Open discussion: BUILD A CITY 4.0!!!

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Greetings everybody!

It is the start of a new era in gaming. The next edition will be released to stores coming this June. I know that there are many of you how are nervous about it, but there are also quite a bit more of us who are excited to see what changes have been made to the game we’ve all enjoyed.

We’re also very proud of the Build a City threads for they were such a great source for gaming to use as potential material for your campaign. All interest aside, even the last thread had some potential. To continue the tradition, a new city will be built, using much the same tenets as before. However, since the new edition beckons, we will be shifting the focus of the series to utilize the new rules.

And though the rules have not even been completed yet, we can still discuss how we wish to proceed. Here, you may contribute any ideas, hopes, and concerns about many aspects of the new thread. Critique will be welcome, as we wish the city to start off with promise. Many changes will likely be made as we discuss it further, even changes to how we post the chronicles.

Everyone is invited of course, but please remember that this is just a discussion. Nothing will be final until after the release of 4th Edition, and we don't want to retcon an entire thread just because we got some of the "flavor crunch" wrong. With some effort and collaboration, our city will herald the new age of Dungeons and Dragons. Welcome, the floor is open!

PerennialRook;15474500 wrote:

~Updated State of the City~
March 30th, 2008
Read here for complete summary


Project Outline

(It's obviously incomplete but we'll work on that.)

Rules
This project will consist of two threads, one for posting ideas and suggestions, and one for the city itself; by keeping the discussion and the chronicles separate we can do both without them interfering with each other.
  • City Thread
    A city thread will be used for the focal point of the story. All activities in the city, including the actions of it’s citizenry, will be described here.
    • Each poster (that wishes to) may post a “Chronicle“, an accounting of the activities and the going's on of the town and it's members over a period of time
      • A "Chronicle" typically covers a 1-month to 3-month period but they may be shorter or longer under some circumstances.
      • All material in the chronicle must reflect the decisions of the community. Please refer to the discussion thread regarding your writing.

    • Anyone may also write journals, letters, and other “personal effects” either within or without a chronicle
      • All material must be congruent both with the current storyline (or the story thus far) and with consistent with the community
      • It may be necessary (and advisable) to seek the approval of the community to remain as close to character as possible, before posting journals or letters



  • Discussion Thread
    We will also have a separate discussion thread to submit ideas for the city, discuss their merits and their flaws, and choose how we as a community will develop our city
    • Basically, any topic, any idea, and suggestion that you wish to share or discuss may be presented here
    • Anyone may address any subject that any poster presents, whether in support or disagreement; feedback should be constructive
    • At some point submissions and proposals reach a point where a decision must be made; at this point, the idea must be proposed to the community for a vote



  • Materials
    (Not discussed)
    For this city, we will be using the new rules from the 4th Edition ruleset. Since the ruleset will be new this year, the only books will have any kind of familiarity with will be the core rulebooks: the PHB, the DMG, and MM1. Additional materials and rule variants may be presented to the community for proposal as they become available.

Theme
As per the new rules, the city will highlight various elements of the new edition.
  • Point of Light

    The new edition’s default setting is consists of pockets of “light” (civilization) amidst a mysterious, dark world; the current city is to be a reflection of that setting
    • As part of the new theme, the city will start in the remains of a redoubt of which its history is unknown
    • As part of the new point of light setting, the outlook of the city will focus on the actions of npc-classes
      • Pc-classes will be cast away, and will not take part in the city’s founding
      • In accordance with previous BACTs, the ratio of 50 citizens to 1 PC-class remains



  • Background

    • The founders of the city will all hail from the region of a large city nearby (no further than a month or two by foot)
      • city was devastated by the recent attack of a curse-warped gold dragon
        held in captivity for a few millennia or so
      • surviving members become refugees



Location
The town will be situated in a mountainous valley reminiscent of the northwestern United States and of the highlands of Scotland.


Population/Demographics
Below are the denizens of Terrapin Falls; we’re starting with a founding population of 69 persons of various races. Actual game statistics have yet to be determined.
  • Refugee breakdown including resources and skills:
    HUMANS:
    Carpenter's Family
    Koren (carpenter), plus wife and two sons (2 Adults, 2 Children; 3m, 1f).

    Description: Koren grew up in a seaside city, learning his father's trade and becoming an accomplished shipwright. When he lost both of his brothers to the sea, he closed up shop and moved inland, where he as worked as a carpenter in [Old City]. While much work was available in [Old City] after the dragon attack, Moses convinced him that the attack was not over. Since moving to [Old City], he has bowed to the demands of his customers and kept to the prevailing styles of the city, but now he feels a renewal of his youthful ambitions and dreams, and Koren thinks he can make a mark in this new settlement, artistically speaking.

    Skills: Carpentry (Koren and his sons), wicker weaving (wife).

    Resources: Carpenter's tools, a cart (for hauling lumber) and mule.
    Nan Kya's Orphans
    Nan Kya (cook and herbalist), Jessie (stablegirl), Tam (linkboy) and Rat (mudlarker and occasional pickpocket) who currently has a badly sprained leg. (1 elderly, 3 children; 2m, 2f).

    Description: Nan Kya is unofficial third granny to many of the children in the slum quarter of [Old City] and when disaster struck and scattered their families, it was Nan Kya that the lost children gravitated to. In the days that followed, most of the children were reclaimed by their parents, older siblings and street gangs, but three remain with nowhere else to go and Kya has taken them under her wing.

    Although justifiably renowned for her ability to make even the poorest food taste good, it is in fact the medical side of her herb lore that the local adults revere. Nan Kya, they say, is the person to turn to when you can't go to the temples and the official healers or alchemists - for whatever reason, be it cost, or fear, or simply having a bounty on your head.

    Skills: Cooking, healing, and herbalism.

    Resources: Spices, herbs, and a grand old black cauldron.
    Noble Swine
    Lyndon Merriweather a noble, his wife Fionna, and two daughters (2 adults, 2 children; 1m, 3f).

    Description: Lyndon Merriweather had come from a prestigious, well-to-do family. His family holdings were spread far across the city, with monetary influence in almost every walk of life. Lyn had it all. And he wasted it daily. He was a spoiled, rich brat, never having to work a day in his life for anything. Everything that he wanted he could purchase, from his clothes, to his house, to his "education", to his every whim. Typically, he could be seen at one of the local taverns, frittering away coin on boozing, gambling, and whoring. No one really liked him, not that he cared; with all of his money and power, no one could really do anything about it. This was a life that he was used to.

    He had an arranged marriage, and wasn't even old enough to speak up for himself when the deal was made. With his own inheritance and the dowry of his wife, he would have been able to drink away the next fifty years, had he lived that long. Fionna was pretty, though not as stunning as some of the women that he frequented. They had two daughters who barely knew their father.

    Lyndon became the unwilling financier of the refugees, when he tactlessly threw himself at Ariana, not realizing that she too was of noble birth. The fact that his money had bought many of the provisions was a fact that he would not soon forget, and would lord over any who questioned his slothfulness.

    Skills: None.

    Resources: (TBD)
    Wranglers
    Jackson, Uther "Bear" Daar, Mikael "Mikey" Karlsson, and Puma Felidae, cattle wranglers and ranch hands (4 adults; 3m, 1f).

    Description: The distant flames seemed to light up Jackson's eyes against the canvas of his dark skin in the shadows of the night. His first thoughts were of Ariana. He thought she had said she was coming back to the city today. For once he hoped that she was late.

    Jackson found Bear, his face buried in his meaty paws. A man who could bare knuckle coldcock a horse, reduced to a whimpering child. Bear's horse was a heavy clod, too dumb to flee.

    Puma, arguably the most cunning wrangler, had managed to wrangle a dozen head of cattle up into a draw, trusting (correctly) that the others would find her.

    The three found Mikael, the youngest, smallest of the wranglers, still sound asleep back at camp.

    That Mikey...

    Skills: Handling animals and martial training.

    Resources: Four well bred riding horses, riding gear, whips and other weaponry.
    The Farmer's Family
    Costran, Farm Family Patriarch, plus wife Dhalitha and sons Dexis and Lorten (1 elderly, 3 adult; 3m, 1f).

    Description: Costran has farmed all his life, and is rather successful about it. He oversees large farming plots outside the city, growing crops on rotating years, and even trying his hand at winemaking as a hobby. He has four three strong sons from his first (late) wife, and has remarried Dhalitha , an attractive young foreign-born dancer Costran met in the city, much to the dismay of his sons who think she might be after his land and money. In his youthful days, Costran became a devoted follower of the local religion, converted by the newly-confirmed priestess Moses. When he heard that Moses was having a bit of a crisis of faith, he decided to follow her on her pilgrimage, and make sure these "danged younguns who ain't known a hard days work" didn't get themselves in trouble. He turned his farm over to his eldest son and his wife to take care of while he went on this little trip, and took his two younger sons Dexis and Lorten along with him.

    Skills: Farming (Costran and his sons), wood-cutting (Lorten) and entertainment (Dhalitha).

    Resources: Farming implements (plow, etc.), (?) seed and a couple of good draft horses.
    Hoffman Family
    Randell, wife Jacqueline, brother Jarett, and son Payton (3 adults, 1 Child; 3m 1f)

    Description:With their parents recently deceased, Randell and Jarett maintained a small potato farm far outside of [Old City]. On [Old City's] fateful day, the Hoffman family only saw brief glimpses of the life altering event. When refugees started making their way out, they threw the farmstead open to help those in need. Sticking together and helping out where ever they can, they joined the refugees out to a future unknown.

    Skills: Potato farming (Randell), wood-cutting (Jarett) and mending (Jacqueline).

    Resources: Mule, cart, plow and potatoes.
    Ariana the Falconer
    Ariana: falconer and prodigal noble (1 adult; 1f).

