A commemorative plaque in Lordsmarch Plaza proudly proclaims the names of the founders of Stormreach as Yorrick Amanatu, Molour Lassite, Delera Omaren I and Kolis Sel Shadra. The authenticity of this claim has been commented on by more than one visitor to the city, a modern thriving trading city nestling in the ruins of an ancient giant city.
Stormreach is a free city. For all intents and purposes, it is an independent nation with its own customs and traditions. The Treaty of Thronehold does not apply here, and the rulers of Stormreach consider themselves the equals of any king in Khorvaire. To understand the culture of Stormreach, one must look to its history. In the current age, the city is a human creation, but the region’s history stretches back long before the rise of human civilisation. The giants of Rushemé, one of the few giant tribes to openly trade with the city of Stormreach, say that the region is cursed and point to the ruins of a half-dozen civilisations as proof.
Scholars from the Library of Korranberg and Morgrave University have studied these ruins for decades and have created a simple map of the region. But many of the greatest mysteries remain unanswered. The great Library of Korranberg in Zilargo is filled with books written about Xen’drik and the civilisations that have lived on the site where Stormreach stands.
The Age of Demons
The history of Stormreach begins in the Age of Demons. Much about this age eludes modern scholars. The dominion of the demon Overlords stretched across the face of Eberron. There is no question that fiendish Overlords ruled domains in Xen’drik and that the dragons and couatls opposed them. Many believe that this alliance of dragonkind might have drawn the titans, the giants’ mythic ancestors, into the struggle. According to the storytellers of Rushemé, it was in this age that a curse was placed upon the land near the northern ocean. Some scholars believe that a terrible secret is hidden deep beneath Stormreach, below the most ancient ruins of the giants and have funded many expeditions to explore the ancient depths below the city.
The Age of Giants
Although some believe this land to be cursed, others have always been drawn to it. The titan Cul’sir made this region the center of his empire during the Age of Giants. Many sages believe that the Emperor, the statue towering over the present city’s harbour, is a representation of Cul’sir himself, set to guard the city against the demonic Overlords of the past. Researchers are still struggling to reconstruct the events leading up to the devastation of the original giant cultures of Xen’drik. It is clear that elves lived among the Cul’sir giants, most likely as slaves; many tools and structures from this period are designed for use by the smaller elves. What records have been recovered emphasise that the city played a critical role during the quori invasion of Xen’drik and was a focal point for arcane research tied to the giants’ war effort. The historical records are obscure about what the city’s wizards were researching but hint at a source of planar power and references to efforts to spare the city’s population from a coming cataclysm.
The actions of the Truthful One and the Stormreaver successfully banishing the plane of Dal Quor in the final defeat of the quori set the stage for the elven uprising against the giants. Relics found in the jungles around Stormreach suggest an elven campaign of guerilla warfare lasting for centuries. This quiet struggle was punctuated by pitched battles. According to Tairnadal tales, the great elf hero Dyrael Morain led an attack on Stormreach in an effort to “destroy the greatest evil in this dark land.” Dyrael and his forces, the largest elf army ever seen at that time, were annihilated, but the Tairnadal still honour his bravery and sacrifice. Many elves of the Valaes Tairn have come to Xen’drik and searched for Dyrael’s bones and his legendary magical blade in the fields south of Stormreach.
The Age of Giants came to an end in a wave of wild magic and dragonfire as arcane and planar storms raged across the entire continent of Xen’drik and beyond, the backlash from the Reaver’s Bane ritual that moved the planes. Compared to much of Xen’drik, the ruins of Stormreach are well-preserved; the colossal watchman of the Emperor is almost untouched. Other sections of the city were partially buried but otherwise left intact. The devastation of Xen’drik left a continent in chaos. The archaeological record suggests that a number of cultures found footholds in the region around Stormreach. But each of these settlements collapsed, and by the time humans came to the area, all that was left were ghosts and shattered stone. Scholars have confirmed that numerous cultures have inhabited Stormreach in the past thirty thousand years.
The Four Failed Ages of Stormreach
The first group to return to Stormreach were hill giants, the ancestors of the modern giants of Rushemé who still live near the city. The loremasters of Rushemé say that their ancestors were gripped by the Du’rashka Tul, a homicidal madness that forced them to turn on one another and destroyed their nation.
