It is said, before man or creature walked the New World, that the Great Creator, for reasons unknown, came to war with the World. In this ensuing struggle for dominance, the Great Creator smote the land at the center of what would become the Nine Rivers, causing a wound that still bleeds the clear blood of life from the world and draws all water to it.
What is now Riversheart began as Kaidence, the capital city of Kaidence people, those who had followed Kaiden the Conqueror into the New World. That first city, as archaeological evidence will support, was a city of stone and water, with little in the way of defenses, spread evenly out of the Nine Quarters. However, as Kaidence began to rapidly grow from the trade garnered from being in the center of the Nine Rivers and of the decision of the Church to place their main temple there, a need for defense arose. Walls of wood fifteen feet high were added along the edge of every quarter, and sea gates added at a later time to accommodate the land defenses of the city.
Around 15 AOE, Kaidence began to slowly evolve from the capital of Kaidence to what would become known as the Temple City, as the power of the Church became more and more prolific. As time passed, with the population swelling, eventually what became known as Kaidence was the Outer City, a land of poorly wrought, decrepit homes fit for only the poor while the Inner City was the true Heart of the city. This eventual decline of Kaidence would continue for two hundred years when Kaiden finally ascended to the Light in 215 AOE.
During the next three hundred and thirty seven years, the Temple City steadily grew. The wood was replaced with stone and marble shipped in from the Mal'khar Mountains just West of the city.. The walls were connected and for the first time the city was surrounded in a concentric stone wall by the mid 5th century AOE. The many pontoon bridges that had interconnected the city were replaced with bridges of stone that could be retracted with a great system of pulleys and levers at the base of each bridge. As trade increased, the further inside the city the retractable bridges were higher elevated as one came closer to the Holy Temple that made the center of the city. The elevation to the center of the city became so much more high than the other parts of the city that ships could pass beneath the bridges without any retraction being necessary.
It would not be until the First Empire in 552 AOE under Johan the Great that the level of architecture would go up a notch. In the days of the first Empire, the very center of the city became a pyramidal mass of stone and marble, with the Temple Palace dominating the center of the city. The Nine Towers were built on every piece of Quarter, each one connected to the Temple Palace Tower by mighty sky bridges. Massive stone plinths allowed for a ship to pass directly underneath the center of the city, to a land of stone columns several yards wide, embedded into the very rock of the earth.
And so, the Temple City remained the greatest feat of wonder for four hundred and sixty eight years until the Vengeance War of 1020 AOE that saw much of the Northern Quarters damaged or outright destroyed and the First Empire crumbling into dust with the loss of leadership.
After the fall of the First Empire, the Patriarchy that had ruled the Temple City before the rise of the First Empire regained control of the city and named it an independent theocratic Republic. This state of being would last for more than two thousand years, the Knights of the Church fending off attacks from all sides while the Patriarchy came to dominate the lands of Imperia with their religious scripture.
However, as all things do, the reign of the Patriarchy would end by 3048 AOE when the Havocian Empire swept in from the South and laid waste to the city, killing all the members of the Patriarchy and destroying much of the city in the process. The Temple Palace was partly destroyed and the city was promptly abandoned after the destruction of the city as the Havocian Empire continued their rampage further North to war against the Kingdom of Kalidon.
The grand Temple City would remain abandoned for nearly fifty years, as the Great Winter swept in with death and destruction after the carnage unleashed by the Havocian Empire.
It was not until a concerted effort on the parts of her neighbors (Eladrin, Drow, Dwarves, and Humans) that the Temple City was rebuilt in 3097 AOE as the city of Riversheart. The Temple Palace was repaired and became the Fortress of Riversheart and once more people began to return to the city. The Rivers were harnessed and tamed to become the canals, with low walls surrounding them to funnel any would be attacker and inner sea gates added.
With the rise of the Holy Empire, Riversheart became the capital of the Holy Empire and seat of the Son of the Light. The Fortress of Riversheart is refurbished and becomes the Emperor's Palace.
And so the city has remained. The oldest and yet one of the youngest cities in the world with a rich, albeit bloody, history stretching millennia.
