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Thinker
2008-06-05, 02:43 PM
I am making a new campaign world and am starting with one of the largest and most important cities in this world. I do not care about mechanics at this point, they will fall in later on. The read may be a little dry and this is only a draft. What do you think?

Danutia, the city of Danu, is the most important city in the nation of Kant. It serves as her largest city and her capital. Danutia is located inside the crater of an ancient, massive mountain, called Mount Dana. The geography of the area places Dana at the center of the ancient mountain chain, which has mostly been reduced to hills. On the north and south sides of the mount are Etainia and Birogia, two more mountains named for Danuís daughters.
These three mountains, collectively known to the locals as the Mothers, are the only three remaining mountains in the chain called Riata. The chain itself runs from north to south near the coast. It is said that in the Age of the Immortals, Riata served as a launching point for many attacks upon Danu and her people, the Tuatha. In an attack led by Danu herself, the invaders were repelled back to the sea.
This attack against Her enemies, the Fomorians, Danu destroyed the upper half of Mount Dana and left a large crater in its place. The crater is a nearly perfect circle with a diameter of seven miles. In its basin at the center lies Lake Dana, a large, circular lake with a diameter of five miles.
Lake Dana is a freshwater lake fed by various underground aquifers. From these aquifers come all manner of fish, though from which river no one knows. The lake also provides water for several of the farms also found within Mount Dana.
These farms feed Danutia, which covers most of the southern half of Mount Dana. There are few entrances to the crater, one in each cardinal direction, and all are heavily fortified. Danutia is unlike most of its contemporaries in that where they build outward, it grows upward. Using the mountain itself and tunneling far within, the Danutians are able to increase their productivity and their population without sacrificing farmland.
Over the years the inhabitants of Danutia have smoothed the sides of the crater, preferring to navigate the tunnels within. Over time this has lead to a division in population: the rich live in the sun-filled valley of the crater, while the poor live in the tunnels. In the northern area of the city, among the palaces, manors, and mansions of the wealthiest nobles, lies the Emerald City.
The Emerald City is the name given to the private residence of the Empress. From here she manages the state and performs her religious rituals. Only those of nobility or those invited by the nobility may enter the Emerald City. Like everything else within Danutia, it is not a district within the city, nor is it a proper palace: the Emerald City is a tower.
This tower is circular, with a base of three square miles, which gradually decreases as it goes upward, to form an elaborate cone. The peak of the Emerald City is two miles high, towering over the rest of the city. Stories are told that there are so many rooms and passages within the palace that visitors have starved to death while searching for an exit. It is also told that there is an intrinsic magic within this marvel.
While within the Emerald Cityís boundaries, the Empress may rearrange rooms, corridors, furniture, and everything else imaginable. She can transport herself or others at a whim, and at all times she knows the whereabouts of any within the palace. Finally, it is said that she may not be sick or be brought to physical harm whilst in her home.
Architecture within the noble district is fairly distinct. The Emerald City is a giant cone with several motifs of battles of victory and expression to the gods. Otherwise throughout the district, statues of heroes dot the landscape and buildings are built three stories high. Most of the architecture uses a stone foundation, wooden supports, and walls made from rice-paper and bamboo. Fireplaces and chimneys are common and, like the foundation, are built of stone. The roofs to these buildings are often slanted downward and built of clay shingles painted red. Over the main doorway is the name of the residing family and its crest written in gold.
The other nobility within Danutia are in someway related to the Empress, whether by marriage, birth, or appointment. They serve as civil servants, generals, professional soldiers, and entertainers. Women are considered the heads of the household and are not expected to perform such mundane work; many of these women become priests and scholars.
As one descends further south into Danutia, he would find the noble houses supplanted by various shops, bazaars, and services. The owners and operators of these places often live in a room attached to the place. Theatres, temples, restaurants, inns, and brothels dot the street corners, as people from far and wide walk the streets.
Large areas of streets devoid of buildings serve as prime locations for vendors to place their stands. Space may be rented directly from the city for varying prices, depending on the quality and location of the market square. Near parks, theatres, or brothels raises the price, as does paved roads, well-kept foliage within the square, or proximity to the noble district.
Residents and business-owners in the merchant quarter take many of their cues from the wealthier nobility. Like them, their homes have a stone foundation, wooden frames, rice-paper walls, and red, clay shingles. Most of these buildings, however, have a central fire-pit within a three-foot, stone wall and a chimney that extends all the way through the center of the building.
The people who own these businesses largely make up the middleclass within Danutia. Others of this group often become professional soldiers, artisans, entertainers, or civil servants. Unlike the nobility, the women of the middleclass are expected to work by managing her assets, hiring and firing workers, and ensuring the business is running smoothly. Other women of this class become priestesses, devoting their lives and wealth to the gods.
Further south is known as the Martial Quarter. Because it is near the center of the city, all of the civil offices are held here. Priestesses oversee courts, couriers deliver messages, and the city council passes resolutions. The city-guard, the Scarlet Legion, is a brigade of troops under the command of the Danutian Shogun that is entrusted with protecting Danutia from all threats, both internal and external.
