Architecture of the Empire

I am looking for some guidance on the architecture of the buildings of the Empire, I wanting to know how each nation would style their buildings, what they would be made from, the size etc. I’m referring to dwellings as opposed to public buildings.

Any help is much appreciated.

Most Highguard buildings are public - or semi public. The Chapter houses are something between a cross between monastic complexes and castles - fortified monasteries?

Mostly made of stone, and generally large, tall and pretty imposing, and designed to house lots of people, with farmland and functional gardens laid out around them.

In the cities I’m imagining more like dutch or roman multistory townhouses close together. Very clean and orderly, with lots of fountains and inspirational statues on a neat and organised street plan.

Urizen also doesn’t really have the differentiation between types of buildings, in most spires you’ll have both Public and Private spaces in the same construction. Most Spires are going to be somewhere between fairytale castle, greek Mountain monastery and Himalayan structures.

With the note that Urizen has a number of structures that were not built by humans or to human scales. The places tend to be large, airy and filled with light.

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If you want to know what my PC’s home looks like, go and watch Cadfael, then put a spooky arcane library and a load of magical glowing stones all round the set. :smiley:. Actually, just go watch Cadfael, it’s excellent.

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My Marcher Landkeeper lives:

  1. In an Upwold Farm with his family. It is a sturdy brick built structure, two storey, with a thatched roof. The yard contains the sort of clutter that only young children could achieve. Above each entranceway is a six inch tall straw doll. In the kitchen the range is kept warm and a ginger tomcat with a scar through one eye scowls from his favourite corner.
  2. In a Mitwold Inn. When he’s in town he puts his staff outside the door so people know he’s available, and then holds court at his favourite table. Not doing much effort on this one since it is a public building.
  3. In shepherd’s bothies along the routes. Small but proud sit a series of stone built shelters along popular routes. The farmer who owns the land will tend to make sure there are apples and wood in each, and to move on any who would stay without working. When travelling, and when he doesn’t need the luxuries, he tends towards a simple place to rest out of the weather.
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I imagine Barcelona for Siroc, Madruga, Brass Coast… with Gaudi’s Park Gruel-style taken over 99% of the city and surroundings… and then throw in some Mediterranean colourful plaster and painting… and then throw in some of Jaipur’s extra paint.

However, since we chopped down all of our trees to build our ships, I think we rely heavily upon cut stone, bricks, concrete, cement, and bamboo, for our structural materials. Being on the coast, I see a heavy use of seagrass for baskets, rather than wooden boxes (wooden objects being a visible sign of wealth in the Coast) for containers.

I can also see a possibility of cliff dwellings (see the desert tribes of North America) and carved caverns (Cappadocia in Turkey), where the terrain gets ultra rocky, such as in Kahraman, Brass Coast.


Varushkan architecture is that of the early medieval Eastern Europe that inspires it, and reflects the harsh environment and practicality of the people.

Buildings are timber and/or stone as local resources dictate. Steep roofs for snow. Food storage cellars. Vales probably have single family houses, Outposts might well be more communal/barracks like.

Every settlement has a clearly defined boundary for warding - often with a wall or palisade. The central hearth-fire of Anvil-Varushka implies similar communal fires are common - indoors or out.


I see Dawn as being rather polished. And inclined to show-off.

Walls of stone or brick, and likely plastered. Roofs of bright tiles or thatching with fancy show-pieces on top. Internally wooden joists and beams, likely with a little carving decoration.
Wooden sheds and outbuildings, but anywhere where people live is going to be pretty sturdy.

The larger houses are likely to display trophies in the form of military souvenirs, mementos from competitions, or even a House sigil that they serve/served atop the door. Tradesmen and skillled artisans may well have a series of small shields, each painted with a House symbol, on their door, signifying their noble customers.

And then you come to the Houses, which are highly varied. Ranging from fortified manor houses (with crenellations and watch-towers), to slightly over-ambitious castles in the late medieval French/English styles. Often white-washed or in pale stone, with any ivy or similar pruned to ornamental levels. Roofs of slate or tiles, and many flags of the House and Nobles in residence.

If it can be built in a shiny and impressive manner, it probably has been. If it can be ornamented, it likely has been. Carvings, paintings, mosaics, flags, statues and inlay abound. Often with a subtle (okay, not that subtle) note saying who’s responsible for this glorious work of art.

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I mean, the majority of Siroc is a huge amount of tents- I imagine it being something not dissimilar to a bazaar stretching the size of a city. I wouldn’t be surprised if a significant portion of the Freeborn housing was mobile!

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I can see tent-cities being something once away from the coast itself, on the steppes, yes, tents aplenty. But Siroc doesn’t move, because of the shipyards, quays, piers, etc. Same with the shipyards and the lighthouse/spire in Atalaya; those would be fixed abodes.

The main core of Siroc doesn’t move, but the tent city sounds like it’s bigger than the stone city-

Brightly coloured tents extend Siroc out far beyond the small cluster of stone buildings that make up the heart of the city.

The other cities seem to be more conventional stone structures though, often with impressive decorations.

Quzar, in Madruga

The largest settlement here is Quzar, a bustling port town of white towers and stained glass that is sometimes described as the soul of the Brass Coast.

Anduz, in Segura

The largest town in Anduzjasse, built on the ruins of a much older settlement. Depending on which historian one asks, the ruins belonged either to the Terunael or the Faraden; regardless of their provenance, the settlement was much larger than modern Anduz - for which it provided a great deal of building material. Many of the structures of Anduz incorporated elements of the older city which gave it a distinct aesthetic.

Damata, in Mahraman

Damata was famed for its walls, every metre of which is covered in finely calligraphed script, recording stories that have been told amongst the Freeborn for generations. One day, they say, there will be no more room for writing, and then the town will perish, its life written.


I don’t know why I didn’t look closer at the Wiki, but thank you.

Seems my Pinterest board for the Freeborn shelter and set dressing was correct, rather than my recent imagination believed.