A Simple Job
Athas is dominated by the city-states, but powerful merchant clans control the commerce that ties it all together. Altaruk is a large town strategically located at the crossroads of three of the great Athasian trade routes. It sits at the crossroads of three great trade routes: the Trade Road runs northwest to Tyr and southeast to Balic, the People’s Road east to Gulg, and the Great Road, north toward Urik and Raam.
Altaruk has a population of about 5,000, mainly human. But its position at the hub of trade means all races pass through town eventually, and many of them have made the place their permanent residence.
Merchants, of course, find its location particularly appealing. Altaruk is self-governing, but typically one merchant house has the lion’s share of influence over local politics. At this time, that house is House Wavir.
Altaruk sits at the base of the Sharpshard Mountains, surrounded by a semicircular, 25-foot-high, 10-foot thick stone wall. There is only one gate: a pair of 15-foot-high, foot-thick timber doors banded with iron and reinforced with stone. All that iron cost a pretty penny.
The town walls surround most of its residences, businesses and government buildings. The Fools Bazaar, a transient market where almost anything is for sale, sits outside the walls, as do the homes of the poorest residents.