The city of Kalum is huge and there are dozens of things to do and people to help. This is a perfect location to lay low after a dangerous mission; it is easy to be inconspicuous and get lost in the large city streets. The heroes can spend a few weeks relaxing between jobs. With enough time, they can get to know the city and meet some of its citizens. Perhaps, the heroes might find a larger threat in the city than in their journeys.
In Kalum, they have a saying. “If there is space, there is a way”. Hundreds of years ago, when the city was nothing but a thorp, the population in Kalum barely reached half a hundred men. Back then, the brave pioneers settled near the coast, attracted by the plentiful fish populations. The community started to grow from there. They took over every single square foot they could. Little by little, Kalum’s frontiers became what they are now, a huge metropolis with more than 10,000 citizens.
Fishing is one of the main economic activities in Kalum, but the city also specializes in farming activities. The city is mainly conformed by humans. But there are some elves, half-elves, and a few halflings. The latter are the ones in charge of the Guild of the Harvesters. Though they aren’t many, their ancient techniques to grow food differ from those of humans and yield better results.
The City of a Thousand Rhymes is how the world knows Kalum. This is because about a hundred years ago, one of the predecessors of King Kal loved poetry so much, that he ordered rhymes and beautiful poems to be immortalized in place of statues and monuments. Kalum is full of murals, writings, and buildings with words all over. Every street tells a different story, and reading the phrases makes the city feel alive, a living song.
People in Kalum are so used to reading poems and rhymes every day that there are a particular accent and way to talk inside the walls of the city. People rhyme without noticing, and everything they say tends to sound poetic at times. Hence the city’s nickname.
Kalum is the capital of the kingdom of King Kal. His Majesty has ruled for two decades now. Kalum has had healthy growth and development thanks to him. Several neighboring towns and settlements have benefited from this too. There are dozens of thorps that work as massive pig and poultry farms around Kalum. They breed pigs, cows, and poultry. Other larger settlements process raw goods and materials and export the finished products to the capital. King Kal’s mandate is considered prosperous and blessed by the gods. His Majesty still has more things in mind and he only hopes he lives enough to see all his plans through.
The following descriptions of areas 1 through 16 correspond to several areas of the city of Kalum.
1. South Gate
This is the most guarded gate of the city because of its proximity to the high-class neighborhoods. It is also the most crowded of the gates because of the many neighboring towns to the south. There are more halflings near this location than in the others. This is because the Harvesters’ Guild (area 9) is close, and many of their crops are just outside the gate.
2. West Gates
There are two gates on the western side of the city wall. Several miles of marshlands extend to this direction. This is why not many visitors come through these gates. Even if it seems more practical and fast, most travelers would rather deviate north or south and avoid entering the city from here. This comes in handy to King Kal and all those inside the second walls of the city since it makes this location more secure.
Despite this, there is a fairly safe pass through the swamps that the city watch patrols once a day. The soil is not firm enough to sustain the passage of horse-drawn carts and carriages, though.
3. North Gate
This gate is well-guarded due to its proximity to Lord Harold’s State (area 16). The city has its largest farming area north of this gate. It is common to see carts and wagons full of crops and food coming in. Humans farmers work here. They belong to the Harvesters’ Guild. Humans and halflings have a friendly competition to see who can grow the best stuff. Even if there is more farming space north of the city, the halflings who work outside the South Gate (area 1) usually beat them.
4. Luxury Inn
This inn/tavern is inside the high-class neighborhoods. A stone wall divides this section of the city from the rest. Wealthy citizens and other nobles live here, apart from the noisy maritime life. Peasants and beggars aren’t allowed in the inn.
Don Pedro owns the inn. He is a stout, chubby man. The high-class inn has a stable and a separate building for the kitchens and the employees’ chambers. It is an all-inclusive stay with room service, laundry, and a tour around the city. Most of the employees are half-elves, and they all wear the same white and blue uniform.
5. Kalum Museum
People in Kalum are fond of maritime life. They are aware that fishing and sailing are the foundations of the city. This museum was built to preserve and divulge their history. The museum has a collection of almost fifty historic artifacts or objects.