Thousands of years later, the sahuagin of the Thunder Sea came to Stormreach. The sea devils constructed an amphibious community in the flooded depths of the original giant city. Modern sahuagin will not speak of this fallen culture. Some scholars believe this silence is due to shame — that their sahuagin ancestors were corrupted by a dark malevolence. Others assert that the sahuagin civilisation was destroyed so long ago that the modern sahuagin simply know nothing about it.The sahuagin were ultimately driven from the city by a group of stone giants called the Fallen Stone.
Following their victory over the sahuagin, the Fallen Stone apparently fell prey to a plague that resisted all forms of magical treatment. Within a century, the region was abandoned again.
The next civilisation that left a clear mark on the region of Stormreach was that of the thri-kreen. In the modern age, the intelligent mantis folk of Xen’drik are few in number and largely avoid human contact. But there was a time when tens of thousands of thri-kreen inhabited the region, carving twisting tunnels into the giants’ foundations and sculpting strange monuments beneath the city. The fate of the thri-kreen remains one of the region’s greatest mysteries. The other cultures fell to battle or plague. As far as researchers have been able to tell, the thri-kreen culture persisted for centuries before it came to an end instantaneously, as if the bulk of the thri-kreen population simply vanished. The thri-kreen refuse to discuss their history with humans.
These four cultures left clear marks on Stormreach, while others passed through with barely a trace. The Library of Korranberg has records of a gnome effort to build an outpost in Stormreach around -1600 YK. After mere months, a handful of survivors returned to Zilargo. They blamed their failure on hostile giants, but in recent years the scholar Hegan Del Dorianhas advanced the theory that this was a cover story hiding what really happened; he points to the written testimony of a gnome sailor who speaks of a “darkness that gripped both body and soul.”
The history of modern Stormreach itself is much less of a mystery. For centuries before Stormreach was once again inhabited, the Riedran empire had already been exploiting Xen’drik’s natural resources from the city of Dar Qat. Smugglers from Breland and Zilargo had long probed the mysterious continent’s northern coast. As trade began to flourish in the Thunder Sea after the human settlement of Khorvaire, pirates from Breland, Cyre, Zilargo and even the Lhazaar Principalities began to prey on the Galifaran shipping in the region.
The first Khorvarien humans to make landfall in the Stormreach region were pirates. They wanted an outpost to repair and resupply their ships, and the crumbling docks of Stormreach seemed a good foundation for such a hideout. They found a city in ruins, marked by the civilisations that had come before. The pirates clashed with giants, drow, and sahuagin, but they were mysteriously spared the strange horrors that befell previous settlers. A century passed without plague or warfare, and the pirates prospered. They began searching for opportunities on the continent and discovered both valuable relics in the interior and the power of kuryeva, a potent form of gin fermented from the berries of the kuryeva bush endemic to northern Xen’drik.
The Pirate Lords of the Thunder Seas
Piracy and smuggling grew ever more profitable in the Thunder Sea and these outlaw captains needed a base to resupply their ships. Smugglers established hideouts along the northern coast of Xen’drik, but most were quickly destroyed by monsters or the marauding Vulkoorim drow clans of the interior. The rogue captains needed a truly secure refuge. Some claim it was Delera Omaren, the pirate-queen of the Thunder Sea, who laid the first stones of modern Stormreach. Others say it was Kolis Sel Shadra, the wily gnome smuggler said to own a fleet of spectral ships. Whoever began the settlement, it soon became a joint venture, with many pirate captains contributing resources to the new town in return for sanctuary within its harbour and access to its businesses. The walls of the ancient Cul’sir giant ruins provided simple fortifications for the settlement and for some reasons, the predators of the jungle seemed to shun the city.
The small outpost grew and prospered, as did the piracy it supported on the Thunder Sea. Delera Omaren and the dwarf pirate Korchan Amanatu left bloody wakes in its waters and the newly-emboldened pirates began preying on Zil, Aereni and even House Lyrandar’s shipping. House Tharashk saw the shiploads of dragonshards the pirates were capturing from the Riedrans and wanted to establish their own prospecting operations in the shattered land. Scholars and artificers seized the relics retrieved from the interior of Xen’drik and wanted more. But between harsh weather, the sahuagin, and the constant threat of piracy, travel was simply too dangerous. All the while, the other dragonmarked houses also became increasingly interested in both Xen’drik’s natural resources and the hidden magical secrets of the lost giant civilisations that lay within its forbidding interior.
