Population: 29,174 (76% humans, 8% gnolls, 6% half-orcs, 5% half-elves, 2% halflings, 3% others)
Government: Mayor (appointed by the tharchion) and two red wizard counselors
Official languages: Mulhorandi (Thayan dialect), Aglarondan
Main religions: Kossuth, Bane, Gargauth, Beshaba, Umberlee, Loviatar
Main imports: Spices, glass, weapons, gems, gold, silver
Main exports: Leather, wine, fish and seafood, jewelry
Alignment: N, CN, NE
“This coastal city, situated on the west bank of the mouth of the River Lapendrar, has been under intermittent Thayan control for the past [three and a half centuries]. The most recent break came during the time of the Great Inner Sea Plague.” But, in 1357 DR, Thay conquered Escalant (alongside Murbant, Thasselen and Laothkund) with an army of elementals, which became known as the Salamander Wars. The city suffered much in this war and many of its sections were burnt to the ground by the invaders. Nevertheless, it was rapidly reconstructed and soon was back to normal.
“Escalant was first settled [by the Chessentans] around 400 DR. Today, the city sprawls beyond the cramped limitations of the crumbling wall long ago thrown up around the place. Over 28,000 souls call this city home, making it second in importance only to Bezantur as a Thayan port. Tharchion Hezass Nymar allows life in Escalant to continue without much interference from Thay, other than the collection of taxes from the citizens.”
Escalant is the newest addition to the Lapendrar tharch of Thay.
“Hezass Nymar is the tharchion of Lapendrar. This tharch begins at the southeastern edge of the Second Escarpment and rolls down to the borders of Thesk and Aglarond. This territory features many important cities, including Nethentir, Nethjet, Amruthar, and Escalant. The River Umber flows through this territory before reaching Aglarond, while the River Lapendrar forms the tharch’s southern border until it empties into the Wizards’ Reach. The Eastern Way, one of the two major roads connecting the southern portions of Thay, bisects this tharch.
Lapendrar is one of the least strongly held of all the tharchs. Its border with Aglarond is constantly disputed, and its largest city, Amruthar, is nominally independent of Thay. This suits Nymar, who craftily maintains a compassionate and generous manner unknown in the other tharchs. Many of his fellows condemn Nymar as a well-connected weakling, but in truth he is a master of treachery – most of his victims don’t even realize it was he who orchestrated their downfall. Nymar rules his tharch from an elegant palace of white marble in the city of Escalant (the most recent addition to the Thayan Empire) although he spends much of his time in Eltabbar, scheming against his peers.”
The vast majority of the population is composed of humans, mainly of Aglarondan and Thayan origin. The Thayan occupation has also brought many half-orcs and gnolls to the city. Also, after the new wave of Thayan expansionism and the conquest of Unther and Aglarond, many Thayan nobles have bought houses in Escalant and dwell there for a part of the year, drawn by the possible profit to be made in the newest Thayan port city. These nobles are responsible for bringing slaves into Escalant, a concept which not every citizen is comfortable with.
After the city’s conquest in the Salamander War, the Thayans did not meddle to much in the governments, leaving the city to rule itself on its own terms. This old law scheme was almost the same as in other cities along the Wizard’s Reach. However, now that Thay engaged in full-out war and conquest in Unther and Aglarond, it must retain its grip of Escalant more forcefully (especially after losing Laothkund). Thus, the city is now subject to the full scope of Thayan law and practices.
Due to its intermittent status as part of Thay or as a free city, Escalant has a mix of Thayan and Aglarondan cultures. Nevertheless, the firm grip the Thayans have on the city now is slowly changing this scenario, making it more closely reminiscent of Thay (starting with the change of the city’s official language).
People in Escalant used to honor sea deities, especially Umberlee. The Thayans brought the cults of Kossuth and Gargauth and their soldiers and mercenaries brought the cults of Bane and Garagos. There are also minor sects of Loviatar and Beshaba in the city.
Festivals & Holy DaysEdit
- The Arcane Fair: A huge fair with everything arcane happens every four years on the first tenday of Eleasis (the 8th month), right after the Midsummer Day.
