Here I have freedom. Here I can eat like a prince on two coppers a day. Here I live amongst ancient gods yet have all the latest luxuries at my fingertips. Here the world's drama unfolds in all the exchanges of gold from one hand to the next. What fool wants to live anywhere else?
- Qasim, beggar and thief
Also known as the Gateway of Peace, Kahira is a magnificent garden city which feels the hot dry winds from the Thune Desert while at the same time nurtured by the cool waters of the Eleen River. On first glance, Kahira is a city with some of the best produce the empire has to offer. For those who stay for more, at night Kahira comes alive with pilgrims wishing to reap their last ounces of decadence before purging themselves at Salaam, the City of Peace. In addition, nomadic tribes of Thune Dervishes occasionally visit as their only source of communication with the world at large. They are said to know forgotten secrets of a mystic civilization that once inhabited the great desert. As such, Kahira at night is called the City of Mysteries for the whispered tales of adventure, magic, and intrigue fed by the eloquent bards of the city.
Population 1,297,980 (65% human, 8% halfling, 5% dwarf, 3% elf, 10% gnome, 4% half-elf, 5% half-orc slaves)
Government triumvirate (Triad Council)
Alignment chaotic good
Major Religions Church of Aytha, Disciples of the White Pyramid, Gate of Freedom
Depending on what a traveler thinks of history, Kahira is either a contemporary city keeping in step with Thorian's Gate, or it is an ancient city which traces its roots before the recorded history of the Ilean Empire.
The present history of Kahira dates to 213 OI when a trading post was established on the Eleen River to supply adventurers and treasure hunters who came to plunder the ancient Temple of Ra. Soon, a thriving market began to develop between the northern communities of the Sea of Scales and the southern civilization burgeoning around Ilea. In 581 OI, the city of Kahira was officially, and very informally, founded by a league of trading guilds. The city's name comes from an ancient word meaning treasure, the finding of which still draws adventurers even to this day.
Soon after the city was founded, the Ilean Guard began to maintain a permanent presence in the city to protect against gnoll and giant raids occurring on the road between Kahira and Ilean City. Over time, the military presence became more and more entrenched, resulting in the city of Kahira becoming a vassal state of the new Ilean Empire. Quickly after the beginning of gate construction across the empire, the much valued trade at Kahira received its own gate to Thorian's Gate in the year 99 of the New Age.
The construction of the gate brought a multitude of Thune Dervishes and others into the city permanently. While it did not enjoy the onslaught of migration that Thorian's Gate received, the population of Kahira is quite large as cities of the Ilean Empire go. As this happened, the old language of Kahira becomes more and more infrequently used until sometime in the middle of the New Age, it died out completely becoming a language only known to scholars and sages.
The primary government of Kahira is a tangled bureaucracy that has managed to stand the test of time despite its overwhelming inefficiency. Positions are often acquired through nepotism and hereditary passing of responsibility. Those able to affect the majority of decisions in the daily governance of people are usually low and medium level bureaucrats who are not unaccustomed to taking bribes.
If a large level of unrest or disaffection with the bureaucracy comes about, the nominal rulership of the city, the Triad Council, steps in to make changes. The Triad Council consists of three major cliques of the city who have organized themselves as a governing institution. Representing the various guilds and tradesmen of the city is the Trade Chair, often a position that is elected from the guild leaders themselves. A Religious Chair, which alternates between the Disciples of the White Pyramid and the Church of Aytha is also present and represents the ecclesiastical concerns of the city. Finally, the Crescent Chair is represented by the commanding member of the Crescent Guard, the official military guard of the city. The Crescent Guard was once known as the Crescent Legion and took orders from the Ilean Empire's officers. With the dissolution of official ties to Thorian's Gate, the Crescent Guard has stepped in to take up the responsibility of defense of the city and maintaining general order.
Authority FiguresSobhal Kulthan, Trade Chair (N male human expert 16)
Disciple Ilna Azrik, Religious Chair (LN female human aristocrat 14, priest 1)
Turak Juhunthar, Crescent Chair (LG male human fighter 18)
The overwhelming focus of Kahira's trade interests focuses on the shop to customer market instead of on large sales of resources or items to other cities or large trading guilds. People come to Kahira to find personal items of art, jewelry, exotic spices, exceptional food, and the best offerings from artisans all over Thule. More often than not, a well known craftsman who chooses to live in another city will have a franchised shop in Kahira, simply to avail themselves of the incredible foot traffic of visitors from throughout Thule.
