Tula is a port city, set atop the ruins of a Kelnorian monastery dedicated to a small coterie of gods of knowledge. The modern city is heavily reliant on magic for its construction, and employs a wealth of arcane principles in its layout and architecture. The rolling hills of the surrounding countryside slowly climb to a small peak where the ancient monastery once stood. It is in those ruins that mage-exiles founded Tula. Fleeing violence and persecution, a handful of powerful wizards retreated, with their students and staff, to make a safe haven for themselves. As the initial threat passed, their original fortress plans quickly gave way to the fluted grandeur of the Spires, as the wizards organized their coterie into a formal school to advance the arcane arts in a forum equally collaborative and competitive. As the school grew around the original refugee-settlers, so the city grew around the school – but Tula remains unquestionably a city of and for wizards.
The city consists of several zones, most of which are off-limits to ordinary mortals. The Quayside district is the only place within the city walls that foreigners are allowed to roam prior to “orientation.” The Lowlands district is accessible to oriented foreigners and locals who lack magical training. Outsiders and those with magical aptitude (a mana pool) can qualify to enjoy the Gardens district. The Rainbow district encompasses the chromatic schools, which are almost entirely off-limits to non-members. The Templestone district contains the shrines of many gods, and most of these have doors facing both the Gardens and Lowlands districts. The Spires district is the purview of the city elite: high-ranking college faculty and their political lackeys, and archmages and similar folk who are allied with the city.
The ancient acropolis became the Spires, and the Rainbow district grew around them. Templestone took shape around an old shrine near the ruins, and Lowlands wraps around the promontory where it drops back toward the sea. Quayside sprawls out from the Lowlands, entirely built on planks and pilons, since the Rainbow City has no natural port.
Straddling several districts are the major schools and temples: the Free School requires all residents to pass through its gates, and has entrances or offices in every district in the city. The Chromatic schools have entrances in the Gardens district, but lie mostly in the Rainbow. The Spires lie in the center of the Rainbow, and the Templestone district forms a wedge between the Gardens and the Lowlands, just as the Lowlands shields the rest of the city from the “rabble” of Quayside.
Large plantations, monasteries, and communes radiate from Tula in every landbound direction, pushing back the tangled jungle. If foreigners were to try to approach Tula by land, they would most likely wander into a plantation, and be captured for slavery. If lucky, they would be unceremoniously dumped Quayside and pointed toward the Free School.
- Quayside: Visitors enter through the floating docks of Quayside, where they must submit to the interrogators-general of the Port Authority. Quayside is rife with businesses of ill repute, dealing in foreign coin and making vague and evanescent promises. As long as they do not interfere with the Port Authority, individuals and businesses in Quayside are largely left to their own devices. Significant merchant interests have staked out territory in much of the quarter, and maintain decorum to suit their business needs. This is a popular place for slave recruitment, and any without a Mark of the City are fair game. The major temples, the Free School, and several minor schools maintain an active presence Quayside, and the Communists do a brisk trade in messages and transferring funds. The Free School conducts its orientation courses (and offers arcane assessment) in its Quayside facilities.
- Lowlands: Most day-to-day business in Tula happens in the Lowlands. Most plantation owners maintain lavish estates in the Lowlands, near the rolling hills of the Gardens. While there are several factories within the Lowlands, most products are manufactured in the plantations. Residents of the Lowlands tend to pay their taxes by toiling in service industries and skilled handcrafts. The merchant associations effectively own and run the Lowlands, at the erstwhile whims of the colleges. Almost anything is for sale (or on offer) in the Lowlands markets, for the right price. Monitors from the diviner’s college are a common sight, and Communists are held on retainer at some of the larger markets. The Free School’s main campus straddles the Lowlands and Gardens quarters. Aside from the presence of Communists, monitors, and the occasional interrogator-general, the Lowlands quarter generally resembles a normal metropolis more than any other area of the city.
- Gardens: Those with magical aptitude are granted entree to the Gardens, whose lush, rolling hills are festooned with exotic flora, singing fountains, and moving statues. Floating carriages drift down wide boulevards, and golems and outsiders are more prominent than mortal servants and slaves. The minor arcane schools operate in this district, and the grandest estates sprawl here. Several of the oldest estates have been turned into parks, museums, and conservatories, now open to the privileged public. Markets here specialize in goods intended for the magically gifted, including a wide array of scrolls, wands, and potions. Arcane tutors and research assistants are available, and several companies operate specifically to create magic items on commission. Interrogators-general are rare here, though monitors are more common. Communist kiosks appear at strategic locations, though the Gardens district relies more on trust and reputation than the lower quarters.
- Templestone: The Templestone district was once a lone hill that hosted a monastery temple to Galuldân the Resonant Word (or perhaps Thoth Voice-of-Enlightenment). Over the centuries, the Communists have largely drifted away, and temples of Thoth and other important Tulani gods have come to dominate the hill. The Templestone hill is its own district within the city, largely off limits to all but the priesthood of the respective gods. Each temple, however, maintains at least one outbuilding or wing that extends their presence into the Gardens and/ or Lowlands quarters. Some also operate soup kitchens and halfway houses Quayside. Otherwise, Templestone is a remote, cloistered citadel near the heart of a bustling city. Communists are rare here, and monitors and interrogators-general are welcome only on official city business or as guests.
