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Khôltar was a small city on the edge of the Great Rift in south Faerûn. It was known as the Iron City because of its high walls covered in iron.[7] Founded in the Year of the Vibrant Land, 316 DR,[13] the city existed for over a thousand years until it was destroyed by the collapse of the Underchasm caused by the Spellplague in the Year of Blue Fire, 1385 DR.[7][10][11][12]


The city sat on the western edge of the Great Rift in south Faerûn. It was connected by the Dunsel Trail to Eartheart on the Trader's Way[10][11] about 90 miles (140 kilometers) to the southeast[14] and to Shaarmid on the Golden Road[15][16] about 500 miles (800 kilometers) to the west.[17]


Khôltar was surrounded by a double wall erected in a ragged pattern of jutting points and concave angles. The walls were roughly 30 feet (9.1 meters) apart and topped out at over a 100 feet (30 meters) tall in most segments, with the inner wall a few steps higher than the outer wall. These barriers were made of large stone blocks and the external face of the outer wall was covered in huge sheets of iron laid out like overlapping shingles and bolted to the underlying stone.[3][4] This iron cladding gave Khôltar its moniker of the Iron City. Rust washing down the wall, despite regular treatments with oil and tar, gave the city its color, at least as viewed from the outside.[1][2]

The city had three entrances that passed through the towering walls. These heavily defended gates each had a unique design carved above the inside arch depicting some aspect of Khôltar's history. The northern gate, called Handrornlar after a human smith that led the offense against Shaaryan raids in the city's early years,[15][16] was adorned with large carvings of dwarves wielding pickaxes, hammers, and waraxes.[18][19] The western gate, called Dubrinlar after the last Shieldlord (governor) before Khôltar was granted its autonomy from the dwarves of the Deep Realm,[15][16] sported carvings of human smiths and other crafters each standing over a cache of coins. In one hand they were holding the tools of their trades and the other was open, palm up, waiting to receive payment for their work.[20][21] The southern gate, called Farrgaunlar after the person who built it,[15][16] was decorated with a somewhat gruesome scene of desert nomads on rampant horses, all being skewered by spears in the Iron City design.[22][23]

Inside the walls, space was at a premium and most structures were solid keeps of stone, cylindrical or rectangular, between five and nine stories tall, with very few structures below three stories high. Cellars were quite common but kept simple because of the large footings and anchored buttresses required for the high towers. Many of these towers had a very utilitarian design, with little if any decoration, and the owner of a smaller one would refer to it as "my fist", while larger structures were known as "greatfists". Affluent families tended to show off their wealth by building larger and taller towers, or purchasing a neighboring keep and connecting it to their own by high, swaying bridges.[5][6]

I speculate the origin of klathlaaedin was from the name of an early builder of this style named something akin to Klath, and "laaeder", an old local word for "made by".

The truly rich elite (including all members of the Onsruur), having built as high as they dared or reached the limit of their space, decided to go in the opposite direction and created smaller, ornately designed mansions, either as a replacement for their huge towers or as an adjunct. These klathlaaedin, as they were known, were ostentatiously sculpted and adorned with all manner of architectural embellishments: balconies, bay windows, turrets, domes, courtyards, conservatories with glass roofs, statuary, and oversized chimneys carved to resemble the heads and necks of dragons and other fantastic beasts.[5][6]


The streets of Khôltar were paved with cobblestones and there were three main thoroughfares, each three times as wide as the lesser streets, that connected the three gates, forming a great triangle. The North Way connected Farrgaunlar in the south with Handrornlar in the north. Running from Handrornlar southwest to Dubrinlar was Orntathtar Way, and from Dubrinlar southeast back to Farrgaunlar was Hael Way. Outside the walls, the Dunsel Trail made a ring-shaped bypass that connected to all three gates.[15][16]

ammarakh local trade agent
Belarkh ruling lord
blandreth tripod cookpot
blurdren food booth
Darbrael principal tax collectors
Dubrinlar the western gate
Farrgaunlar the southern gate
fist smaller tower
garthraun police
greatfist larger tower
Handrornlar the northern gate
hog fry pork sausage
klathlaaedin sculpted stone mansion
luthdren restaurant
malgart judges
Onsruur governing lords
plumphaer type of pigeon
sarth kebabs of marinated meat
spelter forge metal waste
tarjteir place of happy gathering
thaelor noise-making water pipes
traal business catering to visitors
trathake meat- and cheese–filled bun
trood long-stemmed clay pipes