If one was to look at Riversheart now, near three hundred years after it's reconstruction, they would see a man-made mountain of stone, glass, and steel. A mighty wall surrounds this amazing achievement. The city though can be deduced to be divided into nine parts, each connected with the wall broken only by the Nine Sea Gates with most of the city built above the Outer Wall.
Underneath this man-made mountain is the Ports where the only light is the Bluestone Posts situated on almost every corner and shafts of light breaking open as massive warehouse lifts bring goods and people to the Upper Quarters. Despite the prevalence of the Bluestone in the Ports, the Ports are a dark, crowded warren of warehouses, pubs, tenement homes, and businesses mostly associated with ship building and other related types. Situated on each of the innermost corners of all the Quarters are the foundations of the ancient Nine Towers. The tops of the Towers now make up the Upper Keeps that further divide the Upper Quarters as well as the bottom.
The Upper Quarters, despite their name, sport a menagerie of people from craftsmen to nobility. The Upper Quarters can be divided into three parts. The Low Tier is mostly comprised of craftsmen, tradesmen, and businesses such as inns and pubs of a finer taste than those that can be found in the Ports. The Middle Tier, also called the Estates, is where the nobility of Riversheart call their home. The High Tier contains the Emperor's Palace where resides the Emperor and his family as well as it's own citadel and barracks.
Defense of the city is managed by the City Watch. At an order from the High Commander, the city's many gates can be locked down and the archaic bridges lowered to make the city more defensible. The Emperor's Guard is responsible for the defense of the Emperor's Palace and are armed with great swords and garbed in adamantian plates. They are made up exclusively of Castians. The Port Watch is nominally under the command of the City Watch but are undisciplined and unruly compared to the dedicated and highly trained City Watch but outnumber the City Watch three times over. At any one time, the High Commander has near six thousand guardsmen under his command.
Part of the Holy World Codex. A rough idea of the capital city for the Holy Empire.
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? Responses (25)
Just a formatting side note, your entire sub came out in bold text, not sure if that was intentional or not? ;)
It wasn't intentional. Thanks for pointing it out to me.
Very cool, reminds me a bit of Sharn the City of Towers from Eberron, and it a great place to set a campaign or use as a base of operations for a adventuring group.
One could even roll back the history and present the city as a great ruin shrouded in ice and snow for the group to explore, and perhaps resurrect to greatness in time.
All in all an evocative place with a solid sense of history, I really like it!
Forgot to vote. ;)
Thank you Lady Wolf for the comment. I have never really read that much source material on Eberron, primarily focusing on the worlds of Tolkien, Abeir-Toril, and a host of others.
And love that idea. I can imagine those first pioneers drawn to the city, as driven forward by some great purpose..
Good world tale, nice amount of detail. I enjoyed it. And what LW said, too!
Thanks Muro. I'll be adding a bit more information later on with the lands of Imperia and how they've come to dominate the world. Stay tuned.
Really enjoying watching this setting unfold. I finished reading a book on Etruscan history not very long ago and your work puts me in mind of its later days, along with the growing power of Rome.
The Eturians are a rough amalgam of the Romans and the Datians are based on the Greeks. I merely took the names of Etrusca and modified it a bit. The Datian's name I believe is based on Dacia but has no connection whatsoever to the Roman province of the same name. They dwell in the lands of Tiberia West of the lands of Imperia where sits Riversheart.
A nicely described city. Lots of useful little details.
I find the name 'Havocian' somewhat amusing. I expected you to describe their activities as spreading Havoc. :)
Thank you! And yes, it certainly does mean that. And the Havocian Empire certainly delivered plenty of havoc during it's time.
4.5 /5 Love the name Riverheart(will steal!) Depth on this one is great, my only quibble(and ,please its MINOR) is that you spent a lot of effort on the architecture, I would like to see a LOT more about the society.I really hope that you do a lot more with this, your really close to HoH territory! Wonderful!.
Thank you. And I think I'll create a sub later down the road to describe the lands of Imperia and her people, specifically the urban areas like Riversheart. That should solve the lack of any cultural tidbits I didn't throw in this one. Thanks for pointing that out.
