More after the jump...
KEY to LOCATIONS on STORMGATE MAP
A hill of rubble and sand, dotted with tombs, sarcophagi, and burial markers. Rutted paths lead from the summit to the east, north, and southwest.
The Boneyard is Stormgate’s cemetery. The crest of the hill is occupied by a small necropolis of tombs belonging to the city’s wealthy families. The upper slopes contain freestanding stone sarcophagi for craftsmen and traders, while the base of the hill is pockmarked with paupers’ graves and crude burial markers.
A mist-shrouded, damp street along the waterfront, filled with cramped shops selling books, scrolls, and various antiquities.
Bookworm Alley contains numerous vendors of books and other items from the empire’s distant past. Many of the volumes have been collected by adventures exploring the ruins of the Marches to the north of the city.
Castle of the Knights Protector
A weather-stained keep of white stone dominates the northern end of the city. A banner depicting a black portcullis on a white field flies from the battlements.
The Knights Protector is an order of paladins sworn to defending the remaining human inhabitants of the island from evil. Once, their goal was more lofty – to defeat the sinister monsters and evil mages who originally ruled the island. But now, weakened and few in number, the knights are hard-pressed merely to keep The Marches to the north of the city free from attack.
A burnt-over neighborhood of charred houses, makeshift hovels, and standing pools of foul-looking water.
The Cauldron is a largely abandoned neighborhood, where the potion makers of Elixir Alley dump their “mistakes”, and students of the College of Magic come to settle personal scores with magical duels, which often leave undesirable aftereffects. Rival gangs of “spellgleaners” comb the refuse piles of the Cauldron looking for magic potions and rare ingredients that might be recycled or resold.
College of Magic, The
A jumble of turreted and walled buildings, connected by narrow lanes, tunnels, and covered passages.
Originally chartered by the disant Empire to improve the quality of wizardry and magical craft on the island, the College of Magic has since fallen on hard times, but still ekes out an existence by teaching the magic arts to a few local pupils and a handful of students from the mainland. The College is known for its library of old spells, and its Hall of Curiosities collected from centuries of College alumnae exploring and plundering the island.
Most of the professors at the college are ghosts – former wizards who have passed on to the other world. They can’t cast spells, but they still take on pupils to carry on the tradition of the magical arts.
A rough and ragged neighborhood of shanties, odd houses made from driftwood, and beached ships converted into houses.
Dockside is where Stormgate’s sailors and dockworkers make their home. It’s a rough and unwelcoming place, seldom visited by strangers, who fear for their lives to enter the district after dark.
A gooey-looking mudflat dotted with small islands of tall grass. A rickety boardwalk connects some of the islands.
Drownley Marsh is a forlorn corner of the island between Sharky’s Tavern and The Pilings. It has been the scene of many gruesome crimes and mysteries over the years, and is haunted by the legendary Downley Lady, a robber who used the marsh as her hideout and now haunts it as a ghost. It’s a favored refuge for escaped criminals, beggars, and hermits.
A craggy hill of blue-gray stone overlooks the windswept sea. Wisps of smoke and glowing sparks issue from chimneys and vents sprouting from the top of the hill. Narrow windows peer out from the sheer sides, echoing with the noise of hammer and tongs. At the base of the hill, an iron gate opens onto a tunnel lit by lanterns.
This has long been the neighborhood of Stormgate’s dwarfs, who do much of the city’s ironwork, and also maintain a much smaller goldsmithing and jewelry making business. The dwarves sell their goods in neighboring Makers Nook, and seldom allow anyone but dwarves to enter their underground refuge. The dwarfs have tunneled thoughout the hill, and out under the sea to the east, following rich veins of silver and gold discovered by the dwarfs while excavating their store rooms.
On a low island in a channel between the north and south sides of the city, stands a pleasant, grassy space, surrounding an ornate wood-framed building, flying the flag of the city.
This is the seat of government in Stormgate, where the Elector presides. The Elector is chosen by a small, invitation-only council of the city’s rich and powerful, from among its own ranks.
The hall itself is a tall building with elaborate carvings and gilt decoration. It contains offices for the Elector and staff, meeting rooms, and a beer garden on the first floor where much of the city’s business gets done.
A low-lying neighborhood of small factories and workshops, most of them secured behind iron gates. Clouds of brightly colored smoke pour from some of the chimneys, and odd scents fill the air.
Elixir Lane is home to the city’s potion-makers. Each potion factory is owned by a different wizard, and competes fiercely with the other factories to produce the most desired potions, salves, and elixirs. Their waste products and mistakes are usually dumped nearby in the Cauldron district. Potions are sold wholesale in shops adjacent to the factories.
Some raw ingredients for the potions come from overseas, while some are collected from the island’s interior.
A grassy lawn, surrounded by stone pillars.
The Field hosts seasonal celebrations, tournaments, and the occasional execution. At other times, it is a favorite place for the city’s elite to ride their horses and be seen.
A long finger of sand dunes extends into the sea, lapped by surf. Here and there, stone foundations and crumbling walls poke out of the sand.
This neighborhood was slowly abandoned after nearby Old Stormgate fell under the mysterious evil influence that caused it too to become deserted. Now, the dunes have reclaimed much of the area, with just a few signs that it was once inhabited.
A marshy bay, infested with biting flies.
This marsh, swarming with flies, has resisted all efforts to settle it or drain it.
