Sayre is an artistic, monument-filled city built in a particularly beautiful valley. Sayre holds a university and a large number of artisans, making it a popular site for those who deal in either information or fine art.
Population: Approximately 12,000, including almost 1,500 students attending the University. Most inhabitants are human, elf, eladrin, or halfling. Some dwarves also live in Sayre, although they tend to keep to themselves.
Government: Sayre is governed by Lord Divian Torrance, a politically astute nobleman adept at playing different factions of the city against each other. Power resides with Lord Torrance, as well as the Artisan’s Guild and the University’s archdean.
Defense: The Guards of the March are a force of 100 soldiers led by General Alvro Taramin that have little to do other than patrol the safer sections in and around the city. Most merchants, guilds, and noble families have their own mercenary guards that protect their property and work together when danger appears. In a time of crisis, General Taramin has the authority to call on any house with its own private guard to cede command of their troops directly to him. Fortunately, he has never had to do so, but if he were, he could call over 2,000 troops. With a cliff, a lake, and steep hills protecting three sides of Sayre, the Guards of the March spend much of their time outside the city patrolling the farming areas to the west.
Inns and Taverns: Caperly’s Dancehall; Firetree Alehouse; the Rat and Hammer Inn; the Singing River Inn; the Sodden Mage tavern; The Tankard of Ink tavern. The River Jewel in The Glassworks is the most expensive inn in the city, and the Inn of the Ugly Dog in the Dregs is the cheapest.
Supplies: The Market; the Glassworks; Low Mountain. The Market District is the home of hundreds of different vendors of almost any product conceivable, although not all are legitimate. The Glassworks is home to the city’s finest artists and artisans, and is the place to go if you’re looking for jewelers or sculptors. Low Mountain is home to most of Sayre’s dwarves, and hidden weaponsmiths and armorers are available to anyone who can gain a prior recommendation from a dwarf.
Temples: Bright Forge (Moradin); the Founding Tower (Erathis); Great Hall (Ioun); Shrine of the Singing Waters (Corellon); the Waypoint (Avandra).
Sayre is built in a small, defensible valley. Steep hills to the north provide protection from overland armies and make excellent spots for small defensive guard posts. The Lake of Songs sits uphill to the northwest of the city. Dammed at its outflow to help control floods, this lake is used year-round for fishing and recreation; it is extraordinarily beautiful and the subject of many paintings and tapestries by local artists. The Singing River descends from the lake and splits briefly into three branches as it flows through Sayre. A tall cliff guards Sayre’s eastern flank, dropping 200 feet to the valley below. The only direction an invading army could easily approach Sayre from is the west, across the farms and fields, and guard towers alert the town to any threat approaching from that direction.
Before Sayre was built, the city of Auger stood on this site, built over 400 years ago as a refuge for exiled divin- ers. A diviner named Auglos and his apprentices were driven from the island of Nefelus after he prophesized a local noble’s death and was blamed by the man’s relatives. After fleeing the family’s wrath, Auglos settled in this particularly beautiful and defensible valley to continue his research into divination and communication. More academics and sages slowly joined him, and a small city—Auger—grew up around his tower.
Auglos’s skill as a craftsman began to bring him fame. At first he specialized in divinatory devices such as crystal balls. His masterpiece was a huge glass globe the color of the evening sky, a device that could transmit messages thousands of miles and even across planes if individually crafted receiving mirrors were first attuned to it. Auglos sold the communication mirrors for extremely high prices, typically to mer- chant consortiums or the rulers of more prosperous city states. His customers never knew that if he chose, he could hear and see everything that passed through one of his glass devices, and that he also sold much of the information he obtained through his eavesdropping, resulting in an even more profitable secondary business in the espionage trade.
Auglos knew that his glass globe created psychic ripples in the Astral Sea when it was used, but he didn’t consider it a problem; how likely was it that anyone would be bothered? He should have done more research. His master glass, the device attuned to all the others that allowed him to listen in on so many fascinating conversations, created ripples near the githyanki city of Tu’narath, and psychic debris from the glass’s communication soon caught the githyanki’s attention. The githyanki quickly determined that someone on the mortal realm was using the energy of the plane to fuel a communication device. Paranoid in the extreme, within three months, the Lich Queen Vlaakith herself named this device the Bitter Glass and decreed that the psychic pollution must be eliminated. Her knights quickly carried out her orders.
The raid on Auger was terrible to behold. Githyanki dragonriders shattered the town’s dam, flooding the streets with water and mud, then proceeded to pick off fleeing citizens one by one. By the end of the night, Auglos and his assistants were dead, and the Bitter Glass was shattered and buried under the broken tower that housed it. Auger’s remains were looted and abandoned, and survivors from the raid left the area, never aware of the reason behind the attack.
Shepherds moved back onto the site within sixty years, but without a dam on the Singing River, the site of the former city had become a flood plain whenever it rained. Finally, dwarven engineers rebuilt the dam on the Lake of Songs, and Sayre was built where Auger once stood. The level of the land had risen after so many years of floods, and none of the old buildings were still visible above ground. All residents of the modern city know that there is an old city beneath the streets, and some families dug down to take advantage of a pre-made cellar by digging through the roofs of old buildings, but enough people caused cave-ins or unleashed monsters that it’s now illegal to dig into the undercity.
Sayre is ruled by a wily half-elven politician named Lord Divian Torrance, and under his direction the city goes out of its way to attract the finest artists and craftsmen in the land. As a result, many wealthy families call Sayre home, and all of these have their own mercenary security forces to protect their houses and workshops. Not much of a public militia
is needed, although a small force controlled by Torrance’s good friend General Taramin remains active. The public militia is subsidized by a public ordinance crafted by the wily Lord Torrance. Each family above a certain income level must commit a number of troops from their own personal guard units to the city’s defense. This makes the city’s safety the concern of all the wealthiest families, although it requires a charismatic and skillful general to keep all the differ- ent house troops in line. Sayre boasts a small theater and a large university that attracts scholars from cities across this corner of the mortal realm. For such a small city, Sayre is a shining beacon of light. Lord Torrance fully intends to keep it that way.