Alara: Wyrmspire

As promised in the previous post, I shall now overview Wyrmspire. In following posts I shall go over the specific areas of the City of Kings in more detail.

First, a map:

Notice the shittiness of said map. If you could all do me a favor, imagine little buildings drawn inside the city walls (I hope it’s obvious where the city walls are). It should be better after you do that. Anyway, as usual, the purple lines are elevation lines (the palace is built into the side of a mountain). There are three gates into the city, at the north, the southeast, and the southwest. The north gate is most commonly used by visiting dignitaries, as it leads into the Temple Quarter, which is quite pretty. The southeast gate is often used by tradesmen, as it is near the Merchant Quarter. Nobody really uses to southwest gate, as the Old Quarter is not a pleasant place.

The various sections of the city:

The Palace is the seat of government in the city. While it is often simply referred to as the Palace, it’s much more. The area beyond the inner wall of the city contains, apart from the palace, various barracks holding Wyrmspire’s army, as well as training and drilling grounds. The Council building, the ruling area of all the Alliance, is also kept near the palace. On an upward slope to the north lies the palace itself, a glorious, shining edifice whose towers have given the city its name of Wyrmspire. From there, King Benedict IV rules, along with his wife, Queen Katalina, and his three children, the Princes Adrian and Randolph, and the Princess Keara.

The Noble Quarter is the living place of the nobles and aristocrats of Wyrmspire. It is a beautifully-kept, shining place, with large houses everywhere and expensive inns and taverns dotting the landscape. The Noble Quarter is a favorite location of visiting diplomats, and most of them stay there whilst visiting. The burgeoning prostitution trade helps this along. While said prostitution is technically illegal, many practitioners cover it up by selling their customers some small item for an disproportionately large amount of cash, and then proceeding to give them a courtesy screw. Courtesy screws aren’t illegal, after all.

There are many prominent figures in the Noble Quarter. Most of them belong to a group known as the Circle of Lords, a group of aristocratic bastards who love to bathe in red tape. The end goal of the Circle of Lords is to get every one of their number on the Council. This would be a very bad thing, as these guys are not exactly what you would refer to as intelligent. At all. There’s also rumors that they’re running a slave-ring underground. But we’re sure that’s all just balderdash.

The Temple Quarter is the location of all of Wyrmspire’s religious edifices. It includes many major temples, such as the massive temple to Archus (the second largest building in all Wyrmspire, after the palace). Other notable temples include the beautiful temple to Helena, the mysterious temple to Omora Agabai, and the militaristic temple to Jurgan. Smaller shrines have also arisen, such as small temple to White Aretha, and the well-kept secrets that are the temples of Anator, Black Hundriss, and Elleida. Even small cults involving non-Archan pantheons exist.

While most people simply think of temples when they think of the Temple Quarter, many people live there too. Priests need a place to live, and eventually someone’s going to move to where the priests live to sell things to the priests. Soon enough, a little community will spring up. The community of the Temple Quarter is regarded as the safest in all Wyrmspire. There’s not nearly as much shady deals going on as in other Quarters, as most of the inhabitants are, y’know… holy. Prominent residents of the Temple Quarter include the high priests of all the various faiths. The Temple Quarter also includes the massive library of Wyrmspire.

The Arcane Quarter is the home of many wizards, sorcerers, mages, and all that. At its center is the huge Arcane University, the largest magical education center in the Civilized Lands. All schools of magic are represented here, if not equally. Necromancy suffers a bit of prejudice, for instance. Aside from the University, many other people of arcane leanings live here as well. Alchemists, experimenters, cultists, archivists, and basically assorted weirdos. It’s not uncommon to see very odd things in the Arcane Quarter, such as many-colored smokes, things appearing and disappearing at random, water running uphill, flocks of fire-breathing chickens run amok, and the occasional escaped lab-created monster.

