Drifting along the high air currents passing over the Backbone, you might spot the city of Wulkenstadt1 (Giantish for “Cloud City”), a huge floating city built by the cloud giants. Kept aloft by a million bound air elementals, the city has become legendary as a center of trade and diplomacy between the two halves of the continent.
Though most commonly seen above the Backbone, Wulkenstadt occasionally floats over the lowlands of the western nations, or east over Zharnak.
The population of Wulkenstadt is 80% cloud giants, 15% storm giants, 4% other giants, and 1% smaller races such as elves, maenads, or gnomes. The city has enough space for about one million giants, though the population typically hovers around 800,000.
Besides the standard city residents, there is a large population of gargoyles, estimated to be around two or three hundred thousand, which work to keep the streets and roofs clean. Since they do not have permanent residence in the city, they are not included in official population counts.
Many giants in Wulkenstadt keep pets, with griffins being especially popular. Other pets include hippogriffs, giant eagles, and the occasional worg or dire wolf. Wild giant eagles also nest on some of the higher places on the city’s outskirts.
Flumphs, a floating creature that resembles a jellyfish, are a common sight on the Wulkenstadt outskirts. Though they do not live in the city, it seems to be a favoured hunting ground of theirs, and they play a role in keeping down the population of pests in the city.
The main pest that can be found in Wulkenstadt is the giant rat2, which infest the lowest levels. Though they appear similar to the standard dire rat, the Wulkenstadt rat has a more rounded muzzle and a shorter tail. In addition to the rats, giant flies and spiders can sometimes become a problem, and the giant stag beetles are occasionally annoying. Sometimes smaller pests such as regular cockroaches also take a foothold, though the larger pests tend to keep them under control.
Wulkenstadt is a police state run by the Wulkenridder (“Cloud Knights”), an order of cloud giant knights. The order officially accepts only cloud giants into its ranks, though on occasion other true giants will be accepted as well. Nearly one-sixth of the city’s area is devoted to the Wulkenridder headquarters, though they make up only around 20% of the total population.
The Wulkenridder spend most of their time either patrolling the streets to keep law and order, or performing various military exercises. When outside the city, the Wulkenridder are born aloft upon the mighty rocs, which live in stables in the Wulkenridder headquarters when off-duty.
The head of the Wulkenridder is known as Steernridder3, the Knight of the Stars. This individual serves as both head of state and judge in the civil courts; the criminal courts are considered beneath them and delegated to other high-ranking knights. Though the Steernridder has power roughly equivalent to a king, the Wulkenridder can and occasionally do depose a bad leader.
The role of Steernridder is normally passed on by the incumbent to a chosen successor, who may or may not be a family member. If the incumbent failed to appoint a successor, the default heir would be the successor’s eldest son, or daughter if there are no sons. Failing that, the Wulkenridder will appoint a successor, usually by consensus.
Despite her death in the war against Morgoth, some cloud giants in Wulkenstadt continue to worship Velka. In the center of the city, there is an old temple to Velka, which is kept sealed by the Wulkenridder out of respect for their fallen deity. Only a select few are permitted to enter the sanctum.
Most of the Wulkenridder, however, venerate Gorum and Iomedae. The old Velka temple is flanked by places of worship for the two younger deities, and both are popular not just among the Wulkenridder but even in the civilian population.
The civilians of Wulkenstadt also venerate a variety of other gods, mainly those of the main pantheon. Abadar, Gozreh, and Pharasma are particularly well-liked, but all of the non-evil deities of the main pantheon have some level of support in Wulkenstadt. Of more minor gods, shrines or small temples to Jain, Zuishino, Kami, and Adumra can be found in the city.