Cities in the Mirrored Lands

CZERNAYA

  • Czernaya (large city, 36,000):
    • Very old (some say with pre-Ur foundations)
    • Chosen as capital of newly-aggregate socialist nation to lend sense of history, place in the world rightly regained
    • Population swelling to the breaking point; scorched farmland cannot sustain
    • Produces great deal of ores, stones, other goods, cannot meet its own needs.
    • Distinctly favor-based society; sometimes merit-based, but more often political connections. Spellcasters always receive preferential treatment.
    • Quietly converting peasant work-force to conscript army
    • Combat strategies extend to throwing troops en masse at qualitatively superior troops
    • Culture largely state-subsidized, most other art suppressed. Art emphasizes nobility and power of the Czernayan people
    • Tower of Three is the high point of the city, visible from any quarter
  • Severnaya (small city, 12,000):
    • Former capital of the city-state of Lodz
  • Bialystok (small city, 9,000):
    • Former capital of the city-state of Riga

LUCERNE

  • Lucerne (small city, 8,000):
    • An open city, with no walls and no apparent need for them
    • Defense is supposedly handled by the Storm Towers (a system of lightning defense spires dotting the city), although they’ve never been used in anger
    • Buffered from the worst of the wilds by other nations
    • 1 in 6 citizens has at least some spellcasting talents
      • Which leads to an elaborate system of courtesies and verbose declarations of intent
    • Of necessity, every guard patrol includes at least one or two spellbreakers
    • Ruled by the Argent Circle, a loose collection of eight spellcasters whose identities are protected by masks and powerful abjurations
    • At least one member of the Circle is presumed to be a dwarf
    • Artisan’s guilds responsible for much of the city’s business:
      • Guild of Arcane Artifice (catchall, mostly magic items)
      • Breeder’s Guild (animals, magebred and otherwise)
      • Breaker’s Guild (solutions to problems of a magical nature, often discreetly)
      • Wayfarer’s Guild (long-distance travel and couriers)
    • Nearly anything magical can be found here, for a price; explicitly evil items require some delving into the grey market if not the black
  • The Mage Academies
    • Spellgard (small town, 1,100):
      • The northern academy
      • Widely regarded as the best school for combat-oriented mages
      • Associated schools: conjuration and evocation
      • Boasts highest percentage of graduates joining the Knights Arcane
      • Headmaster is Praetor Eridras, hard-bitten half-elven war-wizard
        • Suspicious, gruff, runs the school with military efficiency
  • Scyldstor (small town, 900):
    • The western academy
    • Focuses the energies of its students upon preparing for unseen eventualities and defending against the same
    • Associated schools: abjuration and divination
    • Said to have the best wards in the Five Kingdoms, excelling even those enacted upon the Hightower
    • Administrator is Katrionna, a serene woman who ascended from almost complete obscurity, much to the surprise and dismay of her colleagues
  • Foxmoor (village, 600):
    • The eastern academy
    • Unique in that, in order to gain admittance, prospective students must first find it
    • No one can find the grounds unless led by someone who already knows how to get there
    • One of the highlights of each year is the influx of new students, whose attempts to gain entrance provide much hilarity for the already-initiated
    • For all the hijinks, students here are remarkably strong-willed; they have to be, to impose their wills on others
    • Chemash, the school’s halfling administrator, is a smooth, glib orator and an inveterate practical joker.
  • Hollesgard (village, 700):
    • The southern academy
    • Curriculum is concerned primarily with the manipulation of energies; it draws those interested in the building blocks of thaumaturgic technique, more interested in the pure application of the Art than in the ethical ramifications of their studies
    • Associated schools: necromancy and transmutation
    • Rumors abound in the surrounding villages of corpses stolen from graveyards and bizarre transactions made with wizards of Hollesgard.
    • Academy is overseen by the Sadhu, a hobgoblin ascetic and master transmuter.

THE NECROPOLIS

  • The Necropolis (metropolis, unknown):
    • Despite the city’s ghoulish reputation, only 1 in 10 citizens is actually an intelligent undead; these are largely members of the aristocracy
    • Mindless undead do most of the heavy lifting here, often literally; they’re controlled by necromancers of various stripes (the Keepers of the Dead), usually set up to control in pairs
    • The Keepers hold an honored place in society, ranging from the upper echelons of the middle class to the lower echelons of the upper
    • Each Keeper has a distinctive signet ring, which serves to identify him, to link him to his partner and to enhance his control over the undead, effectively doubling the number of undead he can have under his control. Possession of these rings by anyone other than a Keeper is an offense punishable by immediate execution.
    • The city itself is a mass of spiraling and counter-spiraling levels, built one upon the other over long, long centuries, and it’s not particularly well-lit; everburning torches light the place up sparsely.
    • Characters without low-light vision or darkvision may well have a difficult time navigating here; crystal lenses to enhance one’s nightvision are common items here, and nearly all citizens who need a little help seeing in the darkness own a set or two.
    • A large central causeway ascends from ground level through the heart of the city, providing easy access to all levels.
    • Towards the depths of the city proper, before the Undercity begins, are the Vaults of the Dead, where corpses are stored prior to animation.

NOBILIS

  • Nobilis (large city, 13,500):
    • A mountain city, the roads and switchbacks wind their way up the mountainside to the palace carved midway up the peak.
    • The city is largely populated by dragontouched, with relatively small numbers of half-dragons and full-blooded members of other races.
    • The city is ruled by its regent, a full-grown red dragon named Eldariel; a number of lesser dragons of various colors serve as his magistrates, barons and agents on matters of import. Eldariel has a reputation as a fair if somewhat ineffable ruler.
    • Though it’s a large city, Nobilis is even wealthier than its size would suggest, serving as bank to many of the other nations; like the Necropolis, its rulers have very long lifespans, and their stratagems and plans span years and sometimes decades.

Cities in the Mirrored Lands

The Mirror of Night corridorgeist