3 of Many

Jun. 18th, 2014 01:15 pm
kingtycoon: (Default)







Patchwork
World Constructed World Mega City


Fenster
Quickchannel Goldendream’s House  of
Houses


From:
Short Interludes withPeculiar Folk of the
Capitol


By:
Pir Earth over Stone Pinepath


Citizen
Fenster is an unassuming type, a man of very limited physical appeal, but with
a certain avidity of intellect that leaves one feeling overmatched once he
begins.  He is very retiring however and
is not easily drawn into conversation.  I
was compelled by his bashfulness to be introduced to him through several
intermediaries.  Once acquainted though,
he was very pleased to make demonstrations of the prodigies that he has
assembled in his home.  When simply asked
about the impressive model of the city in his house, Fenster was strictly at a
loss for how to explain himself he did, however, answer specific questions
easily and without discomfort. 





Sir,
your model is of exceptional design, it is truly a marvel.  May I ask when the idea to create it came to
you? 





Ah, you see, I ah…  So the model itself, here – this building,
just near my own house, as it appears on the model – this was the first
building.  You see, here by the Quick
Channel.  This building was started many
years ago, in two-thousand and eighty-seventh year in fact.  It’s a storehouse for a vintner operating
just outside the city.  I’ve not been to
the winery, but here you can see, the stone I used is the same.  It’s like this with all the models, you
understand, I use the materials of the building they represent.  They were building the storehouse, you see
and I walked by because it was in my path and I found an unused piece of the
limestone – the cladding for the structure. 
You can see it just outside, it’s the same stone.  Well I took the stone and amused myself in my
idle hours by trying to shape it into a replica of the storehouse.  That was a great many years ago, of course,
but here it is, the first.





So
your models are all built from the stone of the built from the same materials
as the building they represent?





Oh, indeed yes, to me,
that’s the main thing.  That they
match.  You know, the first model – the
storehouse, I made it too large.  It was
the stone I had and I didn’t have the skill, then, to make it any smaller.  If I had, I’d not have needed to give up so
much of my house to the model!  But
yes!  Yes, I am told by other enthusiasts,
there are so many of us, it turns out, when a new building is coming in, or a
road.  Some of the foremen, they’re
acquaintances now, friends even, and they’ll… 
Have you met Dion Shortstreet? 
He’s one of the builders - one of the Knights of Craft-  their religion, you know, the Maker
Faith.  They are great supporters of my
avocation, they see it as a holy work, in their religion.  Well Dion, he will always spare me some
material, and sometimes a copy of the architectural diagrams.  If it’s a structure he’s particularly proud
of, he’ll ask for a model of his own, I can hardly help but oblige!  And he’s a good example but hardly the only
one.  They like to help and I like to
show them the work – the builders.  I
understand that a spare model of the Cathedral of Masons that I made is at Wei,
on their hill – the Churchmen, they say it is a subject of some of their
devotion. 





Just
so Fenster, that is where I first heard of your project.  (Fenster is visibly pleased, he squirms at
his workbench)  But this accounts for the
new buildings, as you they are constructed, you gather a spare piece of the
masonry.  What of the older structures,
Klial has many very ancient buildings after all. 





It’s very flattering that
you’ve heard of my work even at Windheart, they spoke of it to you? 





Yes. 





Wonderful.  You’re right of course, you’re right, smart
fellow-  there are so many buildings, old
buildings.  Well, here, look at this one
(He picks up and hands me a carved piece
of wood, it resembles one of the tiny insula that are common on the Oxbows, far
from the city center)
That is a building on a street called Sucker street.  Named for a mollusk of some kind.  That house has stood on the same spot for ten
generations.  Would you believe it?  It’s a very modest old house.  Well? 
Where did I find the wood that would match?  I’ll tell you – I asked them. 





Them?





Yes, the house’s
inhabitants.  I told them I’d like to
take a bit of board from the side or a piece of the roof.  They told me I could.  Well, that house?  They handed me a bit of the roof that had
come off.  You’re best going after a
storm.  In a neighborhood like that. 





How
many houses on just Sucker road?





Sucker Street!  Street. 
Oh, let’s see (He counts, somewhat
slowly, a row of models in his great model of the city) 
Seventy Three, thereabouts, North &
South sides.  There may be more just now,
or fewer.  Very mutable, the oxbows.  I must go back soon. 





And
each of these models is made from the same…


Yes, it has to be exactly
the material that the house is clad in. 
Clad, you see, clothing.  I don’t
fashion the guts of the buildings.  Just
the outsides.





Well
what of the palaces of the Kannyltine! 
Some of those are clad in gold, no?





Oh, aye, they are, they are
that… (He has a forlorn expression that
is immediately revealed to be a farce, he is making a joke at my expense, well,
he is trying to) 
You see.  Gold. 
The Last Kannyltine.  I wrote to
him, you see.  I wrote a letter and I
went to the scribes to have them make it proper, for his eyes, you see, and he
liked my letter.  He sent some people, I
imagine people of very great status to come and see my project here.  I was not present, you understand, I wasn’t
allowed in their company, but they came here and they saw.  They must have liked it very much and said
something to the Kannyltine – he had his own smith here the very next day with
an amount of gold and he showed me how to hammer it into leaves, and I’ve used
the same bit ever since. 





Remarkable!  Do you think that Ettis XLVII came here
himself? 





Oh!  I hadn’t thought of that, but he might
have!  I wish I’d have cleaned up a bit
more!  The gold is nice isn’t it?  A nice touch, but I’m most proud of the
roads.  And the rivers and the bridges,
and the trees.  Oh the trees.  (The
model does have roads, and it does have water and bridges, but it lacks
trees.  Instead there are leaves
positioned throughout the model.
) 
You see, a leaf to match each tree. 
I coat them in wax, they’ll last forever – but the leaves match.





Amazing.  How many buildings are there Fenster? 





Oh, altogether?  Many thousands, probably.  I imagine. 





You
really don’t know?  Exactly?