Water for the city came from an aquifer deep below the city, extending out to the north and west, called Lake Drooud by the surface dwellers and Thauloch by the dwarves of the Great Rift who also drew from it. Steam-powered pumps pulled the water up to a shallow reservoir that was accessible by the populace, most of whom had or shared mule-driven pumps to bring it the rest of the way into buildings where it was stored in cisterns on the upper floors. Internal plumbing and gravity then distributed the water to lower floors.[5][6]

Waste water of all sorts (forge, bath, cooking, laundry, stable, toilet, etc.) was poured into the streets where it sluiced down open channels to corners of the city that acted as catch basins. There, the poorest members of Khôltar society shoveled the muck into hopper wagons and carted it out of the city a half-day's trek to the southwest (the most likely direction of downwind) and dumped it. Solid waste that was too heavy for sluicing, such as the jagged, impure by-products of forge work called spelter, broken furniture, broken glass, food waste, the bodies of those who died in penury, and the occasional murder victim, were often thrown over the wall into the trench between the walls and left there to rot.[3][4]

Waste heat was captured and reused as much as practical considerations allowed. Forges and cooking hearths were often fitted with a shield made of welded metal bars that conducted heat away to be used to heat water, dry clothes, or warm crockery.[5][6]


Needless to say, the city had a stench all its own. From the constant forge smoke to the open sewers to the garbage between the walls, it was difficult to find any clear air in the Iron City.[3][4] Greenery was scarce too, except for gardens cultivated on rooftops to provide herbs, vegetables on vines (because of limited space), and rarely, flowers.[5][6] Soot, however, was pervasive and settled on everything that didn't move and clung desperately to everything that did.[1][2]

The din from round-the-clock forge work (hammering, hissing, filing, and the accompanying shouting) formed a constant background to the hustle and bustle of wagon traffic on streets that cut through canyons of stone edifices, echoing with the sounds of crafting and commerce. Market stalls were not allowed on the streets of Khôltar, only vendors with wheeled carts that could be easily moved when directed by the garthraun (local police) were allowed to set up shop outside a building.[1][2][15][16]

Nighttime in the city was almost as busy—the skyline was lit by the fires of many forges and traffic was guided by burning braziers set high on the walls of buildings that lined the streets. The flames and the smoke gave the city a warm glow.[15][16]

Government & Politics[]

Khôltar was ostensibly governed by the Belarkh—the elected chairman of the Onsruur, or lord's council—who was typically a highly respected crafter or war hero. However, only the Onsruur could nominate candidates for Belarkh and they chose individuals that could be controlled or convinced to speak their words and do their bidding. Any Belarkh that became too independent or had delusions of grandeur was eventually removed from office by being poisoned, by suffering a "forge accident", or by some other surreptitious means that provided plausible deniability. As of 1372 DR, the Belarkh of the Iron City was Enklaevur Rostigror.[1][2][8][9]

The Onsruur was a council made up of representatives from the twenty oldest, most wealthy human families in Khôltar. These same dynastic families had been on the council for hundreds of years and were not interested in letting anyone else into their ranks. This governing body set tax policy and passed laws when a need arose, but the fundamental rules of society had not changed much since they were codified by a councilor named Onsruur (and therefore known as the Decrees of Onsruur) in the Year of the Wyvernfall, 512 DR.[24][25]

Law & Justice[]

The laws, as enforced by the garthraun, could be fairly summed up as "don't interfere with business". Stealing by theft or swindle, disrupting supply chains, taking hostages, etc., were illegal as expected in a reasonably civilized place.[3][4] Murderers were killed immediately if there was sufficient evidence or enough witnesses. All other crimes that resulted in arrest were brought before the malgart (judges) for trial.[1][2] Other laws included an edict that no camping was allowed within sight of the city walls. Greenhorn travelers that didn't know better were forcefully told to move by garthraun patrols, and caravans that defied the custom were often used as targets for catapult or ballista training.[3][4]