The Storm Lords
The Twelve, acting on behalf of the dragonmarked houses, finally appealed to the throne of Galifar to end the pirates’ depredations and establish an official Galifaran port in Xen’drik. In 800YK the king took action. Galifar’s greatest military strength lay in its land forces, but the Royal Galifaran Navy was still a force to be reckoned with. After a few sea battles in the Thunder Sea that resulted in deep losses for both sides, a gnome smuggler appeared in Thronehold to petition the court of Galifar. Kolis Sel Shadra was known by his reputation as the smuggler who had never lost a cargo — either to the Galifaran Navy, the Galifaran customs service or other pirates. Sel Shadra came to Thronehold as the representative of the four most powerful pirate captains of the Thunder Sea: the human Delera Omaren, the dwarf Yorrick Amanatu, the human Moluo Lassite and himself. Sel Shadra offered the king of Galifar a truce — if the king would offer these captains an amnesty and recognised their political authority over Stormreach. In return, these four would use their influence to disperse the pirates.
The Stormreach Compact
After extended negotiations, the king agreed in 802 YK to an accord called the Stormreach Compact that would end the war between the pirates and Galifar, and even promised that the Galifaran Crown would join the dragonmarked houses in funding Stormreach’s expansion as Khorvaire’s primary port of call in Xen’drik. But the king insisted on one condition: that he and his successors appoint a fifth lord over the city who had the Crown’s trust. There was much debate, but in time, the four captains, now called the Coin Lords of Stormreach, agreed to grant the privateer Jolan Wylkes the title of Harbour Lord and for the five of them to collectively rule Stormreach together.
Wylkes was a sailor, as opposed to the Galifaran nobles who had first been proposed by the Crown. The king and his descendants held to their vow and the Coin Lords lived up to their end of the bargain as well, bringing an end to the rampant piracy. For over two centuries, Stormreach has grown and prospered. Several dragonmarked houses have established sizable enclaves within the city and the kuryeva of Molou’s Distillery is prized by connoisseurs across southern Khorvaire.
The Omaren Revolt
In 890 YK the Coin Lord Castal Omaren attempted to eliminate the other Coin Lords and seize sole control of Stormreach. The coup d’etat failed because Castal Omaren massively underestimated the Stormreach Guard’s loyalty to the dwarven Coin Lord Yorrik Amanatu, who used the Guard to stop the coup. After Castal Omaren was killed by Amanatu in putting down the coup, the Omaren family was allowed to retain its lordship over the city but was forced to make major reparations to the other Coin Lords and to operate under a set of strict penalties which remain in effect to this day.
Fire Giants of the The Basalt Tower
In 946 YK, the city of Stormreach in Xen’drik came under attack by the Battalion of the Basalt Towers, a powerful alliance of fire giants. In addition to physical force, the giants employed an artifact that called down arcane meteor swarms upon the city. In a curious turn of events, the giants of Rushemé joined with the Stormreach Guard and the forces of the dragonmarked houses in the city to turn back this assault, not out of a desire to protect Stormreach’s inhabitants but to keep the city out of the Battalion’s hands. The power of the Basalt Towers was broken, but some of the giants survived and recent reports from the interior of Xen’drik suggest that they have rebuilt their forces.
Today, with the Last War over, Stormreach has become a preeminent destination for the more intrepid merchants, explorers and adventurers of the Five Nations, swelling the city’s population to over twelve thousand people of every race and creed found on Eberron. Stormreach has also become a major center of intrigue between the dragonmarked houses, the Five Nations, the Inspired of Riedra and many other organizations, all of whom desire a chance to gain access to the many hidden secrets of the ancient past that lie deep within Xen’drik.
The end of the Last War proved to be good for Stormreach. According to the Library of Korranberg census, the city had about nine thousand residents in 996 YK. Estimates suggest that thousands of immigrants had joined them by 998 YK, swelling the city’s population to more than twelve thousand residents. With the Last War at an end, there was a groundswell of interest in the city. Refugees who lost their homes in Khorvaire came in search of a fresh start. Academics from the Five Nations’ universities sought answers to Xen’drik’s myriad mysteries. The dragonmarked houses saw untapped potential in the wild lands beyond the city’s walls. And so the population grew and the city expanded. Moreover, transients steadily flowed through — hundreds of merchants, sailors, explorers, and others who remain for a few days before passing on to the next port of call.
