Each of Britannia's eight leading towns and cities celebrates one of the eight virtues of the Avatar. Below are listed these eight towns, and their main features.
|Population: 50,000 (metropolis)
Major demihuman groups: none
Signature prestige classes: virtuoso [CAdv], arcane archer [DMG], bladesinger [CW], spellsword [CW], Flashing Sword duelist
"Rodents Of Unusual Size? I don't think they exist."
The busy seaport of Britain, principal city of the Empire, lies in central Britannia on Britanny Bay. Once a tiny village lying in the shadow of Lord British's castle, Britain has grown into a hub of commerce and culture. Its main thoroughfares are broad, clean and well-lit, although its backstreets are an intriguing jumble of winding alleyways. Despite its size, however, the city still remembers the virtue of Compassion. Its people are friendly, tolerant and welcoming to strangers, while its inns and taverns are renowned for their quality and hospitality.
The city is the headquarters for a number of organisations which bear the royal charter. Foremost among these is the Royal Guild of Cartographers, which sponsors adventurers to undertake journeys of exploration into the wilderness, both aboveground and to the newly-discovered Underworld. Here too is the Royal Bardic College, the foremost school of spellsong in the empire; the greatest of its alumni take the virtuoso prestige class. Its presence has ensured that Britain's bardic tradition remains strong to this day. Britain also boasts the best bowyers in the land, rivalling even the artisans of Minoc in the achievements of their craft; the greatest archers of Spiritwood and Jhelom almost invariably use bows crafted in Britain.
Britain is the only city in the empire large enough to have its own satellite communities. These are the Britannys, nearby farming villages that supply the city with grain, meat and other produce. The Britannys have their own attractions; in particular, North Britanny is the home of the School of Arcane War, an ancient institution teaching the arts of battle magic. The students of this school take the arcane archer, bladesinger and spellsword prestige classes. Of late some masters have also devised a style of their own, named the Flashing Sword style, and their first students are now graduating.
Human and spirit folk characters from Britain gain Perform as a class skill. They are strong in Compassion, but city living breeds a fondness for physical pleasures, making them weak in Spirituality.
|Population: 8,500 (small city)
Major demihuman groups: half-orcs
Signature prestige classes: Valorian lancer [OA: Kishi charger], Jhelom rager [OA: Singh rager], Valorian war chanter [CW]
"More ale, wench! More ale!"
Far off the mainland, among the mountains on the central and largest of the Valorian Isles, the bustling walled city of Jhelom provides food and lodging to visitors as well as to its fighters and students of Valor. In the earliest days of Sosaria, the Valorians were seagoing barbarians who raided their neighbours in search of loot, slaves and glory in battle. It was the emergence of the Triad of Evil that forced them to change their ways. They joined the alliance of city-states forged by Lord British; now, they wield their swords in defence of the empire.
Jhelom's citizens are tough, blunt and uncomplicated — some would call them downright rude. They like feasting, wenching, and a good fight now and then. The city can thus be a rough place, especially for the uninitiated; fortunately, the city guard is experienced at keeping things under control, so serious crimes are rare. Valorians tend to be more brash and headstrong than most other Britannians. At the same time, however, they will go to great lengths to make good on their boasts; and there are also none who are more dependable as allies. They despise treachery and cowardice in battle above all else: the saying goes that the most terrifying thing in Britannia is a Valorian seeking revenge against a traitor.
Jhelom maintains a Corps of Battle Magery to support its warriors in times of war, and help keep spellcasters in check during peacetime. Such battle-casters include war chanters, and also include several bladesingers and spellswords, alumni of Britain's School of Arcane War (see above). The city's fame is built, however, on the prowess of its companies of heavy infantry and cavalry, who form the core of Britannia's standing army. Although no major wars have taken place since the unification of the empire, the troops are kept constantly busy hunting down orcs and other evil monsters straying forth from the Underworld. Veterans and senior officers in these companies may take the Jhelom rager and Valorian lancer prestige classes.
Characters from Jhelom gain Knowledge (war) as a class skill. They are strong in Valor, but their devotion to strength and glory at arms, regardless of the cause, makes them weak in Justice.
|Population: 11,000 (small city)
Major demihuman groups: half-orcs
Signature prestige classes: Minoc berserker [OA: Hida defender], warpriest of Minoc [CD]
"So ye be wantin' a magic sword, do ye? You and every other adventurer, laddie."
Minoc is a sprawling, untidy city located on the shores of Lost Hope Bay, on Britannia's central northern coast. The climate in this part of Britannia is harsh, with long, cold winters and frequent droughts. The land is thus only sparsely populated by humans, with Minoc being the largest city east of Britain.
Minoc's people are gruff and hardworking, but also generous, warm-hearted and hospitable to strangers; a way of life springing from the inhospitability of their surroundings. Founded originally by wandering tinkers and craftsmen, Minoc carries on its strong tradition of artisanry, particularly in the fields of leatherworking, armoursmithing, stonemasonry and steelmaking. Minoc steel is especially prized throughout Britannia for its hardness and strength. The city is also famous for the Mission of the Helpless, one of the oldest charitable organisations in Britannia. No-one is turned away from its doors, regardless of race and station. This tradition of giving to others has led the city to adopt the virtue of Sacrifice as its own.
