Shards of Light, Shards of Shadow
The Gateway to Xen’drik, Stormreach sits on the ruins of a Giant city. Formerly the home of pirates, the frontier town now sits at the forefront of exploration and exploitation of the Continent of Secrets.
The titan Cul’sir supposedly founded the city that would become Stormreach as the heart of his empire. The area was previously known for some sort of curse on the land. Unlike the more militaristic Su’lat empire, the Cul’sir giants focused on arcane advancement. Its wizards were somehow involved in the event that banished the quori invaders, utilizing a powerful source beneath the city that has yet to be found. However, this weakened the giants enough for the elves to rebel. Tairndal elves tell of one of their great heroes, Dyreal Morain, leading an attack against “the greatest evil in the land” near Stormreach; his forces were utterly destroyed. But the victory would be short lived as the dragons eventually destroyed the giant civilization. The city, strangely enough, was spared the full force of draconic aggression for reasons that remain a mystery.
A series of cultures established footholds in Xen’drik over the following millennia. Giant remnants were first, but were driven out by the Du’rashka Tul, the “Madness of Crowds” left behind by the dragons to prevent giant civilization from reforming. The sahaugins are reported to have found a sea colony in the bay, but refuse to speak of its corruption and eventual expulsion by other giants. These giants soon too abandoned the city when struck by a disease no magics could cure. Even a strange colony of the insectoid thri-kreen inhabited the ruins, only to literally vanish overnight in a manner yet to be explained.
A few other cultures briefly inhabited the ruins, including an ill-fated venture by the gnomes of Zilargo sixteen hundred years ago. But human pirates started using the ruins as a base for piracy against the growing nation of Galifar sometime in the 700s YK. This predation, and the Dragonmarked Houses interest in the resources of the continent, pressured the crown of Galifar to deal with the problem. By 802 YK, the pirates were pacified and Stormreach was established. Five pirates who worked with the crown were awarded rule of the city and are known as the Storm Lords.
The city has prospered due to the relationship between the Houses and the Storm Lords. Only a few events stand out in recent memory. In 890 YK, the Storm Lord Castal Omaren tried to eliminate the other lords and seize the city for himself. The uprising was quelled, and though the Omaren’s retained their seat, their power was greatly diminished. During the Last War, Stormreach remained neutral, its ties to Galifar tenuous at best. It became a home for dissidents or others fleeing Khorvaire. A little over fifty years ago in 946 YK, the city came under its most violent assault in memory by a collection of giants known as the Basalt Tower. Only through cooperation of the Dragonmarked Houses, the Storm Lord’s forces, and the usually neutral giants of Rushemé was the attack thwarted.
Now, with the Last War over, more economic and scholarly interest has reached the city.
Five Things Every Stormreacher Knows About
- The Storm Lords The Storm Lords are major figures in the city, and their exploits are watched closely.
- Tall Tales of Xen’drik Every Stormreacher can spin tales about the Lost Continent, usually involving harrowing escapes, fantastic creatures, and vanished explorers.
- Languages Stormreach, though small, stands at the crossroads of giant, drow, and Khorvaire civilization. As such, most Stormreachers know at least one additional language and snippets of others.
- No Justice Stormreach is beyond the Code of Galifar, and the Stormreach Guard works for the Storm Lords, not to maintain security.
- Gangs and Militias Ruffians of all sorts walk the streets of Stormreach. Some prey on the wards, others supposedly defend them.
Stormreach’s population exceeds 11,500, with humans about half of that. Due to the Dragonmarked House enclaves, there is an equal share of the common races, with warforged and changelings making out the largest remaining fractions. Drow, giants, and other stranger folk are also common in Stormreach.
Geography and Places of Interest
Stormreach sits mostly on an island at the mouth of the Koronoo River. The ruins are built upon edifices originally built for giants, though access left for their elven slaves (called Rigging) are used by the locals. The city is built over layers of ruins, sewers, and dungeons that are treacherous and hard to reach. Above ground, the mix of ancient and newer construction, mysterious architecture (giant broken pillars, circles that project visions, and occasional floating towers), and toppled statues are shattered reminders of the giant’s past
The city is divided into nine districts, each with its own districts and character.