The city charged an entry tax on all who entered the city with more than what they could carry on their backs, or in their saddlebags if they were mounted. Full or empty, a handcart or a single pack animal cost five copper pieces to enter. Additional beasts of burden were two copper each, including those used to pull a cart, carriage, wagon, or sledge. Beast-pulled carts, carriages, wagons, and sledges were taxed at a rate of two silver pieces each, regardless of size or contents.[22][23]

Strike at order, and you strike at us all!
— Khôltan saying

Those who could not pay the tax were turned away unless they had a good story about being robbed on the road, in which case they were detained at the duty house and questioned. Depending on the circumstances and time of day, they might receive a bowl of soup and/or be allowed to sleep in a cell before being escorted by the garthraun back out the gate or to a place inside the city where they claimed to have business. Beggars were not welcome in Khôltar.[22][23]

Citizens and visitors who exited and reentered the city could avoid the entry tax by submitting themselves and their cargo to inspection at a duty house and receive a guard chit that could be surrendered upon reentry in lieu of paying the tax. These chits could be purchased illegally at almost any tavern or inn within the walls. Members of the Onsruur could just demand a chit from the garthraun without inspection.[26][27]

Garthraun on gate duty also questioned all unfamiliar people about what goods they were carrying and/or seeking and would make recommendations and give directions to relevant businesses that dealt in those goods. It was legal for local establishments to give a small stipend to these guards to direct customers their way.[22][23]

Residents of the Iron City were subject to a land or property tax which was administered by the Darbrael—a trio of men appointed by the Belarkh. They were required to submit to regular mind probes from mages hired by the Onsruur to prevent theft and fraud, but they were legally allowed to extort money from those that could not pay their taxes on time. They accepted "waiting payments" to push the tax deadline farther down the calendar. These payments did not go toward paying off the tax, they went directly into the pockets of the Darbrael.[8][9]

Culture & Society[]

Strong. Durable. Efficient.
— The Khôltan Triad

The Iron City was a no-nonsense, business-oriented community that valued hard work and had little tolerance for laziness or any strife that had an economic impact. Thieves and swindlers were reviled, and citizens did not hesitate to take matters into their own hands (with iron bars, forge hammers, or fists) and explain to the garthraun later.[1][2] The population was predominantly human with significant numbers of dwarves, gnomes, and halflings living and working together in a generally congenial and happy atmosphere. Competition existed, but was between individual tradesfolk and houses, not between races.[3][4] However, the Onsruur had some members that were stridently pro-human/anti-dwarf and worked both overtly and covertly to prevent dwarves from gaining power or wealth in Khôltar; the gnomes and halflings were beneath their notice.[28][29]

Khôltans tended to believe their work ethic and quality ironmongery made them superior to all except the dwarves of the Great Rift, whom they usually treated with fawning subservience. Privately, Khôltans sullenly complained about dwarvish attitudes and wares,[1][2] but they made a living selling items that were nearly as good for lower prices,[3][4] and, in their heart of hearts, the few-thousand humans in the city felt the presence of more than a million[30] dwarves living just outside their walls—an unseen nation that had washed its hands of Khôltar centuries before.[31][32]

The marks of the gods upon us, for striving so near perfection.
— Khôltan saying about injury and illness

The hazards of hard work were part of life in Khôltar. There was no shame in having burns or scars, and developing a lung ailment was a risk worth taking. Substantial meals, drink, and sleep were all considered conducive to doing good work, but usually came after long hours of toil, halted only when bodily needs threatened to ruin the product. Crafters valued strength, durability, and efficiency above all else in their work, but a beautiful design was greatly appreciated as long as it did not detract from the "Khôltan Triad".[1][2]

The work ethic was so strong in this place that toiling until you died on the job was uncommon but not surprising. Cremation was the usual last rite for those with some gold in their estate, otherwise the final resting place was likely on the garbage heap between the walls. Those that retired before it was too late usually went west to Lapaliiya, Tashalar, or even Calimshan to enjoy life near the Shining Sea.[3][4]

Any business that catered to visiting outlanders, such as houses of welcome (inns), taverns, stables, inspection houses, etc., was called a "traal", and the word was often combined with other words in the local dialect.[5][6] For example, Pauntraal was the duty house for the Farrgaunlar gate where visitors could pay their entry tax, exchange coinage, contact the garthraun, or get directions.[26][27]