    Description: Born the unexpected fourth child to the noble Aquila family allowed Ariana to be freed of most of the obligations and expectations of her older siblings. Lacking a strong hand to guide her into being a typical noble, Ariana found herself drawn to the wilderness and the freedom to be found there. Though considered uncouth and snubbed by her noble peers, it was this relaxed nature that allows her to interact easily with commoners and has allowed her to stand forward in these times of troubles.
    Full Description Found Here

    Skills: Wilderness survival, diplomacy and martial training.

    Resources: (TBD)
    Urchin Bandon
    Urchin, once homeless (1 adult; 1m)

    Description: Like any street kid, Klein "the Urchin" Bandon had had a hard life, one which nearly doubled his apparent age. Now sixteen, he looked nearly thirty, which had played to his favor. He was uncommonly strong for his age, which could be attributed mostly to his iron will and good cooking. His strength, combined with his older looks, had allowed him to work at the docks since he was only twelve. The wages barely paid for food, so what food he bought was usually in the form of raw ingredients, which Nan Kya, his adopted grandmother, was more than willing to cook up.

    The docks were closed for solstice, which left Klein to his other "profession", spending the day collecting on the generosity of others. He was at the temple pavilion when the lighthouse gave birth to the cursewarped terror, and was one of the many ushered inside the safety of the temple walls.

    In the aftermath, there were not enough common labor jobs for even those that were recently made homeless, let alone those who had spent a lifetime in poverty. When Moses approached him about going with the small group of refugees, he knew his bargaining chip. Thanks to Nan Kya's kindness, he was an ox. It was no surprise that his agreement came with the condition that Nan Kya be allowed to go as well.

    Skills: Heavy lifting, jack-of-all-trades.

    Resources: None.
    DWARVES:
    Axebreaker Clan
    Bofbin Axebreaker (cartographer and scholar) and his wife Darea (2 elderly; 1m, 1f).
    Helthal (soldier), Bofbin's son, and his wife and children (1 elderly, 2 adults, 1 child; 2m, 2f).
    Orion (barkeep), Bofbin's grandson, and his wife (2 Adults; 2m, 2f).

    Description: Bobfin has seen his children succumb to the wandering nature of his youth, and without much success. He has committed too many of his children and grandchildren to the earth long before their time, and except one son, a daughter, and his grandson, his few living decedents are scattered to the winds.

    Full Description Found Here

    Skills: Various.

    Resources: Charts and maps, a small collection of books, axes, armor, etc...
    Dirt Farmers
    Darryl One-eye (retired mercenary) with his farmer father, his wife Deurana and baby daughter (1 elderly, 2 adults, 1 child; 2m, 2f).

    Description: Darryl heard the dragon wings before his remaining eye spotted the fires springing up in its wake. He managed to get down into the cellar with his wife, his baby daughter and his doom-and-gloom father before the dragon reached them - along with a goat that was about to kid. The group huddled at the back of the cellar and waited for the beast to go away.

    When they finally emerged again, there were 4 goats to lift out of the cellar and all the grain fields were burnt flat.

    Skills: Farming and masonry.

    Resources: 1 goat, 4 kids, and the miscellaneous contents of the cellar (everything else was burnt to the ground).
    HALFLINGS:
    Garfunkle's Gang
    Garfunkel (prospector) and Ginger Rabbitsnare and Garf's tag-along "little" brother Benji (3 adults; 2m, 1f).

    Description: What happens when you cross a stream loving halfling and a stream of good luck? A halfling gold prospector! Sifting gold from the very streams he lives on, the young gold-seeking halfling, his newlywed wife, and brother make a fine addition to our group!

    Skills: Prospecting (Garfunkel), mining (Garf), and trapping (Ginger).

    Resources: Pickax, snares, and a gold pan.
    Janis and Sons
    Janis (woodswoman), and her two twin sons (1 adult, 2 children; 2m, 1f).

    Description: Janis and her late husband spent a lot of time in on the rivers and in the nearby forests, but when her husband died when her sons were infants, Janis settled down to care for them. Janis found a friend in Ariana the falconer, and taught her much of what she knows of the forests.

    Skills: Wilderness survival (including fishing and trapping).

    Resources: Fishing lures, twine, a hatchet, and skinning knife.
    The Lucky Trio
    Gillybloom (f), Taffle (m), Tansy (f child) (2 adults, 1 child; 1m, 2f).

    Description: It was originally part dare, part coming of age celebration (apart from someone's tag-along kid sister determined to prove she was just as good as the rest of them). They were all going to climb the lighthouse and wave flags from the top. Gillybloom was leading the way when the beast broke out, hurling them all in different directions. Gillybloom and two others were lucky enough to land in the softish mud of the riverbank, but they haven't seen any of their friends since. These three, Gillybloom, Taffle and Tansy, now stick together as a personal reminder not to be so foolish again.

    Before the [Old City] was attacked, Gillybloom was learning to scout ahead and around and Taffle is an apprentice sail & rope-maker. Tansy is still a generalist, used to pitching in with any task that needs help.

    Skills: Scouting (Gillybloom) and rope/sail making (Taffle)

    Resources: None.
    DRAGONBORN:
    Yorcha and Yishi
    Yorcha (mercenary warrior), and Yishi, her 11 yr old squire with dreams of working magic(1 adult, 1 child; 2f)

    Description: This was supposed to be an easy hire. Or so the recruiter had claimed. Just standing guard in a city where the threat had already left. No problems, just routine watches from battered walls.

    That's why Yorcha had brought her young cousin Yishi as her squire, hoping that the youngling would gain enough experience in the trade that she would actually settle down and work instead of craning her neck after every mage that walked past.

    If only she had known that it wasn't over...

    Skills: Martial training.

    Resources: Weapons and armor.
    Double Dragons
    Ghoros, first out of the egg, and Ghent, who followed (2 children; 2m).

    Description: A rarity indeed, twin dragonborn are almost unheard of. Born of the same shell, Ghoros is the stronger of the brothers, while Ghent is more clever. The two are in constant competition, and had been in a footrace (Ghoros leading, of course) when the cursewarped dragon shook the world. They never found their father.

    While Ghoros leans more towards the martial persuasion, leaning to the hand-and-a-half swords like their father, Ghent keeps his head in books, trying to wrap his intellect around the concepts of the arcane arts. However, without a teacher, it would be a surprise if Ghent ever mastered more than the most basic of cantrips.

    The twins soon come of age, a time of power for dragonborn when inherent abilities manifest. Only the gods know the fates of the double dragons.

    Skills: Arcane (Ghent) and martial training (Ghoros).

    Resources: A book on arcane magic and a relic katana.
    Deethra, new mother
    Deethra, inactive dragonborn mercenary, and her unhatched egg, name undecided. (1 adult, 1 child; 1f, 1 unknown)

    Description: Deethra had entered [Old City] a few weeks before solstice. After years of mercenary service, she needed to settle down for a bit. Gestation would soon be over, and she needed a place to rest, lay her egg, and raise her child. She spoke with the elders of the temple near the lighthouse, and they did what they could to accommodate her.

    Her labor began on the eve of summer solstice. Feasts and festivities were well under way already, and it seemed to be a glorious day to birth her young. The labor was long, too be sure, but no matter for her; young born on solstice was an auspicious event. She was excited, both for herself and her child. That is, until it happened.

    The egg began to crown at dusk on solstice, and as the sun set the ground began to shake. Everyone stopped what they were doing, and when the sun dropped beneath the horizon, a tremendous explosion shattered the lighthouse. All that could be seen was smoke and flame. And at that moment, the egg was laid, and Deethra collapsed from exhaustion.

    When she awoke the following morning, many of the priests were unconscious, if not dead, though her egg seemed healthy. She was still exhausted from her delivery, but was compelled to investigate. It was then she met Moses, as the visibly shaken priest insisted that Deethra lay back down; Deethra was in no condition to do anything at the moment. The priest then presented Deethra’s egg to her, and was directed to care and watch over it.

    As the days past, there was much discussion over the events of solistice; the curse-warped gold dragon laid waste to much of the city. Leaders promised that everything would be fine, and that rebuilding is already underway. But there were some who were unconvinced, and after listening to Moses, she had to agree. This place would not be a safe location to raise her child. She would join the refugees; it was time to leave.

    Skills: Martial training.

    Resources: None.
    The Smiths
    Vharas and Senzer (2 adults, 2m).

    Description: By all that is just and true in Dragonborn society, Vharas should have grown up to be an incredible warrior. However, strong blood and great apprenticeships did not overcome his pacifism. After he was formally recognized as an adult, he took the rare step of reapprenticing himself to Senzer, an older dragonborn mercenery who had retired from campaigning and worked as a weapon and armorsmith.

    Senzer, not being one for celebrations, was working with Vharas in his shop when the Golden Death struck. Half of the building collapsed, pinning Senzer's left arm to the burning forge-coals. Vharas freed himself from the rubble quickly, and struck off Senzer's arm with a recently forged axe to free his master from his torment and escape the spreading fire.

    Senzer has been a shell of his former self since the attack, and with the shop destroyed, there has been little to occupy his time. Vharas heard about this foolish band of refugees, and decided to drag Senzer on one last, and Vharas' first, campaign, in order to rekindle his spirits.

    Skills: Blacksmithing, weapon and armor smithing, and martial training.

    Resources: Smithing tools, iron ore, and a variety of weaponry and other metal implements.
    ELVES:
    Twin Sisters Pomi and Loti
    Sisters Pomi and Loti, wanderers who had most recently been florists in [Old City] (2 adults; 2f).

