- A stroll along the streets of Vyre is one long assault on the senses, as punters and pushers, pimps and perverts shove and scrutinize, promise and threaten, doing their best to entice and cajole passersby into sampling their wares. ‘Follow,’ they say as they beckon to doors or nearby alleyways. ‘Within, all your dreams will be fulfilled. Whatever your wish, whatever your desire, you will not be the first to indulge, not here. What happens beyond closed doors shall stay beyond closed doors in Vyre.’ Signs and placards leave nothing to the imagination, whether they be brothels or drug parlors or menageries or markets…and frankly, in the so-called City of Masks, it can be hard to tell which is which!”
- —Pathfinder Koriah Azmeren recounting her first and only trip to Vyre 
Long before the nation of Cheliax was established in 3007 1673 ar ar by settlers from Corentyn who sought to , the city of Vyre was born. Founded in escape the overly strict laws laid down in distant Taldor, Vyre was, from the start, a city for those who wanted a place to indulge in the exotic, the dangerous, and the forbidden. In the centuries since, Vyre has thrived. The so-called City of Masks prides itself on being a place where names aren’t required, no questions are asked, and no appetites judged. With the rise of Cheliax, Vyre entered a marriage of convenience with the nation, its tacit obedience always masking an aloof independence.
The rulers of Vyre are canny in their dealings with Cheliax, and the city has effectively remained a free port. The draw of a place where the rich and powerful can retire to without worrying about repercussions has ensured Vyre’s continued stability and remains one of the key factors of its success. After the Chelish Civil War, Queen Abrogail I saw the wisdom in having a place where her supporters could travel to relax, even if she personally never visited Vyre’s attractions, and so the relationship between the City of Masks and the nation of Cheliax continued largely unchanged into the Age of Lost Omens.
|Titre||THE CITY OF MASKS|
|Type|| large city Corruption +0; Crime +4; Economy +4; Law –1; Lore +1; Society +6 ;Qualities holy site, no questions asked, notorious, prosperous, tourist attraction ;Danger +20
|Population|| 13 300
, Population 17,300 (13,200 humans, 1,350 halflings, 720 tieflings, 510 half-elves, 470 half-orcs, 340 gnomes, 320 elves, 180 dwarves, 210 other)
King of Keys Delaraius Solzakarr (NE male human rogue 3/cleric of Norgorber 17)
Queen of Blades Mera Bantikere (CN female halfling swashbucklerACG 16)
Queen of Blood Pirreta (CN female lunar nagaB3 sorcerer 13)
Queen of Delights Manticce Kaleekii (CN female tiefling aristocrat 2/witchAPG 17)
Queen of Whispers Simandu (NE female jorogumoB3 rogue 10)
|Limite (po)||14,400 po|
Base Value 14,400 gp; Purchase Limit 100,000 gp; Spellcasting 9th Minor Items 4d4; Medium Items 3d4; Major Items 2d4
Available Armor and Weapons : +1 banded mail, +3 composite longbow (Str +3), +3 greater shadow chain shirt, +2 shadow breastplate
Potions and Scrolls: oil of arcane mark, oil of bless weapon, potion of bull’s strength, scroll of darkness, scroll of desecrate, scroll of halt undead, scroll of inflict light wounds, scroll of lightning bolt, scroll of protection from spells, scroll of wall of ice
Rods, Rings, and Wands: lesser rod of extend metamagic, ring of wizardry III, rod of enlarge metamagic, rod of flame extinguishing, wand of cure serious wounds (50 charges)
Wondrous Items: efficient quiver, handy haversack, necklace of fireballs type III, pearl of power (6th level), periapt of wound closure  SETTLEMENT QUALITIES
No Questions Asked Vyre’s citizens mind their own business and respect a visitor’s privacy. (Lore –1, Society +1) VYRE AT A GLANCE Squatting at the edge of the sea, looming over a harbor too shallow for larger ships, the City of Masks exists primarily to entertain. Here truly nothing is regarded as sin, and for the right price, anything is possible and even excusable. Yet Vyre is no anarchy—even this depraved city has laws that are enforced by a wide range of wellpaid and specialized peacekeepers.]
Vyre entertains, and does so outrageously. Its gambling halls, drug dens, brothels, and bloodsport arenas are an aperitif to even darker games and entertainments.
