Large City, population 19,542: (79% human, 9% dwarf, 5% halfling, 3% gnome, 2% elf, 1% half-elf, 1% half-orc)
GP Limit: 40,000 gp
Cash on Hand (Total for City): 39,082,000 gp
Imports: Ale, books, cattle, glassware, grain, lamp oil, leather, parchment, pottery, wine, wood
Exports: Alchemical goods, artwork, gemstones, honey, mead, iron, stone, wool
Imperial Satrap Gram (LE female human aristocrat 15); Foreman Kelso (CG male dwarf cleric 5 of Corones/expert 9), Speaker for the Fellowship of the Burning Anvil; Grand Magus Vim of the Worshipful Company of the Squared Circle (CG male half-elf sorcerer 13).
City Watch: Watch-Captain Andren (LN male half-elf ftr 14) oversees the patrols and general operations of the city watch, which consists of a complement of 195 guards including: 5 adepts (5 1st-level); 4 aristocrats (1 2nd-level, 3 1st-level); 3 barbarians (3 1st-level); 7 clerics (1 7th-level, 2 3rd-level, 4 1st-level); 1 druid (6th-level); 10 experts (10 1st-level); 15 fighters (5 2nd-level, 10 1st-level); 5 monks (5 1st-level); 1 paladin (10th-level); 18 rogues (6 2nd-level, 12 1st-level); 2 sorcerers (1st-level); 122 warriors (2 3rd-level, 20 2nd-level, 100 1st-level); 2 wizards (1st-level).
Militia: Under the command of the Imperial Satrap. 931 levies total. 6 adepts (1 7th-level, 2 3rd-level, 4 1st-level); 5 aristocrats (1 6th-level, 1 5th-level, 2 2nd-level, 1 1st-level); 20 barbarians (1 6th-level, 1 3rd-level, 6 2nd-level, 12 1st-level); 4 bards (1 7th-level, 1 3rd-level, 2 1st-level); 4 clerics (1 14th-level, 2 2nd-level, 1 1st-level); 421 commoners (1 5th-level, 1 4th-level, 4 2nd-level, 415 1st-level); 4 druids (1 3rd-level, 1 2nd-level, 2 1st-level); 10 fighters (2 2nd-level, 8 1st-level); 10 paladins (1st-level); 10 rangers (1 6th-level, 1 3rd-level, 2 2nd-level, 6 1st-level); 5 rogues (1 7th-level, 2 3rd-level, 2 1st-level); 1 sorcerer (10th-level); 440 warriors (1 14th-level, 2 7th-level, 3 3rd-level, 436 1st-level); 1 wizard (3rd-level).
124 adepts (14th-level, 11th-level, 3 7th-level, 2 6th-level, 12 3rd-level, 24 2nd-level, 83 1st-level); 113 aristocrats (12th-level, 11th-level, 10th-level, 1 6th-level, 3 5th-level, 4 3rd-level, 13 2nd-level, 89 1st-level), 38 barbarians (13th-level, 11th-level, 10th-level, 1 6th-level, 4 5th-level, 3 3rd-level, 10 2nd-level, 17 1st-level), 89 bards (15th-level, 13th-level, 12th-level, 1 7th-level, 4 6th-level, 11 3rd-level, 24 2nd-level, 46 1st-level), 82 clerics (1 15th-level, 1 14th-level, 5 7th-level, 10 3rd-level, 24 2nd-level, 44 1st-level), 16,386 commoners (20th-level, 18th-level, 16th-level, 2 10th-level, 2 9th-level, 2 8th-level, 3 5th-level, 1 4th-level, 20 2nd-level, 16347 1st-level), 89 druids (2 15th-level, 1 12th-level, 4 7th-level, 1 6th-level, 11 3rd-level, 23 2nd-level, 46 1st-level), 589 experts (19th-level, 18th-level, 4 9th-level, 2 7th-level, 8 4th-level, 4 3rd-level, 24 2nd-level, 544 1st-level), 51 fighters (17th-level, 10th-level, 2 8th-level, 2 7th-level, 2 5th-level, 4 4th-level, 4 3rd-level, 13 2nd-level, 22 1st-level), 77 monks (17th-level, 15th-level, 10th-level, 2 8th-level, 2 7th-level, 2 5th-level, 4 4th-level, 4 3rd-level, 20 2nd-level, 35 1st-level), 50 paladins (12th-level, 11th-level, 2 6th-level, 4 5th-level, 4 3rd-level, 16 2nd-level, 22 1st-level), 51 rangers (12th-level, 11th-level, 10th-level, 1 6th-level, 4 5th-level, 3 3rd-level, 14 2nd-level, 26 1st-level), 70 rogues (2 15th-level, 13th-level, 3 7th-level, 2 6th-level, 10 3rd-level, 18 2nd-level, 34 1st-level), 45 shamans (2 11th-level, 1 10th-level, 6 5th-level, 12 2nd-level, 24 1st-level), 60 sorcerers (13th-level, 11th-level, 2 7th-level, 4 5th-level, 4 3rd-level, 16 2nd-level, 30 1st-level, 397 warriors (15th-level, 10th-level, 2 7th-level, 2 5th-level, 3 3rd-level, 388 1st-level), 60 wizards (12th-level, 2 11th-level, 2 6th-level, 4 5th-level, 3 3rd-level, 16 2nd-level, 30 1st-level)
One of the industrial centers of the Aureshan Empire nestles in a large valley in the Arentine Mountains, north and west of the capital at Auresh. Areta is known for its wool, the fine granite and basalt quarried in the nearby mountains, and for the quality of the iron smelted from ore mined there. Gemstones, fine artwork, and excellent honey and mead are also exported from the area as trade commodities.
