View Full Version : [City] Rhiannarth, the City in the Sky

2005-07-18, 02:55 AM
Rhiannarth, the City in the Sky

As the griffon descended towards the floating rock you see the majestic buildings rushing towards you, all clad in bright marble. Enclosing the city you see a perfectly circular wall with four gates.

Threading its way through the tall spires that protrude up from the city, the griffon heads towards the central plaza. You see shallow pools and gushing fountains pointing radially out from the cenre of the plaza where there stands a great obelisk sheathed in nacre, with a bright white light shining from a gemstone set at its peak.

Small City
Population: 10000 (73% Elves (mostly Avariel), 19% Humans, 5% Gnomes, 3% other)
Government: Monarchy
Alignment: Neutral
Religion: Aerdrie Faenya
Gold Piece Limit: 15000gp


The City

Rhiannarth is built upon a large rock, floating in the sky above a lake, and supported by magical means. It was founded many millennia ago by the king of a large community of avariel who decided that it was not right that his people should have to live on the ground in fear of the large flying beasts that had brought his race so close to extinction. He gathered together the seven greatest wizards from amongst his people and implored them to find a way to build a city in the sky that could be a haven for all the avariel. They devised a spell which, by focusing their magical energies at a single point, could lift a large area of the ground into the sky. It was on this ground that Rhiannarth was built, and then lifted into the sky by the spell of the seven wizards.

The wizards formed a college so that they could train others who could sustain the spell after them. Each year a number of those who have passed through the training are selected to continue the spell that holds the city aloft.

The buildings of the city are all constructed from granite and sheathed in white marble. The entire city was constructed prior to its elevation into the sky, which makes any further construction or redevelopment difficult. The city is surrounded by a tall wall for defence against any hostile creatures of the sky, however the city's main defence against attackers is the college of wizards who are resident in the city.

Such attacks usually come in the form of bands of roaming wyverns, although there have been rare occasions in the past when young dragons attempted to destroy the city.

For those that do not have wings, or access to magic that can lift them up to the city, a number of griffons are kept on hand to ferry them up or down. It is by these griffons that most of the city's imports and exports are handled.

Arts and Culture

The arts play a great part in the city, with performances put on in the central plaza, artists drawing inspiration from the unusual circumstances of the city, or bards entertaining travelers in the city's inns.

The Economy

Given the city's situation, all food that the city consumes is imported from the surrounding region, as is any stone that is needed for repairs. Much of the city's exports consists of magical trinkets or other items crafted by the wizards of the city, and many adventurers are attracted to the city to buy some of these magic items, or to learn of the magic that sustains the city.

The Government

The city is ruled by the king, Aurelius Alauvir, who is seen by the populace as mostly benevolent, although somewhat distant and unaware of the general events in the city. The king has one son, but he is only a few years old, and in the event that something should happen to the king, nobody is sure who would be regent. Much of the day to day running of the city is handled by the king's court. A well funded constabulary combined with an efficient court system ensures that crime is kept to a minumum.

The Monument

At the exact centre of Rhiannarth stands an obelisk, standing 100ft tall and sheathed in tiles of nacre that have been polished smooth. At the very top of the obelisk there stands an enormous diamond, infused with the magic of thousands of years, glowing brightly. The obelisk acts as a focus for the spell that keeps the city afloat. A team of four wizards take shifts concentrating on the spell in order to keep the spell going, and this is the only duty they perform for an entire year. At four times during the year a new wizard is selected for this duty where they will remain until they are replaced the next year. The people of the city consider is a great honour to be able to serve the city in this way, and so there are always a great number of applicants wishing to study at the wizards college. The monument was built by the original seven wizards who founded the wizards college.


Power Struggles

Following the death of the previous head of the wizards college, and new leader, Pennus Thiumar, has arised who is somewhat disdainful of the established order. He believes that the king is weak and unfit to rule over the city, and that it is the wizards, as protectors and sustainers of the city, who should be in charge. He has caused great commotion by making many anti-royalist statements in public, and many believe that it is only a matter of time before he makes openly hostile moves against the king.


Adventure Hooks

- Pennus Thiumar has shocked the city by demanding that the king abdicate and nominate him as the new ruler. A member of the king's court is looking for a group of adventurers to talk to Pennus and get him to back down, but Pennus turns the tables when he makes the adventurers an offer they can't refuse.

- Scrying by the wizards college has revealed that a group of unknown enemies has infiltrated the city and plans to destroy the obelisk and bring the city crashing back down to earth. Pennus Thiumar wants a group of adventurers to find these unknown assailants and stop their plans before it's too late.

- The king is tired of the endless attacks by wyverns, and is looking for a group of adventurers to go down to the wyverns' lair and sort them out once and for all.

- An anonymous person claiming to be from the wizards college approaches the adventurers, asking them to investigate the suspicious circumstances surrounding the previous head wizard's death. Did Thiumar's ambition get the better of him? Was it all an innocent accident? Or is there something far more suspicious afoot?


Using Rhiannarth In Your Game

Rhiannarth can fit comfortably in any game, whether as a well known city in the centre of civilisation, or as a near-mythical place far beyond the usual trade routes. There is plenty of scope for whatever type of adventure your players prefer, whether it's a simple hack'n'slash in the wyverns' lair, or a campaign filled with political intrigue. Although aimed at slightly higher level parties, Rhiannarth can easily be used as a base of operations for lower level parties too, fighting off tribes or marauding orcs or vicious beasts in the lands below.

If winged elves do not exist in your game then it is very easy to adapt the city to any other race. Perhaps it was created by a group of human wizards wishing to remain aloof from the rest of the world, or perhaps the gnomes' fascination with magic led them to create this wonder.

2005-07-21, 01:30 AM
Critique: You might want to expand on the economy part a bit. It left me asking "what do the nonwizards do for a living?" It's one that IMO should be answered for a city with much difficulty reaching raw materials and no agriculture. At the momment you have a single industry that a fraction of the population can take advantage of.


-A significant portion of the economy is a service industry geared towards the wizards who come to this town to train. Buisiness owners go to extraordinary measures to gain the business of the mage scholar demographic. Steep competition has caused many wonderous hotels and places of diversion that is the envy of the walking world.
-High up in the air are clouds infused with magic. Mages can use this gas as part of the components to create magic armour (ever wonder what the 2000g you spent on your +1 goest towards?). Rhiannarth is the best possible area for collecting such materials. If you really want to make the town unique, you could rule that the lack of transportation costs of this magic gas could reduce the cost of enchanting an item by 5% or so.
-In a world of infantry and calvary, an air force of any size wields a huge tactical advantage. Avariels and griffon riders are commonplace in Rhiannarth, and the lucrative coin to be found in specialized mercenary work is too good to pass up. Rhiannarth has a booming mercenary and arial mount industry.

Otherwise, pretty good work.