- Rainbow: The great schools operate in the Rainbow district. Each school is its own fortress-monastery, pushing the boundaries of its own school of magic and drawing from its students’ power and talents to create and maintain grand works of magic. Faculty and students of the Chromatic Colleges are allowed access to the common areas of the quarter, but most laboratories and classrooms require special gestures, tokens, or spells to access. Only currently-enrolled students and faculty (or those who are allowed into the Spires) may stroll the halls and avenues of the Rainbow quarter. Students perform even the most menial of tasks within the quarter, as unschooled minds could jeopardize delicate experiments (or, more likely, offend the rarified sensibilities of the faculty).
- Spires: The movers and shakers of Tula have offices in the Spires. Councilors, ministers, and their closest personal staff conduct their business in the privacy of the innermost citadel of the city. Those with honorary privileges are often offered small estates within the Spires, though many also maintain lavish residences elsewhere. Each individual with access to the Spires may only transport two assistants accross the thresholds. One Communist lives in near-total seclusion within the Spires, to supply information as needed to the council. The resident Communist is under a geas to maintain private and secret records of all council sessions, stretching back almost since the founding of the colleges. At any given time, there are rarely more than two or three dozen people in the Spires. The minarets of the citadel are largely unoccupied, though hardly unprotected.
Tula revolves around a nucleus of prestigious magical colleges: the Chromatic Schools. Originally, there were eight Chromatic Schools, one for each school of magic, and they discovered (or rediscovered) techniques to train specialist wizards. Later, a ninth school was added, representing warmages. These nine schools form the core of Tula’s government. Though other schools exist within the city, and some of them are prosperous and important (among these, the Free School stands out), only the Chromatic Schools have a direct voice in government. The Chromatic Schools have voting voices on the ruling council, and they operate ministries that tend to the affairs of the city. Other powerful individuals and organizations may have a presence on the council, but they are unable to cast ballots.
Students of the Chromatic Schools are (or seek to become) specialist wizards, or have been accepted to expensive advanced-study programs. [A member of an NPC class or a first-level wizard may use this study time to exchange existing class levels for specialist wizard levels. This may necessitate earning one or more character levels.] Graduates of an Associate Study program have gained one or more class levels as specialist wizards. Those who continue their studies may take tutelage under a professor and enter the Chromatic Wizard [Red Wizard] or Master Specialist prestige class.
The Amber College is an exception to the above rules. It is the only school in the Wilderlands that trains warmages, though it also provides military training for bards, clerics, marshals, sorcerers, and wizards. Its advancement and graduation criteria are based on military performance.
To join the faculty of any of the schools, a character must study under an existing professor and take a level in the Chromatic Scion [Mage of the Arcane Order] prestige class. This class requirement applies to the Chromatic Schools as well as any of the other arcane schools, and most arcane positions in the Free School.
Chromatic Schools: these schools occupy the Rainbow district, and have voting positions on the Council of Tula. Each school makes extensive use of a single color in its regalia, flags and accessories, and students’ tabards. The schools, their colors, particular ministerial roles, and founders are outlined below.
- Abjuration/ Indigo: Wardens are tasked with maintaining the peace through securing the wards and bindings on public buildings, including jails. Their indigo robes include pointed hoods that completely cover their faces. Fortifactors maintain external defenses and, when necessary, bolster structures buffetted by earthquakes, storms, and accidents. They also lay potent wards on the city’s naval vessels. Their indigo robes have sturdy crimson epaulettes, and they wear crimson skullcaps. Founder: (Atal) Guryan the Unwavering Shield
- Conjuration/ Yellow: Procurers produce food and material for the city, either conjuring it wholecloth or modifying raw materials. They run the major food concessions, and are a linchpin in the city’s commerce and manufacturing fields. While their yellow robes vary in appearance based on their specific purview, they wear around their necks large medallions, tokens of the goods they are supposed to produce. Summoners provide labor on demand, mostly for short-term projects. Their yellow robes have signs of binding embroidered in black around the cuffs, collar, and base. Summoners of particularly dangerous creatures often have abjuration effects imbued in their robes. Founder: (Mainish) Ghal the Beckoning Hand
- Divination/ Blue: The monitors are among the most prominent ministerials in the city. Their square masks of dark mirrored material obscure the entirety of their faces from ear to ear, and they wear tight wimples as well. The monitors’ every sense is recorded in the Seeing Stone, which apprentices observe and log. This Polylog of the Stone is considered primary evidence in all courts. Each mask logs continuously, in some cases forming threads stretching back for centuries. Monitors’ blue robes obscure their whole bodies; unlike most ministerials, off-duty monitors typically wear common student or faculty robes, reserving their robes of station for actual work. Surveyors are a particularly pragmatic ministry, relying on scrying and fieldwork to identify new riches for the city state. Though rare, they are easily identified by the distinctive and practical cut of their robes, which more resemble monks’ than wizards’ garb. Interlocutors serve the magistrates of Tula in collecting data for court cases. They collect evidence from legal nonpersons and lowlanders via direct and possibly invasive means, but tend to rely on truth-detection and oral interviews for gardeners and more privileged citizens. Their blue robes are lined with black silk, and during official duties their faces are usually covered with black veils. Founder: (Nîga) Uristemal the Starry Eye
