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Athkatla.

Athkatla, also known as the City of Coin, was the oldest settlement and capital of the mercantile nation of Amn. It was one of the wealthiest countries in all of Faerûn, where nearly every aspect of life revolved around money and commerce.[3] The concept of affluence was so well-connected with Athkatla there were rumors in foreign lands that the city's streets were paved with gold.[citation needed]

DescriptionEdit

The streets of Athkatla were well lit in the evenings, thanks to the massive, halfling-sized street oil lamps known as "storm-lanterns". They were kept aflame by patrols of six civil servants armed with double-hooked metal poles and vats of oil.[4]

SocietyEdit

The City of Coin was abuzz with peddlers and hustlers, hard-haggling merchants who were as competitive as they were ruthless in their pursuit of coin. The city offered a stark contrast between those who held power, i.e. money, and those who did not. Organizations that ran the city's economy, such as the oppressive Cowled Wizards, the enigmatic Shadow Thieves guild or obscenely wealthy mercantile houses could act with complete authority and near impunity. For the weak and the poor in the slums of the River District,[5] life in the city was overwhelming affair where danger loomed at nearly every turn.[3]

Decadence and overindulgence was a common pass-time for the wealthier of Athkatla's citizens, especially those living in the Gem District. When someone ate and drank too much in a night of revelry, or after seafood that had expired, they would engage in "straking" or the forceful emptying of their stomach.[6]

InhabitantsEdit

Organizations
Families
Main article: Families of Amn

High housesEdit

Merchant familiesEdit

GovernmentEdit

Athkatla was ruled by the Council of Five (formerly the Council of Six). Although council positions were once held anonymously, the council members ruled openly as of the late 15th century DR.

The five council positions were held by: House Selemchant who sponsored the Cowled Wizards of Athkatla, House Dannihyr which belonged to the Shadow Thieves, House Alibakkar, House Ophal and House Nashivaar which was closely allied with the church of Cyric.[2]

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LawsEdit

Just about anything was acceptable in Athkatla and actions that would be illegal or immoral in other lands were tolerated. The law permitted nearly anything including lewdness and slavery.[2]

Minor laws could be broken, so long as the corresponding fine was paid, which often occurred before the offense. Thieves within the city operated under written contracts more than anywhere else in Faerûn.[3]

MagicEdit

The practice or use of arcane magic was explicitly illegal within the city of Athkatla,[2] a ban which dated back to a royal decree by the young King Dhanar the late 13th century DR.[8] Spellcasting by wizards or sorcerers were limited to a select few who were licensed by the High Houses of Amn, or their magical enforcement agency, the Cowled Wizards, who acted as little more than mercenaries and spies for House Selemchant.[2]

Notable LocationsEdit

All of the following locations have a grid address so that they can be found in the accompanying map of Athkatla, circa 1370 DR.

GoldspiresArbalest's HouseWaukeen's PromenadeCopper CoronetAdamantine MugDelosar'sSilverale HallSea's BountyDen of the Seven ValesFive FlagonsMithrestMoonhallDome of the RoseAlandamer's GateMeirtyn GateHeroes' GateSparandar GateJulkoon GateOlemandur GateChain-GateSea-GatesCold DolorThe BridgeWave DistrictTemple DistrictGem DistrictRiver DistrictTrades DistrictScepter DistrictCenter DistrictBridge DistrictGuards DistrictGrave DistrictAlandor RiverSea of SwordsRiver RoadAthkatla image map

A map of Athkatla in 1370 DR. Hovering over the map will reveal named locations. Clicking will link to the article for that location.

City gatesEdit

The city had six outer gates, that, save for the Sparandar, required a toll of "any one coin" as a fee to pass through. Typically a fandar was given to the toll-taker but if any unrecognizable currency was used, they would demand a coin of silver or gold.[4]

Clockwise from the north the gates were:[9]

  • Alandamer's Gate (B1): Led north out of the Wave District.
  • Meirtyn Gate (F2): Opened eastward on the north bank of the Alandor River.
  • Heroes' Gate (F4): Also opened eastward, however on the southern bank from the Guards District.
  • Sparandar Gate (E7): Led southbound out of the Grave District.
  • Julkoon Gate (D6): Located a few blocks south from Waukeen's Promenade in the Center District.
  • Oloemandur Gate (B7)

