Survey Team 4 the Search for the Sundered Realm
Scenario 1/Settings/Tantala FAQ
Tantala Metro (city state)/
Population (Tantala and Cosa together): 8,500 freemen; 5,500 thralls (main city: Halflings, Hivers, Myconids; lower city: Duergar, Bullywug, and Sand People; upper city: Tigerfly)
Oligarchy ruled over by a Royal Family; Lord Darius and his Queen Compessa (of the Compact).
Nominal worship of Cerus, and there is open worship of Asmodeus; lesser and secret congregations worship Aboleth, Dagon, Tesserect (the Clock), even Loth (Atlath-Nacha).
Economy: (in order of importance)
commercial shipping, by volume (oil, silk, slaves, grain, trade goods, lumber); slave trade and livestock trade; manufacturing, by importance (ship building, blacksmith goods, weaving, dying, ceramics); fishing and agriculture;
overland trade (mined ores, coal and peat moss, trade goods such as finished textiles, driven livestock).
Chieftain, Nobility, Priesthood, Warriors, Herbalists, Moneylender, Merchant, Blacksmiths, Shipwrights, Caravan Master, Slavers, Thralls (the term is used for unfree members of all species), Navigator of the Sunless Sea, Drover, Fisher of the Shallow Sea.
Thalers, crude copper coins issued here; there are also gold coins in circulation, also called Thalers; or in kind.
Livestock and Slaves:
Rakox; Gynelotrum, Snok-Trux, Plum-Spiders, and Cave Rays. There is the extensive fish farming of eels, oysters, and catfish. The slave races here are of Duergar, Bullywugs, Halflings, Hivers and Earth Elementals.
A Note on Slavery within the Lower City:
Tantala has a long tradition of slavery and a well-established, stable and insular community of thralls, or slaves. There are two main castes in the lower city; the Bullywugs and the Duergar, each commanding a niche of the city’s economy. The Bullywugs work the fish farms, provide labor in the harbor, and work as security and scouts for commercial shipping, in particular on the timber trade. Within Tantala, the Duergar act as bodyguards, snoops, blacksmiths, and in construction. Offsite, there are two small communities mining coal and ore for export back to Tantala.
Although nominally slaves, in these two cases the relationship between owner and thrall is more complex than your typical agricultural laborer. Between the owners (or profiteers) in the upper city, there are Duergar and Bullywug bosses whose status is somewhere between freeman and slave. A social symbiosis, both races have entered willingly into a form of servitude with the Halflings. It’s not a bad deal; although they have no political voice, they are granted extensive latitude to make their own decisions. They speak their own languages, worship their own gods, and elect their own foremen or bosses. Each race has their own dwellings, markets, and districts.
In the upper city, smaller numbers of Halfling thralls are found, typically as body servants, or house slaves. In Cosa, unfree Halflings may be found working the fields. As in Vassa, there are a few renegade Hivers (termights) of the management caste directing less than one hundred of the huge worker caste insects.
The city state of Tantala lies on an arm of the greater estuary due West from the Eastern Wall and Vassa. Just offshore, the city is built up on a remnant of the Long Ridge mountain formation, which extends due South-west from the upcountry Shire district; becoming a formidable chain of pillars and islands reaching clear across to the far shore of the sunless sea.
The city is built into a massif; burrowed underground, and has a protected harbor built into a cavern below the cliff face. The city is just off shore and has a fortified land bridge on a narrow strip of ground connecting it to the agricultural town of Cosa occupying the immediately adjacent shoreline. The harbor entrance, parts of the shoreline, the shipwrights docks (or land harbor) and the town of Cosa are all fortified.
The city is long settled and the relatively modest surface of the massif was filled ages ago. Over time, older structures deemed sufficiently stabile or worthy of preservation have been added to or had other buildings sited on directly on top of them. This practice and the linking of the cavernous harbor to the rest of the city, first by tunnels and eventually by a complex of underground warehouses, workshops, canteens, dwellings and stairs created a vertical city (known as the ‘under city’). The under city is a place of work, crowded with sailors, merchants, and thralls. A large forge and foundry complex, almost exclusively run by the Duergar is also here.
Taking advantage of a large natural sea level cavern in face of the massif, a harbor adjoins the under city. The quays and anchorage have spilled out of the protected harbor as commerce has outgrown the old facility. Docks extend along the Eastern curve of the shoreline, ending at the shipwright’s yard. This is in turn framed in by a breakwater ending in another stone watch tower, manned by Halflings from the town guard.
Framing in the harbor and just offshore is an extensive fish farming operation. Offshore, two small stone watch towers protect the operation. Clustered around the towers and along the aquaculture enclosure are the huts of the Bullywugs who work here. They also serve as the lookouts and guards. There are numerous small boats, rafts and other craft here.
An ancient ruin some two thousand years old, called Tantala Superior, is carved into the down hanging rock of the roof above the city. There is a single tower connecting the site to the upper city. Abandoned by all except the reclusive seer Andrelocus and his acolytes and slaves, the place is said to have been invaded by two species of aliens: the Sand People and the Tigerfly. Since the visitors showed up, guards have been posted here, day and night. Anyone venturing past this point will be met by guards belonging to the seer, who has taken up his apartments in the lower ruins.
The upper reaches of Tantala Superior have been infested by aliens. They have annexed part of the ruin. Folks just call all organized insects around here ‘Hivers’, however these are Tigerflys. They are poorly adapted to the terrible cold and dark of the caverns. They are mostly dormant and avoid entering the cavern. Their hive leads to the surface on another plane of existence.
Another alien species is in town. The delegation of the Sand People arrived some time ago after being decimated descending from the Midden Pile mountain. They wish to return home by climbing back up the huge pile of trash, but they need assistance; it’s too dangerous and their numbers are too few. The City fathers have granted them cramped quarters in the lower city, which is being used as an office by the delegation. Most of the stranded visitors have been welcomed and are protected by the seer Andrelocus; they now live in his villa in the lower ruins of Tantala Superior.
This is a jumping off point for journey to the oil place, for the lumber trade, trips to various Dhole holes, to Vada Volterrana (or the South shoreline), upcountry Brix, the Shire district and the Midden pile area.
Politics and Power Play in Tantala:
The city-state has traditionally stabilized itself through sound trade-based regional relationships. The town is a true melting pot, taking the best several cultures have to offer and not showing excessive concern over inconsistency or tradition. The various resident racial types have sorting themselves into comfortable interlocking roles: everyone going along to get along, as the saying goes.
Ruled by King Darius, his consort Queen Compessa, a trio of advisors and backed by an oligarchy of wealthy commercial interests. Among the most important of alliances, Tantala’s long-standing Compact with the Hivers has put the city-state on another level amongst its peers in the region. For over 150 years the Hivers have provided an insect bride for the current ruler (she is called the ‘componet of the compact’ in their language) as a symbolic and palpable sign of the two states special relationship. Although they share a bed, no offspring are produced. The current King also has a mistress, called Roxanna, who wields considerable power in town. Succession usually involves the selection of the least offensive of the current Kings many illegitimate bastards as the new ruler.
The keeping of spiders for pets.
The keeping of Gynelotrum and cave rays for pets.
The keeping of Plum Spiders for pets.