Life in Silverymoon
Silverymoon's extravagant temples and her citizens' pious devotion to the city's patron deities leave many with the impression that the town is dominated by religion. To a point this is true, as the gods have blessed very few places on Faerun as they have the Gem of the North. On the other hand, religion is only one of many factors that drive the social circles of noble and commoner alike, and it ranks no higher than the pursuit of art, commerce, and magic in the minds of most Silveraen.
Though Silverymoon remains remarkably open about individual religious observations, there is still a single restriction that must be observed: the Edict of the High Mage. As a result of this edict, decreed by High Mage Orjalun, no faiths may carry on any warfare with any other in the bounds of the city, nor may any faith use any religious practices that bring harm to another. This edict applies equally across all lines - priests of Torm are forbidden from attacking priests of Cyric just as the faithful of Malar are bound against harming druids.
|The Edict of the High Mage
"Let it be known that though our noble city may bask in the favor of one or a handful of the gods, our people are as different as the stars in the sky.
"Let none ever limit or restrict the worship of another. Let none cast aspersions on the faith of another. Let none question the spiritual worth of another's reverences.
"Know, however, that should any faith seek to limit the doings of another faith, that faith shall be censured, even if their reasons for doing so are just and good. Let the ill-doings of other faiths be brought before the High Mage, who shall judge that faith as all folk of Silverymoon are judged.
"Know, though, that should any faith be found guilty of murder or destruction as part of its sacred rites, let its faithful be cast out from the city, its altars shattered, its riches doled out to those it has harmed."
Silverymoon exports a number of rare and expensive items throughout the Realms. Her many merchant caravans bring coveted works of art and other fine products all throughout the North, where they are snatched up by other merchants and sent to places as far flung as Halruaa, Aglarond and a hundred other distant places.
Silverymoon is known for her lumber, often taken from the Moonwood to the north, which supplies the massive shadowtop and duskwood trees, coveted across Faerun for their fine grain and strength. The massive, straight trunks are also used to build ships' masts all throughout the North, and even as far away as Calimshan.
Silverymoon is also known as a bastion of artwork and fine crafts - merchants the Realms over clamor for the fine musical instruments, statuary, woodcarving, glassworks and other pieces of artwork that come out of Silverymoon.
Indeed, Silverymoon is also known as one of the few places where one can get the fine work of both elves and dwarves without having to deal directly with those reclusive folks in their far-removed places.
While places such as Citadel Adbar and Sundabar sell dwarven arms and armor aplenty, it is rare to find those dwarven craftsmen willing to sell their leather works, jewelry and other small "trinkets." Likewise, elven jewelry, glass and other works of art are eagerly sought after.
|Despite all of this, Silverymoon is perhaps best known as a haven of bards, scholars and wizards. In many ways, it might be said that education and music are its finest products, for folk come from far and wide in order to benefit from the University, the Vault of the Sages, Foclucan and other such institutions. Indeed, it has been posited that Silverymoon has the largest number of sages of any city in the Realms. While this may or may not be true, it certainly has far more than cities of like size elsewhere in the Realms and rivals the number of sages found in cities much larger than the Gem of the North.
|Coins of Silverymoon
Silverymoon mints a crescent-shaped, shining blue coin called an "electrum moon." They are worth 1 gp in Alustriel's lands and 5 sp elsewhere.
The other major currency is a larger, round coin called the "eclipsed moon;" they stamp the shining blue crescent of an electrum moon together with a darker silver wedge to complete a round coin, and it is worth 2 gp in the city and 1 gp outside the city.
This frequency of magical lore and training also means that Silverymoon sometimes has minor magical items for sale. These are rarely something as simple as walking into a shop and purchasing something from a case, however - the sale of magic items, even items of minor power, is viewed as a very special affair. More likely, these items are put up for auction or made to order. Some shops, however, have been known to have a prize piece that they are willing to sell, usually traded to them by an adventuring band or wizard in return for services rendered.
Art and music are the living soul of Silverymoon, and the Silveraen are provided with ample opportunity to enjoy both. The temples of Silverymoon are works of art themselves, and they house some of the greatest sculptures and paintings of the North. Music can be enjoyed any time in the taverns of Silverymoon, and the constant recitals of Foclucan provide another source of entertainment for concertgoers. Storytellers and puppeteers amuse children in the parks, while almost every daughter in the city learns to play an instrument in order to entertain guests of the family.
