Conan Wiki
Advertisement

The smallest of the city-states, and also the newest in terms of development, Krotoa is situated in the valley of the southern mountain range that separates Koth and Ophir. Krotoa established itself as a gateway to both countries.

What Krotoa lacks in corrupt bureaucracy and ill-gotten gains, it makes up for in fighting spirit. Krotoa has a small standing army that it pays, and it buys mercenary companies to keep their retinue sharp and their skills polished and also to bolster the ranks in the event of a campaign. Because of Krotoa’s military strength and lack of graft, they have made great strides serving as a national jail for the criminal element. Nervous thieves from Zingara to Brythunia speak in hushed whispers of the gaol of Krotoa.

Krotoa is not without its weaknesses, however, and the strength of its morality regarding the law is certainly susceptible to an abuse of power. For the right price, a political adversary can disappear in the Grand Gaol, interred forever, never to be heard from again. In an age of political instability, Krotoa’s favor is heavily courted by regimes both foreign and domestic.

Notable Areas[]

The Walls of Krotoa[]

One of the things that makes Krotoa so unique is its origins as first a fortification, then a keep, a walled village and, finally, a thriving city-state. Rather than remove the old walls, the inhabitants of Krotoa simply knocked down sections of walls as needed and built up new structures over and around the walls that remained. This gives the streets of Krotoa a labyrinthine quality that makes it particularly hard to navigate for newcomers.

The Grand Bazaar[]

At the intersection of the old fortress wall, the old keep fortification, and the remnants of the walled village lies the Grand Bazaar, a twisting and turning set of streets literally lined with merchants selling goods and services from all over Corinthia and its neighbors. Luxury items and lifestyle items for Carousing can be purchased here.

The Devil's Tail[]

This small, unassuming side street needs to be pointed out to newcomers who are looking for it. It’s also known as Apothecary’s Row, and it’s a narrow alley that is full of reagents and ingredients necessary for sorcery, alchemy, or other mischief-making. The street and its merchants are kept well stocked by the black-market trade from the southern kingdoms.

The Frayed Rope[]

Located near the back of the Garrison District, the Frayed Rope shares a common wall with the city’s Punishment Square. Here is where the reprobates and ne’er-do-wells that make up Krotoa’s small but dedicated underworld meet, drink, and plot, often in elaborate language and jargon-riddled doublespeak, to better confuse the uninitiated. Any thieves not from Krotoa attempting to talk to thieves from Krotoa must make communications tests at one difficulty level higher unless the conversation takes place in private and the fellow thief is sure they are alone.

The bar is usually crowded during executions. Every time the noose drops on a poor soul, the assembled raise a glass in silent tribute.

The City Courts[]

This impressive structure stands beside the old keep, now known as the Grand Gaol. It’s the newest structure built in Krotoa, a temple dedicated to the law and its enforcement. The magistrates gather, along with the public defenders, on the tiered steps to debate the finer points of law on a daily basis.

Once a week, court is convened and the judge hears all matters civil and otherwise. Criminal acts are usually swiftly decided and dealt with. Complicated cases, involving state law or foreign agents, are scheduled for the High Court, a rare occurrence.

It’s nearly impossible to win a case without an advocate to argue for the person. Public defenders are fairly easy to obtain, but you get what you pay for. Other rich men have the luxury of buying or retaining private advocates who know the inner workings of the City Courts intimately. They cost much more gold to retain.

The Garrison District[]

The old Keep is still intact in Krotoa, thanks to its close proximity to the mountains and a set of well-kept high and wide walls. Inside these walls the mercenaries and city guard live and train and fight and gamble and carouse. The remnants of the old fort hold a half-dozen useful businesses, such as the city armorer, the city blacksmith, and the city weaponsmith, and they are kept busy with the soldiers’ constant needs. The Keep’s original gate is closed at sundown and reopened at dawn. Only official business bearing a court seal can open or close the gate at other times.

The Grand Gaol[]

Towering above the Garrison District is a five-story round tower with battlements atop it. Each floor above the first has a circular hallway that follows the staircase up to the next floor. Six rooms on each floor serve as jail cells for the absolute worst of the worst — political prisoners, murderers and brigands awaiting trial, enemies of the state, and other miscreants are installed in the twenty-four cells.

Getting in or out of the Grand Gaol is said to be impossible. Guards are installed at the top as well as the bottom, and patrols walk the halls at night. Furthermore, there are rumors of cells for special prisoners that exist underground, guarded by monsters and fiends. It’s hard to know what’s speculation, what’s an outright lie, and what’s factual, as no one has successfully made it out of the Grand Gaol alive.

The Commons[]

The massive sprawl that separates the main gates from the Grand Bazaar is called the Commons, and it’s where most of the residents of Krotoa live. Despite the harsh penalties for crime, the citizens in the Commons are not above taking the law into their own hands if they catch a criminal.

This large sprawling area includes small markets and stands for many basics and staples. The citizens in the Commons don’t have a lot, and they are mutually protective of what they do have. Any overt criminal activity generates a squad of concerned citizens who will try and break up the action, or stop the criminal. If they succeed and can recover stolen property or undo the damage done, they beat the thief unconscious and throw him into the nearest cistern.

If the law has to be involved, the citizens will march the thief to the nearest stand of guards as a group, to better demonstrate the force of their complaint and force the guards into action.

Provided no laws are broken or liberties infringed upon, the people in the Commons are stoic and decent and proud of their city and would go out of their way to help a traveler in distress.

The Governor's Mansion[]

On the other side of the Grand Gaol, upwind from the stink of the Garrison and the wail of the prisoners, the current governor, Orso Almar, resides in a converted temple that was once dedicated to one of the Stygian gods, now long desecrated and removed. The building was chosen, in fact, because of its proximity to the old Keep, and there are persistent rumors that there is an escape tunnel that leads from below the old temple to the dungeons of the old keep. To date, no one has ever found the rumored passage...

The governor himself is a severe, pious man, an ex-campaigner and decorated officer that left Nemedia because their military “lacked proper decorum and discipline”.

Advertisement