The Conclave that once ruled mortals lives became unbalanced by the departure of the different races. The dwarves left the Conclave first due to disagreements between dwarven and human leaders about intercity coordination against the goblin threat. The elves soon followed suit. As the humans turned the goal of the Goblin Wars from eradication to enslavement, the orcs left the Conclave to continue the war’s original purpose. In time the orcs saw value in preserving the goblin way of life and in fact protected the goblins from human invasion. The halflings were the last to leave the Conclave after the end of the Goblin Wars. They felt the organization had served it’s purpose and that it was time to start fresh.
The adversarial nature of the humans that remained within the Conclave incited wars with Continue reading →
Two notes about this city. First, it uses a numbering city in parenthesis to indicate which floor the current description applies to. Second, the concept for the history of this city was created in part by a member of my D&D group. His screen name is Zigfried and he deserves a lot of credit for developing the unique flavor of Sheerzen’s history.
Sheerzen is a town of about 10,000 people built in the middle of Apollo’s Plains. The town was constructed by an early group of heroes, Brelfagar the dwarven fighter, Shoree the Human paladin, Sunrise the elven wizard, and Jeffery the human cleric of the Muses. This adventuring party known as the Bronze Chords served their bronze dragon master, Rilopenaril. There are not many useful resources in the area around Sheerzen besides good soil. The city is not along any large rivers or trade routes. Earthquakes routinely rock the area destroying most buildings and any tunnels that would provide a connection to the Underdark. Sheerzen was constructed in this location precisely because it had little to offer. With no resources, the Bronze Chords hoped it would always be a peaceful city.
Sheerzen has only one building, a gigantic castle built atop an even bigger hill and surrounded by a moat. The keep rises about one thousand feet into the air. At the center of the tower is an empty space about forty feet across. This area is called the levitation elevator and bestows the power of levitation on all those who come into it. There are stairs, but most residents use the elevator. The elevator does not reach the top six levels of the fortress. A magical waterfall goes through the center of this great empty space and provides all the water the citizens need. The waterfall disappears into a magical hole in the ground floor to prevent flooding.
The whole structure is reinforced with adamantine and lead making it impossible to teleport or scry into. The first five (1-5) levels of the castle are entirely defensive except for a park at the base of the elevator. These defensive levels are a show of force to visitors and an actual precaution against those who might attack Sheerzen. Hundreds of arrow slits look out on Apollo’s Hill making sure no army can approach within a mile without being shot at by ballistae, bows, crossbows, slings, catapults, and magical defenses.
The next dozen or so (6-19) levels are mostly commercial, so that tourists and visitors to the city need not go too far to find what they are looking for. The town sells commemorative items with a specialty in complex imitation weapons and armor for children to wear. Many famous painters, sculptors, and architects are also from Sheerzen and copies of their works are sold in numerous shops. The hotels and restaurants of the city are also on the commercial levels.
The next few (20-26) levels are where crafting takes place. These levels although unattractive need to be low in the fortress so that resources would not have to be taken all the way up to the top of the building. Sheerzen has a large available space for making items, but not enough people using that space. It would be a rival to Crafterton if it shared a similar central location in The Magical Lands. The work place and tools are free to use for all, but craftsmen must provide their own materials. A popular recreation for the people of Sheerzen is to see who can make the best of a particular type of item or how fast someone can make such an item.
The next couple dozen (27-93) levels are mostly residential with parks on some levels surrounding the elevator. A few hotels, restaurants, and other small businesses take up shop on these levels as well, but it is against an unenforced law for them to do so. These levels are considered claustrophobic by the people who do not live in Sheerzen because of the low ceiling on the wide boulevards.
The next (94) level of Sheerzen contains the city’s legal facilities, jail, and police headquarters. The police headquarters is on the inner circle with the jail in the middle circle and the courts and lawyer’s offices on the outer circle. The town has no punishments for which the jail is required. The jail is used to house criminals before their trials. Sheerzen’s legal code is regular except that during a siege or war almost every punishment is death. Capital punishment is always carried out by tossing the convict off the roof of the fortress. The landing spot is surrounded by a railing to prevent an innocent person being crushed by any falling felons.
The next three (95-97) levels are for the administrative offices of the town. The treasury of Sheerzen is on the 95th level with an extensive guard contingent to prevent theft. The bureaucrats are on these levels as well as the library and hospital. The elevator does not reach these levels. Permission from Sheriff Dratles or another person of similar importance is required to access the staircase to the 95th floor and above.