    Description: Pomi and Loti grew up in an elven community built around a small hillock in the woods. Born as twins they were inseparable, often getting into trouble for finding themselves in places they adults feared they were to young to visit. In truth this was as much due to egging each other on as much as their natural curiosity. As they grew their wanders took them farther and farther afield, so it was no surprise when they announced they had decided to see the world beyond their forests. Traveling mostly by foot on the few roads available for over five years they were lucky to pass by most of their potential obstacles, but eventually news of their elder sister's declining health directed their travels to [old city]. Upon arriving in [old city] they found their sister had passed on and a niece, Mililani (half-elf), in need of a family so they agreed to take a short break. Two years later they had their florists business thriving but were starting to feel the need to wander again when the dragon broke free...

    Skills: Various.

    Resources: Gardening tools and exotic seeds.
    Marlola
    Marlola and her infant, half-dragon son, Acharis (draconic, meaning emerald hope) or "Chris" (adult 1, child 1; 1f, 1m).

    Description: With the sun on her face and the smell of the forest enveloping her, Marlola realized she was free. She wondered the forest, praying to find her village, but no stream or tree ever looked familiar. She survived as best she could and gathered what food she found when the time for her son's birth approached.

    When the refugees found her by following the cries of her child, they found her half starved and near death. The baby boy was well nurtured and healthy, for Marlola gave the boy all she could. They took her in and cared for her. The secret of the boy's father remains hidden away in the her nightmares, while she remains fearful of what others may think of him if they knew the truth.
    Full Description Found Here

    Skills: None.

    Resources: None.
    HALF-ELVES:
    Mililani
    Mililani the young niece of Pomi and Loti, and barwench from the Dragon's Berth (1 adult; 1f).

    Description: Mililani is a young half-elf (16 years old) living with aunts Pomi and Loti while working at the bar her mother worked in, the Dragon's Berth. Though her father is not publicly known Mililani has lived a life of love and joy, surrounded by the friendly patrons of the bar. Forced to live alone when her mother died three years ago, she was eventually reunited with her elven heritage when her aunts arrived a year later. Though independent and somewhat brash, her ready smile and lively wit has allowed Mililani to avoid most of the troubles that could be expected of a young girl in a large city.
    Full Description Found Here

    Skills: Diplomacy.

    Resources: None.
    Jeffers
    Jeffers, retired guard, co-owner of the Dragon's Berth (1 adult; 1m).

    Description: During his last patrol as city guard, a group of burglars had shattered his right leg, and he had been forced to retire from service. Taking what savings he had, Jeffers found common cause at the Dragon’s Berth. Owned by Bobfin’s grandson, Boffin (?), the bar had become seedy and run down, typically losing money to drinks unpaid. Now as co-owner and cook/part-time bouncer of the Dragon's Berth, he has helped turn it into a well-established tavern and inn that typically caters to both city-folk and wayward travelers. On occasion, his right leg would courses with pain, and it always foretelling of a bad day to come. He has a gruff, somewhat reserved demeanor, but is always honest and helpful, and loves to recount his days as a guard.

    Skills: Martial training.

    Resources: His old weapon (the armor belonged to the city).
    ELADRIN:
    Aust's Entourage
    Aust Amakiir (lorekeeper), his "nephew" Tier (escort), and Sylvia (2 adult, 1 venerable; 2m, 1f).

    Description: Aust Amakiir lives only half in the world. As his body passes into the ether his soul seems to shine through it like a light. He is not long for the world, which may explain why he seemed as serene as ever while the dragon streaked like a bright golden meteor above the darkened streets of the city.

    Amakiir [meaning: beautiful silence of dusk] fancies himself a loremaster, which offers the other explanation as to why he was so calm. He knew. Though it is only speculation, it would explain his timely arrival in the city, the countless hours in the library, and how some books just happened to be in his possession rather than at the library when it burned to the ground.

    He arrived in town with two young eladrin, Tier, who he introduced as a nephew, and Sylvia his nephew's bride. Tier has a quick wit, and a quick blade, and never strays far from the company of his uncle. Tier seems to be more of guard and escort than young nephew, though Sylvia seems to genuinely be espoused to Tier.

    Skills: Various.

    Resources: Carriage with two good horses, a collection of books saved from the [Old City] library along with many of his own scripts and a light riding horse with gear.
    Neya Family
    Ovien Neya a noble eladrin with a swashbuckler style, his wife [b]Sooraya[b] (silversmith) and Layla, their tomboyish daughter who is soon to be apprenticed (2 adult, 1 child; 1m, 2f).

    Description: Ovien desperately wants to re-establish his family's name. However, rather then acting as an arrogante noble he has decided to hide his background and try to start anew. He knows that others may distrust his noble heritage but he hopes to directly help the people rather then become some overbearing tyrant.

    Ovien is tall, with blond hair and fair skin. Purple eyes. Dresses in subdued swashbuckler-esque dress. He has some skill at dueling and training horses but his primary skill lies in diplomacy.

    Sooraya is a good hand at silversmithing since she originally came from a poor noble line that had to work hard for a living. She is a moderately attractive woman who emphasizes the strange fey-like qualities of the Eladrin. She walks with a strange grace. Her hair is long and shimmers like silver. Her eyes are as bright as emeralds. She dresses in blue and gold silk gowns still wearing the colors of the Neya family.

    Layla is of an eladrin age equivalent to a fourteen year old human. Before the disaster in [Old City], she had been learning various etiquettes involved with being a noble. Now, Sooraya has been trying to keep up those lessons while emphasizing the need to learn a good trade. Sooraya is looking to apprentice her daughter so that she can learn to be her own person. The decision on what trade to learn is up to Layla.

    Layla is lithe, quick eladrin with curly blonde hair. She has her father's purple eyes. Layla is the only member of the family to run around in what her parents call 'undignified' dress. She wears leather pants, linen shirts and likes to rough-house with the local children. Her friendly personality has made her several friends.

    Full Description Found Here

    Skills: Diplomacy (all) and silversmithing (Sooraya).

    Resources: A treasure chest with the family fortune, a few well bred horses, to include Ovien's prizewinning stud and mare.
    The Orphaned Child
    Silaqui (1 child, 1f)

    Description: Silaqui had moved to [Old City] with her parents several years ago, while she was still very young. In the aftermath of the first attack, she found herself alone; both parents were slain, and she had no family to care for her. Now a youth, and with noone else to turn to, she joins Nan Kya with the refugees.

    Skills: None.

    Resources: None.
    TIEFLING:
    Moses
    Moses, the tiefling priestess (1 adult; 1f).

    Skills: Diplomacy, healing, divine abilities and religious knowledge.

    Resources: None (due to an aesthetic lifestyle).


  • Notable Figures

    • Ariana the Falconer
    • Jeffers, Owner of the Dragon‘s Berth
    • Bofbin, dwarven cartographer and historian




Other Stuff
  • Economics
    (nothing mentioned or discussed)
    • Exports
    • Imports
    • Businesses

  • Names

    • Thorast Kax (the old city)
    • Terrapin Falls (the new city)



Maps and Other Images




For the purposes of the new city, I'd like to open the discussion with its theme. The new rules hint that the world is a dark, mysterious place with points of light where civilization exists. So, I think we should incorporate that theme into the new city.

As a point of light, I don't think the city should benefit from a rapid influx of new residents (the previous threads felt a little inorganic to me.) The population should grow very slowly as a rule, only adding a single person here and there. I also don't think that an adventuring class (PC class) would be necessary for starting a town. Any character can fill the role of a leader, and we can always introduce PC classes later. However, it also seems (to me) somewhat inorganic to have some random NPC find some land and have people gravitate towards it.

So I'm thinking that perhaps the city and its residents have already been there for a while, and for some reason they find that they must start anew, such as a cataclysmic event or invasion. Now they must either replant or find someplace new to settle down. Personally I like the idea of some event that levels the city leaving the few survivors left to dig through the ashes hoping to find a way to rebuild over the next few chronicles. Then, in a later chronicle, this same event has caused an sudden, mass of refugees to migrate to the new "point of light" for protection; led by some savior PC class, they all choose to stay to help guard (or oppress) the town.
It seems that we are on the same wavelength of sorts. My first idea even before I read the thread was that either the town was severely crippled by a hostile force which has caused the town to need to rebuild or the town was actually destroyed and the few survivors started a new point of light elsewhere.

For some reason, the idea that is stuck in my mind is that the survivors (if the town was destroyed) would stumble upon a small cave which they use/used for shelter, and the town starts to be built around the cave. The one break I would give to the survivors would be that there's an underground water source inside the cave. In a 'points of light' style campaign, most settlements are (probably) going to be founded near water of some sort. The small cave also gives them some semblence of protection and shelter until something more can be constructed. Even once the town grows, I could see the cave still being the center of the town; a small keep or town hall being built on, in, and around the cave.
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I used this principle on a campaign world of mine. Part of the kingdom namely the western frontier was overrun by a horde of goblins, orcs, savage humans ect. Survivors fled to the forest (Diamond forest in my world) with their back to the mountains and started a Guerrilla army striking them hard using the forest as shelter. In the forest was a massive hill with some caves and they made their base there. Using the forest critters/fey the leader (ranger/horseman) managed to fight the horde to a standstill until the king came to the rescue with fresh tropes at which time they could drive it back. The place where the base was is now used as a town and a keep/castle was build on the hill. coincidently a river was near the base flowing through the forests.

Now I can see this wasn't on topic. But a forest and a river is an excellent way to start trade and supply growth to the city. A mountain range was near supplying the much needed ore and after the horde was driven off farmland could be used again. Outside the forests but at least the new town is a "save" place.
Another option for a begining ofa city is a group fleeing another city. Not necessarily due to it's destruction, but because some force (political, economic, monsterous, etc) is pushing them out.
I agree tho that it would make more sense for most of the people to be there befor the thread starts telling the story, and only small groups or individuals should be joining in the "story"
I have to admit I'm not planning on switching over to 4.0 immediatly, so I likely won't be deeply involved in crunch aspects. But writing the story is my favorite part anyway.
My main concern is that any new thread be as open to everyone as it can. The community effort, must be huge for these things to function. I think the old threads were actually damaged by being in a lesser viewed forum (campaign workshop.)
How about a new city that is built on the ruins of a larger, ancient city? The "points of light" are neighborhoods that have been made safe again, typically by residents constructing make-shift walls from the rubble, neighborhood militias, and the occasional town guard.

