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Ank'Harel[3] is a city in Marquet, the center of Rumedam Desert, and the center of culture, history, and power for the continent.[4] It is also known as the Jewel of Hope, the translation of its name from the northern Marquesian dialect,[2] and the Jewel of Marquet. It was built "long ago", the earliest mention dates back four hundred years ago since the reign of J'mon Sa Ord.[5]

Description

Official art of Ank'harel, by Clara.[art 2]

Ank'Harel was described by Jarett Howarth as being "comparable, a bit bigger" relative to Emon.[6] The city is ovular in shape, standing on differently leveled platforms[7][8], with enormous, 65-foot-tall outer walls that have tall guard towers decoratively shaped like hands cradling the walls from underneath. Within the city are around a hundred tall, multi-level spires. Many buildings have pointed rooftops and colorful murals. The city is draped in multicolored cloth that hang across the buildings and red cobblestone streets.[9][10]

The gates of the city close at night,[11] and many caravans camp outside.[12]

Ank'Harel is surrounded by a wide web of smaller villages.[4]

Points of interest

  • A Kingly Home: Appears as furniture store,[13] but inside is a secret hideout for Asharru with a hidden passage behind a basement cabinet, leading toward the Suncut Bazaar.[14]


Alluvium District

The Circlet Walk

Guided District

The Ridge

River District

A number of canals begin in the River District. The spring, the perpetual oasis that fuels the city is located here. It is noted that many of the caravans of Marquet travel to and from this district in particular. [17]

Sand-Herald District

Fan art of Ank'Harel, by Brandon Chang.[art 3]

Loacated at the upper central platform of the city.[18]

  • Cerulean Palace: The seat of government and court in Ank'harel.[19]
    • Tower of J'mon Sa Ord: A building adjacent to the palace, made for watching over the entire city.
    • Scarlet Prison, also known as the Scarlet Oubliette: Dungeon located beneath the Cerulean Palace. It is rumored that people are placed there to be tortured or to be part of various experiments.[20]
  • Bowl of Judgment: The site of duels sanctioned by the Hand of Ord. Nearby the Cerulean Palace.[21]
  • Indala Skyport

Sigil District

Depiction of the Sigil District of Ank'Harel, by David René.[art 4]

A district on the south-eastern side of the city.[22] The streets here are paved with an opaline material, including a very faint trace of whitestone particles.[23]

  • Crystal Chateau: A large multi-tiered structure made of a smoky quartz mixed with white marble.[24] There is a large white iron heavy gate that surrounds the building itself and a fairly well-kept garden grown around the chateu. A small stream runs through the trees with a bridge off the main path that leads to the chateau. The water seems to butt up against the chateau and vanish beneath it.[25]
  • Excavation pit: A 150 foot wide pit whose excavation is overseen by the Allegiance of Allsight.
  • Omnival Library

Suncut Bazaar

Fan art of the streets of Ank'Harel, by Lap Pun Cheung.[art 5]

Distinguished by strands of crimson flags that run across the street corners, the Suncut Bazaar features a few shops that go indoors, but mostly open sky and hundreds of various tents, carts, pop-up stand-ups, and even the center of the street, blankets set out, with the various merchants there with their wares strewn across the ground, waiting for anybody to come and approach.

  • Luck's Run: A casino.
  • The Corner Cove: An inn within the Suncut Bazaar.
  • The Debt's Respite: A tavern in Ank'Harel run by Treev Bonebreaker. It is known for being the base of operations for the mercenary group known as the Scarbearers.
  • Oddities & Eccentricities: A curiosity stall managed by Nisaba.
  • The Shade: A lounge tavern with a distinctive, dark green tent steeple.
  • Bone Garden: Trades construction materials at the most northern side of the Suncut bazaar.[26]

Map

Official map of Ank'Harel, by Deven Rue from Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep.[art 6]

Society

Fan art of Ank'Harel, by Miloš Radojkić.[art 7]

Demographics

During their short travels to Ank'Harel, Vox Machina noted that it has a mostly human population with a wide variety of people living there, but everyone seemed to mesh together without prejudice. Notably, they noticed a number of dark-skinned halflings, a few half-elves, and some half-orcs. They also saw tieflings more frequently than would be found in Emon.

Vox Machina did not see or encounter a single dwarf or goliath, and only one elf.

