Dyvers, Part 3: The Rejection of Your Values is the Core of Ours
As I've already mentioned in The City You Don't Remember, Remembers You Still the rivalry that Dyvers has with Greyhawk colors a lot of the way that the people of Dyvers see themselves and the way that they see the world, but there may be an underlying reason why they've been so willing to engage with Greyhawk that goes a bit deeper. In the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer Dyvers' history begins as follows:
". . . Long a trade port, Dyvers was also the capital of Aerdy's Viceroyalty of Ferrond. In that role, it served as a welcome port to goods and travelers who braved the unexplored shores of the Nyr Dyv. The palace of the viceroy rivaled that of his colleagues in the west, and its domed central structure and austere stone towers have long been cited in travelogues as among the finest examples of Oeridian architecture.
By 254 CY, the degradation of the Great Kingdom had grown too profound for the lords of the west. In that seminal year, the heir to Viceroy Stinvri was proclaimed King Thrommel I. The Viceroyalty of Ferrond was no more. In its place stood a vast independent kingdom, Furyondy, with Dyvers as its cosmopolitan capital.
Dyvers had been the region's capital for more than 150 years. Despite the gradeur of the palace grounds and the long tradition, however, Thrommel and his newly installed court desired a grander seat for their new realm. A short time after the coronation, plans were drawn for a new capital, Chendl, far to the north. By 288 CY, the king had abandoned the "City of Sails" for his new seat of power, the meticulously crafted architectural wonder of Chendl . . ." (Holian, 41)
I like this bit of history in the steady progress of Dyvers from the city you never remember until you need to sell something (and can't get to Greyhawk), towards the city that you need in your life. It adds another layer into why the city would use the gigantic statues of lake monsters and why it would move away from the classical Oeridian architecture that characterized the Viceroyal's Palace and towards new innovations in architecture and art. The more I delve into this the more I see Dyvers clearly in my mind's eye as a place like Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis, and Charleston. A city that was rejected, put upon, and stuffed away to be forgotten by the rest of the world because they had moved in a new direction: cleaner lines, baroque art forms, and an expanding dependence on magic as the solution to all the world's problems.
But not Dyvers.
Dyvers is the counter-point and the center of the counter-culture in the world by the willing rejection of what everyone else proclaims as the standard. Instead the city has been forging its own path using the natural benefits that it was founded upon to bring everyone else along, kicking and screaming. Dyvers is where you'll find colleges, technocrats, and all manner of mechanical wonders. Dyvers isn't looking to bind it's people up in the stagnant guilds that dominate elsewhere; instead they're looking for innovations. They want people to make new technologies, submarines, and robots that can fight the lake monsters. They want to push the whole damned continent into a new direction that reshape the world in their image.
The rejection of what the rest of the world considers the standard for things has some odd consequences. As this passage from the Gazetteer notes:
". . . In recent years, Dyvers has gained the unfortunate reputation of being a good place to "get lost" - or, rather, to lose one's pursuers. After the Horde of Elemental Evil was routed at Emridy Meadows, some adherents to darkness who did not flee to the Wild Coast instead traveled north to Dyvers, bolstering the criminal element in the city. . . ." (Holian, 41)
Undoubtedly this is a narrow interpretation of what is happening in the city (the Gazetteer is named for Dyvers' rival after all). It would be far more accurate to state that some of those refugees from the Elemental Evil Horde joined the criminal underworld of Dyvers, BUT that the vast majority of those refugees have integrated themselves into the city as any others would. After all, the city of Dyvers isn't concerned with who you were before you came here - only with what you do once you're here.
Fuck yeah, Dyvers.
Holian, Gary; Erik Mona; Sean K Reynolds; and Frederick Weining. Living Greyhawk Gazetteer. USA: Wizards of the Coast, 2000. PRINT. pgs 41
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Part 3: The Rejection of Your Values is the Core of Ours