Most houses of welcome had a large footprint, giving the rooms and suites plenty of space, but were only three or four stories tall and made of stone, with a rare few reaching five or more floors above street level. A typical establishment had indoor or covered storage for carriages, mounts, wagons, and draft animals that was quite secure. Water for bathing, soaking, and washing the soot off was plentiful and hot, both in private room tubs and in bath lounges for guests, partitioned into male-only, female-only, and mixed chambers (very popular for doing business in a casual setting, if one was not overly concerned about privacy). The food was not commonly a selling point for most inns, but there were exceptions.[5][6]

The locals typically worked long hours, snacking on omelettes, bars of hardcheese, or greasy panbreads made with stock-seasoned, fried or boiled vegetables, washed down with beer. When they finally put their tools down, they tended to gorge themselves and were always looking for new flavors to spice up the same old fare that was mundanely seasoned with hot mustards, sauces, or melted cheeses. When a chef hit upon an exotic new dish that caused a sensation, he or she had to produce huge quantities very quickly or miss out on a bonanza. These crazes bounced around the city, creating many fleeting fans and a few steadfast devotees. Because of this, it was fairly common for a Khôltan to visit half a dozen different luthdren (restaurants) and blurdren (food counters) and get one item of food or drink from each, consuming it before (or while) strolling to the next stop. (Luthdren usually had servers and plenty of tables and chairs for feasting, while blurdren typically handed food over the counter or through a window to people in a hurry to be somewhere else.)[5][6]

The Iron City produced many types of weapons and did not have any restrictions about carrying them on the streets (as long as violence was not instigated). Visitors displaying weapons were more likely to draw the attention of vendors wanting to sell them upgrades. Houses of welcome usually had lockboxes in each room and/or a vault in which, for a small fee, guests could store their weapons and valuables. A typical lockbox was a large, very heavy coffer with a sturdy lock that was chained to iron rings set in stone.[5][6]


Trade through crafting.
— Khôltan mantra

A constant stream of lumber flowed into the city to feed the forges that worked the iron (and more valuable metals they bought from the dwarves of the Great Rift) into the primary export: ironmongery. The implements produced in the Iron City included blandreths (a cook pot with three legs to hold it above a fire), bowls, brackets, buckles, cauldrons, chains, funnels, hasps, hinges, ladles, rings, pipes, scoops, sieves, spikes, weapons, and whisks.[1][2]

Khôltar imported large quantities of food and drink that was supplemented with what they could grow on their rooftops. One particular drink, amberfire, was imported from Three Swords and was often rebottled by the locals with added secret ingredients that they claimed made it better than any other variety.[5][6]


The high, irregularly facing walls were topped with towers at intervals around the circumference, with each outer tower connected by a bridge to a corresponding inner tower. Most of the towers were equipped with at least one heavy catapult and at least two light catapults. Stone ammunition was hauled up by mule-driven elevators (made with chain, not rope) into the inner towers, and special carts were used along the bridges to supply the outer towers. In dire need, the spelter-riddled garbage between the walls was fired at invaders.[3][4]

Garthraun patrolled outside the walls in horse-mounted squads of thirteen, keeping order on the circle road, preventing camping near the wall, and guarding against rust monsters. Inside the city, patrols were seven soldiers on foot.[3][4] The Steel Shields of Eartheart patrolled the Trader's Way up to the point where they could see the city walls and the mostly uninhabited ranch land west and north of the city that was directly above Lake Drooud.[5][6]

Each of the city gates had a duty house that was also a garthraun barracks and a stronghold with many ballistae that could fire through the gate or down either of the two major streets on which they sat. In the north, at Hadrornlar, were the twin towers of Turthtraal.[18][19] At the west gate, Dubrinlar, was Darrusktraal,[20][21] and in the south, at Farrgaunlar, was Pauntraal.[26][27]


Around the Year of the Vibrant Land, 316 DR, a trading camp on the edge of the Great Rift was in common use by humans and halflings from the south that wanted to do business with the dwarves. It was a lawless place, rife with thievery, prone to open conflict between rivals, and near enough to the edge that an occasional drunken reveler or wayward wagon would topple over, endangering the dwellers below. The Stout Folk wanted to corral the wild traders and did so literally, by building a circular barrier made of stone rubble around the campgrounds. Those that stayed inside the perimeter were given preferential treatment by the dwarves and those that camped outside were attacked at night and driven off. Traders quickly got the idea and dwarf-built warehouses and dwarf-garrisoned guard towers soon sprang up to handle the increase in commerce.[10][11]

