Liberlais is a thriving community perched on the very edge of an ocean coastline. The area’s native residents, the Archonian Zeran's built their first homes here in comfortable caves located higher up on the mountain, away from the Frozen lake below. When expansion began in earnest, the Archonian Zeran's had no real plan and as such they produced a true city in the mountain hence turning Liberlais into a fascinating example of unusual urban design.
Liberlais’s official government is a council of the oldest Archonian Zeran's, but their rule doesn’t go unchallenged. An influential cult exists within the city, dedicated to chaos that propgate the desire for Liberlais to abandon its laws and return to a state of ultimate freedom.
Liberlais is unusual in that most of its foundation was laid by nature. Millennia of seasonal storms blowing in from the ocean eroded vast openings in the mountainside, resulting in something resembling a massive insect hive fashioned of stone. Most structures are primarily carved from the native rock, working artifi cial elements smoothly into the natural. Builders take care to strengthen the sides of the buildings that directly face the lake, reinforcing the existing stone with treated wood, magic, or both. The locals have a natural facility with wood, which grows in abundance on the top of the mountians. Only at the highest elevations, where the wealthy and powerful dwell, do structures use more attractive or more delicate substances.
Liberlais features several main “roads,” with a number of crisscrossing “side streets.” In a city in which each structure is at a slightly different elevation from every other one, creating traditional thoroughfares is a challenge. The original residents used their wings and natural ledges to get around, and crossing from one side of the city to the other required a fair bit of climbing. The city’s engineers later decided to build upon this system rather than discard it entirely; the result more resembles a network of suspension bridges than a customary street layout. This network of so-called bridgeways connects all the major neighborhoods to a large area of flat ground about halfway up the mountainside. This open space is the closest thing Liberlais has to a town square, and many of the major businesses and markets are located there or nearby.
The remainder of the city, particularly the poorer neighborhoods farther down the mountain, is more like a hive. Business zones are the easiest to reach and navigate, with private residences taking up outlying areas of town. Visitors who arrive by sea face quite a climb, whether they seek supplies or wish to consult with city luminaries. Most of the city’s important locations are at least midway up the cliff. Strangers in Liberlais are encouraged to stick to the safest areas of the city, including the central plaza and the strongest bridgeways leading to it.
Despite its unique foundation, Liberlais remains a Zeran community at heart, and it still feels like one. Daily life here is precarious, yet the locals find the time to offer up a pleasant smile or cheerful greeting even to total strangers. Because of their origins and beliefs, the Zerans of Liberlais are innately good-hearted but are still as violent in times of war with the other Zeran factions. Living in such an environment requires absolute harmony with its perilous nature. Despite progress and solid engineering, Liberlais still sees a number of injuries and deaths from falling or drowning every year. Proximity to potential disaster and loss has given the people a hard edge, but it hasn’t stripped them of their compassion.
Liberlais is largely bereft of crime, unlike other coastal cities. The easygoing nature of its inhabitants, coupled with the magical power of its ruling body, discourages unpleasant behavior. As usual, though, this condition holds less true in the poorest sections of town, where many residents don’t have the wealth or skill even to secure their homes with doors. The city does maintain a watch (which reports directly to the Zeran council) but they are largely ineffective. Poor residents are left to fend for themselves, which not only encourages crime but fosters resentment toward both the watch and the ruling elite.