Some of the buildings are newer, but most of the ones standing are older, origenal buildings built by the lost civilization using a level of magic/technology that is currently lost.
I think survivors in question could be united around some religious (or quasi-religious) institution. That could give them some common cause to fight for. I don't mean them to be religiuos community, lots people could be just paying lip service to it or even refuse it altogether, but it is a uniting force of the community (could be a corrupt force for a darker twist). It gives lots of prophecy-kind hooks for adventures which could be rather simple or twisted and complicated.
I agree that most communities develop around some pole.

Common poles;

  • resource (fish, lumber, mine, arable land)
  • defense (castle, hill, swamp, pass)
  • trade (road, waterway, horse exchange, port)
  • choke point (bridge, causway)


Fantasy can provide other poles
  • Magical resource (ley line nexus or font)
  • Prophecy (people told this desert is a futer land of milk and honey)
  • Divine Signifcance (place where a God fought or touched the ground)


A community that had taken to caves and was living near some ancient ruins is an interesting idea. There would though need to be some sort of 'pole' for the refugee community to keep in the area or over a few years the majority would have moved to another community.

Caves would also make and interesting tie in with possibly a Dwarven portion of the community. The Dwarven portion might enjoy the sense of the caves while other races might prefer to move out and work farms or other resources outside of the caves. This could later lead to a future dilema of the town being torn from those that want to keep to the caves and those that want to relocate the town to the nearby ruins.
To me, for a PoL community, Defense seems like the primary pole for the development of a community, providing that the means for survival is present. As I see it, there would be a strong tie between the strength of the community's defense, the population of the community, and the prominence of the community in the lives of the PCs. The last consideration, I believe, is the most important, as it dictates the scale of the creation.

I like the idea of the ruins and cave refugees, but unless the cave network is fairly extensive, the defense offered by the caves would be outgrown quickly, escecially if we're looking to create a city, as opposed to a village.

To support a city based around the cave refugee concept, I couls see any of the following.
- large cavern housing the rebuilt city with well fortified entrances, perhaps with an underground river.
- An area with lots of caves or a place where caves could be constructed, like a limestone cliffside

That having been said, my first mental image of the cave-refugee involved a desert city built around an oasis that collapsed into a giant sinkhole, and the sirvivors have rebuilt around the slopes of the hole using debris from the old city and also utilizing the caves in the limestone as well as carving our more. The water of the oasis resettled at the bottom of the hole, and the citizens have constructed a wall around the edge of the sinkhole. .....I think I'll use that... I'll call it 'Crucible'...
What about a group of refugees trying to patch up a ruined fort enough that it will actually protect them? There could be caves underneath it and wild lands all around.
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I guess the new city needs to be big enough and eclectic enough to accomodate the new PC races and classes. So too, the new gods will need places of worship or at least holymen/women wanting to gain converts for their patron deities. Arcane power must be adressed somehow either through a school or mentors. There must be some logical backdrop for the PC classes to exist in the city otherwise its not going to be effective for D & D. If we assume that the 8 classes are going to be:Fighter, Paladin, Cleric, Warlord, Warlock, Rogue, Ranger,and Warlock, and the races will be Dwarven, Elven, Ealdrin, Halfling, Human, DragonBorn, and Tielfling there has to be some idea for them to exist in the same place at the same time to embrace all of core.

This is a large job! Ithink the societal core also needs to be discussed. Since alignment is in flux, I am not sure about how to go about it other to relate it back to what I know which is.. ahem...alignment. Lawful Neutral always seems to be a good choice. Its allows for evil based characters while not giving them a free ride. It allows rogues guilds to exist, another thing from previous editions, which we might want.

I think location near a major water source is a very good idea- both Waterdeep and Grayhawk two preemminent cities in D & D had this.

my 2 coppers,

Ian
What about a group of refugees trying to patch up a ruined fort enough that it will actually protect them? There could be caves underneath it and wild lands all around.

I like the fort idea. Maybe we could combine it with the cave idea?


When I brought up the idea of the cave, I was talking about a very very small cave - a cave roughly the size of a large house. Historically a lot of forts were built in places that were easy to defend, so perhaps we could combine the two ideas.

One of the ideas behind the points of life fluff is that most of the major kingdoms have crumbled, so the broken down fort could be a forgotten relic from the past. The fort was built on/around the mouth of the small cave; the reason for choosing the cave was twofold: 1) It saved a lot of work and effort to building the fort because the cave served as a make-shift keep, and 2) There was a small freshwater spring inside the cave which allowed the past denizens of the fort to better withstand sieges because they had a water source.


What remains of the fort could be crumbled walls overgrown with moss, mold, and other vegetation. It's not nearly the site that it used to be, but it's still far better than being out in the open in the harsh wilderness of the dark; cruel world.






We seem to have plenty of ideas about how the new point of light will be started. What are some ideas for why/how the founders became refugees?
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Historically most people become refugees because of two major reasons:
Change in power, which forces out people of differing religous or political views
Change in viability of resources (mojor export runs out, food supply is damaged, etc)

I think the old fort is a good idea, the first few months, or even years might involve clearing the vegitation, and rubble that have filled the place since it was abandoned, and it gives monsters a good place to hide.
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Another option for a begining ofa city is a group fleeing another city. Not necessarily due to it's destruction, but because some force (political, economic, monsterous, etc) is pushing them out.
I agree tho that it would make more sense for most of the people to be there befor the thread starts telling the story, and only small groups or individuals should be joining in the "story"
I have to admit I'm not planning on switching over to 4.0 immediatly, so I likely won't be deeply involved in crunch aspects. But writing the story is my favorite part anyway.
My main concern is that any new thread be as open to everyone as it can. The community effort, must be huge for these things to function. I think the old threads were actually damaged by being in a lesser viewed forum (campaign workshop.)


First of all, I am attempting to get this thread stickied so that more members can view it and contribute to it (instead of being buried a couple pages down, accessible to only a few.)

Secondly, that is also an intriguing idea: perhaps we could devote the first few chronicles to describing the exodus into a new land. We should, of course, include any setbacks (for there should be some in a "dark, mysterious world") that the refugees encounter along the way. We could then include that into the other idea, having them settle somewhere using one of Smerg's "poles" (magical resource is interesting.) So now it occurs to me where are the refugees coming from? Where will they end up? Who's leading them (at this point it could be anyone)? And, what caused their journey?

I am, however, still attached to the idea that a major city is leveled, leaving only a handful of survivors to scour through the ruins in hope of piecing together a new future. That way, they have all the resources they'll need to build, but still be left stranded from civilization.


Idea:
Similar to the Diamond-Triangle saga, written in the Forgotten Realms setting, we could combine the two ideas in a unique way. Begin the city with separate chronicles, one for the survivors and one for the refugees. The survivors are forced to rebuild somehow, with limited means and resources. They have no structure, no leader, and must eke out a living with whatever they can find.

The refugees on the other hand, have been forced to migrate, coincidentally, to the new "settlement" bringing a healthy supply of resources and people. They are being led by a paladin or a warlord, who has rescued/liberated them from whatever drove them in the first place. (Or another idea, a noble paladin with a not-so-noble warlord disciple.)

Now at some point, we converge the story lines. The paladin (or warlord, or something) and the refugees stumble upon the ruined city and begin to befriend the inhabitants. They then decide to join forces, both in rebuilding and in defense. The paladin (warlord, whatever) is appointed high lord protectorate of the city and we continue from there. Perhaps their respective reasons for destruction/migration could be even related; again magical resource comes to mind.
Awesome!

Okay, I love all the ideas being presented.

My first thought is to have a refugees from a city that was under the protection of a silver dragon. The idea being that the silver dragon was slain by a more powerful chromatic dragon (red?) for it's own sadistic pleasure, burning and destroying everything it its wake.

The survivors are now completely unprotected because they had relied to heavily on the strength of the original dragon. They hold council (which could be roleplayed out on this board over the next few weeks) and (most likely) decide to leave and set out for a dwarven redoubt that was supposed to have existed in the foothills of a close mountain range.

The survivors comb the city for anything worth taking, supplies to build shelter, tools to farm, etc. Once that is done, they leave the charred remains of their city and make for the foothills.

This idea combines all of the presented ideas as best I could manage.

TBACT2 compilation

The TBACT2 has some great example chronicles even though it didn't last a chronicled year. I have compiled the chronicles here for reference: The cast. January, Febuary, March, April (Continued), May, June
July, soldier's letter home, August , September, October, November, December (Part II, Part III).
Idea:
Similar to the Diamond-Triangle saga, written in the Forgotten Realms setting, we could combine the two ideas in a unique way. Begin the city with separate chronicles, one for the survivors and one for the refugees. The survivors are forced to rebuild somehow, with limited means and resources. They have no structure, no leader, and must eke out a living with whatever they can find.

The refugees on the other hand, have been forced to migrate, coincidentally, to the new "settlement" bringing a healthy supply of resources and people. They are being led by a paladin or a warlord, who has rescued/liberated them from whatever drove them in the first place. (Or another idea, a noble paladin with a not-so-noble warlord disciple.)

Now at some point, we converge the story lines. The paladin (or warlord, or something) and the refugees stumble upon the ruined city and begin to befriend the inhabitants. They then decide to join forces, both in rebuilding and in defense. The paladin (warlord, whatever) is appointed high lord protectorate of the city and we continue from there. Perhaps their respective reasons for destruction/migration could be even related; again magical resource comes to mind.

