Tower of Memories
DescriptionThe Tower of Memories is a large city at the foot of the Greenridge Mountains. It started as a small fort and trading outpost several centuries ago. As the settlement grew, the original tower was extended over and over again. It first turned into a large fortress, expanded into several strongholds connected with each other, and finally evolved into a vast city of countless interconnected structures. At its peak, more than a hundred thousand people lived here. The apocalypse and the war with Va'Laeth took its toll, though, and today the population is at about 70.000 people. This still makes it the largest city of Delvaroth. The Tower of Memories was originally a trading outpost, and many of its residents are merchants or produce goods. You can acquire pretty much anything in the city, except for banned goods like Chainmetal or deadly poisons. Despite being a center of commerce, the metropolis is nowadays known even better for its collection of ancient relics and archaelogical findings - and the salvaged memories stored in King Hagnar's vault. In the first night of the new world of Ashandri, a spirit appeared before the king and explained to him how he could collect the memories of the dead. While the story itself is common knowledge, few people know all the details. The dwarves have been searching for what they call stray memories all over the world, both as a testament to the past and to uncover important knowledge. The king's council is also known to pay good money for salvaged memories. The king's Vault of Memories is regularly visited by sages, historians and adventurers. You have to ask for permission from the king's council first, but aside from that, there is no general restriction to enter the vault. There are some memories that are kept from the public, but these are exceptions. The council examines every request to enter the vault in a personal audience, and their decision is absolute - but most requests are accepted. Once you're allowed in, you can enter the vault whenever you want. This policy and the fact that all stored memories belonged to now-deceased people has led to the nickname of the Dead People's Library. The city has three main areas. The Rooftown consists of smaller buildings and tents on top of the stronghold itself. Wherever there's a bigger leveled area on the roofs, someone built at least a temporary structure on top. Many of the daylight-loving races live here, and you can enter this area via stairs and ladders without ever seeing the lower levels. The Inward is the area inside the building itself. The closer to the center you get, the more it looks like a traditional dwarven city. Many parts of the outer regions were built by other races, giving the town a variety of styles, even though each district has a more or less consistent character. Below the ground is the Dark City, a place that never sees the light of the day. Those of the city's residents that prefer life underground have settled in this area. There are also deep tunnels with several mining operations here, and rumours are some of the tunnels go all the way down to the bottom side of Ashandri. Whether this is true or not, the tunnels definitely connect to the Hollows, the natural subterranean world with its vast caverns and underground passages. The Tower of Memories is also the only known larger city in Delvaroth with a community of Ravager Elves. During the first attack of Va'Laeth, a group of about hundred of the Laethian elves deserted their army, and begged King Hagnar to grant them asylum. While the city was later conquered by Va'Laeth, and the elves fled the city, they later returned. Many locals still don't trust them, and the community is constantly moving to different places in the city to avoid harassment. But despite all difficulties, the ravager elves are a part of the community here, trying to build new lives for themselves.
ResidentsMany of the locals have a history together, fighting against the armies of Zathruax, trying to prevent the apocalypse, and later defending against the invasion of Va'Laeth. The bonds that were formed during these times are strong to this day. Despite the size of the city, life among the Towrys, as the locals call themselves, is not as anonymous as one would expect. Overall, the society of the Tower is very open-minded, considering trade as an ideal way to connect to other places and cultures. The residents are proud of their city and their culture, as well as the high quality of the goods produced here. Visitors usually receive a friendly welcome, but for those who move here, it takes long before they really feel at home. The strong bonds existing between neighbors can be a barrier for newcomers to become a part of the community.
Important charactersKing Hagnar Etherforge is a 220 years old Dwarf, and inherited the title of king from his father, Orgrim Etherforge. He is not only the benevolent ruler of the Tower, but also a master smith (and regularly complains to his council that he has to little time for his "real" work). His family got their name after they created a mystical forge, and every single item crafted there is imbued with magic.
