Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The City of Blackspire

I'm in the process of crafting my own homebrew world.  Generally I would start with a map on a project like this, but I'm looking at things from more of an abstract point of view here.  The idea is to create a series of locations and interesting regions, and maybe then map them out in relation to one another at a later time.
Located in the north, the city of Blackspire sits nestled in a valley at the foot of the Stormwind Peaks mountains on the edge of a large body of water called Icemere Loch, so named for its chilly waters and chunks of blackish ice which linger constantly within a hazy fog.
Blackspire is named for the large black twisting tower which sits atop a magically floating series of rocks about 100 feet above the city itself.  The tower, known as the Obsidian Citadel, is home to a conclave of archwizards and necromancers who call themselves the Black Cloaks of Thorvian.  The true numbers of these mages, and their identities, remain largely a mystery, but from within their magical fortress they govern the city, albeit with an aloof front.  They rarely step in to intervene on matters other than those of the utmost importance to the safety of the city, leaving the day to day ruling with the aristocracy of the city below.

The city's council, who refer to themselves as the Selectorate, govern the mundane day-to-day operations of the city.  They are composed of 50 high nobles, who consistently seek to backstab each other and further their own agendas.  Assassination attempts are commonplace in Blackspire, and as such, the nobility has taken extra guarded measures to ensure their own safety.  It is a common practice within the nobility to expose noble children to a variety of known (and some unknown to the masses) lethal poisons and elixirs in an effort to build a resistance to their properties.  The aristocracy is nearly wholly corrupt, having left behind the base ideas of moralism and ethics for their own self-serving benefits.  These traits they find beneath them and "plebeian" in nature.  Despite their ambitious nature, they live in fear of the Black Cloak mages.  At one time, one of the more ambitious of the aristocracy sought to craft a coup in order to oust the archwizards of the tower.  Before the plot could ever get off the ground, the nobleman was taken by agents of the Citadel where he was torn limb from limb by a summoned eldritch creature in front of the entire city.

The true population of the city is not known, but is thought to be in the thousands.  The only known map of the city lies in the Citadel and is in fact a living document which animates as new buildings are constructed or destroyed.  Most of the city's buildings are composed of damp stonework with wooden roofs.  The nature of the constant dampness seems to stem from the constant cold and moisture from Icemere Loch.  The streets are blackish cobblestone and wind and twist throughout the various wards which makeup the city. 

The sprawling city is fortified by a 20' high black stone wall with several gates of entry into its walls all manned by the constables.

The major source of trade with its neighbors lies in the precious metals mined outside of the city near the Stormwind Peaks, specifically silver.  In addition, the Obsidian Citadel hosts one of the only known academies of magic devoted to the necromantic arts drawing in potential practitioners from across the land.  Many fail in their pursuits, which often results in their own demise.

Despite the cold and dank nature of the city, the citizens and commoners are of a light-hearted sort, albeit a bit darker in their nature and attitude towards most things.  It is not uncommon, for example, to see a group of Blackspire citizens laughing it up when a bizarre tavern game results in the death of one of the contestants.