Soloth

Soloth Cover

Introduction

Ruined Soloth and Fallen Caruel; names that strike fear into the hearts of men in the midlands. We must ask: why? What of the ancient empires of the north causes fear in the midlanders? Perhaps the heavy-handed rule of its now vanished kings. Perhaps the memory of a slave trade with Essad, forming a trio of slaving kingdoms that were mighty in their power. Of course, there is also the possibility that the memory of the Wyrm Kings (the first being the insane sorcerer Nashketh) who ruled with fear and magic.

It is my stated goal for this book to provide a detailed history as well as sociological and geographical information on ruined Soloth; there is much to be learned about this ancient land where shadow- and ghost-haunted ruins dot the countryside.

-Auberoun, Seer of Stars

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The Empire of Soloth

In the second century of the Sixth Age the lands south of the Dragonbacks where united by an Essadi warrior named Haxrim the Conqueror (VI.101). His kingdom was founded out of many smaller principalities and, once he had brought these regions under his control, he began to raid the midlands for slaves. Massive influxes of Avarine slaves provided the labor-force for civic building projects on an immense scale. Old Kallatha (north-west of the current city) was founded on the blood of thousands of Avarines worked to death to construct Haxrim’s palace-fortress.

Haxrim had no children, but his second-in-command, Tarkus (known as the Indomitable) took control of his empire in VI.144. Tarkus married an elf-maid from Tùlarmë; the elves hoped to cement a political alliance with the Solothans to drive out the Khewedi invaders in their own territories. However, Tarkus never committed his Empire to that goal.

Tarkus had two sons of the elf: Nashketh, the elder, and Tashbet, the younger. Nashketh followed the ways of his mother and learned the arts of magic; later in his life he fell into a black obsession with the ancient dragons. Tashbet followed the footsteps of his father, becoming a consummate warrior-prince. When Tarkus died in VI.178 the children were spurred on to fight with each other by their mother (who’s name does not appear in the histories).

Nashketh, being a mighty wizard and having the legitimate control of the army, eventually defeated the renowned Tashbet. Yet, Tashbet was a powerful prince with a magnetic personality and the qualities of both Haxrim and Tarkus. He was respected amongst the magnates, and when he was defeated took a great portion of the Empire with him, thus leading to the fracture between Soloth and Caruel.

Nashketh consolidated his hold on Kallatha and Soloth by moving the capital to its current location and establishing a cult of his father. The worship of Tarkus is still a minor rite in Soloth to this day. However, Nashketh in his later years is said to have lost his mind: he spent more and more time designing (and redesigning) his grand achievement – the Palace Dracone. He called himself the Wyrm King, and it is said he believed he was himself a dragon trapped in human form. He vanished in VI.249 after attempting to “join with the Dragon.” Legend has it that he immolated himself voluntarily to accomplish this goal and was killed by the flames.

Soloth finally collapsed in VII.642 amidst a storm of battles between the Wyrm King Deshen and the Emperor of Caruel. The greater part of both lands was ravaged and destroyed during the fighting, and a massive economic collapse followed. This led many cities and towns to be abandoned or greatly reduced in population: refugees from both kingdoms fled to Essad.

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Solothens

The Solothens are Essadi by ethnicity; they have more in common with the residents of Essad than with the surrounding skinchanger kingdoms. Like Essad itself, Soloth now shares a cultural link with the Free Cities (particularly Zemm and White Harbor) and to a lesser extent Dorlan. Solothen freemen (those who aren’t farmers) wear togas like the Essadi and are as used to being pampered in households full of slaves. Of course, this is only true in the large population centers; Kallatha et alter.

Solothens who live in the now empty plains and haunted woodlands of Soloth are much more rural, and more akin to their southern neighbors. This has led to a sharp distinction between the city people and the country people of Soloth. Indeed, there is a Solothen tendency to think of those that live outside of the cities as barely Solothen.

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Life in Fallen Soloth

Life in Soloth varies greatly by region. It is generally the most pleasant (and least difficult) in the great cities: Kallatha, Dramist, Highferry, and Fleshmarket. Everywhere else is effectively a backwater; those towns and villages that remain are simple farming or herding centers where life is much like it is in the south save for the Overseers, men who ensure that the great cities receive their proper tribute. In other lands the Overseers would be lords; in Soloth, these positions are not hereditary but are rather handed out for life by the rulers of the great cities. Overseers are often cruel, likened to slave drivers, and with good reason: if an Overseer’s town fails to provide the requisite tithe, the Overseer is flayed alive.

Even farmers may own slaves, however, and there are still places where large villas exist in the countryside: slave-farms with noble landlords. Other than slaves, Solothens trade silver, lead, and alchemical products to Essad and thereafter the rest of the world. Truly, Soloth is a land of great extremes.

