The City of Blackvale

Blackvale is the Northernmost city of the Alliance and still maintains a number of cultural trappings from the Armillian Empire to which it used to belong.  The principal deity of the city is Philia the Civil - goddess of magic and civil order and the Blackvale Civil Philiaic Church counts most of the aristocracy and the wizards of the Blackvale College of Magics among its flock.

Blackvale from the sea.
The College of Magics is to the left and the Palace, the Cathedral of the Sun and the Crooked Tower are to the right.  
The Lady of the Seas Lighthouse is in the foreground and the Old Shrine can be seen beyond the city.

Being close to the Empire means Blackvale is a lively trade port and sailing, fishing, forestry and magic are among the city's primary trades.  The city boasts a large market where traders arriving by sea from the north meet merchants arriving by road from the south and east.  The trade wealth has caused the city to expand far beyond the original walls but the authorities have maintained walls, gates and a clear space outside them so that they can still be effectively defended in the event of a siege.

Blackvale from above.
Note the River Palace in the bottom left, the Old City Graveyard inside the walls to the right 
and the Philiac Church beneath the palace at centre.

The current Lord Prince Nythantem Zan Thetis (many of the families of the city aristocracy have kept their Armillian-style family names, proud of their imperial roots) is a wily yet fair-handed administrator.  The title of Lord Prince is an elected position, chosen from and by the Lord's Council, which is in turn made up of representatives of the principal aristocratic and mercantile houses of the region.  Zan Thetis has held his position for a decade so far but time will tell if his skills on the battlefield will match his political ability.

For the full-size version of the above map please go here:

Blackvale Map

Map Key


City Wall Gates
 The old city walls are still patrolled by the city Watch

Tower Gate
leading to the College of Magics
Hunter’s Gate
used by nobles and rich merchants of the New Vilas
Forest Gate
used by visitors from Mist and the north
Trades Gate
the busiest gate into the city, used by visitors from the High Plains, Sentinel and beyond
Tenankatem Gate
or Southwood Gate, used by visitors from Anvil
Infimeses Gate
or Coast Gate, used by coastal traders and visitors from Ghalii’s Gate
South Docks Gate
used by traders passing through the city to the docks
North Docks Gate
used by most passengers and crew of the ships

 Law, taxation and administrative buildings

The Lord Prince’s Palace
Formerly the High Imperial Armillian Fortress at Blackvale.  The elite Prince’s Chosen are stationed here and operate as Palace Guard
Embassy Row
Including the Embassies of Anvil, Ghalii’s Gate, GiXor, Sentinel, Armillia, the Elf nations, the Blue Stone kingdoms and Varca
Blackvale Horse Guards
The Lord Prince’s Heavy Cavalry
Barracks Secundus
Patrols the North District
Lord Prince’s Shipyards
Where the Blackvale Navy is constructed
Northwatch Tower
Built to watch for invasion from the Empire, now keeps an eye out for smugglers and wreckers.  The extensive cellars have been converted into a small prison.
Barracks Primus
Patrols East District, includes Guard Smithy, Armoury and Gaol
Twin Gates Courthouse
Watch stationed here patrol the Market and South District
Barracks Tertius (Coast Gate Watchhouse)
Patrols West District
River Palace
Otherwise known as Southwood House; home of the Lord Prince when off duty and location of many society balls
City Revenue Office
Where the tax collectors and their bailiffs are based
Outdistrict Watchhouses
Clockwise from north: Black Tower District, Forest District, Tradeway District, Southwood District, Coastal District, Docks District.

 Magic is a large part of life in Blackvale

Black Tower
Home of the Archmage of the Order – Lord Ellitrix
Blackvale Philiaic Order College of Magics
The largest magical school in the Five Cities
College Porter House
Also acts as the mage’s city liaison and information office
Mage’s Guildhall

The Crooked Tower
Formerly the Imperial Tower of Sorcery.  Home of Dakar Ledermann, Sorcerer Lord.

