Emon is the cultural heart of human civilization on Tal'Dorei, and as its capital, it is "a nexus of politics, justice, industry, and education". The city proper is surrounded by a thick, 60-foot-high wall that that stretches around the city from the eastern fields to the western shore, accessible only through its gates, port, and by skyship. Dense fields of farmland surround the city, which spills beyond the walls around the gates to the north and south.
Within the walls, the districts are further divided by smaller walls. Winding their way across the city are a series of canals called the Ozmit Waterways that allow for faster travel and transportation of goods throughout the city.
Abdar's Promenade is the large open-air market district that dominates the eastern side of Emon. The district is named for the Marquesian spicemonger who helped fund the city's original construction. With carts, stands, and shops stretching for miles along winding interconnected roads, nearly anything can be bought and sold here.
- Gilmore's Glorious Goods: A magical shop run by the sorcerer Shaun Gilmore.
- Laughing Lamia Inn: A large, four-story inn.
- Anvilgate: An establishment dedicated to metalworking.
- Azalea Street Park: This peaceful park within one of Emon's oldest neighborhoods overlooks the Ozmit Waterways. A dual statue of Melora and Erathis dancing together stands in a fountain in the center of the park. Adventurers often come to the park to relax and swap stories.
- Promenade stockade, a grim-looking grey stone building on the outskirts of Abdar's Promenade. After Kaylie was arrested for the involvment in a bar fight, she was brought here.
The Central District is the largest residential region in Emon. Most of Emon's merchant class lives within this district. Peppered throughout the tightly packed neighborhoods are guildhalls, grassy parks, and many taverns, inns, and restaurants.
Crowning the hill at the center of Emon is the Cloudtop District, home to the city's government and nobility. Surrounded by a 100-foot-high wall acting as a secondary line of defense, the district was heavily damaged in late 810 PD during the Chroma Conclave's attack, as Thordak made the district his roost.
- Cloudwatch Palace: The palace where the Tal'Dorei Council convenes. Formerly the Palace of the Sovereign, the building was destroyed during the Chroma Crisis by Thordak and was reconstructed after 812 PD by the League of Miracles.
- Citrine Garrison: The hub of military planning within Emon where Vox Machina first met with General Krieg. After Thordak's fall, the Tal'Dorei Council convened there until the palace was rebuilt.
- General Krieg house, red brick building surrounded by an iron fence.
- Ivory Tower: A tall white tower, home to Arcanist Allura Vysoren.
- Skyship Port: A tall tower built to receive skyships, buttressed against the walls of the district.
- Thordak's Crater: Despite reconstruction efforts, the center of the district remains a smoldering ruin, even thirty years after Thordak's attack, in 842 PD.
The Temple District is located on the northern side of Emon and acts as its religious center, with many temples dedicated to the Prime Deities. The largest cathedrals in the district are those of Erathis and Bahamut, though there are smaller temples to The Raven Queen, Pelor, Kord, and Melora, and places to worship Ioun, Avandra, Corellon, and Sarenrae.
- Godsbrawl Ring: A fighting arena located with the Temple of the Stormlord. Every year on the Day of Challenging, a tournament is held here known as the Godsbrawl.
The Erudite Quarter, located at the southeastern side of Emon, is the center for higher education not just in Emon, but all of Tal'Dorei. The district is home to many towers, centuries-old colleges and student housing.
- Alabaster Lyceum: The largest and most accomplished institute of arcane study on the continent.
- Traverse Junction: Connected to the Lyceum is a looming sapphire pyramid. The Traverse Junction is a nexus of travel, home to many teleportation circles that lead to cities across the continent and the world.
- The Black Swan: An entertainment venue where Eduard books talent.
One of the city's smaller quarters, the Military District is located on the north side of Emon. The district contains many barracks and training grounds for both the city's guard, the Arms of Emon, and the Tal'Dorei military.
- Walls of Tribute: The training facility for the Arms of Emon, known among recruits as the Quarry.
