Tachros is the First City. The largest city in the whole world, with a population of over a quarter million people. If we measure a people's homeland by their population, it is the homeland of a great many races. A city state, it's governed by the Senate, and commands powerful control over the Lankaeran Sea.
Tachros is the Sundered City. In ages past, great cracks and crevasses appeared as the earth was rent in a fit of magic. But the city is relentless. Enduring. They built into the earth, a stratified society, and powerful enchantments keep the sea from rushing in. Surviving countless wars and changes in rule, Tachros survives as the jewel of the Madjan Krugtoje, a polished diamond in the Cursed Lands.
Founded by the Kalashtari, it was home to the heart of their mighty empire in the Age of Magic, and to the Goliaths when they came down from the mountains. Several of the original crystal spires can still be seen in the palaces of the Fountain District, and the inner walls are littered with shrines to the dream gods. The Kalashtari were exacting masters, powerful psychics who stretched their minds far beyond the reaches of the real, and built powerful artifacts and wondrous cities. Those cities crumbled in the Lost Age, as they went to war with each other, but Tachros remained. Strong and independent.
Age of Dragons
The tyranny of telepaths ended, as many tyrannies do, with the ascendance of new tyrants. Dragons ruled Tachros, resting in mighty towers and temples, their Dragonborn servants carrying out their edicts and ensuring a constant stream of tribute. The soaring rulers of this forgotten age can still be seen in the deepest libraries, and in frescoes of the era, magnanimously uplifting the peoples of the Sundered City with fire and justice. The empire of dragons was buried in the cataclysm that punished them for their hubris, the gods themselves striking them down for their pride.
Age of Prophecy
As the great dragons fell, the Kalashtari yearned to reclaim their empire, only to have it stolen from their people by the Dragons' Vengeance. Nearly wiped out, they struggled to maintain any position in their city. Other peoples rose, and the Senate was restored. The frontier was opened again, and the city resumed its eternal cycle of war with the armies of Scything Crag. The city had civil wars as well, the Senate taking to the streets to battle about policy, alliances, and which wars were the business of the city. During the Plague of the Hungry Dead, the city gates were sealed as an isolationist faction took over the city, staining the streets with blood.
The War of Broken Fate saw the end of Tachros' involvement in outside affairs, when the Senate declined to send an army to support their allies in the north, the city of Keeper's Hope and the Frontier Rangers. The Rangers were devastated battling the Fire Giant clans and the Conqueror's Chosen, and their numbers never recovered. The people of Keeper's Hope found shelter with the Demon Lords of the Grimweald, and paved the way for the rise of the Demon Kingdom. It was those same Demon Lords, powerful mages, who would break the siege of the Fire Giant clans on the city itself, conjuring armies of the dead and a sky filled with howling creatures from beyond.
Age of Peace
This latest age sees Tachros as a city state whose concerns do not extend beyond their borders. The fields and vineyards around the city, the shipping lanes on the sea, and nothing more. Once a city of scholars and explorers, it's chiefly a metropolis of bureaucrats and traders vying for position in an imaginary battle to outdo each other. Fashion and form are essential to life, while function and fortune have fallen out of favour.
Home to a hundred peoples, Tachros is never boring. Festivals, cuisine, betting, bloodsports, rituals and crime, the First City has everything. There are guilds upon guilds, orders of priests and knights, and a great many clandestine cabals. Everyone is mixed up in something, among their own people or among foreigners, and nothing is ever the same. Despite the Senate's love for order, the streets have the bustling, chaotic energy of hundreds of thousands of people making it work day by day.
In the halls of power, tradition and innovation are always in tension. Houses and clans compete with each other, trying to innovate faster and bind each other in tradition and law. Innovation and entrepreneurship are rewarded, provided they are exploitable by those in authority. The city is full of undiscovered riches, secrets and lost knowledge waiting to found, and those at the top are deft wielders of secrets and their servants equally adept at rooting them out.
Tachros has layered citizenship. Full citizens are born in the upper city to full citizens. They enjoy full voting rights, can participate in the Senate, and are exempt from a number of taxes and municipal fees. Limited citizens are those born in the undercity, or born to limited citizens themselves. The Undercity has three non-voting Senate delegates, and limited citizens pay full taxes. In addition, the Dragon's Market, formerly the Foreign Quarter, is home to residents, people born to non-citizens, or come from far away. The movement of residents outside the Dragon's Market is severely limited, and they pay additional taxes and fees atop those that even limited citizens would pay.