Private excruciations, blasphemous orgies, and obscene, gluttonous feasts take place nightly behind closed doors, and one never has to dig too deeply to secure invitations.
However, those who immerse themselves in Vyre’s underground amusements do so at their own risk, for once one attends such engagements, the penalties for exposing the identities of other guests or spreading the word beyond Vyre Island are grim indeed.
The city sprawls between two rising hills, its shallow harbor protected by a rocky isle that is home to the city’s government buildings and defensive quarter.
On a smaller rocky islet sheltered by the harbor looms Dunrock Prison, one of the most notorious jails in Avistan. The city is a tangle of wood and stone that opens here and there into sprawling markets. A haze of smoke lies over the city, and in a strange twist to most urban centers, the streets tend toward quiet during the day, when most of the citizens sleep off the previous night’s debauchery, and come to noisy and riotous life at night. The experiences of Vyre don’t stop with sight and sound. The streets are a complex melange of smells as well—mixtures of the brine and fish of the harbor mix with exotic spices and foods and perfumes adorning a mix of cultures drawn from across the Inner Se.a Locals claim that one can even navigate Vyre blindfolded and with earplugs, following scent alone as one’s only guide—although woe to those who willfully abandon their awareness in a place like the City of Masks! Vyre Factions Many different factions call Vyre home, but those summarized below represent the City of Masks’ most powerful groups and organizations.
Church of Norgorber: Few outside of Norgorber’s church realize the special significance Vyre holds for their god, for the mortal Norgorber was born in this very city. Norgorber’s interest has resulted in Vyre being among the strongest, if best-concealed centers of his worship.
Dunrock Turnkeys: The guards and wardens of Dunrock Prison are highly trained and universally known to be sadists and bullies. The fact that the prison’s jurisdiction doesn’t physically extend beyond its walls does little to blunt the respectful fear a Dunrock turnkey wearing his striking black-and-gray uniform solicits when he walks the streets of Vyre.
Hellknight Armigers: While no official Hellknight order keeps a citadel on Vyre Island, hopeful armigers from all orders come to the City of Masks to round out their experiences before submitting to a specific order for membership. Often clad in full plate that closely resembles Hellknight armor despite not officially belonging to any order, these expectants patrol Vyre’s streets for no pay, striving to uphold the city’s promises and keep Dunrock Prison well stocked with prisoners, unaware of the awful fate that awaits the majority of Dunrock’s “guests.” Masks of Vyre: The rulers of Vyre keep their identities secret, but each one, in theory, upholds one of the Five Promises of the city (see the sidebar on page 68). In turn, each of the self-styled kings and queens are served by a hand-selected group of guards, known collectively as the Masks of Vyre. Currently, the Masks of Whispers and the Masks of Keys are under the direct influence of the Church of Norgorber, and thus share resources and information, while the other three Masks of Vyre tend to focus on their own charters. The Masks of Delights police mercantile matters, transactions, and all forms of entertainment in Vyre. The Masks of Whispers control the flow of information and announcements in the city as well as protect the reputations of powerful citizens.
The Masks of Blades serve as the city’s militia, while the Masks of Keys seek to maintain the walls and locks that make up the city’s defenses. Finally, the Masks of Blood see to the representation of Vyre citizens in legal matters and defense against foreigners.
GoVernment and Law The city of Vyre is a place of organized chaos, but while so many of its movers and shakers accept this, the city itself is quite strictly regulated. Of course, these dictates often go unnoticed and unseen by most visitors. Unlike many cities, when one visits Vyre, there are no tariffs or taxes at the gates and no registers to inscribe names. Vyre prides itself on anonymity and on the protection of the same for its visitors. Yet none who visit Vyre can miss the prominently placed Five Promises (see the sidebar on page 68), graven in stone at the bases of numerous statues of masked heroes and villains from the city’s cosmopolitan past.
The city is ruled by a council of five, all of whom keep their true identities secret. They are referred to as the “kings and queens” of Vyre, yet their positions are hardly hereditary. Power in Vyre goes to those who can seize and keep it, and the secret nature of its rulers can mean that power can shift from one king or queen to the next with few noticing the change.
