Noedig is a wayang city on the Shadow Plane. It is coexistent with Gideon City – the two cities “overlap” each other on opposite sides of the planar boundary.
The inhabitants of Noedig are almost all wayangs, small shadowy humanoids native to the Shadow Plane. Its population is about 5,500. This makes it one of the largest known wayang settlements, although what is known about the wayangs is shrouded in shadow, much like the wayangs themselves.
Noedig is home to six different tribes, each of which lives in a different part of the city. The tribes barely interact with each other. The exceptions are the Twilight Market, a central square where the tribes trade and conduct business; and the Noedig Defenders, a group which passes for the city watch. There had also been a great cathedral in Noedig, dedicated to the Great Balance, which was used by all the tribes. However, that cathedral was recently destroyed.
There is no central government of Noedig – each tribe is ruled by its own elders. Trade disputes between members of two tribes are arbitrated by an elder of a third tribe. Inter-tribal disputes are vanishingly rare.
The tribes of Noedig are the Bistres, the Coverns, the Darkfoots, the Leadworthys, the Soffaders, and the Soots.
The wayangs keep their own records of how long they have lived in Noedig, and they do not share this information with outsiders.
What is known is that among the wayangs there lived an evil half-fiend by the name of Surzul. Surzul lived in Noedig for hundreds of years, making his home in a small house in the middle of the swamp. Young wayangs were warned never to venture into the swamp, and to stay away from Surzul if they should see him. The tribal elders made commerce with him on occasion. He would venture to the Twilight Market seeking simple goods for his home. In exchange, he would work fantastic enchantments for the wayangs, offering them magical items worth hundreds of times the sundries he would take in exchange. And so, the wayangs tolerated his presence. Besides, he was not powerful enough to defeat the united tribes.
Everything changed in early 460. Few people noticed Surzul’s disappearance a year before, but when he returned, he came back with magic beyond anything seen in Noedig before. Surzul had stolen the lost, legendary Fifth Scroll of Avatrunei. Moreover, he had begun to twist the artifact’s powers to his own ends. Surzul summoned a host of demons to subdue Noedig, now proclaiming himself its master.
Some of the wayangs left across the land of the Shadow Plane when Surzul returned. Many simply fled, though some left to seeking weapons or allies with which to fight him, knowing full well how hard it would be to find any particular thing or place in the ever-shifting land of shadow. Most of the wayangs stayed to fight. The defenders of Noedig might have won, but Surzul was treacherous. The wayangs gave their most powerful magic arms, armor, scrolls, potions, and other items to their bravest and best defenders to use against the demons – forgetting how much of their magic was given to them by Surzul in the first place. The half-fiend had placed secret enchantments on the items he sold. During the battle, he activated the enchantments and banished the wayangs’ best defenders – to random places on the Material Plane. Noedig fell swiftly after that.
Surzul enslaved the wayangs then, forcing them to gather the most solid bits of shadowstuff they could find, and to bring them to his swamp. Using his magic, Surzul used this raw shadow to form a mighty fortress out of his old home. He also had his wayang slaves convert the Noedig cathedral into a magical experimentation lab for him. Unfortunately, there was an accident while using the lab. Two thousand, eight hundred sixty wayangs were instantly incinerated in a massive explosion which leveled the cathedral. The explosion also tore open a hole between the Shadow Plane and the Material Plane, but Surzul did his best to keep this a secret.
In 469, a small group of heroes from Gideon City crossed into the Shadow Plane, using a tool unwittingly provided by one of Surzul’s lieutenants. In passing, the heroes killed a shadow giant Surzul had been using to terrify the wayangs.
This act was enough to rally the wayangs into a fresh rebellion against their so-called master. Surzul, enraged, was forced to send most of his demons to attack Noedig while he observed from the relative safety of his fortress. This left him mostly unguarded when the heroes returned to finish him off. His demons, led by a glabrezu made of shadowstuff, were on the verge of victory when Surzul was destroyed. His shadow glabrezu vanished back into shadow, as did his fortress. The demons scattered and were defeated, or fled back to the Abyss. Thus Noedig was freed once more, after nine hard years of captivity.
Noedig and Gideon City
The authorities in Gideon City have known about the existence of Noedig for a long time. But the wayangs of Noedig showed no interest in anything to do with human affairs, so the Gideoners ignored it. Almost all forgot about it.
After the defeat of Surzul in 469, the heroes revealed that a stable portal now existed between the two cities, The portal was quickly moved from the basement of the Senate to its own plaza. Few humans showed much interest in going to the dark land of the wayangs, but some did. The Gideon City Marshals seem to believe their jurisdiction extends there, and some inquisitors have sent missionaries to try and convert the denizens of the Shadow Plane to their religions.
In turn, some wayangs became interested in events on the Material Plane. Some wayangs were intrigued by the splendor of the heroes they met, and the songs they heard of those heroes’ great deeds in the world of the light. And some wayangs, warned by the elders of the countless creatures and brilliant worlds beyond Noedig, decided it would be more fun to adventure out and discover them themselves. Though the vast majority of wayangs still hold true to their traditions of balance and noninterference, some have left their old home of Noedig and ventured into Gideon City and beyond.