 There are shrines to all the gods in Blackvale, these are the most notable

Blackvale Cathedral of the Brotherhood of the Sun
Principal church worshipping Gyros Lightbringer in the Five Cities.  This is the largest temple to Gyros in the Alliance.
Civil Philiaic Church of Guidance
This church is unique to Blackvale but very popular among the wealthy elite.  The headquarters includes a huge public library and a well-regarded educational establishment.  Worships Philia the Civil.
Temple of Olich of the Traders
A small church with a shrine or temple in most cities, popular with merchants and traders.  Worships Olich Undivided.
Topafila’s Great Amphitheatre
The site of gladiatorial battles in the Second Age the amphitheatre was built by the city founder Prince Topafila, this is now the city’s largest theatre and recital hall.  It is also an informal temple to Locus Undivided.
Safe Harbour of Tempess
Ever a superstitious lot, the Safe Harbour is a popular destination for sailors just before and after a difficult voyage.  Worships Tempess Undivided.
Lady of the Sea Statue and Lighthouse
A huge statue built to honour Tempess 500 years ago, it is also designed to be used as a lighthouse thanks to the huge magical glass sphere at the top which acts like an amplifying lens.
Old Ghalii Shrine
The central building of the old graveyard is a simple shrine to Ghalii Undivided.
Church of the Civil Philiaic Order
The college chapel to Philia the Civil.  As goddess of magic, many practitioners find occasional worship a wise investment.
Free Hospital of Olich the Healer
Worshippers of Olich the Healer practice here using mundane apothecary skills, herbal knowledge and alchemy.  Magical healing is saved for emergencies.
Free Hospital of the Lightbringer
Not to be outdone, the church of Gyros built their own facility at the other end of the city.  Magical healing is available here for a small fee.
Shrine of the King of the Gods
Built by the empire when Blackvale was first founded, this ancient shrine is little used today, but is often visited by historians studying religion and the empire and by sightseers, as it is an impressive golden structure atop the largest hill outside the city.  Built in honour of Gyros Undivided it has the ancient form of Gyros’ symbol on it. (See the History section)
New Cemetery Temple to Ghalii
Larger and airier than the shrine in the old graveyard, this new building has yet to draw many Ghalii worshippers away from the old Shrine, not least because it is a long way out.
Lawhouse of the Fortress
Built on the border of the Southwood and Coastal Districts, this temple of Kodir the Builder’s law is positioned at the heart of the Dwarven neighbourhoods.

 Where money is made and trades are regulated

Traders Guilds and Indoor Market
This huge two-story building has an indoor market on the ground floor and offices of the various traders’ guilds above.  Almost all the trades guilds are based here except those listed below
Guild of Shipwrights
Guild of Shipwrights, Sailmakers, Stevedores and Cordwainers
Jewellers Guild
Guild of Jewellers, Fine Clothiers and Allied Trades
Brotherhood of Musicians
Brotherhood of Musicians and Instrument makers
Guild of Mapmakers
Prince’s Appointed Association of Map and Chartmakers
Guild of Undertakers
Guild of Undertakers, Gravediggers and Embalmers
Riverman’s Association
Association of Rivermen, Boatbuilders and Dockkeepers

 Parks, Bridges and other sights of the city

Palace Park
A popular public park maintained by the City Lords
Old City Graveyard
Built hundreds of years ago and now too full and too small for the city, only families with existing Crypts and Tombs can bury their relatives here now.
A pretty and quiet place in an otherwise bustling city.
Ambassador’s Walk
A public park and gardens except during official ceremonies
Forest’s Edge Gardens
Private gardens for the New Villa residents
New Cemetery
A modern, open hillside cemetery with plenty of room for expansion.
Logging site
Hammason’s Lone Forest Logging
Zan Thetis Bridge
The newest bridge in the city; connects Southwood District to Tradeway District.
Tenankatem Bridge
Built by Topafila and named after his father.
Infimeses Bridge
Built by Topafila’s son, Infimeses, the second ruler of Blackvale.
Ghostwater Outlet
Where the river meets the Imperial Ocean, also the site of the main sewer outlet.
The Great Market
A huge open-air market at the junction of the two busiest roads into the city.
Southwood Circle
The newest trading area outside the walls, catering to those travelling south along the coast.
Prince’s Square
An open square in front of the palace gatehouse, used often in official ceremonies.  Ringed by grand houses and shops.

Inns, Festhalls etc.
 Some of the more famous drinking and eating spots in the city

Tradeway Inn
Former country inn, thought to be as old as the city.
Seaview Tavern
A drinking house with a rooftop terrace with views across the south of the city and the Imperial Ocean.
Weary Mummer Festhall
A fashionable faux-lowbrow establishment for the stylish and wealthy – good for bards looking for patrons.
The Enchanted Flagon
A backstreet tavern popular with apprentice mages
Danrick’s Place
Inn run by ex-bard Danrick Vost, excellent music due to it’s popularity with bards and musicians.
Palace Park Teahouse
A novel enterprise serving refreshments to strollers in the park.
Hunter’s Arms Tavern
A favourite of Lone Forest travellers and hunters.
Fey Lodge Inn
A bar popular with halflings, gnomes and the more sociable dwarves.  It is also the home of most of the city’s fey population, who live in small houses built into the eaves or cellars.
Clear Seas Tavern
A bar favoured by Ships Officers, especially the navy.
Journey’s End Inn
Catering to sea travellers and traders, a popular meeting place to trade.
Xor’s Table Tavern
A popular tavern with excellent and unusual food run by a fastidiously clean Kobold named Iglik.  It is dimly lit and decorated with Kobold artwork.  No one has ever successfully robbed the place.
Ambassador’s Rest
Very high-end tavern and brothel catering to only the wealthiest clients.
Old Farmhouse Festhall
A vibrant, earthy festhall with a cheap but clean brothel out back.
Origallo’s Five Cities Eatery
An Inn with speciality cooks from every corner of the Alliance.  The longhouse out back serves cheaper, simpler fare to sailors and apprentices from a Ghalii’s Gate style central open kitchen dominated by a huge stewpot.
The Bilges Tavern
One of many illegal drinking pits in the docks district, a dangerous place.
Circle Hall
New and popular festhall known for its cross-racial clientele and half-elven dancers
Hand of Olich Inn
Market trader’s alehouse
Genera’s Bounty
Oldest and largest brothel in the city, has developed a patina of respectability
Guildmaster’s Inn
Popular with Prince’s square residents and traders, upstairs are the offices of the Innkeepers and Brewers Guild