The Sea-Gates (A4) allowed for ships to enter the city's harbor from the Sea of Swords and the Chain-Gate (F3) granted access down the Alandor River.[4]

Bridge DistrictEdit

The narrow, winding streets south of Athkatla's bridge (E4) was home to the city's many poor laborers, who lived lives a mere step above those within the River District. It was full of small, shoddy shops selling illicit goods and businesses that served the great number of caravans that entered Athkatla's walls.[5]

Mithrest (E5) was a notable inn located here.[10]

Center DistrictEdit

Nestled in the center of the city on the southern bank of the Alandor River,[9] the heart of Athkatla's mercantile class[5] housed a sprawling arcane with many of the city's upper-class taverns, inns, and festhalls.[4]

Landmarks
  • Daranthur's Hall: This market, found in downtown Athkatla, was one of the first of the "shared-roof" markets that is became increasingly popular in the 15th century DR.[11]
  • Delosar's Inn (C6): This inn and tavern was frequented by city guards.[12]
  • Sea's Bounty Tavern (D5): An old inn, tavern, and festhall.[10]
  • Silverale Hall (D6): This inn, tavern, and festhall was one of the oldest in the whole city.[12]
  • Waukeen's Promenade (C6): One of the most—if not the single-most—recognizable landmarks of the city,[4] this open air market stadium housed some of its greatest guilds and merchant houses. Within its shops guests could purchase any item that was found above-ground, and some from below, for a price.[13]

Gem DistrictEdit

Home to the "new money" families within the city, who constantly competed with their contemporaries with ostentatious displays of the excesses of wealth.[5][14] If the streets of Athkatla were paved with gold, they were surely found in the Gem district.[5]

Landmarks
Shops
Taverns
  • Adamantine Mug: This surprisingly reasonable tavern served a club of sorts for the district's merchants, offering discreet and superb service[21]
Temples

Grave DistrictEdit

Within the graveyard of the city, which was connected to the other districts via the Cold Dolor,[4] were ornate monuments and mausoleums erected in reverence to the Amnian dead. Although it was heavily patrolled by city guards, the district was often used for discreet meetings and rendezvous at night.[4]

Guards DistrictEdit

The quarter of Athkatla catered to the city's mercenaries and adventures. The adventuring lifestyle was looked down upon in the city, and were not often commonly found in other areas of the city.[5]

Taverns and festhalls

River DistrictEdit

Home to the slums of Athkatla, the river district was home to the city's poorest and most destitute citizens. The mean streets near the Alandor river stunk of trash, which was shipped out of the docks by means of barge.[5]

Taverns
  • Copper Coronet: A dangerous and seedy dive whose regulars included smugglers, pirates and other for-hire naer-do-wells[23]

Scepter DistrictEdit

The most exclusive section of the city was home to the administrative office of the Council of Five and contained the sprawling estates of the most influential Amnian aristocracy such as the Chainstone and the Hardsharn families.[4]

Landmarks

Temple DistrictEdit

Previously the hub of arcane societies within the city, this quadrant has changed to encompass the business offices and homes of many wealthy merchants, as well as a number of holy sites and inns that catered to pilgrims from across Faerûn.[5]

Landmarks
Shops
Residences
Taverns and festhalls
  • Harfin Draether: An expansive tavern that was renowned for its hearty and delicious fare of foods[27]

Trades DistrictEdit

Home to the great many independent merchants lived and operated out of Athkatla.[5]

Landmarks
  • Dunstul's pump: This water pump was a popular gathering place[5]
Taverns

Wave DistrictEdit

A region of the city that housed a number of seafaring business such as cartographers, shipwrights and other nautical craftspeople. Due to its proximity to the Temple District it was home to a fair number of scribes and sages.[3]

Landmarks
  • Great Griffin: This massive, seven-ton (6.5 Mg) bell was used to warn ships docking in the harbor during storms[5]
Temples

Other locationsEdit

HistoryEdit

The city was founded around 100 DR by the Shoon Imperium along with Murann and Crimmor with mostly Calishite immigrants,[29] in what was then known as "the emirate of Amin". The Empire fell and in 460 DR, Amn became an independent nation with the city of Esmeltaran as its capital city (despite Athkatla being the oldest and most established city).[30]