Squatters were initially prohibited in the compound, but Shaaryan raids increased as some nomads chose to attack here instead of the well-defended Eartheart, and an ambitious young dwarf volunteered to set up a garrison if he was granted some autonomy from Underhome. Amberu Khôltar was his name, and in the Year of the Black Wing, 341 DR, he declared the camp was now Durthkhôltar (literally, "Fort Khôltar") and allowed costers, mercenary companies, and other organizations to establish permanent residence inside the walls while he recruited other young and restless dwarves to defend the nascent city. He was dubbed "Lord Blackbeard" by the human settlers (for his ankle-length, glossy black facial hair), and under his firm and fair management style, the city thrived.[10][11]

Worth her weight in iron.
— Khôltan compliment

Durthkhôltar saw rapid growth in the first decade and soon became known as simply Khôltar. By the early 360s DR, growth had become unsustainable, mainly because of the great cost of expanding the rubble wall, moving or rebuilding guard towers, and demolishing the old wall three times over a ten-year period. This was cause for alarm at the higher levels of government in the Rift and in the Year of Molten Anvils, 366 DR, they sent representatives to meet with Amberu privately. They offered him an endowment that was enough to fund the building of bigger walls for defense and make road improvements, in exchange for some of his independence. The agreement allowed Amberu to become the first Shieldlord of the city for as long as he wanted the job and established the garthraun and malgart (exclusively dwarven in the beginning) who drafted laws for him to decree. It was understood that his eventual successor would be appointed by the Deep Realm. The human inhabitants were a bit disgruntled about this change in government, but with the influx of gold, new walls being erected, highly competent law enforcement, and a paved Dunsel Trail to Eartheart initiated, prosperity soon overrode any dissent.[10][11]

Right on the heels of the governmental reorganization came the invention, in the Year of the Bitter Smile, 368 DR, of a new heavy wagon by human crafter Ulbrask Hael (for whom Hael Way got its name) that had an immediate impact on commerce. It had strength to carry greater loads, could endure rough travel on the unfinished roads, broke down less often, and was quick and easy to repair when necessary. Many fortunes were made in a few short years and newly wealthy folk built sturdy stone houses, forges, and workshops. Eventually, the space inside the new walls became scarce and buildings grew in height because it was still very risky to construct anything outside the dwarf-defended barrier.[10][11]

One human blacksmith by the name of Handrorn (namesake of the Handrornlar gate) strongly disagreed with the defensive posture the dwarves maintained over the city and demanded Lord Blackbeard help arm and equip troops to go on the offensive against the Sharryan raiders that slashed and burned every attempt to establish a venture outside the walls. Amberu was dubious about the plan but saw it as an opportunity to get the hotheads out of the city and perhaps reduce the frequency of raids so he granted them funds and a charter to wage war on behalf of the city. Handrorn, his sympathetic followers, and recruits soon swept across the southern Shaar, slaughtering nomads with fury and abandon until the raids stopped. He effectively drove them out of the lands to the west and south of Khôltar for a time, so that only Shaarmid and sites to the north were still threatened.[10][11]

With human fortunes and status rapidly ascending, some dwarves were muttering words of envy, resentment, and indignation. One in particular, Inbrurr Harlenstar, believed that the humans were profiting off the backs of dwarf labor and protection and demanded the leaders of the Deep Realm completely annex Khôltar, evict the humans, and reap all the profits. Cooler heads prevailed and they dismissed Inbrurr's shortsighted demands, but he chewed on his beard for a year or so and hatched a plot he thought would achieve the same ends: he would kill the Shieldlord in a way that couldn't be traced back to him and make it look like humans were responsible, inflame dwarven opinions, spread rumors about the replacement Shieldlord sent from the Rift, and provoke the humans into defiance and rebellion so the dwarves would be forced to crush them.[24][25]

The Place of Pourers and Filers.
— Dwarven derogatory description of the Iron City

In the Year of the Thoughtful Man, 374 DR, Amberu Khôltar was assassinated by poisoned weapons wielded by rogues hired by Harlenstar through multiple intermediaries. However, the killers he sent to eliminate the assassins were expected, ambushed, and two of them were captured, eventually ending up in garthraun custody. The garthraun offered some visiting human wizards payment in return for unraveling the plot, and Inbrurr Harlenstar was finally implicated. The dwarven leadership banished Harlenstar but he fled into the Underdark before having to endure the ignominy of a trial.[24][25]

