The Still Night
[The Spire], Ptolus’ most obvious and recognizable landmark, is visible from almost any point in town, rising three thousand feet into the air at the city’s western edge. But even without the Spire, Ptolus remains an extremely vertical place. At the highest and westernmost point of the city proper atop the Jeweled Cliffs lies the Nobles’ Quarter. One of the newer areas of town, it is built on the highest major shelf alongside the Spire’s base. Below that is, ironically, the oldest part of town, called Oldtown. Built around the ancient fortress of [Dalenguard],
[Oldtown] is not as high in elevation as the [Nobles’ Quarter] but it still overlooks the rest of the city. One must pass through the gates of Dalenguard to begin the climb to the Nobles’ Quarter; this is the only approach. The King’s River cuts through the center of town, flowing east to empty into the Bay of Ptolus. The river comes into town from the north and west, cutting a wide swath north of Oldtown called the King’s River Gorge. The gorge separates Oldtown from a small residential district to the northeast called [Rivergate]. At the end of the gorge, the river plummets down two hundred feet in a tall waterfall, to flow more gently and toward the bay within narrower and more modest banks. The King’s River, which effectively cuts the city in half, is spanned by no fewer than twelve bridges. Dalen’s Cliffs, the defensible ridge upon which Oldtown was built, rise almost two hundred feet above the rest of the city. A wide, man-made ramp along the Emperor’s Road extends for four hundred feet from these heights down into the city center. One can also reach Oldtown via a bridge that extends south across the King’s River Gorge from Rivergate and another that leads out of the city at its northwestern corner.
South of Oldtown lies the [South Market] district. North of the river and east of Rivergate is the North Market, which is far more open and chaotic than its southern counterpart. Sandwiched between the two markets and due east of Oldtown is the largest of the city’s districts, called Midtown. Southeast of Midtown is the smokefilled [Guildsman District], which extends all the way down to the cliffs overlooking the Bay of Ptolus.
Wedged in just northeast of the Guildsman District and south of the King’s River at the cliffs’ edge is the small and dangerous slum known as the [Warrens]. Northeast of Midtown and south of the North Market lies the [Temple District], with its infamous Street of a Million Gods. East of the Temple District at the northeastern corner of town lies the city’s vast cemetery, the Necropolis, which sits atop the cliffs. In most sections of the city, the river rushes through its narrow channel one hundred feet or more below the street level. It eventually empties into the [Bay of Ptolus] in another grand waterfall just south of the thin strip of land at the bottom of the cliffs where the Docks lie. These grand Cliffs of Lost Wishes, which run along the city’s shoreline, rise over five hundred feet above the crashing waves below. A winding path carved into the cliffside connects the [Docks] with the rest of the city. It is well over two miles from the western edge of the Nobles’ Quarter to the cliffs above the bay. On a clear day, as the sun sets in the west, you can tell the time by the length of the shadow the impossibly tall Spire casts upon Ptolus.