Welcome to Gol Gorad!
Hello everybody, Jonathan here. Now that our podcast is up and running (you can find it here), you might want to know more about Morinfell, the world our band of adventurers find themselves in. I’m here to help! Today I’m going to give you a more in depth look at the city of Gol Gorad, the starting point for our podcast. I’ll give you some insight into the history, residents, culture, and physical layout of the city. Hope you enjoy!
Let’s start at the beginning. Gol Gorad is one of the oldest cities in all of Morinfell, having been founded just over 1500 years ago. The founders were the Alakan, a stone-working people who shared traits of both the southern kingdoms and the northern barbarians. As the southern lands were being populated by the Great Migration from the devastated eastern empires, this group of natives began work on a city that would be impregnable from land or sea. They used the cliffs above a natural horseshoe shaped bay in Sapphire Sound as their location. A series of cliffs ring the bay at various heights, each from 50’ to 200’ above the waters. Below the four lowest cliffs they built piers to form four different harbors, each of which services a different section of the city above.
Ultimately the city was built on 16 different cliff faces, each one called a Ward. These Wards are grouped into five Districts, each of which has a unique personality and feel. As the original city began to fill up with refugees from the east, the Alakan struggled to figure out how to grow the city. They had built on all of the available cliffs and didn’t want to expand inland for fear of Umendori raids from the north. The decision was made to build into the cliff faces themselves. Over several hundred years the cliffs were partially hollowed out and great stone buildings were constructed in the dark caverns. By 800 years ago the city reached what would be its apex of population and physical size.
The city might have continued to grow, potentially even connecting to the underdark at some point if it were not for the Scarlet Frost. This terrible disease hit Gol Gorad 800 years ago and killed off 3 of every 5 people living in the city. Entire Wards were de-populated and seals were put up to try and stop the spread of the disease. Nothing worked though and in five short years the city was just a shell of its former self. The Alakan proved extra susceptible to Scarlet Frost and worldwide every last one died from the disease. Their small empire of city-states, of which Gol Gorad counted itself, died with them. As the Scarlet Frost ran its course and people stopped fearing the cities it ravaged, folk from the now thriving southern kingdoms returned to Gol Gorad. The natural defenses of the city were strong enough to stave off raids, and the city quickly began to grow again.
About 500 years ago a small group of individuals, now known to only a very few, established the Order of the Artificers in the city. The Artificers took advantage of the safety of the city and the dark warrens built into the cliff faces to establish the largest and most feared group of tinkers, archivists, bomb-makers, smiths, and golemnists in the entire world. The group combines technology and magic to create wonders only dreamed of elsewhere. Giant mechanical elevators began to connect the various Wards of the city. Huge Juggernauts ferry goods on metal tracks throughout the Warehouse District. Golem sentinels stand guard and add to the already potent defenses of the city. An entire District is now home to this sprawling yet secretive group.
More recently the Lenders, a nefarious organization of moneylenders, enforcers, blackmailers, forgers, thugs, and cutthroats have set up offices in some of the Wards. This group uses legitimate fronts for their illicit doings. Anything from a bustling warehouse to a quiet antiquities shop might actually be a front for their agents, standing at the ready to ruin the lives of those unfortunate enough to need their services.
All of the differing organizations and agencies in the city have made Gol Gorad a diverse, colorful place. All races can be seen walking the streets, and a runic dwarven shaman sharing an ale with vine covered elven druid would not raise eyebrows. Adventurers are a common sight in the city and non-aggressive magic use in public is perfectly legal. Many businesses cater to those who would explore the dark and forgotten places of the land and most manner of non-magic goods can easily be found in the city. A few merchants specialize in the procurement and selling of magical items. These individuals can usually locate common magic items within a week with more time needed for less common items. A word of caution though, some of these vendors are unscrupulous and a few are agents for the Lenders. Buyer beware!
All in all, Gol Gorad is a vibrant, loud, colorful city filled with every imaginable race and class of humanoid. The Artificers secretly create their amazing wonders while the lenders prey on the unfortunate and downtrodden. The docks are filled day and night with all manner of vessels bringing in goods from the far corners of Morinfell. My hope is that you will continue to learn about Gol Gorad with our adventuring party as they explore the city and maybe even pierce a dark secret or two best left forgotten! Adventure on!!