City of the Gods

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Greyhawk Realm
City of the Gods
Motto/Nickname unknown
Region Bitter North ("Old Blackmoor")
Ruler unknown
Government Feudal technocracy
Established Pre-cataclysm
Capital City of the Gods
Major Towns City of the Gods, Kolbenborg
Provinces unknown
Resources Artwork, mechanical devices, automatons
Coinage unknown
Population unknown
Races Humans, constructs
Languages unknown
Alignments unknown
Religions unknown
Allies Suel Imperium, modrons
Enemies Limbo

The City of the Gods is a legendary city in the northern Flanaess.


Ages ago (certainly before the Twin Cataclysms), the City of the Gods was the heart of a technocracy in what is now Blackmoor. The lords and ladies of the City used a combination of elemental magic and clockwork science to create automatons to perform all menial labor for them. Meanwhile, they devoted their time to art, philosophy, and war.

The original technology and magic of the City of the Gods seems to have been Baklunish in origin, based on secrets given to humans by the efreet.

The end of the age came when the city's automatons were struck down by a plague called "gear madness," or when the city's humanoid inhabitants transformed themselves into constructs themselves. Over the centuries, most of what remained of their civilization was covered by the encroaching Black Ice.

The City of the Gods was originally a fiefdom of some other land. The accessory College of Wizardry suggests that at some point before the City of the Gods was swallowed by the Ice, Blackmoor was claimed by the Baklunish Empire. By the early days of the Baklunish-Suloise Wars, the region now called Blackmoor was independent of the Baklunish and considered an ally of the Suel Imperium. During this period, the Suel emperor sent the people of Blackmoor an artifact known as the Unquenchable Scepter as a gift.

Occasionally, gears and other relics of this lost civilization will turn up in antiquities markets in various modern cities. These are eagerly sought by clockwork mages, gnomes, and dwarves, as well as groups like the Society of the Serpent.


The City of the Gods culture existed in what is now the Archbarony of Blackmoor, including the region now called the Land of Black Ice. How far north the culture extended is unknown, though the Land of Black Ice apparently extends all the way to the continent of Telchuria.


The humans of the ancient Blackmoor region were Flan, though they seem to have had Baklunish cultural influences. The azer claim to have had a role in the construction of the city of Kolbenborg. The constructs of the City of the Gods culture included brass men, dread guards, gear golems, and a ruling caste of nimblewrights. Even the city doors were intelligent constructs.

Dungeon #126 suggests that the Clockwork Fortress of the city of Kolbenborg, if repaired, will become a "machine cyst" of the sort described in Dragon #258 and #270.


The city was originally ruled by human lords and ladies, but they may have transformed themselves into the nimblewrights that came to rule the city in later years.


The artisans of the City of the Gods created works of both fine art and an advanced magical technology unmatched in its day.


The city of Kolbenborg included a magical portal known as the Gearspring Well, which allowed all the constructs of the city to communicate telepathically, and allowed travel to and from the plane of Mechanus.


The military of the culture were dread guards and brass men.

Creative origins

The City of the Gods was originally part of D&D co-creator Dave Arneson's Blackmoor campaign. Among the many groups who experienced it with Arneson as DM were Gary Gygax and Robert J. Kuntz, using their characters Mordenkainen and Robilar. In tribute to this, Gygax made Blackmoor and the City of the Gods part of the Flanaess in his World of Greyhawk campaign, modified somewhat to fit with the rest of the setting.

In Eldritch Wizardry, fragments from the writings of Tzunk make reference to "the coming of the City of the Gods" as a "future event."

Dave Arneson's original Blackmoor campaign became grandfathered into the Mystara setting with the publication of module DA1, Adventures in Blackmoor. This Blackmoor, set thousands of years in the past of the Known World, is not the same as the Archbarony of Blackmoor of the World of Greyhawk, though both contain a site called the "City of the Gods." A version based on Arneson's original appeared as module DA3, City of the Gods.

In Dungeon #126, Wolfgang Baur elaborated on Oerth's version of the City of the Gods, which provides the basis for this article.


  • Arneson, Dave, and David J. Ritchie. City of the Gods. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1987.
  • Baur, Wolfgang. "The Clockwork Fortress." Dungeon #126. Bellevue, WA: Paizo Publishing, 2004.
  • -----. "Dreams of Arabia." Dragon #334. Bellevue, WA: Paizo Publishing, 2005.
  • -----. "Raiders of the Black Ice." Dungeon #115. Bellevue, WA: Paizo Publishing, 2004.
  • Cordell, Bruce R. College of Wizardry. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2007.
  • -----. "Mage vs. Machine." Dungeon #258. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1999.
  • -----. "Revenge of the Sheens. Dungeon #270. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2000.