- Day of the Eternal Flame: Following the tradition of Kossuthan church, the birthday of their high-priest is considered the single annual special holiday. In Escalant’s (and Lapendrar’s) case, the birthday of Nymar is on the 28th of Flamerule (28/07).
- Salamander Day: This official holiday commemorates the conquer of Escalant by Thay, which took place on the 10th of Mirtul (10/05) 1357 DR.
- Inner City: Popularly called “The Circle”, it is the city’s old size, enclosed in the walls. The main government and military buildings are located here, as well as the commerce of more refined products.
- Newkeep: The first historical expansion of the city was also enclosed by a wall. Here are located the main commerce related to the docks, such as the fish market, and the buildings of the Merchants Guild.
- Pilgrims’ Landing: This district receives most of the merchants, travelers and adventurers. The main market, shops, taverns and inns are all located here.
- The Vineyards: Popularly called simply “The Vines”, it is the place where the elite dwell and entertain themselves. This district has finer inns, restaurants and galleries.
- Hintertown: The city’s outskirts is where most of the common folk dwell, especially those who work on the fields outside the city.
- The Coils: Named due to its sinuous and winding streets, this district is the city’s slums. Most of the city’s black market and red light activities take place here.
- Northtown: Now also called “Uptown”. This district was actually a small settlement of farmers long ago, but it was encompassed by the city. It is primarily a residential area, but the commerce of foodstuff and related products also take place here.
- The Tanneries: This is officially a part of Northtown, but the people make this distinction. As the name implies, it is where all the leather is made.
- Beacon Island: A small island that received its name because of the lighthouse.
- Gallows Island: This island houses the city prison and the large temple of bane, as well as some military buildings.
- Wizard’s Road: The road that leads to Thay is not a district per se, but many entrepreneuring citizens began to open their business along this road to receive the increasing number of travelers.
- The Felwoods: These woods were never cut down, differently from what happened with the rest of the woods surrounding the city. The people of Escalant believe the Felwoods were cursed long ago (hence the name) by a mad witch, when the city’s governor tried to cut them down. The governor, together with all his family, died horrible deaths and so the woods remain untouched to this day. The red wizards do not believe this whole lot of bull**** and have plans to extend their crops once the woods are cut down.
Architecture & LandmarksEdit
During the centuries and especially after the Salamander War, Escalant has lost most of its old Chessentan architecture. The Thayan reconstructed the city after the war, so it looks more consistent with Thayan architecture than the usual Aglarondan style found throughout Wizard’s Reach. The walls surrounding the Inner City are old, but received many makeovers during the centuries and, thus, lost most of their ancient style. The prison, formerly a keep, is probably the only building in the city that retains a more Chessentan architecture.
Some important buildings and places in the city are (see accompanying map for the precise location of each):
- 1. Market Square
- 2. The Drunken Narwhal: tavern set by Lavinia & Ashram;
- 3. Twin Harpies: rival tavern;
- 4. Torch Gate
- 5. Fish Market
- 6. Merchants Guild’s buildings
- 7. Sahuagin Square
- 8. Crimson Spears’ buildings
- 9. Red Wizards’ tower
- 10. Old Gate
- 11. Tritons’ Plaza
- 12. Citadel: it houses the main governmental buildings and Nymar’s palace;
- 13. White Palace
- 14. Lighthouse
- 15. Escalant Prison
- 16. Black Keep: temple of Bane;
- 17. House of Doom: temple of Beshaba (a temple of Tymora until 1357 DR);
- 18. Tharchion’s Guard’s HQ
- 19. House of Flame: temple of Kossuth;
- 20. The Drowned Hall: temple of Umberlee;
- 21. The Lonely Mermaid: Escalant’s most fancied brothel; its underground is a temple of Loviatar;
- 22. Militia HQ
- 23. Market Hall
Army & MilitiaEdit
The army of Larpendrar is actually the tharchion’s guard. Each tharchion is responsible for creating and maintain his tharch’s own army; all the tharch’s armies join to form the army of Thay. Usually, in times of war, the official army of each tharch is inflated with mercenaries; Nymar has a contract with the Escalant-based mercenary band Crimson Spears.
