Article by Draegarius
Itharin - Gate Town to the Astral
CHARACTER: More a fortress than a town, a manifestation of githyanki/githzerai living with human morals - holding a stand against the danger beyond and preserving ancient traditions and a timeless hope for the reunification of a race. A quite, constantly shrouded in mist, half empty burg, this gate-town serves as a focal point for many different, even opposite, creatures and cultures -- primes, planars, githzerai and githyanki.
BEHIND THE THRONE: The Order of Githimon holds the real power in this burg. Securing control of both the militia and economy, the Order uses its power to maintain a stable base of operations for their long-term goals. The Order, whose members make up most of the militia and office holders in the burg, decides on laws and policy for the burg. When it comes to military matters, they may decided on the what, but they leave things to Warlock Sharaq'antir to decided on the how.
SERVICES: Like any town on a planar border, Itharin has its share of merchants who ply their trades across the planar boundaries. However, the gate to the Astral provides a proximity to the prime material plane which none other than Sigil can claim. This proximity is what brings rare prime goods into the marketplace on Itharin, and stresses the economic strategic importance of the floating island.
The Quarters of the Burg
These springs, are not used for drinking water, instead being used to grow various water birds to be served on the tables of Itharian homes.
III. Prime's Quarter
Not reaching even half the size of the Gith's Quarter, Prime's Quarter covers approximately a twelfth of Itharin's surface. In all outer appearances identical to the Gith's Quarter, Prime's Quarter differs greatly in its population of all other quarters. Maintaining the largest hub of prime population in the outer planes, it supports a colourful mixed community of prime humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes, and several other races as well.
IV. Githyanki's Quarter
The smallest of part of the burg, Itharin supports a relatively large community of renegade githyanki who fled their people either for not conforming with their evil ways, or were prompted to do so by the Zhameck and Lish'tan infiltrators of the Githimon Order. Almost all of the githyanki are members of the militia, although those who were once Mlar, Hr'a'cknir, G"lathk or Varsh may still occupy in their former line of work. Varsh position has changed considerably in Itharin -- from menial caretakers of githyanki broods of eggs, they have gained status and serve all githyanki families in the local community -- a role similar to that of midwives in human society.
V. Githzerai's Quarter
Slightly larger than the Githyanki Quarter, this Quarter supports a fairly large githzerai community, almost all of which are renegade, and were prompted to leave their chaotic society by the Order of Githimon's infiltrators. Surprisingly, the githyanki and the githzerai, who have but a single street to separate their Quarters, get along very well. Curiosity on both sides is taking over as through their work in the burg, especially in the militia, githzerai and githyanki meet on peaceful terms.
VI. Gardens of Zerthimon
Another vast expanse of thlk'ronne, the gardens serve both as a place of recreation and as a source of food for Itharin's varied inhabitants. Within the groves, on the far side of the gardens, near Gith's Quarter lie the Itharin's Lord's palace and the Towers of Zerthimon, for which the gardens were named.
The citadel is maintained by various town-dwellers, especially former Mlar among the renegade githyanki. Manned by Itharin's militia and by members of the Order of Githimon the citadel and its forces are commanded by the Warlock Saraq'antir, the current ruler of the gate town.
III. Wyvern Stables
One of the larger buildings in Itharin, the stables are the home and business of Shlistaep Ama-Uruine (Prime / male human / wizard 12 / CN) who founded them seven years back when he accidentally found the Astral side of the gate during one of his "plane-hops" (as he humorously calls them). Seeing the potential of a good business, he set on proving that while the Spire may be infinite, and the island is floating in orbit around the Spire, Itharin itself is at a finite height above the Outlands.
IV. Itharin's Lord's Palace
An ornate palace built in a typical githzerai style was constructed for the town's lords several centuries ago and serves to this day. Somewhat odd and irregular, the palace is an adaptation of githzerai architecture to "normal" surroundings, rather than the chaotic soup of Limbo.
V. Towers of Zerthimon
Constructed merely 300 years ago, these three towers serve as a place of magical study for the gith race. Containing an extensive library of both magical and mundane matters, vast laboratories and some of the finest experts on the magical nature of the Astral plane that are not members of the evil githyanki race.
VI. Qwain's Complex
Qwain Opul (Planar / male air genasi / wizard (diviner) / Athar / LN), is the proprietor of the large boarding house dominating the outer reaches of Prime's Quarter. Due to the many and varied visitors to the gate town, Qwain has expanded his Inn and fashioned its many sections to suit the different tastes of its patrons.
VII. Primewalker's Guild
This building is the Guildhall of the Primewalker's Guild who support and sponsor adventurers travelling the prime. Most of the cutters there are primes, although several planars who have also "primewalked" for many years are members as well. The Guild sponsors and aids travellers to the prime, especially traders -- for it is they who keep the city financially alive by bringing in valuable commodities such as metals, woods, spices, foodstuffs and other materials found on the prime. Much of the merchandise from the prime only changes hands in Itharin and then heads to Sigil.
VIII. Nevim Grove Springs
Four small springs of varied sizes are the heart of Nevim Grove. More like shallow ponds, the springs are only a yard and a half deep at their deepest sections. The water itself seeps into the springs through cracks in the rock in the upper lining of the springs, just near the surface, after water overflows in one of the floating island's underground cavern filling it until it reaches the surface through tiny cracks in the rock.
