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by Brian Caraway

(Capital City of the Grand Duchy of Karameikos)

Who Rules: Duke Stefan Karameikos III (LN hm F15), who received his Duchy from the Thyatian Emperor in AC 970, and along with his allies have worked tirelessly to make this fledgling nation a strong one, despite the tensions between the native Traladaran populace and the Thyatian nobility that accompanied him here.

Who Really Rules: Duke Stefan Karameikos. He is a stern yet fair man, speaking bluntly and candidly, and only showing his gentle side to family and close personal friends. His one flaw is that he doesn't understand how to deal with those who operate from a standpoint of evil or maliciousness. His cousin Ludwig Von Hendriks, the self-styled Black Eagle Baron, is a perfect example of this flaw. He hesitates to make a concrete decision against his oppression of the former people of Halag because he does not understand his cousin's reasons behind it.

Population: At the last census, the population was estimated at 50,000. However, that census was taken 15 years ago; the best estimate of the population is approximately 64,000.

Major Products: Wood, livestock, fish, hides and furs (both common and rare), metals, weapons, tools, armour, horses.

Armed Forces: The 1st Division of the Karameikan military also is the Town Guard (720 F2 guards, 36 F3 sergeants, 4 F4 lieutenants. Commander: By tradition, the heir to the Royal Family is supposed to be commanding the Guard Phorsis, but since the heir has not been claimed as of yet, Duke Stefan is in command. However, he leaves the officers' duties of the 1st Division in the capable hands of Captain Mikel Irathen (LN hm F8).

The 2nd Division consists of the Elvenguard and the Duke's Guard, which are garrisoned at the Duke's Stronghold. The Elvenguard is charged with maintaining order in the Duke's Park and the forested areas in and around Specularum, as well as keeping order within the forests around Kelvin whenever the Callarii elves need help. The Duke's Guard is a standing force, which protects the Duke's Stronghold in times of assault; it assists the Guard Phorsis in times of trouble. From its ranks are drawn the Duke's personal bodyguards. The seneschal of the Ducal Estate, Lord Alexius Korrigan (NG hm F8) acts as general for the 2nd Division. (Elvenguard: 100 F3 or F2/M2 soldiers, 10 F6 or F5/M5 lieutenants, commanded by Captain Alainiir Truesight (NG em F8/M9). Duke's Guard: 220 F3 soldiers, 11 F4 sergeants, 11 F6 lieutenants, commanded by Captain Sergei Nikleivich (LN hm F12).

The 3rd Division consists of the Karameikan Navy. Under the supervision of Admiral Lucius Hyraksos (LN hm F12), the navy patrols the coast of Karameikos and occasionally wages war with the bands of pirates that operate out of the Gulf of Halag. The Naval shipbuilding facilities and base are in Specularum Bay. Each ship consists of a 6th level warrior captain, a commander of 4th level, four lieutenants of 3rd level, and 52 1st level sailors. There are currently eight ships of the line in the Karameikan Navy, though more ships would be commissioned in times of war.

Local Laws: The Duke's Law is as follows, with repeat offenders of these crimes getting stiffer sentences within the fine category or even raised by one category:

Class One Crime (Unarmed Assault, Theft of goods totalling less than 10 gp in value): 1-6 gp fine and/or 1 day in jail.

Class Two Crime (Lesser Armed Assault [improvised weapons], Theft of goods totalling between 11-100 gp in value: 10-60 gp fine and/or 1-6 weeks in jail.

Class Three Crime (Attempted escape/flight from authorities, Slander, Theft of goods totalling between 101-1,000 gp in value): 100-600 gp fine and/or 1-6 months in jail.

Class Four Crime (Greater Armed Assault [using deadly weapons or magic], Accidental Murder, Endangerment, Theft of goods totalling between 1,001-10,000 gp in value): 1,000-6,000 gp fine and/or 1 year in jail.

Class Five Crime (Attempted Spontaneous Murder, Theft of goods totalling in excess of 10,000 gp in value: 5,000-30,000 gp fine and/or 1-6 years in jail.

Class Six Crime (Spontaneous Murder, Attempted Deliberate Murder, Mutiny, Disobedience of Orders by Military Personnel in Peacetime): 10,000-60,000 gp fine and/or 5-30 years in jail or death.

Class Seven Crime (Deliberate Murder, Treason [assault against the Royal Family, Mutiny, Disobedience of Orders by Military Personnel in Wartime, Betrayal of State Secrets to a Foreign Power, Disobedience of a Royal Command from the Duke or Duchess]): Death.