Cross joins five of the other districts, and is passed through by most of the city. It is home to Brelish and Cyran districts and includes the House Tharashk refinery that connects to the harbor. Information, for a price, might be found in Cross.
Forgelight is the most fortified part of the city, and houses the imposing House Deneith enclave. As suited to the House of Sentinels, many mercenaries, smiths, and foundries may be found here, as well as most of the cities warforged. The oldest temple to the Sovereign Host is also found here.
All of the waste water of the city, including its sewage, is pumped into the Harbor. The Harbor is also the lifeblood of the city. With the enigmatic statue of the Emperor on the cliffs overlooking, a towering lighthouse with no rooms, and the water drowned ruins below, signs of the old city are everywhere.
Home to the Bazaar, its enveloping red tent visible from anywhere in the district, the Marketplace is the center of the city. Services to all that visit the city can be found here, including the House Lyrandar airship tower (Falconer’s Spire) and the Storm Lord’s seat of power, Lorsmarch Palace. Molou’s Distillery is the source of most of the highly addictive kuryeva gin in Stormreach.
Surrounded by high walls with many floating towers above, Respite is one of the more wealthy districts. The city’s largest necropolis can be found here, with many undead and cunning traps protecting graves of long-dead pirate lords. Beneath these, the burial ground of long forgotten giants lie restlessly. The House Jorasco enclave is found within Respite.
Silverwall is named for its highly reflective outer wall that casts distorted reflections all that passes near. The Red Ring arena stands here, as does the enclave for The Twelve. House Kundarak has its own enclave here, and owns all the land on the other side of wall, an undeveloped (and untouched by giants) spot of the island where they have erected a very fortified—and much speculated about—fortress.
Leadership & Law
The five Storm Lords rule Stormreach. Each are descendants (or in the case of Yorrick Amanatu, he himself) of rapacious but crafty pirates that sided with Galifar in pacifying Stormreach. In return, rule for the city was given to them. Each Storm Lord oversees different aspects of the city, but the effective balance of power shifts between them often.
The Stormreach Watch serves the interest of the Storm Lords and no one else. Anyone can join regardless of past transgressions. Most Watch members are very open to bribery. Common folk depend on local (usually nationalistic) militias for security if they cannot provide their own.
Besides the Storm Lords, there are many active factions within Stormreach. Most of the Dragonmarked Houses have an interest, as do the nations of Khorvaire and beyond. Stormreach is a haven for intrigue in a place where everything can be covered up.Gangs
- The Bilge Rats: The ruthless gang of the Harbor District.
- The Fleas: Orphaned children who run a roving gang of pickpockets
- The Golden Lions: A group of aristocratic layabouts as likely to spend a night carousing as to smash in heads. Tend to be found in Respite and the Temple District.
- The Shrouds: Elves associated with undead who run protection rackets. They move freely beneath the city, and have been known to perform assassinations.
- The Storm Hammers: Cyrans twisted by witnessing the Day of Mourning, these nihilistic sociopaths victimize at random within the Cyran districts of Cross.
- The Night Tide: Stormreach’s black market.
- The Quickfoot Gang: Whispers tell of a gang which rules the criminal underworld, that even the Bilge Rats must respect. No direct evidence that they, or their mysterious leader Quickfoot, truly exists.
- Dannel’s Wrath: Cyran expats who believe the use of violence is needed to regain Cyran sovereignty.
- Knights of Thrane: The Knights of Thrane protect the ideal of Thrane, specifically that of one ruled by the royal family and not the Church of the Silver Flame (though most are Flamists). They protect the Thranish wards in Stormreach.
- The Ninth Wands: A contingent of the Aundairian army that refused to lay down their arms, the Ninth Wands now vigilantly and violently protect the Aundairian wards of Stormreach.
- Swords of Karrn: Though they seem to be aligned with Karrnathi interests, the Swords of Karrn actually follow the teachings of Karrn the Conquerer. Elite warriors from across the Five Nations make up this militia, who provide the Karrnathi district of Stormreach with some semblance of martial law.