The courts here are built of large stone buildings, looking similar to the other buildings, but replacing every piece of wood, paper, or bamboo with stone. Even the doors are made of stone and require two guards to open each one. All courts are presided over by a priestess, who, with her knowledge of law and religion, may pass judgment over the accused. The leader of the judges, known as the Arbiter, also acts as warden to the prisoners kept in the jail below the courthouse.
The mayor and council for the city are appointed by election from the nobility of Danutia. These same nobles may force a vote of no-confidence for any member of the council, or the mayor, if they feel she is doing an inadequate job. The council is responsible for collecting taxes, while the mayor is responsible for creating a budget. The council may withhold the taxes from the mayor if they feel he is spending the money injudiciously.
A large facility, known as the Courierís Roost, houses some of the swiftest riders in all of Kant. Here, the riders are employed to carry messages and small packages to various locations within and outside of the empire. They are sworn to secrecy upon employment and are compensated well for the dangers inherent in each task.
The martial quarter is also home to the guards and soldiers that live here. There are several barracks that house the soldiers and their belongings. The training areas for new recruits and veterans alike adjoin these barracks, being used at all hours of the day. The barracks are built of wood with thatch roofs; central fireplaces keep the soldiers warm and provide a place for them to cook their meals. The chimneys start four feet above the fire pit and are also made of wood. The barracks frequently smell of burnt pine and smoke wafts out every time the door is opened.
Not many people live within the martial quarter and there is no uniform architecture throughout it. The place is mostly just an amalgamation of various civic necessities.
Near the main tunnel leading to the outside world lie the Commons. This is where the tanners, shoemakers, stable masters, and other poorer crafters live. Those that work the crafts barely scrape by and most of the buildings are owned by the wealthy nobles. Along with these wretches, live the renowned and pious metal smiths.
Those skilled crafters who work here often live in their shops, their entire livelihoods dictated by their noble landlords. Their wares are considered the property of the nobles and they are compensated with food, shelter, and a small stipend of money. Should a craftsman dislike his employer, he is free to leave and take one sample of his craft with him as a resume to a future employer.
The daughters of the craftsmen are often sent to the wealthier areas to find employment wherever it is available, and hopefully marry someone of the higher class. Women of these families care for children, cook, clean, and represent the family in all legal matters. The husbands and sons work the family trade and provide income.
Homes and shops for these people are simple clay shacks with thatch roofs. Some of them have a fireplace, depending on the generosity of the landlord. Furnishings within a shack are often the result of personal design, but are ultimately considered property of the landlord.
Kant in general is an area poor in metal. Danutia is fortunate enough to be the wealthier than the rest of the region in this respect. Still, what are iron riches for the Kantians would be considered merely moderate for others. Another richness of Danutia is in a rare metal that their smiths have been able to mix with steel to create Danutian Steel.
This steel gives off a red hue and seemingly glows in darkness. It is this that gives such preference to Kant metal workers in general and specifically Danutian ones. The path of a metal smith is not easy. They are drawn from the ranks of the most gifted young noblemen. The most pious young noble woman is paired with him to perform the rituals of Danu. The future steel smiths are stripped of their possessions and sent to the poor regions. They live an aesthetic lifestyle as each othersí mates, though offspring is rare amongst them. Their huts are made of solid stone, with red, clay shingles upon the roof. Religious texts are kept inside and are read from during the mixing of alloys.
This sacred ritual is used in a sacred ritual among the Kantians. Only one type of weapon may be crafted with Danutian steel: the Kantian Glaive. Only the most skilled knights can afford a Kantian Glaive and many never even see one. It is said to be sharp enough to cut another blade as a warm knife through butter. Unlike other buildings in the Commons, metal smith huts are owned directly by the Empress and the tenants are treated with the utmost respect.
Most of the buildings in the commons are mere shanties, mud and clay mixed with straw, a thatch roof, and a wooden door. In times of war these people may be conscripted to armies to help combat the enemies. Most of these civilians are content because they eat well and they are not overworked, but those who are not generally join the army.
The final area of Danutia is the Warrens. This area is the home of the Daors, a class of people kept as little more than slaves. The warrens are the tunnels built directly into Mount Dana, many of which are little more than abandoned mining tunnels. Even among the slaves there are divisions.
The Saighdaor are a group of warrior slaves, often drawn from the ranks of defeated or captured foes, criminals, or the especially athletic slave children. They are used as shock troops during battle and as contestants at games during peace. Once such a warrior has performed enough deeds he may win his freedom and live out his days in comfort as a guest of the state.
The second groups of slaves, the Clochdaor, are used as unskilled laborers, working for whoever needs them. Most of them are either born to enslaved parents or purchased from another nation. These slaves are rented out by the state to those who need them. One quarter of this money is set aside to pay for the release of the slave. It is uncommon for a slave to remain in captivity for more than ten years, though many remain in the warrens to stay with family until their release.
Children born to slaves may not be used for labor until their twentieth birthday and may not begin to pay for their release until theyíre first utilized. All slaves are branded with a mark identifying them as state property upon being captured, purchased, or born. Another mark is placed on the Saighdaor, marking them as warriors and a third mark is placed over the original one upon release of the slave.

The campaign world in general is going to have a more folklore feel (Jack the Giantkiller, Baba Yaga, etc.) than a high fantasy feel. I'm probably going to adapt custom mechanics for it to fit the way I want. If you enjoy it, I will post the next part of the world (for now affectionately called Wolg).