Ah, yes, I fooled you.  Yes, here it is.  (He
produces a tattered piece of parchment, it is heavily marked)
.  One hundred and forty seven thousand eight
hundred and ninety four.  Well, ninety 6 –
after today. 





Again,
amazing. 





I must return to my work,
but I can answer questions while I do so, I’ve had so much more time, all these
years since I’ve retired from the service. 
Would you be kind and make the coffee though?

2 of Many

Jun. 17th, 2014 07:02 pm
kingtycoon: (Default)







Building
of Adventure Corpse Land Boarding School of Horrors


The Dark
Labyrinth Madrassa, The Unseelie Nursery At The Silver Grottoes


            Commonly, in
the lavish courts of the Flower Dynasts of Rosecrown one will spot a courtier
who seems strangely out of place.  Among
the Knights of the Gladiolus  Orders, or
the Provocateurs of the Daffodil Schools, all in their excesses of finery, you
might see someone at the Lord’s elbow, drably dressed with only the foxglove
sprig carved in jet or ebony or obsidian as a simple badge.  These courtiers, are conspicuous by their
lack of arms, their lack of a retinue, their lack of any significant
presence.  One cannot attend one of the great
cotillions of the Rosecrown Sodalities without every attendant calling out
names and titles, positions and affiliations, and yet with even with grace honed
to a perfect edge, one cannot learn the names or the identities of these
Foxglove marked courtiers.


 Not every one of the Rosecrown Houses has one
of the Knights of the Ordo Digitalis, and those that are so lacking are notable
for the failures of their intrigues and the fragility of their security.  While the Madrassas of the Tulip Courts teach
the arts of Story & the Madrassas of the Rose Court teach the arts of
governance, and each of the Schools of the Progression of Seasons have their
own subtle and unsubtle arts, the Winter-Madrassas teach those secret and
unseemly skills so needful at court and so shameful to countenance.  Secrecy among these schools is paramount and
none is more secretive or more exacting than the Madrassa at the Silver
Grottoes, the Unseelie nursery. 


The Peaks of the southern
Rosecrown frontier have ever been a bulwark against invasion, the great snow-clad
peaks that reach high beyond the clouds fencing the Julusti subcontinent,
saving it from all invasions save One. 
Silver Peaks are not empty, though they are no longer the frontier they
once had been, rather they are a fastness, a remote internal bastion.   But while the rare air and penetrating cold
of the high mountains no longer provides a hedge of defense from the outside,
there are guardians there still, who train up the very few in the proper arts
of courtly defense and the unseelie arts of courtly subterfuge. 


The Silver grottoes are
indistinctly named, a supposed region of the Silver-Peaks, it is an indistinct
name that offers anonymity, for how many silver grottoes are there in those
mountains?  Hundreds, at least
dozens.  Yet there is the one, among the
many, which is a place of strange and dark reputation.  A pit in the mountains so deep that the sun never
shines upon it, a dark place carved into the mountains long ago in the search
for the now spent silver veins.  But
through unknown interventions of history the abandoned mine, a maze in the
perpetual darkness became for the Rosecrown Sodalities, the training ground for
their court assassins. 


The Labyrinth itself is
known to occupy a very large area – based upon the omniscient and ancient
records of the Kannyltines, it is known that the mines were once of great providence
and were exploited accordingly.  The
excavation itself took place over many generations and the seemingly endless
vein was exhausted only after centuries of extraction.  The excavations remain, a great chthonic
palace, a rock depth beneath the mountains. 
Though materials remain, indicating the breadth and depth of the
Labyrinth, the documentation of its whereabouts have been eradicated
systematically through long & secret campaigns. 


Very few are those
candidates who survive the labyrinth.  It
is said to be a tomb, to all those who die within, those who could not navigate
its perils.  And more than mere darkness,
hunger and thirst, it is said that the many dead, gathered in that place walk,
and seek to destroy all who would surpass them in ability.  Nevertheless there are a few who do survive
the passage and enter the Silver Grotto, finding themselves at the Foxglove
court where they are trained in the assassin’s arts and the sinister work of
the Unseelie courts. 


Principally, the Foxglove
Knights are poisoners, extortionists & killers, but they likewise bring knowledge
of the defense against these nefarious arts to their patrons.  Such patrons pay an inordinate fortune to win
the favors of these courtiers – though they still are less expensive to train
and maintain than members of many other knighthoods.  The disconcerting, and often worrying thing
about the Digitalis Courtiers though, is that none now alive can say who their
masters are, who the Counts and Dukes and Mahatmas of their school are, least
of all the students, who approach the Madrassa in utter secrecy, utter darkness
and with only the greatest courage.  There,
they train in darkness, learn and study in darkness, are never exposed to the
sun while in the chambers of their grotto for the dozen years it takes to learn
all their dark arts.  And at last, it is
said, when one among them is sufficiently trained to leave the Nursery, it is
made known to them by the blinding light of the sun, which they are able,
finally and at last to see – at the end of their cruel journey into their
haunted catacomb. 


It is said as well, that
those who leave the Madrassa on their feet never willingly leave the sunlight
thereafter, that they are energized and empowered by the light as if it were a
potent drug, and that even by the dark of night, they rest their eyes only
briefly, and then in the presence of many lighted candles and under the starry
sky.  Whether this is so, whether the
Foxglive Knighthood is really so rare, so disciplined and so fiercely trained,
none can say – save for their own fraternity – and none among them ever speak
of these matters – or if they do, they each and all tell a wholly different
tale, keeping their secrets secret and their sinister arts unspoken, unheard
and unseen – these are the matters that are learned in the Night Madrassa.
kingtycoon: (Default)

Misplaced
Wildlife Ominous Floating Castle Secret Government Warehouse

The Albatross Vault at The Nightcandle Harbors


               Out on the Dagger-Sea, the
ice-laden gulfs of the Imperial South there are glacier hewn isles, grooved and
scrubby, treeless. The tracks of the
sea-serpents, they’re called and upon one of these tall, inaccessible rocks the
Kannyls of Nightcandle, of old – in their Colonial Vanity did cause a great
vault to be built. Carved into stone,
hard to achieve by ship – but inapproachable by any other means – save the once
in a lifetime freezing over of the harbor.
The vault is carved in the cliffside and the hewn out rock was recovered
to form a great dome overtop the handmade caverns. Once constructed the great edifice had a
purpose known only to the founder of the vault-
A Kannyl of Nightcandle’s earliest days called Zarraw (of a now lost
line of that family) – but after the earliest dynasts of Nightcandle were
replaced by their latter Imperial lords the place was put to rest as a
troublesome folly, impossible to access – except by the albatross, tern and
seahawk – all of which creatures nest there in their seasons.

