A Faction Primer
Welcome to Callashar, City of Magnificence! We’ve really gotten on top of things these last hundred years or so. Trade is up, the crime rate is down, and the wars between the guilds, the church, and the tower are all in the past. The Orcish nation behind the Great Wall trades with the rest of the world through us, and we are one of the most powerful centers of learning on the continent! While you are members of Callashar Intelligence, your duty will be to investigate crimes, keep the peace, and preserve the life and profitability of the citizens of the city-state.
Organizations of Note
The town guard of Callashar, which is run by the guilds, exists solely to stop outbreaks of violence and to make sure incoming goods are right and properly taxed. They don’t investigate crap. So the ruling factions decided to create a group with a bit more brains and a defter hand to keep their city from falling apart. High level Intelligence officers are appointed by the senior members of the ruling factions and work in secret. No one knows their names, or what they do, or how they do it. Low level Intelligence officers (that’s you) are empowered to conduct small scale investigations into problems that might affect the smooth running of Callashar. It is known that each of the ruling factions has their own intelligence services, but details are not available.
As the preeminent home of Arcane power in Callashar, The Tower once thought themselves to be the rightful rulers of Callashar, based entirely upon their ability to throw fireballs at people. Some suspect that this is because they were being ruled by a sorcerer instead of a wizard at the time. The guilds took exception to this, and the tower soon discovered that a sleeping wizard < a rogue stabbing the hell out of you. Callashar was nearly burned to the ground repeatedly while the Guilds and the Tower did their best to destroy one another. After numerous fatalities on either side, they decided to call a truce. The Guilds stay out of the magic trade, and the Tower doesn’t try to light the city on fire.
Relian of the Black Hex – Relian is a powerful enchanter who has managed to force the Tower to turn a profit for the first time in decades by instituting a fee to noble families to have their children trained there, and by magically ensuring that the higher level casters who leave the tower don’t become competition. Opponents suggest that his methods may well set the Tower up to be distrusted as much or more than it was, even immediately after the faction wars.
- The Iron Tower – Members of the Iron Tower craft the physical defenders of the tower, giant autonomatons crafted of steel and stone, and enchanted to only obey ranking members of the Tower.
- Battle Flames – Members of the Flames are people who measure magic power by the ability to blow things up. While the Battle Flames tend to see the whole world as a nail, they do make quite a hammer, properly directed.
- Lorekeepers – The Lorekeepers follow the more cerebral aspects of magic, seeking to understand it above all else. The Lorekeepers even include some clerics who worship gods of magic, and a number of Bards.
- Order of the Solid Weave – The Order is the financial arm of the Tower, and has gained a good deal of power under Relian. It’s members must create at least one magic item a month for sale in the Mystic Market of Callashar.
Men without magic have it hard in a world ruled by Archmagi and High Priests. Fortunately, with a little cleverness and the ability to vastly outnumber the competition, the Guilds of Callashar manage to hold their own. Originally founded to control the mercantile interests of the city, the Guilds used to be a single guild, ruled by merchant princes. It has expanded over time to include various aspects of the cities functions, and without the Guilds the city would likely starve in short order.
General Terris Comarant – When you think of a powerful general, Comarant is generally not what you picture. Short, pudgy, almost bald, and possessed of a cheerfully ironic sense of humor, the man who runs the Guilds is thought by most to be a puppet of someone more crafty in the background. While he has a number of enemies, even within the Guilds, who say that a General who purchased his rank (according to rumor anyway) should not be in charge, none of them ever seem to gather enough political pull to bring him down.
- The Town Guard – The guard is largely made up of burly, stupid men who enjoy their work because it allows them to punch people in the face. While they are usually bribable, they generally aren’t trusted to stick to the bribe too well.
- The Army of Callashar – By law, the standing Army of Callashar is not allowed within the city walls. This wall has occasionally been ignored when civil uprising has passed the ability of the Guard to put it down again.
- Cityworks – Someone has to keep the plumbing working, the water flowing, and the traffic bringing in the food. That’s these guys.
