Kintargo stands apart from Cheliax as a city of sedition and silver, separated from its nation by the rugged Menador Mountains as surely as by a wide gulf of culture. The city has long been known as a haven for artists, particularly composers, directors, and musicians eager to expand on Cheliax’s operatic traditions. During the Chelish Civil War, a group of Kintargan patriots called the Silver Ravens fought to keep the city safe.
As a result, the city is a favorite of many noble families as a place to spend time away from the entanglements of governmental duties, and Kintargo’s citizens and leaders became experts at riding the thin line between being loyal Chelish citizens and independent-minded libertarians. During these years under Thrune law, Kintargo has maintained closer ties to the culture, people, and wealth of Varisian cities such as Korvosa and Magnimar than to Chelish cities such as Corentyn or Egorian. Most Kintargans choke to call themselves subjects of anything but their many-splendored city. They spend the warm, humid summers quietly tolerating being ruled by whatever distant capital insists they owe fealty, then spend the long, cold, rainy winters openly fantasizing about rebellion. Yet until today, the need for outright rebellion has never seemed worth the cost in blood. The people of Kintargo may not recognize the name of the Silver Ravens now… but with Barzillai Thrune’s arrival in the city, they will soon!
Kintargo at a Glance
The city of Kintargo straddles the northeastern shore of the Yolubilis River and a large island named Argo that sits in the river’s mouth. While the Yolubilis provides for Kintargo’s economy by floating ships and turning waterwheels, the city sits downriver from various clay deposits, farms, mines, salt springs, and smelters. Sediments in the water give it a characteristic silvery shine when the sun strikes it at dawn and dusk. This, combined with the prodigious run of silver salmon that use the river every year to spawn and the use of silverflecked stone in many of the public buildings’ facades, has given the settlement its most common nickname—the Silver City.
Kintargo’s independent spirit is founded in its self-sustaining economy. The Yolubilis River provides ample eels and freshwater trout in addition to the silver salmon run, while the cold, deep waters of Nisroch Bay teem with cod, shellfish, and tuna. In the foothills of the Menador Mountains, quarries yield granite and the city’s iconic silver-flecked stone, while actual silver mines produce the bulk of the precious metal exported from the city. Beyond its wealth of seafood and minerals, Kintargo’s third major export is something more mundane: salt. Local volcanic activity dots the North Plains with steaming brine springs, giving Kintargo enough salt resources to power its industrial needs and preserve its ocean harvests with plenty left over to trade. As with its fish and stone, Kintargan salt has a unique silver sheen to it, and many gourmands across the Inner Sea testify to this salt’s superiority in flavor over all competitors’.
Kintargo’s skyline is dominated by three structures: a castle, a temple, and a university. Castle Kintargo looms at the northernmost edge of Argo. The island’s central hill is topped by a dome-shaped temple. Once a temple of Aroden, this structure has been claimed by the church of Asmodeus, and its iron-reinforced and red-draped walls stand out starkly amid the rest of the city’s paler stone and wood structures. The southern half of Argo is low and swampy and prone to flooding, while on the north bank, sparse forests line the horizon. On the other side of the river, looming over the city’s Villegre District, are the gleaming white towers of the city’s infamous Alabaster Academy, stretching higher than any other structure in the settlement. Kintargo’s city walls consist of two 10-footwide, 20-foot tall parallel walls separated by an open pathway that measures nearly 80 feet across. The walls have battlements and walkways upon which city guards patrol, and numerous towers that serve as either barracks or holding cells. The trench between the two walls allows the defenders a fortified position to fall back to should the outer wall fail. In times of war, the gap between the two walls can be filled with rubbish to make the crossing difficult. For a more treacherous effect, the gap can be filled with oil or other flammable substances to allow the creation of a moat of fire.
A sprawling undercity exists under much of southern Kintargo, where the city’s original buildings were buried and built over to raise the low-lying reaches of Jarvis and, Old Kintargo, and Redroof above the seasonal flood zone. Many of these tunnels now double as sewers, while to the north, the more modern drainage tunnels below Villegre and the Greens are less prone to concealing hidden chambers. Both regions are somewhat dangerous, with the typical infestation of sewer-dwelling criminals and scavengers and long-forgotten traps and hazards.
Government and Law
Until recently, Kintargo was ruled by Lord-Mayor Jilia Bainilus, an outspoken voice against House Thrune who was a master of walking the edge between Chelish loyalty and blatant rebellion. Her reputed flight from Kintargo at the onset of the troubles facing Cheliax shortly before this campaign begins is fraught with mystery. Few believe the official story that she abandoned Kintargo for Arcadia, but fewer still are brave enough to give public voice to rumors that the lord mayor has been killed or imprisoned somewhere in the city so that Barzillai Thrune would have no opposition when he arrived to take the role of Kintargo’s lord-mayor. The fact that his appointment is official, handed down from Queen Abrogail II herself, does little to silence the mutters of discontent over his sudden claim over the city, and Barzillai’s issuing of increasingly petty, invasive new laws (presented as “proclamations”) has done little to endear the Asmodean inquisitor to his new citizenry.