A Tale of Two Cities
Cyrus and Artaxerxes
1000+ years ago
Cyrus and Artaxerxes were brothers, sons of the great and fair King Gustavas. He left them each a city, East and West. Cyrus ruled the Eastern City, Anatolia, a land of agriculture and farming. Artaxerxes ruled the Western City, Zephyr, a land of mining and industry. For a while they got along, traded well and defended each other. The lands around them prospered, towns of all kinds springing up.
Then, Reynart found Artaxerxes, and poisoned his mind. After the death of Artaxerxes' only young child, he was distraught. Cyrus had a family and children. Artaxerxes was alone. His advisor Reynart convinced him that he deserved all that Cyrus had and more.
Artaxerxes drove deeper into the mines. He discovered a new green-veined metal, which they called rhodium. At first, the Anatolians shared the rhodium with Zephyr, and it was made into jewelry, combs, dishes and cups. It was more beautiful than even platinum. But Reynart found a way to fashion the rhodium into a new type of steel, sharper and stronger than any known metal. He began to build arms, and did not share this rhodium steel with the people of Zephyr. It was part of the town's new independent identity, and it was not traded outside the city. No rhodium steel was allowed to leave.
However, the metal slowly corrupted the Anatolians. They became monstrous. Artaxerxes attacked Cyrus, but the Zephyrans were strong. They had high walls and had traded well, and had a strong militia. Cyrus. The monstrous Anatolians ransacked the land around, and Cyrus sent out a call to all the races of all the towns – come to Cyrus. He would protect them. And they did.
The war was fought, and Artaxerxes' army eventually fell apart, the monsters scattering across the lands, making them dangerous and harsh. Zephyr was isolated, a powerful city in a hostile world.
Eventually the Zephyran royal line came to an end, but in its place – a new line.Two Adult Bronze Dragons, a mated pair, now rule the town, situated on a large lake. The dragon line goes back over 100 years. They keep the town safe from incursions from larger monsters. They will go on occasional trade missions to keep the economy stable and running. They employ a strict military-police rule over the town, the Dragon Knight militia. They show no expansionist interest – the city is their domain, and their castle has their hoard.
Zephyr is now known as Westmarch, and is sustained, still, by its farms. A long, low outer wall (10') with only a few gatehouses protects the farms from ravaging goblins and hungry owlbears. Farmers head out of the city to the farmlands during the day, and come home at night. There are some permanent structures, but no inhabitants. Anatolia, now known as Eastmarch, is known to still exist, some miles away, but is a necropolis lying within a dead and dangerous dark forest. The fate of the rhodium mines is largely unknown.
The City of Westmarch
The city is cosmopolitan, but isolated. There is no upward or outward mobility, the only way to get ahead is to go forth and discover what's out there. Most adventurers don't come back. All core races and classes are represented, except half-orcs and barbarians. Druids and Rangers are common. Wizards and Sorcerer NPCs are around, but low-level. Clerics of Lawful and Good Gods are allowed, and have small shrines in town. Worship of Chaotic gods are discouraged, and Evil Gods outlawed. The most prominent temple is a monastery to the LN God Irori.
There are many adventurer's guilds in town, and adventurers drive a major part of the economy with infusions of gold and items. In order to leave the town walls, you must be a member of an adventurers guild. And upon return, the guild will take inventory of your loot. Upon death, unless bequeathed to a relative by blood or marriage, the dragons confiscate your remaining gold and items for their hoard. If you are reported dead or missing outside the walls, they may post a bounty for those items.