Kingdoms of Kalamar: The Death of Kings
Bet Dodera - The City of Mounts
18,000 residents in the city and near outlying settlements near the city’s outer walls. Of that, nearly 17,000 are human (mostly Doderan and Kalamaran, with scant few other nationalities) and around 1,000 demihumans. Very few dwarves or gnomes (mountain and hill races) reside in or around Bet Dodera, finding the obvious and unrestrained suspicion and racism overwhelming compared to the relatively welcome embrace of the tribes in the Kakidela mountains.
At a Glance
The buildings, themselves, are martial in nature—even residences and shops. Most are built as two-story structures (where possible), with the ground floor for general purpose (commerce, cooking, living, eating, serving, guests, etc.) and the upper floor traditionally for storage, quarters, sleeping, goods, and the like. Most Doderan citizens in the capitol have had some training or direction from the military regarding how to use their home or business as a short tower—destroying the stairs to the second floor from above and living off of rations and storage while alerting others or shooting from the narrow windows of the second story.
The roads twist and wind, making quick marches through the streets for invading armies difficult. Purposely, the winding streets allow for maximum exposure to buildings at all angles. The up and down slopes of the city’s streets can make outsiders feel uneasy and nervous as it is virtually impossible to gain a sightline more than a few hundred feet no matter where one stands.
There are few, if any, animals roaming the streets. Virtually no vagrants, and the condition of buildings in most areas of the city give the impression of a less extreme wealth gap than in other major cities. There are still rich and poor in Bet Dodera, but many Dukes over the years have learned that their military needs demand a stable population both willing to work serious trade and manual work—and no military readiness can be supported should populations be unlikely to stay. Even a small percentage of peasants believing a neighboring city or nation has “a better life” would hinder one or more intricate supply chains of labor.
((OOC aside: this means that living “Wretched” is not possible in Bet Dodera, nor Aristocratic, for player characters—as there are many easy options for poverty and such high taxes on extreme non-royal wealth that the ends of the lifestyle table are cut off in favor of their next most appropriate listing)
Bet Dodera is technically run by a Reeve—a second-in-command to the Duke. Kenos, the Reeve of Bet Dodera, is an ambitious and total authority while Duke Orilaras has his adventures and misadventures. Most of the aristocracy and all of the senior military officials hold Kenos in high regard. He is effective and direct, something that appeals to most native Doderans. His most recent edict was moving executions from viewing in the castle to a public area near the gates. Visitors and smallfolk in Bet Dodera can see, often, the price of treason, avarice, and petty crime.
Grand Duke Orilaras, half-brother to the Emperor of Kalamar, is still alive—a rare thing in Bet Dodera (where the lifespan of the average Duke is measured in few years indeed). Kenos ruling in his stead has left him able to lead sallies east to disrupt and harass Dwarvish caravans and bolt-holes. He is liked amongst his people, and his soldiers see him “walking the walk” of a true military leader.
The major trade and export in Bet Dodera is arms and armor and the chief trade partners for them are Tokis and Kalamar itself. Most highly revered are Doderan chainmail (far more durable than conventional steel made elsewhere) and the quality of their heavy block weaponry like axes and hammers. While criminals and cut-throats swear by Renaarian swords (light, quick, and sharp), those interested in thick, heavy steel to end arguments speak highly of the strength and balance of Doderan battle-axes and warhammers.
The symbol of Aladis the Fletcher, a Kalamaran “A” behind a crossbow bolt, is a famous maker’s mark known throught the military world. Aladis lives in Bet Dodera and makes the finest crossbow bolts in anywhere. Each are handmade and perfect beyond reproach (and expensive to all but the most senior officials in the military or aristocracy).
Major imports are hemp and cotton, and a fair trade in wines as the soil of Dodera is not well-suited for grapes.
The military of Bet Dodera is a model force. Orderly and controlled—soldiers rarely if ever cause trouble in the city even during occasional furloughs. As such, the militias controlled by various nobility take on their well-trained and mannered flavor.
Arcane might in the military is eschewed and uninteresting for most leaders here, though they have often seen Kalamaran or other units employ it to effect. Doderan military might is seen, inside and out, as a function of strength, training, and helping bodies lose blood with steel.
The Halls of the Valiant are, by far, the most popular. The Hall of Oaths and the House of Solace are a close second. The city has a fairly liberal view of religion, and almost all faiths are well-received and appreciated. As opposed to some areas of the world, and many places even in Kalamar itself, Doderans in the capitol view the gods as a collective force instead of individual ones. It is most common to hear residents speak of the will of the Celestial Authority or Grey Council rather than individual gods or goddesses.
That being said, some faiths are viewed with suspicion, the Order of the Passionate One is outlawed due to some dark happenings a long time ago that led to revolt and avarice—few know the full story—and the Parish of the Prolific Coin is certainly banned (seen as greedy and profiteering, parasitic).
A few wizards and mages have commission in the military, but they are of no great reputation for those interested in the arcane. The sage Gabilano lives in Bet Dodera, however, and is somewhat well known in the Empire for his work with birds and air creatures. His studies lend themselves to practical use of flying things—mostly avians—to communicate distantly.
Ki’lsa is known to most arcane students and hobbyists as a potter, glassworker, and minor alchemist. Light and illusions, colors and potions—these are her craft.
Clearly, to outsiders from great Kalamar or even Brandobia where magic is somewhat more expanded a practice, it appears that Bet Dodera is a doldrum of activity.
Ironically, one of the oldest thieves guilds in the world exists in Bet Dodera—a place with the least patience and highest penalties for the trade.