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Rappan Athuk

Known as The Southern Gate-Way, this enthralling, exotic and sometimes dangerous city is literarily built around a gate way to the Desolate Desert and the Southern Continent, home of the Elam Genasi Empires.  This heavily fortified city is the last visage of humanity before opening up to the an immense barren waste land riddled with horrors unleashed from the war.  Brave travelers who seek this city after traveling the deserts speak of huge black obelisks that spew forth demons of all kinds. They also speak of desolated ruins which hold unimaginable treasures.  One of the most talked about legends is the Great Wyrms Rest. A loan outcropping of rock that supposedly hides the power of an immense creature inside of it.

Before the Devastation the city was a great dwarven capital that was literally carved out of the Terran Pass Mountains.  The dwarves carved a huge pathway from one side of the mountain range to the other.  From within this passage many doorways and passageways led to the lower levels of the city and deeper mines below. During the Great War the city was abandoned. Many hundreds of years later as the trade routes were being established the abandoned city was discovered and trade began to form around it as it become a popular resting spot for weary travelers and traders in the area. Over time a city reamerged redesigned as a great trade city.   Translated as the Gate of the South, this city is literally built up around a giant gate.  The city is also known as the city of trade and the city of pleasures. One could get easily lost in its winding back streets or huge sprawling bazaars. All trade from the southern continent and northern continent meet here in this city. Many southerners fear heading north due to the rampant rumors of marauding bands of other worldly creatures.  The city taxes and fines merchants and traders and travelers heavily and has become a powerful and rich city.  Anything can be bought sold or traded here. Drugs, herbs, crystals, slaves, animals, troops, weapons, foodstuffs, textiles, armor, metal, precious gems, antiquities, etc. 

Many of the side passages and doorways have been sealed for safety to keep travelers veering off course when traveling through the gate.

The most unique feature of the city is that it fronts two sides of a mountain range that is over 15 miles wide.  Rappan Athuk is actually two separate cities that are magically joined as is the gateway passage.  Within the city the only noticeable evidence of the separation is a thin line of mithral metal surrounded by runes  that traverses all levels of the city.  Other then that you can see into the other side of the city and move freely between both sides without much notice.

The city is ruled by a mysterious figure known only as the Quasit or Queen. She does not appear in public an is rumored to be an Off Worlder of immense power possibly jinni or efreet.  It is said that she is amazingly beautiful , and prefers the company of woman to men and her loyal guard is comprised of all woman. 

The city is filled with guilds who perform many functions of trade, business, research of the arcane and divine, and gathering information.  Information is very important to many within the city.  As guilds via for power over each other.  Secrets, espionage and black mail are common to secure positions of power within these guilds and secure trade arrangements. These guilds are very powerful self entities in the city.  They pay a high price for the autonomy as the city taxes them well. As long as they do not create any problems the city leaves them alone.  Access to the black market is easy here, rumor has it that it canbe gained through the Obsidian guild. There is a tremendous amount of wheeling and dealing both legal and underground that goes on between the guilds.

The two halves of the city are often referenced to Rappan-Athuk for the first half that faces the Northern continent and the 2nd  city Rappan-Duva for the half that faces south. 
Athuk is Genasi for north and Duva for south.

A secret Omni Magic Onclave exists in Rappun-Duva with ships that can travel beyond Ilysador.

Law enforcement in the city is very harsh.  There are no prisons in the city.  Burden of proof is put upon the accuser.  The city guard is numerous.  Usually they travel in bands of 6-10 men lead by a judicator.  The judicator makes the main decisions of who to arrest or does the main investigating.  If the judicator can not resolve the situation then a justicer is brought in. The justicier will collect all evidence and facts and bring the situation before a panel of 10 other justiciers. They will then decide. Witnesses can be brought in for questioning and testimony.  Most crimes are levied a fine.  If the fine can not be paid then the individual is sold.  If the crime warrants it a sentence of death may be given.  There are no prisons in the city, criminals are either fined, sold or put to death.  They say the main law in this city is do what you will, just do not get caught. 

All law enforcement report to sentinels.  They are the eyes and ears of the Quasit and are all female.  Nothing happens in the city without her knowing about it and many times she covertly decides who makes out in a deal and who does not.  If she favors a guild house then they just may make a very nice deal that year, or if a guild is out of favor with her they may have a tough time surviving.  No one knows for sure when she maybe involved or not, but several people know how she works and can tell.

Night life in the city is abundant.  Their many taverns, clubs both private and public where one can go to have a drink, listen to local bards, gamble, find pleasure for the night at a salon,  get the latest drug at a den, or be mesmerized by arcane workings at some of the hotter spots, known as Gatherings.  At these gatherings a combination of music and arcane illusion is employed to create surreal environments for guests to enjoy or dance to.  These Gatherings have become immensely popular and now ones with themes have become common, with names like Pandemonium, The Abyss, Gilded Cage, Mithral’s Edge.

The general population of the city is very mixed. Only half the populace is human. The rest is a mixture of off worlder, outer planar, and other races native to the world.  Tolerance off other races is very good as you never who your next big deal will come from.  Though there is some racial tension in the city, the harsh laws keep outbursts to a minimum and many are just simply trying to make there way in the city.

The Gate Way is a marvel of engineering and magic.  The gate itself is protected by a powerful psionic device that was usurped from the Eliquin kingdom some time ago.  Though they never lay claim to the fact as they themselves do not claim to have such a device but in reality it is what they used to save themselves in the great cataclysm.  The force field can be activated instantaneously by telepathic signal from the guards below who check each person either traveling into the city or through the gate.  Standard questions are asked such as trade papers, purpose for traveling or what goods are being brought in.  If the entering parties seem suspicious they are directed to a secondary search station where other guards check to make sure everything is as it seems. Even in this way tremendous amounts of items are smuggled into the city.  Each person traveling through the gate or entering the city must pay a tax or fee of 1gp.  People bringing wears to sell are charged more depending on how many items and their quality. The more precious the items the more it is taxed.  The city gate operates 24 hours a day , 7 days a week.  Unless during a magic / psi storm.  At this point the gates are closed until the storm passes.  If the force field must be activated,  a guards telepathically signals the bridge which is just above the doorway and the force field activates and bares any from moving past.  The field takes up the whole corridor of the gateway and anyone stuck in the field when it activates is immediately frozen in place.  No magical casting can undo it such as freedom of movement.  They must immediately make a will save dc20 or pass out.  The fine for trying to run the gateway is very steep. 

Taxes fuel the city’s economy.  Everything is taxed, food , goods, buildings, businesses. Even having a run with the law comes with a fee. Though things are never over burdened with tax. The main point is to keep the city going and overburdening lower commerce with high taxes does not help that.  The little guy the street merchants and tradesmen usually are taxed very lightly and it is rarely enforced.  The heavy taxes come in with the guilds  and they are upheld.  Not paying taxes is almost like spiting  on the hospitality of the Quasit. She allows you to share her city with you.