With the upcoming game taking place in a completely home-brew setting I figured it might be helpful to give a lay of the land. I've run many adventures in this land (not all of which my group has know were also here) and it's never steered me wrong. Best of all it is setting neutral meaning whatever your game of choice is it will work. This is Ashen Grey during the Age of Exploration the last time my players had visited the city and one of its greatest golden ages.
The city, the state, the people, Ashen Grey. A land where Science and Magic hold just as much power and the world is in a constant state of expansion, both physically and technologically. The city sprawls for miles with a constant fog overhead fueled by the hundreds or chimneys and smoke stacks while the country sides are filled with farms to feed the growing population. Outside its boarders is dense wildlife waiting to be explored and hopefully claimed for expansion. At its peak the city itself spread ten miles by ten miles with county side sprawling out another eight to the North East and West while the limitless ocean lay to the South.
While vast the city is naturally broken down into several districts each with it's own personality.
City Center In the center of Ashen Grey sits the City Hall. This is the meeting place of the royal court as well of the home of the king. From its halls come the city guard, all municipal services, and the communal meeting halls for each of the districts. While considered a single building the City Hall is actually a complex of multiple halls and gardens and easily considered the be the most heavily guarded location in the city.
The Ivory Tower The first truly grand building to be constructed in the city, the tower, along with its surrounding complex, actually floats several hundred feet above the Ashen Grey itself. Built by the high elves and sent aloft as a gift from the king and the first of the rock gnomes to move to the city. This is the local mage's school and arcane university. While the high elves run the school all races with an aptitude towards magic are said to be welcome but in truth merely tolerated.
The Dwarven Quarter While Dwarves can be found living and working just about anywhere within the city this district is considered their true home due to its easy access to the ancient complex below. While many smiths and craftsmen will this district the Two Hammers Mining Company (THM) is the soul mining company here and in all the kingdom specializing in excavating the Dwarven ruins below Ashen Grey. Run by the Dwarven brothers Torbalt and Dorburt Holdfast the main work force in primarily Dwarven with the occasional Half Orc and Human hired for menial physical labor. While in official capacity THM is the only group to venture into the ruins in truth it is common that the company hires mercenaries and at times even the city guard to clear out the nastier areas they uncover. When this happens the usually agreement is that those sent into the ruins are free to collect any valuables they find with the company then coming in and harvesting the raw materials from the ruins.
The Gnome Quarter Where science is king and explosions are common, the Gnomish Quarter is a hectic swarm of progress. While all races are common in this area the curious Rock Gnomes have flocked here due to the local guard's lack of supervision over their many endeavors. Full of trade and wonders nothing embodies the spirit of the Gnomish Quarter more than the grand store Bards & Nobles where minor magic items, spells, and blueprints line the same shelves and books and spices. Due to the occasional experiment gone awry there are more than a few Adventurer's Companies that have set up shop working freelance to take care of problems that are a bit too much for the local guard which is easily paid for from the wealth of sale of Auto Carriages and Forged both gnomish inventions born in the quarter.
Dragon Town Originally the site of a Dragonborn commune the area known as Dragon Town was created when Ashen Grey's expansion needed to envelope the lands of the nearby Dragonborn and sit within the edge of the Western country side rather than the city proper. Much has changed from the tribal community that once stood there, but the Dragonborn remain. Other races have moved into the area as space elsewhere in the city proper is limited, but the dragons still easily outnumber all others here. While this has meant building of larger and more modern buildings the culture of the Dragonborn still shines through strongly in Dragon Town making it feel almost as if it were its own tiny land. It is a common rumor that a cult of Dragonborn exist somewhere within Dragon Town still holding onto the races ancient history. Lore says they were once the servants of a powerful dragon and it is said that the cult known as The Red Claw wish to once again be servants to their true master. It's unsure if there is truth in these rumors or just rumors built on ancient tales.
Shoreline To the south the Endless Ocean stretches as far as the known land and looking over that vastness is Shoreline. For most of history this was the shadow of the rest of the city. Without any direct access to the farms of the country side or potential room to grow along the land Shoreline was the pit that the worst of the city crawled to when they had no where else to go, but in the recent years hardy explorers had found a chain of mostly safe islands only a few days travel South and began settling. The lure of an isolated district without the noise and pollution of the rest of the city caught the attention of some of the wealthier within the city. With this new expansion came trade and with that came more coin that the once poor district had ever seen. Sadly though this new light didn't exactly drive out the villainy that has call Shoreline home for so long. Instead it is rumored that with this wealth has risen a powerful thieves guild that has begun stretching it's influence in secret throughout the entire city.
Way Leaf Isle A days sail South of Shoreline will take you to the island of Way Leaf. While home of some of the wealthiest citizens of the city it is also a place of sailors and traders. Similar to Dragon Town the island had its own people that have been brought into the fold of Ashen Grey, the Mani'Tou a race of peaceful bison like men with strong backs and a knack for sailing. It was with their help that the trading company Leaf & Table were able to chart out a near by chain of islands just waiting to be explored.