The militia (actually the city guard) is a force permanently stationed in one city. To bolster their numbers in these troubling times, “Nymar has stationed throughout the city several barracks of one hundred gnolls each. These Thayan brutes patrol the streets, occasionally taking the time to make an example out of some criminal or – worst of all – tax cheat.”
- Tharchion’s Guard stationed in Escalant: Blk14, Ftr13, Hex13, Ftr12, Sco12, Blk11, Ftr11, Blk10, Ftr10, Ftr9 (2), Sco9, Ftr8 (3), Hex8, Blk7 (3), Ftr7 (4), Sco7, Ftr6 (9), Hex6, Sco6 (2), Ftr5 (12), Sco5 (4), War5 (11), Ftr4 (18), Hex4 (2), Sco4 (9), War4 (34), Ftr3 (27), Hex3 (4), Sco3 (17), War3 (93), Ftr2 (41), Hex2 (8), Sco2 (30), War2 (195), Ftr1 (72), Hex1 (16), Sco1 (41), War1 (553), gnolls (844).
- Warcaster Troops: Wiz14, Wiz 13, Spb12, Wiz12, Sor11, Spb11, Wiz 11 (2), Sor10 (2), Spb10, Wiz10 (3), Sor9 (2), Spb9 (2), Wiz9 (4), Sor8 (3), Spb8 (3), Wiz8 (7), Sor7 (5), Spb7 (4), Wiz7 (13), Sor6 (9), Spb6 (6), Wiz6 (17), Sor5 (14), Spb5 (10), Wiz5 (24), Sor4 (20), Spb4 (16), Wiz4 (33), Sor3 (31), Spb3 (21), Wiz 3 (59), Sor2 (58), Spb2 (36), Wiz2 (74), Sor1 (88), Spb1 (52), Wiz 1 (96).
- The Flames: The clergy of Kossuth: Clr 12, Clr 11, Clr10, Clr9, Clr8, Clr7 (2), Clr6 (3), Adp5 (15), Clr5 (5), Adp4 (40), Clr4 (11), Adp3 (38), Clr3 (19), Adp2 (37), Clr2 (28), Adp1 (56), Clr1 (39). Also includes the monastic order Disciples of the Salamander: Mnk10, Mnk8, Mnk6 (2), Mnk5 (7), Mnk4 (13), Mnk3 (21), Mnk2 (37), Mnk1 (53).
- Spec-ops: Wiz 14, Rog 14, Asn13, Blk13, Thk 13, Ftr12, Rog12, Hex11, Sor11, Wlk11, Rog10, Sct10, Wiz10, Asn9, Ftr9 (2), Spb9, ThK8, Rog8 (2), Wiz8, Asn7 (2), Blk7, Ftr7 (2), Hex7 (2), Rog7 (3), Sct7, Sor7 (2), Ftr6 (3), Rog6 (5), Spb6, Wiz6 (2), Wlk6 (2).
- Escalant Militia: War5 (3), Ftr4 (4), War4 (19), Ftr 3 (6), Rog3 (7), War3 (48), Ftr2 (11), Rog2 (12), War2 (115), Ftr1 (16), Rog1 (19), War1 (396).
Escalant has many guilds and organizations that call the city their home. Some of them barely need introductions, while others are explained in further detail below.
- Crimson Spears: A mercenary band often hired by the tharchion as additional power to his army or simply to police the streets and catch criminals (and tax avoiders). Their main base is in Escalant, but they do not reach much beyond the small villages that surround the city. Nevertheless, they are famous for a handful of fearsome warriors.
- Cult of Bane: The cult gained prominence after Thay’s conquest of Escalant, being composed mainly by soldiers and mercenaries. Thay’s largest temple of Bane is located here.
- Cult of Beshaba: a.k.a. “the Unfortunates”. They were a minor cult in Escalant, but they somehow managed to ally themselves with the Thayans right before the Salamander War. During the invasion, they took the opportunity to kill all of Tymora’s clergy and capture her temple.
