D&D 3.0: Tales from Mystara
City of the Stars
The City of Stars
The City of Stars is the capital and largest city of the Shadow Elves, and an architectural marvel, for it is built on the ceiling of the largest cavern known to them. The elves thought it a miracle that gravity acted in the way that it did in this cavern, and the fortunate discovery of Stone on a cavern wall further guaranteed its value as the site for a city.
The gravity is in general uniform for anyone standing in a particular spot: he feels firmly attached to the floor below him, and anything he throws up into the air falls back down to the ground as expected. But there are areas of sudden gravity shift along the walls, and a careful climber will discover that he can ascend to what he thought was the ceiling and then stand upon it, looking “up” toward the “floor” he was standing on before. It is on this ceiling that almost a majority of shadow elves make their home.
The name of the City of Stars derives from its appearance from the floor of the cavern in which it is built. The unusual gravity of the cavern allows a visitor to stand on the floor of the cavern and look up at the city, miles above, so far away that its streetlights and windows appear to be stars. Somewhere, deep in the shadow elves’ racial memories, they recall the beauty of stars under a summer sky, so the City of Stars holds a particular emotional appeal. Indeed, the infravision of the elves leaves little need for lights—the main reason they are kept is so that the city that the city deserves its name when viewed form the floor of the vast cavern.
The City of Stars, however, does not always deserves its name, for its cavern is so large—and do warm—that the center of the cavern often fills with clouds, and rain fall about once a week. Because of the peculiar gravity of the place, this rain falls both directions at the same time. Thunderstorms occur less often, but are quite dramatic and seen as good omen from the Immortal Rafiel.
The principal feature of the City of Stars is of course the Temple of Rafiel, built against a face of the cavern on which is carved the Refuge of Stone, the religious text upon which the Way of the Shamans and all worship of Rafiel is based. The Temple of Rafiel almost entirely fills this niche, with stalactites hundreds of feet long hanging down nearly to the steps of the temple.
The temple is built as a series of concentric rectangles, with walls sloping in toward the center. Any shadow elf is free to worship at the shrine on the very top of the temple, but entering inside is allowed only to shamans. Only the highest-level shamans have access to the innermost sanctum of the temple.
The Celebryl Air Force is of course based in the City of Stars; its troops practice maneuvers daily, swooping their large skinwings—tremendous flying reptiles, pictured on the cover of this book—through the air.
The City of Stars is directly underneath Trollhattan, in the Broken Lands; the water from the city wells, in fact, is filtered down from Troll Lake more than a thousand feet above.