A new month and a new excerpt! This time the Manual of the Planes goes to one of the most iconic cities in every edition of the D&D cosmology; the City of Brass.
In 4E, the city is located on top of a massive basalt plate in a volanic field along a coast of fire (which reminds me of Midgar from FFVII) and is inhabited by the highest caste of the fiery efreet nobles to the lowliest caste of mortal slaves with fire-affiliated creatures in between. Two-thirds of the residents in the city are slaves and are traded freely. The city is no longer just the home of the fiery efreets but it is proclaimed as the marketplace of the universe (I wonder where Sigil will stand now).
This is by far the most impressive excerpt from Manual of the Planes because of the detailed work that is put into describing the place.
Furthermore, the details are not just flavorful fluff but actually important and useful details that would help any DM run the city when the PCs visit the place. Every important function of the city that is relevant to the PCs is explained enough to give the city life while providing some breathing space to expand further. The types of monsters that make up the guards and soldiers of the city would make good encounters and the name of the leader of the city is given but not stated (though that might change when the book is released).
The direction of inns and shops are given and seperated into their respective districts and this is where I would like to give my biggest praise for this excerpt.
It has a map!
With a map, the city elevates from a block of texts of what the city looks like to an actual location. It makes me want to run an adventure or an encounter in the city rather than just plugging it in as part of the setting lore.
The map is also pretty well done and clearly points out where the districts are.
There's also an interesting tidbit from this excerpt which confirms a speculation (and wishes) of D&D fans from the older editions.
Travelers within the Elemental Chaos commonly make use of planar dromonds to reach the City of Brass, and less often find their way to the city on spelljammers, lightning skiffs, or chaos gliders. (emphasis mine)
That's right, spelljammers are back, baby!
Personally, I'm so impressed with the written work for this excerpt, I'm actually hoping that I will be able to see more of the city when the book is released. There is already a sufficient level of useful information to run an adventure but the quality of this excerpt makes me ask for more.