But
later innovation of an existing folly is a hallmark and a point of pride for
the Lords of Nightcandle – who have turned the use of the inaccessible,
impossible vaults to stranger ends than any could have imagined. In the hunts and journeys into the Utter
Dark, into the fallen realm of Sorrowblood and into the Raindrinker interiors,
and as well into the Rimal Steppes they have gathered those strangest birds –
by eggs, all hand raised and let loose in the aviary at the Albatross
Vault. So that the inner chambers and
the inmost rooms are haunted by man-eating birds larger than horses, or by
plump water birds, four pawed and wingless, or by the paw-winged trunk clinging
feathered monkeys. A vast panoply of the
pinioned beasts gathered from the Imperial East, exotic and peculiar, all are
housed in these vaults. Or were, for the
impulse to gather the menagerie, like the impulse to build the vault was a
fading fancy of a dynasty replaced and replaced again here by avid naturalists,
and there by spirited hunters, and oftener than not by the complacent and
neglectful lords who rather rightly turned their interests to human
affairs. And so by sporadic
interventions and avoidances in alternating turns the Albatross Vault (for the
Albatross never varied their devotion to the spot) came to be a strange and
haunted ruin – a wild menagerie of strangely-bred and otherwise extinct creatures. Some new, some forgotten – and on nights of
fatal consequence there have been seen great, fathom-winged birds leaping from
the place, blotting the moon and stars from perception – and the sailors of the
ice-clad harbor know too well the uncanny calls of the prisoned raptors that
are of no place but this one.


Here
and there, a Lord of the Bay, a Tunkannyl, feeling secure in his walls, or a
Rinkannyl goaded to present the trappings of heroism will send out from their strongholds
at Wormstone or Weatherrock some gallants or vagabonds – whichever is in the
vogue of the time – to try and reclaim or rediscover or to merely revisit the vaults. Invariably this fateful enterprise is doomed
to a fatal end, but here and there, someone does return. These few survivors maimed and broken will
tell a tale that is retold until the next lord of the Bay decides to spend his
surplus heroes on the exploration, motivated by the stories he must have heard
at a young age – of a lone survivor – who had seen the great toothed-storks,
the sealbird or the spiderhawk – mad and deadly creatures that certainly
frightened the child-lord, but always with the succulent coda- “and the man returned with a feather of solid
ivory, inlaid with gold, clutching only this one beautiful treasure, he washed
at last to the shore.”
kingtycoon: (Default)
It's been hectic and weird so recaps haven't been a top priority for me - still, shit has Gone Down for the party in their third and fourth days in the Fabulous Unknown City.

So session 4 was kind of a wash - I misapprehended who would attend and built a jumping/climbing puzzle for players who didn't actually even show up. Still they did get to meet B. Bones - who appeared at the temple of the Being of Nothingness to treat with the ghoulish priestesses there. B. Bones brought them the twisted bodies of the dead - people who looked like they'd fallen from a great height. He introduced himself - "Billy Bones!" "Bollinger Bones!" "Bruce Bones!" And spoke like an aged scat-man. His deal was that he was obviously dead - broken bones, twisted up and smashed, levitating an inch off the air and his limbs flailing around ragdoll style. He asked them for a favor and demonstrated strange knowledge of secret facts.
onion_news2343_jpg_250x1000_q85 He also was very encouraged about having a cane and made some jokes - he noticed Wincey the Alchemists cane and said: "I got a new cane, it's my Nova-cane! Now I have two canes, they are my Co-Canes!"
The he sang this song:
and in fact I did sing this song at the session and it was awesome. I am not great at singing though and we had to simulate B. Bone's abilities by dice rolls - fortunately the die showed a 20 and the party joined his cause.

His cause was all about 'turning on' this special bridge. The special bridge, a metaphorical bi-frost made of fog pouring from a fountain - the fountain had to be turned on so that the fog would solidify and the bridge, a great viaduct over the city - would turn to solid rainbows and be traversable. This meant a lot of jumping and climbing and having fierce toucans bite your fingers as you tried climbing the tall mist-fountain - their nesting place. This was painful and took a long time - dice wise, it got very grindy because the poor players couldn't catch a break from their 20-sideds. They finally did succeed after reconfiguring their humors through alchemy and just in time too - for down the road (a road of golden grillework with empty coffee-stands and the like - like an abandoned boardwalk paradise). autumnspadaro282-1a Crossed with a golden fire-escape and a toucan infested fountain shooting off mist.

So running through here is Pro-Spender - a fat man in a green velvet suit with a frog mask who they've met before - it seems his gang got sidetracked and trapped in the strange twists and turns and ended up in Silver/Steel/Iron Monkey territory. ape
These guys were pretty terrifying/intimidating their move is that they stand totally still, partly meshed into the corrugated steel surroundings and then jump out suddenly and terrible - like a slasher from a slasher movie - and then karate the hell out of your face. This happened a lot and the Frogs and the Apes got into a big turf war with the PC's handling both sides with equal contempt. A Crow-Doktor-Alchemist was on hand to teach Wincey how to extract the Frog Draught from the "Human crucible of the ineffable substances" and the Iron Monkey Dose from the "Distillery, the flesh that mixes." There's a lot of meyhem in that game and it's fueled by alchemically active drugs that are everywhere and constantly available.
405e6d5da6dc5d3dd200a39a453d10ea

Having defeated a couple of gangs the party takes a breath before continuing down into the Steel Monkey's foundry. There, it's hot and dangerous and full of variant steel-monkey types - pouring metal, striking hammers - robots and crazyness - they deal with it and win, victories and suffer no setbacks. This session involved a lot of traps and themed encounters with rhythms that had to be observed and managed- they did that all pretty skillfully. In the end they found a couple of mechanical hearts that were operating the bellows and the heat of the foundry - so they decided that it would be great to have the alchemist cut open one of the sorcerers to pull out his heart and stuff the ever-hot white-steel one in there. So there was drug fueled heart transplanting on the dirty floor of dark steel mill - and after the sorcerer was killed and revived a couple of times, he came back able to spit fire and endure harm.

