Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Welcome to Mistfall

Mistfall is the only majority-human city on the saurian continent. It's been there for about half of the metropolis' 3000 year history. This coexistence has only been peaceful for the past few centuries, and only then because the two sides proved too evenly matched for either to maintain a consistent advantage. The Mistfall Wars lasted the latter half of one saurian emperor's reign, the entirety of the next, and continued several decades into the reign of a third before he finally ended it. The High Council of Mistfall ceded what territory it still had control of outside the city walls, a foreign quarter was established and walled off, and slavers from Mistfall were forbidden from hunting outside the city walls. Trade routes formed while old grudges simmered.

There are humans who still repeat their great-grandfathers' war stories with xenophobic pride, as they drink and polish antique weapons. Saurians live much longer, and many are alive today who personally fought in the wars. The accounts of these two groups rarely match up.

Much of Mistfall's nature is defined by unique geography. The city was originally established as a mining colony at the point where a great river cascades down an ore-rich cliffside, several hundred feet high. Corkscrew tunnels were dug into the cliffs to lead up to the oldest mines, and the homes of the original miners were located at the base of this cliff, where the constant fog produced by the waterfall gave the city its name.

The three minerals extracted from these mines are galvanium, lodestone, and lumenite crystals.

While the miners stumbled about in the mists below the cliff, the ruling class which owned the mines built their manors above. This designed stratification of class quickly became accepted as Traditional and Just How Things Are as the colony grew from a mining colony to a town to a powerful city-state, and is stronger than ever today. Those lucky enough to live in High Town rarely see fit to brave the squalor and dangers of Low Town, and those who appear to belong in Low Town are routinely harassed and chased off by High Town guards.

Low Town
A combination of poor visibility and abject poverty makes Low Town particularly dangerous. It's not advisable to walk around here alone. Characters without infravision can barely make out objects 20' away. Ancient two story buildings have had third and fourth floors built on top of them in different architectural periods. Many of these structures have collapsed entirely, and a few have been rebuilt. There's an edible but foul-tasting grey moss that grows on everything and rots the teeth and discolors the skin of those who eat it over time.

Slave hunting is legal in this district. To appease abolitionists without banning slavery, the High Council also made it legal for slaves to kill the slaver that caught them (not their eventual owners of course, many of whom have friends and/or seats on the High Council).

Every lower class vice you could imagine being tempted with probably exists in Low Town. There are underground fighting pits, klartesh dens, gambling halls and whorehouses all over the place.

Not surprisingly, the most interesting tavern for your average low-level adventuring party is in this part of town. Ask around for the Mongrel Hole, but be careful not to look like a mark. It's a drug-fueled hub for outsider art and music, as well as the best place to find desperate people who need a job done discreetly.

Foreign Quarter
The only way into the city without flying, as the other districts sealed their ancient gates after the Treaty of 1104 (Post-Shift) was signed. There are two embassy complexes here, one of the Saurian Empire and one of the Oliphant Kingdom. The rest of the quarter is overcrowded tenements full of refugees fleeing saurian oppression and civil war, but forbidden from entering the city proper. This includes a fairly wide variety of sentient life forms from all over the multiverse.

There are two gatehouses in the Foreign Quarter, one that leads out into the wilderness, and one that leads into Low Town. There are barge services that haul goods upriver to the waterfall and load them onto an elevator. There is also a whirligig platform at each embassy, used by the the respective ambassadors and their agents to travel directly to High Town.

Slave hunting is legal here, but not on embassy grounds.

The Mines
The ore veins and crystal deposits have been going strong through 3000 nearly uninterrupted years of mining, which means that many of the dozens of mine clusters have been depleted and abandoned. Some of the abandoned ones have become outlaw hideouts or flying monkey nests, while others have attracted weird outsiders. 

The first automatons were designed to function as tireless slaves for the mines, and some chose to return to the mines years after achieving sentience and emancipation, either to work or simply to live there.

The Sewers
Deep, complex, and surprisingly clean tunnels beneath the streets, occasionally forming junctions with abandoned mine clusters. Dwarven engineers were brought into the city to construct this maze centuries ago, and built their own undercity directly into it. Their great-great-grandchildren still live down there, where they wheelieboard around like anthropomorphic tortoises and put on shows of literally underground music that echo up through the sewer grates to the delight of topside children and the horror of their parents.

High Town
This is really the collective name for three adjacent districts (Old Town, Mistfall Academy, and the Diamond Quarter), but it feels like a totally different city from Low Town, and people tend to refer to it as such. Slave hunting is illegal here and you're much less likely to get mugged, for example.

Old Town
Primarily inhabited by the city's middle-class professionals, this is also where the guilds are headquartered. The most prominent guild is unquestionably the Engineers’ Guild. This is also where the only officially sanctioned arena is located, where teams of gladiators are arranged to battle each other, or sometimes captured dinosaurs, in a desperate attempt to one day earn their freedom.

While slavers aren't allowed to hunt here, the more successful ones have set up rookeries where kenku are bred, incubated, hatched, and prepared for sale.

Mistfall Academy
This ancient university teaches a narrow, traditionalist interpretation of magic, philosophy, and the arts, but excels in the mechanical and architectural sciences, due to sustained investment and cooperation from the Engineers' Guild. Its buildings are fancifully designed, with basic shapes exaggerated and arranged in apparently meaningless configurations.

Diamond Quarter
The least densely populated region of the city and the highest concentration of wealth. Near-constant guard patrols make this district extremely safe, but only for those who can pass as residents. Gated gardens surround elaborate towers which hold entire families of decadent and incestuous nobility that you can assume keep truly horrifying secrets. Some of these families have become so inbred that they only resemble humans on a superficial level at this point.

The Council Tower at the center of the Diamond Quarter dwarfs the rest of the district. It also houses Mistfall Bank's central vault and the majority of the city's garrison.


JOESKY TAX:

Flying Monkeys are thieving little bastards with white fur and wings that help them blend in with the Low Town mists (advantage to stealth in fog or mist), and behave with the approximate intelligence of neglected human four year olds. They’re also alcoholics that can smell any booze you have straight through the bottle and your pack. Many of them collect stolen hats.

Hit Dice: 1
Number Appearing: 1d4 + 2
Armor: none, but 18 DEX
Damage: 1d4 bite + monkey fever 
Move: as human + flight
Morale: 5


*1/6 chance each flying monkey is a carrier. PCs get a daily resistance save to avoid permanent DEX drain (1 DEX/day), fever lasts 1d3 days.

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