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The City of Kallatha

City Population: ~140,000 Defenses: Guards, Order of the Dragon

The former capital of Soloth, the City of the Wyrm King is still the largest and most powerful place in the fallen empire. It holds many towns under its sway, and its prince (the Steward of the City) is one of the most powerful personages in the entire region. Kallatha remains the center of the Cult of Tarkus and the Order of the Dragon.

More about this city can be found in the section on Kallatha.

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The Garrisons

The Chancellor of Kallatha maintains the loyalty of the Solothen countryside through the use of several garrison-stations where slave catchers who serve the city. They are a semimercenary force that has been known to desert if ill treated (or paid). They do not enforce the law of Kallatha so much as impress fear onto the nearby towns and keep them paying their tithes and taxes to the Wyrm-king’s city. These garrisons form a major power within Soloth and their network ensures slaves who attempt escape or commit other crimes are caught and returned to their owners or executed.

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Slavery in the Empire

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Geography

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Religion in Soloth

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Politics of the Empire

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Economy of Soloth

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Characters from Soloth

There are several items that are found more commonly in Soloth as well as spells that are unique to this region.

Mundane Items:

Mancatcher (25-40gp) — These are slave-catching tools, a polearm with a spring-loaded set of jaws. The Solothens have less compunction about killing captured slaves or maiming them than the Essadi do, however; Solothen Mancatchers deal 1d4 points of damage instead of 1d2 and the chance to dismount a victim is 45%.

Solothen Toga (150+gp) — These are expensive garments unique to Solothen freeholders. Unlike Essadi clothes they tend towards dark colors; blue and purple. Pins may cost between 50-100 gp in addition to the actual cloth.

Magical Items:

Dragon Scourge — A rare whip used by Overseers or Master Slavecatchers, the Scourges have a dragonbone handle and a claw-shaped grip with long pronged barbs studding the whip-length. It is said that those struck with a Scourge freeze where they stand while slave-catchers come and pick them up.

Dragonscourge Arrows — Very rare slavecatcher arrows said to be made from dragonbone and to have the same effects (immobility) as the legendary Scourges.

Spells

Wizard, Level 1

Nashketh’s Talon
(alteration/enchantment)
Range: 0
Components: V,S,M
Duration: Special
Casting Time: 1
Area of Effect: Caster
Saving Throw: None

Nashketh’s Talon imbues the right hand of the caster with latent power; If the caster touches another creature while the spell is in effect, the power discharges with a fiery crackle, dealing 1d4+2 points of damage and leaving a talon-shaped burn mark on the target. A successful touch attack must be made for this spell to be effective. The Talon remains active until discharged or for one hour, whichever occurs first. The material component is a golden ring in the shape of a dragon’s claw that must be worn during the casting. This is not consumed.

Paleth’s Coercion
(enchantment)
Range: 30 feet
Components: V,S
Duration: 1d4 rounds
Casting Time: 3
Area of Effect: One creature
Saving Throw: Neg

The slaver-mage Paleth designed this spell to subdue unruly slaves. Once the words are pronounced, the target must make a saving throw vs. spell. If the saving throw fails, the target is inexorably rooted in place; the target may still defend itself but cannot move until the spell wears off.

Wizard, Level 2

Ray of Fear
(enchantment)
Range: 60 feet
Components: V,S,M
Duration: 1d4 rounds/lvl (max 4d4)
Casting Time: 2
Area of Effect: One creature
Saving Throw: Neg

This spell causes an invisible lance of fear to erupt from the caster’s hand. It unerringly strikes its target (as long as there is nothing in the intervening space). If the target fails its saving throw, it receives a -4 penalty to-hit the caster with any weapons and must make a save vs. spell any time it would use magic on the caster. The material component is a small chunk of obsidian which is consumed with the casting.

Wizard, Level 5

Dragonmantle
(enchantment)
Range: 0
Components: V,S,M
Duration: 1 rnd/2 levels (max 10 rounds)
Casting Time: 4
Area of Effect: Self
Saving Throw: None

Dragonmantle comes in several “flavors” or colors. Each version of the spell does something slightly different and requires different material components, although all versions grant the caster immunity to normal weapons. It is said that this spell was developed by Nashketh himself. The breath weapon can only be used every other round.

Black Dragonmantle: 30% acid immunity, 4d4+2 acid breath weapon (as per black dragon). Requires an onyx worth at least 5,000 gold.

Blue Dragonmantle: 30% electrical immunity, 4d8+2 lightening bolt breath weapon (as per blue dragon). Requires a sapphire worth at least 8,000 gold.

Green Dragonmantle: Immune to poisons, 4d6+2 gas breath weapon (as per green dragon). Requires an emerald worth at least 8,000 gold.

Red Dragonmantle: 30% fire immunity, 4d10+2 fire breath weapon (as per red dragon). Requires a ruby worth at least 12,000 gold.

White Dragonmantle: 30% cold immunity, 2d6+2 ice breath weapon (as per white dragon). Requires a quartz worth at least 2,000 gold.

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Soloth

Abridged History of the 10th Age Idabrius