The city of pipes and light is in the Byzant Empire
While travelling through an unfamiliar area of the city at night, it it easy for one to become quite lost. Though this is an upper-class residential neighbourhood just east of downtown, the streets wind, twist, and turn in upon themselves in a rather chaotic fashion.
The wealthy landowners of Ardales began to grow personal gardens on their flat rooftops. The shade helped cool the buildings. The competition renewed among the aristocracy for the lushest garden. Over time, the increased population caused an increase in building density, especially in the city’s heart.
The work is being done on the largest temple of Stryfe ever constructed. So massive is this project, that it could not have been placed within the city’s walls without displacing a large portion of Gnopolis’s inhabitants.
Pirates' many bejeweled rings and piercings actually had a practical purpose - when the pirate or sailor died, the rings could be taken off as payment for a proper burial, saving him from a watery grave. This could be tied into regional culture, or made into a quest (The Pirate's Lost Rings, etc.). Also gives treasure-seeking divers another thing to look for besides crusty old chests.