The capital city of the islands; population c.150,000
The Islands’ capital, the place of first landing after the ‘Great Retreat’, is the nation’s largest city and chief port. As the oldest city on the main island it is a bustling and crowded place, full of all races and creeds, and offers all of the wares that are available from such a small area.
Deepingwald is the main centre of commerce, drawing everyone from across The Islands to meet, trade and work. The city never seems to sleep, with around-the-clock activities. Whether it is unloading the morning’s catch at the docks, the early morning baking of bread, the hubbub and chaos of the open markets, or the intriguing nightlife, there is always activity.
The people of Deepingwald work very hard, striving to make ends meet in an ever-growing population, and to be the ones that stand out from the crowd in the hope of gaining more spacious housing or lands.
Social etiquette and the social ladder are both important to Deepingwald’s citizens — money from hard work may bring some modicum of influence, but social skills can help accelerate one’s standing. Fads and fashions play an important role in many Deepingwald citizens’ lives, with extravagant boutiques and costumed balls a regular occurance within the middle and upper classes.
Some of the upper classes hold an aloofness about the city, as though they are better than some of their fellows in Port Serena or Capel-Treath, although the rigid trading and political structure does not allow this to extend any further.
The city of Deepingwald has continued to expand over the previous four hundred and more years, stemming from the simple encampments of landfall, through to the city that stands today. The Silver River, flowing fast and clear from the Metalspine Mountains, swipes the city in half like a sword cut, from northwest to southeast reaching an inlet at the very southeastern tip of the island where the harbour now stands. The old city stands to the north of the harbour, and the older, grander buildings stand along this side. The younger — and some might say more vibrant — areas stand to the south. Only the docks straddle both sides of the river.
The Harbour Quarter is the oldest part of town, with the docks and the Old City firmly established only fifty years or so after The Islands were inhabited. As the populace grew, so did the city, expanding along the northeastern banks of the river and across to the eastern cliffs into the Noble Quarter, foundations for these buildings and the extension to the city walls being laid in the Year of the Crawling Vine (502). However, it was not long before further growth was needed. With the founding of Port Serena in the Year of the Borrowed Crown (539) more capable docks were needed and a larger market. The Harbour Quarter was extended south of the Silver River, and permanent bridges began to be built across the water.
The Robed Magisters sought and received approval in the Year of the Dead (552) to construct their college and towers in the Tower Quarter with the provision of adequate payment towards sewerage and streetlighting efforts to make the city more orderly — an annual tithe that the Robed Magisters still pay for and govern to this day. Alongside the college came more housing, and a small cemetary, known as the City of the Dead.
It was around this time that the walls were bolstered, even though no hostile forces or creatures had ever appeared, and construction began on the four watchtowers that remain to this day.
In the Year of Nineteen Swords (621) to city expanded once more, reaching out to the southern cliffs and away to the west, now known as the Southside Quarter, mainly for housing for the growing workers, fishermen, labourers, and their families. The housing was well planned, with adequate room for those with means and those with not, but in time some of these areas, particularly The Rookery, have earned a reputation that keeps away any of those with means. The outer walls of the city do not extend around some of these areas, particularly to the west, and as such they have started to grow more organically, with less planned construction.
The final planned growth of the city followed the slopes of the mountain range to the north of the river, outside the city walls, in the Year of Stagnant Water (747). Considered part of the Tower Quarter today, many of the buildings that have cropped up in this area are larger villas, overlooking the rest of the city. With no walls to restrict construction, further buildings are erected on a periodic basis, although they must be approved by the Senate before construction begins after an edict on construction passed in the Year of Cornerstones (855).
The Docks Harbour Quarter
The docks, as in many cities, house a large number of fishermen, traders, workers, and the periphery that goes to serve them. The area is probably the most busy and colourful of the city, with activity continuing all day and night. It is a working area, with boats being loaded and unloaded in a never-ending cycle. Fish, grains, and wines are the main goods that pass hands in this area, with wooden carts run by the Mercers’ Guild taking provisions to large wooden storehouses and restocking the ships with manufactured goods to be taken on the wide barges that sail to the other ports on The Islands.
Although the proliferation of sailors amongst the many inns and taverns along the dock’s waterfront causes trouble from time to time, the area is not lawless, and is patrolled constantly by The Watch.
The docks to the northern side of the Silver River are the eldest and more organised. A broad cobbled street at the waterfront leads onto the wooden decking of the docks themselves, stretching out southwards like a multitude of fingers on a lady’s hand. Tight, twisting alleyways lead around the many warehouses and establishments along the front. The larger and wealthier trading companies all have their warehouses here as well as their company offices. The docks on the southern side of the river, often noted as ‘downside’, are a little more ramshackle, but just as industrious.
Notable landmarks of the Docks include the harbour itself; the elaborately carved wooden decking, particularly around the northern half of the docks; the Silverload Bridge, spanning the river to the northwest; and a plethora of inns and taverns, such as “The Fisher’s Prize”.
Old City Harbour Quarter
The cobbled streets of the northern docks area lead through the maze of alleyways up a slight incline towards the Old City. The area contains some of the oldest buildings in the city, although with care and attention these buildings often look newer and sturdier than some of their counterparts in other areas.
Some of the first settlers on The Islands made their homes here after the ‘Great Retreat’, initially encampments and wooden shacks. They gradually grew in size and solidity over the years. Only when the population started to outstrip that initial settlement did the city start to expand to other areas, with different styles of building, new materials, and new road layouts.
Many of the noble families, their lines reaching back to the ‘Downfall’, have great mansion houses in the Old City, and the City Watch patrol the streets frequently to avoid any petty criminality, giving this part of the city a safe and welcoming feel. The older and richer noble families tend to have their mansions on the eastern edge of the Old City, towards the cliffs, with magnificent sea views.