Notable people

Name Type Description
Asharru NPC Deceased former owner of the Vestige, Cabal's Ruin. Killed by Anna Ripley.
Gameshega NPC Grand Maven of Ank'Harel.
Grymond Trog NPC Elderly gnome scholar at the Crystal Chateau.
J'mon Sa Ord NPC Ruler of Ank'Harel.
James Cryon NPC Headmaster of the Crystal Chateau.
Jarett Howarth NPC Captain of the guard at Vox Machina's Greyskull Keep. Hails from Ank'Harel.[27] Exiled from the city after committing a crime.
Kyme NPC Enchanter from the Omnival Library, works with the Scarbearers.
Lionel Gayheart PC Half-orc and former enforcer for "The Meat Man". Moved to Deastok to join the Darrington Brigade.
Rutur NPC Half-orc who sold fusaka to Scanlan Shorthalt.
Shubad NPC Fruit merchant in the Suncut Bazaar.
Treev Bonebreaker NPC Innkeeper in charge of the Debt's Respite.
Verdaven NPC Half-elf associate of Rutur.
Nisaba NPC Frazzled-looking young woman with long strands of curly dark brown hair. Red lips, dark eyeshadow. The owner of Oddities & Eccentricities.

Factions

Military

The Hand of Ord

Main article: The Hand of Ord.

The Hand of Ord is the primary guard protecting the city of Ank'Harel and nearby townships and villages.[4]

Culture

  • Kurrak fruit: a fruit that looks like a mango with a spiny, rough exterior. Difficult to hold, but has a delightful flavor comparable to a sweet water experience.[30]
  • Fusaka: a cooking spice used to season meat.[31]
  • "Be pleased" as a common expression of politeness, accompanied with a small bow, preferably with the hand down towards the stomach.[32]
  • Sandkheg's Hide, an extremely intoxicating beverage[33]

History

Fan art of Ank'Harel, by BlackSalander.[art 8]

Background

The city is built atop the Drowned City of Cael Morrow, a civilization wiped out in the Calamity. The ruins remain intact.[34] It has been ruled by J'mon Sa Ord for the entirety of its approximately 400-year history.[35]

Campaign One: Vox Machina

"Echoes of the Past" (1x38)

When Riskel Daxio attempted to flee Emon before being captured by Vox Machina,[36] a leader of the Clasp stated that Daxio was heading to Ank'Harel.[37][38]

"The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65)

Before Vox Machina travelled to Ank'harel in search of the vestige Cabal's Ruin, Jarett told them to greet people with the phrase "Be pleased", and that water was as valuable as coin. Once they arrived at Ank'harel, the gates were closed for the night so the group camped inside Scanlan's Magnificent Mansion. Guards from the Hand of Ord expressed concern about the 'strange magic' of the mansion, and advised them not to use it within the city.

Once inside the city, the guards advised them to keep their weapons sheathed. The party visited several areas, including the Suncut Bazaar, noting the similarity to Emon and the range of races of the inhabitants. They next visited two taverns: The Shade, a lounge tavern with a hookah bar, and the Debt's Respite. While at these taverns, they tried Sandkheg's Hide, an extremely strong local beverage.

They visited the Cerulean Palace to seek an audience with J'mon Sa Ord, the ruler of the city. Once inside the palace, they traveled up a tower to a central chamber that looked upon the majority of the desert.

"A Traveler's Gamble" (1x66)

After their audience with J'mon Sa Ord, Vox Machina visited the Luck's Run casino where Scanlan completed his spice deal. After getting kicked out of the casino, the group went back to their rooms at the Debt's Respite.

The next day, the group visited the Crystal Chateau on the upper-class side of the city, where Percy noticed traces of Whitestone in the cobblestone.