Minoc has the largest community of half-orcs of any Britannian city. Unlike their orcish ancestors, half-orcs do not bear any trace of corruption in their blood, although this hasn't saved them from suspicion or prejudice in the past. The half-orcs' relations with the humans and spirit folk have been improving with the passing of the Ages of Darkness. The communities are generally respectful of each other, if not (yet) completely friendly. Many half-orcs become adventurers, with the greatest among them taking the Minoc berserker or warpriest prestige classes.
Human and spirit folk characters from Minoc gain the Skill Focus feat for free in any one Craft skill. They are strong in Sacrifice, but their preoccupation with worldly matters, however well-intentioned, means they are weak in Spirituality.
|Population: 6,600 (small city)
Major demihuman groups: none
Signature prestige classes: guildmage [CArc: mage of the arcane order], elemental savant [CArc], candle caster [T&B]
"Meddle not in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger."
Moonglow is the famed city of magic, home to more mages than any other city in Britannia. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the land, its natural attractions enhanced through the use of the arcane arts. Evidence of this is everywhere within its marble walls: familiars flutter and creep about on their masters' business; unseen servants cart away waste, keeping the city spotless; and at night, the streets are lit by everburning torches. The skyline is pierced by many towers, where the mages study the skies and attempt to unravel the secrets of the universe. The mages prize knowledge above all else, which has led the city to adopt Honesty as its central virtue. The saying "from knowledge comes power" is one that many of the people of Moonglow live by.
As a centre for learning, Moonglow is second only to the Lycaeum, which lies half a day's journey away on horseback. In one field, namely the study of magic, it perhaps even exceeds the Learned Order. The Mages' Guild of Moonglow is famed throughout Britannia for its research into the thaumaturgical arts. Its senior members may take the guildmage prestige class.
Other exotic subspecies of mage that are only found here include elementalists and candle casters. The latter are a recent phenomenon, the art of candle magic having been discovered only a few years ago. Nevertheless, their numbers are growing, with magic candles proving quite popular as gifts and keepsakes among Britannia's nobility.
Human and spirit folk characters from Moonglow gain Knowledge (arcana) as a class skill. They are strong in Honesty, but have a tendency to see themselves as superior to those less skilled in magic than themselves; this makes them weak in Humility.
|Population: 850 (village)
Major demihuman groups: sea spirit folk
Signature prestige classes: none
"The richest man of all is he who does not need riches."
On an island deep in the midst of the Great Sea stand the ruins of Magincia, once the greatest city of old Sosaria. Its people were wise and cultured, it was rich through trade, and its defences were believed to be impregnable. With greatness came Pride, however, and the people of Magincia were arrogant, holding themselves to be superior to all others. This became their downfall, when a horde of demons came out of the sea and utterly destroyed their city. So the tale went; Magincia's ruins were lost to the rest of the world, and its destruction became a cautionary tale on the folly of Pride. It would have passed entirely into the realms of legend, except for the vacant seat at the Great Council that bore its name.
Magincia's location has only recently been rediscovered. A daring band of explorers, sponsored by the Royal Guild of Cartographers, found the lost island and the ruins of the old city. They also found a small community of fisherfolk and farmers, the descendants of those few citizens who had survived the city's destruction. The inhabitants of New Magincia, as the community is called, are a simple, unassuming folk who have taken the lessons of the past to heart. No longer bound by the folly of their ancestors, they have chosen the virtue of Humility as their own.
Characters from New Magincia do not start with any particular bonuses compared to characters from other locations. They are not strong or weak in any of the virtues.
|Population: 1,500 (small town)
Major demihuman groups: woodland spirit folk, river spirit folk, sea spirit folk
Signature prestige classes: ghost hunter [MoR: phantom hunter], Spiritwood stalker [CW: darkwood stalker], order of the bow initiate, intuitive archer, daggerspell mage [CAdv]
"Life is old here..."
The quiet town of Skara Brae lies on an island just off the western coast of Britannia, near Spiritwood. It is the home of the rangers, who have long protected the people of Britannia from the monsters that make the wilderness their home. Scarcely larger than a village, it is the smallest of the major towns and cities of the empire. The people of Skara Brae tend toward the quiet rather than the boisterous. They are often solitary, with a dislike for large cities and the crowds of people that dwell therein. They are also strong-willed, hardy and protective of their friends, with an enduring love for the greenwoods surrounding their town.
Skara Brae is a nexus, a place where the boundary between the mortal and spirit worlds is particularly thin. The influence of the spirit realm is palpable; even a casual visitor cannot fail to notice the air of serenity that infuses the town. It is a peaceful place, where the ancient rhythms of life are preserved. For this reason, the town has adopted Spirituality as its central virtue.
