| Map of Tashalar|
Map of Tashalar
|Population||889,920 in 1372 DR|
|Imports||Beef, fruit, silver, slaves|
|Exports||Cheese, dyed fabric, glass, olive oil, olives, seafood, spices, wine|
Tashalar was a small, exotic country located on a strip of coast along the southern Shining Sea.. It lay just east of the Chult peninsula, and west of the magic realm of Halruaa. It was famous for beautiful weather, beautiful people, excellent crossbows, and the richest wine producing region in the world.
Life and SocietyEdit
The small city-states in Tashalar were home to various wealthy mercantile families who lived quite lavishly. In essence they ruled the country through various merchant consortiums. Commoners of the region typically made their living working in the fields, groves or vineyards of these merchants' estates. Failing this, they could commonly find work as sailors, shipwrights, sail makers and provisioners, all contributing to the trade of the region's goods.
Hunting was a popular sport in Tashalar as there were many deadly creatures to be found in the jungles. The indigenous spicy foods were quite popular, as were strong wines and a tart fruit called yhaumarind, all of which was popular dining fare. Tashlans obsess over the future; nearly every adult owned a Talis deck and they could be found poring over for personal divinations, often calling to the deity Savras. Most decks were made of wood or vellum. Wealthier people may have had decks carved from ivory or other exotic materials.
The Tashalar was part of the Lapal League. The major city centers to the south and east of the Shining Sea shared a common history dating back to the time of the Sarrukh Empires of old. TodayTemplate:Timescale, the Lapal League shared little more than a non-aggression pact and an interest in trade.
The other unifying factor was a general distrust of arcane magic users. A long, costly feud between several wizards attempting to dominate the region was still fresh in the minds of the people who had to rebuild their spell-ravaged cities. "Magic used is magic abused" is a common saying in the Tashalar. It should be noted that this attitude did not apply to divine magic.
- Black Jungles
- Jungles of many yuan-ti tribes, at least one of which who was allied with the Rundeen consortium.
- Mhair Jungles
- Jungles that were home to scattered yuan-ti and some tribes of wild dwarves.
===Cities===Well, the first thing you should know about this is that the term “the Tashalar” used to be loosely applied to Lapaliiya, too, and by some to Sheirtalar whilst others used it to mean “everything south and west of Sheirtalar along the coast, until settlements peter out and it’s just the wild jungles of Chult.” Some people in the Heartlands and Sword Coast north of Baldur’s Gate, who’ve never visited this area, still use it to mean that. (A few distant outlanders even include Tharsult when they say “the Tashalar,” though that has to be considered wrong, considering that no one from Tharsult, Tashluta, or the coastal areas in question would ever have agreed that Tharsult should be included.)
With that cleared up, let’s say “the Tashalar proper” includes Narubel, Procalith, Tashluta, and the southern coast of The Shining Sea between the mountains west of Narubel and the mountains just west of Sammaresh (the western boundary of Lapaliiya), south through the Tashan Gap to where cleared (farmed and ranched), rolling uplands end and unbroken jungle starts. (Jungle is often burned or logged or both to keep it from swiftly reclaiming cleared areas.)
This defined area is rolling terrain crisscrossed by many nameless, winding dirt lanes. Near the coast it flattens into very gentling rolling terrain, traversed by a good coastal road (that for mysterious reasons seldom appears on published maps, but that parallels the coast pretty closely, about half a mile inland, and links Tashluta and Narubel).
The upland (southern) ranches of the Tashalar are unfenced areas patrolled by mounted ranchers, that have boundary cairns and tiny woodlots (called “thouks”) of jungle where vines, flowers, trees, birds, and small jungle creatures flourish. In part they flourish because all snakes (not just monstrous ones, or yuan-ti) are slain on sight (except by a handful of ranchers who eat serpent eggs and train house-guardian snakes or fashion snake-constructs or are in league with nagas).
Ranchers and farmers alike leave certain fields “fallow” to reseed themselves from time to time (they quickly become overgrown and can be grazed, and edible peppers and mushrooms are one crop that flourishes amid the chokingly-thick jungle vegetation, growing huge specimens for trade and the table even when untended). Shifting back to the coast, one finds almost no ranches but many farms and vineyards.
Along the coastal road and along lanes reaching out in all directions (except into the sea) from cities like the “rays” of a star, one also finds two sorts of settlements that don’t make it onto maps, and so don’t have recorded names.
One sort are the truly temporary and nameless “tent cities,” clusters of travelling merchants’ tents that change as trade dictates, as various merchants move toward or away from specific cities, take part in caravans, shift to take part in livestock markets or trade at ports where many ships are docking, and so on. So the size of a tent city and the precise location of particular tents can change daily, especially as spring really “warms up” or fall really “draws down” or “chills.”
The winter season, where local edible crops are lightest but most valuable elsewhere (and so are almost all shipped out from the docks of Tashluta and Narubel whilst locals make do with pickles, preserves, and “meat meals” from hunting and of livestock whose owners don’t want to pay to feed their beasts through until spring [and so keep only the best breeding stock]) is a lean time for these traders, who tend to seek Var the Golden and similar places to trade, or return to bases in the Vilhon, Lantan, and elsewhere to work on crafted goods for sale NEXT season. At such times, the tent cities disappear, and only a handful of tents (often housing those who trade in poisons, potions, prostitution, monster procurement and body parts, and other “somewhat shady” professions or goods) remain, around the cities.