The greatest factor in maintaining the veneer of civility in Vyre, though, are not its leaders, but rather the constant presence of Dunrock Prison. This formidable island houses many of the Inner Sea’s most dangerous criminals, and the thought of being imprisoned here is more than enough to keep the bulk of Vyre’s citizens in line with the city’s few but immutable laws.
Index Géographique de VYRE
The following section presents information on key locations found throughout Vyre, although many more sites of interest exist in the city. These brief overviews are merely representative examples of the unique locales that await discovery in the City of Masks.
KeeLwracK Separated from the greater part of the city by the shallow waters of Keelwrack Harbor, two islands make up the district of Keelwrack. The larger of the two is Keelwrack Island, on which reside Vyre’s palaces and government buildings, yet it is the smaller isle, Dunrock (so named for the sadist who first claimed it as his home so many centuries ago) that commands so much of Vyre’s respect, for it is the location of one of Avistan’s most notorious prisons.
The waters of Keelwrack Harbor are quite shallow, forcing waterborne traffic to rely on barges, rowboats, and other similar watercraft. This natural feature protects against invasions by Taldor and other southern nations, and though it hasn’t helped much against raiders from the Linnorm Kingdoms, the numerous siege weapons mounted on the city walls do.
1. Vyre Palace: This great citadel is by far the largest structure on all of Vyre Island. The spired building is made of many-colored basalt and granite, and its central dome is a true wonder of architecture. The Kings and Queens of Vyre hold court here, but themselves dwell in one of the many manors spread throughout Keelwrack Island.
2. Dunrock Prison: This stark, gothic edifice squats atop a steep-walled spire of stone thrust up from the harbor, its land approaches limited to two stairways built into steep sea walls. The prison can house nearly 300 inmates in the cells carved into the rocky isle under the upper structure’s administrative floors, yet overpopulation has never been a problem. Dunrock is secretly ruled by the Skinsaw Cult, whose practice of selecting prisoners for sacrifice prevents overcrowding. Most of the prison’s turnkeys are humans or half-orcs, though at least a few are disguised jorogumos (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 3 156) loyal to Father Skinsaw. The prison (and thus the Skinsaw Cult) is run by Warden Delaraius Solzakarr, the King of Keys. Several of the deepest levels below Dunrock extend below the harbor. Rumors among the prisoners that the turnkeys long ago lost control of these deep levels to underground horrors, who in turn “recruit” some of the prisoners who go missing, may not be entirely fanciful. The Queen of Whispers, Simandu, maintains some control over these deepest chambers, yet even she doesn’t have a full accounting of what dwells deep within.
3. The Lantern: Glowering out to sea, this fortresslike lighthouse sheds a strange mauve light that can be seen by ships a score of miles away. The Lantern is run by Harbormaster Morgramb Hudd (NC male human ranger 9), who also operates a smuggling business with the help of a few cohorts.
the Vise Vyre’s bustling waterfront district, known as the Vise, is so called for the belief that this area is where Vyre seizes new visitors and never lets them go. Consisting of the subdistricts of Southmarket and Old Vyre, the Vise contains the bulk of the city’s infrastructural support.
As the place where travelers to Vyre first set foot in the city, the Vise also has a large number of inns and taverns. Numerous hostels, which serve as both taverns and inns, can be found in the Vise. The more eminent establishments feature small roving staffs of guides who also serve as self-styled “Reputation Watchers,” doing their best to ensure their guests retain their anonymity.
4. The Dancing Cat: The Dancing Cat is denoted by a gaudy sign depicting a cat leaping on a bed of hot coals.
This hostel is one of the oldest in Vyre, and its prestige for protecting reputation is unparalleled. It is also under the watch of the Cult of Norgorber; its owner, Inaminah Clov (NE female half-elf rogue 5/cleric of Norgorber 7), leads the local branch of the church under Norgorber’s incarnation as the Reaper of Reputation. Many know the truth of Inaminah’s faith and that of her staff, but they mistakenly suspect the Dancing Cat to be Norgorber’s primary public church in the city when, in fact, it is but a minor shrine.
5. The Heavenly House: This hostel keeps contracts with dozens of brothels in Vyre and can arrange for discreet visits from whichever bawdy house a patron chooses. Its owner and manager, Pirreta, also secretly serves Vyre as the Queen of Blood. She leaves most of the day-to-day management of the place to the selfeffacing so-called “Slip King,” Golath Thamus (N male halfling sorcerer 8).
