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January 3, 2008, 3:54 am

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The City of Crypt


A once-vibrant merchant town, now host to nothing save a silent mystery…

The city of Crypt was once known by another name, back when it was a living merchant city; thronging with people from distant lands, vibrant with the sounds and smells of myriad cultures. That all changed one winter, when abruptly all contact with the city was lost; the nearest settlement to the city was host to a caravan of shaken merchants a few weeks later, bringing with them tales of a city disappeared into thin air.

City Layout

The physical layout of the city is roughly circular; the Central Ward is a rough square, being the heart of the original settlement, with the other four wards laid out in a circle around it, each Ward divided from the others by a broad cobblestone roadway leading to one of the city’s four gates. The buildings are primarily constructed of limestone, and as such show small sign of wear from the passage of time and seasons. Stone walls of imported granite, roughly fifteen feet in height and five feet thick, surround the city in an arc between each gate, with a guard post at each third of the wall’s arc.

Each ward contains a ‘central square’ of sorts, with a fountain present the each ward draws the local name from; beyond this the wards are as distinct as the personalities of those who lived and did business there, once.

Each of the four Gates are named for the carvings upon the granite archways, and each road is named for the Gate it leads to. East lies the Sunrise Gate; North is the Skyfire Gate; west is the Nightfall Gate, and south is the Stormsinger Gate. There is, according to old tales of the city, a fifth gate referred to as the Gambler’s Gate, but no maps or records of the city suggest where it may have been located, or if it even really existed.

Northeast Ward

Also known as the Fox Ward, this was once the entertainment district of the city; the buildings tend to be a mere two to three stories in height, with carving both elegant and lewd across the walls, sometimes decorative and sometimes descriptive of what once lay within. The Ward is arranged such that the most distasteful businesses - the lower-class brothels, sanctioned drug dens, and the seedier taverns - were concentrated toward the center of the portion facing the outer wall, while progressively more acceptable businesses radiate out from there; on the side facing the Sunrise Gate and the Goose District are such fine things as opera houses and indoor theaters, while on the side facing the Skyfire Gate and the Dragon Ward are high-class brothels, dining establishments of the sort that consider wyvern’s liver to be an cheap appetizer, and gambling dens where magic has as much to do with the outcome as mere chance.

Often those who worked in this district lived in the same building, inhabiting the floors above their workplace and venturing out only when in need of something from the Goose Ward. As such, the floorplans of the buildings tend to have a certain similarity, with a few large rooms on the lower floors, often with smaller side rooms for privacy, while the upper floors have numerous smaller rooms, some laid out as bedrooms, others as communal kitchens.

Currently, this district is one of the least-explored, as the potential treasures of the Goose and Dragon Districts have beckoned the few souls brave enough to enter the stilled city; as such, many buildings lay untouched, with only the finest coating of dust and the city’s stifling silence to mark that the inhabitants have not gone out for a moment. Cloth from the cheap, coarse linens of the wall-edge brothels to the fine silken garments of the costumes hanging in the indoor theaters lay pristine; plates and cutlery sit out on tables that have been untouched since the city’s inhabitants vanished. No doubt stockpiles of coin and other valuable treasures lie hidden within the Fox Ward, but none have yet begun to search here.

Southeast Ward

The mercantile district

Southwest Ward

Northwest Ward

Central Ward

Plot Hooks
-The wells went dry when the city’s people vanished; why, then, do the fountains in the middle of each Ward still spout crystal-clear water?

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