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Alkenstar City

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Alkenstar City
Alkenstar City
(City)
Titles City of Smog; Clockwork City; Clockwork Metropolis
Nation Alkenstar
Region Mana Wastes
Size Metropolis
Population 53,600
Demographics 85% humans, 7% dwarves, 3% halflings, 5% other
Government Council
Alignment Neutral
Ruler Grand Duchess Trietta Ricia
Leader High Parliament
Images of Alkenstar City

Source: Wardens of the Reborn Forge, pg(s). 56

Alkenstar City is the capital city of the Grand Duchy of Alkenstar and houses the whole of the Duchy's governmental infrastructure. The city is located on top of the Hellfallen Cliffs, where the Ustradi River falls seven hundred feet down Alken Falls. Monumental works of engineering and architecture, including the Bridge of the Gods, connect the city to the vassal communities of Martel and Dongun Hold. As a result of the urban development of the Duchy, many incorrectly consider these vassals mere districts of Alkenstar City proper, rather than distinct communities in their own right.

Alkenstar City is also the nation's center of industry, housing the Duchy's infamous Gunworks, the source of mass-produced firearms used both for the protection of the city-state and for trade throughout the Inner Sea region. As a result of the industrial advancement of Alkenstar, a constant cloud of white steam and sooty smoke hangs in a haze over the city, generated by the gears and pistons of countless factories operating around the clock.[1]

To the west of the city are the Karggat Hills, a rocky region dotted with mines and factories.[2]

Description

The city of Alkenstar is divided into two distinct parts—Smokeside and Skyside—naturally separated by the Ustradi River. The poorer and more dangerous half of the city, Smokeside, is located in a permanent pocket of antimagic, where spells both arcane and divine simply cease to function. Here, a tumble down the stairs can be just as lethal as a bullet wound (though the latter is far more likely), as magical healing is non-existent and unpracticed doctors are the only way for many citizens to remedy deadly injuries or disease. Gangs and criminal organizations operate out of soot-covered factories, ruling the streets beneath a perpetual cloud of lung-burning smog. For all its hazards, however, this side of the city is also one of the most highly sought out, since it is one of the few places in the Inner Sea where one can reliably avoid magical detection via divination, as scrying and other eldritch means of locating a person simply do not work among the smokestacks and filth-ridden alleys of Smokeside.

The half of the city on the eastern side of the Ustradi River is known as Skyside because the towers here are among the few places in Alkenstar where one can penetrate the blanket of smog and see the sky. The wide river itself is an area of unforgiving primal magic, which washes down the Alken Falls as surely as it occasionally seeps into the waters of Smokeside and Skyside from time to time. Only the wealthiest and most established Alkenstarians may live in Skyside. Here, the Grand Duchy holds sway, as do the myriad engineering guilds, metallurgic factories, Brigh- and Abadar-worshiping temples, and universities of alchemy and primal magic. The organizations and businesses of Skyside utilize the unpredictable fonts of magical energy that course through the soil—arcane remnants of the ancient wars between neighboring Geb and Nex—in order to drive their noxious industries ever forward in the name of profit, progress, and power.

The result of these two distinct sectors is a dichotomy between the haves and have-nots—those who use haphazard magic in their privileged daily lives and those who must subsist in a raw, unforgiving world run by machinery and grit alone. Factor in the presence of clockwork automatons constructed by Skyside's wealthiest engineering guilds and the burgeoning technology of guns, and Alkenstar quickly proves to be one of the most fascinating, exotic, and compelling cities in the Inner Sea region.[3]

As part of the Grand Duchy of Alkenstar, the city of Alkenstar is technically a vassal of the nation of Nex, and Grand Duchess Trietta Ricia should, by the letter of the law, report to the rulers of that land. In practice, however, Alkenstar remains a fairly independent city-state and a force of neutrality between the rival nations of Nex and Geb.[4]

References