- Cult of Gargauth: The cult of Gargauth is restricted to very few people, but these ara all people in positions of great military and/or political power.
- Cult of Kossuth: a.k.a. “the Flames”. Ruled by Nymar, it serves as an important part of the tharch’s army. It also comprises a branch of the monastic order “Disciples of the Salamander”.
- Cult of Loviatar: The cult of Loviatar is located in the basement of Escalant’s largest and fanciest brothel, The Lonely Mermaid. The priestesses act always behind closed doors and have many loyal “clients” (it might take a while to convert them).
- Cult of Umberlee: It was an important cult in the past, but is lost much of its ground to the faith of Kossuth. Today, the clergy of Umberlee in Escalant is reduced to just a few priests. Nevertheless, the temple is still visited (and receives patronage) of fishermen, sailors and merchants who travel by sea.
- Farmers’ Coalition: The farmers were once part of the Merchants Guild, but have recently become a separate entity. They are not a very powerful or influential group yet, but their new leader is striving to be so (and making some enemies in the process).
- Merchants Guild: The Merchants Guild is the richest among Escalant’s organizations. It has three simultaneous guildmasters, supposedly to avoid personal interests getting in the way of business. Formerly, it also took care of the products of farming and livestock, but not anymore. The Farmers’ Coalition broke free of the guild about six years ago and are now a separate entity. The tanners soon followed the example.
- Pirates of the Sea of Fallen Stars: After the Blue Whale crisis, many pirates settled in Escalant under the protection of Thay and became merchants, mercenaries etc.
- Red Wizards
- Tanners’ Guild: Following the example of the farmers, the tanners also abandoned the Merchants Guild. They are a very small group and are in no position to resist the Merchants Guild for much longer, which is striving to get them back under its control.
- † Hezass Nymar: (NE), male human; tharchion of Lapendrar; lives in Eltabbar but has offices in Escalant; also a high-priest (Eternal Flame) of Kossuth; killed by Vierna;
- † Kamil: (NE), male human; mayor of Escalant; killed by Gorlassar;
- † Shamal: (LN), male human; mayor’s secretary; killed by Gorlassar;
- Hamiyet: (N), female human; red wizard; mayor’s counselor; sent to prison;
- Güner: (NE), male human; red wizard; mayor’s counselor; sent to prison;
- Münir: (N), male human; treasurer;
- Izzet: (CE), male human; chief tax collector;
- Yasir: (N), male human; town crier;
- Maha: (N), female human; building overseer;
- Masun: (NE), male human; business overseer;
- Roth: (LE), male human; harbor overseer;
- Athir: (NE), male half-elf; land surveyor;
- † Gorlassar Urdin: (NE), male human; chief red wizard in Escalant; demonologist; kileed by Vierna;
- Zarah: (LE), female half-orc; Gorlassar’s apprentice; sent to prison;
- † Terach: (CE), male balor; has a pact with Gorlassar; killed by Lavinia;
- † Lartihz: (CE), female marilith; Terach’s captain; killed by Airin;
- † Ipaozs: (CE), male molydeus; Terach’s bodyguard; killed by Lavinia;
- † Ghayr Nymar: (NE), male human; elementalist wizard; son of the tharchion; killed by Ashram;
- † Lyeor Bel’den: (LE), female human; Ghayr’s dark knight; killed by Ahkhila;
- Rutger Vanderbilt: (LN), male human; red wizard novice; Bastian’s son;
- Sanne Vanderbilt: (CN), female human; red wizard novice; Bastian’s daughter;
- † Berak Wintersight: (NE), Thayan overseer for the regions of Aglarond and Wizard’s Reach; almost got killed by Ashram, Lavinia and Merle, but recovered receiving grafts of demonic tissue; executed by Fawkes’ orders after Escalant fiasco;
Army & MilitiaEdit
- Kriben Vantur: (LE), male human; captain of the tharchion’s guard; sent to prison;
- Selima: (LE), female human; lieutenant of the tharchion’s guard; sent to prison;
- Mahmud: (LN), male human; lieutenant of the tharchion’s guard; sent to prison;
- † Melqart: (NE), male human; sorcerer, high-rank spec-ops agent; killed by Sibyl;
- † Hanni: (NE), female human; warlock, high-rank spec-ops agent; killed by Erina;
- Mithon: (CN), male half-elf; hexblade, high-rank spec-ops agent;
- † Ahirom: (CE), male halfling; assassin, high-rank spec-ops agent; killed by Ahkhila;
- † Canan: (NE), female half-orc; captain of the militia; killed by Lavinia;
