It’s a ruin.
This is your first thought as Stormreach comes into view: The city has been destroyed by some terrible disaster. You see crumbling walls and squat, shattered towers. Then a moment later, you realize how far you still are from the city, and you notice the smaller structures clustered around those broken foundations. These ruins must be the work of the giants, buildings that fell long before humans came to this land.
It might not be a ruin, but Stormreach is a ramshackle city. As you draw closer, you see that the buildings are an astonishing assortment of architectural styles and materials. Some of the inhabitants have constructed their homes using stone quarried from the ruins themselves; others are partially built from driftwood or the hulls of broken ships. The Flamic architecture of Thrane stands next to a thatched hut that would seem more at home in the Shadow Marches. The city is a tapestry, hinting at the diverse range of people that have settled here.
From what you can see, Stormreach is spread over a wide area, flowing down along a river valley. Barges and passenger skiffs drift between the harbor and the depths of the city. Vegetation-covered cliffs surround the valley with a curtain of lush green.
As a boomtown devoted to extracting Xen’drik’s riches, Stormreach will never be mistaken for a capital city or a paragon of architectural splendor. The climate seems agreeable, though (at least between storms), and the place holds an air of ancient mystery. You can see why so many choose to stay in Stormreach long after their expeditions have staggered out of Xen’drik’s interior and returned to civilization
Stormreach sits on the eastern coast of the Skyfall Peninsula, Xen’drik’s northernmost extension into the Thunder Sea. Along a coastline of towering cliffs, the city is one of the few points where ships can easily dock. Stormreach also marks the delta of the River Koronoo, a broad, slow ribbon of water that fl ows from deep in the heart of Xen’drik.
On the ruined site of a giant metropolis, the city was established centuries ago by pirates and smugglers as a place to rest and resupply while preying on Riedran shipping or expeditions from Khorvaire. Over time, those expeditions became more frequent. Scholars sought to delve deeper into the history of the shattered land, while the dragonmarked houses realized the tremendous profits that could be recovered there. In 800 YK, the houses petitioned the King of Galifar to end pirate activity in the region, and by 802 YK, naval action had shut the smugglers’ operations down. Ironically, however, it was the pirate chieftains who wound up retaining power as the area’s new rulers. The chief smugglers became the fi rst Coin Lords, and the city of Stormreach was born.
While the city’s core is clustered around the harbor, its outlying districts spread far throughout the ruins. The remains of the ancient city mark off these neighborhoods, and numerous wonders (and dangers) can be found within. Functioning constructs still protect broken doors, obelisks radiate magic whose function has never been determined, and drow and other predators stalk the shadows. Some call Stormreach the City of Dungeons, and those who live here know that the city’s foundation of ruins holds uncounted secrets. Leadership: Stormreach is governed by five hereditary nobles: the Harbor Lord and four Coin Lords, collectively known as the Storm Lords. The Harbor Lord maintains the docks and oversees the flow of traffic, while the Coin Lords are responsible for the general maintenance of the city, including the Stormreach Guard.
Stormreach is a chaotic place at best—a frontier enclave, acknowledged by the Five Nations but beholden to no king. The lords of the city hold their positions through wealth, power, and tradition, but law is a secondary concern to trade. Should anyone become a serious threat to business (including adventurers whose goals interfere with the smooth flow of commerce in the city), the Stormreach Guard responds with mercenaries or assassins as necessary. Brawls, duels, arguments between individuals, and petty theft rarely concern the Guard, however. Stormreach is a dangerous town for people handicapped by morality and an excellent place for criminals to hide from the justice of the Five Nations.
Although the Storm Lords are the nominal governors of the city, the dragonmarked barons wield considerable power. All the dragonmarked houses have agents and enclaves in Stormreach, but House Lyrandar, House Kundarak, House Deneith, and House Tharashk have deep roots in the city, and the Storm Lords go to great lengths to accommodate them. An outpost of the Twelve stands at the edge of the city, and the emissaries of the houses often meet in this neutral citadel to discuss business and settle disputes.
Riedra, Aundair, Breland, Karrnath, Thrane, and Aerenal all maintain consulates in Stormreach, but their relationship with the Storm Lords is based purely on profit. Stormreach remained neutral throughout the Last War, and the city extends only the most basic courtesies to representatives of the Five Nations.