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Laszan

The spiritual and administrative heart of Zhisbon, Laszan is said to be one of the most beautiful cities in existence in Ulskandar. The city’s spiralling main street leads from the entrance of the city up the slopes of Mount Krak and into the Acropolis beneath which Ajrihaan, the Mother of the Nation herself slumbers for centuries at a time. However, few get to see this sparkling jewel of a city, as its Dragonborn masters jealously guard it and shield it from all but the most exceptional of outsiders.

Demographics

The core demographic of Laszan’s population are Dragonborn, who make up 60% of the city’s population. The remaining 40% of the population is predominantly made up of Kobolds who are employed to act as maintenance workers in the city and servants by the Dragonborn population. There is a much smaller permanent population of Lizardmen amongst this 40%, but they tend to prefer the more tropical climate of the Cape Verdant in the north of Zhisbon, and most Lizardmen seen in the city will only be there conducting business rather than residing in Laszan. There are no know permanent residents from any other sapient species, and the number of visitors from other sapient species that have come to Laszan are so few that they could almost be counted on a single hand.   Because of the rigid format of Zhis society, where all Dragonborns are assigned an occupation group based on their intelligence, constitution and family history, there is a base level of income that is offered to all Dragonborn, and that is also extended to the servile Kobolds and Lizardmen as well. What this means is that there is a base, reasonable standard of living in Laszan, though many individuals are restricted from climbing above a certain amount of income depending upon what occupation group they have been placed in. Unemployment is virtually non-existent in Laszan and the rest of Zhisbon, as workers who find themselves to be too old, infirm or injured to work are supported by the state. Almost all beggars and homeless individuals in Zhisbon are Kobold servants who have fallen on hard times, who are viewed with disdain by Dragonborns who view Kobolds as being reckless with money.

Defences

On the face of it, Laszan looks completely undefended, but any foolhardy enough to attack the city would soon learn that this is not the case. Surrounding the perimeter of the city is a network of obelisks spaced about a quarter of a mile apart, each topped with a large flawless blue quartz crystal, and there are two more concentric circles of these obelisks that cut through the city, forming three rings around Mount Krak. The perimeter of the Acropolis on Mount Krak’s flat top also has its own circle of obelisks, that line up with the concentric circles of obelisks in the city below The top tower of the Temple of Ajrihaan’s contains a single, much larger blue quartz crystal and the tower is the central point from which the nexus of obelisks on the Acropolis and the city are aligned. When the city is believed to be threatened, the protective magic of the central crystal will be activated, and a blue shield of protective energy will spread over the entirety of Mount Krak, its Acropolis and the city of Laszan, giving the whole area the appearance of a giant shimmering blue pyramid. This energy field cannot be entered, except by those that have been given specially crafted blue quartz talismans that will a allow them to move through the barrier. Objects and creatures can, however pass freely out of the barrier from inside, and a ring of defensive towers within the shield’s perimeter have been built and equipped with artillery emplacements so that defenders can fire on attackers outside.

Industry

Laszan is primarily an administrative rather than an industrial centre, though there is some ‘industrial’ production of magic items that is carried out in its Academy of Arcanology. Principally, Laszan’s activities revolve around the running of the nation, and it is the seat of the Elder’s Council that govern Zhisbon whilst their matriarch Ajrihaan slumbers within Mount Krak. The Zhis bureaucracy is by far the largest single employer in the city, but the second largest is centred on the training of different occupational groups in Zhis society. All of Zhisbon’s military, for example is trained in the city and its hinterland in the Zhis Badlands, which requires a lot of manpower to run smoothly. The cult of Ajrihaan, that is centred on the city’s Acropolis is another large employer of the city’s citizens, as is the thriving research network centred around the Academy of Arcanology.

Infrastructure

As the capital of Zhisbon, Laszan is well appointed when it comes to public amenities, and has been built with a large network of wells and fountains that supply water from the water table deep underground and the city is well equipped with uniformly paved and well maintained roads. The city is not laid out on a grid system, nor is it unplanned, rather the city is composed of many rows of a single spiral of streets that originates at the foot of the stairs ascending to the Acropolis and then snakes out and around Mount Krak many times. The ‘spiral road’ is the largest, main thoroughfare that is the core of this layout, but there are many smaller streets that crisscross between the buildings to provide more convenient access through the city. Laszan has also been endowed with a great number of ornamental gardens, provided for the enjoyment of the public, and many Dragonborn scholars from the Academy of Arcanology can be seen wandering through their leafy passages engaged in discussion and debate.   The centre of Laszan is the Acropolis located on the flat summit of Mount Krak. The Acropolis is accessed by a staircase carved into the mountain’s rock that spirals up to the summit. The centre of the Acropolis is the Temple of Ajrihaan, an intricate and vast structure built to honour the matriarch of the nation, and that also serves as the centre of the Zhis government. The most important parts of the government, including the Elder’s Council is located within the temple, below which are the caverns deep in the heart of the mountain where Ajrihaan herself slumbers.   Also within the city are numerous administrative buildings from which the day-to-day running of the nation is conducted, and there is also the complex of buildings associated with Laszan’s Academy of Arcanology, the most prestigious of all of Zhisbon’s Academies, to which only the Dragonborn students with the best potential are sent.

Geography

The city of Laszan is built on the flat, dusty plains immediately in the shadow of Mount Krak. As the slopes of the city’s central mountain are so steep, and in many places almost vertical, buildings have been constructed right up to the beginning of its slopes, which means that some buildings are almost permanently covered by shadow. There is no naturally occurring standing water in the city, which is instead supplied through a deep, intricate system of wells and underground reservoirs from which water is pumped up to the surface. Equally, there is little vegetation, other than the hardy species of cactus native to the Zhis Badlands, but the water pumped up from below the ground has made the cultivation of other plants possible, mostly in the form of ornamental gardens and more utilitarian kitchen gardens, as opposed to industrial agriculture.
Type
Capital
Population
c.65,000
Inhabitant Demonym
Laszis
Location under
Mount Krak
Owner/Ruler
Ajrihaan
Owning Organization
Zhisbon

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Cover image: by Chris Pyrah

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