Royal Capital and District of Niole Dra

The sleepy capital of the Kingdom of Keoland has constituted an independent territory since the formal founding of the nation. Niole Dra (pop. 25.000) was established soon after the migrations by the nobles of House Neheli as a governing demesne for the Duchy of Dorlin. However, its active control eventually passed to a bureaucracy appointed by the Council of Niole Dra when it became the capital of the united kingdom some decades later. It is one of the oldest and most impressive standing cities in the Flanaess.

According to legend. the placement of Niole Dra was determined by the seers of House Neheli, and its present location supposedly holds some mystical purpose. In any case, the majestic and sprawling city is located along the western bank of the Sheldomar River. at the northernmost point where it is still navigable to smaller seagoing vessels. In nine centuries it has never been besieged or touched by warfare. The city sports only token walls and fortifications, and most of these arc adornments that only add to its acclaimed beauty. Niole Dra’s quarters, of which there are more than a dozen are separated by hanging gardens instead of walls, one more splendid than the next. The architectural style brings together the best of Suel and Oeridian influences, with soaring towers and open squares commonplace. All of these refinements contribute to the attitude of its residents, which is often described by outsiders as serene, slumberous, and even decadent.

Niole Dra is an active port, though it only sports a fraction of the traffic of Gradsul at the mouth of the Sheldomar. Barges travel southward to the capital from as far north as the headwaters of the Lort River, carrying trade from the Gran March and Waybury in the Duchy of Ulek, benefiting the city greatly. Niole Dra is administered by a lord mayor who reports regularly to the reigning king and his court at Santhmor, the royal palace, which dominates the western skyline. Currently. His Honor Pugnace Dillip (LN male human Ari L6) holds the office of mayor. His appointment, as that of all mayors. was secured by the Court of the Land. which also affords him the budget needed to sustain a large bureaucracy. This bureaucracy is necessary to support the complex ritual and formality which dominates the culture of the city, a role that the corpulent, fatuous mayor takes on with ill-concealed glee.

While the official precincts of Niole Dra extend to little more than a days march in all directions, the population of the district falls off rapidly outside the city’s immediate limits. Other than a handful of fortresses that house some of the kingdom’s standing forces, most of this open land is featureless and not under cultivation. Well worn roads lined with trees emerge from the city in all directions. leading to the various provinces of Keoland. Only one fortress of note lies within the region. and that is located in the flat plains some 25 miles directly south of the capital. near the border with the Earldom of Linth. It is a lonely spire, known as the Silent Tower, home of an ancient order of ascetic sorcerers descended from the early seers of the Neheli. It is avoided by most southerly traffic, which instead favors the river road to Segor. Though the public markets of Niole Dra are busy, the politics of court are the real traffic and trade of the city. Over a hundred nobles or their representatives maintain offices in the capital, most of them near the halls of the Court of the Land. Seats in these council chambers are emblazoned with the family crests of all the nobles, including those of provinces long since lost. with the whole affair being highly ritualistic. The figure of Archmage Lashton (LN male human Wizard L19), chief advisor to the court and bead of the academy of wizardry located in the Blind Quarter, cuts a large swath in the city. It is well known that King Kimbertos Skotti (LG male human Ranger L15), who was an avid ranger in his youth, dislikes the city and an often be found instead at his retreat near Linnoden, where he is good friends with the Baron of Axewood. Skotti has already gained the nickname “The Commoner” from clucking critics. Without the king’s moderating influence. various factions make bold efforts to promote their agendas before the Council, turning the city into a hotbed of intrigue.

The city itself is full of contradictions, from the desperate slums of the Copper Quarter, to the sprawling estates of the Noble Quarter, to the raucous, carnival atmosphere of the Tankard District.

A few establishments in the Tankard district:
The Crystal Goblet, a festhall, is currently the most popular nightspot for Niole Dra’s upper crust. Alayshee D’Arkane dines here often, and many landed nobles follow her suit. The place is run by Lathfrayel, a half elf Epicurean whose enormous girth is only matched by his talent for keeping the Goblet firmly lodged as preeminent dining establishment in Niole Dra.

Brogan’s Hall is the most popular stop in the Copper Quarter end of the Tankard Quarter. The Hall hosts wrestling matches between a wide variety of combatants, from mighty barbarians and pugnacious city brawlers to fearsome beasts captured by adventurers and sold to the Hall. Most monsters have their claws and fangs removed to make the matches safer for combatants, yet occasionally matches to the death are arranged between monsters. The reach of the law extends to Brogan’s, and any humanoid that dies in the arena will be investigated as a murder. In the two years that Brogan’s has been in operation, no wrestler has died. For now, Brogan’s enjoys an exclusive license to host matches, yet rumors fly of underground matches to the death held somewhere in the city. Brogan’s serves liquor, but the main attraction is the matches and the betting that goes along with them.

The Severed Head is the most popular bar in the Dock Quarter end of the Tankard Quarter. Named for the stuffed and mounted head of a river serpent in the taproom, traders and mercenaries from across Oerth gather here to swap tales over a mug of Keoish ale. A dwarf, Ballgetti the Tall, tends the bar. Ballgetti got his nickname from the two four foot tall peg legs he is usually perched upon when tending the bar. Ballgetti lost his legs when they were crushed by a giant’s thrown boulder; anyone who brags about fighting giants or openly speaks of fighting them will quickly win Ballgetti’s respect. He treats gawkers or any whom deride his condition with complete contempt, and has been known to order the bouncers to throw out people who get on his nerves.

Dragon Roost Rock: In the center of town lies an immense rock slab. Legend has it that the original Suel settlers found the ruins of an ancient city on the site of Niole Dra. Weeks passed as they slowly rebuilt the area and laid the foundations for what would become Niole Dra. Then, one morning, the sun rose to reveal a gigantic red dragon snoozing on a massive rock in the middle of the ruins. Almost everyone fled in terror, save for a few stout defenders.

The city’s founding day celebrations are marked by dragon-themed decorations and costumes, and once a year the legendary exchange between the dragon and the three knights is recreated, with a giant paper mache dragon puppet and three warriors chosen from the Lion’s Claws.


Royal Capital and District of Niole Dra

Greyhawk Samaryllis Samaryllis