Population: 15,600 (95% Human, 5% Mixed Other) (Search -1)
Physical and Magical Environment
Appearance: Average (+0) Hygiene: (-1)
Mana Level: Normal
Culture and Economy
Languages: Chellish, Varesian, Kellid Literacy: Fluent
Wealth: Above Average, Status: -2 to 7
Control Rating: 2
Military Defense Bonus: +7 (Standing army and navy, considerable well-maintained fortifications)
Countess Carmilla Caliphvaso – Countess of Caliphas
General Drannon Ulvodos – Leader of the Ustalavic Army
Colonel Joelm Colmar – Leader of the Caliphas Militia
Admiral Marris Riddian – Leader of the Ustalavic Navy
Caliphas is the largest city in Ustalav and effectively acts as the country’s capital although all of the other counties would dispute this claim. Caliphas is located on the north shore of Lake Evendim. It’s harbor is the finest on the lake and its markets offer the finest variety of goods in Ustalav.
Government is a tricky affair, at the County level, the Countess leads a council of powerful merchants who have operations in much of the rest of the country. The city is run in much the same way except the Countess has a larger say and the councilors from the seven districts of the city have a notoriously difficult time agreeing on anything. All members of both councils tend to be more interested in protecting their own power than they are in governing the country or the city. This tends to ensure a hands-off attitude towards law enforcement that is either a blessing or a curse depending on which side of the deal you are on.
The city has always been the financial heart of Ustalav but became the political heart as well after the war between the Shining Crusade and the Whispering Tyrant badly damaged the old capital in Ardis. Caliphas suffered the least of any city in Ustalav during the Shining Crusade. This is due in equal parts to its powerful fortifications and several well-timed changes in loyalty. The rest of the country resents these loyalty changes to the current day but cannot argue with their effectiveness in preserving the city and its markets.
One unintended consequence of the preservation of Caliphas is that it is, by far, structurally the oldest city in Ustalav. The streets are narrow and winding, the buildings lean against each other for support, and the doors and windows do not fit well in many buildings because the walls have sagged. The skyline of Caliphas is littered with every architectural style ever introduced to Ustalav and the libraries and universities tend to collect the oddest bits of knowledge and teachers.
The weather in Caliphas is a bit warmer than the rest of the country due to some hot springs in the nearby swamps but is considerably foggier. It is very dangerous for the ill-informed to wander about the streets of Caliphas when the fog is thick.
The seven districts of the city are: Ashtown, Blackwood, North Cushing, West Cushing, Dowell,
Eskcourt, Hawthorne Rows, Laurelight Hill, Leland, and Valpole. Each distinct is made distinct by its geography, population, or trade.
Just beyond the city lie several boroughs that support it, the best known being Crossleigh, where many of Ustalav’s finest ships are built and harbor; Wrenhyde, the garden country where many of Caliphas’s elite keep their manors; and Graystove, where coal and the lives of peasants fuel the constant production of brass, bronze, and great works in metal.
While much of the city’s commerce is conducted in shops and stands throughout the varied districts, it’s said that one can find anything one wants on Barragaro road. From dusk to dawn, vendors, barrow boys, and traders of all types loudly haggle over goods, from folksy crafts and jerked fish skewers to stolen wares and mysterious curiosities. Although many of the merchants are daily fixtures, some dealers sell their wares in a single day and then are never seen again. The raucous, bustling street always has a carnival atmosphere, attracting street performers and tourists, but also hucksters, con artists, and pickpockets of all types.
Just off the sloping street runs Vaingrier Alley, also called Oracle’s Alley, where sham soothsayers read fortunes in dice and bones, Varesian dancers distract easy marks, and several of the city’s dealers in magical goods—of both dubious and masterful quality—keep shop.