|Capital|| Nilah (drow)|
|Largest city||Inan (Reywan capital)|
| Matriarchical theocracy (Lolthite drow)|
oligarchy (Nikumian drow)
|Official Religion||no official religion; see background|
|Currency|| Delat (drow)|
Reywan gil (human surface settlement, Reywa)
|Originally created and maintained by Archmage.|
Ka'thalar is a mountainous continent that is home to many species that prefer to live underground. Being the original homeland of the blue-skinned drow that are most common throughout Gaera, Ka'thalar's mountains are filled with tunnels, warrens, caverns and underground cities. The sleepy hillsides conceal a menagerie of races and creatures that exist beneath them. Aside from the drow, illithids, grimlocks, gnolls, kobolds, beholders and even nastier creatures have settled, finding permanent or temporary residence deep within the network of caverns.
The above ground portions of Ka'thalar are covered in patches by plains and forests. Here, settlements of humans, wood elves, inujin, nekojin and other non-drow races make up a minority population. Above-worlders organize themselves into cities and smaller villages or trade outposts, largely ignored by the drow, as the plains are seen to be unfavorable territory--but those who stray too far into the mountains or near the great cavern networks are often lost to the might of the well-organized drow living underground.
Ka'thalar is often referred to as "the frontier continent." It is to Igala what the "New World" was to Europe, at least in some sense. The majority of Ka'thalar's non-drow population are settlers that have come in search of a new life or thrill-seekers interested in helping to colonize relatively newly discovered territory. As such, a percentage of Ka'thalar's population consists of outcasts, criminals seeking an honest life far from their crimes, and poor people seeking a new place to acquire land or fortune. Its trade ports are always busy, continually receiving supplies from outside and exporting local products.
Population and Politics
The primary drow capital is located on the northern part of the continent, and is known as Nilah. Nilah is a Lolthite city, meaning that its society is matriarchical and house-based. Most, if not all, female drow in Lolthite societies become priestesses of Lolth. Pockets of Nikumian hate-worshippers exist, with the majority of them being concentrated in the west, and the primary Nikumian city is known as Ka'Isil (translated as "great moon").
Human and other non-drow settlements primarily exist in the southern part of the continent, on the plains or nearer to the coastline. A large portion of non-drow on Ka'thalar are merchants, explorers, adventurers, refugees, or escaped criminals, most of which come in through the primary port town of Inan (ee-nan). Inan is also the capital city for the province of Reywa, which is largely human-controlled. Other races friendly to humans are generally treated with respect--an elf or inujin wandering the streets of Inan will be treated with as much courtesy as a human. Larger non-human settlements are found slightly farther north--the primary one being New Nekonia, found in the province of Palonia.
The more western surface areas, particularly the forests, are primarily settled by elves. The majority of surface elves on Ka'thalar are wood elves, and a certain population of them are part of a druidic civilization known as Tuatha. For more information on Tuatha, see the associated article.
Ka'thalarian foreigners number their years, officially, by the Igalan system of B.T. and E.P., in addition to using the Igalan day/month naming system. Drow number their years from when they believe the world began, and use their own day/month system.
The drow, primarily, as previously mentioned, are Lolthites, with Nikumans organized into pockets. Non-drow peoples of the continent have a wide variety of faiths imported from across Gaera.
Drow on Ka'thalar are clearly culturally divided by their religious affiliation. Other races generally enjoy a very cosmopolitan society.
Lolthite culture is matriarchal. Clerics serve as the ruling class, and each "house" is headed up by a noble family. The "family" itself is mostly female, with males being considered second-class citizens. Any males involved in producing the next generation are usually discarded when the female gets bored, much in the manner of certain varieties of spiders. Most female drow children become clerics and become part of the theocracy whereas males often train themselves martially to become soldiers or intellectually to become mages. A matron mother leads each house, and most matrons utilize their "male resources" as shock troops in times of war. Male spellcasters often have slightly higher social status, but they are still functionally seen as slave labor.
"Siblings" within a house will happily murder one other to advance themselves; the typical structure of a house reorders itself to fill gaps in the power vacuum, allowing for advancement by assassinating the next member up the chain. Blatant killing is frowned upon, so Lolthite drow usually achieve power through subterfuge instead of street brawls.
Each house has its own slaves, soldiers, and casters. A house might also employ tutors for various purposes, although official training for drow happens at public schools in the city. Females are often cloistered in "nunneries" dedicated to Lolth for their training, whereas males learn their skills at trade schools or boot camps.