In addition to these, all weapons except daggers are peacebound. Carrying an unbound weapon is an automatic Class Two crime, but murder with an unbound weapon is automatically tried as a Class Seven crime. Casting a spell on an unwilling party is tried as a Class Two crime (or greater if the effect warrants a greater punishment).

Notable Mages:

Teldon (NG hm W21). Teldon is the head of the Magicians' Guild. When he isn't in attendance, he is usually at one of the other branches of the Guild.

Terari (N hm W18). Terari is Assistant Guildmaster of the Mages' Guild.

Lysarin (LN hm W(Invoker)14). A mysterious and somewhat reclusive mage, Lysarin now simply conducts spell research and tutors the occasional student who prove worthy of his somewhat demanding training regimen.

Notable Churches: There are shrines to every deity in the Temple District, just south of Mirror Bay. Several churches have made petitions to construct churches on their grounds, but only several exist as of now. These are:

The Trading House, temple to Asterius; Master Trader Jennack Arrith (NE hm P13); 12 priests, 28 followers.

House of the Tossed Coin, temple to Beliaar; Most Fortunate High Priest Camille Ilsarne (N hf P14); 9 priests, 28 followers.

House of the Flowing Notes, musical/bardic college and temple to Cyrillia; Virtuoso Arnam "Quickfingers" Veline (NG hem P14); 15 priests, 33 followers.

Home of the Azure Sky, temple to Frigga; High Priestess Yanaith Thranior (LN hf P14); 6 priests, 15 followers.

The Hall of Eternal Vigilance, temple to Heimdall; Most Watchful High Priest Gallar Hincas (LN hm p16); 6 priests, 15 followers.

House of the Arrow, temple to Petra; High Marksman Windon Unlarin (LG hm P14); 7 priests, 36 followers.

Protius' Domain, temple to Poseidon; High Priest Vasily Tenov (LE hm P15); 9 priests, 18 followers. Note: Traladarans refer to Poseidon as Protius, while those of Thyatian descent use the original nomenclature (just another of the differences between the two cultures).

The Open Spellbook, temple to Talimyra; High Magistress Carinne Saedryil (NG hf P17); 12 priests, 33 followers.

Notable Rogues' and Thieves Guilds: The Kingdom of the Thieves and The Veiled Society are headquartered here, along with numerous cells from the Iron Ring. Various freelance rogues operate within city limits, as well as gangs of toughs that roam most of the poorer sections of the city.

Equipment Shops: Full.

Adventurers' Quarters:

The Black-Heart Lily; This is the most famous tavern and inn in the city. Luthier Sforza (NG hm F5, Str 17, Con 18) welcomes adventurers and clients from every walk of life to eat, drink and sleep here, and is an invaluable source of gossip and rumour. He keeps his prices of fair, and the sleeping rooms can suit the needs of a wide variety of clientele. (excellent/moderate)

The Gorgeous Giant; This small inn and tavern is run by Morrus Vasiyev (N hm F6), a retired adventurer who named his inn after an encounter with a beautiful cloud giantess and her jealous husband. His inn is fairly new, but is doing well. (good/moderate).

The Besieged Dungeon; This tavern looks exactly like its name suggests; torches on sconces give a low, flickering light, long corridors and passages, and several drinking rooms set up like lairs of orcs, goblins, and hobgoblins complete with masked servers playing the role. Needless to say this place is extremely popular with adventurers and those who want a taste of the adventuring life (good/moderate).

Important Characters:

Duchess Olivia Karameikos (N hm T9) Duke Stefan's wife, Duchess Olivia wields equal power to that of her husband, though it may not seem that way at court. She has a vast intelligence network, and she does not hear much that is not worthy of her notice. She is much more subtle than her husband, and tries to handle problems within the city and duchy with tact and discretion.

Lady Adriana Karameikos (LN hf F4) Duke Stefan's eldest child, Adriana is sought after by most of the Karameikan nobility as a wife, as most know she is the most likely to inherit the throne. She has not found a suitable husband and has refused to let her mother do so. She does not care for the advances of Baron Desmond Kelvin.

Lord Justin Karameikos (NG hm F2) Duke Stefan's second child, Justin knows he is not favoured by either of his parents as heir to the throne, which suits him just fine. He is much happier pursuing his interests in trade and commerce.