Which gets me to today...
Untitled What should I do?

Well, the first act is almost up - they've encountered a bunch of the groups and confronted part of the nature of the city - hints have been dropped, gods have been killed and they've listened to a song sung by a ghost. They turned on the rainbow bridge and dealt with fierce toucans and performed heart transplants. In the grand tradition of my exceedingly Over The Top style of game running they're at a place where I need to simultaneously bring things to a climax and give them some respite so that they can actually plan their interactions with the primary groups and have a base from which to plan. They'll consider the foundry - but I'll talk them out of that pretty fast in the opening of the next session. What they'll face instead is...
 This.
They've been facing these violent, crazy gangs of people who are ruled by the different humors and seasons - Steel Monkeys (winter) Green Frogs (spring) Red Fox (autum) and so on. And they've faced a couple of different teams of people involved in the metaphysical planes- death ladies and basement priests - they're getting acquainted, a little. Now they're going to face the Fleshy Pig Monsters - these fucking things own this paradise-like farm that's probably really similar to a parking deck and water slide. These are people who are pig-infused maybe? There's going to be straight up call-backs to Animal Farm - just as in the foundry I threw down Bleak House quotes. Maybe that's the theme this Campaign has been looking for - lit-rature? Could be. Anyhow these pig guys are a mess - they're all fleshcreatures who burst open in a cross between Tetsuo from Akira, The Xenomorph, John Carpenter's The Thing and... Pigs? I guess pigs, Napoleon and Snowball. Once they're eradicated the team can have a sweet base to operate out of and I can throw them a big, fun straight up fight for most of the session - which will gratify a few of them.
original_original_O000062
kingtycoon: (Default)
The players, having journeyed up the strange cable-car into the mists, have spent a single night in the Fabulous Unknown City, meeting a few members of some strange gangs - the bird-masked surgeons of the Sanguine Execution Gang, the brachiating brutes of the Yellow Hexagon Line & the Fox-Masked Summertime Fire Degenerates.  Mostly though, they spent their first session getting to the City and camping out overnight - expending all the stores and supplies of trade-goods that they'd been sent with..
Entrypointfinal
They'd arrived at the Yellow-Hexagon terminal - though they'd never come to find that out themselves.  They'd never call it by that name in their time there - they'd simply understand it to be a strange & terrifying new place to meet strange and terrifying new people.

The Fabulous Unknown City serves most often as a gulag in the empire, a prison for the most dangerous and undesirable people. Sometimes a deposed noble or an extra bastard of a high-house gets sent there, and sometimes there are explorers and surveyors - but the party all chose to be criminals and mercenaries.

Eyonon - fresh faced and boyish!  A naive sort without much experience or sense.  A sorcerer of the Flower Court
Barnaby - a stone killer, a hardcore prisoner that no jail yet has held.  Rogue of the highest degree.
Wincey - the Nervous, Mad Alchemist & Inventor
Edard - the lunatic sent away by a hostile world - a sorcerer of the Dreamer Coven
Vulcanus - the half-trulk mercenary, the steel-toothed marauder who was asked to go and not sent, and who went, for the sake of going.

Vulcanus, wandering off in the night binging on the drugs sent along as trade materials - vanishes by the light of dawn.  Fortunately he is replaced by another refugee from the cable-car - Diodenne - the bravest woman of all - who went to the prison out of love and duty.  Together they explore the suddenly desolate region outside these grand abandoned structures.

(I should point out that I kept using 'Tower City' & 'Pubic Square' & 'Windermere Station' as size references for them, but none of them got it - suburbanite car-drivers!  They've no sense of the scale of things - and so, the mat and the tiles were brought out.)

Inside the yellow-glass 'barn' the great Yellow Hexagon terminal is the spare, but pleasing and airy open structure - of a multi-story building composed of steel and glass and open within like a vast atrium - or, Birdcage- as named by Wincey - who spotted one of the surgeon crows going in and who wanted to pursue.

roundcouch1small
It had seats like these all over, but with yellow hexagon patterns

Once inside they could not but overhear the loud carnival barking and the rising cheering mutter of a crowd gathered at the farther end. A great large building - twisted and filled with soft furnishings and disturbed kiosks - the terminal is by a far margin the largest building any of them have seen. Without too much hesitation they approach the raucous scene.

There is a tall circular desk, high, so that the tallest among them cannot touch the top - and mounted on the desk is a spinning wheel with numbers marked upon it, colors and an arrow - it is some kind of a game. On the chalkboard surface that covers the outside of the desk there are names and wagers noted - being noted by a Large & Boisterous man, walking with a limp and a heavy spear as a cane, he calls all to the wheel to gamble. "Chance! And Fate! Chance & Fate! Will you, dear guest in this borrowed house, will you? Will Chance favor you, will you be beloved by luck? Or does fate have a quest for you to fulfill? Will you be governed by fate and destined to win or lose? How can you know if you do not play? How can you know if you don't test your mettle against Chance & Fate!?" He's pretty persuasive this Lucien Yellowhay Arcingspray (one of the Sons of the Kannyltine, dressed in a military uniform, like finding a soldier dressed in confederate grays). The other players, of the game-within-the-game are present and ready, they've put in their secret stakes ("Your stake is secret but you can't stake a secret, here we game according to the rules of the pentacle - we only wager what you can carry in your pocket, and what've you got, what's you gots in your pockets?") The players are so:

Profligate Spender – AKA Pro Spender (Spring-Frog Gangster Leftennant) In his huge green velvet suit and huge green frog mask, accompanied by his huge gang of enforcers and bodyguards.

