The City of Grimspear; spelljammer port, vacation resort, City of Wonder, home to hundreds of the finest inns and taverns, exquisite entertainment, and unique attractions, playing host only to those adventurous or wealthy enough to get there.
The island is about 125 miles off the Sword Coast, and sits directly between Mintarn and Baldur's Gate. Unlike normal islands, this one floats about 1000' off of the surface of the water! (just like in the picture) The island is roughly 2 miles wide, 3 miles long, and 2 miles tall. On the top surface of the island is a magical spring called the Everflow. The Everflow empties its waters into Lake Grimspear, a large basin on the top surface of the island. From there, the waters overflow off the edges of the island in the form of magnificent waterfalls.
Buried within the island are miles and miles of tunnels and caverns. Arendur's Cavern is by far the largest, opening a space roughly 1 1/4 miles wide, 2 miles long, and 1 1/2 miles tall. Within this cavern is a lake known as the Glitterpool. At the center of Arendur's Cavern is a gigantic 1/2 mile diameter rock column which connects the floor and ceiling. This column is known as The Spike.
The city is divided into three wards; the Old Town, the Hanging City, and the Hollow City. The Old Town ward rests on the top surface of the island, surrounding Lake Grimspear. The Hanging City ward is the part of the city built into the rocky edges of the floating island. The Hollow City ward covers interior of the island, including Arendur's Cavern.
For peculiar reasons, the island is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. No one knows for sure, but it might possibly be a side effect of dimensional magics. Many visiting mages have discovered that the island is highly unstable both magically and dimensionally. It is not known wether this is the cause or the result of the randomly occuring interplanar portals and vortices which dot the island.
The most common way of getting to Grimspear is by boat, second is by spelljamming, and third is via trans-dimensional portal. Any attempts to teleport onto the island by spell, psionic, or similar means will automatically fail. The Archmage Vincent has wished that no one (not even Elminister) be able to teleport onto or anywhere in the island without his expressed permission. The Archmage rarely grants his permission to anyone. So far he has granted permission to only the Lords of Grimspear, the Blackstaff of Waterdeep, and the Mad Druid Basa.
Although sea travel is a common way of travel to Grimspear, there are no places in or near the city for a sea vessel to dock. When visiting sea vessels arrive at the island, they simply anchor themselves somewhere close by or underneath the island. Sea vessels anchoring within a 2 mile radius of the island are charged an anchoring fee of 1cp per 2' in keel length per day. Underneath the island are 8 anchored ships and 2 large anchored barges. From any one of these ships, a visitor may ride a rope harness up to the island. 20 rowboats and 3 small barges are available to transport visitors from their ships to one of these anchored ships. The harnesses are attached to sturdy cranes on the Hanging City. Each crane will support 2-3 harnesses. The average harness can hold up to 5 human sized passengers plus several large chests. The 'economy' harnesses can hold up to twice as much but provide uncomfortable rides. The 'luxury' harnesses provide comfortable rides in lavish 'carriages', but hold far less than the other harnesses. Harness rides cost 1sp per person/large chest, 1cp on the large economy harnesses and 1gp on the luxury harnesses. The harness cranes are operated by pairs or groups of strong individuals, usually giants. For extremely important guests of the Lords, or for large cargo packages, two large barges provide access to magical disks, which speedily float up to one ton of cargo up to the island. Each of these barges has five disks available. Cargo transport via disk is 1cp per pound. People may ride only if they are important invited guests, or if they can afford 20pp per person.
Visiting spelljamming vessels have the option of landing on the water or docking on the Float Docks. These docks extend from the Hanging City and are built especially for flying ships. Flying catamarans will guide spelljamming vessels to available dock spaces. Any ship docked may leave its helm unmanned and the ship will continue to float in place! This is a special magical feature built into the Float Docks. The docks are said to harness the same magical energies, which float the island, and use them to keep any docked ships floating in mid air. This will only work if the ship is fitted with a magical spelljamming helm of any kind. A docking fee of 1cp per every 2' in keel length per day is charged to all flying ships docked on the Float Docks.
Deep within the city's caverns, a number interplanar portals and vortices are known to exist. The most popular portal opens into The Liquor Dragon tavern. Its other end shifts from the Outlands to Sigil on a weekly basis. The key to this gate is a thrown copper piece. The number of portals and vortices is estimated to be between 10 and 50. Several are rumored to open into the lower planes, one is even rumored to be an escape portal from the Demiplane of Dread. Most of the portals have yet to be mapped and even more are yet to be discovered.
Horses aren't very common on the floating isle. In the Old Town, the two most popular ways of getting around are walking or riding what the natives call a vegecarraige. Vegecarraiges are rikshaws and palanquins carried by teams of specially trained vegepygmies. Finding one is never a problem as there always seems to be an empty one waiting wherever you go. Rides cost anywhere from 1cp to 1gp per person or cargo, depending on the quality of the vegecarraige. The nice thing about the cost is that it's always one flat rate for one round trip. No matter how far you want to go, the moldmen will take you there and back for a nice flat fee.
In the Hanging City, getting around is bit more complicated. The narrow bridges and catwalks just can't handle the traffic of vegecarraiges so they're just not allowed onto the ward. A surprising number Hanging City inhabitants belong to races gifted with the ability to fly, so getting around isn't too difficult for them. Most other people are forced to walk, but some of them are wealthy enough to own flying steeds. There are flying carraige services on the Hanging City, however they aren't as cheap or as numerous as the vegecarraiges. They come in a wide variety of styles and sizes. Some are carried by flying people like aarackocras or kenku, some are carried by hippogriffs, and others are powered by magic. Rides in flying carraiges are always pricy, costing anywhere from 1sp to 1pp and it usually isn't a flat rate.
Getting around in the Hollow City is just like getting around in the Old Town. You can walk or you can ride a vegecarraige. But when it comes to getting to the Hollow City, there's a third option; The Slides. The Slides are a complex system of smooth water carved tunnels which connect most of the major caverns. Water still flows through these tunnels (from the Everflow) and people can ride these "water slides" from the Old Town, into Lake Glitterpool in Arendur's Cavern, and onward to deeper caverns. The smaller slides cost 1cp to use. The larger slides actually transport boat-loads of people. The boats range in size from 2 person to 12 person and the cost to ride is 3cp. The slides are carefully monitored by the vegepygmies (who also carry the slides back up) and special watch patrols.
Not many in the Realms know the true story of the City of Wonders. Some speculate that it's a left over Netherese enclave. Some think it just magically appeared out of nowhere. For everyone wondering, here it is: the answers to how a city literally appeared out of nowhere and grew to impossible grandeur in virtually no time at all.
1358 DR The Year of Shadows
1359 DR The Year of the Serpent
1360 DR The Year of the Turret
1361 DR The Year of Maidens
1362 DR The Year of the Helm
1363 DR The Year of the Wyvern
1364 DR The Year of the Wave
1365 DR The Year of the Sword
1366 DR The Year of the Staff
1367 DR The Year of the Shield
1368 DR The Year of the Banner
1369 DR The Year of the Gauntlet
1370 DR The Year of the Tankard
1371 DR The Year of the Unstrung Harp
1372 DR The Year of Wild Magic
1373 DR The Year of Rogue Dragons
1374 DR The Year of Lightning Storms
1375 DR The Year of Risen Elfkin
1376 DR The Year of the Bent Blade
1377 DR The Year of the Haunting