Skyfall Basin: Into The Breach
The land known as the Skyfall Basin, or simply Skyfall to it’s residents, is home to roughly seven million souls. While the majority are human, dwarves, elves, half elves, dragonborn and halflings make up a sizeable minority. Other races are more rare, including eladrin, gnomes and half-orcs. Though not entirely unknown, other civilized races such as goliaths, genasi and deva are quite exotic and likely to draw stares. Since the Primeval War, a small but highly visible number of darklings have moved into the cities. Though considered full citizens by most all of the major settlements, prejudice against the Pimeval-spawned races runs deep, and few rise above the level of menial laborers or petty criminals.
The vast majority of the basin’s inhabitants are farmers and simple village folk. Most of the cities in the region are remnants of a bygone age, bastions of civilization that managed to hang on by tooth and nail when the Third Night fell. They are:
Mazara, the jewel of the basin. Though no longer the most populous city in Skyfall since Ravan’s rise to prominence, it’s residents still consider it the best city. Mazara remains a major center of trade, it’s command of a sheltered harbor at the mouth of the bay allows it a near monopoly on seafaring trade with far off lands, and the gantries atop it’s massive walls makes it the primary jumping-off point for the burgeoning airship trade. This trade is supported by some of the finest academics and artificers in the realm, many finding their home at the newly founded University. If it’s exotic goods or newfound knowledge you seek, Mazara is the place to go.
Tortosa is Mazara’s sister city across the bay, and also her bitter rival. Once a thriving sea-port, it’s population has shrunk since it’s near-destruction in the war, the sealing of the fey portals of Galadhae and the introduction of airship based trade. It’s docks are home to more fishing boats (and, some day, pirates) than trade ships now, and the city’s reputation has come to rival Aragona for crime and illicit trade.
Ravan is the rising star of Skyfall since the war. Previously the hub of inland trade and source of the great armored caravans that made the yearly trip to Ambenar and the Northern Kingdoms, it has become the center of industry for the basin. Ravan’s furnaces run night and day, stoked by a growing population of reforged workers. That industry also supports the largest military in the basin, including several entire warforged battallions supported by armored airships and relic artillery.
Aragona, lying deep within the coastal marshes of the bay, is another rising star. Though reliance on river-borne trade has dwindled with the introduction of airships and reforged transport, the city has found new life as a center for the relic trade, acting as a clearinghouse for new discoveries and the organization of exploratory parties to survey new ruins. It maintains it’s former reputation as a wretched hive of scum and villain, of course, though the focus has shifted from petty theft and murder to more organized trade in black market relics and forbidden magics. Few these days seem to comment on the fact that every transaction within the city’s borders, illicit or legitimate, pays a tithe to the hoard of Angrabyr, the black dragon of the swamp who stepped in to rule the city after the Cult of Tharizdun’s abortive coup attempt in the opening days of the war.
Casalle is the oldest of the new settlements of Skyfall, founded a bit over a hundred years before the war by the priesthoods of Erathis and Bahamut to be a shining light of civilization amidst the wildlands. Once the smallest settlement in the basin, it’s numbers swelled during the war and immediately after, absorbing refugees from Tortosa and the surrounding lands. Little trade passes through the city and it produces little industry, existing almost entirely to support the members of the many temples within it’s walls.
Rustcliff is a newly founded settlement on the Vermillion Coast, northeast of Ravan. A ramshackle mining town, it’s buildings hang from the cliff walls surrounding it’s sheltered harbor or are dug in to the face itself alongside the iron and cinnabar mines that give the place it’s name. Aside from it’s docks and airship port, it offers little of interest besides a convenient place to rest and restock for those traveling to Wellspring and Malcom’s Rest
Malcom’s Rest (Clunkerton), an industrial colony of Ravan, hosts the largest population of reforged outside of it’s parent city. Malcom’s Rest is an experiment of sorts, testing the use of the reforged in quickly establishing settlements in the Black Wilds and defending against the beasts that lurk in the shadows away from civilization’s light.
Most of the major towns of the basin are surrounded by several miles of heavily settled farmland worked by thickly scattered villages built up around fortified central halls for defense against the beasts of the wilds. The farmlands thin as one travels farther from the cities, disappearing entirely more than a day’s walk from the walls. A dozen or so smaller settlements are scattered throughout the kingdoms, usually within two days walk of one of the larger settlements and situated near the major routes between cities.
Beyond the settlements, there are a few other locales of note within the basin:
The Floating Tower of Learning floats high above the surface of Skyfall Bay, supported by a plume of water powered by great relics. It is home to a faculty of mages and other adepts with the desire to advance mankind’s knowledge and mastery of magic.
The Tower of Burning Frost stands amidst the wreckage of the Hound of Rage’s gods-forged prison, on the site of the final conflict that ended the great war. The wizard Hadarai is known to dwell there, guarding over the stolen souls of the Primevals.
A great tent city has grown up on the edge of the Black Wilds northwest of Ravan, home to those who have fallen victim to the march of progress. It’s citizens are failed reforging experiments, victims of haywire relics, or those whose unforged flesh was found wanting by the machinery of industry and could not afford healing. It also provides shelter to misfits, outcasts, criminals and rebels, prompting occasional raids by Ravan and the Council Guard.