Lord Valen Karameikos (NG hm F1) Duke Stefan's youngest, the 14 year-old Valen has recently insisted that he be Sheared as his older siblings were. When this happens, various friendly and not-so-friendly factions will begin a thorough manhunt for him, either to watch over him, kidnap him for ransom, or even target him for assassination. Either Lady Adriana or Duchess Olivia herself may request the PCs look after him.

Flameflicker (N hf T18) The "Thief-King", Flameflicker's true identity is known to none but her closest personal friends. Even most in her own guild have only rarely met Flameflicker, and she takes steps to keep it that way. She also runs a fortune-teller's shop on the Street of Dreams under the "guise" of Alya, which is really her true self.

Sharton Ses-Tril (CG hem F6/T7) Swordsman, adventurer and freelance thief, Sharton is fairly popular in Specularum. He is currently searching for his wife Daniella (CG hef R7), though he suspects that she has been captured by the Iron Ring.

Important Features in Town: Specularum is the capital city of the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, named by Duke Stefan Karameikos III when he traded away his ancestral lands in Thyatis for lands in the Traladaran region, and a guarantee of autonomy. So, in AC 970, he arrived and renamed the city of Marilenev to Specularum.

Specularum is like almost any other large city; crowded, smelly and dirty, with mostly earthen streets, quite narrow, twisting, unlit and often unsafe. Sanitation is usually a small trench cut in the middle of street. Buildings are usually made of brick or wood, with few being made of fired brick or stone.

The people here, of Traladaran and Thyatian descent alike, are proud of the community that has been made here. The two peoples still view each other with some distrust and suspicion; most likely due to the constant jockeying for political position by both the Thyatian and Traladaran nobility, but they are slowly learning to get along.

Renn's School of the Blade: Located in the Bricktop section, this establishment has gained a reputation from the Northern Reaches to the Five Shires as the premier place for weapons and combat training. The fees are quite high, but those warriors that have trained there swear by the techniques that they have learned, stating many a time that what they learned has saved their lives.

Grand Master Renn (N hm F20), his wife High Mistress Alicia (NG hf F13) and their retinue of teachers (5 7th level fighters) and masters (3 10th level warriors) charge a very high price for their training, but it is worth it. Characters that train there complete their training in half the time it usually takes. Add to this a small yet complete hospital next to the complex (temple to Mirrah; High Priestess Lady Tia (NG hf P12), 3 7th level priests and 30 doctors and nurses) and weapons smithy (Mastersmith Ral (N dm F10); Mastersmith Sharran (NG em F8/M9); Mastersmith William (LG hm P9 of Halav); 12 lesser smiths and 24 apprentices). Renn's School of the Blade is a complete training facility for the warrior who wants (and can afford) the best training his money can buy.

The Grand Market: This is a very large, open marketplace. It is packed with stands and carts selling all kinds of goods throughout the day. At dusk, all vendors must be packed up and removed, but they can be set up at dawn tomorrow. If one needs to purchase something after the businesses here are closed up, they are referred to the all-day, all-night bustle of the Merchant District.

The Temple District: Located across from the Nest and the Old Quarter, the temples and shrines to all respective faiths in Specularum are in this walled community. All faiths have taken a pact not to directly interfere with the other faiths, though a few do seem to find ways of making things difficult for their rival faiths.

Local Lore:

The ruins of the ancient city of Krakatos, several miles northeast of Specularum, are almost always infested with evil humanoids of all types. The ruins themselves hide a darker evil, as the Black Eagle himself is responsible for the constant "restocking" of the ruins. Adventurers do a lot to keep the population of the ruins from becoming a problem (and many an adventurer has gotten his or her start there), but Lord Alexius Korrigan is starting to wonder just where all these monsters and humanoids are coming from. Master Terari has recently suggested remaking the ruins into a College of Wizardry, once they have been cleaned out permanently, of course.

Admiral Hyraksos is looking for stalwart warriors to command a ship to sail into the Gulf of Halag and prey upon Black Eagle pirates, which have been raiding Karameikan merchant vessels.

Lord Alexius Korrigan is looking for adventurers to map unexplored wilderness for the ducal cartographer.

Sharton has found proof that his wife has been kidnapped by the Iron Ring, and needs a bit of help in rescuing her. He will be encountered by the party beset upon by Iron Ring agents, and any help the party gives will lead him to request their help in getting her back (Module A1-4, Scourge of the Slavelords).