Indigo, named for the gargantuan sapphire that once hovered above the upper city’s ivory towers, rests on a pillar in the mouth of a great crater in the Aldesian Ocean. It is one of the few “free states” that remains unclaimed by the vast racial empires, as well as the only free state with authorized trade routes into every continent.
Indigo was “founded” as a commercial trading post by the Eladrin Empire in XXXX. The settlement was called Inaniel until XXXX when the colony became a free state, adopting a Common name.
Indigo once exerted a powerful influence over global commerce, art, and research. Though its influenced has greatly waned, Indigo remains an imporant and powerful city. As the most central of the free states, it is also an important center for international affairs. The city is often referred to as the Sapphire City or the Aldesian Jewel – both names being holdovers from an earlier age.
The city consists of four boroughs: the Outer City, the Upper City, the Middle Pillar, and the Lower Reaches. The city’s estimated population exceeds XXXX. Given Indigo’s unique structure, this makes the city both the most populous and the most densely populated of the free states. Since data relating to imperial cities is difficult to come by, it is hard to say how Indigo ranks among them.
Much love to Jesse van Dijk for the whole of the inspiration behind Indigo.
The city was both completely intact and deserted at the time of its eladrin discovery in XX24 by Côfrinion Gaethil, an explorer in the service of the Feycrown, who called it “Inaniel”. Eladrin settlement began with the founding of an alchemical research camp on the southern shore of (what is now called) the Outer City in XX24.
In XX64, the city was surrendered to its cosmopolitan population and renamed “Indigo” after adopting Common as the state language. At the end of the Second Aldesi-Draco War the Feycrown relinquished control of the city in exchange for the XXX withdrawing from the XXXX Archipelago. Several interracial gang wars among the citizens and some epidemics brought on by the arrival of new immigrants caused sizable population losses between the years XX60 and XX70. By XX00, the eladrin population had diminished to 200.
Indigo grew in importance as a trading port after self-rule was established. The city hosted the influential Bazrum Grayfist trial in XX35, setting a prescedent for freedom of the press across the free states. In XX54, Gaethil University was founded under charter by Bellkandal Halaryl in the Upper City.
During the Dracoinsular Revolutionary War, the area emerged as the theater for a series of crucial battles known as the Indigo Campaign. After the Outer City Battle of Fort Gravelfist in XX76 the borough became Indigo’s military base of operations, and a haven for Loyalist refugees. A major fire during the war led to the destruction of about a quarter of the city. However, by XX90, Indigo had surpassed XXXX as the largest city of the free states.
In the XXth century, the city was transformed by immigration and development. A visionary development proposal, the Shalecutter Plan of XX11, expanded the city’s Grand Elevator to extend to the whole of the pillar. Local politics fell under the domination of Tinandan Hall, a political machine supported by human immigrants. Public-minded members of the old eladrin aristocracy lobbied for the establishment of Torayaar Park, which became the only landscaped park in the city in XX57. A significant “freeforged” population also existed in the Outer City and Lower Reaches. Slaves had been held in the city through XX27, but during the XX30s Indigo became a center of abolitionist activism. Indigo’s warforged population was over XXXX in XX40. The Great Gnomish Famine brought a large influx of gnomish immigrants, and by XX60, one in four Sapphirians had been born in the Feywild.
Throughout the first half of the XXth century, the city became a world center for industry, commerce, and communication. However, this development did not come without a price. In XX04, the steamship General Steelbeard caught fire in the Western Seaport, killing XXXX people on board.
In XX11, the Tunnelbreaker Diving Suit Factory fire, the city’s worst industrial disaster, took the lives of 146 workers and spurred the growth of the city’s first official guilds and major improvements in factory safety standards.
Indigo’s non-Fey population was XXXX in XX90. In the XX20s, Indigo was a prime destination for half-orcs and dragonborn during the Great Migration from the Elemental Peninsula. The Waterside Renaissance flourished during the era, coincident with a larger economic boom that saw the Middle Pillar develop with the construction of city’s first airship dock.
Indigo became the most populous urbanized area in the free states in the early XX20s, overtaking XXXX. The difficult years of the Gate Opening saw the election of isolationist Vanwiliel Tathvaul as XXXX and the fall of Tinandan Hall after eighty years of political dominance.
Returning XXXX veterans created a postwar economic boom and the development of the Middle Pillar. Indigo emerged from the war unscathed and the leading city of the world, with the Upper City leading Indigo’s ascendance as the world’s dominant economic power, the Unaligned Nations headquarters (completed in XX50) emphasizing Indigo’s political influence, and the rise of alchemical reformulation in the city precipitating Indigo’s displacement of XXXX as the center of the arcane world.
In the XX60s, Indigo suffered from economic problems, rising crime rates, which reached a peak in the XX70s. In the XX80s, resurgence in the mercantile industry improved the city’s economic health. By the XX90s, crime rates dropped dramatically, many Aldesian transplants and waves of new immigrants arrived from XXXX and XXXX. Important new sectors, such as Distanced Transmutation, emerged in the city’s economy and Indigo’s population reached an all-time high in XX00.
The city was the site of the largest of the Events, when nearly XXXX people died in the destruction of the Great Sapphire. In the aftermath of the cataclysm, the city lost almost 80% of its population as the crater was flooded by the surrounding ocean. Lacking the Sapphire’s power, Indigo’s citizens could do nothing to stop the rising tide that resulted from a breach in the crater wall. Those who survived the Events were left marked by the gem’s destruction.