The real undermarket of all the trade in Kahira is the unspoken and vast Black Market of the city. Maps of Black Market vendors are rumored to exist and this second market, with rug dealers perhaps selling poisons or a fish merchant with a back room of hard-to-find magic items is spoken of in hushed voices throughout the city. An uninitiated traveler walking into Kahira and blatantly asking for items that could be illegal or could be highly taxed in the rest of Thule will quickly find themselves alone and without friends in the City of Mysteries.
The conflicted nature of Kahira in terms of religion is evidenced by its two major religious organizations. The open and inviting nature of the Church of Aytha practices widely in the city and several temples are available to choose from. On the other hand, the dogmatic Disciples of the White Pyramid overlap slightly with whatever else someone chooses to worship. The Disciples demand a certain order and maintenance of daily piety from adherents, much more so than the Church of Aytha nominally promotes. In addition, the Disciples do not maintain a specific center of worship since the city of Salaam is so close, but these two organizations compete nonetheless for attention of devotees. To honor this dualistic nature of religion in the city, the Religious Chair is a longstanding institution that honors both with alternating chairmanship.
Grand MarketOf all the locations in Thule to make a purchase, none is more exciting or vibrant as the Grand Market of Kahira. A veritable maze of vendors offering goods from all over the world have set up shop here. The selection of items is rivaled only by the many markets of Thorian's Gate. However, because of the spread out and distribution-focused nature of the trade districts of Thorian's Gate, travelers find it much easier to lose themselves shopping the Grand Market.
Taking up almost one-quarter of the city, the Grand Market is the central and most attractive district for visitors. Practically any item you require you can find somewhere in the various stalls and shops. Even if the item in question is exceptionally expensive, rare, or simply requires a bit of discretion, the "Grand Market always provides" as the saying goes.
Some items of particular note are the more than plentiful relics of the Ancient Thune civilization. Stories tell of a vast civilization that occupied the Thune Desert in ages past. Relics of this ancient people are available in the Grand Market, as well as more noteworthy items that may be of interest to struggling adventurers.
The AngelsOn a green outcrop overlooking Grand Market sits a district known for its beautiful temples. Many varieties of faiths operate houses of religious worship in this district, but none are so popular as the beautiful and intricately crafted temples devoted to Aytha. The Disciples of the White Pyramid operate some congregational centers but by and large the Disciples integrate into certain existing temples in an effort to extol the virtues of both beliefs.
Spires of Miras - Long ago, the sage Miras occupied these towers and maintained the largest library of scrolls of ancient knowledge. Over the years, his disgust with the corruption and moral decay of society near the end of the Ilean Empire led him to forsake the city and journey to the far off Island of Hope. Although the sage died long ago, the small town of Miras maintains a smaller spire in his memory.
Vault of Truth - The main temple of the Disciples of the White Pyramid outside of Salaam is the famed Vault of Truth. According to disciples' lore, the first enlightened left Salaam and settles in Kahira with the aim of spreading the knowledge of the pyramid's mystical power through trade with other cities.
South DockThis small district next to Thenn's Gate sits just outside one of the more crumbling city walls. South Dock has become synonymous with cutthroats, thieves, and gangs of many sorts.
North DockThis large district in the northwest of the city serves the large residential population of traders, bureaucrats, and trade guild members of the city. The Crescent Guard patrols here often as it keeps the security of preeminent citizens paramount to its success. The neighborhood of Garden City is exceptionally popular with the upper crust of Kahira. Its canal-lined streets beckon the wealthy to a calmer, more serene lifestyle compared with the rest of the hustle and bustle of the city.
Temple CityAs the site of a major trading port for the Ancient Thune civilization, Kahira was also a location of a magnificent temple dedicated to the prophets and gods of long ago. A long street known as Procession Row bifurcates the district approaching the large temple complex called the Temple of Ra. This Ancient Thune temple sits squarely in the center of the city, overlapping slightly with the Grand Market. As the ancient culture waned, more and more of the inhabitants of the city took up residence or set up commercial trade inside the temple complex. Their houses and shops were constructed to abut the ancient stone structure and in some cases, entire rooms of the temple are now occupied.