Owing to the long winters and rainy springs, the Silveraen take full advantage of summer to enjoy their beautiful surroundings. The Spring Faire at the end of Mirtul signals the beginning of the festival season, although most of the Silverymoon's festivals are held during the peak months of Kythorn, Flamerule and Eleasis. Ceremonies such as marriages are common during this time as well. Not surprisingly, then, Ches and Tarsakh are the most common months for birthdays in the city. During the summer months the streets are full of performers and artists of all kinds, and every day marks a new or ongoing festival.
Midsummer Riverfest is another large festival for the city. Only artists are allowed to set up tents and booths along the river during this time, though they often rent out part of their space to local merchants on a commission basis. Musicians wander the festival and play on the dozen stages set up along the river. A premiere concert is given on the third night of the festival in which the musicians play from the Moonbridge while members of the Spellguard cause the waters of the Rauvin to spray up in dazzling patterns and illusionists fill the air with colored lights. The festival culminates with a ritual bathing in the river that signifies the commonality of all of the city's denizens. Each citizen then plants a seed in the Garden of Silvanus, whose winter fruits and vegetables are used to feed the city's poor.
Since summer is the best time of year to visit Silverymoon, visiting nobility and dignitaries are treated to lavish parties during this time. The temples of the Palace Quarter often throw celebrations designed to attract patronage from believers from around the Realms. The egalitarian tradition of Silverymoon's temples demands that they exclude none from these parties, so they are usually all day affairs. The nobility attend the temple parties during the day when most commoners are plying their trades and move to private gatherings in the evening as the less fortunate begin to show up. Most of the working folks wouldn't have it any other way.
Silverymoon's culture doesn't die out during the winter months, it just, like most things, goes inside. Taverns and homes are ablaze with music and many of the city's merchants retreat to the Undermarket, where the harsh and unpredictable weather will not interrupt the flow of trade. Many Dwarven festivals also take place at this time, their timing designed so as not to conflict with the surface celebrations. All Silveraen are invited into the Underhome for these festivals, and many oblige. The largest of these festivals is the Brewfest in early Nightal, where the best spirit-makers in the city compete for the title of Brewmaster. Brewers, vintners and distillers all compete in their own categories, and the three winners then compete for the grand prize, the Golden Goblet. The Golden Goblet itself is a prized piece of artwork that is cast differently each year. Smiths and artists from far and wide compete each year to turn in the winning proposal that will eventually be made into the cup.
With Taern taking over the mantle of High Mage, the city has rejuvinated itself in the last few months. The Star Court has begun streamlining its procedures so that civil matters can be cleared up in the least amount of time, and the Spellguard have stepped up their efforts to keep the city clean and safe. Although the people of Silverymoon do not choose their leaders, there is a sense of participation nonetheless. All official positions are nominated and accepted by general acclimation of the other leaders, and citizens may protest actions or decisions they find unjust. This serves to keep the leaders accountable to the people while insuring a stable and trustworthy government.
Silverymoon has gained a reputation as a place of learning, culture and unexpected elegance in the brutal and untamed Savage North. The folk of Silverymoon consider themselves to embody the best of both worlds. They feel that they are still practical folk, as most frontiersmen are, and they are accutely aware that just beyond the glittering silvery-white walls of the Gem of the North lie untamed wilds lethal to most folk. Only the hardiest of survivors prospers here.
By the same token, however, the citizens of Silverymoon take pride in their city. The Gem of the North is no rough frontier town with rough-hewn log buildings and equally coarse citizens. They know that they are hailed across the North as a bastion of culture and civilization, a worthy heir to fallen Myth Drannor.