Hagnar's belief is that a government only has three tasks: Protecting those who can't help themselves, solving conflicts that would otherwise escalate, and work on long-term projects for the benefit of all. Anything beyond that is, as he puts it, tyranny. But some people say he's only restricting the government that much because he doesn't want to invest more time in administrative tasks. Adrazair is an Unbound Spirit that sometimes appears in the city. He is the one who told King Hagnar about salvaging memories. Except for the king and his closest companions, few people know anything about him. There are rumours, though, that the spirit has approached capable individuals in the city to ask them for help or aid them with their own quests. If that is true (and most people believe it isn't), his motivations and goals are covered in mystery. Maible Boulderfarm is the current leader of the king's council. The 150 years old dwarven cleric of Bardrun Ironson devoted her life to understanding different cultures and races, and has mastered the art of diplomacy. She's not only one of Hagnar's closest friends, but also has ties to pretty much every important figure in the city. Maible convinced the king to grant asylum to the ravager Elf refugees during the first invasion. The elves are deeply thankful to her, but those who consider them dangerous hold a deep grudge against Maible. Brent Thunderfoot is the Warden of the Vault. He is a fourty years old Human that was adopted by halflings at a very young age. After the apocalypse, he gave his former business - he owned an armor shop - to his younger stepsister Vilia, taking over the position as Warden of the Vault of Memories. He not only oversees the place, making sure nobody steals or damages anything, but also takes care of all administrative tasks, from handling staff to cataloging new salvaged memories.
His own memory is extraordinary: He can remember every single thing he has ever seen, heard or read. There have been several attempts to kidnap or blackmail him to gain access to some of the secrets he knows. Since then, he has been given his own personal guard - a group of ten loyal and experienced soldiers, including two clerics, a clairvoyant wizard and others. Berry the Roofer is a Gnome that has his name not just because of his job. While he is an actual roofer, he is also an important figure in Rooftown - some say, he is Rooftown. While not officially holding any political power, he's got a talent at getting people to stand up for a cause. He has used this skill to fight for better living conditions for the non-dwarven races, and to further important projects in the upper area of the city. But he is also rumoured to have been involved in riots and other disturbances in the Tower, and it's well known that he hates and despises the ravager elves in the city. Aggvra is a female Half-Orc that is a known Unbound Spirit, living in the Inward. She has a twin sister, Vergra, and both were heavily wounded during the apocalypse. While Vergra survived her injuries, Aggvra died on the first night in Ashandri. The dead half-orc's soul entered her sister's body, saying that she invited her, giving control to the spirit of her older sibling. Some people doubt this story, believing Aggvra possesses Vergra against her will. The two half-orcs have worked as mercenaries in the past, and Aggvra still does - nowadays with little hesitation when offered shady jobs. There's gossip she secretly worked with the Laethian forces when they attacked the Tower, actively helping in their victory. But no one could find proof, and those who claimed to have been witnesses have all gone missing. Goar is a Tiefling who was raised by dwarves. It's said that he's the offspring of a really powerful demon or devil, and a dwarven adventuring group literally went to hell to steal the baby. Instead of becoming a powerful puppet for a fiend, Goar is now a valued member of the Tower's society. He lives in the Dark City, and works in the deepest mines below the Tower. He always seemed content with his life, but people say that something changed the moment Ashandri was transported to Braythe. Goar seems to search for something in the mines, and his friends and family are worried about him. The tiefling claims nothing has changed, though, and people just overinterpret his behavior. Parothys Yavan is one of the ravager elves living in the Tower of Memories. He acts as their spokesman, and is in regular contact with the king's council. These meetings aren't just about the concerns of the Laethian refugees: It's said that he advises and teaches the dwarven officials about his home and his race. Parothys has even been seen training soldiers, and at least once accompanied a mission to retrieve an important stray memory. Even Marisha Veilbreaker herself met him a few times.
The Palace HallThe King's Palace is the original fortress that, centuries ago, was the first extension of the city. The initial tower that was the foundation of the settlement is still a part of it, and is nowadays used as the Vault of Memories. The palace is not just the city's seat of government, but also home to the four clans that established the trading outpost a long time ago. Over a thousand dwarves live here, and the mines under the palace produce some of the finest gems that can be found in Delvaroth. The palace dungeon, the prison for the city's most dangerous criminals, is also located below the palace. It's said there are some captured ravager elves here, but that's not all. Strange rumours (that the king insists are nothing but nonsense) tell of salvaged memories that had a life of their own, dangerous living thoughts that could bring ruin to all of Ashandri.