6. Munkchuff’s Quay: This cluster of houses built atop a tangled boardwalk exhibits a countless array of freaks, outre objects, and glimpses of madness meant to intrigue and delight the connoisseur of the outlandish.
Its owner, Algernon Munkchuff (N male dwarf bard 7), is a collector of all that is strange and—ideally—disturbing, and visitors who can add to his collection of curiosities can earn discounts on their stay.
7. The Seven Apples: The Seven Apples is owned and operated by the elderly Molly Mayapple (see page 62 for her full statistics), who has worked to make her hostel appeal to adventurers who come to Vyre for rest and relaxation. Molly retains a wide ranging network of guides and advisors who provide affordable aid to her guests, both in the form of helping them get around the city, but also in keeping them informed of possible adventures to find in the city itself.
PauPer’s PaLace The quietest and largest of Vyre’s districts is known as Pauper’s Palace. This is the city’s residential district, a safe place where the locals can retreat, relax, and prepare to once again entertain the hordes of eager visitors on the following night. Though the application process for becoming a citizen of Vyre is long and arduous, the city does not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, religious belief, government affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, or any other social division. The subdistricts of Pauper’s Palace range from the southeastern slums known as the Whispers to the middle-class neighborhoods of Nettles, Graystone, and Duskwalk, finally reaching the old-money neighborhoods of Westwatch and Sunshade to the northwest. At the core of these neighborhoods lies the River District, the most diversely populated subdistrict of Pauper’s Palace.
8. The Blissful Abattoir: There are no graves in Vyre. When a visitor perishes, the body is returned to the person’s home. If the deceased has no home to return to or is a local, agents of this somber building come into play. The orange-cloaked Collectors of the Abattoir wear distinctive beaked masks that resemble the attire of plague doctors, and while they claim to serve psychopomp ushers (and beyond them, Pharasma herself ), they are actually agents of Norgorber in his aspect as the Gray Master. Their true specialty is not in the theft of valuables but in the theft of bodies. In theory, the dead of Vyre are cremated, but in practice, animal remains are often substituted for the corpses, which are in fact smuggled into Dunrock Prison or abroad for animation as undead minions. The Collectors are led by Quentin Crabb (NE male human cleric of Norgorber 13), who, as has his predecessors before him, has done an excellent job hiding the truth of the Collectors from the public and periodic inquisitive investigators from the church of Pharasma.
9. Graveolent Gardens: This park sits on the edge of the Pauper’s Palace, and was originally meant to be a gift from the city’s nobility to the underclasses.
Unfortunately, no nobles agreed to pay for its upkeep, and now the gardens are a functional shantytown gripped by ancient trees, fancy ornate ironwork, and glowering statues. Here, the homeless vie among themselves for survival, but few ever manage to escape once they fall into the gardens’ net of poverty.
10. Darakole Sanitarium: Experimentation with tainted drugs, the crushing humiliation of a devastating gambling loss, and exposure to dark magic or forbidden rites have claimed the minds of many visitors to Vyre.
While some victims are sent to Dunrock Prison, those whose friends are influential or rich enough can pay to instead have them confined in Darakole Sanitarium.
Whether regarding a person who is admitted to Darakole as being “fortunate” is fair or not depends on the situation, for the sanitarium itself is but another front for the worship of Norgorber. Anja Creeve (NE female human alchemistAPG 9) runs Darakole Sanitarium, and she and her orderlies worship their patron as Blackfingers and use many of their hapless charges to experiment with strange new drugs and poisons.
BLiss When one thinks of Vyre, most often one pictures the district of Bliss and its neighborhoods of Sanctuary, the Cradle, and Nightcrown. Here is where the city’s storied fighting pits, gambling dens, drug emporiums, brothels, dance halls, and other venues of outlandish and extraordinary entertainment can be found. Exact offerings change seemingly monthly, as shops and establishments go out of business, only to be replaced by new options for distraction and deviance.
11. The Final Throw: Part circus, part casino, the Final Throw is owned by Mera Bantikere, although her work as the city’s Queen of Blades has kept her from being able to be a part of the show as much as she would prefer.