Two things have been part of the spirit of Silverymoon - and thus, part of its people - practically since its founding: the patronage of Mielikki and Lurue, and the practice and learning of wizardry. This has led to a folk that are, for the most part, unfazed by most things. Talking animals, magical motes of light and sound, wizardly duels and divine manifestations interest and concern the folk of Silverymoon, but don't necessarily frighten them. Surrounded by arcane threats within the city and by more worldly threats outside of the city, citizens of Silverymoon are best summed up by the words of the bard Therian Tunesilver:
"Honest, civil and open, with an understanding that this is the right way to behave with proper company. When company behaves improperly - be they divine messengers, arrogant archmages, high and mighty elves or would-be petty tyrants, pretty manners are set aside and troubles are dealt with. When the dust clears, we get along with a shrug and an apology for the necessity of it all, and go back to living our lives."
The Brothers Aerasumé: Though not everyone knows the precise roster of these near-legendary men, it is known that they are the half-elven sons of Alustriel. They are known to have silvery hair and to stand at very impressive heights. Perhaps the three best known of the Brothers Aerasumé are:
ˇ Marthammar the Silver Guard (LG male half-elf Ftr12/Wiz8)
ˇ Tarthilmor Aerasumé (CG male half-elf Ftr10/Wiz7), Spell-Captain of the Spellguard
ˇ Uoundeld of the Lady's College (NG male half-elf Wiz15/Ftr4), the instructor for Tactical and Strategic Spellcasting at the Lady's College
The Brothers are best known, apart from their distinctive appearances, for being warriors and spellcasters, as well as for their pegasi mounts.
Major Domo Culiathryn Silvergaze: Culiathryn Silvergaze (LG male half-elf Ari13/ Wiz3), so called for his silvery-blue eyes, serves Alustriel and Taern as the Major Domo of the High Palace. It is generally agreed that the dread most people feel upon realizing they must seek audience with the High Mage or the Lady of Luruar has little to do with dealing with either august personage - that's the easy part. The hard part is getting by Culiathryn, who is fastidious to a fault in his ideas of decorum, propriety and etiquette. He is scathingly critical, perceptive as a hawk and utterly, unswervingly loyal to Alustriel and Taern.
Mythros Syllantham: Mythros (NG male half-elf Brd8) is a roguish cad, given to flirting with every woman he meets, regardless of social standing, attractiveness or "availability." Anyone who spends any time with the charmer knows that Mythros simply flirts out of hand as a habit. Those who know him well know that this is simply part of his act - he is a Harper sworn, though currently "off-duty." Although he led the movement to see Foclucan reopened, he is now content to allow those with more time and fewer duties to finish the job.
Adventurers in Silverymoon
As in many places in the Realms, adventurers are looked upon with no small curiosity; after all, the average person does not willingly put themselves in danger time and again for the benefits of wealth, fame and magical power, however much the average person may dream about doing so.
For the most part, adventurers are seen as somewhat crazy and reckless, though certainly exciting. The arrival of an adventuring band to a tavern or inn is always something of interest to those within, who will often buy a round of drinks for the band, especially if they are telling tales of their latest expedition or showing off their souvenirs.
Unlike many places in the Realms, folk here don't automatically assume the worst of adventurers. The Savage Frontier has a long history of heroes and intrepid adventurers cutting a swath for civilization, and the folk of the Silverymoon (and the North in general, usually) respect that "hero's tradition."
However, Silveraen are not fools, either - they know true heroes are few and far between and that many adventurers are simply mercenaries, cutthroats and sell-swords. Silveraen have learned to judge the band by the company they keep; most Silveraen try to identify any clerics or paladins within the group to get a hint as to the overall nature of that company.
They also know that many adventurers are only too willing to engage in sword or spell-play at the slightest provocation; therefore, most Silveraen clear out when an adventuring band gets its "knickers in a twist," if only to summon the Knights in Silver or Spellguard. Most Silveraen also know that the first folk usually to stand up against bullying adventurers are likely to be other adventurers and are only too happy to show their gratitude appropriately.
A note to those who would misuse Silveraen hospitality: many of those everyday citizens with whom one interacts have had training in battle or spell themselves. Few are those in the North who do not find themselves in situations where the knowledge of how to wield a sword or cast a spell would not come in handy. With the number of adventurers about, it is not uncommon to find the barkeep who has learned to use the broadsword he keeps above the bar or the shop-keep who is able to use a cantrip or three to make his job easier - or that of a would-be burglar more difficult.
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