Sky-ports are the massive floating metropolises of the Kharadron Overlords. These bustling hubs of trade and military strongholds are capable of drifting vast distances to reach new prosperous lands. While being some of the greatest centres of trade and industry in the Mortal Realms, the sky-ports maintain enough firepower to be all but impervious to frontal assaults.[1c][3b]
- 1 Origin and Creation
- 2 Geography
- 3 Population and Society
- 4 Transportation
- 5 Economy
- 6 Politics and Administration
- 7 Health and Environment
- 8 Notable Sky-Ports
- 9 Sources
Origin and Creation
The fall of the grand duardin karaks during the Age of Chaos lead to the Sky Exodus. Utilising aethercraft, the Steamhead Pioneers gave flight to several karaks upon great endrinspheres and aethermatic energisers. Other sky-ports originate from preexisting aerial mining colonies and airborne fortresses which grew with the influx of refugees from the fallen Khazalid Empire.[18a][1e]
New sky-ports are continually being constructed, however, some in the name of particularly powerful Kharadron and others are kharadron outposts who developed enough to gain autonomy from their homeport.[17c]
The size and layout of the sky-ports vary greatly but most are constructed as a series of concentric squares with the administrative districts at the centre. The outer areas consist of vast dockyards and are often the only area allowed to visitors.[1c]
In Barak-Zilfin, workshops and markets, forges and refineries lay far below, overlooked by clan-houses, arkanaut academies, coghalls and shipyards. Grey clouds separate these lower sections from the windfasts that house the elite.[19a] Barak-Nar is akin to an immense superstructure of interconnected platforms, domes and docks stretching across a wider area than any land city.[9c] Other sky-ports are shaped like a cylinder balancing on its end, bristling with spires and jetties like the spikes on a mace. They are often composed of steel plates, iron struts and ornamental statues of bronze and gold with duardin figures standing taller than towers.[20a]
At the centre of a sky-port is normally host to its nexus of government and often displays the greatest achievements of the metropolis. Minor armies of runescribes and dignitaries populate the monumental chambers echoing to the bellicose cacophony of Kharadron politics. Very few outsiders have ever been granted entrance to these closely guarded quarters.[1c]
The council chamber used by the Admirals Councils are often situated as far above the sky-port's docks as the throne rooms of ancient duardin kings had been below the entrances to their karaks.[9c] The various guildhalls hosting the powerful kharadron guilds are marvellously decorated masterpieces that both recreate the impression of ancestral mountain halls and vaults deep beneath the mountains and conjure the image of lofty heights far above the clouds. As such, kharadron architecture is reminiscent of what their ancestors once ruled, the mountains, and what they themselves currently rule, the skies.[19a]
Those that live near the dock districts and work in industrial zones are canned together in almshouses, workhalls and cloudscrapers while the wealthiest reside close to its heart in gated towers and floating manses held aloft by a steady flow of aether-gold where Lord-Magnates and master industrialists look down upon those less fortunate.[1c][9b]
These endrinvillas and windfasts float above the alchemical smoke and smells of the lower sections. Colossal sculptures hulk outwards from every facade and great domed roofs bulge from their peak, golden tiles blazing. Elaborate arrays of metal shafts rise even higher, lightning rods cast into the shape of protective runes and familial sigils, clan-brands and the emblems of a hundred guilds. These residences are protected by immense fortifications bristling with cannons and torpedoes.[19a]
Beyond the dock districts are warehouses, aether-factories and other industrial zones run by lesser-chartered guilds. These workhouses are filled with hardworking kharadron who, despite the undoubted technological mastery of the Kharadron, live in difficult conditions. Packed together in almshouses and workhalls, they labour daily for a relative pittance. Although Kharadron society is proudly meritocratic, their struggles are never rewarded with social mobility, so long as capitalist overseers benefit from their labour. After all, the factory bosses have a vested interest in ensuring their downtrodden workers do not rise beyond their rank.[1c][17b]
People from all over the Mortal Realms flock to the grand markets of the sky-ports. Carrying all manner of rare and exotic resources from every corner of the Cosmos Arcane, impossible amalgams of anything imaginable are the norm in such places. Everything one could imagine is for sale – weapons and armour, meat and mead, clothes and boots and row upon row of skyvessel parts: sky-hooks, hull plates and shiny endrin spheres, floating from tethers of rope. Some kharadron markets are located in huge domed space, floor covered with stalls and awnings.[20d][21a]
All sky-ports are bordered by extensive and bustling dockyards. Most sky-ports don't allow any non-Kharadron beyond the docklands. Resultingly, these quarters are packed to the brim with foreigners. Those districts are host to countless merchants.[1c][1d]
Network of walkways, ladders and loading cranes branch from the sky-ports' side like the nest of giant steel insect, but without a sense of order and regularity. Innumerable Kharadron load and unload, barter and haggle, gathering in rowdy groups or sitting alone, keeping watch over their possessions.[20a] Deeper into the sky-ports, voices echoes as the walls close in, tunnels high and broad, their curved plate surfaces gleaming with moisture. Kharadron bustle by, leading pack animals, hefting sacks and boxes or pushing carts heaped with crates.[20b]
Fishing docks of Barak-Urbaz.