There are old arrows and spearheads, tools, and even some bones of three-hundred-year-old ancestors. But the most beloved piece of them all is the very first fishing boat. The one the pioneers used to sail on to find food. They restored it to make it look nicer, though it cannot be used anymore. Some people in the city claim that this relic is a fake prop to make the museum look more interesting than it is.
6. Kalum College
A good number of young men and women attend this privileged school. King Kal made an effort to bring scholars and sages to the city a decade ago. He invested in them so they could continue their studies and then offered them a position at Kalum College.
This long-term project aims to prepare a considerable portion of Kalum’s citizens academically. The objective is to build a team of researchers, scientists, and shipwrights that help foment the construction of a library. King Kal wishes to compete with the largest centers of knowledge in the world. He wants the world to remember Kalum for its greatness, not the number of fish or crops it produced.
Fishing and boat making are two of the most common professions in the city. The amount of people living near this area also makes these neighborhoods dangerous. Wealthy people never come to this side of the city. And there is a proportionate absence of tithing men here as well.
King Kal is very fond of this part of the city as he understands that Kalum needs its fishing engine and merchant barges working. Life at the docks is always busy, and there are things to do at all times of the day.
The construction of this one bridge took 4 years, a large effort and spending, and many lives. The cost to cross is 1 copper piece. The king asks his subjects to keep track of all people that cross it. This has helped solve many crimes in the past. The city authorities know the names of all the people that enter the city from any of the gates, cross the bridge, or enter the high-class neighborhoods.
9. Harvesters’ Guild
The halflings in Kalum are farming experts. There are humans and elves in the guild, of course, but it is the 3-foot-tall people who excel at this job. Some jealous farmers in the north claim the halflings are using secret magical means to make their crops better and larger. The Harvesters’ Guild members say they simply know what they are doing in their defense.
The leader of the guild is a halfling named Vanessa Twinkle-Toes. She doesn’t work in the fields anymore. She overlooks all projects from her comfortable office. No one is more hard-working than her though. She is the first to arrive in the morning and the last to leave at dawn. She is the reason the guild is so successful.
10. Navy Office
Francis has probably the hardest job of all in the city. As part of the offices that answer directly to the king, stress and short deadlines are always part of his daily life. He manages military boats, fishing barges, and shipments. He is in charge of schedules and the control of arrivals and departures. It is madness. Additionally, there are so many fishermen, sailors, and boat makers, that Francis has three of four families a day asking, demanding, or begging for something. Either spare parts, or funds, or a loan, there are always different excuses.
To top it all, the navy office is in front of the docks, the most dangerous and problematic area of the city. Francis must report any anomalies or crimes around this area and the docks. The soldiers in the city and tithing-men have orders to obey Francis if the situation requires it. Despite all this, Francis loves his job. However, years at the post have turned him into an ogre.
11. Middle-Class Neighborhoods
The heart of Kalum. The armorer, the smith, the jeweler, the stonecutter, the leatherworker, etc. They are all here. Bakers, tailors, butchers, candle makers, the owner of the general store. Their homes are here, and some of their storefronts as well. These hard-working people keep the gears of the city turning. They pass their knowledge on from generation to generation. Professions become an art and a valuable skill; skilled workers feed their families through their hard labor.
12. King Kal Manor
Contrary to other parts of the city, registration is not enough to cross the gates to this side of the city. No one is allowed inside the royal courtyard. Visitors must announce His Majesty’s advisors of their coming with months in advance, go through a tidy verification and approval process and wait a further couple of months to be granted permission to approach the King’s manor. It is not possible to see the King in person unless His Majesty expresses a clear wish to speak with someone face to face. A small garrison of soldiers lives next to the inner wall. Some of the King’s relatives live in a large mansion by the northern gate.
The King lives in the manor keep inside the third set of walls. A second, more thorough inspection welcomes all visitors unless they are members of the royal family. The royal stables, church, and a small library are here.
13. Fishing District
This small piece of land is taken over by fishermen and sailors. A tall ivory-colored lighthouse towers over any other building on the island. Locals say this is the place to buy the best catch of the day. Vendors have fresh fish, crab, and shrimp. Some boat drivers charge two of three coppers to take people from the docks to this island. Many people in the city find a chance to come here often.
