Replica of poster map from GAZ13, 2 miles per hex by Thorf, May 2009
Updated map of the City of the Stars, 2 miles per hex by Thorf, May 2009
Sources: GAZ13 The Shadow Elves (1990).
Notes on Updated map (GAZ13)
- Ceiling – this map shows only the cavern floor of the Great Cavern. The City of the Stars is on the ceiling, above the position marked on the map. GAZ13 includes a few paragraphs describing the ceiling of the Great Cavern beyond the gates of the City of the Stars; other official details include Wendolen Village, the rather large spillover town northeast of the City proper, and beyond that the Sistyl Forest, a rather tame fungal forest that has been all but farmed out (DM’s Book page 22). The description seems to imply that the ceiling of the cavern has less features than the floor.
- City of the Stars Cavern towns – both towns have different spellings on the maps and in the DM’s Book (page 20). Both maps have Dendromel and Piliny, while the book has Dendronel and Pilinyl. (GAZ13 DM's Guide page 20a-b) The DM’s Book names sound more elven, and more in line with the other GAZ13 names – especially Pilinyl – so this Atlas uses the DM’s Book names.
- Ebon Lake – "The lake is deep (750 feet at deepest)..." (GAZ13 DM's Guide page 20a)
- Gate of the Ancients – the map name is Gate of the Ancients, while the DM’s Book (page 20) misses out the “the”. It’s a minor issue, and most likely both names are in use. I have kept the map version as is.
- Great Cavern Depth - official sources changed track several times regarding the depth of the Shadowlands. "The City of Stars is directly underneath Trollhattan, in the Broken Lands; the water from the city's wells, in fact, is filtered down from Troll Lake more than a thousand feet above." (GAZ13 Players' Guide page 4c) Lower Trollhattan is marked as being at a depth of 1300 feet on the Lower Broken Lands map, and the lake is described as "a large, shallow lake with a mushy island in the middle." (GAZ10 Players' Guide page 12a) This means that according to the Gazetteers the ceiling of the Great Cavern is at a depth of more than 2300 feet, plus the depth of Troll Lake. The first Poor Wizard's Almanac gives a very different picture: "600 miles straight down from Aengmor (Known World), and up from the Azcan Empire (Hollow World), in a gigantic cavern at the approximate midpoint of the world's crust." (Poor Wizard's Almanac page 24b) This was likely an attempt to explain the strange gravity effects of the Great Cavern. Nevertheless, the final official say goes to Poor Wizard's Almanac III, which provides yet another figure, more along the lines of the original conception: "Roughly 6,000 feet below the surface of the Known World". (Poor Wizard's Almanac III page 52a) It goes on to say, "Editor's Note: Previous reports of the City of the Stars inhabiting a cavern within the World Shield, halfway between the outer and inner worlds, appear to have been inaccurate. This entry reflects the most current survey data available." (Poor Wizard's Almanac III page 54a) The Atlas is tentatively going with this last figure: a depth of about 6,000 feet. This can be largely reconciled with the original Gazetteer figure by taking it as the distance to the floor of the Great Cavern; the City of the Stars is 2400 feet above that floor (GAZ13 DM's Guide page 36b), which leaves us with a figure of more than 4700 feet, plus the depth of Troll Lake.
- Great Cavern – the text refers to the cavern of the City of the Stars as "The Great Cavern". (GAZ13 DM's Guide page 19c, 20b-c, etc.) There is also a single reference to the "Vault of the City" which also seems to refer to the Great Cavern, so the Atlas considers "Vault of the City" to be an alternate name. (GAZ13 DM's Guide page 17b)
- Great Cavern Height – "The unusual gravity of the cavern allows a visitor to stand on the floor of the cavern and look up at the city, miles above, so far away that its streetlights and windows appear to be stars." (GAZ13 Players' Guide page 4b-c) The term "miles above" is presumably not to be taken literally here, because the text later on gives a concrete figure:
- Great Cavern Size – GAZ13 Players' Guide page 4b refers to the Great Cavern as "the largest cavern known" to the shadow elves. This is contradicted by the 8 mile per hex map, which depicts several caverns larger than the Great Cavern. Perhaps it is largest in terms of height rather than breadth. Another possibility is that the cavern is considered larger since both the cavern ceiling and floor are usable.
- Hills of Peril – the map misses out the “of”, but the description on page 20 of the DM’s Book lists the full name, Hills of Peril.
- Nymiel’s Geyser – two inconsistencies for this one: the map has Nyniel’s Geiser, while the DM’s Book page 20 gives Nymiel’s Geyser. Geiser is a misspelling, but the name could go either way. In general the book seems to be more reliable than the map, so I have gone with Nymiel’s Geyser. The map's Nyniel's River has therefore also been changed to Nymiel's River.
- Sistyl Forest - this fungal forest, described as lying beyond Wendolen Village, is "well worked-out and has few vigorous fungal growths outside a small number of intensively cultivated plantations. It is no longer a forest as such, and only provides work for some 1,000 shadow elves." Additionally, "More extensive fungal forests in the main cavern provide much better pickings." (GAZ13 DM’s Book page 22c) This last sentence could refer to the forests on the floor, but it seems likely there could be forests further from the City of the Stars on the cavern ceiling too.
- Stalactites - "The principal feature of the City of Stars is of course the Temple of Rafiel, built against a face of the cavern on which is carved the Refuge of Stone, the religious text upon which the Way of the Shamans and all worship of Rafiel is based. The Temple of Rafiel almost entirely fills this niche, with stalactites hundreds of feet long hanging down nearly to the steps of the temple." (GAZ13 Players' Guide page 4c) It sounds as if the temple is entirely contained within a niche in the cavern wall or floor; unfortunately the map has things completely different, with the temple simply at the edge of the city, along the outer wall which is surrounded by clear terrain. Another possibility is that the stalactites referred to are the ends of massive stalagmites on the floor of the cavern far below.
- Sulphur Springs – listed as Sulpher Springs on the map, while DM’s Book page 20 refers to it as Sulfur Springs. The Atlas uses British spellings in most cases, so the corrected name is Sulphur Springs.
- Wendolen Village - "To the east and north of the walled city (still on the ceiling) is Wendolen Village, where some 40,000 shadow elves (included in the population of the City of the Stars) live. This is an overspill area; the walled city is already packed." (GAZ13 DM’s Book page 22c) The detail maps of the city (on the poster map as well as inside the trifold cover) both show this town, as well as some other details of the terrain immediately beside the city.
To Do List
- Make original colours version of replica map.
- Make a map of the ceiling of the cavern and the immediate surroundings of the City of the Stars.
- Check GAZ13 for geographic details and write notes on the updated map.
- Underground landscape types - discussion thread at the Wizards MMB.
Thanks to: John Calvin (Chimpman), Shane G (Plaag), Andrew Theisen (Cthulhudrew)