Because you'v egot such a great'start' to this I would put the cultural aspects into THIS.
Yeah you're right. I'll write up a few paragraphs on the culture and add it.
What do we know about the city today? It's a port, and it's a capital, and it's got neighborhoods, and the neighborhoods are segregated by class/money, and there's a City Watch, and the gates can be closed to secure the city, and there's a separate watch for the wharfside, and the city's a mercantile center, and the ruler has his own guard force. That pretty much describes 95% of every capital city port in RPGdom, and we can make these presumptions in moments. What sets this city apart?
The 'Temple Palace' has an evocative sound, but unfortunately the name is all we know about that. Is this a theocracy, or is there a religious leader separate from the Emperor?
And the language is just too florid in spots. 'The city though can be deduced to be divided into nine parts' ... that's an awfully convoluted way to say that there are nine districts/neighborhoods.
(This comment was edited for a violation of the Citadel's strict code of commenting etiquette. if you believe this action was made in error, please contact Strolen through PM.)
I think one of the main points to understand is that this submission was probably not written for you. Perhaps it is a world being fleshed out still and the backstory is important to other interconnected ideas that never made it. Or perhaps it was just an idea that was sitting in the brain and must be got out. We don't expect everything to be the pinnacle of world building.
The purpose of the site is not to provide game ready ideas and scenarios, it is 'is a place of creative freedom for role players and game masters with awesome ideas. Over time, the Citadel has turned into a bottomless resource of creativity and inspiration for thousands.' Obviously you have a ton of issues with it, but nothing in the writing that sparked an idea or anything else to add or share?
So, I get bothered by inflammatory comments like your opening volley. 'This isn't a usable city' and 'players don't give a damn.' Seriously? Apparently other commenters accepted it for what it was, a shared creative idea. If the author asked for an editor to review the material, some of your other comments would be more welcome but I think you expect too much sometimes for a site that wants to be a creative outlet. This is simply somebody's idea that they were willing to share, not the next LotR, so shouldn't be condemned for sharing.
Maybe you didn't mean it as critically as you wrote. But read it from the author's perspective and some empathy and maybe you will better see how it comes across.
I think you are being unfair strolen and I think you need to own what the site has become strolen. Scras recently wrote this about submission quality and he was paraphrasing another one of your luminaries Moonhunter.
'This is not a bad submission, but it isn't a good one either. An ideal to strive for is the Hollywood standard, as in presenting the item as if it were to be used in a movie, comic, or other entertainment venue. What does it look like? Who created it, and why did they do so? It is obviously a powerful weapon, and there are many powerful weapons (YAKAS - yet another kick ass sword), so what makes this one different?'
I am not trying to defend Morningstar's behavior or his 'logic'. Nor do I want codemn him. But it is wrong to suggest that this is a free-form open forum for sharing ideas. As you have said it is not 'newbie' friendly. Furthermore, to tell Morningstar that this was 'written not for him' is also absurd. We can only critique what is on the page. We can say how we would use it or we can guess at other uses, but that sword cuts both ways
Finally, I think the responsibility for the 'usability' critique lies on you or whoever wrote the voting prompts. Saying something is useful is a coarse critique, sometimes applicable, but largely irrelevant for an idea guild. We should judge whether the idea is well developed, novel, well written, well presented and does it achieve the literal goals set forth on the page. After that, we can get into stuff like entertaining, useful or offensive.
You are right Morningstar is unkind. I have been dismissed by guys like him. (I always hope I am not one, but if I write one that looks like his just leave the comment Morningstar and I will change it. Though to be fair I didn't think his write up of this post was all that off base.) Yet I have also but also been pushed around by you, strolen, for being too 'intellectual', 'obtuse' or 'critical'. So my sympathy cuts both ways. . You, strolen, have put forth a system for judging ideas. There is a community built around that. You have achieved something here. I am not knocking that, but I don't think you are entirely comfortable with it. If one just wants to share ideas one could stick it in the forums. But if you want it to be judged you stick it out here. And you are the one that gave the judges the scoring card that read 'useable'.
