1.Fortress Walls.

The 10 foot thick, 15 foot high fortress walls are made of solid granite. The walls are capped with parapets to enable the guards to have some cover during battle. A six foot wide catwalk enables the guards to walk a complete circuit around the fort, simply staying on the walls. Guards constantly patrol the walls, keeping watch in every direction.
Pyracantha thorn bushes grow at the base of the walls. These are used to test wizards who wish entry. See Area 3: Main Gates, for details.


The two-story towers are 25 feet high. There is a ballista mounted on each roof. Each tower roof is watched over by a pair of sentries.

3.Main Gates

These 20 foot wide gates are fashioned of granite and metal. They open at dawn, and close when darkness falls. People who wish access during the closed hours better have influence with the leader of Altaruk, or at the very least, connections with the guards.
When any obvious-looking spellcasters seek entry into the fortress, they are tested. Wizards are asked to cast a cantrip or other small spell. If the bushes wilt, the mage is a defiler, and is consequently refused entry.
Two guards man each gate around the clock.


This inner building is the home of Arisphistaneles, the leader of Altaruk.


This long structure quarters the mercenary guard force. The small structure attached to the barracks is the quarters of Zul Akfrenar, the mul who commands the mercenaries.
The guards are mercenaries of all races, though predominantly human and mul. They carry distinctive mekillot hide shields, each decorated with the symbol of Altaruk.

6.Water Source

A narrow but deep well ringed with stones stands in the middle of the courtyard. It is always watched by three guards.


Built into the walls of the fortress and as stand-alone buildings, these are the quarters of the 1,200 people who dwell permanently in Altaruk.


100 kanks are stored here. These are the mounts for the fortress cavalry. In addition, visitors may stable their mounts here and expect them to be tended and cared for. The cost is two ceramic pieces per mount per night. There are always two guards on duty here.

9.The Four Bits Inn

A stone tablet fastened next to the door shows a rendition of four bits of a ceramic piece, grouped together in a semi-circular arc. The two-story inn is run by Gelrade Osnabryk, a female human. Due to the plentiful city guard, no bouncers are needed. Accommodations are five ceramic pieces per night, which includes two meals and six drinks. Separate meals cost one ceramic piece, and most drinks cost four bits.
Gelrade knows her prices are high, but she doesn’t care; she has the only inn in Altaruk, and she knows it. Besides, her inn is of the finest quality; the customer def- initely gets what he or she pays for.
The upstairs rooms have secure locks on the doors. Each room has two real beds made of wood, a lamp and oil, a basin and a gallon pottery pitcher filled with fresh water, and a dresser to store clothes and gear. The dressers all have mirrors.
The drinking room/common area is always bustling with off-duty guards, visiting caravan members, or citi- zens of Altaruk.


This large storage building takes care of the needs of the caravans. PCs can have items stored here for one silver piece per day per 10 square feet of space. The warehouse is always watched by two guards.

11.Traders’ Row

This is the name given to the avenue of booths and small shops run by the natives of Altaruk. Due to the frequency of caravans from all over Athas, the selection and quality of goods is impressive and worth the money. Items purchased here are at a 20% markup.

a.mêlée weapons g.herbs
b.perfume h.books, paper, scrolls, ink
c.leather goods i.metalsmith
d. tattoos j.wines and spirits
e.arrows, bolts k.footware/clothes


This is a large smooth stretch of ground where the people of Altaruk often gather to socialize.

The town of Altaruk sits atop an important juncture along the Balic-Tyr trade route. Other routes branching from Altaruk extend toward the northern city-states and into the eastern Tablelands. Altaruk lies near the head of the Estuary of the Forked Tongue, a silt channel dotted with small islands that pours into the great Sea of Silt.

Powerful Balican merchant houses sponsor the heavily fortified town. A 15-foot wall encircles Altaruk, and a well-trained mercenary army drives off raiders. The army’s frequent patrols flush out bandits and predatory creatures within a half-day’s ride. Only a sizable offensive might crack the mercenaries’ defenses. Lately, the army’s commanders have been casting a wary eye toward the Estuary as rumors swirl that the giants are planning to again move against the town.

Arisphistaneles, a Balican noble, governs the town. He is well known as a pragmatic man who holds citizens and traders equally accountable to Altaruk’s laws.


Dark Sun: Seared to the bone pord pord