Nightarch

CE metropolis
Population 1,238,050 (85% drow, 6% half-orc, 6% orc,
2% human, 1% other)
Government oligarchy (drow houses)
Qualities financial center, notorious, technologically advanced
Maximum Item Level 20th

Nightarch is the largest and most powerful city on Apostae.
As the Apostae is mostly an airless rock, Nightarch is a sealed
city, its hundreds of towers and compounds built with the
same environmental systems (and durability) as starships. In
the center of the city lies the massive, eponymous Nightarch
Gate, while the Great Door, which grants access to the ancient
chambers in the planet’s interior, stands in the southernmost
quarter of the city. Both sites are heavily guarded, and
expeditions into the planet’s interior are normally restricted to
groups with the approval of a major drow house.

Nightarch is a major starport and trade hub. Most drow
houses have businesses and strongholds here, with shops
selling everything from starship weapons to nanite poisons
and arranging for nearly any service imaginable. While much
of the business done in Nightarch would be considered illegal

or immoral elsewhere, as long as customers are accurately
informed of the drawbacks and risks of each purchase,
procedure, or hireling arranged for, the details are largely
considered local matters beyond the Pact Worlds’ purview.
Great halls and pressurized towers that offer breathable
air, comfortable temperatures, and often even artificial gravity
systems make up the entirety of the surface city. The largest
and wealthiest drow houses own enormous towers that contain
their own atmosphere plants and power sources, and these
buildings can be sealed off from the rest of the city to operate
independently for months. Other buildings and domes are
dependent on Nightarch Air and Water, a corporation owned
and run by House Zeizerer, which charges small fees for the
most basic needs of life and can embargo smaller buildings,
poorer domes and halls, and nearly any of the cavern-boroughs.
While the towers of other major houses are self-sufficient, the
tunnels and commercial districts connecting them to the rest
of Nightarch are not. House Zeizerer can’t suffocate its major
competitors, but it can force them to enter and leave their
homes in environment suits.

While the tremendous house towers generally offer opulence
and security, such conditions are limited to the powerful scions
and managers of each house, along with their handpicked aides.
The smaller domes and towers of Nightarch, where rank-andfile
drow and a few successful citizens of other races dwell, are
significantly less upscale. Lesser spires are generally secure,
if uninspired in design and not as spacious, but Nightarch’s
domes and block halls are often actively dangerous. These
large environmentally sealed chambers house entire slum
neighborhoods, and though they’re officially owned by various
drow houses, their maintenance is often haphazard at best.
Gas leaks, gravity outages, tainted water, and unreliable power
makes life in these regions difficult, and security measures are
geared toward preventing insurrection against the drow houses
rather than protecting the local citizens. Crime in these warrens
is largely ignored as long as it doesn’t impact a drow noble, and
local gangs or minor mercenary groups are often the closest
things to police forces.

Even worse than the slum domes are the cavern-boroughs,
stretching out for miles in all directions beneath Nightarch.
These enormous, largely artificial caverns were hollowed out
during the Gap. They now serve as the cheapest, and most
dangerous, long-term housing on Apostae. Most residents are
half-orcs, humans, and orcs, though some minor mongrelmen
and troglodyte communities also dwell there. Life in the cavernboroughs
is one of constant struggle, as each community must
make weekly payments to ensure the flow of air and water from
the surface city, and various house-owned companies rule most
boroughs as corporate fiefdoms. Blood sports, facilities that
perform the horrific genetic mutilation known as fleshwarping,
brutal mercenary training camps, and secret labs conducting
appalling experiments and weapon tests are the main sources
of opportunity within the caverns. Residents who fail to find
a way into such endeavors often end up synthesizing, dealing
in, or using transdimensional pesh, which can be made from
traditional drugs combined with viscous purple fluids that
sometimes seep through the walls of the lowest caverns.

The Nightarch Gate is known to have existed before the
Gap, long before the drow found their way here. Occasionally,
a portal to various alien landscapes appears within the tall
structure. No detectable pattern or forewarning precedes
the formation of a portal, which remains open for anywhere
from a few minutes to a few hours before abruptly vanishing.
Portals have formed as often as every few months, but
yearlong stretches have also passed without one of them
appearing. Explorers and settlers often spend months at a
time in Nightarch hoping for a portal to open so they might
travel to entirely new worlds, but more expeditions leave the
city disappointed than find an opportunity to travel, and no
expedition that has passed through a portal has ever been
heard from again. All efforts to find ways to control the
Nightarch Gate have failed. It is unknown if the structure is
related to the aiudara that connect various locations within
other Pact Worlds, a part of the original function of Apostae,
or an artifact left behind by some ancient spacefaring culture
that visited the planetoid.

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