City23: 1/52

i’m participating in Dungeon23 this year! kind of. there’s some talk about Dungeon23 by the creator of the challenge here, but the short version is that it’s a challenge to build a megadungeon, one room at a time, written each day over the course of 2023. a lot of alternatives have sprung up, including but not limited to City23, which i’m doing instead.

there are a lot of ways people are structuring their own goes at City23—i’ve been shown this structure a few times—but in my case, i’m planning to write one physical landmark in a fantasy-genre city each day! my city doesn’t have a name or any particular gimmick yet; i figure i’ll get there when i get there, you know. i just wanna see where this takes me, as it were.

for as long as i keep up with the challenge, i’ll be doing weekly posts of the results! the hope is to get posts up on saturday, but my saturdays are busy days, so you’ll have to forgive me if they go up late.

without further ado!


Old Times Alchemy; a potion shop focusing on old-style brews—comes dangerously close to the magical equivalent of cocaine in cola sometimes. widely dismissed as gimmicky, useless, or quacks, so what’s even keeping them in business?


pawn shop run by a witch. no formal name; the sign just says “pawn shop.” doesn’t deal in physical objects; trades for an hour of your time, a dream, a memory, a summer’s day, a story, your shadow. uninterested in souls or firstborns; there’s an oversupply of them. located in the back streets of the market district. has weird hours.


Port Causafell. a harbor for supply ships; trades, deliveries, cargo—basically anything that isn’t a pleasure boat lands here. always full of workers and sailor shanties. named after an old pirate king who retied in the city, using his wealth to expand the arts. work continues into the night, making it surprisingly safe even in the dark.


The Golden Grail Inn, name after the pirate king Causafell’s ship. located just far away enough from the docks, but not in the city, to be shady—avoids the work actively going on. a pleasant place to grab a drink early in thee evening, if ou can deal with the rowdy sailors, but gets more debauched and dangerous in the darkness as the night goes on. lots of seafood, strong drinks. functions more as a bar than an inn, but has rooms for sailors coming in.


Lantern Square. an open town square with a fountain in its center, and strings of lanterns strung up between decorative posts around the edges. the lanterns are magical, and need to be lit instead of lighting automatically. who lights them, though—and, truthfully, how they’re lit at all—is not common knowledge, and those who live near the square accept that it would be rude to snoop and spy. it’s said that the lanterns ward off ghosts and evil spirits. during events and festivals, the lanterns glow brighter than ever, take on colors, and flash and pulse. in the day-to-day, though, they just let people walk through the darkness safely. the square is a fairly popular social center.


Emila’s Gardens. a public garden close to the city square. well-maintained primarily by the priestesses of Emila, a minor goddess of the hearth, fertility, and spring; she’s associated with sharing abundance, and allowing people to partake in the beauty of nature is seen by some followers as a form of worship. the garden rival some noble estates; they arent huge, but aer well-planted and arranged, with each flower, bush, vine, and plant meticulously cared for. there are hedges along paths and flowery arches above them.


Elodie Vernal’s Finishing School. named for the founder, a member of the famous noble Vernal family, the school was once where noble children of all genders were sent to complete their educations and prepare themselves for their lives and duties. not so anymore. what used to teach manners and social climbing now focuses on something more arcane, so the rumors have it. it’s hard to be entirely certain: where entry was once a matter of wealth, these days, the school sends out invitations directly on a hereto unknown basis. students are sworn to secrecy, but seem to enjoy the lives they live upon graduation. it’s just that they generally will live them far away.

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    1. thank you so much!!! the imagery of the lantern square in particular came really vividly to me but the lore happened as i was actively writing it, which was fun; i’m glad it sounds just as lovely, too!!

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