Numis Aurr (Cable-Car Warlord of the Red-Triangle Line) A big man, and a hard one, he's got the teardrop tattoos in the red-triangle pattern. Does he fear to tread on the Yellow-Hex line? No he does not, he carries his railroad-mace and swaggers with his thigh-sized brachiating forearms flexed prominently. His 5 member gang all the same, but meaner and quieter, they growl less and mutter barely audible curses, eyes on the windows.

Fabulyo Drunkletes (Homesteader, an old lady, wiry & with a wheat-sprig dangling from her mouth) She's been around for a long time, in the game for to take her chances and should chance decree - take home a new pig or goat.

Sunday Pentacles (a Zero - when they ask where she stays she points at her boots - long and lean, strong and clean, to her there is no in-between). Maybe she's got a heroic streak, and maybe she just behaves like any woman who grew up in a prison. Immediately she likes Eyonon and takes him for herself, there's a good deal of inappropriate touching and groping as a man born in the forest courting a woman raised in a prison are bound to have ludicrous misunderstandings and farcical fumblings. She slaps a bracelet on him and declares him her prize. They are together now.

Morts Vigrous (Sanguine Crow - they followed him in, he plays barely at all, and is not spoken to or engaged at all, just the way he likes it.)

Yellow Hexagon Station

The game has some rules is determined by the roll of the 20 sided - there are more chances for the house to win than the players - and desperate and without much goods to wager (my error, but theirs too - they never did try to gather loot) they only wager for the first round and never do quite win. Wincey starts a feud with Pro-Spender and it's only kept from bloodshed by the intervention of the many, many guards and heavies in the room. Edard - the only player in the second round manages to lose his stake - the party's supply of water - and finally recalls his mage-hand spell when he tries with his last secret wealth to participate in the 3rd round of the game. Foolish, foolish players... Indeed, when Sunday & Eyonon together win what is behind door #1 (a giant's corpse, 12 feet tall at least and decked out in martial finery - a huge sword and axe & all - and more than that, mummified in honey & wax (they find it to be full of bees - a giant armored beehive)) and Edard is given the choice of Doors #2 and #3 - he utterly spaces on the Monty Haul problem and summarily wins a goat!

Of course, in the City, wherever 10 or more are gathered, So To are the Priests of Below, the Basement Torturers, The Pontiffs of Pain! Up from the basement they come - and the assembled gamblers groan in dismay - "There they come, to break up our fun, let's scatter and go." This idea is a winning one, or would be - but for the sudden reappearance of the Yellow-Hex monorail gang! They arrive on the cables hand over hand and their cable-car comes screeching up the line, bristling with warriors, the way out is no way out now!

A melee ensues- the players have a good deal of trouble with the whipping, muttering priests from the basement. They're entangled and harassed and poor Wincey ends up retreating to behind one of the prize-doors to rock and mutter, fingers in his ears, hopeful of not being called to the darkness. For the unutterable muttering of the priests from the platforms below, from th winding marble stairs has in it a terrible compulsion - "come into the dark and take your beating." It says - and the vicious brutality of institutional authority prevails over Dodenne and Barnaby and Sunday - who all choose to descend and all choose to be whipped and harmed - this despite their valiant efforts at fighting off the priests - indeed Barnaby is a stone-cold slayer of men cutting them apart with his prison-shiv swords - and yet, he knows his place is in the prison, so down the stairs he goes.
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In the end they are absconded off - body-surfed to the electric canal. The lower platforms house canals, watery through-ways that are charged in some fashion with an electrical force. The priests take the players and NPCs in turn - giving them the DC baptisms. They're held to the water by the current and bend hideously and twist in agony - Fabuluyo, Sunday and Edard take their time on the Electrification Penance - The Railroad Trinity of 3 in the 1 watery rail. The others snap out of it and fleeing, along with poor, solitary Numis - the Red-Line-Rampager - they overcome the last of the priests (all dressed in tight gossamer robes of red and wrapped in chains and filled up in their guts with barbed wire) leap onto the canal - which somehow, miraculously holds them aloft and spirits them down the tunnel-road. Numis, taking his railroad mace with him, does likewise, vanishing in another direction.
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Wincey - fleeing the upstairs, hoping to at least die in company rather than alone in a closet - finds a metallic sled, steel on the bottom, vinyl cushion on top. It's hard to manage, but Dodenne is good at riding, she steadies it nice and they all ride the magic carpet of the electric canal to the place where it ends - at a tunnel collapse. There, they find a way up and out - a broken wall which leads to another chamber of different stone and different color, a basement broken into.

Sunday and Fabulyo - both electrocuted and whipped, but remaining with the party know about this - a little. They lay out some exposition, at last, and the party is given some knowledge to keep. Fabulyo is a farmer and part of a farming league - it's hard work traveling by foot - because somehow the surface roads switch and change in the city - the lines and the canals all stay the same, but they're owned by violent, insane gangs, so she doesn't lightly leave home. Meanwhile she recognizes Sunday - "You used to stay at my farm, when you was a little'un." "I think I did, maybe more than once." They play a little game (NPC on NPC being a conversation I do tend to avoid) about who they know in common - turning out to be a large number of people- the City is big, but not well populated. They together claim that the basement and the realm above looks like it belongs to the Dusty Sisters - the Queens of the Boneyards. "Not too mean, but they're a lot nicer if you bring 'em a body to et." Says Fabulyo, knowingly.

And there we prepare for round #3.

Tonight!

Apr. 9th, 2014 10:30 am
kingtycoon: (Default)
Entrypointmos

Tonight we set about our Journey to the Fabulous Unknown City!