Cultural and Academic Centres
Sky-ports, packed with aethercannon emplacements and skyburst mortars, are impervious to most frontal assaults. In addition, immense fortifications teeming with cannons and torpedoes predominate the edges of the sky-holds. Their borders are further guarded by Zunfar towers.[1c][3b][19a]
Outer-defenses of Barak-Nar.
Since many sky-ports were created by attaching duardin strongholds upon great endrinspheres to give them flight, untold secrets are left buried in the depths of the sky-holds that not even the Admirals Council know off.[9c][9e]
Population and Society
The sky-holds are visited by representatives from every civilised nation in the Mortal Realms. Since most sky-ports don't allow any non-Kharadron beyond the docklands, the Dock Districts are normally crammed with humans, Gholemkind, aelves and other races.[1c]
Wealth and Income Disparity
Despite a meritocratic facade, opportunities to advance are limited for many Kharadron, especially those relegated to civilian dockworking duties.[17b] In Kharadron society, wealth and power grant several privileges. Several members of the Admiralty establish sizeable estates far above the cloudscrapers that house the common folk. With time, the descendants of councillors typically form an upper class within their sky-port.[9b]
The airlines of the sky-ports are congested with skyvessels – not solely military models, but civilian skiffs, bulk haulers and yachts. In extreme cases, traders may be forced to wait in lane for entire days just to secure a berth.[1c]
The congested sky-lanes of Barak-Zilfin.
Steam-gondolas provide access along the canalways that crisscross the sky-ports. Those canalways function as sewers and water-pipe routes, while also disposing of waste by spilling it out of hatches to rain down from the skies.[1c]
The metal walkways of the labyrinthine streets and cramped passageways are lit with sputtering whaleen-oil lamps.
The prosperous industry of the Kharadron's sky-ports is universally renowned. Every sky-hold is engaged in various lucrative businesses ranging from sky-fishing, to mercenary work, to beard-wax oil manufacturers.[23a]
Politics and Administration
Health and Environment
While aether-gold can be processed without pollution the Kharadron Overlords' heavy industry uses a wide variety of chemicals and metals thus smog and acid rains are common. Endrin-bellows and dispersal fans are built to clear the worst of the contamination but some such as Barak-Nar’s relentless industrial drive and Barak-Zon’s weapons industries create even greater levels of pollution and cause diseases such as sky-miner's consumption, ironscale and the glowlung. Barak-Thryng’s refusal to utilise wasteful, non-traditional methods of power generation has given it relatively clear skies.[1c]
The Aether-Khemists Guild of some sky-ports dedicate entire arms of their alchemical labs to research needed cures using subdermal infusions of aether-gold. For now, however, only the richest residents are able to afford the treatments.[1c]
Canalways running through the sky-ports function as sewers and water-pipe routes to dispose of waste by emptying it out of hatches.[1c] Smaller hatches lined with steel, acting as rubbish chute, lead to grand conveyors that crush and burn the detritus.[20b][20c]
- Barak-Mhornar, The City of Shadow: Hidden in dark mists and with a reputation for shady deals, piracy and "innovative" interpretation of the Code.
- Barak-Nar, City of the First Sunrise: Well known for its mastery of science and technology. They also have the most delegates on the Geldraad.
- Barak-Thryng, City of the Ancestors: The most conservative of the Sky-ports and full of monuments to the ancestors and gods of the old Duardin.