In the past 137 years, Indigo has begun to regain some of its former glory. “Natives” – those born from families who survived the Cataclysm of the previous century – are often marked by anomalies passed down through blood. The sapphire that once provided Indigo with nearly unlimited arcane energy is gone, forcing Sapphirians to utilize power sources the rest of the world has been developing for centuries.
Perhaps luckily, the Events of the Cataclysm left many other nations severely damaged, unable to attack what was once the prize of the Aldesian Ocean. As such, Indigo has enjoyed its longest period of peace since its discovery.
Indigo is located in the southeastern Aldesian Ocean, approximately halfway between the Elemental/Dragonborn Peninsula and Aldesia. Most of the city is built on an immense sea pillar at the center of an oceanic crater, making land scarce and encouraging a high population density.
Until the events of the Cataclysm, Indigo’s crater had been structurally sound and nearly impenetrable. However, one of the primordials released from beneath the city breached the crater wall, flooding the entire basin. This tunnel has since been collapsed and alchemically sealed.
The crater’s viable sky-facing land area is estimated at 113.04 square miles. Its total sky-facing area is 176.63 square miles. The pillar’s viable sky-facing land area is about 7.09 square miles. The pillar’s total viable surface area is about 84.78 square miles.
Under the Bronzeheart-Middlefoot climate classification, Indigo has a humid subtropical climate and enjoys an average of 234 days with at least some sunshine annually, for an average of 2680 hours of sunshine per year. When using the 0°C (Gnomish scientist standard) isotherm as criterion, it is the southernmost major city in free states that features a humid subtropical climate.
Summers are typically hot and humid with average high temperatures of 79 °F (26.1 °C) to 84 °F (28.9 °C) and lows of 63 °F (17.2 °C) to 69 °F (20.6 °C), however temperatures exceed 90 °F (32 °C) on average of 16 – 19 days each summer and can exceed 100 °F (38 °C) every 4–6 years. Winters are cold, and prevailing wind patterns that blow offshore minimizes the effect of the Aldesian Ocean. Yet, the Aldesian Ocean keeps the city warmer in the winter than inland Aldesian or Dragonborn cities located at similar latitudes such as XXXX, XXXX and XXXX. The average temperature in January, Indigo’s coldest month, is 32.1 °F (0.1 °C). However temperatures in winter could for few days be as low as 10 °F (−12 °C) and as high as the 50s °F (10-15 °C). Spring and autumn are unpredictable, and can range from chilly to warm, although they are usually pleasantly mild with low humidity.
Indigo receives 49.7 inches (1,260 mm) of precipitation annually, which is fairly spread throughout the year. Average winter snowfall is about 28.1 inches (71 cm), but this usually varies considerably from year to year, and snow cover usually remains little. Hurricanes and tropical storms are rare in the Indigo area, but are not unheard of and always have the potential to strike the area.
Note: Pre-Cataclysm Sapphirians enjoyed meticulously crafted weather patterns after the discovery of the Great Sapphire’s control over water. In the current age, Indigo’s citizens must deal with the problem of rainwater collection in the crater basin as well as less than ideal conditions for farming in the Outer City.
The primary housing and operations facility for the Sons of Erasmus.
Temple of Erathis
This large, impressive stone temple stands proudly opposite the ivory towers.
Steambeard and Sons Dwarven Ironworks
The ironworks’ foreman is Gribbit Steambeard IV.
The Well is a a neighborhood in the Lower Reaches borough of Indigo. It features the highest concentration of launderers in the city – an estimated 85% of residents operate laundry facilities out of converted housing units. Roughly 60% of Indigo’s washing needs are performed in The Well.
The constant high temperatures, and extraordinary degrees of humidity and condensation led to the neighborhood being known as “The Well of Yeathan,” often shortened to “The Well.”
Indigo City Prison
Temple of Moradin
The dwarven temple of Moradin was the only building in Indigo to be carved into the side of the crater until the Ironworks was rebuilt after the Cataclysm. It is also the city’s only temple to be housed in the lower reaches. The temple is connected to the main pillar via a man-made land bridge.
A small contingent of the Hammers of Moradin resides in the city; however, the temple mainly serves as a place of worship for Indigo’s growing population of dwarven engineers.
Sacrifices to Moradin take place both at the hearth within the temple itself as well as the adjacent dwarven forge.
Taverns & Inns
The Wet Scoundrel, on Weddingheath Way – Outer Rim
The Harlequin Mug, on Hart’s Side – Middle Pillar
The Witch’s Gauntlet, on Lower Wide Avenue – Lower Wards
The Stunted Foot, on Gramadrel St – Lower Wards
Culture and contemporary life
Factions / Associations
The Sons of Erasmus
Once led by Erasmus Hodge, the Sons of Erasmus are Indigo’s city guards. Though not literally Erasmus’ sons, the name stuck after Hodge, a human, inherited command of the city guard from his predecessor. Much to the dismay of the Eladrin nobles, Hodge ensured codified the admission of all able-bodied and willing free men in Indigo to the guard, regardless of race or social standing.
There has yet to be a Dragonborn member of the Sons.
The Sons of Erasmus are the only group of people authorized to use weapons or offensive magics within the city limits (or aboard civic vehicles).
The Grand Elevator