The City of Brass

The City of Brass is a vast urban area located on a peninsula on the Sea of Salt. It is the largest port in the world, docking both flying ships and the usual seaborn kind.

Two million people dwell here. The vast majority—perhaps nearing 90%—are poor. A sort of middle class, living comfortable, make up another 9%. Only 1% would call themselves wealthy. Really, all the power in the city is controlled by 1% of that 1%, a startling small couple hundred beings who live in unbelievable splendor.

Geography

7ba51cee0fab4978257be5cec7aa4738.jpg
The city straddles the edge of a great plateau. There’s an upper part of the city and a lower part. A huge peninsula juts out into the Sea of Salt.

Most of the peninsula is at sea level, and that’s where a lot of industry is. There’s some wealth there, along the western sea coast. Probably two-thirds of the city is crammed into the lower half.

The upper section of the city is less crowded, sprawling into the highlands. There are countless towns and smaller cities that might be considered part of the City of Brass. It’s all one giant urban system, extending for miles into the steppes.

The palace used to be on the peninsula, but it moved up top 250 years ago. There’s an enormous palatial complex that spans 1000 acres and peers disdainfully over the cliffs.

Also topside is the Eternal Temple of Fire, with its everburning flame lighting the city night and day, and the Brass Chamber, where the noble council meet.

Most wealthy citizens would never be caught dead in the lower half of the city, unless they had to go to a port. The Golden Path is a wide avenue cutting straight through the city from ports to cliffs, and most people are forbidden to use it. There are stairs and ramps that go down and under the Golden Path so that locals can cross the street without breaking the law. In a few places, there are overpasses and skywalks, but these are carefully patrolled to keep people from throwing things down on more important people.

The cliffs are 100 feet high. There are mechanical and magical elevators that can make the trip easy, at a cost that most can’t afford. There are long stairs, too, but most are for foot traffic. Some are only a few feet wide, with no rail to keep people from falling. There are no ramps suitable for hauling cargo up and down; for this, people must use the elevators (or a skyship).

The face of the cliffs has been deeply excavated by local dwarves, who have lived here for thousands of years. There are some ancient lifts that surface deep in the upper part of the city, but they’re accessible only from deep dwarven tunnels. The locals call this collection of tunnels Stonehaven, but it’s not a city of any kind.

Random Impressions

Here are some random things you might see in the city.

  • A noblewoman sits in a levitating palanquin made of gold and is pulled through the city streets by half-orc eunuchs.
  • A feared knight of the Order of the Flame wearing enchanted armor of bone and bronze and brandishing a fiery sword.
  • A skyship alights on a sixty-foot tower. A long line of goblins carrying crates out of the ship’s hold and down into the tower look like army ants.
  • In the poor Southside district, throngs press through the twisting stone streets to get to the bread lines. It’s a holiday. Half the people go home empty-handed and hungry.
  • A decorated general returns home from war and is received with a triumph at the seaport. His full army remains on ships docked in the harbor. A small honor guard and thousands of other servants escort him up the Golden Path. Tens of thousands of people turn out along the avenue to see the spectacle. The general is some kind of djinn or efrit.
  • A dwarf stumbles and falls off the narrow stairs of the cliffs. His stone body hits the ground and shatters into pieces like a statue in an old ruins.

The City of Brass

City of Brass AdamDray