As with the Temple Quarter, not all who live in the Arcane Quarter are wizards. Some just sell to the wizards. Of course, living in the Arcane Quarter is a hazardous thing if you don’t have any magic at your disposal. Occasionally, things just explode. No explanation. Boom. The most important resident of the Arcane Quarter is Amaris Horoma, the archmage of the University. He’s got a position on the council, and he’s willing to use it. Mostly to fund new experiments of the arcane nature. He’s like that.

The Merchant Quarter is the most bustling, busy area you’re going to find in all Wyrmspire. Ever. Most of the middle class lives there, and they all sell each other, and anyone who happens to be wandering by, quite a lot of things. Actually, anything. They’re willing to improvise. People have been known to sell houses to nobles that happen to be wandering by, merely because they looked like they had enough money to pay for it. Long story short, the Merchant Quarter is home to a bustling economy, and everyone takes part in it. Tradesmen, craftsmen, entertainers, thieves – everyone has a part to play.

The most prominent merchants belong to the Merchant’s Guild, which oversees all economy-type things that go on in the Merchant Quarter. The guildmaster of this guild is High Merchant Tadaran Knopwhick. Everyone assumes his title is ironic, as he’s an Underfoot, and an extraordinarily short one, at that.

The Dwarven Quarter is home to the large dwarven minority of Wyrmspire. Nearly as busy as the Merchant Quarter, dwarves can be seen bustling about at all hours of day and night (they have darkvision, you know) trading, selling, drinking, smithing, and generally being dwarves. Though the Dwarven Quarter is the smallest of the Quarters, it boasts a surprisingly large population, mostly because dwarves are very compact beings. You’re walking along a row of two-story houses in the Merchant Quarter, and suddenly you’re walking along a row of three-story houses. Only they’re all still the same height. Oh, did we mention that every story has about twelve dwarves in it, too? Dwarves are promiscuous. Especially in the city, out of sight of their elders. The most prominent residents of the Dwarven Quarter are the heads of the various families, as well as the heads of the recently resurrected dwarven mountain tribes, which are now little more than street gangs.

The Old Quarter is the oldest part of Wyrmspire. It’s also the shabbiest. It is a place of thieves, beggars, drunkards, prostitutes, and all the other people that make a fantasy city really, really fun. The Old Quarter is ruled over by the Thieves’ Guild, which is engaged in a constant struggle with the city watch. The watch is losing. Badly. It doesn’t help that most of the inhabitants of the Old Quarter are loyal to the Thieves’ Guild, even if only because they’ll take your children if you aren’t. The Old Quarter is the most diverse of the quarters, with a large minority of Underfoot, the occasional dwarf, Rhokari and minotaur, and a massive amount of elven refugees from the conquered Asernaiar. This large influx of elves has led to a bit of a population problem in the Old Quarter, but it’s being readily solved through a rapid lowering of standards regarding quality of living. The most prominent resident of the Old Quarter is Salkiss, the leader of the Thieves’ Guild. He’s a badass.

The Undercity is called many things. It is referred to as the Tunnels, the Below, the Underworld, or, in the case of many members of the Council, “our little problem”. It is a massive complex that runs under the entirety of Wyrmspire, and is composed of various sewers, tunnels, and ancient caves. This makes it rather mazelike, and indeed, if you don’t know your way around, it’s probably best to hire a guide. Also, make sure the guide stays in front of you at all times, or he will stab you. There’s not even a question. The Undercity is home to many interesting phenomena, such as the burgeoning black market beneath the Old Quarter and the Arena of Blood beneath the Noble Quarter. There’s even a cult of vampires underneath the Temple Quarter, and there’s rumors of something even more nasty under the Palace. The Undercity is a place for the lawless, the broken, and, more often than not, a bunch of rat-people. The most prominent resident of the Undercity is not a resident at all, but rather the leader of the Thieves’ Guild, again. Salkiss is often referred to as the Undermayor by the people of the Tunnels.

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2 Comments

  1. pieboy said,

    September 17, 2007 at 9:26 pm

    Thieves’ Guild: check.
    Sewers: check.
    Bustling bazaar: check.

    Sounds like you got yourself a solid fantasy city.

  2. tuskedchimp said,

    September 17, 2007 at 9:31 pm

    Yeppers.


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