Onskrar Hammershield was quickly appointed the new Shieldlord, and to placate the outraged citizens he formed an advisory council made up of a dozen older human crafters, four dwarves, two gnomes, and a halfling, plus eight other members that he appointed on a seasonal basis. It was intended that no seat at the table be permanent and it was hoped that the older humans would be wise and influential to their constituents. However, over the next two hundred years, through political maneuvering and skullduggery, the twelve human memberships became hereditary, the nonhuman seats were eliminated, and the seasonal appointees became secretaries and envoys. Hammershield was killed in a building collapse in the Year of the Ambitious Sycophant, 424 DR, and his successor, Gonth "Merrybelt" Forgegold did nothing to counter the council's machinations. Instead, he tried to glad-hand, gift, drink, aid, and favor his way into the hearts of the council and the Khôltan people, and he succeeded admirably, becoming the most well-loved Shieldlord for the next 153 years.[24][25]

During Merrybelt's tenure, in the Year of the Wyvernfall, 512 DR, a councilor named Onsruur quietly set down the governing rules and laws, called the Decrees of Onsruur, formalizing what had become common practice. Thus, the name Onsruur eventually became synonymous with the laws of Khôltar and the governing body that created them. The Onsruur grew over time to sixteen families, and then twenty, and began feeling entitled to all that Merrybelt dished out, all the while tending toward decadence. Forgegold accommodated them as much as he could until the Year of the Alabaster Mounds, 577 DR, when he suddenly resigned his position and went off adventuring with some longtime friends. The Rift dwarves appointed Angloam Dubrin to replace him, but it soon became evident that the Shieldlord position had lost much of the influence it once had.[24][25]

Shieldlord Dubrin immediately began what was to be the final expansion of the city's walls, erecting the taller, inner wall with the three gates and three main roads that connected them. The Onsruur steadily chipped away at the Shieldlord's powers and authority, setting Dubrin up for a fall that would be (it was hoped) scandalous enough to overthrow dwarven oversight forever. Dubrin easily saw through the thinly veiled hostility, and reported the maneuverings and his suspicions to his superiors in the Deep Realm who did little but argue about a proper course of action for nearly forty years. Meanwhile, Dubrin and the defenders of Khôltar heroically repelled two major Shaaryan raids, completed the wall, survived an orc horde, and began building a second wall outside the new one as the city grew more and more prosperous. Dubrin himself survived many "accidents" and overt assassination attempts while the Rift leaders perpetually debated.[31][32]

Charming folk, to be sure, if ye'll excuse the snarl in my sarcasm.
— Elminster, about the Onsruur.

At last, in the Year of Orcsfall, 619 DR, the dwarves decided not to move against the Onsruur families and risk an uprising. Instead, they chose to let the humans take control of the city, knowing that Khôltar heavily depended on exports from the Rift and, if the humans ever became a credible threat, the walls or buildings could be collapsed from beneath. With spiteful humor, Dubrin brought in battalions of armed dwarves over the course of a tenday, putting fear in the hearts of the Onsruur that they were about to be arrested or worse. Then, to everyone's surprise, the army hand-delivered a flyer to every citizen proclaiming Dubrin's retirement from the office of Shieldlord and the elimination of the office itself. That evening, Dubrin and the troops vanished into tunnels and secret passages that were known only to dwarves, and the city was instantly free but leaderless.[31][32]

Into this power vacuum stepped one Onsrurr family after another, each declaring themselves the ruler of the city only to be forcibly ousted by the next. Every family involved hired as many bodyguards as they could and clashes in private chambers soon spilled out into the streets creating havoc with no respect for the law. Bloody armed conflict between gangs of bodyguards prompted Embran Orntathtar, a senior officer in the garthraun hierarchy, to take matters into his own hands by essentially putting the city under martial law. He led the garthraun against the Onsruur's bodyguards, declared himself Belarkh, and put to death those that refused to acknowledge his authority. The surviving Onsruur grudgingly and cautiously took his offer to become his governing council, recreating the same political structure that had existed under the Shieldlords. With order restored, people got back to business, humans were in control of the city, and construction on the iron-clad outer wall continued.[31][32]

