Of the cities of Falhath, Dreifach is perhaps one of the oldest, and despite a long period of hard and lean times, the city has begun to show a renaissance of industry and culture. The city was laid out over 1800 years ago after the old kingdom of Falath was defeated by the grand legions of the Old World. After being subjugated, a new provincial capital was laid out to serve as the administrative hub of the new satrapy. From the new city, the taxes would be collected and tribute sent to the Imperial City. Ambassadors, viceroys, regents and plenipotentaries could visit the Satrapy, yet not be divorced from the luxuries and comforts of the Empire.
Dreifach was built into the side of Mount Corvus, a large granite mountain sitting near the end of the Thorondrim mountain chain. Sorcery was used to sculpt the side of the mountain into a series of stair-stepped tiers. The many palaces and grand towers were afterwards raised on these stone terraces by more mundane forms of labor. At the foot of the construction grew the undercity, also known as Low Dreifach, Moiraine, or the Skrees.
The highest tier of the terraces holds the old Imperial Palace, home of the standing ruler of the satrapy. Also located on the top tier is a rare sidereal orrey and observatory. both structures were severely damaged in the Nightmare war and sever as simple reminders of the greatness of the Old World before its fall.
The next set of tiers belong to the nobility of Dreifach, and the palaces of the other Falhathian nobles when called to court. The palaces run the gamut from the massive and opulent Palace of Emerald Sighs to the austere Palace of Swords. The Gate of Gold seperates these tiers from the middle tiers, and the bulk of Low Dreifach. The Gate itself was formerly decorated with gold and imperial statues, but following the war, the gold was looted and the statues were badly damaged.
The Middle Tiers are the homes of the upper class artisans, the abodes of the sorcerers, bookbinders, and the craftsmen who service the needs of the nobility. The weathiest of the commoner make their homes here in towers and manors that rival some of the smaller homes in the higher levels. The Middle Tier stands out as the River Haures flows from its subterranean source across the bulk of the terrace before plummeting nearly 100 feet down to the lake below. The Bronze Gate formerly protected the Middle Tier from the mass of commoners housed in Low Dreifach but the entire gate collapsed during a rock slide shortly after the Nightmare War. Lacking the resources to rebuild it, the locals rebuilt the ramp only, leaving the way open. The Bronze Gate ward retains its name even centuries after its namesake vanished.
Low Dreifach is the proper name of the ground level city at the feet of the tiers. Here, the common class tends to the needs of the bureaucracy and the servants of the palaces above. A good deal make a living cultivating what crops they can from cold and dry soil. The growing season is short, and the main source of water is diverting it from the Haures as it flowes SW towards the Cerulean sea. goats, and cattle are raised on the flat lands, and it id the butchers and tanners ward of the low city that is technically called Moiraine, and compared to the poverty of the Skrees, it is a better place to live on the flat. Many locals, especially nobles use the term 'on the flat' to describe something that is cheap, common, or beneath nobility.
Dreifach and the Twilight
For centuries, the city relied on regular shipments of grains and foodstuffs from other places in Falhath. The soil was poor, and the site was chosen to keep the city and her nobles from becoming a threat to the empire. After the collapse of the Imperial government, the food shipments stopped, and it was not long before panic set in among the survivors. No magics worked safely, the security of the goverment was gone, and there were rumors that even Tausend, the Imperial fist of Falhath, was gone. Looting and violence erupted among the survivors, and as the minotaurs held their Great Moot, much of the populace fled the city.
Suicide was a popular out for much of the nobility, as they were unable to cope with the collapse of their way of life, and refused to take up the implements of the commoners. Much of this is only known as the pessimist and would be historian Darak One-Eye penned much of his legedary work, The Book of the Black Rose, in that city.
Many of the Dreifachian refugees found safe haven in the breadbasket city of Sangreal. There, they found food and shelter, as well as hope. They quickly adopted the faith of the locals, and lendt their skills of stone working and engineering to the city as it grew. The Haven wall and the Inner city of Sangreal were built shortly after the Twilight and bear many architectural resemblances to the old imperial style of Dreifach.
For the better part of the next millenium, the city would exist as a shadow of its old self. A few people remained eaking out a meager living, leaving the upper tiers abandoned to their ghosts and memories. The only thing that kept the city from sliding completely into oblivion was the sheer solidarity of its construction and the organization of the Emerald Order, also known as the Society of Upright Civic Wizards. The Wizards chose to locate their new academy in Dreifach, keeping it removed from the general populace as well as utilizing the ancient buildings there to lend their school the air of antiquity.