Behind the scenes

According to Matthew Mercer, Ank'Harel is distinctly influenced by real-world Arab culture.[39] Ahead of Campaign Three, Matt wrote in a blog post on the official Critical Role website that the city of Ank'Harel was "deeply realized and fleshed out" with the help of others on the Call of the Netherdeep adventure module from Wizards of the Coast.[40] Makenzie De Armas, a Wizards of the Coast writer on Call of the Netherdeep, stated that the writing team wished to make Ank'Harel cosmopolitan without creating a monolith of any culture and that southern and western Marquet are inspired by her Filipino heritage.[41] She described seeing the setting reflecting her Southeast Asian identity as "important and cathartic".[42]

References

  1. See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 1:03:18.  J'mon brought peace in Ank'Harel about 400 years prior to the 811 PD
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 See Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep, p. 80. Chapter 4: The Jewel of Hope. "Ank'Harel Gazetteer".
  3. From Matthew Mercer's Reddit comment showing the official spellings of Marquet and Ank'Harel.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 See Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 98.
  5. See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 1:03:18.
  6. See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 1:05:46.
  7. See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 3:39:08.  Chasing the messenger, Vax climbed down to the lower platform of Ank'Harel.
  8. See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 3:55:40.  The palace is perched on the upper central platform.
  9. See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 1:41:35.
  10. See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 2:18:32.
  11. See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 1:43:34.
  12. See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 1:41:16.
  13. See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 3:39:50.
  14. See "A Traveler's Gamble" (1x66) at 4:04:33.
  15. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 59.
  16. See "Chasing Nightmares" (3x11) at 3:34:02.
  17. See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 1:07:09.
  18. See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 3:55:40.
  19. See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 1:01:10.
  20. See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) from 1:00:50 through 1:01:53.
  21. See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 3:32:57.
  22. See "A Traveler's Gamble" (1x66) at 3:00:57.
  23. See "A Traveler's Gamble" (1x66) at 3:04:05.
  24. See "A Traveler's Gamble" (1x66) at 3:03:49.
  25. See "A Traveler's Gamble" (1x66) at 3:09:58.
  26. See "The Chase to Glintshore" (1x67) at 2:00:25.
  27. Marquet was introduced in Campaign One.  See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) from 2:24:19 through 2:28:25.
  28. See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 1:02:15.
  29. See "A Name Is Earned" (1x49) at 4:45:43.
  30. See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 2:32:14.
  31. See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 1:08:38.
  32. See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 1:07:45.
  33. "Sandkheg" is a desert variant of an ankheg designed by Matthew Mercer(source).
  34. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 146. See also p. 16, as well as Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep p. 122.
  35. Lore for the continent of Marquet was introduced beginning in Campaign One.  See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) from 2:24:19 through 2:28:25.
  36. See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) at 2:25:56.
  37. A leader of the Clasp stated that that Riskel Daxio was heading for Ank'Harel.  See "A Musician's Nostalgia" (1x37) at 3:26:01.
  38. See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) at 2:26:29.
  39. From Matthew Mercer's tweet on Ank'Harel's design influence.
  40. Critical Role Logo.png A Warm Welcome to Marquet and Campaign 3! on CritRole.com
  41. Twitter logo.png Makenzie De Armas (@MakenzieLaneDA) on Twitter: "For clarification: I'm Southeast Asian. When writing Ank'Harel content for #Netherdeep, we wanted the city to feel cosmopolitan without monolithizing any cultures. So, there are folks in Ank'Harel who hail from south/west Marquet—areas inspired by my Filipino heritage." (2021-10-19).
  42. Twitter logo.png Makenzie De Armas (@MakenzieLaneDA) on Twitter: "It's hinted at in this article, but I'm very proud to say— I helped flesh out parts of Ank'Harel and Marquet. Matt was gracious enough to trust me with part of his world, and I'm beyond thrilled to have gotten the chance to include facets of my identity in this setting." (2021-10-18). See also, the follow-up tweet: You'll see more once Call of the #Netherdeep is released, but all I can say for now is that I legitimately cried a little while writing this stuff. Seeing my Southeast Asian identity reflected in such a major fantasy setting is so important and cathartic. I'm so damn grateful.

Art:

  1. Depiction of Ank'Harel from Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep. This file is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Wizards of the Coast Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.
  2. Official art of Ank'harel, by Clara (source). Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of Ank'Harel, by Brandon Chang (source). Used with permission.
  4. Depiction of the Sigil District of Ank'Harel, by David René (source). Used with permission. This file is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Wizards of the Coast Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.
  5. Fan art of the streets of Ank'Harel, by Lap Pun Cheung (source). Used with permission.
  6. Official map of Ank'Harel, by Deven Rue from Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep. This file is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Wizards of the Coast Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.
  7. Fan art of Ank'Harel, by Miloš Radojkić (source). Used with permission.
  8. Fan art of Ank'Harel, by BlackSalander (source). Used with permission.
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