 These are just a sampling of the traders operating in each area

west of Twin Gates,
Tradeway/Forest Rd
Twin Gates Stables and Smithy; Riverside Runners Messenger Service; Swamlin’s Cabs and Carts; Legal Tender Moneychangers
east of Twin Gates,
Forest Rd
Pharst and Sons Bakers; Honest Jorvic’s Moneylenders; Wolf’s Forge Armoursmiths
east of the Market,
Forest Rd
Hunter’s Catch Butchers; Elfeye – Bowsmith; Torkel’s Trail Outfitters; Gunnham’s Sturdy Boots
south of Princes Square,
Tradeway/Lamplighter Hill
Lamarck’s Locks and Chests; True Elegance Master Furniture-makers; Silvainil’s Elven Jewellery and Gemcutting; Drumble’s Clockwork Wonders.
south west of the Square
Tradeway/Keep Hill St
Torruck’s Mail, Plate and Shields; Imelda’s Clothing for Craftsmen; Cut Price Potions; Hogarthy Ironmongers – Cookware a Speciality
north edge of the Market,
Market Crescent
Hill’s Hands for Hire – Clerks, Runners, Carters, Laborers, Guards and Agents for all circumstances
south of the College of Magics, Tower Rd
Sanbrook’s Magical and Alchemical ingredients; ‘Such Wondrous Things’ – magic items and scrolls; Grib’s Quality Parchment
Docks District central,
Tempess Way

Quality Carvings – Figureheads, Plaques and Sea Chests; Captain Tirran’s Sea Voyage Supplies; House Melvac Merchant Traders; Blackvale Cordwainers; Langstone Family Fair Traders
west of the Amphitheatre,
Lightbringer Crescent
Kemsley’s Fine Musical Instruments; Topafila Theatrical Supplies; Amlens Alchemical and Herbal; ‘Unfamiliars’ – Exotic Beasts
south of Crooked Tower,
Imperial Mysteries Sorcery; Hearn’s Imported Goods; ‘Green Magic’ - Tobacco and Herbs; Hylak the Plainsman’s Strong Spirits; Ku, Coinchanger
west of the Library, Lamplighter Hill
South Quarter Scrolls and Books; Golph’s Salted Meats and Fish; Krupp, Alchemist; Harad the Cobbler; Nerris of Grinshada – Psychic Medium; Southwall Swords and Knives; Lynch and Spike’s Swords for Hire; Ghostwater Lamps
Southwood Circle
South Circle Merchant Traders; Southwood Ales, Wines and Spirits; Coast Road Travel Supplies
north of Forest Gate,
Mist Road
Ghalii’s Gift Funeral Masons; Lone Forest Hunting; Mist Road Stables, Farriers, and Blacksmiths; Detage’s Practical Clothing
east of Ambassador’s Walk, Tailor’s Passage
Zan Hast’s Courtly Attire for Gentlemen; Embassy Row Tailors; Quentin’s Exquisite Hats, Canes and Cloaks; Premier Snuff and Powders; Vido’s Finest Shoes
west of the Cathedral,
Tradewind Square off Infimeses Hill
Empire Imports; New Continent Curiosities; Gold Plains Wines and Spirits; Tri-Continent Herbs and Spices; Blackvale Financial – Precious Metals and Trade Bars; ‘Gatecraft’ – Jewellery and Handicraft from the South;  Wholesale Finery – Silks and Fabrics of the World
north of Palace Park,
Park Crescent
‘Elisara’s’ – For Ladies Of Fashion; Ironshield’s Modern Dwarf-made Statuary; ‘Enchanted Treasures’ – Magical Jewellery for Discerning Tastes; Sola Seasonal Dressmakers; Laney’s – Master Weaponsmiths; Master Scribe Miah’s Quills, Parchment and Ledgers; Esselroy’s Accurate Maps; Lady Zan Armil’s Perfumery and Powders; Crescent Wines – the Choice of Connoisseurs; Anvil’s Forge Armour and Shields
Gamason Stud Farm
Sells heavy horses and heavy warhorses plus horse armour etc.

