Palanthas (City)

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Palanthas
Palanthas.jpg
Palanthas by Sean McDonald.
Nickname: Palanthas the Ancient
  • Palanthas the Beautiful
  • Settlement Type: Large City
    Country: Solamnia
    Province: Palanthas
    Leader: Lord Mayor of Palanthas
    Population: Unknown
    Year Founded: 1773 PC

    Palanthas, also called Palanthas the Ancient and Palanthas the Beautiful, is one of the largest cities in Ansalon. It lies nestled safely in the Bay of Branchala in the northwest corner of the Ansalon mainland, protected from the furious Turbidus Ocean. It is home to more than 32,000 citizens most of whom are humans, the rest a mix of other races such as elves, dwarves, gnomes, and the occasional minotaur and kender. The Cityhome has long been the pride of Solamnia, hailed as one of the major beacons of light in the world and with its white marble buildings and magnificent villas it is a beautiful sight indeed. The city relies heavily on trade with merchants from all over Ansalon. Even minotaur vessels are allowed through the Gates of Paladine.

    Palanthas is arranged much like a wheel with roads forming a circular spiral and eight great avenues emerging from the Central Plaza serve as the spokes of this wheel. The third road is followed by an immense wall which divides the city in two – Old City and New City. Old City is the heart of the city. This is where the Lord Regent and the members of the City Senate reside and it is where most governmental buildings lie. On the other side of Old City Wall lies New City, covering the foothills of the Vingaard Mountains. The vast majority of Palanthas’ citizens live in New City.

    Many different events happen in the city, including the Nobles Ball.

    Contents

    History of Palanthas

    Millennia ago, a small group of settlers, tired of the constant threat of war, set out to find a new, peaceful land for them to settle. These settlers signed on to a ship named Bright Horizon, a ship captained by a man named Agril Stargazer. Captain Stargazer had heard wonderful things about a place called the Dragon Isles, a place where they could live in peace. The Bright Horizon never reached the Dragon Isles. Two days into the sea voyage, she was hit by a massive storm. This storm lasted for days, and cost the lives of nearly half the ship’s crew, before it dissipated. When all was calm, the crew and passengers finally looked around. What they saw was a hospitable beach followed by a grassy plain and surrounded by mountains. A mile or so from the waterline stood a single tower surrounded by a grove of trees.

    The new colony would not have lasted long, however, because the only lumber they had was what they could salvage from the _Bright Horizon_. However, a strange encounter changed that. One year after the settlers had found what is now known as the Bay of Branchala, a pirate ship anchored just off-shore. These pirates, led by the infamous Firebrand, often used the bay as a hideout when the Ergothian navy was too close on their tail. The notorious half-elf pirate captain made a deal with the settlers of the colony. She would bring lumber and provisions and the settlers would build a proper town. In the years that followed the small colony grew into a respectable town that even the wizards living in the tower visited for provisions and it soon became known as a smuggler’s haven. The town was called Bright Horizon.

    Bright Horizon’s reputation as a haven for pirates, smugglers, and other folk running from the law made it a feared place for the good people of the world. However, one man saw potential in the city – Vinas Solamnus. The founder of the nation of Solamnia had received a vision which inspired him to found the Knights of Solamnia. In addition, the vision showed him a place where Paladine himself walked in the dawn of time – the spot where Bright Horizon lay. He rallied the peoples of Solamnia and their dwarven and elven allies and together they transformed the town into a mighty city worthy of Paladine’s name.

    Palanthas, as the city was renamed, had always been an independent city, not really part of the nation being formed around it. The citizens felt that they belonged more to the sea than any nation and this reflected in the first Lord of Palanthas, Kinnath Homestead, establishing the City Senate and giving merchants and landless nobles seats in the Senate. In an effort to appease the Knights of Solamnia Lord Kinnath also installed a Lord Knight in the city. However, this representative of the Solamnic Knights had no real power. The Lord of Palanthas and (to an extent) the Senate ruled the city.

    Age of Despair

    The Cataclysm shook the continent of Ansalon, destroying the empire of Istar and killing thousands upon thousands. Cities depending on overseas trade were landlocked. Yet Palanthas not only survived the Cataclysm, it prospered because it was the only deep water port still functioning.

    The Jewel of Solamnia thrived throughout the Age of Despair while the rest of the continent was hit with plague after plague and even War of the Lance went by without uneventful for Palanthas even though battle raged at the High Clerist’s Tower.

    Then came the Blue Lady’s War. When the Dragon Highlord Kitiara Uth Matar launched her assault on Palanthas, she did more damage to the city in one day than anyone had ever accomplished and only the Heroes of the Lance saved the city from total annihilation. However, instead of falling into despair the citizens of Palanthas simply went about rebuilding the city which now lay in ruins.

    Summer of Chaos

    The Summer of Chaos came and the Knights of Takhisis swept across Ansalon intent on conquering the continent. The Knights of Solamnia put together an active defense of Palanthas but it was not enough. The Dark Knights captured the Jewel of Solamnia but much to the surprise of her citizens, the city was not razed. The Palanthians were allowed to live a life of relative freedom but absolute law ruled. The Senate was disbanded and the Dark Knights took over complete control of the city. That control didn’t last long, however. When the citizens saw how the Battle of the Rift was thinning the ranks of the Dark Knights, they revolted and threw out the oppressors. Less than a year later, however, the Dark Knights returned to the city, this time as allies of the Dragon Overlord Khellendros.

    Age of Mortals

    The Dark Knights retained control of Palanthas throughout the Fifth Age, having learned valuable lessons from their previous occupation of the city. This time they allowed the Palanthians to keep the Senate functional and a new Lord Mayor moved into the Lord’s Palace. However, this was all an illusion, as the Dark Knights ruled the city from behind the scenes and they maintained a large garrison in the city. During the reign of the Dark Knights one event in the city stood out above all others. This was the Night of Black Hammers on Darkember 27, 417 AC, when the Thieves' Guild of Palanthas was almost wiped out by the order of Sir Elstone Kinsaid.

    The War of Souls demanded a huge amount of resources by the Dark Knights and as such it was a weakened garrison which was left in the aftermath in the war. In the year of 422 AC, the Knights of Solamnia launched a coup against the depleted Dark Knights, funded by Bakkard du Chagne (who would later become the new Lord Regent of Palanthas ) and helped by Coryn the White. It lasted one long night and a very blood day in the autum. The guilds, docks, garrisons, and gates were quickly siezed, opposition quickly, ruthlessly suppressed thanks to Coryn's assistance. All of the Dark Knight warlords were either arrested or killed, including Lord Knight Elstone Kinsaid.

    Bakkard would use Palanthas as his base of power, building his massive mansion here. Shanty towns were still teeming with thousands of people even when the Knights of Solamnia took over. Most of the Aghar Dwarves were eliminated from the city. When Jaymes Markham became the next Emperor of Solamnia, he designated Palanthas as the new capital of his empire. Trade thrives in the city, with merchants being taxed very high even though they still gain a lot of steel. All pirates and brigands are dealt with by force.

    By 429 AC, Jaymes had implemented many road changes in Solamnia. This improved overland trade three fold. The first minotaur trading vessel also arrived that year. It was the Star of Mithas, captained by Horth Bearslayer.

    Districts of Palanthas

    Buildings of Palanthas

    Roads and Streets of Palanthas

    City Guilds

    Inconsistencies

    The city has been called Palanthus by some scholars, changing out the 'a' at the end with a 'u'.

    References

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