IX. Chapterhouse of the Order of Githimon
A grey dull building hiding the inner beauty of the Chapterhouse of the Githimon order. Like the Towers of Zerthimon, the Chapterhouse is a monument of cultural synthesis combining the building ways and cultural architectural themes of both the githyanki and the githzerai as one. The Chapterhouse is divided into several sections -- each housing and training initiates to the paths of the Order: Zhameck, Brr'theen, Sonan Magi, M'Sokor, Lish'tan, Mulzha and Stchokoth.
A small marketplace, set among empty Itharian buildings (used by various merchants during the day, vacant by night) with wide alleys between them, serves the residents of Itharin and the merchants from the planes and the prime. Stands are erected in the morning and taken apart at night no permanent shops here. Merchants who settle on the island for good usually set up a shop in whatever quarter they live in.
XI. Mausoleum of Gith
Supposedly the mausoleum of the great Gith who led her people to freedom, the mausoleum is more of a monument to the race's accomplishment and a museum for its history. The building is built in galleries around a central hall where a large black boulder is set on a pedestal.
XII. Portal to Sigil
These arched towers are always in the direction of the centre of the Spire, and mark the orbit of the Island of Itharin with a special mechanical device provided long ago by an inventive gnome. This device, set in the arch of the portal to Sigil, calculates location of the Island around the Spire and marks each orbit -- thus enabling to tell time in Itharin.
The island of Itharin, benefits (or suffers) from a unique climate. Due to the rocky Isle's location orbiting the Spire at cloud level, it is constantly shrouded in fogs and mists.
Geology and Hydrography of the Floating Island
The rock which makes up almost the entire of the island is a type of tectonic rock, not dissimilar to Granite, but which doesn't exist anywhere else (except perhaps the Quasi-Elemental Plane of Minerals). Large caverns within the rock, of which some open up on the lower sides of the island, form massive aquifers and water reserves due to the extreme humidity within the cloud levels. Since Itharin is somewhat colder that the air surrounding it, water condenses all the time, especially within the underground caverns, thus creating the large water supply which supports the burg.
Plant and Animal Life
Itharin has only two living beings native to it. The Thlk'Ronne groves and a special fish called Ryzh.
Another one of the floating burg's mysteries, the Under-Towers are six crumbling towers, hanging from the "bottom" of the Island facing downwards. Most are in ruins, and only two of them are fully accessible, although even those are crumbling with large holes and weak structure. The Towers may be reached via six tunnels, each in a different corner of the town, which lead through the rock island into the towers. The towers are currently empty, and no one knows what they once contained, only that they were already there, crumbling ruins, when the first gith arrived on the island.
Appendix A: The True Gith and the Order of Githimon
CLIMATE/TERRAIN: Outlands or Special
The Order of Githimon
The history of the Order of Githimon is the history of the true gith themselves. The elite of the gith race, who separated from the githyanki after the latter's devolution into evil.
Zhameck (illithid hunters/Pirates of Gith hunters)
The Zhameck are fighters, fighter/mages and fighter/psionicists who specialise in the hunting of illithids and pirates of gith, specifically in the Astral plane and the Prime. Cunning and ruthless, the Zhameck are the elite of the Order's fighters, and most of them spend their time in the Astral or the Prime. The recent acquisition of a Hammership with a spelljamming helm, has strengthened the Zhameck in their hunting throughout Wildspace and the crystal spheres of the prime.
Brr'theen (Infiltrator Knights)
Another part of the order's elite, the Brr'theen are special knights who utilise special powers of shapechanging and masking their alignment which they utilise in order to infiltrate githyanki and githzerai communities, where they sow dissent and seek out those who wish to flee from their evil and/or confining societies. These Knights seek out in secret those who would join their cause and with the help of the Lish'tan, smuggle them out and send them on to Itharin.
Sonan Magi (mages)
Members of the Order who practice the various forms of magic are known generally as Sonan Magi. These magic-users, numbering both mages and specialists amongst their numbers, serve the order with their spells and magical items, strengthening the Order through their arcane arts. On special missions, the Order may even send Sonan Magi with Zhameck parties or with infiltrating Brr'theen or Lish'tan.
Just as important as the Sonan Magi, the Order has found that Psionic proficient Gith can be a powerful tool in their aims to reunify the gith race. Undetectable by magic, M'Sokor use their psionics where Sonan Magi dare not tread. In addition, the Order has found that using psionically empowered items can be a boon as they cannot be magically detected. Thus, the M'Sokor create many empowered items to arm the other branches of the Order, In addition to their active tours of service.
Lish'tan (Infiltrator Thieves)
The Lish'tan provide the bulk of the Order's infiltrator forces who seek out enlightened githyanki and githzerai. The Lish'tan use their special alignment and face masking to appear as githyanki and Githzerai, and may even go undercover for years before acting. Specially trained in the arts of stealth, the Lish'tan also provide the true gith with an extensive intelligence grid throughout the gith world, and some even whisper that a few have managed to infiltrate a pirate of gith crew on a spelljamming ship in the Prime.
Mulzha (Fighters for the Itharin Militia)
Mulzha are the simple fighters of the true gith who serve as the main policing force and defence guard of the floating island. This is also the only group which is not fully part of the Order. Many of the Mulzha are members of the Order, but also non-members may join, and the Mulzha follow the orders of the Town Lord, currently -- Sharaq'antir.
Few gith ever have this calling but some rare individuals do, and they serve the Order and the town by caring for the plant and animal life on the island through knowledge and spells, providing much of the gate-town's food.
Appendix B: Uaikonj and his Priesthood
art by Jeremiah Golden, Draegarius and Jon Winter