When they arrive they'll be confronted with the strange new place which is... still largely undocumented by me.  The plan here is that I am creating a series of randomized cards, and once they leave one area they'll go through some confusing trouble and arrive in another - each is a map like the one above, randomly populated and created on-the-fly.  It's going to be a pretty special amount of improvising on my part but I think I'm ready.

I should really come up with their opening scene though.  They come out of the cable-car in the mists, they find themselves in a strange, broad plaza, the cables of the cars overhead spiderwebbing around a great pylon.  The cars open, the guards toss out several crates, hurriedly, militarily, then, they start tossing out the captives/prisoners/pilgrims/adventurers.  And then the cars go back, into the mist, down and away, down and away.  The players have only moments to look through the crates before the hexagon-plaza comes alive!  Bandits and madmen converge on the scene in a rush.  Ape-like men with huge arms brachiate along the cables, they carry great mallets with heads in the shape of bronze fists in their feet.  Masked men and women, dressed in ragged tatters and others still, stranger still, all emerge on the great, cracked glass hexagon and all do battle over the crates - they are terrifying and their calls and howls shake everyone to the bone.

From here I hope they can scatter to the empty buildings and look for or find things & people in the strange ruins.  I'm going to come ready with some descriptive turns of phrase to set the tone...
Dirty street with dust & trash windblown to one side, drifting up against doors & walls

  • Bricks from the road pulled up & repurposed for some unwholesome alter - still standing - but abandoned and stained with gore

  • A street of leaning buildings, stories high, braced at the peak by a squashed cable-car that looms overhead

  • A street of many shrines, elaborate and simple alike all with untouched cult statues of unknown monstrous gods.  The incense and candles tell that some still pray here

  • A carpeted street, rugs lying in layers - feet thick over cobbles - mouldering & lovely with some unseemly & damp writhing below

  • A street full of hanged bones, decayed and eaten by birds, the remnants of ten thousands of ancient executions or suicides

  • A viaduct looming over a road covered in crawling, climbing things - legions of ants & armadas of roaches, spiders, crabs and every other scuttling thing, the noise is incredible

  • A street full of broken minarets and lined on the sides with stacked bells of every imaginable size, broken from their mounts & precariously positioned

  • Streets covered in broken blades & axeheads a sound of metal striking metal over and over emanates from somewhere deep below

  • Structures pierced by great fruiting trees, giants of their species, the sky is cielinged by a long procession of every-type of bird.  They are uncannily silent

  • Seats, chairs, pews and sofas are arrayed out in the street, as if a great performance was given, long-long ago on the roof of the building at the end of the lane.

  • A gushing fountain gives a horrible, poisonous smell, what pours from its many spouts is white and caustic. There are many bodies

  • A series of animate statues that bow & move & genuflect - their mouths working mutely.  From elsewhere there is a long stream of sound - some barking, doglike language

  • The roads are ripped up & the underworks are exposed below - layers of huge tunnels, pipes & whole encampments in successive layers

  • A series of signs is marked throughout - they each lead from one location to another in a series of halfhearted riddles - at the end of the puzzle there is a dead man, the body has been used as a toilet

  • The doors & windows are all just cracked & fading facades - painted over disconcerting steel structures - steel cables & platonic shapes all solid and rusting

  • A series of collapsed bridges & viaducts have squashed the buildings, they are functional ramps- easy to climb as they are overrun by thick green vines

  • Several pendulums swing from a spiderweb of cables overhead, some are huge, some small, fist sized - they gyrate endlessly & never seem to touch

  • A gigantic bonfire unlit.  It stands many dozens of feet high, looming terribly, shaky & unsteady

  • Beads of glass - some burned, many colorful. They cling to all surfaces as if sprayed out or exploded.  There is almost a pattern to be found in there.

  • The persistent smell of woodfires but no smoke, no ash, no charred remnants.  The long palm fronds scuttle across the ground dried and fallen.

Exposition beyond this will be spotty and unclear.  They'll have to find their way out.

Still - I think I need something pleasing for them to have or get, some handy place to hide and find a way to 'safety'. 
kingtycoon: (Default)
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So I'm getting ready to run a new game come April! It's exciting. I found a bunch of players all champing at the bit and I'm going to run the Fabulous Unknown City.

I always start with the people, places and things - try to come up with static locales and people to inhabit them - and then from there - evolve motivations and plan interactions. So this is the main design document for this game. To be manipulated and referenced in an ongoing way. Fun.

The Zeros - (AKA - NPCs and PC draw-pool)
The unaffiliated, shipwrecked & exiled.
The Lost & Never Found
- New arrivals in the F.U.C. They're possibly available to join the PCs - Not sure if they'll be made up - depending on my desire to put together pathfinder characters they'll be statted and created.

Unorganized pockets of contemporaries- those who've been sent to the Fabulous Unknown City in recent memory

Main Locale – The Botanic Gardens & Bazaars – greenhouses & the abandoned easy to access places, easy to enter simple to maintain, porous and impossible to defend. And as well all the places in between, the unclaimed nothing-places. - I guess that the Botanic Garden, one of them, will be the 'spawn point' where the players appear for the first time in the F.U.C.

Notables -
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3W – The Iron Tree Proficient – Man on the Mission (Expert/Rogue? Some devised class)
2C – The Mission-Man – the Rescue operator – here for his lady-love & lost (Paladin/Crusader?)
10C – Perfect Hero – the Kingtycoon – who's come to see for himself (Barbarian/?)
2W – Cartographer – The one who tries to measure the bounds (probably another Iron Tree guy)
PW – The Revolutionary in Exile – trying to organize (Three Family Village Represent)
AS – The Summoner of Birds and Lightning – the Singer of Best Songs (Trudo? Can I bring back old NPCs? He's pretty swell)

Alchemists of Execution
Experiementers – Mad Physicians, Capturers & Surgeons of Terrifying Surgeries
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Remnant Inheritors of some forsaken science mission. They hunt those who are here to experiment upon – hideously. Renniasance physician masks – crows & ravens (HUGS!)
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Main Locale – The Hanging Plaza, the Meathook Forest, the flaying grounds. Abbattoirs – impromptu & dedicated as well.