Off topic discussion moved to the forums: http://strolen.com/guild/index.php/topic,7363.0.html
Through the ages, the city continued to get elevated...which, to me, means TONS of dungeons, caves and secret passage ways underneath the city. Many would be destroyed and filled in but many would not be or could be excavated by enterprising folks. There would be issues with the rivers and extended systems leaving the city, but a great opportunity for yet another section of the city.
Also got me thinking about the pontoon bridge parts. Not sure I have seen much like that around. That is a fun, stealable idea for another type town built in a marsh or a Waterworld type thing.
Good post. It does have a lot of dry 'so and so begot so and so' type history to it. It is also written in that biblical/passive voice, which is how we expect these things to be written, yet the voice makes the reading a little chewy. And sometimes you break from the voice and say things 'take it up a notch'.
But overall the voice has effect of making us feel like we are getting this information from an in-game intellect, so that is good . In the end it left me wanting to more about the city. It has this whole watery unground with pubs and warehouses. That is cool. I am intrigued by your setting. I want to know more. Is bluestone your idea or is that something I should now from other gaming sources.
Welcome to my new and improved(?) 'Longspeak's Official Overblown Self-Aggrandizing Rating System.' Version 1.2
But first, I *liked* this. That should always be said up front. It helps to temper the more critical feedback later. If your aim is to improve your work, read on. If you just wanted to know if I liked it, stop here. :)
There are five criteria. Each asks a question. A 'Yes' gets a full point. A 'Yes, but...' gets half a point. A 'No' gets no point. Commentary explains what I'm looking for, in case you care. :)
Concept: Full Point - Based on: 'Is this a good and/or interesting idea?' Yes.
'Concept' replaces 'Art' Or, rather, the word better defines what I meant all along. :P
Craft: Half Point - Based on: 'Did I find the work free of errors and written with a reasonable level of technical proficiency?' Yes, but there were a few issues. The writing could be tightened in places, the voice could be a bit more consistent. To use Morningstar's example, 'The city though can be deduced to be divided into nine parts' is too many words for an idea you already expressed more succintly earlier in the work. If this was the only example, I would not ding you, but there's a few places where the writing can be tighter.
Take this criticism with a grain of salt. Everyone says my subs are too long. :P
Style: Half Point - Based on: 'Did the work give a good sense of the material, a 'flavor,' so to speak?' Yes, but it gave too many different flavors and not enough of any of them. It was hard to divine the true purpose of the work. You showed me many things, but not *enough* of any one thing. Now, as a GM, when I appropriate this for my own games, I will of course fill in my own gaps. But it's still good to have a sense of the author's intent, and I don't have a clear one here. It's some of each, and not enough of any.
Substance: Full Point - Based on: 'As a GM or Player, Can I take what's presented and run with it?' Yes.
This was another hard call. I *do* feel much of it could be fleshed out. That said, there is still a lot to work with, and that needs to be acknowledged. I can run with this.
Extra Mile: Half Point. Based on: 'Did the work go above and beyond in one or more of the above criteria, and/or did this piece somehow 'speak' to me in a way which is not accounted for by the four criteria?' Yes, but... well... it appealed to me because I love Everway, and it felt very Everway to me.
And so, with great reluctance, I give this a 3.5/5
I wanted to go higher. But there were elements I look for and didn't find. Still and all, a worthy, interesting idea I can see myself using in an Everway game.
I like v1.2 better than v.1, I think, mainly cos it actually explains each category. I had a vague idea of what each of the 5 category is about previously from your actual comments but didn't know how exactly you defined the 5 criteria. I also like that now you give the author a choice of whether he/she wants to receive your detailed breakdown. You know, me, you and some others love it but there're others not crazy about such feedback.
Thank you to all for the helpful comments. I'm currently working a full time job as well as having enjoyed the birth of a newborn son so a lot of my work into the Holy Codex has been put on the back burner. However, as time has passed enough for me to peruse all of the helpful comments, I will in due time edit the sub as much as possible.
A good city for any fantasy-themed word. 5/5