- Enchantment/ Green: Managers are the central figures in the plantation system of Tula. They use their arcane persuasive abilities to keep slaves and debtors in line. Occasionally, their gold-trimmed emerald green robes are spotted in prisons, markets, and recreation centers for “crowd control.” Psychotherapists, conversely, apply their persuasion and understanding of the mind to the healing arts. They work with individuals to soothe troubling memories and improve their patients’ value to society. Their grass-green and white robes are almost universally welcome around the city, and trained psychotherapists may find lucrative employment abroad. Founder: (Shivanan) Fusun the Silver Tongue
- Evocation/ Red: Armamentors offer the best offensive power that Tula has available. Their red robes are set with jewels (often enchanted) and laced with cloth of gold. Many of the city’s evokers take at least one half-year “tour of duty” on a naval vessel, guarding the city walls, or on patrol around the edge of the plantation zone. The argentines specialize in force effects, and work closely with the city’s architects and craftsmen. Their red robes are decorated with silver embroidery tracing the outline of interlocking hands. Temperators are the least flamboyant of evokers, intent on tapping elemental forces to control temperature and environmental conditions. Though primarily focused on arcane research projects, they maintain climate-moderated zones within the city. Their red robes have green trim, and they wear blue and white skullcaps. Founder: Kahil (Meshtanigul) the Burning Blade
- Illusion/ Orange: Though a fair number of illusionists are involved in affairs where it pays not to advertise, beautifactors in their orange and brown robes are proud to show their affiliation. Their role in the city is to make the city as appealing a place as possible. Many of them are fine artists, weaving breathtaking images, soothing sounds, and enticing smells for commonweal or for hire. Jubilants in their yellow-lined robes serve a similar role, but tend to focus more on music. The jubilants work to make festivals as engrossing and satisfying as possible. Both beautifactors and jubilants associate extensively with bards. Founder: (Ashti) Berkamet the Veiled Visage
- Necromancy/ Black: Necromancy has a sinister reputation, though less in Tula than abroad. Morticians tend to the physical remains of the city’s deceased, and wear deeply cowled black robes and white wimples, sometimes with white veils. They offer corpse preservation, cremation, disintegration, and repurposing (usually animation). Obliviators serve the Ministry of Effluents, using their necromantic magic to destroy the city’s non-useful waste. Unscrupulous students of necromancy tend to flock to this otherwise undesirable occupation, because it allows them the latitude to conduct experiments on the remains of animals and discarded children. Instead of robes, they wear close-fitting black body suits that cover all but their faces, and they carry or wear baffled white masks made from baleen. Coroners are the most respectable of necromancers, working with the courts and monitors to identify the cause and circumstances of death. Their findings are of particular use to students of the healing arts. They wear black robes and white veils, and have famously everclean white gloves. Mediums tend to work with the rare hardy souls of the Shadow School, and they converse with the dead. While not collecting information for monitors and the courts, they enjoy a lucrative business resolving the affairs of the departed. Their black robes are embroidered with gold step-like patterns. Founder: (Aram) Nishtimurti the Dancing Spine
- Transmutation/ Violet: Of all the chromatic schools, the Violet College most aggressively embraces a doctrine of personal achievement and transcendence. When a project or event demands more than ordinary mortals can provide, adjusters come onto the scene, their flamboyant violet robes embroidered in a dizzying array of colors. They augment or polymorph themselves and others. While some adjusters are available for common use, most of them are in the sole employ of the city government. The Amber College, in particular, keeps adjusters on hand whenever possible. Founder: (Yesin) Everenti the Feathered Fish
- Dragonsblood/ Amber: Unlike the other chromatic schools, the Amber College is not dedicated to a school of magic. This is the only school in the Wilderlands that trains warmages, and the best for training marshals and unlocking the full power of sorcerers. All students and faculty of the Amber College (and affiliated graduates) wear saffron robes with hardened amber or amber-like embellishments. Though the school did not exist for over a century after his demise, they claim to harbor secret knowledge from the Founder himself. The Port Authority is an official body of the Amber College, though it accepts employees from many schools and classes. Port Authority officials wear the fish-and-aura emblem on their arms, and carry rods/ staves/ blades that bear an anchor design, and most visible ministerials are inspectors general. The marines are the college’s finest military personnel, mostly warmages, swashbuckler/sorcerers, and marshals. Their saffron vestments are carefully tuned utilitarian creations, rife with pockets and compartments with minimal bulk. Founder: (Temer) Tingal the Mailed Fist
While the Chromatic Colleges all enjoy a measure of formalized political power, other schools flourish in Tula. These schools maintain a non-voting presence on the council, roughly on par with the major temples. In addition to the major schools outlined below, numerous smaller schools exist in the sidelines. School colors and paraphernalia are often every bit as ostentatious as those of the chromatic colleges.
