Once a capital city of the Nerath Empire, Pinecrest is the main focus of power in Southern Aeiron. With major trading connections between Port Silver and the North, this sprawling city depends on the trade passing through its ports and gates to support a population far too big for its own good. The only criterion for citizenship is a couple of silver pieces. Humans dominate the city, though eladrin, elves, dwarves, and other civilized humanoids have settled here. Pinecrest is a city anyone can visit, and strangers met in far-off places might originally hail from here. Though census figures are impossible to rely on, the city’s population is believed to have long ago surpassed even Port Silver’s.
Pinecrest is a prosperous city where just about anything can happen, and often does. It contains an active and organized thieves’ guild, powerful merchants with questionable ethics, and influential cults and secret societies both malignant and benign. All the power groups maintain a precarious balance under the authority of the Council of Five.
For the purposes of governance and security, Pinecrest is divided into a system of wards or civic districts. Each of the six official wards is briefly discussed below.
Home of the Wealthy
Bloomridge, through feats of engineering and magic, is contained on and within the old walls of Pinecrest. The neighbourhood extends down the side of the wall in swoops of stairs, galleries, and hanging gardens. It swarms with well-dressed buyers and discreet sellers. Architecturally pleasing shops are built in and around flower-filled arcades and open-air cafes. The wealthy and celebrated seek to buy one of the rarely available houses in Bloomridge, or failing that, to rent one of the small but expensive apartments built over popular shops and cafes.
Castle Ward lies in the heart of Pinecrest. This ward is home to the city’s administrative buildings and buildings of state. Deliberately putting on a show of force, City Watch and Guard patrols are heavy in Castle Ward. The ward’s most prominent landmarks include Blackstaff Tower, the Market, the Great Library, and the Council Palace.
Dock Ward is Pinecrest’s oldest and most colourful ward. The harbour is very much a working place, full of sweating, cursing dockworkers and sailors loading and unloading vessels. Carts groan hastily between warehouses all over the western half of the city and Dock Ward, carrying goods to and from the ships. Dock Ward is also notorious as a lawless, brawling place of drunks, smugglers, and fell magic. Those who are daring or foolish enough to want to delve beneath the brackish water of the harbour are advised that the City Guard keeps a close watch for smugglers and for items dropped for later recovery.
South Ward lies in the southeastern corner of Pinecrest, bounded by Trades Ward to the north and Dock Ward to the west. Caravan City, as this oft-forgotten ward is sometimes known, is a homely, friendly, busy, and largely poor area of Pinecrest. South Ward is dominated by large, tall, old warehouses made of stone, mud brick, or timber. Crowded among them are three- and four-floor tenements, most with shops at street level. Notable landmarks of South Ward include Caravan Court and Metalmasters’ Hall, headquarters of the Most Careful Order of Skilled Smiths & Metalforgers.
Because the city’s population is so diverse, this area hosts temples to powers with wildly different goals. Even shrines to evil gods persist unchallenged by the Council of Five. Though local chapels and temples can be found in the tenement districts, Temple Ward is wholly devoted to the divine. Here one can easily find temples willing to perform healing rituals for the appropriate price. Notable landmarks include the Platinum Church and the Temple of Will.
Center of Commerce
Trades Ward lies in the eastern half of Pinecrest. Given over almost entirely to commerce, Trades Ward lacks the feeling of community found in the more residential wards, but retains the hustle and bustle of a marketplace throughout the day and night. Notable landmarks of Trades Ward include the Court of the White Bull and Virgin’s Square.
Known satellite communities:
Dakun is a native of Pinecrest, and knows the streets well.