- House of Discipline: The training facility for the Tal'Dorei military.
- Black Bastille: The largest prison in the city, the Bastille was destroyed during the Chroma Crisis, setting loose some of Emon's most dangerous criminals. The prison was rebuilt, but many of its inmates are still free.
A small district on Emon's west side, the Cemetery District is dedicated to interring the deceased of the city. Rows of gravestones set on hills are sectioned off by iron fences, and mausoleums dot grassy hillsides. Catacombs are dug beneath the district as surface space grew limited. Upkeep of the graves is overseen by a guild called the Gravewatchers.
- Undervaults: A sprawling network of catacombs beneath the district.
- Diamond Nest Tavern: A tavern that caters to the working class of the district, and a front for an entrance to the Clasp's tunnel network.
- Tomb of the Last Sovereign: The final resting place of Uriel Tal'Dorei II, the last ruler of the Kingdom of Tal'Dorei. Built at the request of his wife Salda, the monumental tomb holds not just Uriel's ashes, but also tribute from those who loved him.
Port of Emon
The Port of Emon encompasses the massive inlet on the southwest shore of the city. The canals of the Ozmit Waterway begin here. Hundreds of ships fill the port at any given time, carrying goods to and from the other districts of the city, primarily the markets of Abdar's Promenade.
Formerly called the Upper Slums, Outwall is built outside the walls to the north of the city. Originally a tent city of those too poor to pay taxes during the reign of the Kingdom of Drassig, the Upper Slums became a microcosm of a city all its own. Though the name was once an insult from the Cloudtop elite, the people of the Upper Slums have tried to reclaimed the name as a symbol of pride and community. In the years leading up to 812 PD, wealthy Emonians had already begun to gentrify the district, diluting its unique culture. It was around this time that the district petitioned the Tal'Dorei Council to have the name changed to Outwall, in an event named the Outer Wall Debates, due to the demand that the council convene within the district's town square. The gentrification intensified in the decades after the Cloudtop District was ruined by Thordak; with more money came more guards patrolling the streets.
Formerly called the Lower Slums, the Southgate Farms are located outside the southern walls of the city are a fraction of the size of its northern counterpart, Outwall. Originally an Othanzian refugee camp built during the reign of Trist Drassig, the Lower Slums became home to one of the largest farming communities in the city. Inspired by the Outer Wall Debates that changed the name of their northern counterpart, the Lower Slums met little reisistance from the Tal'Dorei Council and changed their name to Southgate Farms.
- Greyskull Keep: Located outside the city's eastern gate, Greyskull Keep was the home the legendary adventurers Vox Machina. The keep now acts as a museum dedicated to Vox Machina's exploits.
The Shoreline Farms are a stretch of farmland to the north of the city, connected to the Upper Slums. Farmers here specialize in produce that grows in the saltwater-rich soil, including quattet gourds and the hard-to-grow brineroot.
- Catyurit Farm: A farm run by the Catyurit family that has grown chellerum gourds for generations.
Other points of interest
- Howarth's: A speakeasy-style bar operating in the back of a textile shop. Popular among Cloudtop nobility and merchants.
As the capital city of Tal'Dorei, Emon is also the most populous at 287,550 citizens as of 812 PD. The population is mostly human (68%) with a significant minority of dwarves (7%) and elves (6%). Other races make up the remainder (19%) so that nearly every race is represented in the city in some way.