- Shadow/ Silver and Black: Followers of the School of Shadow wear silver and black robes, and are sometimes mistaken for necromancers. Few individuals qualify for membership, and even fewer choose to embrace the alien nature of Shadow. Those who learn the secrets of the school tend to be loners, making the shrouds the rarest ministerials in the city. Shrouds cultivate connections with the deceased. Even more so than mediums, they work with deceased souls to convey messages to the living, tend to the safety and prosperity of the dead, and keep the less savory denizens of the Shadowlands from molesting the deceased or breaching the veil to assault the living world. Their richly embroidered robes are equal parts silver and black, and usually have cloud or wave motifs. Founder: (Gyzem) Fereynat the Haunted Darkness
- Song/ Brass: The School of Song trains most of the bards in the Rainbow City. Even the less studious of bards tend to indulge in classes here, to refine their art and learn new arcane embellishments (often prizes in dazzling bardic competitions). Most bards who join the school join the order of minstrels, a bonded agency of performing talent who are sworn to standards of excellence and decorum. Their garb is decorated with brass charms representing their achievements and areas of study. Harmonists are the rare studious bards who seek to refine and expand the school’s knowledge of song and harmonics. They typically wear drab scholars’ robes or street clothes with copper charms like their minstrel brethren, but also with obscure diagrams and symbols representing their scholastic achievements. Founder: Lasater the Dashing Smile
- Tongues/ White and Silver: The School of Tongues is almost the exclusive domain of resident extraplanar beings and their descendants. Though their research has produced an impressive collection of power word spells and arcane embellishments for other schools’ enjoyment, their particular purview is the extraplanar arcana of truespeak. Babelmen are the school’s only visible ministerials, and they make rare but prominent appearances in situations where the flow of mana is too delicate to risk conventional magic. Those with suitable bodies wear white robes with silver embroidery, and bear a clear crystal surrounded by a loose coil of silver wire. Founder: (Minester) Thuul (Ridding) the Sibilant Sigh
- Patterns/ Indigo and Gold: The School of Patterns attracts an assortment of enchanters, diviners, generalist wizards, and even other spellcasters who have a special fascination with patterns, mathematics, and geometry. Their students have produced popular tiling patterns for mosaic work across the Wilderlands, and the indigo robes of the school are always embroidered with gold, typically some variation of the pattern known as Indra’s net. Cartomancers read (and sometimes create) fortune through the medium of special cards and tokens. The school’s founder invented the popular Tarot deck, though most cartomancers have their favorite variations. While the Blue College is loathe to sully its hands with quotidian predictions and auguries, cartomancers happily fill the gap, interpreting dreams, foreseeing the future, and injecting a little pomp and mystique into their patrons’ lives. Cartomancers also serve the government directly, with much less fanfare. Dervishes are masters of dance magic, and their female members are particularly popular performers. They are among the most respected bards in the city, and pioneered ritual magic involving large numbers of ordinary citizens. Dervish-designed songs and dances feature prominently in most of the city’s festivals, and prosperous communities abroad often aspire to commission their work. Geometers are far less visible than other members of their school, mostly working with scholars of eldritch arcana and pure arcane research. Geometers are drawn to the juncture of magic and writing, and are famous for distilling pages of arcane writings down to single diagrams of remarkable precision. They have done more than any other single group to transform the magical language of the Chromatic Schools. Founder: (Aribell Weaver) Sashinat the Jeweled Eye
- Memory/ Wine Red: The cult-like School of Memory has extensive ties to the Blue College, as well as the Schools of Shadow and Patterns. They have an unusually high concentration of divine casters in their ranks. Historians use divination magic to peer into the past, often using secret techniques to look farther and see more clearly than others. Interlocutors rely on historians’ findings when their own college’s members fail to produce results. They wear black blindfolds with their wine red robes. Regressionists actually relive the past, or help others to do so. Unlocking long-buried memories, reconstructing complex historical events, and even creating simulations of possible events, are the purview of this ministry. They wear white blindfolds with their wine red robes, and they are particularly popular with the Amber College, and those students of the School of Patterns who try to understand the ebb and flow of markets. Founder: (Mailiu Jing) Hanto the Reflecting Pool
- Waves/ Navy, Silver and White: Navigators work closely with the Port Authority, the navy, and Tulani sea merchants to track, chart, and navigate the chaotic sea. They are typically the most sought-after ship’s mages, and many of them actively worship sea gods. Some even multiclass as clerics or druids. Their deep blue robes feature silver and white embroidery in a wave pattern. Sailspinners are masters of textiles, and make most of the enchanted sails that Tulani sailors rely upon. Their navy robes have white trim and silver embroidery with geometric motifs. Shipsmiths are among the most secretive of mage-engineers, even more so than their sailspinner brethren. They have begun an aggressive competition with Ralluvan shipbuilders to create ever faster, more maneuverable, and sturdier craft. They have recently begun to incorporate dwarven mechanic magic into their studies, though they have yet to incorporate its arcana into their school’s tradition. Their minimalist navy blue robes have a silver sash and white cuffs. Founder: Jesurit the Watchful Serpent
- Communion of the Resonant Word/ Wine Red and Gold: The Communists are a strange quasi-religious group, though they have become more secular over time. The average Communist spends most of his life sequestered in a Commune monastery, reading, copying, cataloging and scribing new texts. Their rare field members usually operate kiosks or offices staffed with clerks, who take dictation or handle financial transactions from patrons. The resident Communist then telepathically communicates with his peers to record the transaction or information, or to seek answers to the patrons’ questions. Communists occasionally conduct their own field research, and bards and diviners sometimes seek out their company to track down time-faded mysteries or record their innovations and discoveries. Like the School of Memory, Communists wear wine red robes, but they always wear golden veils, and paint their eyelids to look like open eyes. Founder: Galuldân the Resonant Word
- Free School/ Turquoise: The Free School is unique among Tulani educational institutions in that it accepts students regardless of class, talent, or specialty. They enjoy reciprocal relationships with most other schools in the city, and with several prominent schools abroad. Faculty of the Free School are called Professors, and their turquoise robes are rarely embroidered. Each professor typically develops a special area of academic interest, though the school is officially interested in knowledge itself, in any manifestation. This is the only school where spellcasting proficiency is not required to join the faculty. They test all prospective citizens (and thus all would-be students of the Chromatic Colleges), to determine their scholastic and magical aptitude. The results of this battery of tests are then posted to the faculty of the other schools, and the schools may offer special tuition on the spot to promising students. The Free School is named such because it is open to all persons, and even nonpersons may be sent to study. Its tuition is highly flexible, and it is not unknown for particularly talented but destitute students to study free of charge. Sometimes, students who prove themselves in the Free School go on to join more prestigious schools. Founder: (Tarek) Alshaidan the Shining Iris
The major temples have a non-voting presence on the city council. Their counsel is always sought, though the chromatic schools may not deign to follow their advice.