This is a very cool idea. Perhaps they both are subject to the same menace (red dragon?). The two groups could be the survivors who retreat to the abandoned dwarven redoubt and the group of refugees might be others from the wake of the red dragon's wrath who have banded together follow a paladin sworn to hunt the dragon down and kill it. The paladin would most likely have picked up many non-combatants who would be happy to stay at the dwarven redoubt.

The paladin could continue his crusade, or, better yet, with the right story the paladin could end it there, slaying the dragon and adopting the title as Protector of the Peoples of the Dragonbane Redoubt.
An interesting article about caves, for anyone that is interested. I like the idea of an expansive natural cavern, the front of which was converted into a redoubt by ancient and forgotten dwarves. The abandoned site could have plenty of water, room for adventure, etc.
I like all those ideas. Sounds great. I hope I am allowed to add a suggestion, though.

Let's not yet decide where or why the city is our point of light, send several groups of homeless on their very own exodi, passing some places which could gain importance in the future of the settlement. In the end only the strongest will survive and meet in the middle where they establish the new city.
Here all of the above mentioned circumstances could be used, and all of us wil have gotten a feeling for the cities various inhabitants.
One of my favourite 'rules' from the Dragon Dungeon Craft articles was that when you design something, then you should design one matching secret to go with the original idea.

For example;

If you took the idea of the Paladin or Warlord that led the refugees to the Dwarven Redoubt. A good secret might be that there was someone who suggested the location to the Paladin or Warlord in the first place. This then poses an interesting question as to why that person might have directed the refugees to this particular spot.

Then there is the former Dwarven Redoubt. There is an obvious secret contained in why the Dwarves abandoned the location. Were the minerals that the Dwarves considered valuable panned/mined out? Did something kick the Dwarves out of the Redoubt? Did the Dwarves discover something in the caves below the Redoubt that made them leave?

There can also be questions/secrets of what the Dwaves might have left behind in the deeper caves were someone willing to go beyond the 'safer' areas that the refugees prefer to live.

If there is a magical source connected to the caves then this could attract a wide range of classes to the site. Think of a boom town developing around a suddenly discovered gold mine but replace the gold with magic. This could though lead to further questions and secrets of why is there this magical source here and now? Did the dwarves know of the magic and did it exist when they built the Redoubt? If the magical source has developed since the time of Dwarves then what is the source?

Anyways, I hope that gets some thoughts flowing.
I have read through this article and a few points came to mind for me. A lot of people seem to like the refugees fleeing disaster series, and withdrawal to caves or a city/redoubt. I like both these ideas so I will propose my addition.

-------------------------------

The refugees fled their city, whatever the reason they were able to take some supplies and traveled along the coast. After several weeks of travel they came upon an ancient stronghold. In fact, the stronghold is an old dwarven lighthouse, and like all things dwarven they built it grand and defensible.

The lighthouse was built upon an earthberg (a large hill/small mountain that naturally floats magically as in the picture in Wizard's Presents Worlds and Monsters on pg. 87 and mentioned as a known phenomenon in The World section on pg. 18) that floats over the ocean. The dwarves built the lighthouse centuries ago, but due to some unforeseen circumstances the berg became unstable and pieces began falling into the sea below and/or started to orbit around the main berg. Some time after the dwarves abandoned the citadel the stone finally stabilized at about half its previous size (this leaves lots of collapsed tunnels and underground chambers opening into free air, lots of fun).

Obviously we will need to have a reason that the citadel has not been re-occupied even though it is stabilized since ,as I mention below, the light still functions so it will be known about by sailors. Perhaps it is too far from any other town or city to have been filled before this time. Or maybe it is home to a tribe of goblinoids who will need to be routed out to make room for the townspeople (providing a bit of drama as the goblins are not necessary evil, and is it just to kick them out for the greater [?] good of the fleeing citzens).

The lighthouse itself is still functional (a true point of light) being an ancient crystal infused with magical energy. Though it has dimmed with time, the townsfolk can work on a way to re-energize the shining light that is their new home. The citadel itself is large enough for most of the people to live in (all of them for a short time for defense), but most will want to live on the mainland across a small isthmus that the dwarves originally severed and then bridged over with a stone drawbridge. Even with the bridge down the earthberg is stable and other than some swaying will not move to much from its base position.

As part of the magic of the earthberg there should be a natural spring in the center of the citadel perhaps leading to a picturesque waterfall from one part of the berg. The land across the isthmus may be hilly or flat, but should have enough flat areas the farmers can begin building new farmsteads. Other dwarven ruins may dot the countryside, and after being filled for a while it is sure that dwarven interest will return to these interlopers in what the dwarves once though lost.
You could have the start as followsrefugees don't tend to build towns - they go to ones that exist already)

Lords used to have lots of manors all over the place. When towns turned into major money spinners Lords decided they wanted their own market towns. They would build a market town in a good place for such things - near a river that flows to the sea and as inland as possible in the middle of a trade route. They would create a road and a bridge so people would go that way and aslo for bridge tolls, road tolls, and gate tolls (if they built a wall that limited access) and for trade with healthy taxes, rents, etc.

The Lord would need people to build and populate their town (initially) so they would just take their peasants from as many manors as the felt like without asking their permission (possibly giving them Freeman status) and relocate them in the town.

Allot of these manors were thought to be the victims of 100% mortality from the black death - but it turned out that Lords had a habit of moving little vills around at will even before towns.
Reading the new posts, I've a few new ideas.

Water - The biggest reason to live here is safe, fresh, drinkable water brought in from an ancient aquaduct built underground, much like ones the ancient Persians built for their empires. The water is constantly flowing from this aquaduct to various underground reservors and eventually feeding a sewer/cave system.

Sewers - The sewers were once a functional system in ancient years past. However, the long length of time since the devistation has wrecked much of the sewers, and the results of flowing water going in places it wasn't origenally designed to go. Between erosion and various cave-ins, the sewers now connects to a previous cave system of unknown size.

Caves - The previously unknown cave system now serves as a drain for the sewers. Unfortunatly, as people move back in to the city the denizens of this cave system are not to happy with the new smell. Potential for Conflict #1

Now, as for security:
Fortification: The neighborhoods that are being built back up are succeeding not only because of water, but because their locations can be easily secured. Old stonework buildings are fortified, new walls and gates are built, and a watch is posted to keep out the roaming evil creatures. Potential Conflict #2

Conflicts:
Conflict #1 - Kuo-toa, drow, or some other intellegent underground dwelling race is not too happy that their little underground community now smells like the feces of other races. This causes them to react violently to the other races, commited to raids and such to try to discourage the new inhabitants from being there. Heros are needed to eliminate the threat to the villagers, or find some way to repair the sewer to the point it isn't stinking up someone else's home.

Conflict #2 - Various bands of theives, monsters, etc roam in unprotected, unsecured neighborhoods. The supply of water allows for plant growth to go unchecked in many locations, creating a foundation of an ecosystem. Escort missions with security forces are common between neighborhoods.
Locations of Intrest:

Central Park: a massive park that was once well groomed in ancient times. Now it is overgrown, filled with wildlife. The trees here have grown so tall that Elves have moved into the treetops. They protect this little forest from poachers, wary of outsiders yet have a need to trade with nearby secured neighborhoods for their own survival.

The Old Palace: Once the home of the ruling noble, the ruins of the old palace are now inhabited by about a hundred or so people, making it the largest of the neighborhoods currently occupied. The palace grounds now sport fields where there once were hedge mazes, gardens, and a massive front lawn. They produce much of the agriculture for the rest of the city, and charge other inhabitants quite a bit for their food.

The Waterworks: Dwarven Engineers are drawn to the Waterworks, eager to learn how the ancient engineers built this marvel that keeps the city supplied with fresh water and flushes the sewage away. Many of these are craftsmen that are here for the challenge presented to them to repair the old system.

The Foundry: Ancient smithing machinery lies in an ancient foundry complex. More dwarven engineers and craftsmen have taken home here, and over time have figured out how to get some of the old forges working again. Piles of raw ore and scrap metal still lie untapped from when the city met it's demise. They are responsible for much of the metalwork in the ruined city.

The Cathedral of Winds: Named so for the howls brought by the winds rushing through this ruined structure. Once a massive center of the city's religious activity, now it is home to a community of survivors. Many of the people in this community have become religious zelots, intolerant of "outsiders" but depented on trade and offerings in order to survive.

Thoughts?
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Reading the new posts, I've a few new ideas.

Water - The biggest reason to live here is safe, fresh, drinkable water brought in from an ancient aquaduct built underground, much like ones the ancient Persians built for their empires. The water is constantly flowing from this aquaduct to various underground reservors and eventually feeding a sewer/cave system.

Sewers - The sewers were once a functional system in ancient years past. However, the long length of time since the devistation has wrecked much of the sewers, and the results of flowing water going in places it wasn't origenally designed to go. Between erosion and various cave-ins, the sewers now connects to a previous cave system of unknown size.

Caves - The previously unknown cave system now serves as a drain for the sewers. Unfortunatly, as people move back in to the city the denizens of this cave system are not to happy with the new smell. Potential for Conflict #1

Now, as for security:
Fortification: The neighborhoods that are being built back up are succeeding not only because of water, but because their locations can be easily secured. Old stonework buildings are fortified, new walls and gates are built, and a watch is posted to keep out the roaming evil creatures. Potential Conflict #2

Conflicts:
Conflict #1 - Kuo-toa, drow, or some other intellegent underground dwelling race is not too happy that their little underground community now smells like the feces of other races. This causes them to react violently to the other races, commited to raids and such to try to discourage the new inhabitants from being there. Heros are needed to eliminate the threat to the villagers, or find some way to repair the sewer to the point it isn't stinking up someone else's home.