As city districts go, Temple City is the personification of reuse of existing architecture for new purpose. The current residents of Kahira think nothing of the ancient temple even though its mysteries go largely unexplored. More than one adventurer has found a hidden passage or secret door to a fabled "Undercity" which houses many treasures of Ancient Thune. This is not to say that the entire temple complex is occupied. The Disciples of the White Pyramid, in conjunction with the Crescent Guard, have declared certain sections of the ancient temple as sanctuary and protect it from occupation or any other kind of intrusion.
City of the DeadNext to Temple City lies a large walled-in area of tombs and crypts which house the remains of Ancient Thune laborers who constructed the Temple of Ra. Like the temple itself, this location now serves as residence for many thousands of city residents too poor to afford other accommodations in the city. Common law in the city also allows for the hereditary passing of occupation rights from father to son for these residences even if the initial squatting many generations ago was illegal. Visiting the City of the Dead today reveals not a somber place that produces uneasy feelings. Rather, the City of the Dead is much alive with the soul of the poor and unfortunate, the mass of labor for the city which so often goes unsung.
Gate of PeaceAn odd triangular structure built into the city walls at the western end of Kahira holds the gate to Salaam, also known as the Gate of Peace. Surrounding the gate are a conglomeration of shops for religious artifacts and souvenirs, numerous inns and taverns for the faithful, and an inordinate number of brothels, gambling halls, and other establishments of ill repute. Despite the Disciples of the White Pyramid's efforts and the presence of one of their larger temples, The Vault of the True Path, the Gate of Peace district caters to a population interested in licentious behavior before being cleansed in pilgrimage before the White Pyramid. As such, the city does what it can to minimize the negative reputation of the district while promoting the vices it ostensibly allows.
Arcos GateThere exist two principle ways of leaving Kahira for Grandarch. The most obvious method is through the large public gate that exists in Arcos Square, a wide round plaza meant to accommodate travelers with bulk goods. The gate itself is of the standard parabolic construction and requires members of the Crescent Guard to activate it. Less well known but used frequently are the gates in the Mages Hall, a large building with indoor facilities for meeting, trading, and lodging. This grand inn, tavern, and common space is paid for by the government of Grandarch. Inside the Mages Hall are smaller, usually doorway sized gates to all the universities and mage guilds of Grandarch. Mages often want little to do with the riff-raff of society and take great pleasure in a structure to call their own. Other businesses, shops, and lodging near Arcos Gate also cater to mages or those having business in Grandarch. Reagent shops, rare animal sellers, and even obvious dealers in rare magic items can all be found in this district.
Thenn's GateA smaller district than Ilean Gate, but just as influential is the southern area known as Thenn's Gate. Next to a small public is Key Square, known in ealier times for the large numbers of locksmiths who did business there. In the middle of the square is the semi-circular gate to Archstone, once known as Thenn's Hold. The locksmiths have moved on and Thenn's Gate now houses some of the more common taverns and inns of the city. The Crescent Guard patrols enough to comfort the local businesses, but skullduggery and dirty business still occurs. The Stalwart Legion, the military arm of Archstone, stays close to the gate and rarely scrutinizes anyone passing through the gate.
Ilean GateOf the two gate districts that comprise Kahira's southern end, Ilean Gate is arguably more tightly controlled and guarded. The blue and gold colors of the Gold Legion, the military of Thorian's Gate, still maintains a small presence in Kahira to ensure that goods moved through Thorian's Gate are taxed appropriately. Any items leaving Kahira for Thorian's Gate are subject to a tax, not including their means of transport or items of necessity. Wagon loads of items are carefully inspected and the Inspector Commandant (a rather despised position) has sole discretion to declare items taxable or not. These protective measures have caused several delays in visitors from Thorian's Gate returning home, and despite generating any anger, Thorian's Gate residents understand the necessity and plan accordingly. One byproduct of this complex system of travel is the prevalence of walking water and food vendors as well as insiders who are able to speed persons through the queue for a small fee.
EncampmentAlthough this "district" exists outside the formal city walls of Kahira, the Encampment area is patrolled by the Crescent Guard and is taxed by the city as well. The area is inhabited by thousands of permanently camped Thune Dervishes who have almost completely given up their nomadic life in the desert. Tents, camels, and open air bazaars are common here as well as a "looser" interpretation of city law.
|Spring||85||65||10%||Partly cloudy with moderate winds|
|Summer||110||80||0%||Sunny and hot|
|Fall||75||55||5%||Partly cloudy with afternoon drizzle|
|Winter||55||45||5%||Overcast, calm, some light showers|
- Fantasy Craft Content