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Some thoughts on Klath-T’zarth

by Geoff Gander

By Known World standards it would be a large town, but Klath-T’zarth, as the only island of civilisation for miles around, is viewed by the locals as “the City”. The overwhelming majority of its 8,800 inhabitants are lizard men, but there are also a few hin “from upriver” (i.e., the Platean region), who represent their cousins on occasion but otherwise have adapted entirely to life here.

Although centuries have passed since the city was taken from its Carnifex masters, and the lizard men have worked hard to erase all traces of previous habitation, Klath-T’zarth still shows signs of its darker origins. The streets are paved with huge black stone blocks, and are almost twice as broad as one would expect from a settlement of its size. There are grated storm drains at every intersection, which lead down to a network of smooth sewer tunnels large enough for a tall man to stand erect, that appear to have been melted through solid rock. The sewers ultimately drain into the Shakor River, via three eight foot wide grated pipes. Many have tried to cut through the grates, but the strangely cold metal resists all attempts to cut it. The other odd feature about the sewers is that they never seem to get choked with debris. Explorers have gone down in search of anything that might be eating the garbage, but those who returned found nothing. Most inhabitants are grateful that the sewer works, and think nothing more of it.

It is when a visitor looks at the buildings that it becomes clear that Klath-T’zarth has two definite periods in its history. About one-third of the buildings are rather tall and narrow (averaging 4-5 storeys), and occasionally have stone walkways at the topmost levels that bridge the streets below. These buildings are solidly built and austere, with little ornamentation – or evidence that it was removed a long time ago. They also give the impression of having been built for larger inhabitants – doors average eight or nine feet in height, and ceilings are usually 12 feet high. The remaining buildings, in contrast, are proportioned for human-sized creatures and shorter, with 2-3 storeys being the norm. The stones used to build them are smaller, and the angles are not as precise – some walls are crooked, and not all floors are completely level. Very few of these buildings have bridges, and where they do they are made of wood. Many doorways and windows are also decorated with carvings of animals and other motifs.