Conflict #2 - Various bands of theives, monsters, etc roam in unprotected, unsecured neighborhoods. The supply of water allows for plant growth to go unchecked in many locations, creating a foundation of an ecosystem. Escort missions with security forces are common between neighborhoods.

Show
Locations of Intrest:

Central Park: a massive park that was once well groomed in ancient times. Now it is overgrown, filled with wildlife. The trees here have grown so tall that Elves have moved into the treetops. They protect this little forest from poachers, wary of outsiders yet have a need to trade with nearby secured neighborhoods for their own survival.

The Old Palace: Once the home of the ruling noble, the ruins of the old palace are now inhabited by about a hundred or so people, making it the largest of the neighborhoods currently occupied. The palace grounds now sport fields where there once were hedge mazes, gardens, and a massive front lawn. They produce much of the agriculture for the rest of the city, and charge other inhabitants quite a bit for their food.

The Waterworks: Dwarven Engineers are drawn to the Waterworks, eager to learn how the ancient engineers built this marvel that keeps the city supplied with fresh water and flushes the sewage away. Many of these are craftsmen that are here for the challenge presented to them to repair the old system.

The Foundry: Ancient smithing machinery lies in an ancient foundry complex. More dwarven engineers and craftsmen have taken home here, and over time have figured out how to get some of the old forges working again. Piles of raw ore and scrap metal still lie untapped from when the city met it's demise. They are responsible for much of the metalwork in the ruined city.

The Cathedral of Winds: Named so for the howls brought by the winds rushing through this ruined structure. Once a massive center of the city's religious activity, now it is home to a community of survivors. Many of the people in this community have become religious zelots, intolerant of "outsiders" but depented on trade and offerings in order to survive.

Thoughts?

These are interesting ideas for later plots and story arcs. However, right now we should focus on the beginnings of the city. In previous threads, the cities started at the bare basics, a building, maybe two, and only a handful of folks to build the them. Here, we need to be doing the same thing. I'm not diminishing or negating your ideas, but lets save them for later, after we have the basics down.

As for basics, Syl is probably right, the why is not terribly important right now. With any story, the why is discovered as the plot is revealed. However, the where of the story would set the stage, shaping the theme and how we present it. Therefore, perhaps it could be wise to decide where we are putting our Point of Light while we are discussing its theme; not necessarily its surroundings, just the specific point where "the light may shine". A dwarven redoubt, backed by a series of caves, ties the rest of the ideas together. This means that the old city should be close to a mountain or a mountain range where the redoubt is located. Seems like a viable location, and it would serve as a good starting point for our story. I'm not so sure about the dragon thing (less unique), but we could discuss that later.
For refugees to settle somewhere there has to be some basic survival stuff namely three things, water, food and shelter. Those things need to be present in sufficient quantities so the town can grow. There even has to be a steady foodsource and watersuply to begin growing otherwise towns will wither and die.

Now if you are you going with the cave idea/dwarven rebout I presume the dwarfs might have left some agricultural fields behind or wild livestock. The refugees could also taken with them some off these items. if there are some fields that can be cultivated then the city can grow. A stream of some sort or deep ancient wells should be near too. maybe that is what attracted the refugees the first place. And after the place has gathered some people, there has to be something to build with, either rocks or lumber (this can be available by trade too). The place must be accessible so that others can move in too. either by road or waterway. (ancient canals anyone?)

Now these basics could have some quirks and adventure ideas. Futher there could be more things around but that's of later concern.
Using the redoubt (dwarven optional to me) backed by caves as the starting point, the big issue that comes to mind is what happened to the former inhabitants? If the redoubt was abandoned, , why was it not put to use before the evacuation of the Old City?

Some Ideas:
- Perhaps the inhabitants of the city thought it to be haunted by the ghosts of it's old residents, moost likely with good cause
-The redoubt may be in such a state of disrepair that occupying it was not viable, and the refugees have been rebuilding the defenses out of necessity and haste (leading to a very patchwork look to the redoubt itself)
-The redoubt was abandoned and left that way due to a peace treaty between the dwarves and the Old City (or it's ruling region). The redoubt was too close to the Old City for tensions to die down if the dwarves kept it, and the proximity of the redoubt coupled with dwarven pride kept them from giving it to the Old City
- The redoubt may have not been abandoned, and the refugees have had to come to terms with the soldiers of the garrison.

Personally I would toss the first option, and either go with a mix of 2 and 3, or option 4. The abandoned by treaty option gives options for conflict, as the redoubts former masters wouldn't be comfortable with the residents of the Old City moving in permanently, justified or not. Similarly, the garrisoned redoubt provides conflict as well, as the refugees begin to settle inside and outside the fortress, and the garrison's leadership comes into conflict with the former Old City leadreship.
I agree with Khopesh, I'm not too keen on the dwarven idea, mostly I have a hard time imaging dwarves leaving a viable structure.
What about this:
The refugees come on a abandoned prison, there is an outside fortlike structure (now mostly ruined,) an attached cave system (formerly the cells,) and a river/spring/other water source.
The prison was abandoned when most of the prisoners escaped into the cave system thru a tunnel they created.
resources:shelter, fortification, water, possible food (farms or whatever the prison used to feed itself.)
possible conflicts:whatever lives in the caves, maybe monsters or surviving prisoners
These are interesting ideas for later plots and story arcs. However, right now we should focus on the beginnings of the city. In previous threads, the cities started at the bare basics, a building, maybe two, and only a handful of folks to build the them. Here, we need to be doing the same thing. I'm not diminishing or negating your ideas, but lets save them for later, after we have the basics down.

Meh, mearly brainstorming. It's always a good idea to know what direction we're going in. Start writing a book without any thought of what the ending is going to be leads to bad writing.

Location:
Oasis in the Desert - Possibly too hostile of an enviroment surrounding the city for immigrents to get there, but having water makes it a good reason for people to want to be there.

Earthberg - I haven't seen the latest WotC book, so I'm assuming that this is a chunk of land foating on water. Again, putting the city on this makes it very hard to access for refugees/immigrants. Not that it can't be done, but being difficult to get to could be an issue for PCs as well as other immigrants

Mountanous - Pro: Good place for security. Cons: potencially out of the way. Perhaps that is the reason why it was abandoned?

Coastal - Pro: access to seafood, once a port of trade. Con: Subjected to hazerdous weather? Perhaps the origenal city was destoryed by a tsunami or a hurricane?

Coastal Mountainous - Sandwiched between a mountain or oversized bluff and the sea. I like this one the best. Fresh water is gained through an underground aquaduct that goes through a mountain. Fresh fish is provided from the sea, while wildlife now lives in overgrown abandoned parks and grain is grown on what use to be the front lawn of a palace.
I really think that we are getting into the story part of the city before we establish the basics of the city as related to the D & D game. A basic city in 4E should answer some questions and provide a believable backdrop, IMHO. How can all the PC's core classes operate there? Will DragonBorn and Tieflings be viewed with suspecion? One has a mytic hertitage and the other extraplaner origins. How will this relate? If we take the refugee idea for a moment, would these 2 classes be welcomed? How can we know that without knowing some of the basic axis on which the city operates?

Loking back at the DMG2-IMHO establish geography, natural resources (can the city provide for the needs of civilization), type of government, moral and ethical compass, and since its D & D magical heitage, practices, & beliefs. Then decide its size - the number of buildings...and then build its story...

A basic question is will the city handle all core races and classes? If we are making it new for 4E I think it should, but that's only my opinion-what do you all say?

Ian
For the purposes of the new city, I'd like to open the discussion with its theme. The new rules hint that the world is a dark, mysterious place with points of light where civilization exists. So, I think we should incorporate that theme into the new city.

As a point of light, I don't think the city should benefit from a rapid influx of new residents (the previous threads felt a little inorganic to me.) The population should grow very slowly as a rule, only adding a single person here and there. I also don't think that an adventuring class (PC class) would be necessary for starting a town. Any character can fill the role of a leader, and we can always introduce PC classes later. However, it also seems (to me) somewhat inorganic to have some random NPC find some land and have people gravitate towards it.

So I'm thinking that perhaps the city and its residents have already been there for a while, and for some reason they find that they must start anew, such as a cataclysmic event or invasion. Now they must either replant or find someplace new to settle down. Personally I like the idea of some event that levels the city leaving the few survivors left to dig through the ashes hoping to find a way to rebuild over the next few chronicles. Then, in a later chronicle, this same event has caused an sudden, mass of refugees to migrate to the new "point of light" for protection; led by some savior PC class, they all choose to stay to help guard (or oppress) the town.

I would love to see my real estate in an actual city, hence my earlier fondness of my own piece of swamp, P.s. i like the rebuilding and moving idea

this is my previous post :
Hey about good and evil, my dream campaign is to take my 7 and 9 year old kids someday on a campaign to get them to kill me off all the while explaining myself as just fanatical about my hate for evil. I always have a way of covering that i'm evil and they must destroy me. here is one of my plot twists, I own a property with a mansion sized house with a swamp behind it that is populated with pirahna and there is a circle of tree stumps out a distance with one tree in the center well every time we kill something I go to the bar get drunk and try to throw the heads of orc we slayed together into the circle of stumps a roll of a 20 mean I have bragging rites that night. - Azuelle what do you think of this?
I agree with Khopesh, I'm not too keen on the dwarven idea, mostly I have a hard time imaging dwarves leaving a viable structure.
What about this:
The refugees come on a abandoned prison, there is an outside fortlike structure (now mostly ruined,) an attached cave system (formerly the cells,) and a river/spring/other water source.
The prison was abandoned when most of the prisoners escaped into the cave system thru a tunnel they created.
resources:shelter, fortification, water, possible food (farms or whatever the prison used to feed itself.)
possible conflicts:whatever lives in the caves, maybe monsters or surviving prisoners

I'm also not keen on the dwarven idea. Like I said, my original view for the cave was that it was a very small cave (maybe the size of a large house at the most.) I don't envision the whole town being inside the cave; the cave would be large enough to provide shelter for the original inhabitants of the town and to serve as a basement for what used to be the fort, but not big enough to build an entire town inside of. At first I see the settlement mainly using the cave as shelter at night time and during harsh weather; during the day I see the settlement foraging for food and trying to improve their defenses against the outside world.

