Excelsior

Estimated Population: 25,000 (including the picket keeps).

The Town: When a prime talks about a city where the streets are paved with gold, he’s usually flapping his bone-box over nothing. But when a planar talks about a place like that, chances are he’s talking about Excelsior. Here, the town and streets are made of a yellow brick mixed with flecks of enchanted silver and steel – the whole place literally glows. It’s a rich, ambient light, strong enough to read by in the evening, but not so strong that travellers can’t find some sleep at a kip. The buildings feel warm all the time, so the only fires that are needed are for cooking.

The towns not walled off – it don’t need to be, berk. Anywhere from three to a dozen floating castles (called picket keeps) circle Excelsior like moons. Each keep’s the home of a paladin lord and his retinue, and these cutters protect the town. Every few decades, a keep lands at the edge of town and stays.

The Gate: Somewhere in the highest tower of Excelsior is the Gate to Mount Celestia. The tower’s full of nothing but staircases that twist and cross endlessly. Most of them eventually come out at an observation deck, where a body can see both Fortitude and Tradegate. One staircase, though, keeps rising. Travellers who climb high enough’ll suddenly find themselves in midair, twenty feet over the ocean at the base of Mount Celestia. The ocean’s got the properties of holy water and the fall doesn’t hurt, but passing through the gate sure wakes a berk up.

The Populace: Natives of Excelsior are so pleasent, kindly, and understanding that visitors of nonlawful or nongood alignments quickly develop a facial tic. Fact is, all sods of nongood alignments are asked to leave. They won’t be forced out as long as they don’t break any laws, but peery natives’ll keep a close eye on them at all times.

Apart from a few archons and devas, most residents are human – many of them paladins from prime-material worlds. One popular group in town is a sect of righteous cutters who call themselves the Order of the Planes-Militant. Just about everyone in Excelsior prefers light-coloured garbs, especially white.

The Hoi Polloi: The ruler of Excelsior is High Chancellor Miguala abd-al Ragarin, a paladin from Zakhara (found on the world of Toril). She’s an elderly human, aided by two viziers: an archon named Blazara Lightmaker and a Halfling warrior named Mendel.

The other high-ups in town (really high-ups, a body could say) are the paladin lords of the floating picket keeps. Many eventually land their keeps and join the city, but sometimes a strong paladin and his followers challenge the High Chancellor’s right to lead. A challenge like that tends to be short and bloody, and all the paladin usually winds up with is a spot in the dead book.

Local Sites: One of the most important spots around town is actually at the base of Mount Celestia – the town of Heart’s Faith. Older maps of the Outland actually show that it was once part of the Land before moving into the plane. Heart’s Faith is ruled by a greater lammasu named Lebes.

The floating castle of Thotatis of Tyr is also well known. He’s the most powerful paladin lord in town, but, overall, a pretty stiff-necked basher. He feels that the High Chancellor hasn’t been dealing too well with the matter of the Holy Shadow (see Current Chant), and that someone needs to give them a heavier hand.

Travellers in the mood to flap their bone-boxes might enjoy a stop at the Forum, a popular spot for many visitors. The Forum’s an open amphitheatre where good and lawful bodies gather to debate the nature of good, law, and paladinhood.

Current Chant: Believe it or not, there’s a successful thieves’ guild in town, known as the Holy Shadow. Some locals figure they’ve got nothing to fear, since the bobbers only work their cross-trade on non-good or nonlawful visitors. But others feel that the group is all that’s keeping Excelsior from joining Heart’s Faith in Mount Celestia.

Excelsior

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