The Onsruur were not happy with the new status quo, but Belarkh Orntathtar survived every attempt on his life and retaliated with deadly force, so they began to plot ways to manipulate his successors. The fourth Belarkh, Hulik Strathtar, was wholly in the pocket of the Onsruur, and the council had effective control of the Iron City when he took office in the Year of the Wandering Sylph, 687 DR. Years later, the Onsruur opened up the position to city-wide election but reserved the right to nominate candidates, so every Belarkh after Strathtar was hand-picked by, trained by, and beholden to the governing council families.[31][32]

Rumors & Legends[]

The betrayal and intrigue committed by Inbrurr Harlenstar became legend and his name was mentioned many times over the centuries as a possible cause for conspiracies and plots against the city.[24][25]

The sacred Mielikkian tome, Yornar's Trail Companion was said to have exchanged hands in Khôltar in 1231 DR, being sold by the Talons of Timindar adventuring troupe to an unnamed dwarf for 90,000 gp. The dwarf turned it over to Halatha and Murbreistra Stamar of Phelzel.[33]

Notable Locations[]

Some of the interesting places in Khôltar, as of the Year of Wild Magic, 1372 DR:

Inns & Taverns[]

Better blurdren run to hog fry, soups, scoops of nuts, sweets (sugared dates, if nothing else), and a slightly wider and better selection of drinkables, but the prices generally go up a coin or two.

Luthdren & Blurdren[]

Shops & Crafters[]





Onsruur Families[]



Notable Inhabitants[]

Some of the colorful inhabitants of Khôltar:




  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 62–63. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 Ed Greenwood (2002-09-25). Part #50: Khôltar, Part 1, First Impressions. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2017-10-21.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 63–64. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 Ed Greenwood (2002-10-02). Part #51: Khôltar, Part 2, Second Impressions. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2017-10-21.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 64–66. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 Ed Greenwood (2002-10-16). Part #52: Khôltar, Part 3, Third Impressions. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2017-10-21.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Thomas Reid (October 2004). Shining South. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 174. ISBN 0-7869-3492-1.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 80–82. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Ed Greenwood (2003-03-05). Part #62: Khôltar, Part 13, High Khôltar. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2017-10-21.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 82–84. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 Ed Greenwood (2003-03-19). Part #63: Khôltar, Part 14, A Brief History of Khôltar, Part 1. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2017-06-17.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. Edited by Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, et al. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 120–121. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Brian R. James, Ed Greenwood (September 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. Edited by Kim Mohan, Penny Williams. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 69. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  14. Thomas Reid (October 2004). Shining South. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 159. ISBN 0-7869-3492-1.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 66–68. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 16.6 Ed Greenwood (2002-10-30). Part #53: Khôltar, Part 4, Our Tour Begins. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2017-06-17.
  17. Map included in Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 72–74. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Ed Greenwood (2002-12-25). Part #57: Khôltar, Part 8, A First Look at Handrornlar. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2017-10-28.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 79–80. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Ed Greenwood (2003-02-19). Part #61: Khôltar, Part 12, A Tour of Dubrinlar. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2017-10-28.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 71–72. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 Ed Greenwood (2002-12-11). Part #56: Khôltar, Part 7, Leaving the Farrgaunlar. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2017-10-28.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 24.5 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 84–85. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 25.5 Ed Greenwood (2003-04-02). Part #64: Khôltar, Part 15, A Brief History of Khôltar, Part 2. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2017-06-26.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 69–71. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Ed Greenwood (2002-11-27). Part #55: Khôltar, Part 6, Looking Around the Farrgaunlar. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2017-10-28.
  28. Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 68–69. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  29. Ed Greenwood (2002-11-13). Part #54: Khôltar, Part 5, The Farrgaunlar. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2017-10-28.
  30. Ed Greenwood, Sean K. Reynolds, Skip Williams, Rob Heinsoo (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 191. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 31.4 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 85–87. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 32.4 Ed Greenwood (2003-04-16). Part #65: Khôltar, Part 16, A Brief History of Khôltar, Part 3. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2017-11-06.
  33. Ed Greenwood and Doug Stewart (1997). Prayers from the Faithful. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 118. ISBN 0-7869-0682-0.