Something I've been working on for a long time that has occasionally reared its head here and there is my original campaign for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. Most of my time has gone into an open world sandbox narrative and, to be honest, monster/NPC creation (because it's so damn addictive), which is something I can't put up online because I like to surprise my players. I made the mistake of giving them access to a rough city map however, which forced me to decide on the final layout of the city the campaign takes place in.
As I may have mentioned earlier my campaign, which is currently being referred to affectionately as SWSTS, is set entirely in one place; the Plague City of Kaladoss. In all of the D&D I've played before, cities are often given an expositional description with touches of added character here and there, but for the most part they a hollow frames for relevant points of interest. In SWSTS's case I wanted the city to be as much an antagonist as the campaign itself, with enough detail that every building is accounted for, either by specific placement or being assigned contents via randomised tables and a primitive text generator I built in Unity.
Kaladoss, City of the Mountain
Kaladoss is a human city that was carved out of the very mountain, Kala, itself. It is supported by the surrounding farm villages and flies the banner of the Queen of Spring alongside its own. Before the Fall, Kaladoss was run under the eye of Lord Kedamir. He was an apt ruler who saw potential in Kaladoss’s majesty and promoted tourism in his city’s infrastructure. He founded the Adventurer’s guild and pushed for the development of monuments, parks and festivals to draw attention to the city.
The quantity of stone used in Kaladoss gives it a pale, dirty gray colour that gets more pristine higher up the mountain where more sun reaches. In combination with the ore harvested from the mountain, the city has a strong gothic aesthetic with high-reaching buildings that utilise a lot of iron and stone. The craftsmanship that goes into the construction of these buildings is exquisite. Splashes of colour are spread throughout the city from the various parks, gardens and banners.
Kaladoss gets its water from mountain streams and underground rivers that feed into the Dead River (named from the speed at which it travels, which is deceptively slow on the surface, and the high density of minerals in the water that reduces the growth of plant life in and around it). Careful and precise cultivation allows for the sustenance of the plant life in the city. The district of Finloche manages and treats the water supply of city to keep the water drinkable. A simple sewer system runs under the city that dumps waste into underground caverns that have become infested with Otyugh, much to the benefit of both parties.
Kaladoss uses the standard currency of the land; ten copper buds to a silver bloom, two blooms to an electrum branch, five branches (ten blooms) to a gold sun, and ten suns to a platinum shard.
Rockmouth: Your first stop in a wonderful journey. The Kaladoss city council understands the importance of first impressions and spared no expense ensuring the face of the city is vibrant, varied and accessible. Here, you’ll find a manner of wonderful things. Want a souvenir? Check out the Pentarch Block Market. Here for a holiday? Enjoy the numerous pocket gardens and tea houses. A connoisseur of the finer things? Don’t miss the (in)famous gossip houses and smoke rooms. There’s a little something for everyone here.
Barrowwood: The Garden District. A place for peace of mind and natural beauty. Many Kaladoss residents find comfort in the tranquillity of the Barrowwood; a way of escaping the hustle and bustle the rest of the city brings yet still within the safety of our walls. Have dinner at the Firefly café. Seek out the hidden shrine of Forshuia. Or simply enjoy the shade of the trees on a sunny day. Summer or Spring, Barrowwood is the place to be.
Central: The heart of our fine city. Central is the trader’s district and the place to be for those who enjoy shopping or meeting new people. When you’re not busy losing yourself in exotic shops and stall, be sure to check out Central’s lively night-society. Central does not rest. Whoever you are, whatever you do, there’s something (or someone) here for you! Visitors must see the Grand Kala Bank, Cobble Square and Market Street.
Lower Ward Portside: The main residential district for the workers of Kaladoss. The fine folk who live here are the backbone of our city. Given its predominance for housing, Portside does not offer many ‘sights’ for tourists and is best viewed from the walls that surround it. Please speak with one of our helpful staff at the desk if you would like to book a tour along the walls.
District Sanct: A place full of rich history and culture where all are welcome; devout, curious and faithless alike. Also known as the ‘district of healing,’ District Sanct is the hub of all things holy. It was the first district to be established several centuries ago when the mountain Kala was a site of pilgrimage and holy teaching. If anything at all, be sure to check out the Grand Cathedral; a must see for historians and sight-seers alike.
Finloche: The second oldest district of Kaladoss and the main source of water for the city. Given its functionality, Finloche is lacking in residential structures but makes for an interesting visit for those interested in modern mechanics. Kaladoss’ advanced plumbing systems, water filtration and mills make it a must-see for those with grubby fingers and a love of industry!
Eastport: The centre of import and export of Kaladoss. Although a large section of the district is sectioned of for industry, the docks make for an interesting visit for lunch, doubly so after hours. On clear days the barge runs for tours down the river for a unique view of the famous Great Bridge.
Upper Ward Highmarket: One of the older districts, housing some of the best views in the city. Well worth a visit if you don’t mind the climb! Highmarket is home to many of our esteemed guildhouses and institutes of knowledge. A sanctuary of high society well worth any traveller’s time.
Adderton: The cultural nexus of Kaladoss. Adderton is practically overflowing with creativity and ingenuity. Kaladoss’ own university is sited there, as well as the most prestigious theatres, laboratories and guilds. With so much to explore and experience here, you could plan an entire stay around the one district.
Enjoy your stay!
- Taken from a welcome pamphlet in the Rockmouth Information Centre, pre-Fall.