- Thoth (Gray and Green, with Amber accents): Guardian of the Gates (Taner), Opener of the * Ways, Teacher of Great Patience, Voice of Enlightenment (Galuldân)
- Athena (Blue and White): Sword of Justice, Eye of Discernment (Sidika), Watchful Defender
- Nephtlys (Gold, Silver, and Copper with Green): Lady of Vast Treasures, Hand of Fate (Kadri)
- Hermes (Amber, Brass, and Brown): Song of Splendor (Ozam)
h3. Minor Temples
These temples may feature prominently in the city, and have some presence in the Templestone district, but have no voice in government. While they may have distinctive dress and customs, their garb is less color-associated.
- Adorak Tau, Agni, Amala, Armadad Bog, Bes, Brigit, Ganesh, Harmakhis, Helios (Helios-Amon), Imhotep, Isis (moon of mystery, husband’s avenger), Jiulyn, Kuan Yin, Mitra, Mycr, Neptune, Nergal, Nut, Odin, Ouranos, Ouroboros, Poseidon, Ra-Horus, Selanii, Shiva, Thída, Tlacican
The city of Tula is ruled by an oligarchy, the heads of the various schools recognized by the city, who elect from their number a Lord Director to keep order and act as executor. The Chromatic Schools each have one seat on the council [chromatic privileges]. The temples of Thoth, Nephtlys, Athena, and Hermes, the Free School, the mercantile association, all have a voice at the council, but have no voting rights [esteemed privileges]. Several archmages and epic-level wizards enjoy similar non-voting positions [honorary privileges]. Each chair on the council (voting or not) has its own staff of pages and clerks. Most chairs have one or more ministers, whose staff are charged with maintaining specific aspects of the city (neighborhoods, sanitation, food services, public safety, etc.). These ministries resolve the actual business of governing the city and its environs. The chairs are ultimately responsible for the performance and deeds of their ministries, which they run more as businesses (or charities) than fiefdoms. Ministerial performance is considered a measure of the councilors’ personal success, and several otherwise-brilliant politicians have fallen from power because they failed to properly manage their ministries.
Though most of the students and other residents of Tula bother little with politics (aside from fulfilling whatever duties are required of them), several organizations have formal or informal ministries with obvious presence in the streets and lives of the city. While most of these are part of the formal government, a few (like the Shrouds) have an entrenched but unofficial position. While ministries officially belong to a specific college, members of other colleges and schools may occasionally enter a ministry and rise to notable rank. Non-chromatic schools and other bodies form guilds instead of ministries. If a guild is aligned with a ministry, it is noted below.
Chromatic Colleges (ministries and associated titles):
- Abjuration/ Indigo: Defense (wardens, planar wardens [department of Dimensional Affairs]), Architectural Standards (fortifactors, city planners)
- Conjuration/ Yellow: Commerce (procurers), Labor (summoners)
- Divination/ Blue: Observation (monitors, aligned with librarians within the Communion), Acquisition (surveyors), Justice (interlocutors)
- Enchantment/ Green: Manufacturing (managers), Lucidity (psychotherapists)
- Evocation/ Red: Offense (armamentors), Force (argentines), Climate (temperators)
- Illusion/ Orange: Ornamentation (beautifactors), Observances (jubilants)
- Necromancy/ Black: Resolution (morticians), Effluents (obliviators), Health (coroners, inspectors sanitary), Deceased (mediums, aligned with shrouds)
- Transmutation/ Violet: Refinement (adjusters)
- Dragonsblood/ Amber: Port Authority (inspectors general, maritime registrars, port assessors), Navy (marines)
Other Schools (guilds and associated titles):
- Shadow/ Silver and Black: Parliament of Shadows (shrouds, aligned with mediums)
- Song/ Brass: Minstrel’s Guild (minstrels, aligned with jubilants), League of Composition (harmonists, aligned with mathematicians and psychotherapists)
- Tongues/ White and Silver: Circle of the Word (babelmen)
- Patterns/ Indigo and Gold: cartomancers, dervishes, geometers
- Memory/ Wine Red: historians, regressionists
- Waves/ Navy, Silver and White: navigators, sailspinners, shipsmiths
- Communion/ Wine Red and Gold: Communion (Communists; librarians are specifically aligned with monitors)
- Free/ Turquoise: Education (educators general, professors), Standards and Measures (mathematicians, engineers)
The cornerstone rights in Tula are Life (freedom from murder), Liberty (freedom from bondage and confinement), and Inquiry (freedom to ask for evidence, counsel, and explanation). The scope of these rights increases as one climbs the caste system from nonpersons to lowmen, gardeners, templetons, collegiates, and primates. Enforcement also becomes more elaborate (and behavioral expectations more stringent) as one moves to more affluent neighborhoods and more influential quarters of the city. Technically, women enjoy the same legal rights as men, though they are still assumed to be weak/ inferior until proven otherwise, particularly in the lower classes.
Animals, slaves, foreigners and semi-intelligent constructs occupy the lowest level of legal rights and representation, that of nonpersons. Their testimony is admissible in court, but they must speak through a legal interlocutor, who may use mind probes and other invasive methods to obtain testimony. Unclaimed nonpersons have Right of Life in the Lowlands and higher districts, and basic Right of Inquiry (they are allowed to communicate in public). Claimed nonpersons enjoy some legal protections from their owner (as they are chattel), but they are often forbidden to communicate in public, and chattel may be destroyed in some cases (but not in public). Within the city proper, assaulting/ punishing/ harming nonpersons in public is a violation of decorum, and entails a loss of face and possibly a fine. Even the lowest of nonpersons is still entitled to refreshment (conjured food and water), and may seek out a shrine of Isis or another party interested in sheltering the downtrodden.