14. Rice Fields
The King and the city’s advisors opted to leave this area clear of many buildings. The few structures are grain storages and tool sheds. The priority is to take advantage of the terrain and its slopes. Vanessa, the leader of the Harvesters Guild, is one of the city advisors and she took a great part in this decision. The ground here is great to grow rice, however, it is reserved for the wealthiest districts and, of course, the King.
The wall to the north of the rice fields was the north border wall of the city. After the city expanded north, a new wall was built and this wan became another registration checkpoint.
The temple is one of the most visited buildings in the city. There are masses, religious ceremonies, and even marriages every month. The church provides medical assistance here to attract more followers. One of the main doctors is an elf called Gray. She is more than happy to know that the King is so invested in education and technology. Gray is one of the most recent graduates of Kalum college. She teaches there as a volunteer whenever the hospital doesn’t consume all her time. She is also psyched with the idea of a local library and more funds for research and investigations.
16. Lord Harold State
After the King, Sir Harold is probably the wealthiest and most powerful man in Kalum. He is the proprietary of a ridiculous amount of small businesses. He has an army of people working for him and he doesn’t need to move a finger to earn gold anymore. Despite his cold and rude reputation, Sir Harold is an honorable man and he is nothing like they say.
Random Events in Kalum
Roll 1d10 to determine the possible events that the heroes might run into when they are in Kalum. If an encounter is rolled twice, choose the event above or below it.
|1||A wagon passes by at high speed splashing the adventurers with mud.|
|2||Players walk into Don Pedro’s luxury inn to find the inn-keeper curled up in a ball beaten on the floor while 3 thugs from the docks are pouring lamp oil over everything.|
|3||While walking through the docks, the heroes are assaulted by a swarm of begging, pick-pocketing children.|
|4||A wagon comes rolling down a steep local street and crashes against a wall. A bunch of cages springs open, and several very angry animals emerge. One Bengal tiger, an albino lion, and three red-tailed wolves are hungry and attack if no one offers them food in two rounds. Three rounds later, the wagon driver comes running down, tearing his hair, and hoping that nobody has killed the very rare, expensive, and ferocious trained animals that were supposed to be performing at a very decadent nightclub tonight.|
|5||Two loud, angry voices can be heard from the street. Two nobles argue over something trivial (like their favorite jouster, etc.). Their argument is hot, and they’re inches from one another, red-faced. The bodyguards of each noble don’t seem to know how to handle the situation.
Finally, one says “Enough! Let us agree to disagree.”
The other scoffs “Absolutely not; we must settle this here and now!”
The first noble grins. “The old fall-back, then?”
The nobles then turn to the crowd, which has grown quite large, as peasants, commoners, and shop owners have all come to see what all the excitement was about. The nobles spot the adventurers and each pick one as their champion to fight to the death for his honor, and “the final word”.
|6||A sweaty fat man in silks and finery indulges in one last meat pie before collapsing, clutching at his heart. If the heroes run to his aid, they meet Gray, who was passing by and saw it too. She invites them to the temple where she can help this person.|
|7||As the heroes pass the local butchery near the docks, the most insightful of the heroes deciphers the sinister meaning behind an otherwise mundane bit of graffiti “Orc meat, 8 Silver per pound”|
|8||After watching the King ride by toward his manor, one of the heroes steps in horse droppings. Vanessa, leader of the Harvesters Guild, sees this and laughs. She offers a glass of wine to the unfortunate one and a walk to the guild to clean the boot off.|
|9||A noble “recognizes” one of the heroes from the day before. She invites them and their friends back to her manor for dinner as thanks. If, while everybody has dinner, the heroes confess that they are not who she thinks they are, she calls her guards immediately and orders their arrest. Six guards attempt to stop the free-loaders.|
|10||If the heroes meet Francis, he asks them for help. He knows where a group of criminals in hiding. And he has been following their trail for days. He explains to the heroes that the King shall be more than happy to know that the Navy Office got rid of the “Vicious Sharks”. And he knows that they’ll be more than happy to earn 100 gold pieces.
The Vicious Sharks are a gang of seven bandits that meet in a dark alley on Thursday nights. They gather there to drink, smoke, and play cards.