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Used as a trading stop between Balic, Tyr, the northern city-states, and the eastern Tablelands. Controlled by Balican Merchant Houses: Wavir, Rees, and Tomblador. Governed by Arisphistaneles.

Surrounded by a 15-foot wall gaurded by well-trained mercenaries. Mercenaries maintain a secure perimeter of a half-day's ride. All visitors must pay a security toll charge.

The town contains a Merchant Quarter with a small Elven Market on the outskirt of the quarter near the town gates, and an arena called Bloodsand Arena.

Rumors suggest that the Giants of the Estuary of the Forked Tongue plan to attack the town.

Old Altaruk. Over the years Altaruk has been destroyed (usually by Giants) and rebuilt many times. Consequently, maps of Altaruk are often out of date. This map refers to a now abandoned settlment whose inhabitants were slaughtered over 20 years ago.


Located along the Balic-Tyr trade route on the head inland of the Estuary of the Forked Tongue in the Tablelands.

1. Solid Granite 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.

2. Towers[]

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.

4. Keep[]

Home to the leader of Altaruk, Arisphistaneles.

5. Barracks[]

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 mercenary army of 500 'men'.

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.

7. Homes[]

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 Trade Fortress Altaruk.

8. Stables[]

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 Trade Fortress Altaruk, and she knows it. Besides, her inn is of the finest quality; the customer definitely 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 citizens of Altaruk.

10. Warehouse[]

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. Trader's 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.

12. Courtyard[]

This is a large smooth stretch of ground where the people of Altaruk often gather to socialize. Recently it has become the location of impromptu arena battles for entertainment.


Old Altaruk[]

Altaruk has been destroyed (usually by Giants) and rebuilt multiple times over the years. Usually each rebuild starts with a small fortified outpost that gradually grows in size.

The most recent destruction occured 23 years before the fall of Kalak. The location of that settlement's ruins have been forgotten. People who remember it refer to is as Old Altaruk.

Trade Fortress Altaruk[]

Old Altaruk was replaced by Trade Fortress Altaruk, which eventually grew into the town commonly known simply as Altaruk today.

The fortress is a rough square, with walls about 15 ft high and half as thick. Each corner is capped with a 20 ft high tower. Guards with lances patrol the parapets. The two gates, located on the north and south walls, are huge doors fashioned of granite and metal, their exteriors carved with reliefs of merchants doing business. The doors are currently open. If they follow standard procedure, they remain open until night falls, then reopen at dawn.

Information and Rumours[]

The Balican merchant dynasties of Wavir, Rees, and Tomblador sponsor this fortified town of about two thousand souls astride the trade route that connects Balic with Tyr. Desperate raiders wait in ambush in the stony barrens and rocky badlands that surround the village, but Altaruk’s well-paid mercenaries drive off any bandits they find lurking within half a day’s travel of the town’s gates.

This protection is not free to travelers. All who want to enter Altaruk must pay a toll of 1 gp per beast of burden and one ceramic per individual. But for those inside the 15-foot-high walls, Altaruk offers stables, room and board, trade opportunities between Merchant Houses, and gossip from all corners of the Tablelands. Only the largest and fiercest raiding tribes would consider attacking Altaruk, but rumor has it that Giants of the Estuary of the Forked Tongue are gathering to strike at the town. It’s happened before.

Notable Residents[]

  • Arisphistaneles. Leader of Trading Fortress Altaruk.
  • Tellemon. Captain of the guards in Altaruk.
  • Zul Akfrenar. Mul. Commander of Mercenary army.
  • Gelrade Osnabryk. Human. Owner of The Four Bits Inn.


  • Altaruk is a common starting location for campaigns especially during 4e Adventures. This is due to the proximity to Tyr the free city and that it is not controlled by a Sorcerer-King. Featured in Bloodsands Arena and 4e Encounters.