The Schism and Diet of Sangreal
When the Trinistine Faith split over the issue of sorcery, many of the proponents of Orthodox sorcery flad to Dreifach. Many others who followed paths of higher learning, most notably the physicians, alchemists and engineers also followed in fear of being the next chosen by the sudden zealotry of the Faith. This caused the population of the city to grow; for the first time in over 500 years.
The period of tension between the two cities lasted for just under a century before the Diet of Sangreal took place and the Schism was officially ended. The tenets of Orthodox Sorcery were written, and Dreifach was recognized as the premier center for higher non-theological learning. This acceptance by the faith, as well as constructing a magnificent new Cathedral in Dreifach ensured the new growth of the ancient city.
Much of Falhath was hurt by the decline of the Eastern branch of the Trinistine Faith. Some regions saw their local economies, based on the need of the church, fall into the gutter. Others simply saw their intake of tolls and taxes from pilgrims dry up. Dreifach has not seen such a decline. With the Academy of the Emerald Order, and the Schools of Healing, art and architecture, Dreifach is sing an influx of foreigners wanting to learn. Oh yes, and they are bringin their gold, and their families and retainers and entourages.
Visiting the Jewel of Falhath - The PCs passing through enter the city, and see its towers, so lofty with their brightly tiled roofs and painted walls. Banners of schools and guilds fly from the towers, drifting on the mountain winds. Here, is surely the new heart of the Renaissance, where else can there be found such a profusion of erudite men, wizards, and artisans?
On Assignment - The PCs go to visit their wizardly benefactor when he is on campus teaching new students orthodox sorcery in accordance with the Diet of Sangreal. The PCs get to visit the Tiered city, and see the grand sights of a world that no longer exists, with a hint that something akin to it might return. Hope and promise are in the air.
Somthing Rotten - A new mcguffin has appeared to the PCs, and to reach it before the baddies, they have to go to Dreifach and find the drainage system of the city that keeps the terraces from flooding and feeds into the Haures river. labyrinthine tunnels, unexplored for centuries, what horrors could lurk below the gaity and prosperity above?
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? Responses (11)
One of the greater imaginary cities that I have read about.
I cant find fault with it. It reeks of reality! And as usual I love the structure of the sub. A tidy but RICH history and vibe.
One can always rely on Scras to make his city fill with life... I want to see more of the Sangreal-Dreifach-Trinitine world.
Most Excellent. Versimiltude, history, details, and a nice package.
An interesting and realistic city with much history. I like it :)
just: for us germanophiles, 'Dreifach' as name just doesn't fit. Threefold? Likewise, the 'Tausend'...
Busted. Ignoring Cooke's Law...
Tausend, which hasnt been posted yet, was basically named after the fact that the military grounds comprised of one thousand acres. One name stuck, the other didnt. There is a place in my town called Depot Hill, even though the Depot is thirty years gone.
Dreifach, yes three-fold, because Three-Layer (Dreischicht) and Three-tier (Dreireihe) lacked that certain sound that I was looking for.
In the naming process I due use several language translation books. I think it adds a sense of foreign-ness to the setting without digressing into the hodge-podge of silly names that often plagues Fantasy. (Drizzt, Arrkrash, Vexenxar, etc)
Ugh... I think knowing that these people are just jack-Germans kind of takes a lot of the magic out of it for me.
Now, I am rather offended, and I know I shouldn't make a comment but dammit I'm going to. I have spent a good deal of time coming up with the Falhathian setting, and I will be damned if I see this idea get shot down because I used a German Dictionary to name some cities in it. And as a side note, all of the German named cities date back to the Imperial Era, I was going with a theme there. Aside from the use the name, there is nothing German in Falhath, there are no beer drinkers, no lieterhosen, and I am really mad that Echo pointing out that the name is German has turned my work into Jack-German.
For whats its worth, I think Dreifach is a great name, and I think Threefold is a pretty cool name for a city as well, even if the translation was the same in Falhath. It fits.
This opens up a whole can of worms. Does this mean I cant name an island 'Paa'lua'a'pa'o' because it means 'Scratch my left nut' in Polynesian?
on a side note: no beer drinkers? I might have to deduct a full sword!
As always I love you work hun.
A great city - I can see it in my minds eye. Good stuff!