The Company of the Silver Star
Ethnicity: Mostly human with a smattering of all other races. Dwarves are by far the least represented simply because the city is not proximal to anything of interest to them.
The area around Valdere is a lowland valley along the Diante River. The majority of the farmlands are in a 100-year floodplain surrounding the city for roughly a day’s walk in all directions. Beyond that the plain is surrounded by hills and deciduous forest although there are scattered copses and some orchards planted in the plain itself.
The Diante runs down from the Eranite Mountains to the northeast and by the time it reaches the plains here has become a large meandering monster. Valdere is the last port deep enough for sea-going vessels which enter the river to the southeast from the Blood Sea. It is a fortnight journey on foot from Valdere downriver to Thratis at the mouth of the river although on a barge or boat the trip can be made in as little as three days downriver. Boats only sail up the river in the spring and summer on the favorable winds or with the aid of magecraft.
The city proper is built on a bluff overlooking a relatively straight section of the river. It is surrounded by a substantial stone wall roughly 25’ tall with crenellations and a walk wide enough for two men abreast. There are two gates leading north and south-east. The actual city houses roughly 22,000 people and the remainder are in smaller farming communities dotting the plain. There is a community called Docktown at the base of the bluff which is nominally thought of as part of Valdere although the human residents claim what autonomy they have fiercely.
The architecture of Valdere is largely brickwork and plaster. Houses vary in height from one to three stories and most are flat-roofed or carry only a mild pitch. Floors and rafters are wooden. A few rare structures including the wall, the palace and most of the temples are made of marble or limestone. Roofs are terracotta tiles in most places.
The city is divided into sections called Quarters for historical reasons although there are now more than four of them. In the center of the city is a large open round roughly 200’ across. From it roads radiate like spokes into or bounding the various sections of the city. The Emperor’s Strand is a wide stone road passing west into the Noble Quarter. The Lane of the Gods travels south into the Temple Quarter. Gatestreet runs almost due north to the gate itself. Lowstreet travels down to the southeast gate and out to Docktown. Silverspoke runs almost due east through the heart of the trade district although as it approaches the wall it bends south toward the gate and becomes “Nearlybroke” where it runs through a poor section of inns, warehouses and slums.
The Palace is in the west, in the Noble Quarter. Streets are clean, cobbled affairs wide enough for two carriages and with raised walkways for foot traffic along the side. Houses here are large, luxurious structures and many show fine stonework. Any house not made of stone here is finished in fine, white plaster and decorated with murals showing something important to the family. Fine works showing great battles, rich cornucopia of exotic fruits, lush and varied landscapes and even the occasional portrait adorn the houses here. Trees are also more prevalent here, often appearing over the walls of some private garden to provide shade.
The temples of Pelor and Bahamut are the most notable in the city, standing either side of the Lane of the Gods at the market square. The other temples stretch down the Lane of the Gods. The west side of the road is marked by the temples of Bahamut, The Raven Queen, Melora, Ioun and Corellon. Along the east are Pelor, Erathis, Moradin, Sehanine and Avandra. The road bends east as it reaches the wall and at the end of the great road stands the temple of Kord, visible from Market Square. Melora’s temple is a small affair, surrounded by gardens. Avandra’s temple includes fine rooms available for rent to visiting people of note. The temple of Ioun includes a large library available to penitents for an appropriate donation. The temples of The Raven Queen and Pelor both have access to catacombs which have been used for burial for centuries. The rest of the quarter is given to fine houses of various levels of quality. Many of the senior clergy live in houses to the west, available both to the temples and the palace. Other minor nobles and wealthy individuals live to the east of the Lane of Gods.
As you travel east from the Temple Quarter you enter the Money Quarter. The Money Quarter is a varied place with houses of richer merchants and petty nobility to the west of Lowstreet and up around Market Square. Silverspoke itself has shops of all sorts from Market Square almost to the wall. The shops become meaner near the wall and as the road bends south they become warehouses. Roads here are still cobbled but the streets are neither as well maintained nor as clean as those to the west. Shops and warehouses stand along the roads, in some places with upper floors overhanging the streets. The further south and east one travels, the seedier the business and residents.
To the northeast lies the Heart of Valdere, again residences. Those along Gatestreet are of reasonable quality and those further east become slums and tenements. This section of town is almost entirely brick or wattle and daub construction most of it not plastered or finished lending it a dirty, rundown appearance even where it is in good condition.
The city is ruled by Emperor Dansen IX and a council of nobles. The Emperor is so named based on past history which claims that once Valdere claimed the rule of this entire area including everything from the Blood Sea to the Eranites and a large section both north and south. The clergy of the temples serve as advisors and officiate in some of the state ceremonies including the Investiture of the Emperor.
There is a small Eladrin enclave in the Noble Quarter. They are not snobbish but tend to keep to themselves. The Halfling community makes its home in Docktown. The Dragonborn and the Tieflings have small enclaves at opposite ends of the Heart of Valdere. Dwarves, Elves and Half-elves don’t have much presence in the city itself and those who live here mingle with the human residents.