I have no problem with the dwarven idea; I just think that would be moving a little too fast. In keeping with the points of light idea (and with the ideas contained in the original posts by Axehammer) I think that the settlement should grow more slowly than the cities that were built under the 3rd Edition rules. It is my opinion that a slower progression of the town would fit better within the concept of the Points of Light style setting.


Some very good points have been made.

1) A town of refugees may not welcome every race and every class.

I think it depends upon what they are refugees from. I have no doubt that they would be overall suspicious of any new comers, but suspicious and hostile aren't the same thing. I don't think classes are really an issue because (from what I understand) most of the original residents will be npcs. Certain races may or may not be more or less welcome depending on what caused the residents of the settlement to become refugees in the first place.

I liked the dragon idea. Some other ideas could include something similar to the old computer game Oregon Trail; perhaps the originally settlements weren't refugees, but they were pilgrims or treasure seeker or something else. Another idea could be that they could have become refugees for a reason that didn't exist - refer to 3B for further details on this idea.


2) Why would a fort in such a good location be abandoned?

It may have been somewhat far away from where the main power center of the kingdom was in the past. When wars and other world changing events started to happen, the kingdom to whom the fort belonged to couldn't afford to support the fort anymore.


3) Things should be designed with a secret in mind.

I agree, and this is similar to the "landmines" discussion we had in the other threads. A DM should plant plot "landmines" within an area that can "explode" into a story or plothook if the PCs interact with them in the right way.

a) A long lost important artifact or magical item is at the bottom of the water source inside the cave.
b) The reason for fleeing their previous settlement was a lie created by the leader of the group; his/her goal is to build his own power center which he/she can use to some day get revenge on someone in the previously occupied settlement.
c) fill in the blank ___________
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I really think that we are getting into the story part of the city before we establish the basics of the city as related to the D & D game. A basic city in 4E should answer some questions and provide a believable backdrop, IMHO. How can all the PC's core classes operate there? Will DragonBorn and Tieflings be viewed with suspecion? One has a mytic hertitage and the other extraplaner origins. How will this relate? If we take the refugee idea for a moment, would these 2 classes be welcomed? How can we know that without knowing some of the basic axis on which the city operates?

Loking back at the DMG2-IMHO establish geography, natural resources (can the city provide for the needs of civilization), type of government, moral and ethical compass, and since its D & D magical heitage, practices, & beliefs. Then decide its size - the number of buildings...and then build its story...

A basic question is will the city handle all core races and classes? If we are making it new for 4E I think it should, but that's only my opinion-what do you all say?

Ian

All good points. However, we're not terribly pressed for time just yet, and we can discuss these as our project develops. We've already mentioned geography as part of the theme, as well as natural resources. Governments, politics and racial views can all be decided later, even as we start drafting the first few chronicles, as a development of the city. Also, it is unsure yet how alignment plays into the new rules, and its not terribly crucial to the founding of a city; in the game itself, it could be conceivable to have a functioning city start out chaotic or evil (they may have loose laws or be oppressive, but they'd still somewhat function.) But right now, we should also focus on the beginings of the city: how will it get there, where is it located, and how do the denizens come to inhabit it. If you do disagree with some of the ideas though this would also be the place to tell us why (as is going on with the redoubt.)
To quickly address the issue of a dwarven redoubt.

To first define a Redoubt. Dictionary.com (specifically it's American Heritage Dictionary entry) defines a redoubt as, "a small, often temporary defensive fortification."

This means that it would be relatively small, just a fortification, and not a full dwarven town, etc. It was only a defensive position.

Why dwarven? Because dwarves would have built the most permanent structure, and explain why it is in such good condition after centuries of disrepair.

Why aren't the dwarves still there? My best guess would be that they were consolidating their military, and merely abandoned it as a matter of tactics. In the points of light setting, it explains that countless empires have risen and fallen, which means a war ravaged world and plenty of ruins. What would be most the most promising ruins to inhabit? Dwarven ruins.

Natural caves? If you read the article that I posted previously it makes some very good points.

The classic stalactite-and-stalagmite caves are called solution caves. They form when, over thousands of years, water seeping down through mineral-rich rock such as limestone, marble, and gypsum, dissolves some of the rock. This action creates interesting features like large caverns, tunnels, and irregular passages. Most caves-and almost all of the large ones-are of this type. They always feel damp, usually thanks to the pools and streams running through them.

If you're going for realism, quickly realize that caves are more than just dungeons with squiggly lines rather than straight ones for the walls.
First of all, think three-dimensionally. Natural caves rarely form nice, flat floors. Ledges, steplike formations, slopes, and uneven floors are far more common. Make this a feature, rather than a drawback. A typical dungeon fight suddenly becomes much more interesting when everyone's on a different level and constantly having to make balance checks to avoid falling down; this can get old, but for one adventure, or part of an adventure, it's an interesting diversion. A large cavern that requires some climbing to cross is also more interesting than a simple room you walk through. Don't neglect to have the cave's inhabitants take advantage of tiny, high-placed ledges from which to fire their crossbows, or trick intruders into sliding down a steep slope of loose rocks.

Second, don't forget the water. Many caves, particularly limestone caves, are formed by water, and that water is always present. That means many surfaces are slick (more balance checks), and streams and pools pop up all over. Streams in caves are cold and often move very quickly. Moreover, they disappear into the rock and then come out again elsewhere. You could easily design a cave system where the characters could reach some portions only by going down into the cold, rapid-moving stream and swimming underwater.

This type of cavern would be perfect for dwarves to carve out into a hasty redoubt, then improve upon until they left a time later. I imagine large 20' high stone doors over the entrance that close to form an angled fortification, flat floors carved from the rock, and staircases throughout to make the front of the cavern easily travelable.

The dwarven redoubt would not be so large as to be able to build a city inside of it. And if you have ever been inside a cave you can see why the refugees would want to make their homes outside of the fortification, and not inside the dark damp interior.

In the future, you could easily build a keep over the mouth of the cavern.

For the location of the city, so that we see the most diversity, I vote for something akin to the coastal region northwestern United States. It is temperate, mountainous, forested, coastal, etc. This will give us a climate that we are all familiar with, with the benefits of limitless lumber, fishing, our caves, etc.

On to the topic of dragonborn and tieflings. I think that we should try and dodge that bullet altogether by including them from the start. The people of the city should be comfortable with all of the civilized races. They should also be comfortable with magic, etc.

Why a dragon? Because it wouldn't take the time to destroy every last inhabitant, but is powerful enough to demolish a city. It would leave many survivors and refugees in it's wake, to include the aforementioned paladin and warlord. It is iconic and classic, and makes the city easily portable into any world.

On another point, what rules will we have in the new TBACT? 3 vote majority? STOPs? No more than one chronicle a day? One month per chronicle? What other things are people thinking in this area?

As always, you are welcome to ignore my ramblings. Let's keep this up!
Alright, so if I understand the design philosophy of this thread, we begin with the local geography of our Point of Light, somewhat concurrently with what constitutes the PoL itself. After that's settled, we decide how the PoL came to exist (and what it was before), who inhabits it, and how adventurers came to dwell there. We've got a basic 'how it came to be' framework in the idea of refugee settlers.

The four major components of this PoL exitsting for the long term are Defense, Food, Water, and a Reason to Stay.

The reason to stay is why the PoL stil exists, and the refugees didn't scatter to the winds. It could point back to defense, but unless there is a (apologies to Mr. Clancy) clear and present danger, it won't hold up in the long term. It doesn't need to be addressed upfront, but it could play into the geography of the area, and will definitely play into the character of the populace. Reasons to stay include exploitable resources, politics, religious decree, or perhaps even simple stubbornness.

So, geography - We know there is a cave of some sort that accomidated our refugees, but is not large enough to inhabit. A cave presumes a mountain of some sort, usually. There is a source of water for the inhabitants, such as a mountain lake, river, or perhaps an artesian(sp?) well. There must also be a significant amount of sem-flat land for food (crops and livestock) if this is to lend itself to a small to medum sized city. And somewhere in the area is the ruins of the Old City.

As for the basics of the city, we have a city radiating out from the cave like a fan. Closest to the cave is (if it is kept) the redoubt, rebuilt and/or refortified, and the new city spreads from that.

I could see the cave and redoubt being at the mouth of a river valley. This provides an ample water supply and also flat land for crops and livestock.
OK I know I know I just said I didn't like the idea of dwarves, but I realized that dwarves might fit in well with the magical resource idea.
If we say there is some kind of magical resource in the area (node, ley line, or whatever) who would build there, but not really realize the arcane importance of the area? Dwarves of course.
As to why it was abandoned: in modern time we have many old forts which were abandoned not because of anything bad that happened, but because technology made them obselete. Maybe the dwarves developed stronger walls, better defensive structures or a newer better fort in the same area. Or maybe the dwarves won the war for which they build the fort.
Now, I keep saying fort, but redoubt is indeed a better word, the structure should be small, but open to further exploration as a dwarven community develops in the town.
I like the idea of a structure outside the cave, but I can't think of a reason dwarves would do this.
On another topic: Refugees don't have to be hostile toward outsiders, most nations in the world are founded by people who didn't start there. Cultures have moved much more than people realize. And, while some nations are hostile to outsiders, many others are quite inclusive.
[/brainstorm]
I think rules for the new thread should be based on the old threads, STOPs for possible problem posts, and proposals ahead of time for contriversial ideas.
I am reminded of the Cappadocia underground, which is a region in modern Turkey that the native inhabitants carved out underground cities to protect them from invaders. The tunnels arn't occupied now, but they ranged from being able to support a few occupants to 30,000 people. I remember seeing a show where they found one underground structure that worked as a massive hotel, including stables.

