View Full Version : [City] Stormriver City

2005-07-05, 01:59 PM
Stormriver City, City of a Thousand Rivers and a Thousand Streets, the city where sea, stone, sky, river and road come together and twist about another like threads of a woven tapestery, like vines in a deep thicket. ~A Traveler's Guide to the Cities of the South

Introduction: Entering Stormriver City for the first time is an experience best described as bewildering, to say the least.
It seems at first glance from the outside to be instantly a fascinating, enchanting place. The two magnificent waterfalls falling from the great open floodgates in the fortified walls down the sheer expanse of the mountain cliff to end in twin showers of spray as they reach what was once an empty, barren valley but is now only a deep, blue lake that snakes off into a mighty river is awe-inspiring, but once the long climb up the plateau/mountain to the city is completed, the city itself is almost impossible to navigate.
There is no way between any two points (unless you care to take an incredibly curcuitous route) that does not require travel over both streets and waterways, and to the citizens, the two are almost one and the same - they walk along a cobbled road, take a set of steps down onto a tiny berth and then leap onto one of the communal boats, step off a few minutes later and step into a building through a door that opens onto the water, walk out of another door that opens onto the street and reach their destination.
The thousands of streets, turns, staircases down to poles with boats tied at them, whole districts that are at the same time flotillas, tributaries and riverbanks creates a wholly unique city that is at once enchanting and perplexing.

Stats: Large City
Adult Population: approx. 21000 (plus about 3000 'dwellers') Normal citizens: 31% humans, 20% elves, 18% dwarves, 12% half-elves, 11% half-orcs, 4% halflings, 3% gnomes. 'Dwellers': 39% merfolk, 29% tritons, 26% localanths, 6% other
Alignment: Neutral Good
Government: Meritocracy for normal citizens, and tribal/clanlike for the 'dwellers'
Religon: Any
Gold Piece limit: About 48,000,000 gold for normal citizens and 700,000 for the 'dwellers' - they can be seen as separate communities for these purposes. Note: these values are a little different from those given by the formula in the DM's guide because the city's population, in general, is slightly better off than that of the average city, and the reverse is true for the 'dwellers', who also don't have much goods useful to non-aquatic creatures.

Physical Description:The city is built onto the top of an ancient, barren mountain slightly larger than the others in the short but high range of mountains that stand on the edge of what is something like a fertile plain and something like a barren desert.
It is acessible by any one of the four long stairs leading to the walls at the top of the mountain. The city is walled, though the walls are barely needed, as ample defence is provided by the mountain, at the foot of which is a lake which was once a valley but slowly filled with water from the two great waterfalls that fall from openings in the city walls.
The river that the lake and the waterfalls give birth to provides water for all the area around the city, and the water to supply the waterfalls comes not from rivers but from hundereds of canals, waterways, and courses, all crafted of stone, that direct the flow of the water around and around, joining up and splitting and all eventually coming together in two great deluges that are the two waterfalls falling into the lake.
The city is unusual in this in that these watercourses are used as transportation along with streets - in any given trip a person would likely change from water to land an indefinete number of times, using the boats left for the community at every place where it is possible to switch mode of transportation.
At the center of the city is a lake formed in a great natural crater from which the source of all this water comes - a strange white stone obelisk, square-based, about twenty feet by twenty feet square at the point where it emerges from the lake, and imponderably tall (nobody has ever climbed to the top, and it cannot be seen with the naked eye) and divers looking for the place where it was built fon the rock report that it vanishes deep down into the stone and down to the roots of the mountain as though it had somehow been thrust from the earth by an angry god. From where this obelisk sprouts from the ground water continually springs and gushes forth from nothing - nobody knows why, no mage has ever discovered what property of the obelisk causes it to and few enough have even dived deep enough into the lake to reach the place that was originally just a spring.
There are other lakes, built around natural craters and calderas or artificial basins upon the top of the plateau of the mountain, and these lakes sometimes, at the very bottom, lead down to networks of fabulous submerged caverns deep in the bowels of the mountain, unseen by any of those who live out their lives above.

Economics: Stormriver City is a small trader's paradise - free of the corruption and monopolies that large businesses bring and with a market as changeable and as easy to enter as water, it fosters trade and nurtures fairness, tolerance, and considering people on their merits and achievements rather than their birth or titles.
Stormriver City's trade with the outside world is largely in silver, which can be mined from the underwater caves inside the mountain and from the other mountains surrounding it, although there is a smaller business in the more expensive manufactured goods, such as books or art. Also, the city recieves many travelers or adventurers who wish to see the sights the city has to offer as well as occasionally do some work in the area (a very simplified form of tourism).
The populace is divided by capability rather than class. Those with the skills to be sucessful traders gain power and those without such skills are left as the working class, often taking jobs as daperalles, or "dappers", acting as waterborne taxi drives for those who wish to travel quickly, or as unskilled laborers, transporters of heavy loads or workers in dangerous jobs, though they are secondary to the true working class, the 'dwellers', or those who live in the general area of the city but happen to be of the aquatic persuasion - merfolk, localanths, tritons, and such, who grow most of the city's food in their underwater caverns and mine silver to be smelted and traded.

Arts and Culture: Stormriver City's unique design encourages artistic design based upon water rather than, say, paintings of trees. There is great emphasis on the use of magic to create works of imagery or description, and also silversmithing and goldsmithing, and to a lesser extent, all other metalwork, are considered to be high trades rather than peasant work.
The 'dwellers' have a tribal hunting and gathering/farming culture and place emphasis upon symbolic representations and what art can be done underwater. Their traditions are passed down by word of mouth rather than by books and permanent records (which don't last long in their submarine environment) and they have a ritualised culture which is rather impenetrable to strangers.

Religon: Most religons are welcome in Stormriver City, and those looked down upon or banned are not those which honor an evil deity, but those that involve quite obviously evil acts, such as human sacrifice or necromancy. The largest temples are those of Pelor and Elhonna, but almost every religon has some presence there. There are also a few cults who revere the obelisk as being somehow magical or divinely powerful and look to it as almost a god, but they are considered by the vast majority of people to be simply crackpot charlatans.

Government: The government is a strange combination of elitised democracy and group consensus. At the lower levels, the government works through guilds, trade associations, unions, and any other such group. It's a quick, relatively effective, and mostly fair agreement, as the guild or union acts as a liason between the people under its' juridiction - usually anything from twenty to three hundered - and the government official, called a "districtsman" appointed to oversee, but not control, the guild. People are judged purely upon their merit as opposed to any extraneous qualities, but it is certainly not a democracy so much as hundreds of instances of benign dictatorship.
At the higher levels, however, the government becomes a democratic republic, with the voters being districtmen elevated to positions of importance by the previous voters, of which there can be no more than thirty-six. The "dwellers" send representatives, but it is a token presence, as their true form of government is an elaborate tribal/clanlike system.


2005-07-06, 06:06 AM
Space saved.

2005-07-10, 03:59 PM
hmmm, whats flood insurance run?

2005-07-11, 05:21 PM
Looks interesting thus far.

2005-07-12, 11:03 AM

Just have to lift my mind out of the fog of procrastination to finish it...