Alaundo's Library

Traveler's Notebooks

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By Sourcemaster2



Terrail is relatively young, having been founded and built by powerful wizards. An amnesty was put out for any non-evil mage, welcoming him or her to join the Tower ranks (actual wizards, beyond 1st level). Sufficient mastery of magic is necessary to become a citizen if born outside the city, and is tested. As for the alignment issue, it could be a problem in the near future, but Terrail was founded by good mages, dedicated to making a sanctuary for non-evil users of Art. They abhorred the dark wizards who sullied the reputation of mages in general, and sought to make their city as "good" as possible.

Terrail is encircled by a simple white wall. The wall is divided by four gates, each of which as a small tower on either side. Leading from the gates are the Four Ways, paved in octagonal stones bearing the sigil of every citizen; they run north/south and east/west, meeting in the center. Along the Four Ways are many of the businesses, but the primary center of commerce is the Market. Approaching Terrail from the southern gate, the arrangement is as follows. In back of the gate towers are small barracks, extending from the road to the wall. The barracks give way to the Market, a sprawling, vaguely rectangular area reaching across the rune-road on both sides. The Market then leads into the “housing” district (not an official term, but there are no shops, only houses; primarily wealthy people live here) That continues until it meets the large open space in the exact center of Terrail. This courtyard surrounds the Tower of Rising Light. From here, one can go left (west), which brings you to the House of Crafts. Traveling right (east) leads to the Temple. Going forward (north), one arrives at the Hall of the Golden Blades. As for the areas in between those locales, the northeastern portion of Terrail is the Gate Court, devoted to the portals of Terrail, as well as housing some of the mages and soldiers assigned there. The northwest is the Guest District, housing the many and varied…well…guests. The houses and businesses there are very diverse, depending on the resources of those living and working there.

The majority of the populace are craftsmen, whose works are often enchanted, due to their early training as wizards. The Golden Blades are the city's armed forces, who combine their minor spells with combat skills. The clerics of Terrail have a unique arrangement that funds them quite nicely, but requires any citizens to be healed without cost (normal healing). The clerics are wizards as well, and create the majority of the city's potions and many magical items of their own. In addition, a quarter of the city houses the "guests," who rent their quarters from the Master Craftsmen. Many guests are not mages, but have lived there for years. They have fewer privileges then citizens, but the distinction is only legal; in practicality, they aren't treated differently. Magic is a big part of a Terrailan's life, but not always in a direct way.

Citizenship has nothing to do with personal rights, such as protection under the law. It is more related to joining the city's occupations; only citizens can be Tower mages, for example, and a non-citizen mage can always become one and then join up. Non-citizens can own and run businesses in the city, but their residences are technically owned by the Craftsmen. Again, this is just a technicality, usually ignored/nullified by a contract. The concept of citizenship is present more to enforce the necessity of magecraft than it is to relegate non-mages to a lower position. Citizens and guests are not treated differently in any noticeable way.

Children are brought up being taught languages, some history, geography, and, obviously, magic. Upon reaching the age of sixteen, a boy or girl can be considered a full adult citizen, provided that s/he can work at least a cantrip, is not evil-aligned, and has been properly educated. This is necessary, by law. Clerical magic doesn't count, although sorcerers and bards are accepted, as their magic is arcane by nature.

Reaching the age of sixteen, not evil-aligned, and being able to work at least one cantrip are the requirements for graduation from the basic studies of Terrailan children. After that, a young man or woman is technically an adult, but in reality, it just opens the door for further education. When you turn sixteen, provided that the aforementioned prerequisites are met, you choose whether you are going to learn a trade, train as a warrior of the Golden Blades, join the city's clergy, or continue studying arcane magic.

Once the choice is made, the "adult" effectively enters an apprenticeship of sorts, being trained in his/her chosen profession. They live in the center of their occupation; mages in the Tower, craftsmen in the House of Crafts, fighters in the Hall of Golden Blades, and priests in the Temple (there is only one temple in Terrail, housing the clergy of the "official" deities, but there is a large open section for those of another religion) Training takes years, ending at about 5th level. While the trainees are adults, they aren't treated as equals until they are almost twenty, though they might not yet be close to finished yet. 

For most people, wizardry is possible, though by no means easy. Those unfortunate few lacking in enough intelligence to work magic usually attain only guest status. No matter who they are related to, no non-mage can be a citizen. They can live in the guest district of the city, though many have rooms in their family's house. The laws requiring magecraft may seem unfair, but Terrail is a city of wizards, and they will not accept someone who isn't. Guests aren't treated differently than citizens, except in specific circumstances pertaining to rights and privileges. It should be noted that anyone not intelligent enough to cast any wizardly magic at all is likely unable to function well in another occupation.