Notables -
QC – The Gentle Lady, The Nurse With the Wound, the Anaesthetic Angel
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2S – The Healer of the Mind's Torments – the Lobotomist
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3S – The Weeping Man, the Ceaseless crying scalpel man
AC – The Master of Blood – the Bleeding King
AW – The Man on Fire
8W – The Nerve-Man, the synaptic ninja, the quickest snicker-snack man
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Cemetery Queens
Mistresses of Corpses, Ghoul Mothers, Flesh-eaters **
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The carrion-eaters of the anthive cannibal mother, descendents of the most hopeless and outcaste – the real remnants of the foundational proles. Tribunicians of the Dead.

Main Locales – The Boneyard, the quiet grove, the still-still cemetery – the Necropolis or the family tomb.
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Notables -
KC – Houseboat of the Feaster on the drowned
HS – The Sleeping King's Valet
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5S – The Defeated Man, Crucified and wailing, the failure messiah
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KW – The One Who Refashions the Ancient World. My Avatar, the Pradeheharadim
KP – The Subway Captain
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The Faerie Titans
The old-guard, the elementals and the spirits, the kings and queens of prehistory, the remannt djinni summoned once and trapped forever
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They were brought by the will of ancient people and moulder here still, governed by ideas and ideals, they guard the ancient notions

Main Locales – The field of honor, the old courthouses & arenas, the places of high ideals and judgment, the police station.
Ruins
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Notables -
PC – The lady in the lake
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8S – The man with no arms
5S – The chaotic man who attempts
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KS – The wild huntsman
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4W – the great architect – the Urban Planner

Sons of the Kannyltines

Descendants of the ancient crusades, the lost company, the brigadooners

Weird orthodoxy of the ancient imperial schools, they are obsessed with the soldier's vice of gambling.
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Main Locales – The casino, the gambling lands, the houses of chance & folly. The brokedown log fort

Notables -
QS – The kite-flyer
10S – The Desolater, the Breaker, the old campaigner & destroyer
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9S – The Defeater – the Conqueror, the brutal, angry warrior
4P – The Winner, the Winner of the Games, the Contender
KS – The Blimp Commander
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SW – The Champion, The ruler of the Games of Chance, the old Champ

Torture Priests

The Haters of Gods, the Temple defilers, the madman god-kings of a lost and fallen age.

Whatever ruling classes once governed the city are now the most degenerate of the powers of the city, the most wicked and hateful.

Main Locales – Dungeons. The underworks, the basement, under your bed.
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Notables -
PS – The Howling Wind Woman, the Screaming Lady in the tunnel
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2P – The Rebuilder, the helpful hand, the house-elf
AP – The God in the Basement, the dusty man, the Earth Elemental

10W – The capturer, the enslaver, the Tyrant God
KS – The Howling Commander – the lightning striker, the Thunder
9P – The Dragon, the man in the vault
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Homesteaders in the Ruins
The Hopeful, the escapees, the hopeful ones, the wishers of humble wishes

Castoffs of the more extreme sects, they just want to get by, they just want to make the city live again. They are devotees of the city, their loyalty lies with it.

Main Locales – The fallen palaces, the broken towers, the shattered remains. They huddle in once grand places.

Notables -
QP – The Kindly mother, the plow mistress
6P – The Successful Man
3P – The Hard Working Man
3C – The Cornucopia lady
KC – The man who controls the Dam
7C – The faker – the one who pretends to have all of the success but has none


Cable-Car Riders
They ride the cables, they govern the city as raiders and ruiners, they're the madman berserkers that ride the cars and spread the ruin of the city.

Madmen who've grown the most dysfunctional and have lost all sense of sense, they're ruthless barbarians with no agenda beyond destruction, no ideology beyond the brotherhood of ruckus

Main Locales – the transit stations, the power-house, the radiant center-of-the-plex. The energy & cables, the transmission of all force through the city.

Notables -
PP – The Warrior of the Echoing Hills Station
8P – The Wise Warrior, the Sage tactician
5P – The brokedown rider, the cable-cutter
5C – The dissolute addict, the drug-fueled maniac
KW – The rider on the burning destroyed cable-car
9W – The Ogre Goliath


Warriors of the Seasons
The Hermetic Warrior Gangs, Earth, Wind, Water & Fire – the abundant turf-seekers. The bile-armies

Gangsters and go-betweens, they rule the streets, and master over the coming and going between the wards, they boss and bully the others they rule and protect & wreck.

Main Locales – The 4 Gates, the 4 Seasonal Centers, the Sundials

Notables -
10P – The Miner King, the Moleman Dragon
7P – The one who has it all and nothing
8C – The dam breaker, the acid rainer
6C – The Happy man, the cackling madman
7W – The Fireman

The Secret King
The Unknown Ancient Master The One who lost it all who ruined everything and remains as punishment

He and his cohort linger at the pleasure palaces, they swing on the abandoned swingsets, they go down the slides. They care nothing for anything, their dreams were crazed and their realizations have stunned them.

Main Locales – The playgrounds, the abandoned disneyland, the holodeck

Notables -
QW – The Burning City Queen
6S – The one who made it happen, the great mind
9C – The Glad, Rich Man
4C – The Video-Game Player
5W – The shit-stirrer
kingtycoon: (Default)
The sense right now is that the hardest things are behind us. Have happened. Are over. That’s the feeling, like getting that one foot up on the edge of the hole – you can tell you’re through it and will climb out, most likely. Still - efforts are needed, but the victory is in sight.