Aside from the noble houses, there are also far less politically important merchant houses. Within a mercantile house, males can occasionally gain some status as expert craftsmen or businessmen. These males generally tend to escape the tight stranglehold of Lolth, but they rarely have any power in society at large. The top eight noble houses of Lolth in the city occasionally meet in council to make important decisions.
Nikumian drow are organized into houses in a fashion similar to their Lolthite cousins, but gender has much less impact on social order. For more information on the worship of Nikumu, see the appropriate entry on religion.
Most non-drow immigrants and settlers import elements of their own culture to Ka'thalar. Inan resembles any large city on Igala and is probably most comparable to Doma Capital. New Nekonia, as is to be expected, was primarily built with Nekonian-style architecture and has the feel of a modern Nekonian city.
Most of the ruling of non-drow provinces comprised largely of settlers is done through proxy governors or representatives from various respective governments. The provisional governor of Inan, for example, answers directly to the Doman monarchy. Many of the surface elves that are native to Ka'thalar have their own governments, large or small, that exist outside of those of settlers.
Ka'thalar's drow cities largely keep to themselves, being as self reliant as possible. Rich mineral resources make it entirely possible for the drow and other races within the mountains to amass large fortunes without ever leaving their homelands. These mineral deposits are, in some places, contested--skirmishes between drow and non-drow are frequent in the southern ends of the mountain ranges, usually over silver and gold claims. The primary drow currency is the delat, which comes in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. Delats are silver coins with numbers stamped on them--their value is determined by their weight. A 100 delat coin is a much larger piece of silver than a 1 delat coin.
The non-human economy is a cosmopolitan mixture of cultures, dealing in both foreign goods and various local specialties, some of which are exported. Skilled craftsmen and merchants alike seek to make a profit in Ka'thalar, peddling their wares to adventurers and explorers. Farmers in the countryside work to provide food for themselves and their families, selling the extras on the side. In addition, large amounts of non-perishable foods are imported. In order to simplify internal trade, the main government in Reywa has issued the Reywan gil, which is modeled after the Doman gil and comes in the same denominations. The largely non-human province of Palonia makes use of the Lune (pronounced "loo-nay"). Lunes are copper, silver, or gold coins with various phases of the moon stamped on their backs--a Cresent Lune is made of copper and is worth 1/8 of a Full Lune, which is made of gold. Quarter Lunes are copper and worth 1/4 of a Full Lune, Half Lunes are made of silver and worth 1/2 of a Full Lune, and Gibbous Lunes are also silver and worth 3/4 of a Full Lune. A Full Lune is worth 20 Reywan gil.
Treaties between various sovereign Igalan nations have divided Ka'thalar into rough colonial territories. Ka'thalar's colonial borders are tentative at best, and in the aftermath of the war againt Elaith, many previous borders are being strained, eroded, or redrawn. A list of some officially recognized territories:
- Reywa -- Primarily consists of lands in the southeast. Officially "owned" jointly by a Doma-Riva alliance, but the governor of the territory answers primarily to Doma.
- Palonia -- North of Reywa, this settlement primarily consists of nekojin and is governed by the Nekonian limited monarchy.
- Tuatha -- Recognized by Doma and Nekonia after the war against Elaith, Tuatha exists in the western forests.
- Nilah -- Sharing a capital city of the same name, this northwestern "province" is primarily underground and is drow-controlled.
- Ka'Isil -- Like Nilah, this southwestern province refers to the drow settlements in the southwest.
For information about the creation "myths" of the drow, see drow.
Ka'thalar has been progressively settled by outsiders over the past four or five decades, and its growth has been relatively steady. In the first decade, contested port territory and skirmishes between settlers over borders (particularly those of differing race) eventually resolved themselves diplomatically. Treaties that more clearly defined borders and the backing of home governments calmed the fighting and allowed Ka'thalar's new citizens to turn their attention to construction instead of warfare. The population density thinned out rapidly as the more adventurous foreigners pushed west and encountered drow raiding parties whenever they came too close to mountains or valuable mineral deposits.
Recently, Ka'thalar was the site of large-scale war against Elaith Thenswick. New Nekonia was largely razed by Arachael the Sablewinged and his dragons; reconstruction is underway, but there is a definite fear that warfare will erupt again as various factions dissolve their alliance against Elaith in hopes of expanding their borders.