Born into Darkness.
A massive city that started long ago as a fishing village, but grew into a large shipping port. A marvel of construction and magic it is a wonder to behold. Many people travel far and wide just to see it as it stands today.
In the early days, when it no more than a village, Sunderedcliff was just a couple hundred people fishing the local bay. In time, its location made it a prime spot for shipping merchants to use as a port, and as a result, it began to grow very quickly. Shortly therein, the locations rising popularity outgrew the tiny village amenities; forcing the villagers to haphazardly construct additional dock work and landings to compensate.
Over the years this sprawling maze of docks took on a life of its own, As did the village that became wealthy with all the trade. They began to build their way up the cliff that was just south of the village the rich and powerful taking the best views they could. A cousin of the ruling family built himself a hold that was quite the sight to see.
Some few hundred years ago there was an earthquake and a huge portion of the cliff broke off and fell into the deep waters. after the destruction of nearly all the docks the now wealthy city went about rebuilding itself. a portion of this massive city is still on land but with the amount of power the location now had there were many hands involved in wanting it built and many of those hands were filled with gold. So an all new massive maze of very well built docks was built. Within a few decades of them being built there was a larger population of people that lived on the docks mostly on the south end of the docks. They were the workers that started building their shanties to stay in but then outlaws, pirates and just about any other kind of person that might be found coming off a boat.
This shanty town grew and grew not just out but up. as they began spread in the shadow of the cliff face they began to build upward. building trade markets and houses right on top of the shanty town. Now this tradition of adding new layers kept going With a few set backs and some cave-ins along the way.
What we have today is a massive city starting at the north end at sea level is the private sector. The wealthy that wanted their own docks to come and go from. Ambassadors from other lands merchants with more gold than sense. As you travel south in the city aside from there being a lot of stairs after you leave the wealthy you hit what would be called the main marktet area small merchant shops and booths of every kind are found in this area. This is the area that first spill in on land. You don’t even notice when it is that you are on land because it happens about 30feet below the wooden and stone cobble streets.
As far as on land it is dominated by homes and by travel and shipping of many kinds. several large stables for shipping caravans that run goods all across the lands and Inns for travelers and tourists.
On the other side of the markets and shops and up even more stairs are masses of houses built into every nook and corner that you can see. It seems that what look like every wall and surface has a door somewhere on it leading to either a household of stairs going up or down to another level of housing. The people with a little more money can afford the houses on the top floors that get natural light. But that depends largely on race most of the dwarven population has choosen to live in the cliff face carving their homes into its stone, As well as many other races being at home in the dim light and darkness of the lower levels.
The farther south you go the more floors there are and the less you really want to go to the lowest levels. many of the lowest levels that approach the south docks are nothing more than a death wish to travel into.
For the highest level and top floor, It has been made into a tourist attraction. The central attraction is the fountain around which is built another market, but this market is a combination of expensive foods and the most well known merchant trade guilds as well as other kinds of guild headquarters. It had something for anybody with enough gold to spend. It is the main area with a noticable enforcement of law all around.
At the edge of the south as you walk on the top floor it is several hundred feet straight down to the water, and below you, you can see the biggest ships that travel the sea pulling in underneath you to unload their cargo.
Looking at the city as you approach on a boat it looks like a cliff and as you get closer it looks like a building of the grandest size with a wall removed. Many many floors some with railing some without and with a few massive opening held up by enormous stone archways that can house the largest ships under cover.
To the west and on top of the cliff which is all but level with the top floor now again is the richest peoples estates. Only a few households are up there and it is well protected.
As you go east it begins to lower again and this is where it looks most like a normal dock. various levels of docks for the more common sized ships. it is also the fastest way to get a ship in and out of the city with a couple lanes that were made to allow through traffic for unloading ships.