 The homes of the rich and infamous

Zan Ammet Manor

Ledermann House

Zan Sekh Villa

City Villas
Most of the local nobility have townhouses here including Zan Armil House, Orasyn Villa,  Zan Foth Villa, Zan Na’ad House, Relthson Manor, Zan Apep Manor
New Villas
Chiefly owned by petit nobles and rich merchants including Langstone Villa, Hearn House, Melvac Villa, Zan Hast Manor,  Templemann House, Faharuil Villa, Hill Manor
City apartments of Lord Ellitrix
The Archmage’s townhouse for when official business keeps him in the city.
Zan Thetis Manor
The family home of the Zan Thetis clan, run by the Lord Prince’s younger brother.
Gamason House
Home of the Gamason family who own most of the land south of the river including the nearby Gamason Stud Farm that breeds Heavy Warhorses for the Horseguards.

Blackvale City Districts

North District: Centre of Wealth and entertainment within the walls, the western half of the district is a lively place full of music and theatre, home mainly to actors, students and younger ships officers while the east, containing the wealthy Villas and Embassies is far more reserved and quiet.  North District guards keep an eye out to make sure drunken revellers don’t wander too far east.

East District:  A large part of this district is taken up by the Old Graveyard and thus this has a reputation as a quiet almost middle-class neighbourhood full of the homes of craftsmen, traders and servants.  The south east corner of the District contains the Forest Gate and is thus a little livelier.  Otherwise the only locations of note in the East District are the Temple of Olich of the Traders and the Genera’s Bounty Brothel.

South / Market District: Mainly taken up by the market and surrounding traders, this district also contains the Philiaic church with its school and library.  Busy during the day, this district is much quieter at night and contains only a smattering of Trader’s houses, getting less wealthy further west.

West District: The poorest in-city district and the district with the largest selection of popular taverns, this District is busy night and day and has the largest Guards contingent inside the city walls.  West District guards are expected to reinforce the Docks District should a large-scale problem occur there.  The district is home to dock workers, fishermen, sailors, unskilled labourers and a fair amount of criminals - including, it is rumoured, the Blackvale Thieves Guild.

Black Tower District: Technically covering the College of Magics as well as the out-city villas, Guards of this district rarely meddle in the affairs of wizards and usually aren’t welcome around the villas who often have their own security.  Consequently the guard contingent here is small and acts as a relief post for Northwatch tower, keeps an eye on the students and shipwrights around Tower Road and backs up the Docks guards in times of trouble.  It also keeps an eye on the paths into Lone Forest in case dangerous creatures wander into the city.

Forest District:  Home to wealthy craftsmen, hunters, loggers, masons and farm labourers, this large, but often forgotten district covers both wealthy homes to the north-west and poorer areas to the south.  It is also the front line for bandits and monsters preying on Mist Road travellers. 

Tradeway District:  A small but busy district in charge of the area around Trades Gate and the River Palace.  As well as the Tradeway traffic it has two of the biggest and liveliest Inns outside the city walls to cover – the Tradeway Inn and the Old Farmhouse at the edge of Forest District to the north.  These Inns provide drinks and entertainment to the district’s earthy mix of caravan workers, farm labourers and market stallholders.

Southwood District: Guards in this district are selected for their open-mindedness and lack of racial bias as, along with Coastal District, Southwood is home to almost all of the city’s non-human population – especially the Dwarves, Halflings and Gnomes.  This area is fairly poor but relatively quiet – the dwarves and gnomes being fairly law-abiding and the Halflings usually avoiding causing trouble in their own backyard.  It also contains a large segment of the city’s industrial complexes, with small forges and workshops lining the riverbank to the north of the district.  To the south are Gamason House and the Gamason Stud Farm, birthplace of the Blackvale Gamason breed of hardy warhorses.

Coastal District:  Stretching quite a long way along the coast west of the city, this district is one of the largest in area but third lowest in population, consisting mainly of small pockets of fisherman’s cottages.  Guards here mainly keep an eye on the Coast Road and the sailors and fishermen who live close to Infimeses Bridge.  They also have to deal with the “harmless” pranks of the denizens of Fey Lodge Inn to the south of the district and are thus the only city unit with a Fey contingent.

Docks District:  A small but difficult District to manage, busy both day and night and full of people coming and going the Docks guards have to deal with all docks traffic as well as smuggling, illegal taverns, foreign sailors, brawling stevedores, clueless travellers, arrogant captains and swarms of pickpockets.  This area has one of the lowest permanent populations but the second largest guard contingent outside the city walls and sees a large proportion of the crime in the city.

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