Omphalos - The Grand Campaign
The Mother of All Cities
Omphalos is believed to be the first city and the template from which all others sprang.
The population of the city is hard to determine but probably tops out at several million. Only Urbanos himself knows for sure and he’s not inclined to answer that kind of question specifically. Because of the nature of the city (see Going Places ) itself it is nearly impossible to visit all the areas and neighborhoods that may exist. The Wayfarer Brotherhood probably know better than anyone else other than the gods themselves and even they are constantly exploring and learning.
The important thing to remember is that intent is more important than direction in Omphalos. Which is to say that where you want to go is more important than which way you travel to get there.
The city’s lore suggests that if a person wants something, anything, bad enough they can find it somewhere in Omphalos, down strange streets and winding alleys, through squares and towers almost as old as creation and long-since abandoned to ghosts and those things that love the empty, quiet places. They just have to focus that desire and be willing to take a winding, sometimes dangerous path that may take years to travel from end to end. Few beings are so disciplined or driven, but those who are often become legends of the city.
There are some places that everybody has in common in the city:
The Grand Bazaar, the sprawling, city-sized market with goods and services from a million worlds, for instance.
The Silver Spring Arena, the great stadium built around a natural lake of placid water that is the perfect venue for scrying the adventures of the Grand Campaign. The Arena seats some hundred thousand beings, give or take and the area around it is a popular business and entertainment district.
The Garden is a beautiful palace and green space where the mortal power brokers, wealthy and powerful (and those who want to court them) meet to decide civic policy and carry out their own political intrigues that mirror those of the gods and powers. Urbanos’s two lovers, once mortals themselves, rule over the Garden, Aziz Zareen, who controls the city’s economy and is believed to be the richest being in all the mandala of petals and the city’s banker and financial manager and Lalah Golshan, mistress of a thousand intricate and interlocking plots and intrigues that somehow always end up benefiting her and Urbanos himself. Even the gods deal with her with extreme caution. She also is the ultimate authority (saving Urbanos himself) on franchising noble houses and civil contracts, making her the de facto leader of the civil government.
The long and wide Temple Street is arguably the most important place in the city and one of the most exotic. The geography of the seemingly endless, broad and winding avenue is ever fluid as the places of worship for the various gods and powers that line the street shift, appear and disappear as the fortunes and alliances of their patrons rise and fall, shift and realign.
Extending from the ‘end’ of Temple Street is The Shadowed Way, also called the path of the dead. Past the temples of the living gods and the ruined holy places of the dead gods, the Shadowed Way extends out from the city itself to the dark necropolis at the edge of creation called The Palaces of the Dead. From dead gods to Al’Adrin who have passed to fallen heroes, all the dead of the city end up in there eventually under a perpetually dark and starry sky.
There are also several stable and heavily populated areas inhabited by colonies of people who either come from the outer petal-worlds or had ancestors from those worlds who came to the city, either as adventurers in the Grand Campaign or otherwise and settled in Omphalos.
The most famous of them are The Warren, an area built on the scale of halflings and gnomes (also known for some of the best food and entertainment in the city), The Forest Quarter, a beautifully tended ancient wood in the heart of the city, home to many elves and other sylvan folk, and Blind Street, where one finds the heavily fortified homes of many orcish and goblin tribes. It is said that hidden behind those ‘blind’ walls (called that because they have no windows facing the street) are places of rare beauty and comfort, built up over centuries of clan prosperity, without the threat of being wiped out by other species.
Also, the city’s greatest center of learning and knowledge, The Jami’ah , is a popular destination. The sages of a thousand worlds teach and study there and the answer to just about any question can be had, for a price.