The Vault of Memories
Also called the Dead People's Library, the vault is the one building with which it all started: The original Tower of Coins. Today, it extends far into the ground, dozens of levels filled with salvaged memories. They are stored in gems, their shape and colour reflecting a cataloging system that only the Warden of the Vault and the king himself fully understand. To get access to the Vault, you need to apply for an audience before the king's council. After you told your story and stated your intentions, the dwarves decide whether or not you are allowed inside. Don't ever try to start a discussion about it: Those who did were banned from the Vault forever. Important guests are usually greeted by Brent Thunderfoot himself, but sometimes he also finds time for regular visitors. It seems important to him to understand why people seek the memories, although he respects it if someone doesn't want to talk about it. He is assisted by about fifty librarians, chosen by him personally. Accessing the memory gems is only possible with a gem key. Every librarian owns one, but as soon as they leave the vault, they put it into a specially secured storage room - a vault within the vault. Speaking a small incantation while holding the gem key releases the memory as a visible silvery mist. Once you touch it, you find yourself as an observer in the scene, a bit like watching someone else's dream. It's important to understand that the memories can be flawed, and the librarians try to find out as much as they can about the person who originally experienced the scene. This way, the stories told by the memories are easier to interpret correctly.
Memory Gems from the Tower of Memories by aydarnabiullin
Rooftown MarketThe biggest marketplace in the Tower of Memories, the Rooftown Market is a hustling and bustling place of trade. Countless tents form a town of its own on the rooftops of the city below, and a visitor can find pretty much anything here. The city guard constantly patrols this place. It's an open secret that the Tower's criminals love the Rooftown Market, and if you know whom to talk to, you can acquire illegal items and services here. But if you get caught, the dwarven courts show little understanding.
The CourtDown in the Dark City lies the official court. Also called the Dwarven Court, all judges are members of the four founding clans of the Tower of Memories. As open-minded as most people in the metropolis are, the legal system here has little compassion for criminals. If you get caught for a smaller crime, the dwarves see it as the right moment to teach you a valuable lesson. Bigger crimes are punished harshly, including the death sentence. The good thing is that the dwarves are really thorough in their investigations, and unless your guilt is definitely proven, you are considered to be (and treated as) innocent. Guards locking you up in jail might even apologize for the inconvenience. Prison cells for pre-trial custody are actually comfortable, and you get good food there. The only disadvantage is that trials often take a longer time before a judgment is made. In consequence, it might take days or even weeks before you even stand trial.
The Three GatesAt the eastern edge of the Dark City, there are three natural passageways leading deeper into the subterranean world of Ashandri. The entrances to these massive tunnels have been carved into the stone, but not by the dwarves. The Three Gates were only found about fifty years ago, and there are strange runes engraved in the stone. Individual symbols were translated, and they seem to be part of a hybrid language. The signs show elements of both the dwarven and the elven language. While individual letters were deciphered, nobody could make sense of the entire message. Most people assume it's encrypted, and there are always some sages here trying to make sense of the whole thing.
Plaza of MourningDuring the first siege of the Laethian army, many thousand people died. When the ravager elves finally conquered the town, they cleared the western area of the city and turned it into their headquarters. They teared down hundreds of buildings to create a vast space for their military camp. After the Ashandrian forces drove them out a month later, nobody really wanted to move back there. The open space was instead turned into a place to mourn the losses of the war. Hundreds of memorial stones have been put up here, with the names of the victims carved into them. Some locals still research the names of those that were never identified, and add them to the stones.