Lowmen have attained the Mark of the City, but lack the talent or training to shape mana. They have the three keystone Rights, though their Right of Inquiry is basic, mostly limited to access to the Basic Library of the Free School, and to certain state records. If they incur debt, they may indenture themselves for a time, but only serious crimes against the populace can strip them of their Mark. Even if it takes them years to work off their debt, they retain more rights than nonpersons. These are the lowest functional level of Tulani society. While they may become prosperous, their taxation is quite progressive, and their political representation minimal. The mercantile association has a single non-voting representative on the city council, and even so the association is heavily slanted toward its more capable brethren.
Gardeners do most of the visible work in Tula. Theirs is the most trafficked district in the city, and where most of the money changes hands. Much of the legal system is geared toward the comfort of gardeners. Many gardeners are former collegiates, and some are granted access to parts of Templestone and Rainbow districts. Their Right of Inquiry allows them broad access to the libraries of the Free School, and most state records.
Templetons and collegiate enjoy largely identical rights, though the collegiate class has more voice in government. Only members of these or higher castes may initiate legal proceedings against another citizen (thus, all officers of the peace are necessarily of these castes). There are documents and libraries that templetons may access, but not collegiates (and vice versa), but both castes generally enjoy total access to city libraries and records outside the Spires. Collegiate faculty and vested templeton priests oversee legal proceedings, largely under the watchful eye of the monitors.
Primates are the leaders of the city, and they alone are privy to the full affairs of the city. They have full Right of Inquiry, and they may move unfettered through any portion of the city. It is illegal for most citizens to obstruct their path in public, much less refuse a request for information (when a primate wears the shifting-text aura of office).
Social standing in Tula is largely a matter of magical prowess, standing in the various schools, and understanding of arcane mysteries. Virtually every meaningful position of government is occupied by a wizard, and the city is riddled with back rooms, special shops, etc. that require certain arcane gestures or spells to access.
Tula holds education in high regard, and mandates compulsory education for all persons spending a year or more within its walls. For adults, this typically consists of several “orientation” lectures, covering the proper customs and protocols to observe within the city, followed by tests which must be passed before earning the Mark of the City. Working or traveling unescorted within the city proper (beyond Quayside) are illegal for unmarked persons, subject to fines, imprisonment, or immediate exile. Such unmarked individuals are also prime targets for slavers.
For children and those interested in further education, the Free School offers a wide array of educational opportunities, which include a battery of tests to gauge magical aptitude. Children who show suitable talents are usually consigned to the appropriate school for immediate arcane training. Adults who show talent may apply for enrollment in one of the chromatic schools, or study other magic (divine, generalist wizard, bardic) at the Free School. As the name suggests, the Free School is open to all persons and charges little or no tuition for its normal instructional purposes. Most able residents seek at least enough arcane or divine training to cast a few 0-level spells (Cantrips or similar feat), since this allows them to obtain access to the Gardens district, which is much more pleasant than the lower portions of the city. While all spellcasters are considered fit to stroll the Gardens district, only specialist wizards and warmages can gain entree to the chromatic colleges, and thus to the inner circles of the city. Individuals of great power (particularly epic-level characters) occasionally break through this “chromatic ceiling,” gaining access to the Spires and a place in city politics even if they never qualified to attend the prestigious chromatic schools. Also, non-specialist wizards and sorcerers occasionally gain entree to the schools for study and research (with a generous donation or hefty tuition).
The city of Tula hosts a dizzying array of magical effects and controls, which are maintained largely by the toil of students. In fact, one of the reasons for the Free School’s existence is to identify (and tap) more students.
Students of the various schools may be commandeered by their staff or an agent of the peace to perform various public services – in essence, functioning as a sort of militia. Students even serve as fire brigades. Several elements of the city’s defense, including golems and half-golems (upper bodies mounted in various walls) can be animated, controlled, or channel-possessed by students of the appropriate schools.
The “mages rule” mentality of the city is not without its detractors. Highly competent individuals in other regards are second-class citizens if they lack wizardly training and fluency with the city’s arcane traditions. Those with no magical aptitude at all are often treated as a noble would treat a peasant.
Any who violate the laws of the city, or who cannot settle their debts with upstanding citizens, may be sent to work one of various plantations that feed the city. Most of Tula eats foodstuffs generated through create food and drink and preserved or rehabilitated via purify food and water and similar magic, but the city has a voracious appetite for more exciting fare. Though the jungle soil around Tula is naturally poor, centuries of effort have produced significant plantations that provide the city with dozens of crops, destined for the city’s kitchens, laboratories, or spell component pouches. Some of the plantations run on free labor, but most use some combination of slaves, convicts, and debtors operating under duress (confinement, coercion and/ or enchantment). While Tula forbids the enslavement of wizards (except to their own schools), non-wizards who lack the Mark of the City are fair game. Debtors can be sentenced to work off their debt, which is a pre-determined length of time/ amount of harvest/ amount of labor. Spellcasters who incur debt may sell themselves to servitude to a school for a span of time (and mana), but non-spellcasters are most likely to repay their debt through hard labor.