Evil is as evil does...or doesn't do. Anyone evil, no matter how they are, entering the city glows. This glow can be easily seen, so stopping them from entering is simple. Translocational spells can be used to circumvent this, of course, but the field (which is conjured and maintained by nine crystal spheres) is linked to a special pool of divining water in the Tower. This pool, located on the third-to-last floor of the Tower, looks like a map of the city, and reveals any evil-aligned creatures as glowing red dot. It is checked regularly, and anyone/thing detected is immediately hunted down and expelled (not killed unless it's unavoidable; Terrailans dislike evil, but they aren't violent in nature)

While evil characters may do good acts, they are evil. They may have some good goals or character traits, but you don't become evil-aligned unless it is your true nature. Many neutral-aligned people do heinous acts, but they aren't strictly evil. That's why they are allowed in Terrail. Evildoers-or however else they are evil-are a threat to the community. Allowing them in is to introduce this threat to the city at large. It takes something significant, whether an action or something else, to become evil-aligned, rather than just neutral.

Observation, even when done magically, requires effort and is fallible. Total exclusion is the policy of Terrail, and is followed strictly. This is not to say that all Terrailans are perfectly pure in nature. They have flaws and ambitions, just like everyone else. Not all of them actively help people or promote justice; they're good and neutral, orderly and chaotic. Everything but evil. There is quite a bit of variety: just because someone isn't evil doesn't mean that s/he can't be dangerous, or actively work against what most perceive as good. On the other hand, Terrail hosts some contradictory-seeming figures: good necromancers who heal rather than harm, good undead that guard and serve willingly, not because they are forced to, and beings that are traditionally evil, like beholders and a few others, working in conjunction with good (or at least not doing/being evil).

Divine intervention is possible to shield someone from the city's defenses, but it must be extremely subtle. There are mages who use alignment-reading devices about the city. These items, unlike the city's detection field, can be blocked, but the user is aware of the protection, and will take note of it. Further investigation will ensue, so the warding had better be potent, long-lasting, and highly deceptive to fool the divinations of the city's wizards. Take note that Terrail's clergy is also numerous and has some high-level characters among it. If arcane divination fails, they may ask a god. 

The standard definition of evil is: Evil characters or creatures debase or destroy life, whether for fun or profit. Where neutral characters may be amoral, evil ones are immoral, at least by conventional description. There is one option that such an individual may take. The clergy of the city offer a chance at redemption, similar to an atonement spell. If an applicant is truly repentant, sometimes demonstrating this by fulfilling a minor quest of some sort, the priests will call upon their deity to directly intervene, altering the candidate's alignment. (for the period of the supplicant's quest, his actual alignment is suppressed, allowing a free reign of sorts, therefore letting him/her demonstrate the true desire to become good (or neutral). Once such a person passes the trial, powerful spells are used to verify the new alignment. Once verified, the person is accepted into Terrail without constraint or limitation (beyond the standard mage citizen/guest issue, of course) This allows formerly evil characters to join the society, but continues the tradition of excluding evil. The cost for this is usually negligible, and often ignored entirely if circumstances permit (the person is poor, for instance).

Terrailans will not allow evil people into their city, but they strongly believe in a person's ability/right to change their ways. It is a basic tenet of Terrail that no one is beyond redemption, if they truly desire it, and are willing to make up for their actions. An evil mage, for instance, might become good, but he still has to pay for his crimes. "Blind good" isn't exactly how I would describe Terrailan society, but it can seem that way. The city was founded with the intention of being a home for those who were tired of evil, both blatant and subtle, that permeates so many cities. While the founders themselves (who, by the way, raised the outer walls of the city with their spells, and many of the oldest buildings also, over the course of many years) were good, they did not want to deny free will, and so accepted neutral-aligned individuals, and established, with the aid of the clergy, a method for evil individuals to "turn good."

The society is not perfect; there are thieves and swindlers, charlatans and spies, but they all are outside (sometimes just barely) being evil. All in all, their city is admirable: public education, very little prejudice, almost no poor people, as everyone enters the aforementioned apprenticeship, and can find some work, even if it is in one of the projects run outside of the city. The city didn't spring up as an ordinary one did: it was planned and carefully constructed. It isn't especially large, as citied go, and since all non-citizen housing is rented out in a controlled manner, overpopulating isn't likely. If it becomes too crowded, there are plans for constructing another city, portal-linked to the first. Terrail is somewhat like Silverymoon, but even more magical; if you're good, neutral, magical, or some combination thereof, you can find a place there.

