City-State of Khelekeska
Khelekeska is the primary bastion of civilization in the northern reaches near the Twilight Lands.
Before the Healing, a some human tribes came in from the wastes of the Desert of Dust to escape the constant dangers and periodic Swarm of Bones, devastating raids by the orc tribes at the heart of the desert. The elves graciously provided these "avonians" with their own space to live as they would. But these refugees had almost nothing and no way to gain resources. Many of them entered service as servants to elvish households, others turned to crime. Today the quarter occupied by these "avonians" as the elf and dwarf locals call them, is poor, dangerous and unlike the rest of the city, relatively unsanitary.
Dwarves fare much better in this city. In the last ten years, dark-skinned mooidjeen that wandered in from the Desert of of Dust. Others dwarves were traders from Darrok who decided to settle to build their business in a new market far from the established trade guilds of Darrok. Both races of dwarf have integrated and there is surprisingly little animosity between them. The rest of the city consider them of same people, no matter the color of their skin, and call them all dwarves equally.
- We veil ourselves to show that beauty is on the inside.
- We hold tolerance to be the greatest virtue.
- We hold that public displays of emotion is uncouth.
- We believe in allowing the lower classes the freedom to succeed or fail on their own.
- We trust in our ancient traditions to ensure our security.
Calculating Elvish Lord, Veiled Assassin, Gracious Philanthropist, Self-Made Nouveau Riche
The city was founded five centuries ago when a large group of lunar elves, fleeing from the destruction in Faerie caused by the war between gods and titans ruined their homelands, settled in this northern region. Having been cut off from many of their brethren (who then settled in the Princewald, they had to carve out their own sanctuary. They found their chosen site on the coast of an ancient sea to be rich in marble, which their most able wizards raised to form the original walls and towers of the city they came to call "Ice Home" in their native tongue. This great act of magic was costly, however, and once complete the lunar elves no longer had the magical reserves to repeat such a feat. Still, they have good reason to be proud of their achievement. The event is called The Raising of Khelekeska and is still celebrated every year on the shortest day of winter.
It is cool here, but not frozen all year round. Winters are are long but spring and summer still provide five months of thawed conditions in which vegetation and animal life bursts into a frenzy of growth and activity. When the Healing occurred, the ocean returned to its old basin and washed over the lower city. While residents had enough warning to move to higher ground, there was still a substantial portion of the city that sank into the new harbor. The Harbor Deluge became an event with mixed feelings of loss and hope because while homes and towers were lost, the return of the sea also brought bountiful fishing and trade opportunities once fishing boats and ships were constructed. And while the elves could not simply raise more towers, walls and homes from the stony bones of the earth again, they did expand the city westward using standard masonry skills brought to them by dwarf and mooidjeen immigrants.
The Great Quarry remains an important site where marble is cut for use in construction, paving streets, and finer blocks taken for use in making statues, fountains, and other monuments of artistic beauty. The pale stone often has grey and black grains running through it, providing artists with interesting variations while also providing Khelekeska its pale gleam.
Due to its size, the city provides an ample market not only for foreign trade, but also for local famers, hunters, and furriers.
Two other towns, while much smaller, are still significant enough for mention. To the west lies the town of Trinity, so named for the three races that founded it: elves, dwarves, and avonians. The town is primarily an agricultural center with important granaries. To the northwest, nestled within mountainous forest, lies Losastar, which is based on the elvish words for "snow town". Lumber and fur trades drive the economy here, despite the constant threat from hostile wild elves, monsters, and incursions from Twilight.
Khelekeska is prosperous and that may be one reason that it is plagues with internal politics as the various noble houses jockey for position and power. Yet internal pressure is not the only challenge that faces the city. The Necromancers of Twilight as well as the Wild Elf Tribes and sometimes even the Beast Folk clans threaten the the city state.
Another problem the city faces includes a large poor quarter populated mostly by avonians that seems to be infected with crime that is spreading to other parts of the city.
The culture’s skill pyramid has Rapport at it’s peak with Deceive and Resources below it, and NPCs from this culture will tend have these at a higher than normal rank for an NPC of that type.
With the skills are stunts. Each skill has a rebel and a paragon stunt. Rebels reject the cultural norm while paragons represent this aspect of the culture.
- (Paragon) Political Savvy. Twice per session you can upgrade a boost your receive using Rapport to a full situation aspect with a free invoke.
- (Rebel) Rumormonger. You excel at cutting rivals down by spreading rumors behind their back. When you invoke a situation aspect you placed as a vicious rumor, you gain a +3 bonus instead of the normal +2.
- (Paragon) Sidestep the Bureaucracy. You can use word games to bluff your way past guards or around bureaucratic delays. When you succeed with style on a bluff, you can turn a boost until a full scene aspect with a free invoke.
- (Rebel). Unseen Attack. So long as invoke an aspect you have placed using Deceive that covers your true action, you can make a physical attack with Deceive.
Resources (or Influence if using the Wealth and Influence Extra)
- (Paragon) Coverup. You can use Resources to defend against attempts to place rumor aspects against you. Further, you gain a +1 to create an advantage using Resources to make people more friendly toward you.
- (Rebel). Aristocratic Privilege. When you use Resources on overcome actions to bribe or otherwise solve a problem by throwing money at it, you gain a +2 to bonus to do so.
This culture was created with guidance from the excellent article, "Culture from the Outside In", from the Fate Codex: Vol. 1, Issue 2.