My Fold setting started simply; a single city, used in a number of games, where it evolved, adapted and grew. Initially it was a simple port town; a little scummy and dangerous. It then became a larger trading hub and port town, until it became how it is now; a large industrial metropolitan seaport and market hub, as well as a religious mecca for scores of the faithful. Other settings have cities like this. Forgotten Realms has Neverwinter and Waterdeep, Eberron has places like Stormreach, Sharn and Aundair and the likes. Now, I will admit, Eberron has been a big influence on some aspects of my setting; but I've done my best to avoid aping it completely. I like, particularly, Eberron's pulp fiction atmosphere, and the idea of the 'City of Adventure', which is something I've tried to make with Tallowport. There's criminal gangs, secret cults in the sewers and catacombs, an entire industrial district beneath the streets, full of construct workers and dark corners, and dark secrets above the pavements.
Tallowport, in the setting, started as a small fishing port, which became more and more prosperous, able to support a sizable market, which of course drew more and more attention, and people flocked to it to utilise the trade and travel opportunities of the port. Of course, the melting pot of diverse cultures that resulted was volatile, and this 'neutral' place was soon fraught with violence. Cue the entrance of The Church of St. Cuthbert; a religion that had splintered off from the Order of Illumination, a religion that had skyrocketed in popularity amongst many humans and nonhumans alike (More on religions later). The Church of St. Cuthbert, while sometimes draconian, managed to arbitrate a peaceful solution and arranged for fair and equal trade for all visitors and residents, and even moved to allow religious equality. The Church, of course, became the major power; the clergy working alongside the city guard, adjudicating in legal matters, even setting up the town's ruling figure; the Prince Bishop. The vast majority of established religions are allowed to practice openly and have a street level temple, though a number of the darker or more secretive faiths chose to operate in hiding, despite the amnesty provided. This move caused an even greater influx of people, causing the town to grow even further. Then, the industrial revolution started, and the forges, smithies and workshops began to grow, and foundries, factories and plants popped into existence; even expanding the city over 'unusable' terrain such as boggy deltas and the likes; even spreading the town beneath the earth; tapping into previously unknown geothermal power sources.
Industry flourished; bringing even more people, causing even more growth, especially as the dwarves started showing up, bringing their expertise and skill.
Tallowport thrived, and Tallowport became 'that city'. The city where almost anything is possible, and a story is happening around every corner. Bloodthirsty pirates, slaver rings, political corruption, monsters in the sewers and who knows what else?