Notable landmarks of the Old City include a number of small gardens that are immaculately tended; the many and varied noble mansions of all styles of architecture; the eastern watchtower, a six-storey square guard tower built of huge blocks of black stone at the eastern end of the Old City walls, overlooking the sea; and the curious ‘King’s Feet’, the remains of an old statue, just the two feet and calves remaining, which must have towered high above the Old City on the cliff’s edge, perhaps reaching eighty feet at it’s peak, judging by the twelve feet or so height of the broken stone. The remains of the rest of the statue, looking out to sea, to the east, are long lost to the sea below, and there remains no written record to validate the stories of the statue being erected in memorium of the Last King.
The Markets Harbour Quarter
As futher settlements were founded around The Islands, particularly those of Port Serena, and later Capel-Treath, Varnelonde, and kel-Morndin, the need to establish a permanent market area rather than the simple lines of stalls along the docks became clear.
A large market square, and enough room for loading and unloading of goods, was made to the west of the downside docks. The broad cobbled square has a number of semi-permanent erections, allowing the storage and show of wares and gradually, over time, these have been covered by a fixed roof. Throughout the years the range of goods offered have expanded from the essentials of fish, meat, fruits and vegetables, and grain to a huge variety of goods from ironmongery to silks to spices and to wines. Market days are every day in Deepingwald, with stalls preparing and opening before dawn, particularly for the fishmongers, and many stalls opening late into the night where they are illuminated by gaily-coloured motes of light generated by the city lamplighters.
On balmy summer evenings when the sun dips below the western sky and the oranges, blues, pinks, and yellows of the market lights shine out brightly, the market becomes one of the favourite places in Deepingwald to sit, drink, and watch the Free Peoples pass by. Often the stalls extend across the Silverload Bridge, and the reflection of the lights in the Silver River is a wonder to behold.
Notable landmarks of the Markets include the Temple of Exchanging Hands, dedicated to Avandra, overlooking the Silver River; the western watchtower, a five-storey square guard tower built of huge blocks of black stone integrated into the old walls that defined the edge of the city at that time, at the southern side of the markets; Market Square, the central square that the markets all congregate around; and The Fish Run, the winding street that leads directly to the docks, and that holds an annual race to see which waterman can push a wooden cart with a gross of herring to the market the fastest.
Civil District Noble Quarter
poi: Council Square
Baronsward Noble Quarter
poi: eastern watchtower
Southsilver Mansions Southside Quarter
poi: western watchtower
Southcliff Southside Quarter
southern cliffs – being bought by dwarves, mining out the cliffs to build residences looking out to sea
poi: western gate
The Rookery Southside Quarter
When the extensions to the city were planned to the south adequate room and affordable housing was high on the agenda for the city’s governors. The buildings to the very west of the city were quickly taken up by those with little means; the labourers, the watermen, lamplighters, and all of those with little copper between them.
For a while all was well, but over the years the population continued to grow, and the area, unconfined by walls, grew organically with it. Simple but solid housing was added to by temporary ramshackle tenements, turning carefully planned streets into thin, dark alleyways and hard to spot passages known only to the very local residents. Those that scraped enough money together moved out when they could, but the rest of the area became a melting pot of the genuinely poor, destitute, the criminal underworld and those just hard-up on their luck.
Quickly, the area began to gain a reputation, and other citizens began to use the term ‘The Rookery’ to describe it. Thuggish gang wars are commonplace, as are family feuds, poorer relatives rivaling those that exist in noble circles in terms of their unfailing pride, how long they have endured and their spiteful avarice.
Various areas have a reputation as being rough, such as the Rookery Southside, the Gleam Streets, the Mavens and Backhooky Road. However, even the hardest residents of those areas think twice before walking down Shinbone Alley alone, even in broad daylight.
To the raised eyebrows of the noble community the City Watch rarely venture into large sections of the area, and in fact never interfere unless absolutely necessary. The canny Watch Captains instead rely on the self-policing aspect of society to regulate life inside its invisible boundaries.
Of recent years tensions have started to escalate across Deepingwald, and the Septate Senate are all too aware that The Islands can only support so many of the Free Peoples. With those at the bottom of the pile bearing the greatest weight, the Senate watch The Rookery carefully, monitoring it constantly for they know that the first sparks of the fire of unrest will likely come from there.
Notable landmarks of The Rookery include the plethora of small taverns, often just the main room of someone’s house, that sell any kind of beverage that one could name; the many small shrines and chapels that have been built or perhaps reassigned from other uses to allow the locals to worship any and all of the eleven major deities, some say even more than that; and the ability to buy, sell, find or lose any kind of item or object you can imagine — if you know the right people!
College Grounds Tower Quarter
City of the Dead Tower Quarter
Northspires Tower Quarter
poi: northern gate, northern watchtower, loading docks for river tribuatory
Stonerise Tower Quarter
Other Areas of Note
inner walls – surrounding Old City, matched by newer walls around market to the cliffs
middle walls – above nobility and wealthy areas – matched by wall around southern wealthy area
outer walls – up side of city of dead and across the wealthy (north gate) and mage quarters, matched by a wall on the southern side (bridge over river) down the working class area (west gate) to the cliffs
cheap palisades around the slums area and the southwestern working class
smaller walls alongside the river? particularly on northern side perhaps
Silverload Bridge at NW docks – largest bridge
two or three small bridges between wealthy and admin
none between mage and working class
bridge as part of outer walls
most wide enough for a single cart
navigable from mountains, but only for low barges
paths along side for horses to pull barges where necessary
small island before silverload bridge
North Gate, West Gate
N E S W