The 98th level is entirely empty except for the stairs going up and down directly across from each other. Most people upon entering this room for the first time find it unsettling due to the low ceiling. Some with weaker constitutions have even thrown up when walking across it. The rumor is that it serves some purpose for the defense of the city, but no one really knows.
The 99th and 100th levels make up the palace of the large royal family. The royals are descended from the Bronze Chords. Rilopenaril repeatedly seeded the adventurers’ descendants with his own bloodline ensuring that any member of the Sheerzen royal family would have some draconic features. Additionally all of the royal family members have some command over arcane power due to their draconic descent. Rilopenaril encouraged the development of this arcane power in the royal family and eventually he became obsessed with it. The dragon organized magical duels for his children to determine who was the best sorcerer. This tradition expanded until the successor to the current monarch was chosen by the winner of a series of lethal duels between the bronze dragon’s grandchildren.
Danar the Beastslayer was the most significant king in Sheerzen’s history. Exiled at an early age, Danar returned to the city after training for many years in the swamp that now bears his name. Danar slew his elder brother, Einhart, in a magical duel and claimed the crown. He joined the other heroes of the age in their fight against the tyranny of the dragons. Danar helped defeat his own ancestors, Rilopenaril and the dragon’s twin sister, Langudina. The mortal warrior locked away the dragon monarchs in the Orbs of Dragonkind, becoming the guardian of the Red Orb.
Rilopenaril left Sheerzen after his sister was locked away in the Bronze Orb. He guards the Bronze Orb at a hidden location close to the tower city. The conditions of Rilopenaril’s magical bondage allow him to visit Sheerzen for the coronations, funerals, and weddings of each successive monarch. The current king and queen are Dominiic and Freya. Forty years ago the Xorian army marched upon Sheerzen. The king and queen surrendered the city to Xoria on the condition that their line and traditions be allowed to continue. King Dominiic and Queen Freya elected to keep their mortality, but do not judge the decisions their subjects make. Under these conditions, a mortal and dragovinian aristocracy have peacefully mixed in Sheerzen.
Sheerzen was built to be a haven for artisans and craftsmen to practice their art without worrying about their income. The city’s enchantments allow the monarchy to easily provide patronage for hundreds of artists. To defend the city the army is outfitted with the best weapons available and focuses on learning defensive battle strategies without losing a single man to the opponent’s weapons. Because the fortress creates its own food and water within it is always prepared for a siege. The magical nature of the monarchy extends to the army where mages are trained to dispel and counter enemy battle mages.
Danar has recently returned to life due to the destruction of the Red Orb. The magic that orchestrated his return will only allow him to rest once Invernix is defeated once more. Danar decided to delay his confrontation with Invernix due to the numerous other contemporary threats to the people of Cimmeria. Once he feels the world is safe enough, Danar will confront Invernix once more.
Nox, the jewel of Xoria, boasts a population of over 200,000 people and the largest collection of magical artifacts. The artifacts are kept at the Museum of Power in the center of the metropolis. Because of the destructive potential of these various weapons, visitors are only admitted to the museum by petitioning King Jevaninada II himself. The collection includes the Sanguine Belt of the Night Mother, the Mace of Slaughter, the Invisible Ring of Cats, the Crescent of Wrath, the Fork of Horripilation, the Ten League Boots, the Face of Gods, the Ring of Impervious, the Prismatic Blade, Sin’s Mask, the Shadowstaff, the Staff of Not, the Ring of Draconic Wizardry, the Orb of Omniscience, a Hammer of Thunderbolts, a Deck of Many Things, and a Staff of the Magi. A few more items would be in the stockpile if the king himself was not using them. The possible depredations these items could commit led to the gods themselves granting aid for their protection. Hades allowed the resurrection of Argus from the dead if he would keep his hundred eyes upon all the artifacts in the Museum of Power. The museum is one large hall with Argus standing in the center of it, eternally watching and guarding the items to make sure none of them go missing.
Nox is the capital of Xoria and is ruled by King Jevaninada II, patriarch of the Xorian royal family. While Jevaninada II’s official duties include the administration of Nox, he is far too busy with the ongoing war between Xoria and the Alliance in Eastern Cimmeria. Daily tasks in the city are delegated to Firotoshan, one of Jevaninada’s friends from childhood with a great head for numbers. Nearly every day he can be seen leading some public works project to benefit the upper class, executing criminals, or welcoming new dragovinians into the fold. To many citizens, Firotoshan is the symbol of Xorian oppression. The Rebels have tried to assassinate him several times, but failed in all attempts. Firotoshan was the one who suggested the practice of using dragovinian beasts to monitor the commoners and crush dissent.