Most of the guests are visitors to the city, usually there to operate some sort of business; anyone raised in Terrail would be a mage. The distinction between guests and citizens exists because Terrail is a city of wizards, and is meant to be such. The founders wanted a place where magic would be in the hands of everyone. To prevent the lazy of untalented from ignoring magic, they instituted laws requiring spellcraft. And although guests have limited rights, they can always study magic. Lessons are offered at low rates, and even an elementary knowledge and skills of wizardry is enough to qualify for citizenship

The plethora of familiars is a notable factor in Terrail; they're practically everywhere. Some characters, like warriors, don't have the time or inclination to take care of a familiar, but most craftsmen have one, and many of the clergy. Unique cantrips are common in the city. There is a large section of the Tower Library devoted to cantrips, many of which are very creative and/or useful. That is part of the attraction of the city: it's full of specialized spells and inventive magical items. One of the requirements to become a full mage is to craft a new unique item, so the markets abound with them.

The politics of Terrail are somewhat strange. The five groups - mages, clerics, craftsmen, soldiers, and guests-don't really attempt to sway each other much. Instead, the individual groups have their own political setting. The Tower wizards, for example, tend to surround the Lord Mage they most like or approve of, usually a former mentor. This distinction can lead to infighting, but it is also practical. Rean's allies, for instance, are the battle mages, mostly his former students, while Kar's are the magical artisans.

Issues like family aren't important, because there isn't any nobility in Terrail. Some alliances are inter-group, like Baergen and the Tower, who are closely tied in a demand-supply relationship, giving Baergen influence in the Tower. The Golden Blades are probably the strangest, as they don't really unite under any authority figure. As impregnable as Terrail is, the military doesn't have much to do, and so sell their services often. While pricy, a force of fighter-mages appearing out of thin air (usually by a teleportation circle, adding to the price) is impressive. With soldiers constantly coming and going, there isn't time or motivation to be political.

The clerical hierarchy is adhered to, but the Keepers have wildly differing interests. Since they don't have to worry about a steady supply of money, they can focus on their studies. The lesser clergy spend most of their time healing the citizens, as is their duty, while the more powerful have duties of a different nature (Saryl and her psionic responsibilities, Lean and her alchemy, and so on) The High Priest is divinely elected (majority of one, as it were) so rebellion is not likely.

The craftsmen are the most democratic, each being more or less equal. The Master Craftsmen (confusing titles, I know) are rarely seen, focusing on their skills in The House, and are outnumbered by far by the others of their group.

The Council is a fairly accurate representation of Terrail's interaction. The Warden, while respected, isn't really influential, because his soldiers aren't present often. He does, however, bring a nice bit of income to the city, so the others know to pay attention when he talks. He and Rean are good friends, and the two discuss Terrail's defenses every few months. Anthalus is the nominal leader, not by any legal difference, or even because of his immense power, but because of his connections, personality, and the simple fact that he was one of the primary Builders. Out of everyone in Terrail (and out of it, for that matter) Anthalus has the most extensive knowledge of the city and its inhabitants. Many strange and powerful allies, few of them human(oid) are known to him, and don't forget that it is, in the end, his island. The Master Craftsmen is perhaps the most important member of the Council, because it's she who assesses the mood of the majority of Terrailans, and is responsible for maintaining the economy. A competent Master Craftsman causes trade to flourish, while an inept one can doom it. You may have noticed that Terrail is a city of luxury trades for the most part. Magic is valuable, as are fine works of art, but neither is really a necessity. Careful balancing is needed to ensure that other nations come to rely on the enchanted merchandise produced here. So far, it's gone well, but the need for skill leads the other craftsmen to elect the most savvy of them to lead. The High Priest is somewhat taken for granted, so long as the citizens continue to receive healing, the army is supplied with potions, and the Vault gets additions regularly.

The average Golden Blade values the power of magic, and so has no problem working with clerics or mages. At the same time, some wizards find soldiers unnecessary, and the more arrogant would do away with them entirely (note: these are almost all lower-ranking wizards, as the skilled and masters are usually older and wiser) Clerics, as always, are in the middle, accepting the need for blade and spell alike.

The reason the High Priest isn't that influential is because not that many Terrailans are devout. As wizards, most give at least token worship to Azuth and Mystra, but many of them pray to different deities, or aren't religious at all. Churchgoing is regular, but not intense. Remember, a large portion of the Temple is prepared for those who don't worship the god or goddess of magic, so those individuals don't even have a cleric of their faith to visit. In Terrail, clerics have to earn their keep; godly intervention is less important with mighty mages a (relatively) short walk away. They focus on healing and potion-brewing, and that's where most of their influence stems from. Even these abilities are in danger of being overshadowed by the developments of the Tower, particularly Byraun's experiments with healing spells. While that possibility worries some priests, it also motivates them to create their own new magics as quickly as possible.

In comparison, the Master Craftsman is well-known by the majority of citizens, and has a more active role. The Terrailans are glad that the High Priest and posse exist, but they don't really need him, while the MC organizes and oversees the city's businesses and craftspeople. Technically, the two are equal, but the reality favors the MC.


Terrailan Tidbits

Terrailans of Note

Gate Court

Magic of Terrail

Businesses of Terrail

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