Far from the windswept bluffs of the Sword Coast, several months journey across the sea, lies the Desert Isle of Dyrik.
About 200 by 300 miles across, Dyrik is a harsh land in the grip of a decades long drought. Once a lush forest island, nearly 70 years of almost no rainfall has changed the landscape to one of windswept dunes and unforgiving heat. Fresh water is scarce, and the sands are home to aggressive creatures hunting for a meal, as well as any moisture they can drink from the bodies of their prey.
Due to the harsh climate and dangerous wildlife scattered settlements are scarce, but four major cities still exist, fighting for survival.
By far the largest city on Dyrik, Cytheria is also the most prosperous. While water is not plentiful (or necessarily cheap) it is readily available to those willing and able to pay for it. A city of commerce, the streets of Cytheria are lined with glittering shops and nearly everything is available – for those who have the coin to back up their desires. A large stone wall protects Cytheria’s inhabitants from the dangers that stalk the dunes.
Cytheria is administrated by a ruling Council of Five. An appointment to the council is for life (or until a council member decides to step down) and incoming council members are voted in by Cytheria’s citizens from a pool of candidates approved by remaining council members.
Those who live in the Noble district enjoy a lifestyle of (relative) excess, with large estates, extravagant artwork, and servants to cater to their whims. It has even become fashionable for the most affluent to obtain constructs as servants, and the higher class are willing to pay exorbitant sums to have a minor golem or Iron guard dog in their household.
For those in the poor district, life is harder. Many scrape by to make ends meet, and some even turn to a life of crime to feed themselves – a problem that is largely ignored until it touches the more affluent class.
Carrying weapons is prohibited within the walls of Cytheria save for members of the Cytherian Guard, those engaged in private security for the more powerful citizens, and those granted “special dispensation” from the ruling council in the form of an “Adventurer’s Writ.”
Cytheria is inhabited primarily by Humans, but members of all races walk the streets.
The coastal town of Kyrk is the oldest settlement on Dyrik, and boasts the only maintained docks available for incoming ships looking to trade. Their economy used to be maintained by ships coming in from the Sword Coast, but with resources scarce from the long drought the ships are not as common a sight as they once were.
Kyrk is a small town compared to Cytheria, having only a few small shops, the Docks, and the Kyrkway Inn.
The residents of Kyrk have developed a unique ability over the years – they are able to drink what they call “Apple Water.” Despite the encouraging name, Apple Water is a thick, brackish liquid that causes severe illness in any who drink it, save for the residents of Kyrk (though some residents do still get sick from drinking it). Because of this, many Kyrk residents have turned to “water prospecting” – seeking out water to trade to outsiders, and apple water to trade amongst themselves.
Kyrk is defended by a handful of volunteer Watchman, who take shifts keeping vigil from the tall watchtower in the center of town. It is populated primarily by humans and halflings.
Population – 603
To the northeast of Cytheria lies the Stronghold of Helm, carved deep into a mountain by Dwarven engineers. Here the dwarves extract iron from the mountain and fashion it into items to trade with Cytheria and Kyrk.
Helm is ruled by King Taldur Orcbreaker, and is home to a great Temple of Moradin, the largest cathedral in Dyrik.
Helm’s residents have all the water they need thanks to an aqueduct system carrying water from underground springs. Despite this, Helm will not trade water to Cytheria or Kyrk, instead keeping a surplus supply and using clean water for forging – much to the consternation of the neighboring cities.
Helm is populated primarily by Dwarves and Gnomes.
Set in the center of a large gulf to the north of Kyrk is the island that houses the Elvish city of Olshona.
The island city is an emerald jewel covered in thick forests unlike anything on Dyrik’s mainland. The island is shrouded in secrecy, as the elves rarely (if ever) allow visitors of any kind on their island. It is said that the island’s greenery is maintained at great effort through powerful ritual magic maintained by the elves. Ruled by Queen Aerin Elvalur, Olshona’s forests provide much of the food available to those living on Dyrik, their small merchant ships occasionally making the trip to Kyrk’s docks to trade food.
Olshona is populated almost entirely by elves.