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Dreadfall

City of Tartarus

What rests beyond the mist is a monument to a man that looked for good in the darkest of places, even when so many turned their back on him due to his kind. So few remain that care to remember the Paladin of Dreadfall, his actions that brought safety instead of wars of territory. His symbol lays etched in walls and shrines hidden in our tunnels yet his is a story unwritten, erased by those that hated him.
— Unknown
  Káto hides a great many secrets, tunnels that no one has ever seen, ruins swallowed by caverns and rock falls, unknown locations that have been hidden from prying eyes for centuries. Each tunnel or cavern that opens up has the potential for hidden gems, secrets and precious stones alike. Some secrets are more dangerous than others, while fewer still were meant to be buried and never spoken of again.   Dreadfall is one of those secrets, hopefully swallowed by the abyss it perched on, but instead only hidden by the mist of an Adamantine Dragon. Those that live in the tunnels near the forgotten city wish that it never existed, all mention of it and its hero erased from the world so that others can claim the feats that an unwanted inhabitant of Káto had completed. Dreadfall was a reminder of a man that many believed had no right to their homeland.   With the fall of the Paladin of Dreadfall came the fall of the city itself. The followers of Tartarus had no reason to remain once their leader disappeared, choosing to leave the once magnificent city to be swallowed by the mist from the Dragon Ozul. With the city empty, it disappeared from history, lost across an abyss that few dared to cross.

Demographics

During Peak Years

Population Breakdown
Children
964
Elderly
723
Adults
6347
Ill/Infirm
830
 
Other Information
Primary Occupants
Silver Elves & Gem Dwarves
General Attitude
Guarded & Close-Knit
Other Occupants
Dragonkin & Others
Population Type
Urban
During the days of Tartarus, Dreadfall was a bustling city of misfits, often drawing in those that seemed to fit no place else in Káto. The city's patron was a Nephilim, a race highly disliked by many and often ostracized in the dark corners below the surface. Silver Elves that had been kicked out of their families and Gem Dwarves and Dragonkin that did not find their place in their societies often sought out the city of Dreadfall as a place to start a new life.   Once the Paladin of Dreadfall disappeared, the population of the city began to dwindle. Many saw little point in keeping up the city that had been brought to life by Tartarus when he was no longer there to see it. Soon, no one remained in the city, leaving it as nothing
more than a shell of the bustling city that it had once been. No one is quite sure how large the city once was, but it was rumored to be one of the largest in this area of Káto.

Defences

The city of Dreadfall was known in its prime for many of the magical defenses that surrounded the city. These defenses have remained long after the city became ruined, protecting the treasures and remnants of Tartarus. Many of the physical defenses were built into the city during its founding, utilizing the craftsmanship of the Gem Dwarves, but other defenses were built up over the years of the city's occupation.   The mist surrounding the abyss provides cursory defenses to the city, but those that cross the abyss are met with two grand doors that reach over sixty feet in height. Only a small opening exists between the top of the doors and the ceiling of the cavern the city is built in. Without the correct key or proper magic, the doors are immovable.   Once inside the city, guard houses could be found scattered throughout the city, featuring long slots cut into the walls at varying heights. Each guard house was staffed by six perfect suits of metal armor grasping weapons. These suits of armor could be awakened and serve as armies of guardians for the city at a moment's notice.   A myriad of other enchantments protect the city, but no one is
Tarnished Armor
Although tarnished, enchanted armor still protects the city of Dreadfall long after its inhabitants have left. The magic that drives these constructs was put in place by a skilled caster and could possibly last for millennia.
alive that knows the full extent of these enchantments. It is believed that Tartarus is the one that cast the enchantments upon the city, using incredible magic that permeated the earth and has lasted for millennia, even beyond his existence.