The Temple DistrictFor centuries, religion played an important role in the Tower. Especially the dwarven pantheon was worshipped here, but as other races settled, more temples were built. A few sacred places can be found all over the city, but most of them aren't too far from the Palace Hall. The Temple District is an area that covers all three levels of the city. Aside from the actual places of worship, members and aides of the temples live in the quarter. Goods and services revolving around religious rituals can be acquired here, from statues and amulets to material components for clerical spells. While many of the local dwarves tend towards goodness, all religions have their place here. This leads to many tensions among conflicting religions, and the city guards regularly have to take care of conflicts between worshippers. Fortunately, most of these are little more than harmless fist fights. After the apocalypse of Virthys and the invasion of Va'Laeth, the number of worshippers dropped significantly - either because they were killed, or because they lost their faith. The local clerics are vigorously competing for their faithful, and some temples are desperate for donations and offerings simply to maintain the buildings.
ServicesIn the largest city of Delvaroth, you can get basically everything. From simple adventuring equipment to rare pieces of art, magic items and even the occasional artifact - there is nothing that's not sold somewhere in the Tower of Memories. The king actively fights any black markets, but in a settlement of this size, it's impossible to fully control the trade. Those who want to explore the Hollows, the subterranean world of Ashandri, can easily find guides among the dwarven population.
Local rumours and news
- King Hagnar is looking for adventurers to accompany an important exploration mission. The operation is funded not only by the dwarves, but also by Marisha Veilbreaker and The Arcanists. The journey will lead the group all the way into the depths of the Bleeding Jungles. Allegedly, the king wants to retrieve a stray memory of major importance from there. The exploration party is supposed to make several stops on their journey, in order to find several other relics and memories and bring all of them back to the Tower. It's been announced that Marisha Veilbreaker herself will be there when the journey starts, and accompany the group for the first few days.
- The king's council has recently made an alliance with the Chainguard, and they plan to build a permanent camp on the World-Chain leading to Va'Laeth. This is not only supposed to be a "watchtower" to send an early warning if Cirandir's forces attack again. Rather, the new camp is meant as the last stop for future missions into the hostile world. Planned missions include the retrieval of stolen treasures and kidnapped Ashandrians, as well as gaining more information about Ashandri's enemies.
- Adrazair, the Unbound Spirit, has been seen at the Three Gates recently. While he didn't say anything, he seemed very worried. Two sages were around when it happened, and they reported he touched one of the runes, which glowed with a bright light for a few minutes afterwards. Without further explanation, he disappeared after the light was gone.
- A young human woman, Breyda, recently appeared in the temple district. She claims to be a cleric of a goddess called Caphra. Nobody in the Tower of Memories knows about the deity, but the woman's stories get even stranger: She says she comes from a forgotten land, a dying region of Ashandri. Breyda not only wants to build a temple for her goddess here, she's also hoping to meet Marisha Veilbreaker - but she stays silent about why.
- Berry the Roofer has been seen visiting Goar in the Dark City several times. This is strange because nobody knew they ever met before, and now they seem to be making some kind of plans together. Goar claims it's just some "personal business", but there are rumours about an attack against the local community of ravager elves. The city guard is closely observing the two, but so far no evidence of any criminal activity has been found.
- Aggvra has recently bragged about a "big mission" while she was totally drunk in a tavern. She claims that whatever her next job is will be making her "rich for the rest her life". She's travelled outside the city several times since then, probably meeting with her mysterious client.
- The Vault has announced that they're looking for adventurers to investigate a theft. It's unclear whether one of the salvaged memories was stolen, or something entirely different. There seems to be some kind of time pressure, though.
- A mason called Vendrick has been researching a name for the Plaza of Mourning, and claims he might have stumbled on a dark secret. He's looking for someone more fitting for such dangerous investigations to help him in the case.
- Dwarves: 50%
- Gnomes: 20%
- Humans: 10%
- Elves: 10%
- Half-Elves: 5%
- Other races: 5%
The Tower of Memories is a city-kingdom under dwarven rule. The current king Hagnar is a benevolent sovereign, but prefers to leave most of the everyday politics to his council. Led by Maible Boulderfarm, these twenty dwarves are all members of the original four clans that founded the city. The council often splits up to share the overwhelming amount of administrative work that ruling such a large city entails.