By 836 PD, the population had grown to 365,026. The majority remains human (63%) followed by dwarves (8%) and elves (7%), with other races taking up the remaining 22%.
|Sovereign Uriel Tal'Dorei II||NPC||Human; leader of Emon; ruler of Tal'Dorei; head of the Tal'Dorei Council. Attempted to abdicate his authority, but was interrupted by the attack of the Chroma Conclave, during which he was slain.|
|Empress Salda Ta'Dorei||NPC||Human; wife of Uriel. Moved to Whitestone with her children following Uriel's abdication and the attack of the Chroma Conclave.|
|Arcanist Allura Vysoren||NPC||Famous human wizard; friend of Vox Machina.|
|Arbiter Brom Goldhand||NPC||Human; former captain of the guard; Master of Law; head of the Watchful Hall.|
|Seeker Assum Emring||NPC||Halfling ranger; Master of Secrets.|
|Guardian Tofor Brotoras||NPC||Dragonborn paladin of Bahamut; Master of Defense.|
|Vox Machina||PCs||Adventurers, honorary members of the Tal'Dorei Council.|
|General Krieg||NPC||Dragon in disguise; former Master of Defense; killed by Vox Machina.|
|Sir Gregory Fince||NPC||Deceased, former Master of Defense.|
|Lord Riskel Daxio||NPC||Elf; former Master of Trade; Remnants cultist and ally of the Briarwoods; executed for treason.|
|Headmaster Thurmond Adlam||NPC||Headmaster of the Alabaster Lyceum.|
|Gatekeeper Xanthas||NPC||Elf; evening keeper of the Transverse Junction in the Alabaster Lyceum; traitor and underling for Thordak; deceased|
|Shaun Gilmore||NPC||Owner of Gilmore's Glorious Goods and sponsor of Vox Machina.|
|Karen||NPC||Dwarven blacksmith, specializing in armor; upgraded Trinket's armor with pieces of bulette hide.|
|Father Tristan||NPC||Head cleric of the Temple of Sarenrae; responsible for resurrecting Pike Trickfoot.|
Founding and rise
Emon was founded centuries after the Divergence by seafaring humans spreading across the western coast of the continent. The humans built in Emon's location because it was a natural harbor free of rocks and reefs. A number of greedy noble houses arose and squabbled for wealth and power, and eventually Warren Drassig seized power. King Drassig soon instigated the 32-year Scattered War against the elves of Syngorn and their allies, including rebels in the scattered human colonies across the western continent. Following the Kingdom of Drassig's defeat, a council of rebels elevated their hero Zan Tal'Dorei to share power with them and govern a new realm with Emon as its capital. The city's leaders purged the remainder of Drassig power.
First conflict with Thordak
Generations later, around 792 or 793 PD, traders were regularly traveling between Emon and the Rifenmist Peninsula, but they began to disappear, and the Tal'Dorei Empire lost contact with towns at the edge of its territory. The leaders of the empire were slow to react to the obscure threat, until two years later, when they learned a great red dragon was responsible.
Vox Machina before the stream
In 810 PD, the adventurers who would come to be called Vox Machina traveled to Emon to investigate misdeeds done by the Clasp. At one point the party fell through an ancient cistern that led to an intricate cavern system. They traveled through it trying to find a way out when they uncovered the ruins of an old civilization. There they encountered a hag who made a deal with the group: in exchange for showing them the way out and giving Tiberius the Mending Wheel, she would take a part of Tiberius's luck.
Later on, following threads from their investigation of the Clasp, Vox Machina secretly killed a blue dragon who had infiltrated the Tal'Dorei Council, and they freed Sovereign Uriel and his family from demonic possession, thus halting an uprising of demons. For saving Emon from demons, they were given a hero's celebration, and over the course of six months Greyskull Keep was built in their honor.
Occupation of Emon
→ Main article: Chroma Crisis
During the gathering Sovereign Uriel Tal'Dorei II held when he announced his abdication, four ancient dragons calling themselves the Chroma Conclave attacked the city of Emon. After a brief search for Gilmore, Vox Machina fled to Greyskull Keep and sheltered the refugees outside their gates. Lady Allura was alerted of trouble when her connection to the teleportation sigils in her tower and in the Lyceum was suddenly severed, and joined the party in Greyskull.
When Vox Machina emerged from their keep to search the city for survivors, they found the buildings charred and smoldering and people who had been running for the city gates were literally frozen in their tracks. Many who had survived were looting the city for tribute to Thordak.