In this way, the Senate and its 92 districts maintain their supremacy. The Dragon's Market and the Undercity have their own way of running things, their own traditions and customs, but pay tribute and fealty to the city that defends them. In addition to the Senate, there are the various ministries, massive bureaucracies headed up by appointed Ministers, a number of Great Houses who, despite not occupying any Senate seats, wield a great deal of influence and power, and ceremonial offices like the Warrior Prime, who is the city's apex duelist.
- The Frontier Rangers maintain no presence in the city, both because it stands outside all of their patrol routes and because they paid a heavy cost for the city in the War of Broken Fate.
- The Church of the Ivory Throne on the other hand, is the faith of the Senate, the god of law presiding over all bureaucracy as a holy act.
- The Wizards of the Coast maintain a nominal presence in the First City, hosting several researching archwizards, as well as handling the licensing of spellcasters.
- Tachros has been home to a Thieves' Guild for centuries. Built in the city, they maintain a balance between contracting to the wealthy to steal what money can't buy, and wreaking havoc on the same people. If you take from people, if you use wealth and power to squeeze them, you may wake to find your fortune missing, replaced by the iron key that is the calling card of the Thieves' Guild. This being the case, the Guild is most popular in the Dragon's Market, where its leader, Kirk, is said to live. The city has tried to stamp them out for hundreds of years, but the Guild is never where they expect, melting back into the citizenry with ease.
Some brief looks at how some of the peoples of Tachros live their lives.
- Tens of thousands of Kobolds live in the Undercity, where they have since the Age of Dragons, toiling in factories and forges and living on scraps.
- The Tieflings of House Vulcanis, the House of Flame, live in their compound in Hightown, governing their lesser houses and affiliates, the Vulcanorum of the city.
- Genasi make their living as artisans in the Moon Quarter and Tanners' Town, crafting everything from beautiful candy to delicious jewelry.
- The city maintains its bounty on Ashkel elves, but Lirasi elves have thrived in the Senate since the Dragons' Vengeance, happily developing policies over centuries.
- Orcish merchants, and occasionally ex-pirates, often retire to Tachros to spend their wealth in their twilight years. One way or another, those funds make it to the First City.
- Humans, notorious for chasing every opportunity, eagerly flock to Tachros, occupying every level of the citizenry.
Spellcasting in Tachros is strictly licensed through the Wizards of the Coast. Wizards, artificers, sorcerers, warlocks and bards are all required to submit to the regulations. Unlicensed sorcery is a serious crime, and the practice of sorcery on citizens is punished severely. The city has had its fill of mad mages visiting their will on its populace. Many mages find themselves licensed to Houses or guilds, and magic is a path out of the streets and into a life of comfort, though also danger. The Tachros Navy is always looking for spellcasters, and a cunning magus can find their skills in demand.
The Sundered City is one of the remaining places where the Church of the Ivory Throne flourishes. The Senate and many Houses honour the god of Law, Order, and Text. The patron of bureaucrats, the Lord of Law blesses the nuance of every regulation, and is manifest in the single principle it takes to make the city run: order. However, worship is not mandated, and the peoples of Tachros bring their own gods and their own dogmas. The Goliaths and Kalashtari keep up the shrines of their ancestors, the Kobolds make offerings to the Hidden Dragon, and the various beast races make their rites to the Horned God.
Districts of Tachros and their notable locations.
The markets open in the massive crevasses, and hidden tunnels of the Kobolds beneath the city proper.
The Fountain District
A place of fashion and entertainment, the Fountain District hosts much of the nightlife for the wealthy of Tachros.
The Dragon's Market
Formerly the Foreign Quarter, the Dragon's Market is a huge expanse of the city just inside the outermost wall, a mass of residents packed into a small place, filled with hope for a better life.
The Moon Quarter
Home to thousands of citizens, its markets are famously filled with curiosities and craftspeople.
The home of the Senate and Ministries, every attempt to rename the district since the Age of Dragons has been buried beneath the weight of jokes and songs.
A district on the outer edge of the city known for noxious production, tanning, dying, and alchemy.
Some say the true seat of power in Tachros. All of the wealthiest families keep their mansions, compounds, palaces and temples here. While its citizens seldom leave, Hightown's black coaches can be found all over the city running hidden errands for their masters.