A Locale – Tristia: the First City

There aren’t many stories left about Tristia, the very first city to be built by the human race, back when they thought they were alone in superiority over the world. Before they learned the grace of the elves or the industriousness of the dwarves (and who’s to say they ever did), they exhibited an unparalleled knack for the ostentatious. As the land, its gods, and its inhabitants justifiably turned on them, humankind unified in spite to build their legacy: an affront to the natural world, a cautionary tale for young children, an inevitable nightmare for any who would deign to be a patriarch. It was an impractical, showy mess born out of the desire of a few to corral the masses. For a while, it worked.


TRISTIA, THE FIRST CITY exists out of time with the world you know. At the center of a sweeping sea of sand dunes, its glittering silver spires stand in stark contrast to the simple stone and weather-blasted wood of the lower streets. Though the sand is slowly climbing the outer walls, there are still a few people who live here. In a small sector at the very edge of the city limits are a group who have repaired and rebuilt a communal neighborhood. They are protective of what they have left and suspicious of any outsider seeking fortune, glory, or notoriety.

Nonetheless, most will let you explore the ruins of the lower city, though they will not offer any aid in doing so under any circumstances. The upper city–home to the ornate towers and palaces of the noblemen–is expressly off-limits. The roads to that portion of town have been deliberately destroyed, and the current residents will band together and attempt to repel or kill you if you attempt an incursion. If favor is curried, however, any denizen will tell you what became of the patriarchs who had the city built:

They are dead, their bodies hanging from their spires, their souls imprisoned in another world.


TRISTIA is a locale in THE NINE HUNDRED CELLS OF PROFESSOR SIGOLO, a forthcoming adventure to be printed in The Bird of Passage. ANCIENT CITY illustration by Gustave Doré, fittingly retrieved from Old Book Illustrations. Teaser blog post written for #RPGaDAY2019.

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