The second sort of unmapped, unnamed settlement is permanent housing: walled “haelaers” (pronounced: “Hail-LAYERS”) that are collectively known as “the Haeloot.” The first word roughly translates as “home ground,” and the second means “all who dwell within walls, outside city walls” (in this context, “within walls” means within a walled compound, not just in a house or hut of some sort. (A modest one-family walled compound of the same sort would be called a “stead” or “steading” in the Sword Coast North, and a “hold” if it was larger and home to multiple families.)
The term “Haeloot” is usually used in everyday conversation to mean the great mass of people who dwell in haelaers, in either a disparaging or a social sense (assuming they make up a discrete “class” of folk, or seeing them in a collective sense as consumers or those privy to information or slower to adopt fashions than city-dwellers or as having a shared opinion among themselves that differs from the opinion collectively held by city-dwellers).
In general, those who live in haelaers are wealthier and enjoy better lives (better and cheaper food, more space and more quiet and privacy, more fresh air) than the poorest city dwellers or the ranchers, but are looked down upon as “gold-shy” (we might say “country cousins”) by the wealthiest city-dwellers, who believe that haelaer-dwellers are too poor to afford grand city lodgings.
Haelaers are actually of two sorts: the abode of a wealthy family who dwell with their servants inside a walled compound owned and (in practise, though Tashlutan laws do in fact formally apply) governed by the wealthy family (some of whom style themselves as nobles); and a walled compound shared by more or less equal families (sometimes related by blood, by shared ownership of a business, or even because their elders were once members of the same group of employees or band of adventurers, and have now retired together).
Both sorts of haelaer tend to have similar features inside the walls: wells (or springs) and ponds (or both), orchards, stables, carriage sheds and/or workshops, food and herb gardens, and dwelling places, with most buildings being erected along the inside of the encircling wall (and sometimes having “back doors” out through it, or overhanging balconies that allow entry or departure by means of rope ladders or lines let down to the ground outside on a temporary basis. Some haelaer walls are banked with earth on the inside, and fall away as stone-clad walls only on the outside (where those earthen banks exist, they are usually grass-covered and contain various small, stone-lined “root cellars” where barrels of vegetables and fruits (in straw) are stored, as well as herbs and drinkables, meat being smoked or salted in barrels, fish in brine, wax-coated wheels of cheese, and so on). Cats are frequent pets (to keep down rodents who might otherwise devastate stored foods), and hobbled or tethered (or both) goats or sheep are often kept a-grazing, to yield milk, cheese, and occasional meat.
Where haelaers differ is in the dwellings they contain. One owned by a wealthy family will usually have a grand mansion (and sometimes a grand detached guesthouse), a gatehouse to guard entrance and egress, and much smaller, more spartan servants' quarters.
A shared-among-equals haelaer sometimes means sharing a grand mansion (with young boys, or older women, or nursing women with young children, or other subgroups using the outlying former servants’ cottages), but far more often was built as a shared haelaer, and lacks a mansion, instead having multiple modest dwellings.
Haelaers are also found in Lapaliiya, so one should think of the coastal areas of that land being crowded with them, in between the named cities and towns (generally, any good port will be a city, and the towns develop around river fords or bridges where the plentiful water makes possible long-established livestock markets, around which permanent market-moots grow).
Here are the names of a few of the haelaers around Tashluta: Bhaelongarr, Chellyth, Dalauntrel, Eskoun, Farrat, Hazlurel, Jarrabar, Laelont, Moraunglel, Skalat, Vaerlont, Yallanth, and Zimzrel. Here are some of the haelaers around Narubel: Angahlel, Baerazh, Cirindyr (note: pronounced “SEER-in-deer”), Dathrel, Felpharel, Gasiz, Halamarokh, Imdrel, Nebrynth, Toraunna. Here are a few haelaers found along the coast, not very near any city: Asbrinth, Djathynth, Ilingolorr, Larzrel, Lollonth, Lyrelont, Marelhaummur, Nanryth, Olophyr, Olosstel, Ssantrel, Taenthaun, Uoovralat, Velantrrat. Feel free to coin your own names; they can sound like just about anything, thanks to the varying origins of (and tongues spoken by) the builders and founding owners. In long-established local dialects, the suffix “el” means ‘abode of’ (whoever’s name precedes it in the name); “alat” means ‘place of’ or ‘well of’; “rrat” means ‘grave of’; “garr” and any ending that includes “th” or “yth” or “ynth” means ‘place flourished in.’ So these suffixes appear often in haelaer names (another note: only very recent haelaer names will refer to “tower” or “keep,” and a haelaer name never evokes “Castle” or “Fort,” even if it’s built like one). The prefix “Olo” denotes good fortune.
- The capital of Tashalar and the main point of arrival of nearly all outsiders to Tashalar.