Hope's Rise is the fictional town used as the center of the game map for "So You Think You Can Quest?" The town takes its name from the geographic feature of the same name that it sits atop at the end of a mountain valley thousands of meters above sea level, effectively landlocked despite one being able to throw a stone into the ocean from atop its cliffs. Hope's Rise exists on the continent of Nemithera outside any established nations on the World of Aedalon, its community is governed by a loose collective of volunteers who hold influence among the town, there is a considerable martial force that operates on behalf of the public good but there is little in terms of a codified system of justice. As a result, the town operates in a limbo between an unofficial oligarchy and a form of anarchist commune. Many of Hope's Rise behave as if there is no law to speak of because there certainly is no one coming to save them from the terrors of Hope's Rise, and once you have come to depend on your friends and family, you have little need for the mandates of the rich. Many of its citizens behave as if there is law because there is an entire prison full of those belonging to the former category.
The town has an average resident population of about 6,000 and an additional visiting population of between 1-3,000 depending upon the year and season. It supplies almost all of its own food sources in the form of arable land and hunted game, relying on trade and foot traffic to in order to supply other necessary goods from around the world. Hope's Rise has several high value lumber and mining operations surrounding the city proper that help bring both additional residents and revenues to the area.
Introduction to Hope's Rise
For thousands of years the spine of the Moonwake mountains was considered too dangerous and costly to travel along safely. While knowledge of the lush mountain valley that Hope's Rise overlooks was well documented on most maps of the region, so too was its abundance of hostile mountain dwelling creatures that used it as a hunting ground. It was the lack of any significance to this valley that kept the region among some of the most remote on Aedalon for Ages. It was during the Age of Shadows that a group of religious pilgrims reportedly devoted to the Goddess Aidala, journeyed to the remote mountain at the center of Hope's Rise to find their prophecies fulfilled. A rock formation come to be known as The Cathedral of Ages, or the First Cathedral, was discovered. A holy site that seems to transcend individual religions and faiths, its draw became enough that soon the neighboring powers to the south and north (Deluse and Kylithia respectively) carved paths along the ridges of the Moonwake mountains to facilitate the steady flow of traffic to and from. Over time tens of thousands journeyed to and from Hope's Rise to see the location rumored to be the seat of the First Age, this solidified an overland trade route from the Northern to the Southern hemisphere's of Aedalon and despite its remote location, the town has grown slowly ever since.
At the time that "So You Think You Can Quest?" takes place, the roads to and from the city are well worn but no safer for it. No other cities exist along the Moonwake range, Deluse and Kylithia both content to serve as trail heads to its remote location, but neither wish to spend the resources it would take to try and secure the long and arduous stretches of windswept cliff faces. If the terrain were not bad enough, the constant threat of mist drakes, orcs, kobolds, goblins, bandits, avalanche, and demonic possession prevents any more than necessary maintenance along the road. The city itself is surrounded on all sides by walls of mist and fog that rise from the ocean and its adjacent mountain valley, rain is an almost daily part of life on Hope's Rise, and the sun is seen for only hours each day. These conditions have fostered dense highland forests around the city as well as ideal conditions for the raising of certain life stock and vegetables. Sweet fruit producing plants seem to be exceedingly rare around Hope's Rise, while tubers and lettuces thrive.
A ubiquitous part of life around Hope's Rise, its mists are given a living reverence by many who live there. It seems to warp distances, shelter secrets, lead, fool, reward, and play with all of the inhabitants and creatures about the town. Those who have lived generationally in the city know that the night time air will gladly try misdirect those who do not pay careful attention to its tricks. Most disturbing of all, with all the evidence to the contrary, many deny any such strange happenings from occurring at all. As if nothing at all is strange about the city or its surrounding wilderness, happy to insist that whatever is currently in front of their eyes is the way that things have always been and will always be. Anyone going to Hope's Rise is told not to wander far without lanterns lest they lose their sense of direction entirely, keep multiple sets of eyes on the road lest it shift before you.
The Bridge of Mists
To the east, spanning across the width of the entire valley Hope's Rise overlooks, a massive stone bridge hangs suspended in the mists by columns of rock both natural and artificial construction. Using existing monoliths, Kylithian wizards worked for years with international masons guilds to create a structure that is so massive that it takes a horse and rider a full day at a flat gallop to cross it. A massive work of arcane and material engineering, it has stood for over a thousand years and is considered to be as much a wondrous view as the First Cathedral.