The Kingdom of Xoria began its true expansion under King Demotinira. He conquered the cities of Jeutontic and Cecilia and setup the successful colony of Petar. When Demotinira died he left his throne to his eldest child, his daughter, Tarigananata. His son, Jevaninada I, rallied the nobles of Xoria against Tarigananata, claiming that she was possessed by a demon. She was exiled and Jevaninada I took control of Xoria and Nox. He continued the expansion of the Kingdom, taking over Dradalden, Colchis, Makotako, and Semanarie. As his invasions threatened more and more of Cimmeria, the First Alliance was formed by Princess Tarigananata to reverse Jevaninada’s actions. The First Alliance took several cities and killed Jevaninada I. Jevaninada’s Amazon Queen Anajakaze took control of the growing Empire and ultimately crushed the Alliance.
During the last months of the war, Anajakaze gave birth to Jevaninada II, the son and king of Xoria. Until he turned eighteen and could take the throne, Anajakaze ruled as his regent. She continued the relentless expansion, taking over Gazeara, Danar’s Swamp, Crafterton, and Sheerzen. Anajakaze implemented a matriarchal system of leadership, placing women in positions of power to undermine the traditional patriarchy. Jevaninada II resented this system and wished to return to the old ways. Anajakaze, aware of this, did not surrender her regency when Jevaninada II came of age.
Both Jevaninada II and Anajakaze were in for a surprise. After months of insisting that his mother step down, Jevaninada II attacked her in an attempt to force her compliance with his wishes. Their battle was interrupted by the arrival of Blendegad the Reaper, vampiric red dragon. Blendegad slew the queen and drank the blood of Jevaninada II. The vampiric dragon blood mixed with Jevaninada II’s divine royal blood creating a new form of vampire, dragovinians.
A new religion was created for Xoria, Dragoviniysm. The deity, Blendegad, and his avatar, Jevaninada II, asked for service from their subjects and the immortal status of the dragovinian was gifted to the faithful. The matriarchal reforms were reversed. Jevaninada II spent twenty years securing his power within his own Kingdom. Then in 400 BCE, Jevaninada II mobilized the Xorian people to attack the Second Alliance city of Phoenix. After several years, the city was taken. Jevaninada II splits his time between directing activities on the front and performing his duties in Castle Xoria at Nox.
Originally all the buildings of Nox were contained within the city walls, but more and more people immigrated to the city over the years. Now less than twenty percent of Nox’s population is actually protected by the walls. The rest of the city sprawls outwards to the west and north. After a large fire within the walls decades ago the city was rebuilt with orderly straight streets. The fire also allowed the nobles of Xoria to cluster their estates around Castle Xoria in the center of Nox.
Although Castle Xoria is not as physically strong as Colchis Castle or Sheerzen, it does have the advantage of being a complete maze. Most of the inner passageways are only two or three feet across. Guests often get lost if not accompanied by a member of the castle staff or a noble. There was even one noble who was thought dead for ten years who resurfaced in the castle. He had lost his way and survived on rat flesh and moss for a decade. The problem is so severe that some visitors to the castle are sure that magic is at work.
The nearby wood is called the King’s Copse because only Jevaninada II and his guests are allowed within the forest’s borders. He goes there occasionally on hunting trips, but the copse is used for nothing else. Any who venture into it are never seen again. The wood that Nox uses for fires, buildings, and furniture is acquired from the thin Royal Forest to the northwest or imported from Makotako.
Nox’s main export is food. In the past this was sent to Persia, Scythia, or the rest of Cimmeria. With the war underway, all excess food is sent to the front to feed the troops. This is especially necessary due to the shortage within Phoenix due to the prolonged siege. Nox continues to import luxury items for the many nobles in the city. With the explosion of Dragovinianism among the nobles, rare bloods are now in high demand.
The high concentration of dragovinians in Nox has also put a great deal of pressure upon the common people in the capital city. The nobles and others gifted with dragovinian status don’t spend all their time drinking exotic imported blood. Usually they gain their sustenance from the weekly ceremony where citizens are forced to gather in dragovinian churches to “donate.” Bloodletting is spread throughout the populace to prevent injury or death, but the practice remains demeaning. Coupled with the everyday depredations of the dragovinians due to their naturally evil disposition and the people of Nox are ready to revolt. The dragovinian beasts prevent direct action within the city, so many people have fled the city to join the Rebellion in Bigby’s Forest.
