Sails & Sabres
The ancient, airy capitol of Osil clings to a three-hundred foot sea cliff commanding a view of the Sapphire Coast and Kallen Sea. Less than a day's ride from the highlands of Eere Dahl, brisk winds sweep the city in all seasons. The crashing surf against the cliff-base lulls residents to sleep every evening and the shrieks of seabirds wake them every dawn. Walkways cut back and forth up and down the cliff, with stairwells ranging in angle from the wide, easy Causeway to dozens of treacherously steep residential paths and short-cuts. Rose-colored canvas awnings mark shops and dwellings, and boom-cranes sprout from the cliff to raise and lower loads from the docks. Three miles north, the walls of Claghnre, the headquarters of the Royal Army, pre-date the city itself.
The residents of the city are proud people, many trace their roots here to before the Council of Seven, and they usually live in the same home excavated by their forebears. Space is a premium where dwellings are carved, rather than built, and every space is filled with rich history. This is partly responsible for the markedly better relations between citizens of King's Cliffs and the dwarven Clanlords, particularly the Eastern Clans. Families will often share spaces with their extended relations. It's quite common for people to live with not only their parents, spouse and children, but with their siblings as well. Most rooms are multi-purpose; for example, the norm is for every member of the family to have a personal floor cushion, stuffed with wool and down, eliminating the need for cumbersome beds. The cushions are moved out of the way when not in use, making every room a bedroom when needed. Cooking is done in front rooms, with well-ornamented earthenware stoves which also heat the homes. Rainwater collects as it runs down the cliff-face, channeled into communal cisterns shared by two or three households.
Storms are the greatest threat to life in King's Cliff. Furious squalls often come ashore, ramming into the cliffs as they make for the mountains beyond. Keeping driving rain from entering homes is a constant source of amateur engineering and frustration, and the winds frequently throw belongings asunder. Few homes have installed windows, as they tend to be torn apart by the winds anyway. Poor visibility, rain-slick stone, and wind make moving about the city a deadly risk.
- Weyspire Palace: The royal residence and capitol of the kingdom, built from deep brown stones and decorated with a dozen flying spires, the largest of which is the Skytower. The palace houses the royal family, the Grand Marshall of the Army and Grand Admiral of the Navy, although the latter two are rarely at the palace or even in the city. The Royal Arcane Conclave, though small, occupies Seddiwick Spire.
- Claghnre: An ancient fortification outside the city that serves as both army headquarters and the holiest site of Heironeous in Henal. The tight bond between the Heironic order and the Royal Army has been forged over many years, and paladins often serve as officers. Paragon Marshall Octavian was himself a Field Marshall for nearly a decade before devoting himself more fully to the Order. Claghnre has never been breached in its millennial history, dating back to the Kenoran Empire and beyond. So solid are its walls that the rebel armies never even attempted to assault it, they only besieged the fort. Legend holds that Claghnre held the longest after Tazgin'Ra's defeat before the defenders were all discovered dead inside by General Cassius, the famed warrior-poet. Heironic clerics cleansed the fort for years, eventually building their own shrine atop the eastern bulwark.
The clifftop encompassing Weyspire Palace and a multitude of historic stonework mansions around which craftsmen jam their workshops and storehouses. Cavander Circus is a large arena that's been constantly rebuilt and expanded over generations, in which public events are often held, from royal speeches to dramatic performances and dance exhibitions. On holidays, the circus fills with revelers eager to watch lightworks cast forth from the top of Weyspire's Skytower by the Royal Arcane Conclave, mage advisers to the court.
The upper and lower faces of the cliff are not clearly delineated, and there's not any official reason to do so, as the City Warden oversees the local civic responsibilities of the city as a whole. The difference is largely based on relative wealth or occupation. Upper Face tends to house more wealthy families of skilled artisans, foreign aristocrats, and merchants. The comfort of the homes is about the same, though they are often more ornate in decor and furnishings. Perhaps most telling is that fewer family members tend to share households. Shops trend towards more expensive goods and services, and performers frequent the pathways wherever nooks in the stone make them least obstructive.
The laborers, soldiers, and less established tradesmen and artisans tend to live lower on the cliff, nearer the docks and counter-weight elevators to the bluff. The shops tend to cater to the more economical needs and comforts. It's worth noting that dwarves are often more comfortable living near the base of the cliff, often willing to pay substantial sums to rent the rare hostel for extended periods.
The docks are a network of timber pathways and piers that form a sort of extension of the cliff. Structures built on pilings store goods, house workshops, and lodge travelers. Many houseboats line the timber, for those who find the cave dwellings uncomfortable or lack the means to purchase them. Residents of the docks tend to be the newest arrivals to King's Cliffs, but there are still long-time boat-dwellers that have been here for a few generations. Crime is probably densest in this district, where the deep communal bonds aren't quite as established. That's not to say it's a den of iniquity. The Guard of the Royal City, usually referred to as Steppers, maintain a remarkably low crime-rat for a difficult-to-navigate city of this size.
LG Metropolis Corruption -1; Crime +0; Economy +2; Law +3; Lore +5; Society +5 Qualities: Tourist Attraction, Rumor-mongering Citizens, Holy Site(Heironeous), Insular Danger: +4
Demographics: Pop. 9,000 (5,000 non-combatant) 10% Transient, 50% Oslander, 30% Halfling, 2% Beninite, 5% Kard, 2% Seafolk, <1% Eastern Clans, <1% Veltane, <1% Other
Language: Kent (Trade common) and Ehelah (old halfling)
Religion: Hieroneous and Yondola dominate, with fewer followings of Pelor, St. Cuthbert, and Veccna. Smaller cloisters of other deities represented.
Government: Elected City Warden under Feudal Monarchy (Kingdom of Osil)
Currency: 1 kingmark/gp, 1 dukemark/sp, 1 twip/cp…avg. money-changing fee: 3%
Dominant Exports: Crafted Goods, Alchemicals, Services, Luxuries, Art, Textiles
Dominant Imports: Grains, Produce, Meat, Raw Materials, Goods, Exotics
Class Demographics: 12% Wealthy, 18% Mercantile, 35% Tradesmen, 20% labor, 10% diplomatic/military, 5% Destitute
Skills modified by Attributes: Corruption(Bluff vs officials, Stealth outside); Crime(Sense Motive vs bluff, Sleight of Hand to pickpocket); Economy(Craft, Perform, Profession); Law(Intimidate, Diplomacy vs officials); Lore(Diplomacy to Gather Info, Knowledge using libraries); Society(Disguise, Diplomacy vs non-official)