Lord of the city - Story build


Hola gang. Looking for some idea’s here. I’m fleshing out a small city that is heavy on commerce and trade. There is a ton of interesting stores, NPC’s, rumours, back stories and so on. This will become a hub city if you will for future adventures through tie-in’s and repeat meetings etc. Key to this city is a vast keep that exists towering above it and heavily fortified. I have deemed it Lord BlackThornes Keep. My question to you keen minded types is this: Who is this Lord BlackThorne? Why is he reclusive? What is his story? What is he hiding behind those walls? etc. He runs this city with a fair but iron fist via his very well trained guards who are among the very best in the realms (there is a training ground where they basically lift hard, eat hard, train hard… live eat sleep and breathe fighting - like the UFC basically). Here is a map I pulled from the web to help maybe inspire your thinking.

Source of image: http://dandddoodles.blogspot.com/search/label/Winterhaven


It’s cliche but you could always make him a vampire.

His ancient wealth would explain how he is able to pay enough fighters to do nothing but train.

Or perhaps a magical creature in human form, such as a dragon.


Lord Black Thorne, is the only known survivor of the mentally and physically excruciating deadly sting of the Dark Thorn Dillydally (basically a reclusive :scorpion:-spider). Upon returning from this fateful day, he occupied the entire top floor of the keep and changed his name to Black Thorne, he divided the floor into 3 chambers: business, sleeping, and off limits to all. There are whispers that he became half Dillydally himself, or he uses that chamber to breed dem dang thangs :thinking:, or even worse…they use him for breeding :fearful:. Whatever the case, his guards are not talking, and so far things are going great for the city.


I don’t know much about Lord BlackThorne, but I do know some things about watchman Raki. He’ll be seen in plain clothing at the town square in the morning, talking to the townsfolk that do their shopping on the market. A charming man, so say the women. No idea what he’s working on, say the men.
He is keeping a watch and in the afternoon he writes a record on the people he has seen and talked to. The beloved merchant Lilam is deemed untrustworthy to the townsfolk and haggles too much, but those are his worst sins. Helia an innkeepers daughter is lovely as always, but is inquisitive about the riches of the Lord. Guardsmen Julian and Buck were lacking perception when new adventurers came into town and asked around for a job.
He sends a copy of the record to Lord BlackThorne bird in the evening by bird.

Watchman Raki always approaches adventurers that come into the city, in plain clothing, with the question: ‘Can I offer fine adventurers as you a tour through our magnificent city?’ If they agree, he will try to find out where they came from and what they are doing in town. If he wants to remember an answer to write in his record, he closes his eyes for a second (longer than blinking). Lord BlackThorne will know by night all the curious things they have said.

A possible adventure hook the adventurers might take on regarding Raki is: Jelthro, the ‘towns fool’ thinks Raki is a writers and novelist. He cannot let that happen! He will give his trinket (a ring) to adventurers who steal or claim the novel Raki is writing. Although I think most adventurers will not take this hook, those who do will discover plenty of notes on themselves and townsfolk in the vault of Raki.


This is brilliant. Something I have searched for over the years on the internet but never really found is a thoroughly complex and immersive D&D city that has all the shops, what they sell, back stories and things like this about Raki written up. Perhaps a collaborative effort here needs to be done where we all chip in and create this amazing place?

Well done on this write up. Very cool


Perhaps Blackthorne is also the leader of the King’s spies. He collects any info he can to send it on to him.

Raki helps by questioning any and all travelers that pass through.


This does fall in line with what is happening in the entire realm. At the moment… over several decades there has been a very steady uprising of the Black Arrow Guild to the point where many major cities are now run by this secret assassins guild and many are going to fall to it’s power any time now. The high king, Galen the 3rd has recently been replaced by the main villain and the “head of the snake” if you will of the guild who is a necromancer and found a way to live long by body hopping. His soul enters, theirs gets destroyed. As such… Graven Dun’Modre is now the High King of the entire realm of Althene but he is in the body of Galen the 3rd. Not only does he have this vast network of Black Arrow Guild assassins spread over the realms ready to come to arms… he is now the high king as far as anyone knows (except my hero’s at our table) and as such controls ALL the armies.

So yes, Lord Blackthorne would indeed most likely be one of Graven Dun’Modre’s spies or a leader of one of the BA Guilds sects at the very least. If perhaps he were evil.

What if… Lord Blackthorne isn’t evil at all? He is just nut’s? Agoraphobic? What does he do all day behind those walls? Love to hear more idea’s for sure. Loving these as they get my gears turning.


Raki doesn’t report to blackthorne at all but a chamberlain. The man is a puppet lord that was put there by the guild.

Blackthorne was injured by a fall from a balcony when he was a child and it gave him mental trauma issues.

He is literally afraid of falling into the sky. Instead he plays inside with a miniature version of the city. You could even put clues in that point to him being the evil spy. When in reality he’s basically a large child.


haha…love it. Great idea.


Who is Lord BlackThorne? I’ve never heard of the Blackthornes! How did they come into so much wealth so quickly? That village was a smudge on the map but years ago and now its a full fledge keep. They dont have any major exports according to our records. At this rate who knows what it will be like in a few more years. I don’t like it one bit. Send someone to this blackthorne keep and bring me back some answers, they are hiding something.

Lord Blackthorne was a simple farmer’s son but a decade ago, he came into possession of a strange artifact called THE DOUBLING POT that every full moon will double whatever is placed inside it. He used the artifact to amass a large fortune and put his wealth back into the tiny village he lived in and created a fortress to protect himself and his riches. If anyone were to find out that ugly stone pot was capable of such power, surely the emperor himself would come after him. Best to not tell anyone, even that pretty innkeepers daughter Helia who he has been seeing.


That’s an awesome idea for a plot hook to get the pc’s to get to the place. Thanks