The Bridge of Mists is considered to be the only feasible eastern approach to Hope's Rise, and necessary to complete one's journey from Kylithia to Deluse. Kylithia at one point attempted to enforce tolls along this road bridge but the constant presence of giants and drakes drove them to abandon the endeavor from a cost-benefit standpoint. While it is a much less treacherous approach than that of the western path from Deluse, it leaves little room for evasive maneuvers if one is caught in difficult situation. Being several hundred feet in the air on a stone bridge that is only between fifty and a hundred feet wide at its most can be a bad proposition if set upon by bridge trolls or the like.
Because Hope's Rise sits as the only rest and respite on the only trade overland trade route between the Northern and Southern hemisphere, allowing the northern shoals of Quathe to offload their valuable resources in Kylithia and have ready access to the markets of Nemithera's massive southern markets. Deluse, expanding rapidly during a century long renaissance, its pockets seem to be endless and so to does its hunger for resources to power its growth. With these two factors in play, what is normally steady trickle has become raging rivers of traffic to and from Hope's Rise in the last 120 years. Even with constant expansion, every day find the inns of the city overbooked and camps of merchants settling for the night in farmer's fields. Those who once tilled the earth now sell the lucrative comforts of their farm house beds and hay lofts for the price of what they used to pull from the ground in season's labors.
Every resident of Hope's Rise knows that if this continues unabated, soon the city will be unable to pretend to itself that it is a quaint remote mountain village any longer, but rather a burgeoning city-state with considerable income at its disposal. To think that those with means are not already conspiring about what it is to come of there city would be foolish at best. Guild representatives have begun to take root, bargains are being struck, land is being secured, and the events that transpire in the next few seasons may shape the future of Hope's Rise for Ages to come.
As players move through the world the map will begin to accrue markers to indicate the locations of encounters, significant areas, portions of town, estates, fortresses, camps, and all manner of relevant game information. As that happens it will be updated on the map here. Please see the table for brief descriptions, of the presented markers and bare in mind that these are but a few of what will become hundreds of locations as players explore Hope's Rise and it surrounding wilderness.
|1||Northern fork of the Wakeridge pass.||Well used road into town from Deluse known orc presence.|
|2||Southern fork of the Wakeridge pass.||Most common road used into town from Deluse. Splits off towards Lockemoore estate by way of Eastern fork. Known goblin presence.|
|3||The Bridge of Mists||The eastern approach to Hope's Rise and the only road to Kylithia. Known drake and giant presence.|
|4||The Eastern Fort||Its massive walls and door span the width of a natural land bridge and serves to deter the monsters of the eastern hills from marauding into the town. Better have all your papers in order. Known presence of bandits.|
|5||The Morningstone Caves||Illuminated by magic wards maintained by druids of the valley, this cave system marks the other land bridge that allows for eastern approach into Hope's Rise. There are no pesky guards policing its caverns, but there are no pesky guards policing its caverns. Known presence of undead.|
|6||Hope's Pass||The only final western approach of Hope's Rise proper. Known for gruesome disappearances.|
|7||Comfort's End||This intersection is named for the nearby rock formation that marks the western boundary for Hope's Rise city proper. Beyond this point travelers return to the dangers of this road. Known presence of Ogres.|
|8||Town Square||Home to the largest spring fed fountain in Hope's Rise, it also serves as a focal point for merchants and townsfolk alike. With views of the Northern Steppes looming to the north, one is readily reminded that you stand at the foot of all creation. Known presence of aggressive sales people.|
|9||The Barracks||Name given to a central part of town where there is high density of people and shops, arguably more than anywhere else in Hope's Rise. It is also near the barracks of the town Militia. Known presence of self-appointed guards.|
|10||The Lower Rise||Descending some rather steep grassy hills brings you to the pasture and farmland known as the Lower Rise. Known presence of river and lake monsters.|
|11||The Northern Steppes||The large swaths of land north of Hope's Rise that rises towards the split peaks of Mt. Aidus and Mt. Nerithe. Mixed presence of goblin and giant races.|
|12||The Cathedral of Ages||Renowned primordial religious site. Known for mysterious happenings among its many stone arches.|