The great and ancient city of Neketaka (Serpent's Head) is so old that its foundations are said to predate the great Huana cataclysm of legend. It is the only existing Huana city that dates back to the ancient times, resettled after an ancient cataclysm called the old city to collapse deep into the caverns below the city. The tribe responsible, Kahanga, has rose to prominence as a result of the restoration and its intense efforts established the city as a major hub of commerce, diplomacy, and of course, intrigue.
In recent years, the native Huana population have been crowded by the arrival of Vailian and Rauataian colonists, traders, and soldiers. Both Rauatai and the Vailian Republics have carved out their own districts of the great city, where trade, defense, and other interests are represented. The Huana royalty reside on the peak of the mountain, with districts reserved for artisans, priests, foreign outposts, and laborer quarters situated along the slopes. The stone lanes, towering structures, and cleanly divided districts of Neketaka fly in the face of the Huana’s traditionally tribal society, and many view the city as a dramatic shift in values. Despite its contradictions, the progress and prosperity that Neketaka has come to represent have inspired many an ambitious Huana to leave their village and embrace the city and its opportunities.
As of 2828 AI, the city has 124,000 inhabitants, predominantly island aumaua (57%), followed by ocean folk (18%), coastal aumaua (16%), savanna folk (5%), mountain dwarves (3%), and other races (1%). It is ruled as a limited monarchy by Queen Onekaza II and the Kahanga tribe. The principal gods worshiped in the city are Hylea, Ondra, Magran, and Berath. The city is an economic powerhouse, exporting palm oil, rice, cocoa, pearls, teak, koiki fruit, and luminous adra, while importing wheat, cotton textiles, leather, silk, marble, svef, and whiteleaf.
The highest district in the city and home to the royal court of Queen Onekaza II and Prince Aruihi. Governance and diplomacy are centered in the district, together with estates owned by the wealthiest citizens of Neketaka.
So called after the mass of stairs left behind by the ancient Huana, the Sacred Stair is the temple district of Neketaka, housing temples dedicated to the major gods worshipped by the Huana and the new arrivals.
The heart of Rauataian operations in the Deadfire, the Brass Citadel is a modern fortification and the hub for all military operations in the region carved out of a section of coastal Neketaka. The kingdom uses it primarily as a central storehouse for keeping its sailor's fed, armed, and paid on the long campaign away from home, rather than an embassy.
In the higher reaches of Neketaka, slanting shanties and buildings of foreign design fall away to be replaced by colorful, open homes with wide wooden doors boasting intricate reliefs. Rather than pester you for a bit of coin or a bite of food, the children here try to sell you tickets to a play or extol the benefits of the public baths. Periki's Overlook is the artisan district of the city and an exemplar of this trend. Periki was an explorer and founder of the Watershapers Guild. Many of the modern teachings of watershaping stem from her research into ancient Huana society, which led to her posthumous renown and the subsequent naming of her home district in Neketaka as Periki's Overlook.
The commercial heart of the city, the docks of Queen's Berth and the surrounding district are the backbone of the bustling economy of Neketaka. The Vailian Trading Company has a strong presence in the district, including their main luminous adra mill. It's the result of the queen's decision to gift the district to the Republics when they first arrived at Neketaka. Although intended as a way to force the Republics to centralize their operations, allowing the Court to monitor their activities, common Huana instead saw it as the first of many concessions to dominant foreign powers.
Colloquially called the Gullet, the slums of Neketaka are home to both the Roparu caste of the city's Huana as well as myriad colorful and unsavory figures. Built in a great chasm at the heart of Neketaka, it is where much of the city's refuse, literal and figurative, comes to rest.
Somewhere beneath the Gullet is a loose confederation of thugs, thieves, black marketeers, and other seedy individuals. Known as Delver's Row, it's a place where most things can be found for the right price and word always travels quickly.
While traveling between the districts of Neketaka, you can randomly encounter various situations:
- In the figurine encounter, someone offers you a magical figurine that summons beasts in encounters. You can determine that it's genuine with Arcana or Metaphysics 5 and follow the figure into the tunnel. Of course, this is an obvious trap and you're accosted by Principi thugs. If you inform the guards, you'll gain Minor Positive reputation with both Huana and Neketaka. However this will end the interaction.