12. Heretic’s Row: This temple-lined street was originally intended to be the center of religion in Vyre, but time and the growing influence of Norgorber has shifted its purpose to one bordering on blasphemy. Today, the old temples of faiths that have long since abandoned the city are used almost as trophies. When a gambling hall, brothel, drug den, or other house of ill repute makes a name for itself, its owners can claim one of these abandoned houses of worship as their own as a show of their success—maintaining their presence within the walls as long as they can afford the steep rent to Vyre’s rulers.
Few establishments last long within the walls of a fallen church before they are forced to abandon their prestigious domain and start anew in a less expensive (and less desirable) location elsewhere in Bliss. The names and purposes of these temples shift constantly as a result, with over half being abandoned and empty at any one time. In theory, the city keeps undesirables out of the empty temples, but in practice, strange cults and outlaw gangs take up residence within those that remain abandoned for too long. The hiring of adventurers to periodically clean out dangerous squatters from a church in Heretic’s Row is a time-honored tradition in Vyre. However, one building, an old cathedral of Abadar, has never been claimed, for it is the headquarters of one of Vyre’s most insidious cults, the Scarlet Sign. Created centuries ago by the demon Vissagho (CE male vrolikaiB2 rogue 2), the Scarlet Sign is a sinister secret society attended by nobles from throughout Cheliax who wish to keep themselves viable in Vyre’s politics. With funds flowing in from across the nation, the leaders of Vyre have never rented out this cathedral, knowing that doing so would invite the violent dissatisfaction of the cult’s murderous founder. What strange plots and desires compelled Vissagho to found the Scarlet Sign in the first place are known only to him.
13. Opal Market: The great market of Vyre sprawls in the city’s heart, quiet and slumbering by day, yet waking at night into a riot of color. Outlandish bargains can be claimed in the Opal Market, and fortunes made for those lucky enough to attract the right attention at the right time. Exotic companions, dinosaur tamers, caterwauling stilt-walkers, flaming sword swallowers, con artists, shady alchemists, brilliant inventors, peddlers of untested experimental drugs, and purveyors of strange magic are common sights here. The market is overseen by Manticce Kaleekii, who augments her interests by serving, in secret, as Vyre’s Queen of Delights. She dwells in sprawling Cobweb Manor, which squats on a hill looking out over the Opal Market.
The sewers of Vyre are as ancient as the city, but despite their age they are well maintained by various guilds and agencies, yet not entirely for the purpose of sanitation. As one might guess in a city all but ruled by the church of Norgorber, the sewers of the City of Masks are a sprawling network of secret tunnels, vaults, guilds, and lairs of all manner of criminal activity. Significant portions of the catacombs and sluiceways are left to monsters such as otyughs, kobolds, troglodytes, faceless stalkers, and even more powerful creatures such as nagas or seugathi keep isolated lairs within. The thieves and other criminals give the monsters a wide berth, and in return enjoy the additional security such dangerous neighbors afford. The sewers of Vyre are thus ripe with opportunities for adventure, but also for death as well. Explorers are advised to travel with care! Vyre’s Five Promises Vyre’s laws are simple, yet prominent, and represented throughout the city in stone carvings below statues of ancient heroes and villains. All visitors to Vyre are expected to uphold these five promises, as are her citizens—those who break these regulations and cannot offer defense invariably end up in Dunrock Prison.
I Shall Honor All Coin: Transactions are always binding and refunds are not guaranteed. Do not burgle or steal.
Price itself is always negotiable.
I Shall Speak Many Names: Names spoken in Vyre are to be accepted as truth. Do not publicly spread visitors’ true identities if they want them hidden.
I May Wound Yet Shall Not Kill: Let your enemies live, that they might have a chance at revenge. If you cannot abide such threats, make no enemies at all.
I Know None Are Below Me: Even the lowliest beggar may well be a high priest of Norgorber. In Vyre, all forms of prejudice are frowned upon, and the racist, the misogynist, the classist, and the like must tread with care.
I Shall Let Closed Doors Remain Closed: Breakings of these promises that occur in private are considered to have never been broken at all, lacking a burden of proof, but revealing closed-door secrets without sufficient evidence is answered with imprisonment.
- Hell's Rebel - Dance of the Damned