Svinifrilijihirim, Gnome City built around an arcane university

This morning I saw the following video:

And if you like that video, he has a patreon worth checking out.

Inspired, I jumped onto Affinity Designer and got started with the word GNOME, all jumbled up.

The letters to the word, Gnome, jumbled up so I can make a city as detailed in the video above.

I had an old blog post about Underground Cities and always liked the Gnome city built around a university, Svinifrilijihirim.

The spaces between the jumbled letters above are colored in. It almost looks like a city. Almost.

Time to name the districts.

Walls and towers are around the city. The districts are named: 5 Towers University, Chalk District, Wizardtown, Prrenticetown, The 3 Hells, Little Anvil.

It is beginning to take shape. 5 Towers is an homage to a wizard-ruled city I had in a high fantasy game I attempted to run with Ars Magica as an undergrad.

Walls and towers are around the city. The districts are named: 5 Towers University, Chalk District, Wizardtown, Prrenticetown, The 3 Hells, Little Anvil.

TEXT: Svinifrilijihirim /Deeptown Svinifrilijihirim is a gnomish city founded so deep under the ground that planar travel is often necessary to find it.  It is sometimes called Deeptown and is governed by a powerful council of wizards. Svinifrilijihirim is perfect for doing research, finding tutoring or gaining formal wizard training. It does boast the underdeep's only Bard College, attached to the wizard's university that is home to one of the finest libraries in the underdeep, rivaled only by Kitji-Naal and Endë-Osto.

Exports: Wizards-for-hire, Bards-for-hire, magic items, alien gems, gates to other worlds, spell components, gnomish inventions

I wanted to flesh out the districts.