Our campaign (includes spoilers!)
Our party arrive in the city of Stormreach having survived the attack on the Heart of Wind by the dominated white dragon Aussircaex. Stormreach is a thriving trading hub. As the Riedran Empire became more introspective in recent decades, Stormreach has gained a monopoly as the source of artifacts unearthed in the ruins of Xen’drik, many from the time of the ancient Giant empire. Many of the native drows have moved from their jungle homes to become guides for those daring to brave the wilds of the continent’s interior.
During their initial exploration of the city, the party learn that the current Coin Lords are; Yorrick Amanatu, one of the original Coin Lords who founded the modern city; Delera Omaren IV, descendant of the original pirate queen; Varen Lassite descendant of the original Molou Lassite and owner of the Molou Distillery. The lineage of the gnome Kolis Sel Shadra ended during the Omaren Revolt and the Wylkes family were selected as replacement Coin Lords. This allowed the Coin Lords to have a strong influence in the appointment of his replacement, weakening any Galifer representation in the ruling of the city. Harbourmaster Zin is the current Harbour Lord, much to the amusement of the general populace.
Through the Threnal storyline the party discover much of the ancient history of the Age of Demons and the source of Xorian madness that ultimately saw Threnal being abandonded. Whether the enormous statues that remain within Threnal are of the ancient giants or their titan ancestors is a matter for speculation. A theory is put forward that the survivors of Threnal moved north to where Stormreach now stands.
In the events of the Chronoscope, the party return to a time when Stormreach is in the throes of a failed invasion by the devils of Shavarath, lead by their general Suulomades. Some time later, deep below the city, the party eventually come face to face with Suulomades himself, banishing him to Shavarath.
The party come to the aid of the Coin Lords during the events of the Assault on Stormreach storyline where the monster nation of Droaam threaten the city. A sizeable expeditionary force from Khorvaire find their way to Xen’drik. The leaders of the force attempt to seize the city for themselves resulting in the devastation of the Summerfield District before the party are able to hunt down the leaders of the Droaam army to an ancient temple from the Age of Giants.
In The Lords of Dust, the party learn more of the Age of Demons and the Overlords who led the demon legions. A rakshasa Lord of Dust is revealed along with a drow unlike the natives of Xen’drik that the party has met. As the storyline begins, a section of the Harbour wall below the Emperor is destroyed, revealing a rift to Khyber. The Gatekeepers and the Twelve work to contain the rift, finally managing to stabilise it but unable to close it, creating a new curiosity for locals and travellers alike.
Throughout Stormreach’s history, various civilisations have fallen prey to a malign influence. The source of this is revealed to be an Overlord imprisoned by the Silver Flame in the depth of Khyber. It is this rakshasa rajah’s presence that has manifested over the millenia and helped to lay low every previous civilisation that established itself in Stormreach. The folklore of the Emperor standing guard against the demons of the past is revealed to be true.
The Overlord discovered in the depths of Khyber flees into a planar rift the likes of which has never been seen. The Gatekeepers and the Twelve work to contain the rift from Khyber to the unknown plane beyond. Stormreach sees more scholars of the planes travelling to the city to study the stable rift to Khyber, leading to a resurgence of interest in the city.
Welcomed as guests to the city, a delegation of Inspired from Dar Qat arrive and quickly establish themselves in an enclave near the Harbour. Their faith preaching unity with one another becomes increasingly popular. Suspicious of the devotion they are receiving, the Coin Lords seek the party’s assistance in investigating the Inspired. The source of the devotion is discovered to be an enormous Mindsunder crystal who’s growing psionic influence is affecting the minds of the city’s population. The Inspired are driven from the city although a full scale confrontation with the Riedran Empire is avoided.
An uprising of warforged bearing the insignia of the house of Khorvaire not seen since the Last War sieze control of the Manufactory in House Cannith. The Lord of Blades is revealed to be behind the attempted coup and an ancient quori creation forge is discovered deep below the city. While Stormreach is not governed by the Treaty of Thronehold that led to the destruction of the Creation Forges on Khorvaire, the ancient quori forge is beyond the capabilities of House Cannith and is a relic from the quori invasion of Xen’drik.
What the future holds for the city of Stormreach is uncertain. The Lord of Blades left with dark portents of troubles still to come, warning that the citizens of Stormreach will always be at danger from the planes beyond.