PFS: Jade Regent
Kalsgard, the trading capital and oldest surviving settlement of the Linnorm Kingdoms, is a huge, bustling city rising upon the southern shore of the Rimeflow River’s wide mouth. Founded countless centuries ago, it has grown from a crude village into today’s thriving metropolis. No records survive from the time of Kalsgard’s founding, but an ancient saga tells that King Ulvass set sail from Kalsgard on his epic journey to discover Arcadia almost 500 years before Aroden raised the Starstone from the depths of the Inner Sea. Therefore, the township of Kalsgard must have existed in some form for at least 5,000 years.
Historically, much of Kalsgard’s growth came from its role as a major trading port for Ulfen vikings returning from raids to the south. The spoils brought back by these reavers ensured the city’s expansion and allowed specialist crafts to develop that catered to the influx of sailors and local desires for exotic goods. In the more recent past, the rugged sailors of the Linnorm Kingdoms have increasingly turned to trade, making Kalsgard the primary mercantile port in the north. Much of the surrounding area consists of carefully tended farmland that generates foodstuffs and raw materials that are exchanged for high-quality merchandise and trade goods.
Kalsgard has been ruled by a continuous line of Linnorm Kings dating back to before the Winter War with Irrisen. While the city has suffered fire, siege, and other disasters, its citizens have always survived and rebuilt the city stronger than before. The Ulfen residents are a mixture of tribes from different parts of the northern lands, with subtly differing cultures and traditions. Other substantial human ethnicities in the city include the Varki, who come from the arctic lands of Icemark to the northwest; Varisians, who hail from the south; and Tians, who reside in the Jade Quarter along the city’s waterfront.
Kalsgard has a large dwarven population. Deeply integrated into the life of the city, dwarves are well regarded, and their expertise in many trades deeply appreciated. The lifestyle of Kalsgard suits dwarves; they mix freely with other races and are welcomed as valued members of society. While many dwarves hold respected positions throughout the city, a large number dwell in the enclave of Undercroft, a series of tunnels and canals built directly into the banks of the Rimeflow River and passing beneath the city itself. Here, among the foundations of Kalsgard, dwarves carve ice and stone to amass reservoirs of fresh water, and tend enclosures of underground livestock bountiful enough to provide for the city’s population during winter.
The gnomes of Kalsgard live primarily on the northern bank of the Rimef low River in the township of Iceferry, operating many of the ferry services that provide passage across the river. There are also many who love the stimulation of living in the heart of Kalsgard. While some of the other citizens grumble at the gnomes’ eccentricities, many in Kalsgard feel they brighten the city, and enjoy their unique perspectives. The potent gnome whisky called throatburn is infamous throughout the city for its intoxicating power. On the first Fireday of Desnus, the gnomes of Kalsgard hold a mock “Linnorm Hunt” festival on the city’s main promenade. The hunt excites the imagination of Kalsgard’s children as they search for and “slay” the beast, an elaborate linnorm costume operated by gnomes and supplemented with illusion magic.
The natives of Kalsgard are used to seeing a wide variety of races and ethnicities on their streets. Visitors to Kalsgard find the native Ulfen coarsely boisterous and loud, but generally
welcoming to those who treat the city and its people with respect and courtesy. While an exotically garbed stranger might draw stares from local passersby, these are almost always looks of curiosity rather than fear or hatred. The only exceptions are for those who openly present themselves as witches from Irrisen. The Linnorm Kingdoms have never formally declared a truce with Irrisen, and anyone foolish enough to claim to be an Irrisen national is swiftly arrested and then imprisoned, exiled, or executed.
Kalsgard continues to expand and grow. Each year, many hopefuls come to the city from small towns and villages in search of employment, riches, and a better life. Today Kalsgard is a very large city, even by the standards of Taldor or Cheliax, although natives of those nations are often loath to acknowledge the Ulfen as peers. More than half the population of the Linnorm Kingdoms crams itself inside Kalsgard’s thick walls, enjoying the security and prosperity of the nation’s de facto capital.