Netherese flying cities

Netheril: flying cities, ancient scrolls written on gold leaf, and just a little bit of hubris.
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Big Mac
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Netherese flying cities

Post by Big Mac » Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:07 pm

How much is known about the Netherese flying cities?

I can't find a "Netherese flying city" article on Forgotten Realms Wiki.

Is there a full list of the cities anywhere?

I know some were destroyed. Do we have a list of the destroyed cities?

How many cities survived? How did each one avoid being destroyed?

Are there any maps of the surviving cities?

Is there any explanation of the magic that held them aloft? Were they similar to the Flying Citadels of Dragonlance or the flying levels of Sharn in Eberron?

Were they all the same size? Or were there smaller "Netherse flying towns" or "Netherese flying villages"?

Are there any fanon Netherese flying cities out there?
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Re: Netherese flying cities

Post by night_druid » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:13 pm

As I understand it, from reading various threads on Candlekeep (particularly those Ed responded to), the whole "flying city" thing was greatly overstated. Most were more akin to flying castles and towers. VERY few were created by the means described in the Netheril boxed set...aka slicing off a mountain top and flipping it over. I think Ed gave a number of forty or so, and maybe a dozen or less being big enough to qualify as cities.

Of them, I think the list of cities include Karsus, Shade, Asram, Anuria, and Hlondath. Two fell into the Sea of Falling Stars, but I don't know how they rated in terms of size.
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Re: Netherese flying cities

Post by Birchbeer » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:38 pm

There's also the Selune worshiper city Selunarra (also called Opus). It was transported to the Gates of the Moon at the same time as Shade (Thultantar) was transported to Shade. One of the books mentioned it was possible for the city to come back as well.

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Re: Netherese flying cities

Post by Birchbeer » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:41 pm

Not sure how accurate this list is but I found one here.

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Re: Netherese flying cities

Post by ripvanwormer » Thu Feb 01, 2018 11:10 pm

The flying enclaves were created with a spell called Proctiv's move mountain.

Three of them managed to survive after their fall as Netherese successor states, but they eventually died out.

Two of them, Selûnarra and Thultanthar, survived on other planes of existence.

Selûnarra was transferred to the outer planes by Selûne.
Jockteleg accidentally transformed its population into voadkyn.
Jiksidur flipped upside down and crashed.
Eileanar is where Karsus lived.
Sakkors fell into the sea.
Asram survived its descent, but its population died of a divine plague.
Akintaer sank into a swamp.
Anauria survived its fall, but eventually was lost to the desert.
Delia was infested with druids.
Doubloon was infested with bandits.
Aquessir was the origin of the Crown of Horns.
Hlaungadath became the home of lamiae after it fell to ruin.
Hlondath survived its fall, but eventually fell to ruin.
Lathery had a fishing-based economy.
Maunator accidentally disintegrated itself.
Nhalloth fell into the sea.
Orbedal was once a haven for peace.
Palter had dragon problems.
Phylornel floated low.
Spiel was a center of learning.
Synod was a religious enclave.
Tanathrhas disintegrated early.
Tenish was destroyed by a volcano.
Thultanthar, the City of Shade, was transported to the Plane of Shadow.
Undrentide crashed, but was reawakened by a medusa lich.
Xinlenal was the very first of the flying cities.

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Re: Netherese flying cities

Post by Big Mac » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:14 am

night_druid wrote:As I understand it, from reading various threads on Candlekeep (particularly those Ed responded to), the whole "flying city" thing was greatly overstated. Most were more akin to flying castles and towers. VERY few were created by the means described in the Netheril boxed set...aka slicing off a mountain top and flipping it over. I think Ed gave a number of forty or so, and maybe a dozen or less being big enough to qualify as cities.
Sounds about right.

From a logistical point-of-view, it would appear to make sense for people to build a flying castle before they attempt to build something much much larger.
night_druid wrote:Of them, I think the list of cities include Karsus, Shade, Asram, Anuria, and Hlondath. Two fell into the Sea of Falling Stars, but I don't know how they rated in terms of size.
Aha! Asram has an article on Forgotten Realms Wiki. And, although they don't have a Netherese flying city article, they have a Netherese enclaves template down the bottom, that shows the flying enclaves.

PRE-POST EDIT: I was thinking of making a list of the flying enclaves listed on that page but it looks like Ripvanwormer has beaten me too it.

The first sentence of the article about Asram is interesting, as it says this:
Asram article at Forgotten Realms Wiki wrote:Asram was originally one of the flying cities in ancient Netheril. It was one of only three cities (the others being Anauria and Hlondath) high enough above the ground that the reborn Mystra was able to save them before they tumbled to the ground and shattered. Instead, Mystra ensured they landed safely, although never again would they be able to fly.
That's pretty interesting, as it tells us a couple of things:
  • Flying cities didn't all float at the same height as each other,
  • The duration of Karsus's Folly and Mystra being created and reinventing the rules of magic was short enough that three high cities had not yet crashed into the ground.
I have no idea what terminal velocity would be on Toril, but I wonder if we could use a bit of real-world mathematics to have a guess at roughly how high Anauria, Asram and Hlondath would have been flying in the sky.

I like the fact that Mystra landed these flying enclaves safely. Perhaps that means that modern-era maps of Anauria, Asram and Hlondath could be used to work out how large the original flying city was (and how much might have been built after the city was landed.
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Re: Netherese flying cities

Post by Big Mac » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:47 am

Birchbeer wrote:There's also the Selune worshiper city Selunarra (also called Opus). It was transported to the Gates of the Moon at the same time as Shade (Thultantar) was transported to Shade. One of the books mentioned it was possible for the city to come back as well.
Thanks. Ripvanwormer also linked to the Selûnarra article on Forgotten Realms Wiki.

