Pinnacles of Power
City at a glance
Standing alone on a long stretch of desolate shoreline, Gloomwrought is a dirty port with a huge swamp on one side and a sea on the other. Inside its high, encircling wall, the city is cramped and dismal place. It is a maze of twisting lanes, narrow alleys and chaotically placed buildings. Everywhere, statues with sinister faces leer out over the streets.
Strange citizens, stripped of color and verve, crowd these thoroughfares. Among them are the inscrutable Keepers, a bizarre race of caretakers found through the city. Although the Keepers exhibit no discernible reason for their work, they are thought to be responsible for the upkeep and continued existence of the City of Midnight.
The city is inherently mutable, which is a quality the Keepers seem to use for some advantage. This trait often catches visitors by surprise. Outer gates slide along the wall, and statues and carvings shift from one position to another. Buildings move and change without warning. In one part of the city, a high tower might suddenly crash down into rubble, while in a different district, a row of stone houses could unfurl from the cobbled street.
No one is certain, but the locals believe that a strong-minded inhabitant or group of inhabitants protects a given building from collapse. This belief holds some truth, but it’s hard to reckon who or what constitutes this kind of person. A number of injuries and fatalities occur every year due to cave-ins. Occupants who assume their building is safe are often proven wrong, with sometimes fatal results.
Everything about the City of Midnight gives off an ominous air, as if danger always lurks nearby. Most newcomers get the sense that the city is looming overhead like a giant monster ready to snatch up the unwary. If it is possible for a city to have the character of a skulking predator, then Gloomwrought is the one.
The facts that you know:
Lots of Lords:
Prince Rolan the Deathless ostensibly rules, but the heads of various noble houses and other special interest groups have more influence on the day-to-day activities in the city.
Whether religious, military, or mercantile, these leaders are caught up in a constant struggle for dominance. Visitors are wise to avoid this conflict.
A group of mysterious creatures called Keepers tends to the city. Little is known about the creatures’ origins or intentions, or whom they serve. They have a powerful connection to Gloomwrought and the locals treat them with fearful respect.
The city is like a living entity. Buildings rise, collapse, twist, reshape, and grow with alarming regularity. Most residents attribute these changes to the Keepers, although no one can explain what is actually happening.
Coin is King:
Gloomwrought’s markets are vast, full of mysteries and wondrous treasures from afar. Rare, powerful items are bought and sold on a daily basis. A strong market also thrives here. If an item exists and is for sale, it can probably be found somewhere in the City of Midnight.
Most citizens tolarate other religions (small shrines to various faiths exist throughout the city), but the Raven Queen is the dominant deity of the Shadowfell and of Gloomwrought. The Raven Queen’s main temple is Raven’s Eyrie. The Ebony Guard of the Eyrie works against all other religions.
Inside Gloomwrought, a wide range of creatures walks the claustrophobic streets. Shadowborn, natural mortals who were born in or have adapted to the Shadowfell, make up the most of population. Predominant among the populace are the shadow creatures known as shadar-kai. The citizenry also includes revenants – a race of creatures that are partly living and partly undead – and even stranger beings, such as travelers from other planes.
Citizens here suffer from the longterm draining effects of living in the Shadowfell. Everyone who stays for more than a few weeks seems somehow faded, washed out like a weathered cloak.