long, curly dark hair and a beard frame his angular face and piercing gray eyes. He is diplomatically wise and fearsome in combat. His intuitive approach to war has saved countless lives in battle.
Meadrin has no sisters and his only brother disappeared during a raid in the Rengar Mountains. To date, he has not married and there are no heirs to the throne. Most of his time is spent training for battle and managing the kingdom. He has ruled well, but constant wars strain his ability to maintain the economic health of the island. Many advisors fear that he will eventually break down and surrender to one of the larger neighboring countries. Meadrin insists, however, that civil dissention can be corrected and individual sovereignty will be maintained.

Rewle has been Commander of the Karoathian Military ever since his predecessor retired after the Ogre Wars. He proved his worth many times in the recent civil war. Striding into battle garbed in ornate plate mail armor and swinging a magical flail, death comes swiftly to those who stand against him. He and Meadrin Karoath have been close friends ever since childhood. The two fought together on many occasions and enemies have been decimated due to thier combined prowess. He is fanatically loyal to the king and has ruthlessly pursued traitors to their death. He planned to commit suicide after discovering that his men failed to protect the king from an assasination attempt, but changed his mind when King Karoath publicly dismissed the error.

Paragrushlin is a mystery to most people. This massive gold dragon befriended the king and vigilanty patrols the northern forests. In essence, the strange creature has created a buffer zone that no invading army has successfully penetrated. Meadrin Karoath has spent considerable time conversing with the dragon and has been known to ride the beast into battle. Naturally, very few enemies have survived against the duo. It is rumored that Meadrin saved the creature from death after a fight against the legendary great dragon known as Bel-Findergast, the Fairwind Forest Wyrm.

Moonloor, high mage and advisor to the king, is rarely seen by anyone other than Meadrin Karoath. Those who have seen the man describe him as tall and thin with a long white beard, bald head, and hateful blue eyes. Most people who have spoken with Moonloor remember him by his sarcastic attitude. He was nothing but a myth until recently... surfacing in all sorts of ancient legends. Mysteriously appearing at the Royal Wizards Keep, he quickly eliminated the high mage and appointed himself to the position. Nobody dared oppose him. He helped the king with decisions during the civil war and systematically revealed important information. Moonloor's age is unknown, though many believe him to be hundreds of years old. He is the brother of a powerful magic-user named Stell, who seems to be behind most of the recent trouble on the island. Despite this revelation, Moonloor's advice continues to have merit and the king still utilizes the wizard's extensive knowledge and powerful spellcasting skills.

Fawnun is the high priest of Khoronus and the foremost advisor to the king. Old and experienced, he can heal almost any ailment. He revived the king when the Dark Diamond Thieves Guild attempted an assassination and his wisdom persuaded Meadrin Karoath to sanction the destruction of the Minroth Church. Despite his royal importance, he makes it a priority to help both peasants and nobility.

Soythia is the head of the Karoath Merchants Guild. She has light brown hair and a short upturned nose. Deep brown eyes give her a gentle appearance, but she leads with a heavy hand. She monitors all merchant activity within the city and has been granted use of city militia for settling major disputes. Preferring to take care of her own business, she hires mercenaries to handle most of the work. When a person violates guild rules, a messenger gives him a coin painted bright red. This means that the offender's presence is demanded at the guildhall. Soythia has become known as The Divine Coin because of this practice. It is rumored that she is a master of swordfighting, having learned her skills from a foreign friend.

Previous Menu