Geography

Mist from the Abyss
One of the reasons that Dreadfall was built near the abyss was due to the thick, magical mist that blanketed the area. This mist is a creation of Ozul to shroud his Lair, but it served as a benefit to the city across the abyss.
The city of Dreadfall rests in a large cavern in the upper levels of Káto near the Silver Elf city of Monitrex. This area is a crossroads of territories, claimed by the Silver Elves, an Adamantine Dragon, and other creatures. Dreadfall shares a cavern with the Adamantine Dragon Ozul and the Dragon's Lesser Dragonkin followers.   The cavern is defined by a large abyss that lets off a thick magical mist that hides all discerning features of the area, including the stone bridge that crosses the abyss to the city. This mist is a creation of Ozul to shroud his lair from prying eyes, but it has the unintended side effect of also hiding Dreadfall and blending into the magical defenses the city has.   One side of the city faces the abyss while the other is built into the rocky cavern wall, providing only one means of entrance to the city. In many places, some of the buildings in the city further from the front gates are entirely carved into the rock face, creating hidden rooms and tunnels that can be used to traverse parts of the city.  

Architecture

Those that enter Dreadfall are struck by the sight of towering stone structures inlaid with thousands of glittering gems. At first glance, it is easy to see that the city, while inhabited by a number of races, was built similarly to the architecture of the Gem Dwarves, where natural stone and cut gems were used to make incredible structures and designs. It is believed that Dreadfall was once a city of the Kingdom of Gems but over centuries was abandoned and then revitalized by the Paladin of Dreadfall as he gained more renowned throughout the area.   The city utilizes the natural stone of the area to build many of its structures, only using outside building materials when absolutely necessary. Few changes were made to the city when Tartarus took over, but the most prominent change was the enchantments added to the gate as well as his symbol.
Crest of the Paladin of Dreadfall
Crest of the Paladin of Dreadfall by RiverFang
This crest picturing a moon reminscient of a halo was the symbol of the Paladin of Dreadfall. Throughout the city and on the armor he wore, this crest denoted those that fought against the greatest evils that could be found throughout Káto.

RUINED SETTLEMENT
Unknown

Founding Date
Unknown
Type
Citadel
Location under
Owner/Ruler

History

The history of Dreadfall is shrouded in mystery due to the opinion that many had of the Paladin of Dreadfall. As a Nephilim, Tartarus was often ostracized and many tried to remove him from Káto, even though the Paladin's feats against the likes of Despondence the Ancient, Fisc the All-Seeing, Karithor the Undying, and Hezekiel the Eyeless provided safety to the area that had never been seen.   As the Paladin's noteriety grew, he chose to claim an abandoned Gem Dwarf city as his home, opening its doors as a sanctuary for those that had been abandoned by their own or had been wronged by many of the archaic ways of Káto. For decades, the city of Dreadfall stood as a pillar of strength in this area of Káto, even as others in the area attempted to erase what Tartarus had done.   Then one day the city began to dwindle, its people leaving for other places. The Paladin of Dreadfall had disappeared, slipping silently away from everything. Shrines and caverns bear markings of his feats, but as the city of Dreadfall died, so too did the Paladin's legacy. After centuries, little remained as monument to the feats of heroism of a single Nephilim graced with divine power.
 

Tartarus & Timebreaker

Little is truly known about Tartarus and his weapon known as Timebreaker. As Dreadfall fell, many mentions of the Paladin were erased by those in Monitrex and other areas nearby, where in shame or spite is yet unknown. Secrets symbols etched in walls and shrines tucked away still remember the feats, but even those are crumbling away.  


Comments

Author's Notes

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Grandmaster tlcassis
Polgara Badass of Azeroth
6 Aug, 2022 22:36

Because they told us to do this in the summer reading challenge... This article looked like a great DnD campaign setting - Dreadfall just cried out for a group of adventurers to walk it's streets and get in trouble! A professional looking and well executed article. Very nice. I'll probably refer back to it as a good example of how to improve my own.

Author of the world of Arrhynsia https://www.worldanvil.com/w/arrhynsia-tlcassis   Catch my Summer Reading Challenge Reviews and Read my articles (in order) https://www.worldanvil.com/w/arrhynsia-tlcassis/a/summer-camp-2022-reading-challenge---tlcassis2Fpolgara-article?preview=true   I will never understand surface dwellers.
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