Melankul – Points of Interest (1 of 2)

A tripartite city such as Melankul has points of interest for folks of every walk of life. Here are a variety of things your players may find interesting as they tour the city.

1.       The Frozen Lotus of Laleiven – The lifeblood of the city and the source of all its economic power, the Frozen Lotus sits in the central square of the Old City under the watchful eye of the Icewardens. The only people permitted to enter the square are the elf monks who have stood guard over the Lotus for millennia and the dwarf artificers who tend the ice harvesting machines. Tourists can view the Frozen Lotus from one of the many galleries surrounding the square, however this opportunity is by appointment only and subject to the Icewarden’s approval.

2.       Temple of the Lotus – Directly behind the Frozen Lotus is the temple from which the Icewardens administer their monastic order. The temple itself is made of the same alabaster as the walls of the Old City, however it has been delicately carved with a multitude of small figures. While some of these figures are recognizable as humanoids, others are straight out of a wild fever dream. Some say if you were to look carefully at all the carved figures, you would find an exact copy of yourself amongst the carvings.

3.       The Workshop – A simple name for a place of singular purpose, the workshop is a retrofitted chapel used by the dwarves to maintain the ice harvesting machinery. In stark contrast to the contemplative, quiet nature of the rest of the Old City, the workshop is a riot of metal-on-metal hammering and near unbearable heat. The elves and dwarves have tried to soundproof this place as much as possible but, despite their combined efforts, hearing protection is a must for anyone within half a block of the place.

4.       The Three-Part Throne – A humble structure (well, as humble as structures in the Old City get), the Three-Part Throne is the common name for the administrative building where the three councilors meet to govern Melankul. Though each councilor has their own administrative building in the part of the city they directly govern, matters that affect the entire city can only be debated inside the Three-Part Throne. While there are many lobbyists, nobles, and politicos vying for power within the halls of the building, the ultimate decision on any matter belongs to the three councilors. The councilors sit in the audience chamber and listen to petitioners publicly, however all debates and discussions among the three are done behind closed doors so no one but the councilors can know if the decision was unanimous or who voted which way on certain matters. This united front has helped maintain order in the city, however there has been a call for more transparency.

5.       The Dark Acres – Vast fields of carefully-tended mushrooms thrive deep in the Underwarren. These mushrooms are used for everything from medicine and food to building materials and clothing. The majority of the city’s waste ends up here, feeding the towering tree-like fungi from a variety of sewer pipes that rain down the refuse from on high. Tending the mushrooms is a very undesirable job, and so the dwarves are always happy to enlist the free labor of the criminals they catch breaking the city’s laws.

6.       The Jewelry District – Whether you’re looking for a new dermal anchor or a wedding ring, the Jewelry District is sure to have the fine metal goods and precious gems you are looking for. There is more wealth in this part of Melankul than all the rest combined, and so security is understandably tight throughout the area. Still, as long as the would-be patrons are well-behaved and look respectable enough, all are permitted to walk the shining streets to do a little window-shopping. So much as raise the suspicion of the guards, however, and the next thing you know you’re hip deep in gods-know-what, tending mushrooms for the next handful of months.

7.       The Sealed Tunnels – As the dwarves dug deeper under Melankul, they found a vast series of caverns and tunnels that appeared carved rather than natural formations. Little is known what they found while exploring these places, however the tunnels were quickly sealed both physically and magically and all are forbidden from approaching the area. Some say the tunnels are full of the hungry dead. Others say the tunnels led to a vast and wicked cave elf city. Still others say that the tunnels were just full of toxic gas and were sealed so the bad air wouldn’t infect the rest of the Underwarren. Those people are boring and unimaginative and routinely ignored.

8.       Lowgarden Market – Located on the southeast side of Newchance, the Lowgarden Market is a vast bazaar where traders and merchants from across the realm come to do business. Anything and everything can be found at the market, though certain…illicit items may be difficult to come by, depending on who you know. Beyond the plethora of goods available, services and opportunities are bought and sold here by the many merchant houses throughout the city. If you need something and can’t find it at the Lowgarden Market, you just aren’t looking hard enough.

9.       The Dry Pit – Before Newchance was settled, the water and ice harvested from the Frozen Lotus were saved in a large reservoir dug into the bedrock north of the red mesa. The water is now stored outside the city walls, however the dry reservoir is still very much in use. The walls of the deep pit have been excavated into houses and shops for the poorest of the city’s inhabitants. Crime is rampant here and despite the heavy presence of the guards, it isn’t safe to be out of doors after dark…and it’s always dark in the deepest parts of the pit.

10.   The Red Wall – Though not as tall as the alabaster wall that surrounds the Old City, the Red Wall is far more defensible than it may seem. The wall is nearly thirty feet thick in most places, and then of those feet on the outer edge of the wall are solid stone. The other twenty feet are honeycombed with barracks, arrow slits, murder holes, armories, and towers designed to give the city’s defenders everything they need to fight off a siege. The top of the thick wall is a veritable highway, allowing for the quick transport of people and weaponry. In times of peace, the guards allow merchants and pedestrians full use of the walls as a way to quickly traverse the city.

11.   The Glassworks – Water may be the city’s primary industry, but the glass produced in Melankul are valued throughout the world. The red rock, when combined with the desert’s fine sand, produces a durable, crystal clear glass that local artisans use for windows and objets d’art. The most skilled glassworkers can even make arms and armor from this glass, though such pieces are rare and highly expensive. Most elves of Melankul use this glass to create the intricate masks every member of their people wear to distinguish themselves.

12.   Public Food Gardens – Almost a full quarter of the Old City is dedicated to a topiary garden that doubles as a food pantry for Melankul’s hungriest citizens. A veritable maze of crops are artfully disguised as sculpture so that both the hungry and the aesthetes can enjoy their stroll. The tower on the edge of the gardens is the closest one can get to the Frozen Lotus without special approval by the Icewardens.

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