The nation was blessed with peace and prosperity for over 700 years, a period during which the rulers of Amn initiated trade with the far north. Money became the center of every good Amnian citizen's world, and the nation's taste for accumulating wealth corrupted many of the mercantile classes.[citation needed]

Trade WarsEdit

Things got worse from 1238 DR forward as every three or four decades saw a trade war erupt that would last for two or three years at a stretch. The worst one came in 1333 DR when all trade in or out of Amn was stopped. A young merchant from Athkatla named Thayze Selemchant had just inherited a rich spice-importing business and the most affluent trading house in the city. He refused to allow this trade war to squash the wealth and power he would inevitably gain from his inheritance, so he personally went out and "persuaded" (using his intelligence, charisma, secret powers of magic and the third largest personal fortune in the country) five other Amnian merchant house leaders into forming a new government that wouldn't be so susceptible to these trade wars. The attempt succeeded and peace reigned once more (though only with a compact of mutual nonaggression with the Shadow Thieves). The new "Council of Six" was based in Athkatla and the city became Amn's new capital and busiest trade port on the Sword Coast.[citation needed]

In the late 14th century DR as the last free port in Amn, Athkatla became the hub for nearly all the trade from Maztica although contact with Maztica ended when the entire continent was transported to Abeir during the Spellplague in 1385 DR.[2]

AppendixEdit

AppearancesEdit

Novels
Video games

GalleryEdit

NotesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Ed Greenwood (August 1992). “The Everwinking Eye: Words To The Wise”. In Jean Rabe ed. Polyhedron #74 (TSR, Inc.), p. 14–15.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 92. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Ed Greenwood (2000). Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 7. ISBN 0-7869-1626-5.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 Ed Greenwood (2000). Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 9. ISBN 0-7869-1626-5.
  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 5.12 5.13 Ed Greenwood (2000). Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 8. ISBN 0-7869-1626-5.
  6. Ed Greenwood (2000). Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 22. ISBN 0-7869-1626-5.
  7. Ed Greenwood (2000). Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 27. ISBN 0-7869-1626-5.
  8. Ed Greenwood (2000). Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 13. ISBN 0-7869-1626-5.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Ed Greenwood (2000). Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 6. ISBN 0-7869-1626-5.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Two: Amn. (TSR, Inc), p. 28. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
  11. Ed Greenwood (January 2012). “Eye on the Realms: A Surprising Vintage”. In Steve Winter ed. Dragon #407 (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 44,45.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Two: Amn. (TSR, Inc), p. 29. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
  13. Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Two: Amn. (TSR, Inc), p. 29. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
  14. Ed Greenwood (2000). Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 20. ISBN 0-7869-1626-5.
  15. Ed Greenwood (2000). Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 28. ISBN 0-7869-1626-5.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Ed Greenwood (2000). Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 34. ISBN 0-7869-1626-5.
  17. Ed Greenwood (2000). Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 42. ISBN 0-7869-1626-5.
  18. Ed Greenwood (2000). Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 43. ISBN 0-7869-1626-5.
  19. Ed Greenwood (2000). Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 40. ISBN 0-7869-1626-5.
  20. Ed Greenwood (2000). Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 36. ISBN 0-7869-1626-5.
  21. Ed Greenwood (2000). Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 33. ISBN 0-7869-1626-5.
  22. Ed Greenwood (2000). Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 44. ISBN 0-7869-1626-5.
  23. Ed Greenwood (2000). Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 10. ISBN 0-7869-1626-5.
  24. Ed Greenwood (2000). Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 14. ISBN 0-7869-1626-5.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 25.5 25.6 Ed Greenwood (2000). Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 16. ISBN 0-7869-1626-5.
  26. Ed Greenwood (2000). Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 19. ISBN 0-7869-1626-5.
  27. Ed Greenwood (2000). Volo's Guide to Baldur's Gate II. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 18. ISBN 0-7869-1626-5.
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 28.4 28.5 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 93. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  29. Steven E. Schend (1997). Lands of Intrigue: Book Two: Amn. (TSR, Inc), p. 19. ISBN 0-7869-0697-9.
  30. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 88. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.