- Using Good 1 reputation with Principi sen Patrena, they'll back down and you can offer to pay them 2,000 for the figurine or force them to hand it over with a Watcher-only Intimidate 5 check - failing it will cause them to attack.
- Otherwise you can try Diplomacy 8 and then pay them 2,000 to spare you, a watcher-only Intimidate 7 check to force them to give you the figurine, or flee using Athletics and Streetwise 7. Failing any these checks will start combat. You can blind them either as a Cipher, with the Watcher ability No Pity for the Lost, or with Tekehu's Chill Fog, rendering them Blind at the start of combat. The confrontation includes a thug called Daionne.
- If you manage to convince them, or end up killing them - this will get you the Battered Dog Figurine.
- Another encounter entails one of your crew running afoul of a local band of soldiers. You can sneak up on the commotion (Stealth 4) to learn what is happening. Once you approach openly, you will be told that your crew member puked all over the shoes of the band of soldiers, who are now making him pay. Your options here are to use a Druid class ability, give them 600 cp, use Diplomacy to negotiate peacefully (an apology suffices with Diplomacy 6), or attack (Intimidate reduces the significance of the reputation penalty you take). Leaving gives a minor boost to your Neketakan reputation, but drains ship morale.
- You can also come across a home ablaze. Inspect it with Perception 12, then enter. As it turns out, this is just a cover up for a triple homicide. You can loot the bodies or search for spirits, or you can use Perception 15 to track the arsonists down. You can talk your way out of the confrontation or ATTACK.
- Another can involve a pack of skuldr attacking a lone, ragged Huana girl. You can benevolently scream to her, cast a spell to slow the monsters or use Athletics 6 to draw the beasts' attention (both give Moderate positive), use Stealth 4 to get the drop on them, using the girl as bait, or leave her to her fate (cruel and unnecessary). Using magic you fight the group of skuldr and saving her lets you make choices to get the sword Griffin's Blade she fights with, you can turn down the gift as well.
- You can come across a busy market square, and a line of Roparu waiting to fill buckets with cool water for themselves or their masters. You can talk to them and hear some reactivity to your reputations. Eventually, an ooze will arrive and you'll be able to witness a poor muckman trying to challenge the creature. Of course, you can help, using magic first for a Minor Positive and then attacking for a Moderate Positive reputation.
- After completing Hasongo: You will meet Laethärn, the missing leader of the Dawnstars from the island, in the streets. Your answer to his doubts help determine the Dawnstar ending.
- After completing The Shadow Under Neketaka: While travelling through the network of tunnels between The Brass Citadel and The Gullet, you come to a recently-collapsed tunnel, a group of laborers are working to fix it - but appear to be milling about. Speak to the workers to find that the collapse was caused by the tremors during the quest.
- You can use a Watcher-only Intimidate 9 check to force them to get to work, a Watcher-only Religion 7 check to enlighten them, or offer to help the workers with either a Hammer and Chisel (taking 2 hours) or Might 15 (failing will cause a chunk of rock to fall free onto the characters head, causing the injury Concussion (-20 Will), and will force you to wait an hour for the path to clear).
- Once clear, you will then be attacked by a bunch of Imps, Brine Imps, and a Cave Bat. Alternatively, with Streetwise 10 you can find an alternate route around the blockage, taking 3 hours and avoiding combat (failing this will waste 8 hours).
- [BW] [SSS] [FS] After collecting one of the pieces of the Crown of the Exiled Queen, while travelling to or from Periki's Overlook you will be ambushed by a group of kith. With a party-assisted Religion 15 or greater, you identify them as members of The Steel Garrote, servents of Woedica. With a Watcher-only Athletics 12 check, you can flee from the group, failing the check will give you a Concussion (-20 Will). If you choose to flee, the interaction will be repeated at a later date. Alternatively you may attack, placing you in the Neketaka Streets versus 3 Woedican Neophytes, 3 Woedican Agents, and a Skaenite Saboteur. When killed, the leader will drop a Precise Missive, which marks you as the target and points you in the direction of Izzia in Marihi's Metalwork.
Coming across a collapsed tunnel while travelling between The Brass Citadel and The Gullet, after the quest The Shadow Under Neketaka:
- Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Guidebook