- † Ilker: (NE), male human; chief of the gnoll patrols; killed by Tyrion;
- † Ekin: (CE), female gnoll; (in)famous gnoll lieutenant; killed by Tyrion;
- Arun Flannan: (CN), male dwarf; leader of the mercenary band Crimson Spears;
- Kamala Yildiyz: (CN), female human half-dragon (red); main captain of the Crimson Spears;
- Saraf: (NE), male half-orc; second captain of the Crimson Spears;
- Urgen: (CN), male human; member of the Crimson spears;
- Targak: (N), male dwarf; member of the Crimson spears;
- † Savas: (LE), male half-orc; high-priest on Kossuth (when Nymar is out of town); killed by Nell;
- † Yereq Stormpike: (LE), male human; leader of the monastic order Disciples of the Salamander; killed by Erina;
- † Heled: (CE), succubus; formerly high priest Baldred’s acolyte in Laothkund; after the events there, came back to her true master, Hezass Nymar; killed by Lavinia;
- † Muhayr: (LE), efreeti (genie); he’s helping with the creation of the elemental warriors; killed by Joey;
- † Curoz Palblat: male human; high-priest of Bane; killed by Ashram;
- † Tevfik: (NE), male half-elf; high-priest of Beshaba; killed by Lavinia;
- † Emek: (CE), male goblin; Bringer of ill-fortune (favored in Beshaba’s church); killed by Tyrion;
- Moira Evenseeker: (LE), female human; high priestess of Loviatar; madam of The Lonely Mermaid;
- Rauna Skysong: (NE), female human tiefling; priestess of Loviatar; Moira’s right hand;
- Yalim: (CN), male halfling; priest of Umberlee;
Commerce & IndustryEdit
- Garon Brighthelm: (LN), dwarf wizard; weaponsmith and enchanter; Simbul’s agent;
- Helvarmad Elserme: (CG), male human fighter/bard; Simbul’s agent posing as a minor merchant;
- Zillah: (N), female halfling; guildmaster of the Merchants Guild;
- Elmer: (LE), male half-elf; guildmaster of the Merchants Guild; sent to jail for trying to kill Elenor and Rutger;
- Myron: (LN), male human; guildmaster of the Merchants Guild;
- Elenor Sernett: (CG), female human; leader of the Farmers’ Coalition;
- Jerome: (N), male human; leader of the Tanners’ Guild; fled the city;
- † Bastian Vanderbilt: (NE), male human; Thayan noble who wants to control all agriculture in Escalant; has a keep outside of town; knocked out accidentally by Layla, finished by Astor;
- Eloy: (N), male human; the most renowned jeweler in Escalant;
- Karrick, Darod & Faith Omhray: (N, NG, LN), humans, two brothers and a sister; specialists in deciphering documents and maps, copying, forging etc; their front is a bookstore called The Cloaked Scribe;
- Asbel: (N), male human; owner of the Twin Harpies;
- † Morag: (NE), male human; main Thayan slave dealer in Escalant; killed by Sanne in a fit of rage;
- Mirkov (N), male human; real estate broker; rented and helped settling the Drunken Narwwhal;
- Zosker Anthalar: (NG), male human aristocrat; a sage and politician who opposed Thay during the Salamander War; he abandoned politics after the war;
- Layla: (CN), female human commoner; teenage slave girl who was bought by Bastian to serve as a sex toy; her warlock powers awakened in Bastian’s first attempt with her, knocking him out (he was immediately afterwards finished by Astor);
- Ruxton: (NE), male human, Bastian’s butler and right-hand man; fired by Rutger after Bastian’s death;
- Koban: (LE), male human; Bastian’s private guard chief; fired by Rutger after Bastian’s death;
- † Purban Faltelfowe: (CN), male halfling; leader of the Shadowmasters in Escalant; killed by Vierna;
- † Ertan:(CE), male human; shadowmaster assassin; killed by Kat;
- † Damla: (LE), female human; shadowmaster inquisitor; killed by Kat;
- Daley “Bloodbath” Krull: (CE), male human; dangerous murderer that escaped Escalant’s prison; captured by Vierna;
- † Cadòr Battlehorn: (CN), male half-orc; mercenary (former pirate) who attacked the merchants’ ball; killed by Rutger;
Mark of the barghestEdit
This mark is a ritual tattoo created by the red wizards of old. It was at first known as the Mark of Seth, but as the Thayans strived to definitely break away from their Mulhorandi past, the mark was renamed in a more Faerûnian manner. This tattoo is often found on dark knights working for the most ruthless red wizards. When the bearer activates it, he/she enters in a state of fury, gaining a huge bonus to strength, constitution and speed. Also, the bearer gains the ability to drain the life of creatures by touching them.
