Home of the headquarters of the Benetatus. Their people live in poverty, though it is a voluntary poverty. Dedicated, fanatical followers. Renowned for having powerful defense, but they make no overt moves against the Spire.
Anthatal (Last Home, Elftown)
A small borough ruled by elves. Absolutely fanatical defense. They believe they are the last of their kind, and their bloodlines must be preserved at all costs. Still, the borough pays respect to the Spire, perhaps fearing it more than any other organization in the city. There’s a knot in the center of Anthatal where only elves can go. Half-elves can be used as intermediaries to this area if necessary.
“We are the last, great shining hope in a land of despair. Come, we will offer succor. You’ll understand that we cannot operate too much in the open… you’ll also understand that we can’t operate totally for free. We can offer much, much that cannot be obtained anywhere else under the eyes of the Spire.”
The largest borough of Montbelliard, well-known for being home to a fractured assortment of resistance groups.
Most Dwarves work here, in order to stay close to work. Houses the factories that make life in Montbelliard possible, such as it is.
“They’ve gotta have something going on in there. People who live there, they have a crazy way of being exactly where they should be when they should be somewhere, and a way of not being there when they shouldn’t. It’s crazy… that close to Grinder, it should have been taken over a long time ago. Yet, they always seem to know exactly where to apply their strength.”
Market Square (The Cabal)
“Look, no one likes what’s going on here, right? But that doesn’t change the way of the world. And the way of the world is the fact that I have things, you want things, you can buy those things from me, and I’ll use the money to get more things. It’s the way the world works, as natural as breathing. If you want things, we’re willing to talk. If you want trouble, we can provide plenty of that too.”
Spiretown is the aptly named neighborhood surrounding the Spire. Posh gardens, clean streets, old mansions and large houses recall a more prosperous and peaceful age. It is the home of Machial’s court, Prince Omar, military officers, and confirmed loyalists.
Shuttered from “common Montbelliard” by huge wooden gates and portcullis, access to Spiretown is closely guarded. Residents, entertainers, laborers, and officially summoned “guests” must display the proper identification badges. Visitors are required to directly carry out the business for which they were invited, then leave.
Spiretown’s gates are open to the general public on three special occasions: the parades of Summer and Winter Festivals, and for public executions. At such times, visitors are kept cordoned onto the main streets, while residents watch from sidewalks, parks, their homes, and raised platforms set up for the event. Military presence during these occasions is quite visible, and misbehavior is not permitted.
Serious offenses are tried and punished in Spiretown. When a criminal is considered extremely dangerous or heinous, they are sent here for trial and imminent execution. It is said that among the undesirable populations, Spiretown can refer to an untimely or unjust death, as in “he’s gone to Spiretown.”
The most ancient part of Montbelliard, The Dols is a neighborhood built into large rocks on a hillside. Homes, shanties, lean-tos and dwellings of all shapes and sizes are stacked upon each other at every imaginable level and angle. Part slum, part penal colony, the streets are chaotic shambles of squatters and hawking merchants.
Named after the fabled dwarven city of Dolsha Kir’an that lies somewhere beneath Montbelliard, the Dols is also short for doldrums. Day and night, the Siphon gazes coldly down upon its unfortunate denizens. Chances are if you’ve ever been to the Dols, you’re still there. If you’ve never been
- consider yourself lucky - it’s hard to imagine the squalor, the chaos, the burning, draining, oozing light.
Travel to and from the Dols is highly regulated. Guard posts mark the neighborhood’s two main thoroughfares, while the remaining exits have been walled off. In order to pass through a checkpoint, one needs an official pass, such as a merchant badge or official document.
There are a few ancient buildings and landmarks in the Dols, all but buried in the dense filth of overpopulation. Now and again one brushes one’s hands up against a wall of river rocks. On occasion, one spots a moldy and chipped sign, etched in jagged, dwarven runes.
An area where society has broken down. The dregs of humanity live here, along with some of the strongest fighters in the city. It’s really a consortium of street gangs, with no clear central power. The good news is, the Spire won’t go there unless there’s a serious problem. The bad news is, most people don’t want to live there at all.
The Keep district was the heart of the Mauvosan empire. It housed the Iron Throne and generations of kings. While it didn’t always stay in one family, the kingship has always been a force to be reckoned with, at least until Saraquin broke Montbelliard as easily as if he were cracking an egg. Now, the Keep is home to the monstrous contingent of the Spire’s forces; bugbears mostly, but there are rumors that creatures more foul infest the area. Most Montbelliard citizens keep a very wide berth from the Keep. While it’s not written down on any law, it’s common knowledge that the Keep is bugbear territory, and they’re able to do anything they want to people who stray inside. It’s also common knowledge that while Machial is undoubtedly the ruler of the Spire and the city, he doesn’t meddle with the Keep, and those in the Keep appear to know that they shouldn’t do anything to mess with a comfortable arrangement.
A small borough ruled by the Crisos crime family, with a rich, violent history that extended back well before Saraquin’s invasion.
The Stacks are the main housing district for common citizens of Montbelliard. The city is terribly crowded with people, the last remnants of society since Saraquin’s brutal and total sweep of the land. With little room to build out, citizens have had no choice but to build up, and since the Spire sees no need to actually plan how people live, homes have been slapped together in a patchwork fashion. While it wouldn’t be odd at all to see mixed races living in one building, each race does have their own section of the Stacks where they congregate and try to maintain what they can of their culture.
Historically, if there’s one thing Montbelliard has been able to do for time immemorial, it’s defense. A vital part of that defense is the Undercity. There, narrow tunnels allow for clandestine movement from one area of the city to the other, away from the prying eyes above.
Normally, in times of siege, the Undercity would be used to transport troops, food and materiel from the Keep to the field, allowing the Mauvosan to wage hit-and-run campaigns against enemies in unfamiliar territory. Now, the Undercity is generally regarded as the most dangerous area of the city. Spire forces run regular patrols down there with orders to kill anyone and everyone they come across. Thieves’ guilds also infest the Undercity, eager to protect their territory and get whatever coin can come from a knife between ribs.
Also, there are rumors of darker things, in the bowels of the ancient dwarven city it has been built upon. While the Undercity may allow for movement from one section of the city to the other, it is also a labyrinth of tunnels. It’s rumored that the Benedictatus has people who can act as guides for short sections of the area, but it’s believed no one single person could grasp the complexities of the maze without a map. There are also rumors that there is only one true map of the Undercity, somewhere in the Keep.
Verdant Groves (The Little Spire, The Grove)
The most secure borough in the Stacks, populated by families of Spire “employees” that haven’t quite “made it” to Spiretown. Serves as a buffer area between Spiretown and the Stacks. Spire patrols can maneuver with ease in Verdant Groves. Resistance groups with fewer morals frequently target the Grove due to its connection with the Spire, though other groups make a policy of only targeting bugbear and Hive squads.
Built where Spiretown meets the edge of the Gap (the area between the city main and the its outlying boroughs), the Hive is actually built into the side of the cliff wall, like some infected abcess. The Spire’s specialized insectoid units are housed here.