Demand of Supply
Because of its airship docking tower, Sharn is also known as the gateway to Xen’Drik. Built on the Central Plateau, Lyrandar Tower is one of the tallest structures in the city. It measures 2,000 feet in diameter at the bottom and 650 feet in diameter at the top.
The top floor of the tower houses the airship docking port one of the busiest centers of activity in Sharn. The tower is the first sight that most visitors see upon arriving in the city, and it is often the only place visited by people here on business or just passing through.
Lyrandar Tower offers a wide array of services to the travelers who pass through it. Just about any product the city has to offer is also available here, though at prices ten to fifteen percent higher than elsewhere in the city. But most travelers are willing to spend the extra money for the convenience of having everything they need so handy.
The airship docking port is a single room that occupies the entire top floor of Lyrandar Tower. The walls of this massive chamber are 30 feet high, and the domed ceiling rises to dizzying heights. Four lifts located in the center of the room allow easy access to the docking port from the levels below. Two massive, 20-foot-high doors pierce each of the four walls. Each door opens inward to reveal a balcony from which hangs a massive, fork-shaped dock.
The balcony doors are normally kept open, regardless of the weather. A permanent magical field keeps out the chill wind while allowing passengers to enter and exit their ships. The doors are closed only in the rare instances when the city is under attack.
Adamantine Doors (8): hardness 20, hp 400. Each balcony is equipped with a powerful light housed in a compact light station (lighthouse). Powered by a lead sphere bearing a permanent daylight spell, the light is backed by a concave mirror that reflects the light outward. The operator of each small light station scans the sky for approaching airships. When its dock is available, the station acknowledges a ship by maintaining the light on its sails for several seconds. Upon receiving this signal, the airship glides in beside the balcony from which the signal originated. After tying the ship into place, the attendants drop a ramp from its deck so that passengers can embark or disembark. The ship remains airborne at all times, even while docked. The ring of fire encircling the airship is safely beyond the reach of the dock, so it poses no hazard to people standing there, or to the structure itself, though the elemental is often suppressed by the skycaptain as an extra precaution.
In addition, each balcony is equipped for skycoach docking. Skycoaches often approach the balconies when their drivers see approaching airships, then wait there for disembarking passengers who want a quick ride to another part of the city. Such convenience usually costs up to double the going rate for such services. Although the tower has eight docking ports, no more than four are typically in use at any given time—two for arrivals and two for departures. The other ports are reserved for periods of heavy traffic or emergency dockings. Occasionally a damaged ship puts in here for repairs and has to stay for an extended period, blocking off the dock where it is moored at great expense to its owner. Ships owned by House Lyrandar, however, can stay in port indefinitely at no charge.
At any time, hundreds of shuffling people—most of them standing in long lines—are waiting to board the next airship. Along the north and south walls are two large areas filled with chairs. Together, these lounges provide seating for more than five hundred people. House Lyrandar provides refreshments, such as fruits and water, free of charge to the waiting travelers. The safety of the airship passengers using this docking port is of paramount concern to House Lyrandar.
No fewer than fifty guards (primarily 3rd- to 5th-level fighters and 3rd- to 5th-level wizards and clerics with typical arms and armor) patrol this room at all times. Two fighters wearing armor under their robes and a wizard wearing austere gray robes and goggles of detect magic are stationed at each airship gate. This group is charged with spotting any dangerous magic devices that embarking passengers are attempting to bring aboard the ship. Ranged and melee weapons of low and moderate strength are allowed on board with the passenger, provided that each such weapon is secured in its sheath with a peaceknot.
Passengers embarking on one of House Lyrandar’s ships must undergo strict security checks. Any magic items that the wizards on the inspection teams cannot identify or that they deem overly dangerous are confiscated and placed in one of the ship’s locked cargo holds, then returned to their owners upon reaching the destination.
A few airships owned by other houses do not employ such stringent safeguards, but their passenger lists are normally much more exclusive.
The Upper Levels
The actual docking port is on the top level of the tower. The levels just beneath it house guilds and organizations that offer a variety of services for hire. Wealthy individuals can book skycoaches, hire mercenary companies to protect their airships on particularly dangerous journeys, or retain bodyguards for travel aboard an airship as well as protection within the city.
Companies and organizations that cater to wealthy travelers occupy the upper levels of Lyrandar Tower, providing the kind of premium services that the wellto- do expect. Often such travelers seek mercenaries trained in aerial combat to ensure that they have proper protection while traveling. Agencies that rent skycoaches for long-term use share the upper levels with those that contract personal bodyguards and other professionals. In fact, rumor holds that House Tarkanan operates in the guise of a mercenary company, and its assassins can be hired here by those in the know. The following guilds and organizations maintain a presence on the upper levels of Lyrandar Tower.
On the middle levels, travelers can rent lodgings for any length of time. The available rooms range from large and extravagant to barely large enough for a bed. The hostels are owned by several Dragonmarked Houses, which compete to draw travelers to their establishments. Normally, all that differentiates one house’s inn from another is the service provided by its staff. Most of the tower’s upper-scale lounges are also located in this portion of the tower.
People who fly into Sharn often require a place to stay while taking in the sights or conducting business, so the tower’s middle levels have been largely given over to temporary lodgings for travelers. House Lyrandar prefers not to manage these businesses, so this space is rented out to some of the other merchants and Dragonmarked Houses. These levels also contain some of the quieter, more relaxing lounges in Sharn. Specific establishments operating in the tower’s middle levels include the following.
The Lower Levels
Virtually every form of entertainment is available in the tower’s lower levels. Visitors in search of a good time can visit the theater, socialize in any of several lively lounges, seek out an establishment that specializes in providing companionship, or win or lose a fortune in the games of chance offered at the casinos. Many people who live on the Central Plateau object to the types of businesses found here, but since the city’s ruling houses often have vested interests in the commerce conducted in the tower’s lower portions, such complaints rarely bring action.
People typically visit the lower levels of Lyrandar Tower for entertainment of a mature nature. Gambling halls, cheaply priced rooms that can be rented by the hour, taverns, and businesses where companionship can be purchased are common here. The lower levels of the tower also connect to the cogs. Adventurers frequently travel down to those depths to explore the ruins of the ancient civilization upon which modern Sharn was built and to challenge the numerous monsters that live there.