A note before I get into the meat of this update. I adapted this city from a previously created city posted on the Thieves Guild. The Thieves Guild is a great old website with lots of ideas for roleplaying games. I’d definitely recommend checking out the Thieves Guild if you’re a DM/GM and in need of some inspiration. The original content for this city post is called the City of Stormfront by The Guildmaster and can be accessed using this link. The Guildmaster also made a map of Stormfront that I’ve adapted for Bradel Fields. The map has little numbers on it denoting the locations that are marked in the writeup with numbers like this (#).
Bradel Fields, a city with population of close to 30,000, was originally a monarchy. The kings were fair and just, and slowly gave the citizens democratic concessions as they were demanded before abdicating. The noble family split into six smaller families after the Bradel Council took over. The castle was converted into a guard barracks and the royals moved into the castle courtyard, now called Noble Way. The Bradel Council originally gave a pension to the nobles, but the pension fund dwindled over the years and the remaining nobles have sought other forms of income. Most have become entrepreneurs, army soldiers, navy sailors, or taken positions in the Council.
The new Bradel Council rules from the old courthouse (2). The three new sections at the sides and back have been added to hold the growing democratic bureaucracy. The Bradel Council is split into different parts which discuss and vote on different issues. The different sections are Police, Army, Agriculture, Commerce, Internal, and Supreme. The supreme section has the power to override any decision made by the other sections. When new councilors run for office they must choose the section they are running for. The term of a councilor is six years with thirty councilors elected every year. Each building in the city gets one vote to appoint councilors. All bills are passed by majority.
The arena (1) is a large pit used for battles to entertain or deliver justice. Spectators look down from the upper level, witnessing bloodshed of all kinds. Gladiators walk out along a special platform and down a ramp into the pit for battle. This platform is ten feet lower than the spectator stands, and ten feet higher than the bottom of the pit. At the northwest section of the pit through a large wrought iron gate animals and monsters are brought in whenever they are required to fight. There is a betting parlor near the entrance where the labor is all elves. The arena is a business venture started by the secretive elves of Valor’s Forest.
The temple (3) is surrounded by an eight foot wall with large iron gates which are always open. The interior of the wall is decorated with a large flower garden adorned with statues of the twelve Olympians. The temple itself sits at the far end of the garden, on the other side of the main gates. The temple is a tall majestic building with golden towers and glistening gates. A small bridge on the second floor extends from the rear of the temple over the nearby street, connecting to a small building across the way where the clergy reside.
The Hall of Knowledge (4) is a large wooden library with a stone foundation. Inside are hundreds of shelves of books, tomes, and papers containing information of all sorts. The library does not rent out books and ones containing spells are restricted to citizens who have had library cards for over a year.
The knight’s guild (5) is nestled close to the city docks and guard barracks. The noble warriors of the city reside in this large stone keep near the waterfront. The keep was built long ago to provide protection for the city, and looks to be a military masterpiece of protection. Yet, regardless of the building’s strong exterior, it is rather comfortable and welcoming inside. The guild is in charge of the city’s army. The current Guildmaster is Cheregon one of the noble lady-knights from House Tiisson. Entrance into the guild is restricted to citizens of the city.
There are about five hundred policemen based at the city police barracks (6) who keep trouble off the streets and out of the farms and slums if they can. They are trained at the city guard training area. Two galleons and six frigates take port at the city navy base (7). Members of the knight’s guild are the sailors on board when needed. The Harbor Master (10) collects the fees for any trade goods brought in by sea and for docking your ship, dependent on size. The ranger’s guild (20) is a two story wooden building that provides the home for the rangers of the city. The forest gate (27) leads directly to the forest and the city’s graveyard.
Between the courthouse and the arena is a statue (9). It shows a marble Zeus dropping a granite mountain on top of an obsidian Typhon. The eyes are gems, Zeus’s clothes gold, and the point of Typhon’s tail is Adamantite. The city is immensely proud of its statue constructed by Phidias the sculptor.
Bradel Fields is unique in having a jail for punishment instead of just holding people before trial. The city’s jail (11) is a large building standing three stories high. There is only one entrance, through the front gates. Guard towers are posted on the roof, looking down on the crowded streets of the city. Dim lights can be seen through the few barred windows of the building. Rumors have it that the jail goes several stories below ground, housing more than criminals, but demons and other monsters as well. Some say there is even a connection to the Underdark. Of course such things are only myths the Bradel Council says.
