Nexus is the largest city in Greater Mundania, and the intended start for the campaign. (It depends on player interest how long things stay there.) It’s an independent city-state, primarily because it’s the seat of the Guild of Adventurers, and thus none of the surrounding kingdoms want it. (Not only would it be hard to conquer, but adventurers are usually more trouble than they’re worth as citizens; always better to hire them as outsiders.)
Nexus is divided into several dozen districts, neighborhoods, boroughs, and other subregions. Most of these grew over the centuries with neither planning nor control, and it sometimes seems they're actively at war and trying to annex each other.
The Commercial DistrictEdit
Every city needs a commercial district. Nexus's is located near the docks, and its exact boundaries change from day to day depending on how many tent pavilions are set up. At its center is the Great Market, where goods from literally all over the world (and some from beyond it) are for sale. Most things are legal, though it doesn’t take much work to find stuff that isn’t. There are too many holes in Nexus’ security (most of them intentionally created and maintained) for a black market not to exist. Most people are fairly open about it, too, and the watch tends to look the other way out of sheer pragmatism; otherwise they’d have to arrest 90% of the merchants in the city, and people might complain.
The local home-away-from-home for Emberglow expatriates. Easily recognized from the frequent glowstone lamps and prevalence of brass pipes and cabling. The best artificers in Nexus live here, and walking by the Guild of Alchemists is always an interesting experience, sometimes explosively so.
The Hall of GuildsEdit
The seat of Nexus's government, the Hall of Guilds is a massive palace sitting on a moderate-sized hill. The various guilds are constantly vying with each other for position and power within its halls, and the city makes a decent revenue by selling tickets to attend. (This is largely helped by the traditional "Might makes right" clause, wherein any guild representative can challenge another to a duel to the death so long as they pay the resurrection fee.) The Assassin’s Guild has a booth set near the entrance for easy access to their services, while the Guild of Bookies runs a lively betting operation on the outcome of the debates.
This little slice of Nexus is where most of the immigrants from Wu-Shan have settled to create a bit of home. Pagodas are a common motif, and there are tea houses on almost every corner; they serve the same function as taverns in other parts of the city.
Founded by the legendary archmage Mitharchus the Well-Intentioned, M.U. suffers from an acute case of local reality collapse. Every few days and with no real warning it will simply switch locations in the city, leading to the local nickname of Now-U-See-It. (The surrounding roads, etc, get “pushed” out to make room.) Despite these troubles, it is the most prestigious magical university on Whymsia, rivaled only by the ones on the moon Arcanus. Students bring in a decent amount of (easily removed) cash, so the locals like it for that reason. The school mascot is a dire cow, and it has major divisions along the various schools of magic (Illusion, Conjuration, etc), plus transdisciplinary departments of theoretical thauaturgy and applied magecrafting (=item creation). The latter is a good place to get cheap magic items of questionable reliability.
The Museum of VecnaEdit
This museum is dedicated to the history and parts of Vecna. It gets broken into every few weeks by people thinking the replicas are real, and the museum has several standing contracts with the Adventurer's Guild to get them back. Despite its store of history, the museum is actually known for its coffee shop, the Hand and Eye, which is a favorite hangout for the local university students. ("Seeing Vecna is fun once, but good coffee is forever.")
Pièce de résistanceEdit
The Pièce is the home of the Guild of Chefs. It’s basically half culinary academy, half guild administration. Aside from the good (and expensive) food, it’s most famous for its monthly Adamantine Chef competitions, where the best chefs compete to make a full-course meal using various unusual monster ingredients.
The Platinum DragonEdit
The Platinum Dragon is Nexus’s largest inn and seat of the Adventuring Guild. “Inn” is mostly a formality; it’s more of an extremely large tavern with a few rooms to rent if you can afford the stay. This is the traditional meetup place for new adventuring groups, so much that many adventurers don’t consider a group truly formed until they’ve sat around one of the Dragon's tables and ritually swapped a few lines of backstory.
The Portal DistrictEdit
The Portal District is why no one in Nexus will serve alcohol to archmages. In a fit of drunken inspiration one of them (Archmaster Mitharchus the Well-Intentioned again) decided to make Nexus into a copy of some backwater “Sijil” where every door is a portal. They never did get his spell completely undone, and the Portal District is the result. Within its bounds (which tend to ebb and flow over time), any circle forms a gate to one of the Underplanes; the more perfect the circle, the more stable the gate. Several exceptionally stable ones have been commercialized, and about half the District revolves around interplanar travel. Walking through the District without a sharp set of eyes is dangerous, though, since you might stumble through a happenstance gate, and local youth are known to make a dare of it. It also contains the Fool’s Gate, a large ellipse where the city administration throws anyone who’s too much of a nuisance to keep around but not enough to lock away. Anyone who manages to find their way back from wherever they end up is pardoned.
The Council of GuildsEdit
The ruling body of Nexus is the Council of Guilds, made of representatives of each registered guild in the city. They fight, squabble, bicker, blame, yell, and generally stay too splintered to ever alter the status quo (which is how everyone really wants it, anyway). The chief position is the Guildlord, who rules the city in the same way a rancher rules a herd of hyperactive feycats. The position of Guildlord recently shifted from the Guild of Politicians to the Guild of Courtesans, probably via blackmail, and the Guild of Bookies is already taking bets as to how long it will last and who will displace them.
Due to fairly lax rules for organizing a guild, Nexus has several hundred of them registered, most of them vying for their own slice of power. Some are fairly expansive and influential, others so small few people have ever heard of them. In mechanical terms, joining a guild (through a feat) gets you a bonus with some minor cost. Here are some guilds; players are welcome to make up their own. (Membership in the Adventurer's Guild is automatic; otherwise you tend to get arrested for going around killing things and taking their stuff.)
- The Adventurer’s Guild
- The Assassin's Guild
- The Evil Wizards’ Guild
- The Guild of Beggars
- The Guild of Bookies
- The Guild of Chaotic Good Drow
- The Guild of Chaotic Neutral Ne’er-do-wells
- The Guild of Courtesans
- The Guild of Chefs
- The Guild of Henchmen, Lackeys, and Minions
- The Guild of Innkeepers and Tavernkeepers' (must be a retired adventurer to join)
- The Guild of Lawful Good Half-Fiendish Male Orc Paladins
- The Guild of Mimes
- The Guild of Monstrous NPCs
- The Guild of Ninjas
- The Guild of Pirates
- The Guild of Politicians
- The Guild of Rumormongers
- The Guild of Truth (More commonly known as "The Guild of Idiots," it's where all the self-righteous Lawful Stupid characters tend to end up.)
- The Thieves’ Guild