Centered around the Granite-Flame Academy and the adjoining temple complex, the capital city of the Holy Kaelthian Republic is nestled against the mountains at the south eastern end of the Sea of Grass, the wide grasslands that once formed the nation of Byssanthia. The Kaela River has its headwaters in the mountains and runs through the city.
About 10% of the population of the Council Lands (25,000 people) lives here, mostly humans and dwarves. High elves are present, but not common. Half-elves are rarer still. Halflings live in the surrounding farmland. Wood elves, and dragonborn are rare. Half-orcs generally are not welcomed within the city, but are not forbidden.
The city is set in a pocket canyon and enclosed on the open side by by two 30-ft-tall stone walls. Buildings in the wealthy areas and public buildings are dwarven stone work. Middle-class homes and shops are half-timbered and tend to be 2 stories tall. Poor buildings are wattle-and-daub construction. The city is quite spread out, with most groups of buildings surrounding a central communal garden.
The primary industries here are the mines and forge complexes on the outskirts of the city and the academy and temple complexes. The central council meets in a dedicated building near the academy. Farms cover the surrounding area outside the walls, run mainly by halflings and humans.
Kaelthia is culturally a xenophobic and socially stratified. Humans and high elves hold all the positions of power and have established a “meritocratic” caste system based on aptitude tests. All those considered suitable for academic pursuits are removed from their families and enrolled at the Academy. Those who are identified as “wild talents” are shunned. Those with a divine connection are enrolled at the temple complex as acolytes. Choice of vocation is denied on general principle. Arranged marriages are common among the wealthier (or status seeking) clans. Public use of magic (arcane or divine) and public performances are restricted—non-academy graduates must purchase a 100gp revocable license. Unlicensed actions are punishable by exile.
Kaelthia gets its nickname ("City of the Dragon's Hoard")) from the brass dragon Marcia who nests in the mountains to the south-east of the city. She, along with her allies, was instrumental in saving the starving refugees from the final battle of the Cataclysm War. She still takes an interest in the safety of the city and the surrounding areas but does not get involved in politics.
Kaelthia after the fall of the Council Lands and the rise of the Holy Kaelthian Republic is a very different place. The stratification is gone, replaced by uniformity within communities and diversity between communities. Each neighborhood lives by its own consensus, guided by the beneficent light of the Temple of the Four and its hardworking priests. The priests coordinate between neighborhoods, finding places for everyone and helping everyone thrive in their place. There is no waste, no begging, no poor, no rich. All are equal, all are valued. --Official History of the Holy Kaelthian Republic
The above is propaganda preached by the Holy Hands. While it's true that there are no longer the vast disparities between the slums and the Old Refugee Quarter or those living in the mountain estates, now everything is the same. Each street has its assigned house color, and woe betide you if you don't maintain it perfectly. Preferences have to be stated as "The consensus would be best served by this, one might think", because saying "hey, I don't want to be a prostitute" is considered anti-social behavior. And who controls what the "consensus" picks? Those damned priests. Who never get in trouble for mistreating one of the girls (or boys, some of them like them young and innocent). Who never have to pay for their liquor and only ever get the best. A group of blue-robes in your joy-house is a business-killer. --Anonymous pamphlet distributed in Flowercourt, ca 248 AC
After the departure of the gwerin to Southshore and the formation of the Holy Kaelthian Republic, Kaelthia saw a major change. Down came the old mansions, up went row after row of identical stone houses in groups of four, each sharing a roof and a small garden. Only the Arcantor's Palace remains of the former High House seats, now the seat of the Grand Consensus. Everything's pretty and clean--no beggars in the streets or nightpails being dumped out windows on the heads of those passing by. You can tell what neighborhood a person's from by their clothes--it's like a uniform. You do see a huge swath of different faces--no child looks like their "parents", because children are assigned to other districts based on need and "talent". Everyone seems happy, but maybe that's just an act, put on in fear of a neighbor tattling to a priest. Or a child. Or maybe I'm just drunk...again. --The Immortal Bard, Tales of the Future.
Total population: Nearly 40,000
Not shown here are the large number of "suburb" communities that sprawl out of the Outer Wall. Many of them were once villages, now part of the same urban area.
- This is the "entertainment" district. Those who live here are singers, dancers, artists, actors, and prostitutes. And often more than one of those.
- This district is dominated by a large market where those coming in deliver their goods for dispersal throughout the city.
- Embassy Row
- This is the "foreign" quarter, for those who are not citizens of the Holy Kaelthian Republic. HKR citizens who work here must carry passes, and vehicles leaving are searched (ostensibly for contraband, but really for stowaways).
- The Empty Aerie
- A mercantile and crafting district for the outside, still bearing signs of the architecture of the dragonborn who once inhabited it.
- Outwall Waterside & Outwall Mountainside
- Two districts that each try to be "holier than thou".
- Mercy Waterside & Mercy's Hand
- Districts where women run the consensus.
- Little Temple
- A small district home to lower-ranked priests and a large temple, serving as the spiritual and administrative hub of the Outwall.
- Westwall North & Westwall South
- Districts once home to the richest of peoples. Now crammed cheek by jowl up into the mountainside.
- Residential area known for bakers and red roofs.
- Merchant district.
- Coinage District
- one of two heavily dwarven areas. Access to Mountainholm and Guild-town is through a tunnel in this district.
- Smith's District
- The other heavily dwarven district, home to the Alkh clan. Metalwork is sold here (the foundries are in Mountainholm).
- Finecrafter's Court
- Home to the other fine (but mundane) craftsmen.
- Old Gwerin Quarter
- Home to the few gwerin who remain, as well as the seat of government.
- Old Dragonhome
- Another former rich quarter, now turned into small apartments.
- Court of Judgement
- Home to many priests and mages. Much of the magic-aided crafting happens here.
- Oracle Court
- Home to the Oracles and support staff.
- Waterfront District
- Home mostly to novices and apprentices, as well as those who work on Academy Island
- Academy Island
- Home to the Granite-Flame Academy and the Temple of the Four. The real center of the nation.