Known as the Slaver City, Kar-Dun is the largest Drow poleis in the Middle Underdark and it makes a healthy living for its Matriarch.
Like the vast majority of Drow poleis, Kar-Dun is led by a Matriarch, who rules as an autocrat with power over every aspect of the lives of the people within her polis. The Matriarch of Kar-Dun, who has led the polis for nearly 300 years is Matriarch Carmen and she is regarded as being a rather hands off ruler, preferring to leave the minutiae of governance to her harem of consorts, who are given responsibilities dependent upon their skills, but also upon the position that they hold within her affections.
Kar-Dun exists for a single purpose, to bring prosperity to the Matriarch and through that to the other Drow who dwell there.
Demography and Population
Kar-Dun is a majority Drow city with over 90% of the population being members of this race. The remaining 10% are predominantly members of other races native to the Underdark, primarily Duergar. As the main activity of the polis, slavery is rather lucrative, the citizens of Kar-Dun tend to be, on average wealthier than in most other cities, either in the Underdark, or on the surface. However, it is not just the material wealth of its citizens that helps in this regard, but also the fact that the debt laws of Kar-Dun, and most other Drow poleis for that matter, specify that rather than become destitute, a debtor becomes the property of whomever they are indebted to. This means that there are few destitute or impoverished people in the city, as the vast majority who reach such dire straits become the property of other people.
Kar-Dun has never had any ambitions to be a territorial power, so the extent of their territory, beyond the walls of the footprint of the city-state, extends to the end of the small (relatively speaking) tunnel that Kar-Dun sits at the end of in the Middle Underdark and a small network of self-contained tunnels and caverns running below, above and around the city, which are primarily used for agriculture.
Kar-Dun maintains a large military force, but rather than being a standing army of soldiers, most of its forces are the slavers who set out from the city to capture people to then sell in the city’s markets. The slavers of Kar-Dun, are trained in hit-and-run tactics, skirmishing, tracking and wilderness survival, which does not make them the most ideal defence force for the city, but they, in combination with the city’s defensive structures, would still prove to be a formidable obstacle for any one attempting to seize Kar-Dun by force.
Kar-Dun is one of the few Drow Poleis to be fiercely resisting the ever increasing reach of Kar-Marrontal, and whilst this means that they are able to act independently of their own free will, it also means that they are, to all intents and purposes engaged in a cold war with Kar-Marrontal, which regularly spills over into armed clashes. The only thing that works in the favour of Kar-Dun, is that Kar-Morrantal dare not risk making them a centre around which the other Drow Poleis might rally themselves, so instead of engaging them in open war, the Matriarch of Kar-Morrental prefers to wage a war of intrigue with Kar-Dun. With regards to the other major players in the Underdark, Kar-Dun has managed to maintain relatively cordial relations with them, primarily because they are one of the largest providers of slaves in the Upper and Middle Underdark, surpassing even the slaving activities of Kar-Marrontal and its client poleis combined. Therefore, as Kar-Dun has a ready supply of the slaves that make many of the Underdark's largest economies work, they seldom lack for trading partners. When it comes to the surface world, however, most who see the whip and chain symbol of Kar-Dun would be wise to flee, rather than try to negotiate, as the primary contact that members of the poleis have with the residents of the surface world are through slaving raids.
Agriculture & Industry
Kar-Dun produces a small amount of its own food in tunnels that run above, below and around the city, which have been sealed off from the rest of the Underdark to create a contained network, which, so the Drow of the polis hope, cannot be accessed from the outside. Most of this tunnel network is used for the cultivation of the typical fungal crops that make up the diets of most creatures of the Underdark, with the rest used to rear animals that can survive and thrive in this subterranean world, principally Bearer Beetles. However, it is an open secret that Kar-Dun must import food and that what it produces could only sustain the city for a short amount of time before people began to go hungry. The principal industry of Kar-Dun is slave trading. The city has large markets where slaves are assessed, categorised, bought and sold and it also has, most infamously facilities where the slavers of Kar-Dun breed, what they deem to be ‘ideal’ slaves. The slaves either bred in the city or captured from locations far and wide are either sold in Kar-Dun’s own slave markets, or shipped across the Underdark to meet the needs of Kar-Dun’s clients.
The Slaver City
Slaves are the official currency of Kar-Dun, a not unusual situation when it comes to the Drow poleis. Amongst the Drow who dwell in Kar-Dun and when dealing with Drow from another polis, it is more common to talk in terms of slave numbers, including fractions of slaves, than in coin when making deals. When it comes to fractional quantities of slaves, normally what this means is that a slave will be transferred to the keeping of the other party for a set number of years, rather than for life, or worse being physically partitioned. However, when dealing with the wider Underdark and when dealing with the nations and peoples of the surface world, Kar-Dun works in the currency of Fraxian Standard and complex formula and calculations exist for converting slaves into a monetary value.
Related Ranks & Titles
A very vile location. I find the system with the matriarch and her consorts interesting. I'd also be interested in hearing more about the cold war, though it sounds like I'd be rooting for both sides to be destroyed.