Areta lies at the eastern end of the Ismar Pass, which allows passage across the Arentine range into the Stone Plains, the vast desert inhabited by the Ferendi nomads and assorted monsters. The nearby Imperial legions at Caster Arentine are responsible for defending the pass against raiders from both of these groups. Since the Ferendi are numerous but fractious and prone to blood feuds against each other, the legionaries consider Caster Arentine a boring but relatively easy posting, and view Areta’s taverns as a source of welcome relief from their otherwise tedious duties.
The city of Areta also serves as the seat of government for Arentine Province, and in this role it is the home of Imperial Satrap Erissa Gram, a local noblewoman appointed by Imperial mandate to see to the welfare of the city. The Satrap has ultimate command of the legions stationed at Caster Arentine and Caster Fiuma as well as direct command of the city’s militia, and she also oversees the collection of taxes and administration of justice in the province. Satrap Gram is greatly disliked because even though she is empowered to lighten tax burdens at her discretion when circumstances warrant such measures (such as when poor harvests, a harsh winter, or mining accidents cause hard times for the provincial citizens), she does not exercise her discretionary powers. Rather, she collects the full portion due to the Emperor without regard for the circumstances of her subjects. Many suspect that she actually profits from such misfortunes by collecting the full tax, and then sending the Emperor a lesser amount which would be consistent with the discretionary powers granted by her office.
Satrap Gram is not the only power in the city, however. Her indifference to the sufferings of her province and suspected embezzlement of their much-needed funds has led to the formation of a group of revolutionaries that calls itself the Fellowship of the Burning Anvil. Led by Kelso, a skilled ironworker and a foreman for Areta’s largest smelting plant, this group of disaffected industrial workers is in the nascent stages of a plot to expose Gram’s corruption to public view.
In the wealthier quarters of the city, the eccentric sorcerer Vim presides over the Worshipful Order of the Squared Circle, a large but fractious guild of mages with a shared interest in magic related to other planes of existence. The Worshipful Order is thoroughly benign by nature, since induction of a new member only occurs after rigorous observation to screen out applicants who are tainted with evil, but the guild charter is concerned more with laying out criteria for admission, advancement, and ranking within the guild than with guiding its members’ activities. So long as the Brothers of the Squared Circle can justify their activities’ contributions to it, there is little centralized control over how they pursue the charter to the chartered purpose of the Order: “Expand your knowledge of the planar mysteries, to the betterment of the Empire’s citizens.” The byproducts of the Order’s uncontrolled research make it an unusually good place to find magic items or to learn spells associated with these mages’ topics of interest, but they also lead to (very occasional) escaped monsters from calling exercises, or the even rarer instances when a summoned monster runs amok. On the other hand, Grand Master Vim and his colleagues are an excellent incentive for raiders, monsters, and even dragons simply to leave the city of Areta in peace—some of the Imperial Legion’s strategists have been heard to suggest that the garrison at Caster Arentine is mostly there as insurance in case the Worshipful Order of the Squared Circle ever manages to botch an experiment in truly spectacular fashion.
Since the city is also home to a variety of prominent temples, Areta is a popular destination for pilgrims of all sorts. Its proximity to some of the wildest country in the Empire makes it attractive to adventurers who are interested in hunting for dragons and other monsters. Intrigues between government officials serving below the Satrap, rivalries between the temples of the city, errands ranging from the bizarre to the merely difficult on behalf of the Worshipful Order of the Squared Circle, and a steady demand for skilled caravan guards for the trek across the Stone Plains also provide employment to mercenaries and troubleshooters of all sorts.