Tula legislates and records things beneath most city-states’ notice. They analyze, discuss, and codify with abandon. Ultimately, they spend more time observing and discussing than seems healthy to an outside observer. With their material needs so easily met and their personal comfort and security easily secured, and vast libraries and learned scholars at their disposal, most residents of Tula have more than enough time to explore whatever thoughts interest them. Petty bureaucrats record simply for the sake of recording, and impose onerous fines on anyone who resists.
This fixation with analysis and documentation has allowed the Cult of the Communion to proliferate, offering their specialized telecommunication skills and their fastidious records secreted away in distant Communes. The Communists have offices in every district in the city (and in many other cities in the Wilderlands), where they offer to convey messages between offices. They also function as sages, conveying a customer’s questions to clerks toiling in their libraries, and as bankers and record keepers for wealthy merchants. The Communists are careful not to upset the ruling order, acting as impartial observers and chroniclers, nothing more.
The citizens of Tula are mostly human (roughly half the population), and many of these are ethnic Ghinorans, hailing from the Silver Skein Isles. Visitors from all over the world come to Tula to study, often staying for 6 years or more before completing their coursework. The constant influx of foreigners has left its stamp on local speech. The permanent residents speak Tlanath, a grammatically simplified form of Ghinoran that borrows many words from languages scattered across the Wilderlands (and across the planes). While Tlanath is officially written using the Draconic script, in the outer districts of the city it also commonly appears in Glyphis, Dwarven, and Elven scripts.
[Language Synergy: Speak Tlanath +3 per rank w/ Ghinoran, +1 per rank with Draconic, flat +1 with Alryan, Viridian, Gishmesh, Altanian, Karakh, Aquan, Auran, Celestial, Infernal, Abyssal, Giantish, Gnomish, Hobbit, Dwarven, Sylvan, Terran, Ignan, Avalonian, Antillian; Literate speakers of Tlanath may choose Draconic, Glyphis, Dwarven, or Elven script literacy.]
For magical studies, the schools of Tula have developed a specialized arcane language, Tlalic, which is written in Old Draconic. It is based on a form of Old Draconic, with extensive influence from extraplanar and educated languages. To graduate from the chromatic schools, wizards must have at least 10 ranks in Literacy: Tlalic.
[Language Synergy: Speak Tlalic +3 per rank with Draconic, Old Draconic, flat +2 with Alryan, Viridian, Aquan, Auran, Ignan, Terran, Sylvan, Infernal, Abyssal, Celestial, flat +1 with Truespeech; Literacy: Tlalic is identical to Literacy: Old Draconic]
Tula is one of the few locations in the Wilderlands with a Tech Level (mundane) of 10, and it enjoys a TL (arcane) of 11, though much of this sophistication is restricted to the elite colleges. They have no horses, cows, or goats, and very few pigs. Even rats are uncommon in the city’s sphere. The common beast of burden in the area is the litoptern, domesticated lines of which typically measure 3’ at the shoulder, though larger and smaller specimens from the west are not unknown. Domestic cats are very common, and there is a thriving market for small primates (2’ and smaller) as companion and/ or service animals.
Tula has developed sophisticated agricultural technology, the better to grow luxury goods and difficult-to-conjure organic goods. Though they have several local mines of lapis, gold, and copper, they import materials from around the world (and across the planes). Their understanding of metallurgy and mechanics is excellent (TL 11), and they have a city-wide postal system and compulsory education for all free persons. They understand Euclidian geometry (and some rudiments of non-Euclidian), calculus, and a reasonable grasp of organic and inorganic chemistry. They manufacture gunpowder in small amounts (preferring alchemical and magical equivalents) and are known to make and repair firearms. Their understanding of optics, glasswork, concrete, and textiles lags somewhat (TL 7), and their mundane textiles and related industries languish (TL 6). Sages and alchemists are present, largely supported by the Amber College and the temples of Nephtlys, Hermes, Bes, Imhotep, and Tlacican.
Tula and Valon are the only cities in the Wilderlands where the crafting of epic spells can be learned. There are some rudimentary life-extension magic that circulate among the Chromatic College faculty, and the colleges also enjoy a thriving market in basic mana-storage devices. Because of the frequency of outsiders, truenamers are not unknown, and it is possible to learn truespeech here. Shadowcasters are very rare, but given the prominence of necromancy and the longstanding interest in life extension and the mechanics of the afterlife, there is enough of a market for their lore and practice to sustain the Shadow College. Psionics are almost as rare as elsewhere in the Wilderlands, but are formally studied, and there are several dozen psionic scholars available to teach those who show a particular aptitude in the Free School’s entrance exams. The Amber College fields wilders, psychic warriors, halo knights, soulknives, and marksmen. The College of Memory and the Free School both teach prospective psions. Psionic and shadowforged goods are vanishingly rare, but alchemical and magical goods are available in abundance, sophistication, and potency unknown elsewhere in the Wilderlands. Tulani wizards are known to craft potions and wands of above-standard level, and can recharge most magical items. There are even some artisans who have been known to restore destroyed magic items, or replicate existing unique magic items, enchantments, and spell effects. If an arcane achievement is not possible in Tula, it is not possible in the Wilderlands.
Due to the relative abundance of spell energy in the Rainbow City, the colleges maintain a system of public light posts, which also function as mana grounds, collecting ambient spell energy before it can trigger damaging effects. The posts ignore ambient mana up to three points per round, absorbing the remainder and distributing it among neighboring posts. Posts in busy areas have larger storage batteries, though even these could be overloaded should a spell battle break out among multiple potent casters. Chromatic Scions can tap the posts’ energy stores (typically 2d6 spell points), and the postmen (who install and repair the devices) have tools and techniques that allow them to rapidly transfer and collect the energy.