They found a hidden door to the cellar of Gilmore's Glorious Goods, where they found Gilmore at death's door, several of his employees, and the Empress Salda Tal'Dorei and her children. Gilmore had heroically rescued the empress and her children but when he went back to get Uriel, found him dead. Arbiter Brom Goldhand also did not survive, but Seeker Assum Emring and Guardian Tofor Brotoras were alive and helping the survivors.
As Thordak sat in the center of Emon, it began to change due to his presence. Volcanic activity began occurring below the city, causing lava to seep out of the ground and the skies to fill with smoke.
Liberation of Emon
Between Campaign One and Exandria Unlimited
A vast stretch of land, extending from the eastern outskirts of Emon through the outer farmland and a small forest that was once called Shivergreen Grove, continued to suffer from Thordak's elemental corruption for decades after his fall: trees continued to burn endlessly, and elemental monsters spawned from the ash. This area was called the Scar of the Cinder King, and thousands of families were displaced from it. A contingent of the Fire Ashari, operating out of the makeshift Flamereach Outpost since shortly after Thordak's fall in 811 PD, had only been mostly successful at healing the land as of 842 PD.
- See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 130.
- See Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 90.
- See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 136.
- See "Omens" (1x39) at 2:37:38.
- See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 133.
- See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) at 2:03:35.
- See "The Story of Vox Machina" (Sx06) at 10:37.
- See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) at 1:13:29.
- See Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 93.
- "nearly 30 years after the attack of the Chroma Conclave" ... "The city has mostly recovered in the intervening years, but two areas still bear the brunt of his wrath" ... "the Cloudtop District, where Thordak’s Crater contains a smoldering entrance to fiery caverns below."What You Need to Know Before Watching Exandria Unlimited.
- See Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 94.
- See "A Glorious Return" (E1x03) at 41:21.
- See Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 92.
- See "A Musician's Nostalgia" (1x37) at 1:40:11.
- See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 135.
- See "The Nameless Ones" (E1x01) from 1:18:13 through 1:19:40.
- See "The Nameless Ones" (E1x01) at 34:12.
- See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) at 0:37:53.
- See Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 89.
- Matthew Mercer clarified that Allura's race was human on Twitter.
- Matthew Mercer clarified on Twitter that Allura was a wizard (not a sorcerer), and her arcane tradition was the School of Abjuration.
- See "The Story of Vox Machina" (Sx06) at 0:14:41.
- See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) from 18:22 through 30:00.
- See Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 91.
- See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, pp. 18–20.
- See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 21.
- See "The Story of Vox Machina" (Sx06) at 0:06:01.
- See "The Story of Vox Machina" (Sx06) at 0:08:22.
- See "The Story of Vox Machina" (Sx06) from 15:19 through 18:28.
- See "The Siege of Emon" (1x78) at 4:02:50.
- See "Thordak" (1x79) at 3:57:54.
- See "Thordak" (1x79) at 4:11:04.
- See "The Siege of Emon" (1x78) at 0:30:55.
- See "The Siege of Emon" (1x78) at 3:41:02.
- See "The Siege of Emon" (1x78) at 4:03:11.
- See Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 95.
- "What You Need to Know Before Watching Exandria Unlimited" at CritRole.com
- Official art of Emon, by Kent Davis (source). Used with permission.
- Official map of Emon and surrounding areas, by Andy Law from Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn. This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.
- Official art of Lady Kima of Vord giving a quest to adventurers in Abdar's Promenade, by Adrián Ibarra Lugo (source). Used with permission.
- Official art of Emon, by Olivia Samson from Vox Machina Origins III #6. Used with permission.
- Fan art of Emon in wintertime, by Kent Davis (source). Used with permission.
- Fan art of Emon, by Cers @Cersonality (source). Used with permission.
- Official map of Emon, by Andy Law from Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn. This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.
- Lorkathar, presumably, leading a fight against creatures in the Scar of the Cinder King, by Bryan Syme (source). Used with permission.