Numenera Wiki

Map of Nihliesh, by Christopher West[1]

Nihliesh is a mobile city wandering the Cold Desert of the Beyond. With a population of 20.000 living in a complex social hierarchy, it is also the biggest city of the area.


An ancient machine, likely once a mobile vehicle-city of some kind, was lying half buried in the caked earth. More than two hundred years ago, nomads explored its interior and found — among other things — a pair of massive devices that they brought back to life. These resurrected mechanisms produce a thick, orange-brown fluid now called churn. Churn can be shaped and molded easily, and once dry, it’s harder than stone but fairly light. The nomads began to build atop the half-buried vehicle, raising curving towers, impossible spans, and shapely domes of churn painted in vibrant colors. They named their new city Nihliesh, after a word in their language meaning "tiers".


Today Nihliesh has three tiers. The first and lowest is the machine itself, where workers maintain the churn-producing devices and shape the material as it comes out. The original buildings erected atop the machine compose the Second Tier. These haphazard, squat structures are so crowded together that when you’re within and among them, you’d swear that you were underground. As of today, this tier is ruled by Ni-chodoss, one of the Fahat. Atop this tier are the elegant, artistic buildings that Nihliesh is best known for, with tall spires reaching high into the sky. Residents call it the Third Tier or the Upper Tier.[2]