Nestled within the Dragons' Tears Mountains, Kazkmal is a dirty, industrial town that is the focal point of the City-State of Kazkmal. The town’s and the City-State’s existence revolves entirely around the mining of Blackpowder from the rich seams deep beneath the mountains. Kazkmal is a town of two halves, the upper town, set in a mountain valley is where the richer inhabitants live and where the majority of the town’s infrastructure lies, whilst the poor live in the lower town, beneath the ground , in close proximity to the mines where they work. As the biggest producer of Blackpowder in the whole world, Kazkmal holds a vitally important place within the trade networks of Kelbonnar’s Material Plane, and influence over its plutocratic government is highly coveted by other geopolitical entities from all across Kelbonnar.
Kazkmal is a mixed species settlement, but due to the nature of its main industry, the vast majority of the population is comprised of species who are comfortable living and working beneath the ground. Therefore there is a high proportion of Dwarves and Gnomes present within the populace and there is even a small diaspora of Duergar who fled their home in the Underdark following a regime change in their native city Yanyarman. The vast majority of the people that live in Kazkmal are in the poorest section of society, 90% of whom are employed in the town’s Blackpowder mines. Members of this section of society almost exclusively live in the underground portion of the town, which means that some go their whole lives without seeing the outside world. There is, of course a middle and upper class to society in Kazkmal. The middle class predominantly live above ground, though closest to the entrance to the underground section of the town and its mines beyond, and fill the mercantile and administrative roles of the settlement. The upper class, representing less than 1% of the populace, live at the bottom of the valley the town is situated in, far from the entrance to the mines and the miner’s dwellings and between them. The upper class are all members of the Ruling Council of the City-State of Kazkmal and in this capacity they see to the governance of all of the internal and external affairs of the town.
As Kazkmal is such a prolific producer of Blackpowder a large contingent of mercenaries from the Bloody Wolvess are kept on permanent contract by the Ruling Council and are stationed in both the above and underground sections of the town. The main defensive structure for Kazkmal is a keep that sits right at the entrance to the underground section of the town. It controls access through a series of curtain walls and gates to the areas and the mines beneath the mountains, ensuring that if the town were to be attacked access to the Blackpowder would be made as hard as possible. In addition, further down the valley a curtain wall and a gatehouse fortalice has been built across the valley to stop easy access into the outside section of the town.
Industry & Trade
Aside from the variety of small concerns that keep the town and its populace going- localised farming and food production, localised production of tools etc., there is only one industry in Kazkmal, and that is the mining of Blackpowder from multitude of mines beneath the Dragons' Tears Mountains. Hundreds of tonnes of the stuff are extracted every year and refined in the underground caverns of the town before being transported to the rest of Kelbonnar.
Because it is imperative that resources are able to move easily out of Kazkmal, the town is connected by a well maintained and wide road, the Dragon Way, which skirts the southern foothills of the Dragons' Tears Mountains, around the Wyld Woods and eventually to the city of Angtarrion in the Empire of Turelion's Ferio Province. From there much of the exported refined Blackpowder is loaded onto ships and transported to places around the Centric Sea and beyond. Within the town itself, most of the infrastructure is based on ferrying workers into the mines and ferrying the Blackpowder out of it. Whilst there are well maintained roads in the external parts of the town, underground the actual roads are rather poorly maintained, with attention instead being given to the enormous system of mine cart rails, which snakes for miles beneath the ground and then emerges in the above ground section of the town into a large wagon loading station, so that the barrels can be loaded for transport beyond the borders of the City-State.
Guilds and Factions
As the majority of the town’s populace are employed in the Blackpowder mining concerns, the miners have banded themselves together into a union which tries to fight for better working conditions and pay. However, the formation of the Kazkmal Miners’ Union has caused quite the push back from the town’s government, which has in turn responded by inviting in a Duergar diaspora from the city of Yanyarman in the Middle Underdark, who were forced to flee their home due to a regime change in their native city. A lot of tension exists between the Kazkmal Miner’s Union and this new Duergar labour force. In addition, as so many of them are employed on a permanent contract to defend the town, the Bloody Wolves mercenaries form a significant faction within Kazkmal, though they are unlikely to prove problematic to the Ruling Council given that their allegiance lies with those who hold the purse strings.
Whilst most of the buildings above ground in Kazkmal would not look out of place in any other prosperous town on Kelbonnar’s Material Plane, most of the buildings in the underground section of the city have a very ramshackled appearance, as they are constructed from waste rock, cast aside from the mining operation. The irregularity of the stones means that most houses are constructed with a dry-stone wall look to them and are generally not held together with mortar of any kind, as this material tends to be beyond the budgets of most miners.
Part of Kazkmal is nestled within a long, thin valley deep within the Dragons' Tears Mountains, with the other part extending beneath the peaks where the southern part of the valley becomes too thin and too steep to enable building. The underground parts of the town, rather than being located in a purpose built cavern, are instead built within the empty space left from the first Blackpowder mine that was worked there.