I've made a few changes since my last post on the Seven Cities, both in response to the comments I received and as a result of further personal reflection. At the macro level, I've decided to concentrate on the Seven Cities and their immediate neighborhood instead of outlining a larger, more global setting. Working on a smaller scale is conducive to actually playing sooner rather than later. To this end I'm thinking that a mountain range populated by barbarian tribes and foul beasts lies to the north of the Seven Cities while a vast desert separating the Cities from the Azure Empire lies to their south. This desert also contains savage tribes and hideous beasts, but well-guarded caravans can successfully cross it.
I'm pondering the wisdom of including a large forest populated by the devolved remnants of the precursor civilization to the current human population. One thought would be to go with the savage elf archetype (a kind of inverse Melnibonean). But I could be persuaded to go in a different direction here. One thing is for certain: I don't want to use any sort of Serpent Men. That archetype feels played out to me.
As for the Seven Cities themselves, six are now dedicated to a particular magical tradition while the seventh is a sort of treaty city dedicated to sorcerous education:
1. Achiroth - A thanatocracy devoted to necromancy and shadow magics.
2. Banashan - Home to the university.
3. Belrood - A gynocracy ruled by witches and alchemists.
4. Drimshy - A maritime republic specializing in water and wind magics.
5. Kherem-Kha - A theocracy dependent on summoned outsiders.
6. Meton - A landlocked republic specializing in earth and fire magics.
7. Viserne - A city of illusions and glamours.
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