In many cities, fighting arenas are a popular diversion. Tula hosts some conventional combat venues (particularly quayside), and the school grounds all have magical dueling spaces, but arenas featuring summoned creatures are more popular. Most popular of all are the golem arenas, where all manner of automata engage in mortal combat on elaborate sets. The golem matches are heavily subsidized by the Amber College, which uses them as a crucible for refining the city’s defense. This has produced a cottage industry of ersatz golemcraft and golem refinement, whether arcane, divine, psionic, alchemical, or mundane. Golem events with specific goals (races, feats of strength or calculation, etc.) serve to spur development in areas of particular interest, whether the sponsors are from the Amber College or other interested parties. The followers of the Wondersmith are particularly popular among the golemcrafters (often called “golmers”). Those who excel at Tulani golemcraft typically have strong aptitude with several Craft skills (particularly alchemy, bowyery, lapidary, leatherworking, metalworking, and woodworking) and Knowledge (arcana, crafts & craftsmen, eldritch arcana, engineering, military, and physical universe).
Since there is such an abundance of arcanists in Tula, they have developed professions that commonly fall under the jurisdiction of other classes. Arcanists serve, for example, as medical doctors and therapists. The abundance of minor divine and extraplanar beings, coupled with the inherent bias of a city built around arcane colleges, makes Tula a city with many cults, but little clerical power. The city is full of innovation, experimentation, and achievement, but more competition than cooperation, more exclusive than inclusive.
As the epicenter of magical studies in the Wilderlands, Tula has pushed the boundaries of magical practice, and has uncovered or rediscovered numerous historic arcane advancements.
Tula is more than anything a city of mages, so naturally there is a dizzying array of sorcerer/ wizard spells available, particularly of the lowest levels. Beyond cantrips and beginner spells, wands, potions, and minor enchanted items proliferate for daily use. Magic pervades almost every facet of manufacturing, and in some cases (like glasswork) it completely replaces mundane technology.
Arcane researchers have learned to eke more power out of spells in several ways. While metamagic feats are a common means of altering magic’s potential (and indeed many metamagic feats are almost impossible to find outside of Tula), other techniques have been developed. Most of these feats and techniques stem from the research of archmages and mana shapers.
Arcane brands are elaborate dermal modifications that typically take the form of tattoos, scars rubbed with exotic ingredients, and precious gems inserted deep into the skin. Sometimes these brands also feature sigils burned into the flesh via an actual hot branding iron (or an arcane equivalent). Regardless of the details of the process, the product is a spell that the user can trigger as a spell-like ability once per day. Cost and manufacture time resemble crafting a universal item, and the subject cannot hold a brand of a spell level higher than a sorcerer of his character level could cast. While anyone can endure multiple brands, the total number of spell levels cannot exceed half the subject’s character level. Exceeding this limit ruins the last brand and the next most potent brand, and does (brand level * 1d8) damage. Using a brand is a spell-like effect, calculated as per a sorcerer at the subject’s character level (using the higher of the subject’s CHA or the creator’s casting attribute). [spellstitched-like option, raising ECL?]
Alternate components are particularly effective for changing the effect of popular spells. In most cases, this involves adding an expensive material component or a peculiar material focus to a spell to boost the effect. The spell itself remains unchanged, so the same spell can be cast several ways as the need arises. Alternate components for spells tend to be insider secrets, guarded jealously or traded dearly. Learning to use an alternate component requires the same time and expense as a wizard scribing an equal-leveled spell into his spellbook, or half that if an appropriate live instructor is available.
Dependent spells are another important refinement, requiring other spells to be active in order to trigger their effect. Assmedl’s dweomer (1st level evocation) is a common example, turning the glow of most 0-level or 1st-level detection spells into a light visible to all. The spell is useless unless the caster already operates under one or more applicable detection spells.
Metamagic embellishments are a special class of metamagic (metapsionic equivalents also exist). Rather than granting uses per day or requiring raised spell level to cast, they cost a variable amount of extra mana. These embellished spells, unlike regular metamagic, can be scribed onto scrolls, etc. Wizards can either scribe embellished spells individually into their spellbooks, or acquire an embellishment feat, allowing them to perform that embellishment on any appropriate spell.
- One embellishment, flaring/ seeking, is particularly popular among warmages. For each extra point spent in casting, a successfully struck target emits a flare of mana for one round. Castings of flaring/ seeking spells without extra expenditure are “seeking,” and enjoy a +2 bonus to hit the target. If multiple casters strike with flaring/ seeking spells and have the conjunctive casting feat, the bonus is the total of conjunctive casters + 1.
In addition to the above refinements, Tulani scholars have produced many novel spells and variants of common spells, that take advantage of the power of specific items to generate unusually powerful effects. Lyrists and other string players from the School of Song often rely on a stunning string spell to make a quick escape (swift action, somatic component, break a string from instrument to force audience to make Will saves to avoid losing an action, enhancement bonus of instrument adds to the DC of save, instrument becomes unplayable until repaired). Chromatic Scions [Mages of the Arcane Order] can add their talismans of office as a focus component to their school’s spells, adding +2 to the DC of the spell. Some innovative souls have even been observed using a wand as a focus for casting the spell stored in the wand, and rumors suggest that some know how to use wand charges to raise spell DC or overcome spell resistance. Most such refinements require membership in specific societies, high rank in certain skills, unusual feats, or specialized equipment.