- Barak-Urbaz, The Market City: A cosmopolitan centre of trade whose citizens "pursue profit with unmatched zeal." Has access to secret Realmgates and it is said the most skilled Aether-Khemists are from this sky-port.
- Barak-Zilfin, The Windswept City: Famous for its shipwrights and pilots, the 2nd largest sky-port with the best Endrineering Academies or Coghalls. Often called the "Windmasters".
- Barak-Zon, City of the Sun: First of the sky-ports and renowned for its martial pride.
Known sky-ports with no Geldraad representatives:
- Barak-Dren: A kharadron sky-port famed for its discovery of one of the largest seams of aether-gold ever recorded, located above the Sirrusian Fields of the Realm of Hysh.[3a]
- Barak-Khazzar: Overrun by an alliance of Gloomspite Gitz and Grotbag Scuttlers, now a Gloomspite enclave known as "Da Moon City".
- Barak-Zhoff: Missing, last sighted above the Rabble Coast in the Realm of Metal.
- Barak-Kol: The City of Ashes. A Kharadron trading post floating above the Charrwind Coast, near Anvilgard (in Aqshy).[5a]
- Toba Lorchai: Sky-port established by pioneers from Barak-Thryng in Blackfire Bight, in Ghur. Following its founding, a free-city, the Greys, formed under the sky-port. Both were last seen being raided by the Idoneth Deepkin of Aighmar.
- Barak-Durmmaz: Overwhelmed by the Nighthaunts processions following the Garaktormun. Legends say that the port still plies the sky-lanes, crewed by the bitter spirits of dead duardin.[1a]
- Barak-Kling: Destroyed by the first destructive shock-waves of amethyst magic swept forth from the Realm of Death.[1b]
- Karak Ohrgaf: Like many ancestors of the Kharadron Overlords, the duardins of Karak Ohgrgaf attempted to flee the hordes of Chaos by retreating into the stratosphere. However not every attempt was rewarded with success, out of the countless thousands of inhabitants of Karak-Orgaf only three lived to tell the tale of their sky-port. The fate of the others is hinted at in gruesome details when twisted wrecks of sky-vessels and mangled duardin corpses begin to rain down from the Chamonic clouds.[6a]
- Barak-Mor: A sky-fleet from Barak-Mor sought to harvest the aether-gold clouds which drifted about the peaks of Garnhak’s Maw. In the attempt, the kharadron were swarmed by hulking, leather-winged monsters that snatched scores of crewmen from their vessels.[7a]
- Barak-Shunti: A smaller sky-port far away from Barak-Nar.[9a]
- Barak-Thargar: Successor sky-port of Karak Thain.[10a]
- Barak-Khrum: A warlike sky-port widely known for its mercenaries and breweries.[14a]
- Barak-Glöm: A sky-port located in Shyish.[16a]
- 1: Battletome: Kharadron Overlords (2020)
- 2: Battletome: Kharadron Overlords (2017)
- 3: Aether War (boxed set)
- 4: Battletome: Gloomspite Gitz (2019) - Ages of Loonacy, pg. 16-19
- 5: Soulbound Core Rulebook
- 5a: Aqshy: the Realm of Fire, pg. 171
- 6: Battletome: Beasts of Chaos (2018)
- 6a: pg. 18
- 7: Battletome: Legions of Nagash (2018)
- 7a: pg. 19
- 8: Myths & Revenants: The Sea Taketh
- 9: Code of the Skies (novella)
- 10: White Dwarf October 2020
- 10a: pg. 30-31
- 11: Overlords of the Iron Dragon
- 11a: pg. 284
- 13: Inferno! Volume 4
- 13a: The Fourfold Wound
- 14: White Dwarf May 2017
- 14a: pg. 140
- 15: White Dwarf November 2020
- 15a: The Comet’s Call, pg. 76-93
- 16: White Dwarf April 2019
- 16a: pg. 25
- 17: Soulbound: Champions of Order
- 18: White Dwarf April 2017
- 18a: pg. 40
- 19: Profit's Ruin (novel)
- 19a: Chapter 1
- 20: Warhammer Adventures: Flight of the Kharadron
- 21: Soulbound: Doomed Lands
- 21a: pg. 7
- 22: Marked for Death (Short Story)
- 23: Soulbound Corebook
- 23a: Life in the Realms, pg. 164-168