Welcome to Karthal
In this article, we’ll talk about the major city of Might & Magic X Legacy: Karthal. Loremaster Elias of the Blind Brothers (the keepers of history of Ashan) has this to say in his History of Karthal:
As long as Ashan's history has been recorded, the great port of Karthal has been considered one of the jewels of the crown of the Falcon Emperors. The name Karthal is believed to derive from the Elven "Ker-Thal", which can be translated as "the Great Green", as the city stood on the edge of the great Elven Forests.
Before there was a city, there stood the great cathedral known as the Vigil of Karthal, built by the Angels on the site of one of their first great victories during the Elder Wars. Around this landmark, a fortress was erected, consisting in the area now known as the modern-day city's Upper District. From there, the city grew. It was only when the young Emperor Brian Falcon converted to the worship of Elrath that the Angels, led by the Archangels Uriel and Sarah, offered Karthal to the Falcons.
Mood painting of Karthal created by Liquid Development.
While Karthal is considered one of the most beautiful cities of the Empire, its actual political status within the Holy nation has long been a matter of debate. Located far from the imperial heartlands, the city and the surrounding Peninsula are sometimes considered the "seventh Duchy" of the Empire, although it has no Duke and no real power, making it, in effect, an imperial protectorate. Day-to-day matters are handled by a City Council that convenes in the Vigil, but Karthal has no army of its own and must rely on the support of the neighbouring Duchies of Unicorn and Greyhound, and is usually represented by a Governor appointed by the Emperor…
We wanted to show Karthal as the crossroads between various cultural influences. The architectural style of the city is distinctly Mediterranean, but is equally inspired by medieval Italy and Moorish Spain. Real-world cities like Sevila, Spain and Assisi, Italy were used as reference, as was the Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes) located in Avignon, France.
A view of the harbour district (Work in progress screenshot)
Karthal is made of two large areas, each one of them bigger than a town like Sorpigal. Karthal being a trading center between the Empire and the Seven Cities of the Wizards, the harbour area is the heart of the city. It hosts sprawling marketplaces and large mansions owned by wealthy merchants, wizards and ambassadors. Towering above the harbour is the Upper District, where the magnificent palace known as the Vigil, the siege of the City Council, can be found.
Karthal is the shining jewel of the Agyn Peninsula, but it has a darker side as well. The wealth of the Upper DIstrict is contrasted by the other half of the city, equally lively but far less luxurious: the slums. Many come to Karthal hoping to find success and riches, and end up living in dreadful conditions in the shantytown that cobbled itself together under the city’s aqueduct.
The slums (work in progress screenshot)
The crime syndicate known as the Blackfang is also known to run a black market in the slums, and sellsword companies of suspicious reputation possess headquarters in the city. These groups have gained influence in the years that followed the Second Eclipse, when the city was left to fend for itself against the Demon legions. Some say they are now the real masters of Karthal, rather than the impotent (and, if their political opponents are to be believed, corrupt) City Council. But they are not the only rising powers in Karthal. Many denizens of the city have banded together as the "Karthal League", demanding more autonomy and the right to self-governance.
A city of adventure, danger and intrigue, Karthal becomes a major location during the second half of the game and will be the starting point of many quests. We hope you’ll enjoy exploring its streets and uncovering its secrets!
Streets of Karthal (work in progress screenshot)