The Frozen City
Although primarily a residential district, the Rivergate section of Ptolus still offers many interesting locales to visit. Two of them are the Well of the Shadow Eyes and Finelle’s Pleasant Diversions.
Population: About 10,000
Primary Function: Residential
Primary Social Class: Middle
The Flavor of the Rivergate District
If Midtown is the most Ptolus section of the city, the Rivergate District is the least. If Midtown is all about delvers and adventure, Rivergate is all about commoners, family, and a nice, quiet, comfortable life.
Much of the Rivergate District is divided into little cul-de-sacs called burrows. These can become quite insular; one starts to think of the other people in the burrow as family, just like those with actual blood ties. Everyone always knows the business of everyone else in the burrow and tends to look upon outsiders with suspicion.
Ivy-covered walls, pleasant fountains, and pigeon-covered statues are common here. Things usually seem relatively quiet in Rivergate, particularly at night, when the streets are well-lit but empty.
People of Rivergate
More than in other parts of the city, the people of the Rivergate District keep to themselves. They’re less likely to get involved in a situation they encounter than to scurry home or wherever they were heading”handling trouble is someone else’s responsibility. Blatant displays of magic might not frighten them, but they do make them nervous. A Rivergate inhabitant would rather have a nice evening at home with family and friends than go off on a dangerous adventure. Folk in the district are usually devout in their religious faith and very focused on doing their jobs and raising their children. While you can find a few corner pubs here and there, a Rivergate resident is more likely to enjoy a lively dance at a burrow party with neighbors (such events are common) than a night of carousing. The Rivergate District is a mix of elves and humans with a growing population of the demi-elves (gnomes and halflings).
Despite being mostly residential, Rivergate has a few interesting locations for characters to discover.
Middle Street (#95, F3)
Surely one of the strangest locales in Ptolus, Barbarian Balloonists is run by two halfling barbarians, Ernast Krundar and Fallix Hord (both male barbarians), who take customers up in their hot-air balloon to hunt birds with bows. Most people point out that this is a poor way to hunt birds, but the two extremely enthusiastic and fun-loving halflings don’t care, and they make the trip worth the 75 gp price tag. They also take up people who want to use the balloon for sightseeing or just the experience, but they charge 100 gp for such a service, since it’s not nearly as much fun without the hunting. The office consists of a small shack with a hand-painted, misspelled sign that says “Barbaran Balooonits” and an open yard for launching their single balloon. The basket holds up to five Medium creatures in addition to Ernast and Fallix. Where these two first got hold of a hot-air balloon, no one knows. The balloon itself is a colorful quilt of patchwork cloth that they are constantly repairing. Seen frequently in the various bars on Tavern Row, Ernast and Fallix brag that one day they’re going to take their balloon up to the top of the Spire.
Center Circle (#86, F3)
At the heart of Rivergate is an open plaza/park called Center Circle. This is the central point from which all major Rivergate streets radiate. In the center of the plaza is a rotunda for parties, festivals, and celebrations. Numerous benches surround the rotunda, allowing it to serve as a stage for amateur theater, oratories, or musical performances. When not in formal use, it is the demesne of playing children during the day and courting teenagers in the evening.
Wash Street (#87, F3)
Cooper’s is a general store owned by young Lyala Cooper (female human), a blond-haired, tall, thin woman who wears spectacles. This store has been in the Cooper family for generations, having served the local burrows with food and dry goods for more than a century. For much of that time, Cooper’s has also been under the control of the Balacazar, who staked Lyala’s great-grandfather when he was about to lose the store. The family takes a cut of the store’s profits and uses it as an occasional meeting place. However, Lyala wants to sever her criminal ties and run a legitimate business. Of course, Kevris Killraven would like nothing better than to help her, but Lyala doesn’t want that kind of help.
Finelle’s Pleasant Diversions
MInner Ring Row (#90, F3)
Finelle Aballes was a great lover of games of all kinds. A wealthy human widow, she created a place where people could play games in a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere. Finelle’s Pleasant Diversions is a two-story building, nicely decorated and well kept, with large rooms full of gaming tables and a few small private game rooms. Although gambling does occur here, this is no gambling den, but rather a club of real game experts. For example, one frequent patron is Zalisartaram (female Harrow elf wizard), one of the world’s best Dragonscales players. Other games include Ten Bobbers, Horseman (both are games with pieces moved on a grid board), Gempot, Seven Thrones, Sword and Helm, Riverside, and Kutch (a variety of games played with cards divided by suit and number). And there are more besides.
Golathan Naddershrike’s Labratory
Vaddis Street (#93, E3)
This simple one-story house connects to a weird, crooked stone tower. The owner, Golathan Naddershrike, uses the tower exclusively as a magical laboratory—or, at least, he did when he was alive. Since his murder not long ago, the place has stayed locked up by the City Watch.
The wizard Golathan Naddershrike was killed by a student of his named Terrek Nal, a human living in Midtown. Golathan had fallen into a deep despair after his wife’s death and, unfortunately, took out his rage on his disciple, Terrek. After months of abuse, Terrek accidentally disrupted one of Golathan’s alchemical experiments. In a fit of anger, the wizard cast a curse on Terrek, transforming him into a not-quite-human creature. With anger and resentment equal to that of his cruel master, Terrek slew Golathan.
The strange tower and home sits near the edge of the plateau upon which the district is built, at the top of the cliff overlooking the gorge. It is infamous in the district for its bizarre appearance and strange associate phenomena (which worry the neighbors to no end). Unfortunately, since the laboratory is indeed filled with unattended magical experiments, substances, and devices—all barely stable and quite dangerous even when monitored— their worries seem more valid than ever.
Jangave Lesh’s training Hall
Outer Ring Row (#94, E3)
Jangave Lesh used to get by teaching ordinary commoners to defend themselves against assailants, charging only a few coppers for basic lessons. In recent years, she has gained a reputation among delvers and other adventurers as an excellent combat trainer. Now her prices come in gold coins, not copper, and she lives in a nice Rivergate house with an attached training room complete with a variety of weapons, armors, and such necessities as sparring dummies, wooden and padded versions of weapons, sparring mats, and, of course, first aid materials. Jangave trains any character of any class of a level lower than herself. She charges 5 gp per character level per session.
Jangave’s best friend is Yavil Totharson (male human fighter), a retired soldier. Yavil is the brother of Vestra, a friend and associate of Dierna Hillerchaun of the Knights of the Pale. Although retired, the sixty-four-year-old Yavil still likes to compete in the Godsday Festival and Tournament.