Sash of fate bendingEdit
This sash is a relic of Tymora. It is said that when the goddess visited Escalant during the Time of Troubles, she presented her own sash to the local clergy. This holy relic was kept at Escalant’s temple, locked away in a secret treasury, and was only let out for worship in annual holy days. When the clergy of Beshaba took over the temple, the sash remained hidden within its secret chamber, unbeknownst to Lady Doom’s followers.
The sash may be used only by a divine caster. To use it, one must worship Tymora and either sacrifice a 4th-level divine spell slot or have the True Believer feat and at least 7 HD. While wearing the sash, the user has a number of luck points per day (renewed whenever he/she prepares spells) equal to half his/her Wisdom modifier (rounded down, minimum 1) or to his/her full Charisma modifier, whichever is higher. Magic items and spells used to enhance the abilities’ base values do not apply to this relic.
The user may spend points as an immediate action to activate one of the following abilities:
- 1 point: re-roll an attack attempt (before knowing its outcome); the user must keep the new result, even if it is lower than the first roll;
- 1 point: re-roll a skill check (before knowing its outcome); the user must keep the new result, even if it is lower than the first roll;
- 2 points: re-roll a save (before knowing its outcome); the user must keep the new result, even if it is lower than the first roll;
- 3 points: force attacker to re-roll his/her attack (before knowing its outcome); the attacker must keep the new result.
- Lavinia (6)
- Vierna (4)
- Ahkhila (3)
- Tyrion (3)
- Ashram (2)
- Erina (2)
- Kat (2)
- Airin (1)
- Astor (1)
- Joey (1)
- Nell (1)
- Rutger (1)
- Sanne (1)
- Sibyl (1)
- Prisoncount: Kat (3), Vierna (1).
When the dust settled, Zosker became the new mayor and Escalant joined the coalition of all the cities from the Wizard’s Reach. With the help of the Cormyrean army, they prepared their defenses against an eventual Thayan retaliation. Despite the imminence of war, the people soon saw the advantages of the new government. The Crimson Spears, the clergy of Loviatar and many nobles also gave full support to the government. Many nobles and merchants, however, left the city and went back to Thay. The Merchants’ Guild survived the turbulence almost unscathed and soon the city’s commerce was thriving again.
Rutger remained in Escalant with his sister, tending to their father’s farming business. Rutger married Elenor later that year. The workers (i.e., the former slaves) liked their new boss and rejoiced at this union.
Erina stayed for a while, transforming the ex-temple of Kossuth in a temple of Istishia and the ex-temple of Bane in a temple of Umberlee. Ashram and Lavinia did likewise to the ex-temple of Beshaba, transforming it in a temple of Tymora once again.
The Blue Whale fleet established a new temporary base in Escalant, to recruit new member and eventually sink some Thayan ships, making it difficult to the country to send troops and goods to Aglarond by sea.
All sections presented here in quotation marks were taken from the book Unapproachable East (Baker et al., 2003; Wizards of the Coast).