A small, cramped collection of boat sheds, cranes, and warehouses, next to a tiny natural harbor that offers the only safe anchorage on the south side of the city.
This is where ships from the mainland arrive and depart, and where the city’s exports await shipment. Cliff walls rise steeply from the water’s edge, carved into terrace-like streets, docks, and warehouses.
A whitewashed stone wall surrounds a clean, orderly set of dormitory buildings.
Sponsored by the Knights Protector, the hospice is a place where the injured may find healing, the sick may find comfort, and the poor may find food and shelter. It includes a dormitory for the city’s poor, a hospital, baths, a laundry, and two chapels: one dedicated to Lady Vesta, and one to the healer Aesclepius.
A lively district of shops and factories.
This is where most of the city’s craftspeople and artisans work. Many of the goods sold at The Market are made here.
A bustling hive of activity filling a large open square. Arcades and pavilions along the four sides of the square shelter merchandise of all sorts.
Like all markets, this is a gathering place for buying and selling. Most categories of goods have their own “palace”, where individual merchants rent a stall or room. There are palaces dedicated to armor and weapons, clothing, furniture, produce, meat, fish, and so on.
A hillside district of stately homes, mostly made from the native blue-gray rock of Stormgate.
Mount Dandy is the neighborhood of choice for the city elite, mostly “old empire” families who can trace their origins back to some of the first settlers. Their glory has faded somewhat along with the decline in the city’s fortunes, but they remain comfortably off and generally respected and feared by the rest of the city.
To the north of the city is a cliff of weathered rock. A tunnel with a fortified gate pierces the cliff and vanishes into darkness.
This tunnel connects Stormgate to the Marches, a now largely-lawless area of isolated farmsteads. The tunnel rises slowly inside the cliff until it emerges on the plateau that occupies this part of the Lands Beyond.
A massive island of slate-black stone stands apart from the main city, connected by a causeway that is passable only at low tide. The island is covered with crumbling battlements and walls. A dark gate lies at the far end of the causeway, giving access to the interior.
This was once the seat of the Knights Protector and of the Governor of the great island of which Stormgate is still nominally the capital. It was abandoned after Obdura the Great, leader of the Northern Witches, was captured and brought here to be imprisoned, only to unleash a terrible curse on Old Stormgate that transformed it into a haunted ruin.
Many adventurers have crossed the causeway to explore the island. Some have returned with items of some value; others report only empty ruins, and some have never returned.
A rambling collection of shops, connected by covered arcades and alleyways.
This is a collection of merchants’ stalls and shops, selling odd items, some ordinary, some magical.
A village of huts resting on stilts in a sheltered bay, connected by aerial walkways. Small boats are moored beneath the huts.
The Pilings is where many of the inhabitants of The Ghostwalk relocated when Old Stormgate became uninhabitable. They are a clannish lot who make their living fishing the waters on the west side of the city.
A tidy neighborhood of private homes.
This is the most welcoming and homely district of the city, where modestly successful artisans and professionals dwell, comfortably distant from their shops and factories in Makers Nook. It is a safe, clean place, blessed with many gardens and stately trees, sheltered from the ocean winds that ravage much of the city.
An old mill powered by a tidal pool, now seemingly in disuse.
This is where secrets and rumors are traded on the model of a stock exchange. Spies, thieves, and rakes gather here on moonless nights to sell their secrets for cash, or to trade them for other secrets.
At the edge of a forsaken-looking marsh stands a large tavern with garishly painted walls.
Sharky’s Tavern is a rough place, patronized by inhabitants of The Pilings and Threadbare Square. It sits alone, at the edge of Drownley Marsh, because no one could abide having it as a neighbor. The proprietor, Sharky, is known as The Mayor of Threadbare Square – she is an old rogue who knows many tales about the city and its unsavory side.
A scummy pond occupies a dell surrounded by more populous parts of the city.
The Sump is an uninviting brackish pond that serves as a drain for much of the city’s sewage. At very high tides, the sea breaches the isthmus between The Sump and the ocean, carrying the garbage out to sea.
This rocky hillside has been carved into a series of terraces connected by stone stairs and ramps. Fertile soil has been laboriously carted here, to nurture lush gardens, orchards, and ornamental trees.
This district is only accessible through Mount Dandy. It’s a pleasure garden of the city elite. The gate, at the top of the terraces, requires a key that is only shared among the families of Mount Dandy.
A shabby neighborhood of once-grand houses stretches along the shore in the shadow of a dark, looming island.
Threadbare Square is a district of crumbling mansions and villas once occupied by the city elite, but abandoned when evil came to Old Stormgate across the bay. The area is now occupied by squatters, runaways, and other marginal folk. The mansions have been looted and stripped of anything of value, but rumors persist of hidden vaults and cellars that might still hold treasure.
At the head of a small cove stands a prosperous-looking inn, accessible by foot or by boat, via a dock along the inn’s front face.
The Tides Inn caters to newcomers to the city – in fact, most porters working in the Harbor are paid for every traveler they recommend to the Inn.
A damp, narrow spit of land connecting the city to the mainland, and festooned with gibbets and gallows.
Traditionally, criminals have been hung along Traitors’ Neck as a warning to strangers entering Stormgate that justice is no laughing matter here. In practice, it is now seldom used for that purpose, and the gruesome apparatus is more of a curiosity than a threat. Nevertheless, a number of skeletons, neatly labeled with name, date of death, and crime, hang in iron cages.