Nivlem, The Realm Within A City

If you lose yourself in a book here, you might be found by something unpleasant.

Nivlem books

Nivlem is an abandoned world of humongous proportions. Ages ago, it was inhabited by a race of giants whose curiosity and hubris paralleled their size. They delighted in science and exploration, building monuments to their own achievement. When the Cataclysm struck they did not fear the Aether, but rather began investigating and experimenting on it as a power source. The fact that not a single member of this race remains to enjoy the fruits of this experimentation should tell you something about how good an idea that was. Nivlem’s present-day ruins are mute testament to the dangers of Pandoran technology.

Still, there are always fools who believe that they will succeed where others have failed. In the giants’ absence, explorers from Nitar and other realms began to scavenge the enormous ruins. In time, the explorers became settlers as they founded outposts within the shells of abandoned buildings. A new civilization rose, and now the descendants of those settlers are indigenous Nascent in their own right. Now they see themselves as curators more than explorers, tasked with cataloging and keeping safe the knowledge of a forgotten age.


Nivlem is populated by humanoid Nascent. They tend to be pale and weak-eyed, with a touch of agoraphobia that comes from living indoors one’s entire life. Nivlem culture is based around archiving and storing knowledge in all forms, with “pure” sciences taking precedence over “applied” ones.

The long-dead giants go by many names. Some people call them Brobdingnagians. Others say that this is too pedestrian, and that the first set of people should feel ashamed of such an unoriginal name. Still others are confused by the conflict, don’t understand the reference, and wish that the other two groups could just settle down on a name so that the relevant texts could be alphabetized properly.

Geography and scale

Nivlem is a very large realm, and it is only partially explored. The present-day civilization is contained within a relatively small portion of a single Brobdingnagian city. Individual buildings are large enough to house thousands of inhabitants, with residents constructing homes out of whatever materials lay at hand. In the metropolis of Library, for example, rooms and passages are hollowed out of books on the shelves. (After all their contents have been transcribed, of course.)

Although the former rulers of the realm are long gone, the original giant-sized flora and fauna remain. Flowers grow larger than a tall man in Nivlem, and trees are staggeringly high. Insects and vermin can pose a serious threat to an unprepared visitor, to say nothing of the larger beasts. This creates interesting challenges in agriculture and animal husbandry, but the people of Nivlem are nothing if not adaptive when it comes to matters of scale.

Major buildings in Nivlem include:

  • the Library (seat of governance and commerce)
  • the Foundry (industrial hub)
  • the Orchard (agriculture and outdoor recreation)


Though the residents of Nivlem value knowledge above all else, little is known about the inner workings of Pandoran technology. It is possible that the Nascent of the realm have simply been too preoccupied with exhaustive research into, and categorizing of, other aspects of the realm. Or it could be that many of the Returns Librarians have disappeared, while Technicians have often met unfortunate ends with little to show for their efforts. Whatever the cause, much of the technology seems to be an integration of pandoran and more mundane technology.


World Balance

Fire 2   Terrain: Caverns
Light 5   Technology: Pandoran
Electricity 2   Government: Meritocracy
Water 3   Wildlife: Epic
Stone 5   Culture: Artisan
Darkness 2   Society: Centralized
Air 2   Creed: Rational

Culture & Governance/Society-Katie

Books image courtesy of EDM Insider


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