- The Marketeers – They sell everything that comes through the city, as long as it isn’t magical. From corn, to diamonds, to slaves, if there’s a market for it, someone probably sells it.
- Thieves’ Guild – The thieves’ guild doesn’t exist, and anyone who says otherwise is a liar, and probably will be stabbed mysteriously in the back. Were it to exist, however, it would be in charge of robbing people, as well as the occasional Guilds sanctioned murder.
The United Church
The various churches of Callashar have not always worked together. Around the time when the Guilds and the Tower were cutting each other to people, the various temples of the city were doing the same. It wasn’t until a particularly vile cultist of Norgorber began organizing all of the evil clerics in the city that the other disparate churches realized that they would have to do the same in order to survive. After a brutal little war between the worshippers, only five major churches remain (though there are still many temples around that are dedicated to other gods, they just lack political pull). These are Erastil, Shelyn, Abadar, Pharasma, and, strangely, Norgorber.
Marius, high priest of Abadar – A shrewd political figure, as well as a massively powerful Cleric, Marius has garnered a lot of good will among the citizens of the city by offering a limited amount of free health care to the citizens in exchange for church attendance. It’s said that his extensive use of divination magics is part of why the United Church remains a strong political force in Callashar, though others say it’s because no one likes to have the plague.
- The Golden Swords – This order of paladins make up a large part of the mid-level command staff for the Army of Callashar during times of war, and during times of peace, they serve in whatever way they see fit, usually as physicians or diplomats. They do not necessarily use swords.
- Last Rest – No one likes hanging out with the Resters, but everyone likes that they exist. A monastic order, the Resters see it as their duty to properly dispose of the dead, by consecration, fire, and scattering. They are largely made up of followers of Pharasma and Norgorber.
- Sanctus Hospitalis – This newly founded group was named after an older selection of priests, and have it as their mission to treat any injured that come to them, without question.
- The Grove – While druids are not overly common in Callashar, this small circle has taken up residence in King’s Park, near the center of the city. They make sure the sanctity of the park is preserved, as well as assuring proper crop growth in the grain fields outside of town.
Outside of Callashar
Callashar straddles the River of Stone (so named for the way it flows out from great cracks in the base of the Orcish Wall to the north), and abuts against the western sea, acting as both a major trading port, and primary supplier of Orcish goods. There are several square miles of grain fields around the city, which combing with a small fishing fleet, help ease the burden of shipping in food for Callashar’s million some-odd mouths. Originally the city was actually a war camp for Restians who were besieging the orcish lands. The Orcs more or less ignored the futile attempts to breach their Wall, and eventually everyone got tired of the whole thing, set up residence, and organized trade relations.
About seven miles to the north lies the Orcish Wall, a massive, half-mile high edifice that separates orcish lands from, essentially, everywhere else. Four times a year the orcs open the gates of their mighty fortress, known to be the only opening in the wall, in order to trade with Callashar. The orc lands are fairly mysterious, though most consider them to be a backwards people, as they believe in neither magic, nor gods. However, as there are several million of them, no one really pushes the issue.
The nearby Boartusk Mountains have a hefty dwarven population, who made an agreement with the orcs that they would be allowed to mine the mountains that rest against the Wall for gold, as long as any copper they found was delivered to the orcs during the trading times. This source of gold inevitably reaches Callashar, making it one of the most wealthy cities in the north.
Far to the south lies the Restian Confederacy, of which Callashar used to be a part. During the Faction Wars, the Restians washed their hands of the city, which has been independent ever since. Recently the Restians have been trying to get Callashar to re-enter the confederacy, but the city is having none of it. The Confederacy, in turn, has been accusing Callashar of harboring pirates, which is, like, TOTALLY true.
Far, FAR to the west, across the great western ocean, supposedly lies the homeland of the elves, where everyone is ruled by an intelligent artifact of immense power. Occasionally magic items of great power make their way over from across the seas, and are exchanged, usually for rare herbs, texts, or animals.