“Seven sentinels in Shadow stand,
a tower rising in each hand…”
While the City in Shadow presents a planar metropolis swimming with agendas deep and ancient, most campaigns are set in worlds where its existence is a passing scribbled annotation in a tome of illusions or a fading sketch in scroll of meditations. So how might more traditional campaign settings interact with Hyraeatan?
Seven in Shadow
Near the heart of Hyraeatan stand the Shadow Seraphs, seven mighty statues looming hundreds of feet into air. While most citizens of the city blame these angelic structures on the vanity and titanic egos that lead the Parities, they are part of a much larger design.
In the distant past the Parities realized as the City in Shadow grew, Shadow’s very nature was too ephemeral and morphic to sustain a stable city beyond certain limits. So the city’s elders developed a plan to remedy the situation. Covert teams were sent into the Prime Material and other key planar locations and given sets of seven enchanted shadestone figurines of angels.
These sets of seven figurines were matched to great cities throughout creation to align their shadow essence with the central Seraphs’ configuration in Hyraeatan. Each set providing a reflection of the cities they were secreted in and allowing early architects of Hyraeatan to utilize structures’ quasi-real echoes which were then reinforced by shadestone and other materials.
A curious effect of the figurines causes shadows in near proximity to them to deepen in the right circumstances to create moments of true tangency between Hyraeatan and the Prime Material providing seconds to minute were the City and its Prime Material stabilizing partners are accessible to each other.
From time to time, maintenance teams from the Wardens of the Lattice are sent to covertly check the alignments of the figurines, repair any of them that are damaged, or make rare adjustments to placement. Brazen Parities have been known to construct buildings in the Prime Material “anchor” cities to stabilize new construction in Hyraeatan. Newcomers to the City in Shadow often remark on the haunting familiarity of a single building to one in a city of their homeworld.
The Midnight Market
The Temple of Coin has taken the morphic instability of the City and in select alleyways “encouraged” it. These magical manipulations have led the alleys of the Coinward to drift in and out other worlds when the time and lighting are just close enough to share a singular indeterminacy.
In turn this has drawn a semi-persistent relationship with the Midnight Market, a demiplanar remnant populated by hags, fiends, and mortals whose motives run in similar veins. Some in the Temple claim their efforts in Hyraeatan created the shardplane but the night hag vendors have been known to cackle to the point of bloody coughing fits when they hear such assertions. In the City in Shadow, the malleable part of the Coinward have become synonymous with the Midnight Market to the point that locals often interchange the terms.
The Coinward and Midnight Market are among the most cosmopolitan trading hubs under all of Light and Dark. The vices, eccentricities, and needs of a thousand, thousand worlds can be found there while the light as low and darkness long. Just be careful lest lingering trap the foolish traveler in an alley that never was.
An oddity of the of the Market’s alleyways is that they tend not to manifest near parts of a Prime world that bear the figurines of the Seraphs. A fact that the Warden’s have leveraged to maintain secrecy about their placement of the planar stablizing agents.
The most common linkage from worlds in a number of Prime Material locations and beyond, is the Black Lattice itself. Said to pre-date Hyraeatan itself, the Lattice was designed to magnify the efficient travel of the Shadow and create a linkage network between hundreds of planar-aware cultures.
Portal clusters dot the lattice at points of key proximity in Shadow though the planar inconsistency occasionally results in a world bearing more than one linking gate. Often these shared gates have no relative placement on the Lattice, a fact exploited by its makers to create proximities for worlds that shared no other tangency.
The Aldran Apocalypse damaged the Lattice severely and parts of it are under repair or have been deemed to dangerous to explore or interact with. From the Hyraeatan side of things the Wardens of the Lattice do their best to demark these areas and patrol places where hazardous exposures have let energies or, worse still, creatures threaten travelers.
Discovering portal lore, including keys to otherwise dormant linkage gates along the Lattice is often rewarded by the Wardens or various Parities in Hyraeatan. Exclusive deals with the Temple of Coin or Sanguine Sovereignty have been known to be incredibly lucrative.
GMs looking to link Hyraeatan to their existing games shouldn’t have to strain too hard, chances are somewhere in the long shadows of a coming evening, the City in Shadow is already waiting for your campaign like an angel in the night…
More info on the Black Lattice and Hyraeatan is available in the Mythic Paths of the Lost Spheres appendix and the upcoming Book of Beyond WIP. Hyraeatan, City in Shadow will also be available later this year. For our other products visit: d20pfsrd.com, drivethruRPG, paizo and RPGNow.
OGL Note: None of this entry is considered Open Content.