The Tower of Memories once was little more than a dwarven trading post at the foot of the Greenridge Mountains. There were (and still are) several dwarven cities in the mountains, and all of them used the tower to trade with other races. Back in the old world of Virthys, the settlement was called the Tower of Coins. Over the centuries, the small outpost grew into an important city of its own. Over a hundred thousand people lived here before the apocalypse, and only about half of them were dwarves. The original tower had been extended over and over again, growing into a massive city-fortress with its own smaller outposts in the vicinity. The constant contact to other races slowly influenced the culture both in the Tower of Coins, and in the original dwarven cities. In consequence, some of them decided to isolate themselves more, while others embraced a more open mindset. The city of Thag Nardrum, closest to the Tower, became famous for its many adventurers exploring the world and fighting for good (and riches). When the end of the world approached, many of the heroes of Thag Nardrum came to the Tower of Coins, and helped organizing armed forces to fight Zathruax' dragon armies. Dozens of adventuring parties tried their best to stop the apocalypse. Even if they failed in the end, they were lucky enough to live in Delvaroth, getting saved as Ashandri was created. Having fought together when the world itself was at stake strongly bound the locals together. People here aren't just neighbours, they were comrades in arms, and most of them would still die for each other. Due to this history, the locals have become strong allies of Marisha Veilbreaker. The same is true for most of the dwarven cities in the Greenridge Mountains. Whenever the champion of Ashandri needs an army, the people of the Tower are ready for battle. But as defining as all these events were, the city is known for something entirely different today. On the first night in Ashandri, a spirit appeared in the throne room before King Hagnar. Its humanoid shape vague and diffuse, it spoke with a male voice, and seemed surprised as the king and a small group of witnesses reacted to him. He spoke of ancient secrets, and told Hagnar about the Mist of Memories. Adrazair, as he called himself, explained that the Braythian Void sometimes turns the memories of the dead into a silvery, arcane mist, visible only through spells such as detect magic or true seeing. The spirit showed the dwarves how to find and capture these mists, so they could preserve what appeared to be lost. He also made them promise to keep these secrets to themselves, so the knowledge wouldn't be misused. After that, Adrazair disappeared. He is seen in the tower once or twice a year, but never long enough to be spoken with. There are rumours about other appearances of the Unbound Spirit, but none of them have been confirmed to be true. Hagnar and his comrades made it their mission to seek all the lost memories hidden throughout Ashandri. To reflect that, they renamed their city, calling it the Tower of Memories. The place is still a large trading city, but the search for the past, and honoring it, has become an important aspect of its culture. Many locals hunt for forgotten ruins and hidden secrets of the past, and there are entire museums and vaults filled with troves and relics of old times. While many of these are mostly of historical or financial value, some of them are items of power or tied to age-old secrets. Hagnar regularly organizes exploration parties to recover more memories, and Marisha Veilbreaker visits him several times a year. Some rumours claim that the dwarves have found memories of a time before Ashandri, maybe of a long-gone world that once existed at the same location. Neither Hagnar nor Marisha talk about the topic at all. If there is any truth to this, Adrazair could be an Unbound Spirit of an ancient world, possibly one destroyed by the Perishing. When the armies of Va'Laeth invaded Delvaroth, the battles at the Tower were bloody and merciless. For two months, the Tower of Memories was under siege. At the end of the second month of the beleaguerment, ten more legions arrived, accompanied by two Laeth-Beasts and two of the Perishing. The next three days are now known as the Days of Blood and Terror. Within this short period of time, fifteen thousand inhabitants of the Tower died, until King Hagnar finally surrendered. He was thrown into his own dungeon as the ravager elves took control of the city. For about a month, they reigned over the Tower of Memories, stealing treasures as well as salvaged memories from the vault and transporting them to the Void Fortress. Cirandir took many of them back into his own world. Hagnar has tried retrieving some of the lost treasures back from Va'Laeth, but none of the groups he sent have returned from their missions. During the second invasion, the Laethian armies laid siege on the Tower again, but this time the attacking forces were too small. The Towrys managed to defeat the elves, and only a few individuals escaped.
3rd Esric 2682 after the Virthys Calendar
Tower of Coins (outdated)
Towrys, Coiners (outdated, but still in use)