I don't see any Planescape sources in the References section. I was hoping that that there might be something that explained a bit about what happened to Selûnarra after it moved onto the Gates of the Moon....and maybe even a map.
Birchbeer wrote:Not sure how accurate this list is but I found one here.
That's great! And it looks like Xaeyruudh adds book and page citations to his work, so I can use them to clarify things or find out more!

I notice that Xaeyruudh lists 27 flying enclaves, Ripvanwormer lists 26 and Forgotten Realms Wiki lists 30. (I also notice that several have alternate names and that Forgotten Realms Wiki seems to use some alternate names...instead of primary names) in their template.

I'll have to have a skim through that lot and cross-reference all three lists to see if there are actually 30 flying enclaves...or maybe a couple more than 30. :)
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Re: Netherese flying cities

Post by Big Mac » Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:01 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:The flying enclaves were created with a spell called Proctiv's move mountain.
Thanks Rip! That's amazing research.

(I'm actually thinking that a spell similar to the Move Mountain spell might have been used on the mountains in equatorial Reorx (as they all have flat tops). I've been thinking that the Stellar Islands might well have been created by moving those mountains from Reorx out to a position beyond the outermost celestial body in Krynnspace.)

I wonder how Proctiv's move mountain. compares to the process of creating a Flying Cidadel (in Dragonlance)...or anything similar in other D&D campaign settings.
ripvanwormer wrote:Three of them managed to survive after their fall as Netherese successor states, but they eventually died out.
I didn't realise that they eventually died out. I'll have to look into the history of Anauria, Asram and Hlondath to see how much I can work out about how these cities originally worked.
ripvanwormer wrote:Two of them, Selûnarra and Thultanthar, survived on other planes of existence.
Thultanthar has already returned as a plot device. I wonder if Selûnarra will return in a 5th Edition adventure.
ripvanwormer wrote:Selûnarra was transferred to the outer planes by Selûne.
Jockteleg accidentally transformed its population into voadkyn.
Jiksidur flipped upside down and crashed.
Eileanar is where Karsus lived.
Sakkors fell into the sea.
Asram survived its descent, but its population died of a divine plague.
Akintaer sank into a swamp.
Anauria survived its fall, but eventually was lost to the desert.
Delia was infested with druids.
Doubloon was infested with bandits.
Aquessir was the origin of the Crown of Horns.
Hlaungadath became the home of lamiae after it fell to ruin.
Hlondath survived its fall, but eventually fell to ruin.
Lathery had a fishing-based economy.
Maunator accidentally disintegrated itself.
Nhalloth fell into the sea.
Orbedal was once a haven for peace.
Palter had dragon problems.
Phylornel floated low.
Spiel was a center of learning.
Synod was a religious enclave.
Tanathrhas disintegrated early.
Tenish was destroyed by a volcano.
Thultanthar, the City of Shade, was transported to the Plane of Shadow.
Undrentide crashed, but was reawakened by a medusa lich.
Xinlenal was the very first of the flying cities.
That's a great summary there. Thanks again for more help than I could possibly imagine.

Now I have a lot of stuff to read, to see if I can figure out any patterns or infer things.
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Re: Netherese flying cities

Post by ripvanwormer » Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:28 pm

Big Mac wrote:I don't see any Planescape sources in the References section. I was hoping that that there might be something that explained a bit about what happened to Selûnarra after it moved onto the Gates of the Moon....and maybe even a map.
Selûnarra was first detailed in the Netheril: Empire of Magic boxed set, where it was called Opus. This source hinted that the goddess Selûne might have somehow rescued the city, but didn't state how.

Planescape detailed the Gates of the Moon as a realm in Ysgard in Planes of Chaos, On Hallowed Ground, and Tales from the Infinite Staircase. The Gates of the Moon also appeared briefly in For Duty & Deity. None of these sources mentioned Selûnarra. The only major settlements noted to exist in the Gates of the Moon in 2nd edition were Selune's palace of Argentil and Mahogany, the city of the shards (female planetars who serve Selune).

In 3rd edition, the Player's Guide to Faerun (2004) detailed the Gates of the Moon but also never mentioned Selûnarra. It wasn't until 2005's Lost Empires of Faerun that it was stated that Opus/Selûnarra ended up there. That source stated that "Today, Selûnarra continues to float in that plane's moonlit sky, untouched by the passage of time. The Selûnarrarans of the current era are aasimar descended from the rescued Netherese and Selûne's servitors."

The Grand History of the Realms reiterated that Selûnarra was transported to the Gates of the Moon, but provided no further detail.

Selûnarra is really interesting, though, and it's definitely worth exploring further. Planes of Chaos has some low-key detail about the inhabitants of the Gates of the Moon that could apply to it, such as the idea that the realm has a problem with dangerous lycanthropes and that fabulous items "half-remembered from dreams" can be bought there. And does the Infinite Staircase connect to it? Tales from the Infinite Staircase includes a scene in a tent city on the Infinite Staircase that could be in Selûnarra instead.

Netheril: Empire of Magic includes a poster map of the enclave of Karsus, which I assume is similar.

I'm also intrigued by the reference to the city's founder being driven mad by communication with an extraplanar being, and leaping into a sphere of annihilation. I'm reminded of the Old Ones and blackballs from the BECMI Immortals rules and the umbral blots from later editions.

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