Apologies for interrupting, but if this is your first time here, young one, kindly (read through and) choose which of the five districts you grew up in or around, and from there, pick a Background that befits your experiences growing up. If you are unsatisfied with the available options, by all means let me know and one may be crafted for you.
From a distance, the city of Pyre’s Hope resembles a snow-topped hill. As a traveler grows closer, however, the snow becomes discernible as a great quantity of white marble. Towering curtain walls encircle the entire broad summit of the hill, euphemistically referred to as the Pyremount. The Pyre itself is always visible, roaring into the sky from the crest of the hill. A grand courtyard surrounds it, perhaps predictably known as the Pyrecourt; it is a highly recommended stop on any traveler’s itinerary.
Pyre’s Hope is hemmed in by two mighty rivers, splitting off the even mighter River Name Here. River Name Here splits in two a mere mile from the Pyremount, and it’s two children run almost up against the edge of the hill. The net effect is a rather limited amount of space on the northern side, although a growing collection of cottages and the like has sprung up outside the city’s south walls. Others cluster around the far side of each river, specializing in fishing and providing passage to travelers. The outlying villages (or “sub-urbs”, as a few old-school Erfflings persist in calling them) are generally quite connected to the city.
The city has major gates at all four cardinal directions, although the most traveled is the South Gate, which leads into the bustling market neighborhood of the same name. The East and West Gates are largely used by travellers approaching from either river and residents plying their trades. The North Gate is rarely used, due to it’s somewhat inconvenient placement and the geography of the mountain below; the North Gate leads up to a pinnacle of sorts, upon which enterprising mages have erected a tower. The cliff is scalable with effort, and stairs have been added to the cliffsides, but few bother.
Pyre’s Hope is divided into eight major sections, radiating outward from the Pyrecourt in the center of the city like spokes in a wheel. However, in practice only four major social districts exist within.
- South Gate is a busy district, devoted to commerce of all sorts and the perfection of the merchant’s art. It is composed of three quadrants: southwest, south and southeast. The Golden Square is perhaps South Gate‘s most famous spot and biggest draw, a massive open-air bazaar and market, ringed by shops and stuffed with rows and rows of booths. It is said that practically anything available in the new world can be found somewhere in the Golden Square… if you can afford it. South Gate also boasts the impressive Sylvan Gardens park, a number of busy theaters and many popular inns and taverns. Its housing is about average, chiefly being small houses and moderate blocks of high-density housing (referred to as “con-dhoes” by Erfflings). The city’s broad middle class mostly lives in South Gate, and as such many of the city’s existant temples can be found here. Travelers often tend to congregate here as well. Finally, the Pyrewardens maintain a major station here, complete with a public job-advertisement forum and a center for political debate.
- East Bank takes up the eastern and northeastern quadrants of the city. East Bank is the most housing-intensive district of the city, where most of the city’s wealthy and powerful dwell. It boasts a number of attractions, including the mysterious and beautiful Gullwing Park, the vaunted Silver Flame Opera House, a number of wineries and distillers, and the standard compliment of upper-echelon businesses devoted to meeting the needs of the upscale. Most of the good restaurants in Pyre’s Hope may be found in East Bank, as well as a majority of the city’s financial institutions and centers of education. The only public Library in the City is also found in East Bank. The East River Name Here has the character of a sparkling mountain stream blown up a hundred times; it is clear, rocky and crisp, but difficult to sail and relatively free of unsightly fish. It is the source of most of the drinking water of Pyre’s Hope, as well as a number of entertainments.
- The West Side of the city has long been a favorite of many Ork inhabitants, who claim a certain affection for the name that baffles individuals who hail from different realms. It is composed of the western and northwestern quadrants. The West River Name Here that flanks the West Side is a broad, silty river, thick with fish and easy to sail. As such, the majority of the district is taken up by fishing-related industries, warehouses for goods coming in off of the western docks, and the housing, taverns and game-rooms necessary to support the people who work those trades. As such, it has a certain whiff of slum to it, albeit a slum built of gleaming white marble and populated by much the same sorts to be found throughout the rest of the city. The western district park, Barnaby Field, has been largely co-opted by Erfflings to host their multitudes of sports and games, as well as a favorite spot of famous musicians and poets for performing their latest masterpiece. A large collection of floating rafts and houseboats, colloquially known as Raftfleet, has taken up a seemingly permanent position on the West River Name Here slightly outside the city. The residents of the rafts are mainly Dragonborn and Gnolls, although they are as varied and motley as one might expect from
river pirateslegitimate river businessmen.
- The North is only a single quadrant, but it boasts more magic per square inch than any other district. No one is exactly sure how the tradition got started, but the city’s mystic practicioners gravitate to the North in droves. The city’s major magic guilds each have centers of learning here. The most famous is the Alabaster Tower (jokingly referred to as the Pyrespire) and its surrounding college on the northern pinnacle outside the city. The northern district park is more properly a glade, called Ninetrees after the centerpiece, a half-circle of mysterious trees never before seen in the Converged world. A number of Devas also dwell in the North, and they have constructed a large monastery inside the city grounds. The city’s only cemetery lurks in the north as well, curving along the northeast walls. Finally, although it is not exactly common knowledge, the North plays host to the Shadowhaven, a wedge of ever-so-slightly darker city beginning directly north of the Pyrecourt and continuing almost all the way to the North Gate. The Shadowguard offices are located here, but the hours that those offices are open are random and unannounced, and the willingness of the Guardsmen within to connect visitors with the officers of the Shadowguard is suspect at best.
- Finally, the lands surrounding Pyre’s Hope deserve mention. Although they are far less safe and a good deal less predictable than purely natural surroundings, the wilds surrounding the city almost approach the standards of ordinary wilderness. A number of tribes of Beastmen, Giants and other primitives dwell in the area, helping keep the roaming monster count down. Of course, it is hard to say whether travelers would rather fight off roaming chaos beasts or deal with the spectre of unknown, possibly hostile tribes. Most tribes are guardedly friendly to city folk, and in fact most of them come to town every season or three to trade their crafts and sell stories and crude maps.
- (If you find your race or class to be rather tribal-oriented, there is a good chance that you belong to one of these tribes. You were likely born in the city while your mother was visiting and trading, or because a strange event came to pass. (I will leave the nature of such an event in your capable hands)).