If we're not going to go with the ruins of a massive city that previously stood leaving behind chunks of it intact, the Redoubt would work as the starting point. In the middle ages, people didn't start out living in walled cities or keeps, but a wooden palacade would serve as place of protection the populance could retreat to when invaders came. The redoubt would work great in a similar context.

As for why the redoubt was built and why it was left, is that necessary to answer?
What about this:

During the war between the empires of Bael Turath (human demon worshipers/tieflings) and Arkhosia (dragonborn), the forces that were unleshed in a climactic battle caused the ground to open up and swallow the coastal city XXX.
Thrown over the side of a cliff, it hung down inside of a ravine and was forgotten by the rest of the civilized world.
Some of the buildings however stayed intact in the subterranean depths forming a gigantic underground labyrinth filled with treasure, monsters, and traps.
The upper level, located more or less above ground consists of the least damaged buildings of the city and provides refugees and heroes alike with the opportunities and threats of a not yet fully explored city filled with intrigues, politics, and mystery.

The city is surrounded by swamp land, and right next to the sea.

Let's call it Thorast Kax :D
To quickly address the issue of a dwarven redoubt.

To first define a Redoubt. Dictionary.com (specifically it's American Heritage Dictionary entry) defines a redoubt as, "a small, often temporary defensive fortification."
This means that it would be relatively small, just a fortification, and not a full dwarven town, etc. It was only a defensive position.

Why dwarven? Because dwarves would have built the most permanent structure, and explain why it is in such good condition after centuries of disrepair.

Why aren't the dwarves still there? My best guess would be that they were consolidating their military, and merely abandoned it as a matter of tactics. In the points of light setting, it explains that countless empires have risen and fallen, which means a war ravaged world and plenty of ruins. What would be most the most promising ruins to inhabit? Dwarven ruins.

Natural caves? If you read the article that I posted previously it makes some very good points.

This type of cavern would be perfect for dwarves to carve out into a hasty redoubt, then improve upon until they left a time later. I imagine large 20' high stone doors over the entrance that close to form an angled fortification, flat floors carved from the rock, and staircases throughout to make the front of the cavern easily travelable.

The dwarven redoubt would not be so large as to be able to build a city inside of it. And if you have ever been inside a cave you can see why the refugees would want to make their homes outside of the fortification, and not inside the dark damp interior.

In the future, you could easily build a keep over the mouth of the cavern.

For the location of the city, so that we see the most diversity, I vote for something akin to the coastal region northwestern United States. It is temperate, mountainous, forested, coastal, etc. This will give us a climate that we are all familiar with, with the benefits of limitless lumber, fishing, our caves, etc.

On to the topic of dragonborn and tieflings. I think that we should try and dodge that bullet altogether by including them from the start. The people of the city should be comfortable with all of the civilized races. They should also be comfortable with magic, etc.

Why a dragon? Because it wouldn't take the time to destroy every last inhabitant, but is powerful enough to demolish a city. It would leave many survivors and refugees in it's wake, to include the aforementioned paladin and warlord. It is iconic and classic, and makes the city easily portable into any world.

On another point, what rules will we have in the new TBACT? 3 vote majority? STOPs? No more than one chronicle a day? One month per chronicle? What other things are people thinking in this area?

As always, you are welcome to ignore my ramblings. Let's keep this up!

That's close enough to my original idea that I support the idea. My original vision was that the cave would be part of the fort, but not serve as the fort itself. That's just an aesthetic issue though, so I'll support the redoubt idea if that's the more popular idea.


The cave need not have a uniformly formed floor or steps or anything of that nature. The main point to incorporating the cave into the construction of the defensive structure was due to the availability of water.

I like the idea that the underground water source could possibly lead to somewhere else, but it would be a dangerous way to travel due to lack of air while under water and due to the cold temperature of the water. This actually works fairly well with the idea I had that somewhere deep in the water could be an important (more than likely magically) item.

As far as the climate, I was imagining that it would be similar to either Ireland or the Scottish Highlands. If you want an example from the US, I'd say somewhere around central Pennsylvania or Ohio.
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Someone suggested the idea that the Dwarven Redoubt was possibly part of an older Dwarven empire that has since diminished in size and now has with drawn their original posting of Dwarves.

Now, I have been reading the Wizard's Presents Worlds and Monsters book and the sections on the Feywild, Shadowfell, Underdark, and Underdark Feywild.

This section of text reminded me of the concept of Regio's in Ars Magica. A Regio is the concept of areas that have simultaneous regions neighbouring upon each other. Particularly magical areas can butt up against each other. A person normally can not cross the borders between these regions without some sort of guide, magic, or particular event (like longest night of the year).

This made me think that instead of thinking of a 'normal' border that the Dwarves had established the Redoubt against but instead this cross planar dimmension. This would be a secret that most people in this age would not realize (likely take a Dwarven Sage and some research to find out this history).

This would mean that deeper in the caves their might be found a Dwarven Temple that was originally established to help strengthen the resistances to things from the Underdark, Feywild Underdark, and Shadowfell. All of these 'mirror' regions could normally be reached within the wandering caves often by accident.

The time since the Temple was established and maintained has weakend the magical defenses allowing creatures to start to 'leak' into the depths of the caves.

This then gives adventures things to do. There is a temple the could restore. There are creatures to clear out to the area of the temple. There is the chance that adventures could 'accidentaly' travel through into the Feywild Underdark, Underdark, or Shadowfell. This thus gives the DM almost infinite space to spread out their description of locations and not have to worry of the physics of how big a particular cave size should be or why the players have now encountered truly weird and wonderous things like flows of lava or caves of ice. It also gives a great source for restocking and source for even bigger theats should they realize their is a passage to the main world with a supply of people to enslave, sacrifice, or other.

This weakening of barriers could also be the source of the magical font.

True mastermind type feywild creatures might even 'seed' the caves with some 'riches' to encourage more people to move deeper into the caves. 'Gold Fever' or the equivelant (Diamonds?) could make refugees choose to 'stick it out' when they are even presented with the true nature of the land under their home.

Just some more thoughts.
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On another point, what rules will we have in the new TBACT? 3 vote majority? STOPs? No more than one chronicle a day? One month per chronicle? What other things are people thinking in this area?

I was thinking of keeping this thread for the discussions and proposals; it's already one big proposal anyway. That way in the official "Build a City" thread we can concentrate on the actual city and the stories and lives of its inhabitants, instead of getting bogged down by conflicts and debate. We should certainly keep the stops (for those who just aren't getting it), but I'm sure that if we defer to this thread, then we should be able to keep that to a minimum. Chronicles I'd like to have once per week, one month long. Once per day is fine, but I think it'd be nice if we had some more time to write. And a one month long chronicle would allow us to slow down the story enough to add more depth to the city. I also think it would be wise to declare who will write the next chronicle (including the first.) That will avoid double chronicles and alleviate confusion and inconsistency. I think I'll leave all that to consensus though. (The rest of the rules can remain unchanged though.)

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I like the idea of a structure outside the cave, but I can't think of a reason dwarves would do this.

Actually, the dwarves of the new edition have lost their darkvision in place of low-light vision (according to Races and Classes.) That means they would need some light source to work. If the redoubt was built in relative haste (relative to dwarves that is), then it would make sense that there would be a larger outer structure and less underground. Also, since we're a bit stuck on the reason for it, that is also explained in Races and Classes: the war. In the past, dwarves were enslaved by the races of giants. After generations of oppression, the dwarves decided they'd had enough. A redoubt would be perfectly reasonable for such an event, regardless of any extra reasons.

I also had an idea regarding a magical source to bring several of the ideas together. I started by taking the idea of a coastal city possessing a similar lighthouse like on the earthberg. Powered by magic (nexus perhaps or a trapped entity similar to Final Fantasy espers), the city was a true point of light. But, like all lights, eventually they get too hot and burn out. In this case, though, it exploded, unleashing a torrent of magical energy across several countrysides, thus bringing us to the present. Now the city lies in ruins, the lighthouse is erratic and dangerous, and a redoubt in a nearby mountain valley is the last refuge for a mere handful of survivors. After that, the redoubt, an ancient dwarven structure, is used as the basis for the new city; think Helm's Deep (from Tolkein) or Thorbardin (Dragonlance setting/Dwarven Nations Trilogy.)

EDIT: I had another idea, spawned by the lighthouse idea. Perhaps the lighthouse is powered by a trapped entity. After centuries of confinement, a crack in its crystal "cage" allowed it to break free, causing a massive explosion. Now, the dragon (not necessarily red, or even chromatic, chaos perhaps), driven mad by slavery, lays waste to the surrounding countryside before departing into locations unknown, as a reminder to the survivors of their folly.
If we use the 'Dragon Gone Mad' idea, I think it would be interesting to use a dragon which is normally good aligned. An insane Gold Dragon ravaging the country side.

I just think it would be nice to try to use something different; give PCs (possibly once they are high enough level) a chance to fight a monster which they normally don't get to see as a monster.

The gold dragon was trapped via magic by a less than good mayor/other official of the town a long time ago. She didn't care what kind of creature she trapped; all she needed was a power source, and she figured out a way to tap into the dragon's magical energies by trapping him -similar to espers as you mentioned.
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