The five towers were the first buildings erected when this city was founded by five ambitious wizards long before the Elvish Civil War. They built the university and the city around that. The founding wizard's tombs were built in caverns, mushroom forests and waterfalls all around the city.
Today the university is known for educating the finest wizards and bards. The wizards go on to erect their own towers in the farthest reaches of the worlds, counsel governments, invent spells and gathering the most famous heroes to their adventuring fellowships. The bards go on to become the most adept spies, wise tutors and dynamic entertainers.
But the university can be an institution without pity. The streets of Deeptown have their share of lost former students, for whom a structured education in the Gnomish arcane tradition does not resonate.
5 Towers is almost a city within the city, with its own guard, laws and judicial system.
The five wizards, known as Tower Mages or Pentadi, set the tone for their college. There are traditional schools of magic but as new Pentadi take over, the university's philosophy of magical categorization can change over time as our understanding about how arcane laws change.
3 Hells is named for the 3 clans of Devil-folk, among the first refugees to find safety in Deeptown within the first century of its founding. Now 3 Hells' three largest populations are a noble-house-in-exile of Starless Elves, humans from a broken world and Forged-folk who left a world that did not consider them sapient beings. The tennement houses that folk who live in this district (often called Hellers or Trins) call home are a diverse mix of cultures and customs.
The neighborhood is very proud of its first Pentadi taking up residence in one of the university's five towers. Grishnali the Summoner grew up among the neighborhood's feuding Devil-folk and earned a coveted spot as a student in 5 Towers University. She is known for giving back to the community and is a major force behind the current peace between the 3 founding clans of Devil-folk who have been feuding since the neighborhood's founding.
Little Anvil is a one fortified castle with every aspect of Dwarven Society within its walls. There is a craft guild, a bank, a mercenary company and several mining operations. As agreed when the castle's foundation was first laid, almost fifty years ago, the guilds and companies hire from all over the city. This policy was enacted in hopes that Dwarven crafts would spread throughout the city's districts but that has not quite been the result.
The craft guild is an umbrella guild representing gem-cutting, masons and smiths. The bank is the most stable financial institution in Deeptown with investments and loans all over the city. The mercenary company is carefully regulated, never having more than three dozen armed soldiers in the city at any one time and with a percentage of any money earned going into the city's coffers; the company is known for its adept warmages. Critics say Deeptown profits from conflict and political instability elsewhere in the underdeeps.
As a neighborhood it is more walled off and isolated than the self-important university or affluent Wizardtown but pieces of Little Anvil's cultural touchstones make their way into the rest of the city - from finely carved gargoyles to seemingly bottomless pots of goat stew at many inns and pubs.
The Chalk district is where university students and wizards' apprentices live in ramshackle affordable housing. Cafe tables and some pub walls are made of a locally quarried slate so that students with chalk can jot down arcane equations and proofs.
Most residents of this district don't stay long, either graduating to Prenticetown or leaving Deeptown all together once their desired level of education and training is achieved. As a result, the only long term residents are bartenders, baristas, building superintendents and tutors.
This district ebbs and flows with the university's academic calendar. During tests and exams, tensions can reach a fever pitch. During university breaks, the district can seem like a ghost-town. When new learning periods begin, the streets are like a carnival as the students exude their hope and excitement.
When university students make the decision to continue their studies and become wizards with their own tome and wand, they inevitably end up in Prenticetown. Once a mercantile district full of warehouses, the buildings have become repurposed into housing with arcane laboratories. Due to the apprentice's more independent learning, they are less tied to any academic calendar. This district has a flourishing cadre of artists who are highly educated and often radically angry.
There is a new class of arcane practitioner growing in Prenticetown, a user of magic who don't find success in the university system and are creating their own networks of support and education. It is only a matter of time before Prenticetown creates its own institution of learning, a kind of revolutionary reaction to 5 Towers.
Wizardtown is an affluent series of cottages, towers and manors inhabited by well-to-do arcane practitioners and magic-users. There is a main avenue ,Staff and Tome Street, cuts a jagged line across the district; it is cobblestoned in a series of beautiful mosiacs depicting history's finest arcane discoveries.
The City Guard stay clear of the affluent district, allow the wizards' personal security forces and powerful wards to keep the peace. Some of the most powerful wizards in existence have homes here, so they have somewhere to stay when they are doing research in the university's amazing libraries.
Honey Fungus Street was not ony any map, named for a mushroom beloved by one of the city's first architects and city planners. When a fire started by a rambunctious student cleared away the buildings from this series of side-alleys, the rebuilding was delayed again and again due to a disagreement between the city and university governments about who was to pay for what. In that time, the Honey Fungus Street Market took hold and the rebuilding never occurred.
Now the market is a labyrinth of stalls and hastily erected tents where one can find any number of mundane foodstuff, arcane ingredients needed for potions and alchemy alongside virtuoso buskers and street performers. The market is the one place where everyone in the city rubs shoulders, where the arch-mage and the cutthroat and the tomb robber might listen to a fey-blooded violinist play a heart-breaking ballad on the edge of a gurgling city fountain.
Deeptown is nestled in a cyclopean cavern in the underdeeps. Keeping the city safe are not only wards but walls erected by mighty earth elementals.
Building a tower is serious business in a city governed by wizards. Only in Wizardtown, and even then only rarely, has the city's government issued the permits necessary to build a tower. The last such permit was issued almost a thousand years ago. Even purchasing a tower or living within one comes with close governmental scrutiny.
1 Mage's Gate
2 Merchant's Gate
3 Hammer's Gate
4 Axe's Gate
5 Exodus Gate
6 Scholar's Gate
7 Arch-Mage's Gate

I’d want to write up some questions about the setting.

What civil strife occurs when revolutionaries in Prenticetown put up their own tower?

When will the Little Anvil mercs attempt to take over the city?

Who in Wizardtown is going to get the next permit to erect their tower?

What will break the peace between the Devil-folk clans?

That is a fun bunch of color but I’m not sure I have the tools to play just yet. If I was going to run a game in this setting, I’d make a few d6 tables so I could roll 3d6 and make a quick 3 word inspiration tables for a quick student, quick apprentice, quick wizard, quick locals, quick refugees, quick Devil-folk. I’d write up the Pentadi and think about what they are studying.

But considering I watched a video about making a fast city on Sunday morning, this is a fine, fast way to flesh out a city that has been rattling around in my head for years.

One thought on “Svinifrilijihirim, Gnome City built around an arcane university

  1. Pingback: Campaign Ideas: Mercenaries – Githyanki Diaspora

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