The super store, the Red Dragon Warehouse (12), is the hot spot for adventurers and people wanting something you that cannot be obtained anywhere else. The three story high building sits near the private docks of the noble merchants, and is surrounded by a twelve foot high wall. The prices are more expensive here, but the selection is almost endless. Seagulls constantly circle the flat roof of the building, where several smaller buildings sit. The owner is Trobador, a halfling who inherited the business and has been expanding it even further.
The Red Dragon Casino is owned by Trobador as well. He has many interesting physical games inside as well as the normal card and dice games. A lot of the gladiators spend their winnings in the casino. The owner also does an event at the Arena once every four years. A red dragon is captured by his employees and gladiators go up against it one at a time for the whole day or until the dragon is defeated. Trobador has to put some heavy wards down to protect the spectators, but the event is the biggest festival in town.
The Adventure Dome (14) is a mysterious building that gives a unique experience to anyone going inside. No one knows who built it, but the person selling tickets is a dryad. No one knows her name, where her tree is, or what she does with the money she earns, but most assume the answers can be found in the dome somewhere.
The walls surrounding the mage’s tower (16) are smooth gray stone. They appear to be easy to climb; but in actually are extremely slippery. There appear to be no windows or entrances to the inside. Only members of the mage’s guild know how to access what’s within. They contact you to make you a member not the other way around.
The Bradel Fields tavern (17) is a large wooden building providing a place of rest for weary travelers and a space to mingle for citizens. Drinks are served at all hours in this fine establishment. Rooms are also available; one just has to ask the manager. The tavern employs over a hundred people to service its clients.
The bard’s playhouse (18) is a large modified theater no longer used for performances that houses the city’s bards. This building provides a place for bards to eat, sleep and practice. Work for actors and stage hands can be found in this cozy establishment, along with prestige and talent.
The Grand Theater & Music Hall (19) is near the richest part of the city (The noble section, located on Noble Way). Inside is an enormous theater which can seat thousands. Plays, ballets and musical performances of only the highest quality take place here once every ten days.
The psionicist’s guild (21) is located on the first and second floor of this three story building. It is the only well known place to get information on psionics or to train in its art. Many of the teachers in the guild believe that psionics is the way for humans to become equal to angels and devils. There is also a cartel of mindflayer hunters in the guild. The guild owns the building, but must rent out the bottom floor to cover costs. The current renter, a bard living at the playhouse, uses it as a dance studio.
Warrior’s Rest (22) is a private establishment which caters to warriors of all types except the knights and rangers of the city. It is believed that these professions don’t need to take up space at the Rest because rangers and knights both have large guilds that look after them. The tavern also doubles as a tiny inn. Rooms are cheap and the company is often welcoming…as long as trouble isn’t started.
The Park of the Traveler (23) where exotic animals of all kinds roam this small forest, rumors say that they appeared one day as the result of some mad magician’s spell gone awry. A group of druids act as zookeepers here and train new druids to coexist with Human society. Because of the nature of some of these animals, this park can be a dangerous place, but still less dangerous then the Park of Delights.
Park of Delights (24) is a dark and foreboding place. This park is sometimes used for underworld meetings as a neutral ground. The local guards are often paid to keep clear, and most do so without payment. The park is said to be a home of evil. Disappearances occur often here and every so often a dead body turns up… Some say that an evil cult worships in this small forest, but nothing has been proven.
The city graveyard (25) is an enormous area outside of the city where the dead rest. Huge mausoleums and unmarked graves are scattered about. Grave robbery is kept in check by the local grave keepers for a price paid through the taxes of the city. As such necromancy is not a serious problem in the city.
Outside of the south gate (26) is an area where poverty stricken people reside. Too poor to afford adequate housing inside the safety of the city walls, these people tend to build crude structures from any available materials. The people here range from petty thieves to crippled indigents. A thief’s guild may exist here, but authorities have not found any evidence so far.
The Grain Gate (28) is where a majority of the city’s food is imported through. The farms surrounding the city tend to gather nearest to this gate; although there are still many other farms located near the other gates.
In recent history Bradel Fields joined the first and second Alliances against Xoria. During the first war the republic city was led by Hector, a young knight with connections to Princess Tarigananata. Hector died during the war. The second Alliance is led by Hector’s son, Astyanax. Astyanax went through a traumatic incident with a demon. After he recovered he executed Bradel Council members who were against continuing the war and assumed dictatorial control of the city. To enforce his new edicts, Astyanax drafted the goblin slaves of the city into a police force/army.