Skara Brae has the largest community of spirit folk of any major town in Britannia, making up nearly half the town's population. Of the town's humans, nearly all have at least a trace of the spirit realm in their blood. Those spirit folk who choose an adventuring life often dedicate themselves to fighting the evil spirits (whether material and incorporeal) who enter the mortal realm, and take the ghost hunter and Spiritwood stalker prestige class. The town is also noted for being home to two organisations: the Order of the Bow, master archers who see their art as an extension of the search for truth, self-knowledge and virtue; and the House of Flying Daggers [ha ha — Ed.], mystical spellcasters noted for their use of paired daggers. Both of these organisations shun the spotlight to the point of reclusiveness, but they have protected Sosarians from evil since the time of Mondain. Their members take the order of the bow initiate, intuitive archer and daggerspell mage prestige classes.
Human and spirit folk characters from Skara Brae gain Knowledge (nature) as a class skill. They are strong in Spirituality, but must be of non-evil alignment.
|Population: 12,800 (large city)
Major demihuman groups: none
Signature prestige classes: avenger [OA: Moto avenger], cavalier [OA: battle maiden], honorable (pious) templar [CD]
"Pain heals, and glory lasts forever."
Trinsic is stately and impressive, as befits the city that celebrates the virtue of Honor. The Western Road that begins on the shores of Britanny Bay comes to its end here, far to the south on the Great Sea's coast. It is a city of broad avenues, tree-lined streets, parks, fountains and magnificent mansions. Tradition has it that even the lowliest commoner in Trinsic has his family's coat-of-arms hanging on the walls of his dwelling. Said dwelling is made of stone and brick, naturally; there are no wooden hovels to be found within Trinsic's walls. This reputation for grandeur is an exaggeration, but it isn't far from the truth: Trinsic's wealth is equal to Yew's, despite being barely half the forest city's size.
Trinsic is home to many knightly orders, whose origins can be traced to the wars fought against the Triad of Evil. Even now, the city is home to the best cavalry in Britannia, surpassing even the fighters of Jhelom in their prowess at mounted combat. The most experienced warriors among them often take the cavalier and avenger prestige classes. Other knights choose a path emphasising command of the mystic arts rather than martial prowess, and take the honorable templar prestige class. The greatest templars, cavaliers and avengers are renowned in song as the pinnacle of Britannian chivalry.
Trinsic's devotion to its code of honor is both its strength and its greatest weakness. Its citizens, while stout-hearted and true, have a reputation for taking themselves very seriously; sometimes, more seriously than is warranted. Normally this is relatively harmless, but there have been many great knights who were corrupted by the sin of Pride, and fell from grace. Many of these so-called black knights were destroyed along with their lords, at the end of the Ages of Darkness. Some survived, however, and still seek to destroy all the things that they once held dear — foremost among which is the city of Trinsic.
Characters from Trinsic gain Diplomacy as a class skill. They are strong in Honor, but weak in Humility.
|Population: 23,000 (large city)
Major demihuman groups: woodland spirit folk
Signature prestige classes: druidic inquisitor [CD: church inquisitor], crown warden [CD: consecrated harrier], royal magistrate [CAdv: bloodhound], witch hunter [OA]
"Excitement? Adventure? A druid craves not these things."
Yew, the city of Justice, is the second largest city in Britannia, but this would not be apparent to the casual observer. It is a city almost lost among the trees of the Deep Forest, whose citizens know the value and benefit to be gained from living in harmony with the natural world. The Government District is the only area of the city that contains stone buildings; the rest nestles, half-hidden, beneath the great Silverleaf trees.
Yew is the ancient home of the druids: the elders and sages of old Sosaria. The sayings of the druids often seem cryptic to the unenlightened; this can be particularly irritating to those who treasure straight talk. Despite this, most people realise that the druids are wise and powerful, and if they are sometimes hard to understand, it is because the wisdom they seek to impart is not easily translated into words. The city boasts many apothecaries and artisans who weave spirit magic, just as their counterparts in Moonglow practice arcane magic. Yew in fact rivals Moonglow as a center for the mystic arts, although its effects tend to be more subtle here than in the city of mages.
Yew's traditional role in fostering and guiding the development of the community continues under Lord British. Britannia's Supreme Court of Justice is located here, along with its main prison (which remains sparsely populated at this time). The royal magistrates, who enforce the Court's judgements and act as its representatives in other parts of the empire, are headquartered next door to the court. Its senior members take the royal magistrate and crown warden prestige classes.
The city is also home to the witch hunters, a loose organisation of druids and rangers dedicated to fighting the blood mages, those who follow in the footsteps of Mondain. Experienced hunters take the witch hunter and druidic inquisitor prestige classes. While formal relations between the witch hunters and the magistrates are correct rather than cordial, the two groups share many of the same goals, and individual hunters and magistrates usually get along well.
Characters from Yew gain Knowledge (religion and philosophy) as a class skill.
They are strong in Justice and Spirituality, but
must be of non-evil alignment.