What a First Time Visitor to Kaddish Would Notice
It’s massive. Kaddish is incomparable in scope to the rest of the DawnlandsIt is three times larger than Dwer Tor,itself perhaps fifty times larger than any other settlement in the Dawnlands. It is almost 15km across and 12km wide, and takes half a day or more to cross on foot (a few hours by canal-barge). It has a population of 750,000, about a third of the entire population of the Dawnlands, living within city limits or on surrounding farms.
It is crowded. The nomads stand out of arms reach of one another when they talk. The Dwer stand just within (dwarven) arms reach. The Kaddish crowd around one another, shouting, gesturing, packed by the thousands into open spaces. Because of their polygamous families and correspondingly high birth rate, there are thousands of children roaming the city in wild gangs. They live in crowded tenements, piled on top of one another in hollowed out heaps of rubble and hunched over in the halfling-sized factories of the Greyward. The entire city smells like dung fires, whose fuel is dredged from the canals that serve as open-air sewers.
It is grandly patchwork. Buildings are concrete (a Kaddish invention) poured over wood frames that can’t quite bear the weight. The grand temple of the Red and Blue Snake Cult towers hundreds of feet into air while shacks bunch around its outer garden wall. Even the cheapest lean-to is painted with intricate designs and every wall has some grand scene from Kaddish history on it in faded paint scored with fresh graffiti. Every building is coated with ivy to burn, grapes to eat or other useful vines.
It is supremely weird in its customs. Human sacrifice is not common throughout the Dawnlands – except in Kaddish. Enslaving your fellows is not done – except in Kaddish. The nomads have no organised cults, the state handles religious matters in Dwer Tor, and yet the cult allegiance is one of the guiding stars of Kaddish life. There is no one in charge to negotiate peace with, no one to blame for what its army does or reign it in, no one who speaks for the Kaddish as a whole. Entire districts of the city seem to be at war with one another. Clan, college and cult allegiances are impenetrable to the outsider.
It is new, incredibly new. Magic there has a distinctive Kaddish flair and unique rituals. Alien monstrosities – the products of the soulforges – that have never been seen outside the city. Secret technologies like steel, concrete and paper that are not found elsewhere in the Dawnlands. The Kaddish are constantly building, rebuilding, demolishing and redemolishing every stone in the city. Stores, banks, and temples are unique institutions of Kaddish.
There is simply nothing else like it. It is an alien, dangerous place for the first-time visitor, and many never make it back out again.