Thesk sits on the northeast shore of the Sea of Fallen Stars. Nicknamed the Gateway to the East, Thesk is where the fabled Golden Way trade road begins. From Telflamm to Mulsantir, this road is filled with caravans carrying all sorts of goods and people from Kara-Tur.
Theskians are tolerant and imperturbable people. Exotic persons and diverse customs are normal where east meets west. In light of the Rashemi suspicion of foreigners, Thesk seems a welcoming place to settle. It even boasts a few civilized orcs, remnants of war against the Tuigan Horde.
Settlements and Features
Most of Thesk is an empty plain; the nation’s major settlements crowd the Golden Way.
Recently, Szass Tam’s forces have built roads to and fortified the broken towns of Nethentir, Nethjet, and Surcross. Theskians eye these developments with apprehension.
These peaks rise starkly on Thesk’s southern border, forming a sheer wall against the Sea of Dlurg to the south. In the west, the range forms a sharp peninsula called Cape Dragonfang, which ends in a tall mountain called the Dragon’s Tooth. Sailors use the peninsula and the Dragon’s Tooth as landmarks.
Shy gnome clans inhabit the whole Theskian part of the Dragonjaws. These gnomes avoid strangers and ambush anyone who resembles a Thayan. They farm alpine meadows and caverns, and mine the mountains for riches, which some of them trade in Milvarune, Ethvale, and Phent.
Copper dragons live on the Dragon’s Tooth in the west, as well as a forked peak called the Old Swords in the east. These dragons range over the Dragonjaws, brooking no draconic rivals. Filauxerimos, an ancient copper dragon, is the patriarch of this loose clan. He and his kin keep a watch against Thayan advances, and they might prove to be allies of Aglarond against the forces of Undumor.
City; Population 30,000
Where the armies of the western alliance put down the Tuigan Horde, Phsant is the cultural center of Thesk and a layover point for most who travel east or west. Its diversity is stounding, even for Thesk. Thesk supports a large population of civilized orcs and half-orcs, and Phsant has the largest population of orc-blooded citizens in the nation.
Shou-Town: Phsant is also home to the biggest population of Shou people in Thesk. Like every Theskian settlement, it has a city ward dedicated to Shou culture, but Phsant’s Shou-Town is the largest in Thesk. Anyone seeking an aspect of eastern culture can find it here.
One such societal element is the criminal one—the yakuza came to Thesk along with their more honest kin. Yakuza disdain outright theft, preferring other illicit activities and violent work, such as assassination and intimidation. Nonetheless, they clash with the Shadowmasters in Phsant and elsewhere.
Port City; Population 40,000
Telflamm is Thesk to most outlanders. Even though the Council of Thesk recognizes no one settlement as the nation’s capital, Telflamm’s prominence makes that point moot. Founded by the Balindre Impilturan noble house (whose company, the Royal Company of Shou Lung, also pioneered much of the Golden Way), Telflamm is as far into Thesk or the East as many ever travel.
A prince of the Balindre line once ruled here, but with the death of that line’s final scion, Telflamm passed into oligarchy. Its Merchants’ Council now manages the city’s affairs, and the council’s leader is given stewardship over old Castle Balindre. The powerful criminal guild known as the Shadowmasters, servants of Shar and users of shadow power, is the real authority in the town, but it allows the council and its leader to maintain the appearance of working against corruption.
Xiang Temple: Telflamm is home to an order of monks who train endlessly to master fighting with swords, spears, staffs, and most of all their bodies. Xiang Temple’s warriors stay out of elflamm’s politics, and no faction in the city wishes to provoke them.
Steep but short, the Thesk Mountains rise quickly from the plains to a height of about 7,000 feet. Landslides and subsidence are common, so travelers who aren’t experienced mountaineers face grave danger from the environment alone. Strange ancient roadways weave through the crags, built by an unknown people and broken by the ravages of time. The Thesk Mountains shelter native hill giants, ogres, goblins, and goliaths, as well as orcs descended from those who fought the Tuigan Horde.