For example – I hopped off the 10, and it was a weird afternoon on the 10 – extra crowded and with the scarred and scared denizens of the Buckeye neighborhood that filter in and out, that ride up and down 93rd street. The bus was crowded and I talked for a moment, fleeting but sweet to the Plainswoman, and was cheered and inflated by that, a buoyant harmonious feeling to talk to her and that carried me off the bus on Euclid. I looked at the sun, setting now and a maze of uncertain smudged colors, I looked and I thought- I will walk. A long way.
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Up unfamiliar hills and through divergent paths, I made it to Shaker Square and then rambled back down Coventry and made it to home just in time to wait.
The long, good walk up hills and back down – that’s the needed and missing catharsis – for me – the mind, my mind it vanishes out of speculation, there’s just the ongoing action of foot and foot and foot in the long train. Here and there, there is traffic, cars – my perpetual enemies – they stop me going and I stand and it’s strange to suddenly stop – momentum being sufficient, I feel, to carry me on indefinitely. I wonder, sometimes, how far I’d make it, how long I could keep it going, what’s the longest I could go?
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My longest walk, in memory now, is better than 10 miles. On facebook I’m told constantly that the people I went to highschool or college with – they run dozens and dozens of miles every day. I hate running. For real I hate it, I get an angry scowl on me when I do it. But I think, I wonder if I could run a mile? I don’t even know, but I could walk forever and seemingly never stop.

And then you stop once you reach home and then your legs are strong and weak at once, they quiver that little bit and your back is stiff and glad and you’ve spent an hour in motion without stopping, and you’ve spent a couple of hours with the good wind on you and the right pace of things to compel you forward.
Julie comes by, it’s Tuesday and we have a plan to meet and write. I am not shy about drinking beer and eating the pizza she brings, I’m starving- I announce it. She loves to get the pizza because she loves to talk to the pizza-man. I love to eat pizza. I have my party at the end of the week, which dominates my finances – my money’s all spoken for this month – and I think of it in a wistful way, looking at my filled up canvases – thinking, I’d like more, I want to paint, not write. I feel like painting and haven’t lately.

I talk, we talk, for a long time, I explain that lately it’s the visual arts, for me, I could work on my spellbook or my magic project that I’m fashioning for my Plainswoman, or I could paint my Tarot version 2 –or I could paint my maps… I could’ve painted my maps- I could paint my maps (now that I think of it), but instead it’s time to write.

I explain – “I’m pretty good at writing, people seem to like it, if they’re of a mind to like it, I don’t have problems conveying what I mean – what appears on the page is close to what I want to say – it approaches it as closely as Achilles approaches the tortoise, you understand, it’s never exactly what you’d want, but it’s also surprisingly appealing.” I said that, say that – just that way. I drop Zeno’s arrow in polite conversation, that’s just my way. I explain that I like putting pen to paper, that I like the act of writing, that I like the things I have to write, but that I don’t know where I have to go with it.

Painting, I get better, I notice and try – I get better. Spellbooks, wizardry – my weird affected, hyperreal praxis – these improve with practice.
I moan on this for a moment, and put my pen to the paper and knock down page after page, competently and well. Saying: “I don’t know if I feel like writing.” And then I do write, competently, well. Maybe just well enough.

I explain – “I’m at a plateau here. I can’t tell what being better at this would be like; I can’t tell how I even would get better at this. I don’t know where I could go or how.” Which is so.
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In the end we talk about the people we’re interested in, drink more of my excellent scotch, stay up late laughing like weirdos. We talk about the fantasy lives that we each engage in, the dreams and visions that you give yourself over to until you fall asleep.

And then sleep.
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The Sparrow of Myriad Intelligences has the sense to find the matter that interests you. 

Make a mark, one of the radicals that corresponds to the nature of your inquiry, make another and another.  The Groves are many now, the Index is very large, be as clear as you can when you make the marks.  & the Sparrow – your sparrow will fly through the iron trees of the index, the forest of knowledge & find for you the record you seek.  The Sparrow of Myriad Intelligences will return to you, your sparrow, with a little strand of gossamer clutched in its claw.  You will fumble with the thread, try to grasp it.  The Sparrow will cock its head & look at you as you do so.  You will drop the thread, perhaps more than once – again and again the Sparrow of Myriad Intelligences will fetch it out of the air, offering it to you resolutely – you will finally take the strand. 

Following it back to the place, the copse in the Iron Forest – the sparrow will hop to the tree & perch in the right place.  It will raise its head up – its beak will point to the sky & will sing a different song Li-Fa-Li, victorious.  It will have guided you to a place that seems right to it.  The chances are good that it is what you wanted.  You will find the record carved in the tree is in the knot-script etching of the most ancient age. 

You have learned the script & read.  It is the record you sought – you are gratified & offer some sugar to your Sparrow of Myriad Intelligences.  It sings its triumphant song, raising its beak – down then up.  Fa-Li-Fa-Li-Fa.

This is the reason that Proficients are given their lump of sugar, it is the essential tool of our trade. 

You could ask, on your first arrival – why does the Iron Tree use the Iron Forest as its index.  When they could keep sensible records in books, on paper.  Why do they, now we, you’ll think – one of us, if you’re present in the Index, why do we keep these records in this way.  In this secret script that is difficult to learn.  Carved in the iron skin of artificial trees in an artificial forest? 

You’ll ask this as you learn the Forest Script – radicals modified by radicals, angular signs indicating words instead of phonemes.  You will learn it and you will come to wonder why it is that everyone else uses the Double-Pen.  Why not write in the concise, unambiguous script of the forest? 
You might even look into it.  The why, the reasons.  There are a few.  Principally, you will learn that the Forest Script is older than the Double-Pen.  Much older – as old as Klial itself.  You might learn of the Secession of the Trades – which led, 500 years ago now – to the founding of the Church of the Builders – the Crafts Faith.  You might learn of their Celestial Scribe, patron of the scriptoria – who gave to all people the Double-Pen and half-pen but who never offered the Forest Script.  Perhaps he never learned it himself.  It is no small undertaking.

You might glance back – far enough – to the earliest days of the Everliving Dynasty of the Kannyltines – to a long ago dangerous time when the great metropolis at Klial & its tributaries were surrounded not by docile provinces – but by rivals, antagonistic nations from whom secrets had to be kept, who needed to be shown the nature of permanence which is expressed by the Golden Dream and the Tree of Iron. 

The Whole thing is here
kingtycoon: (Default)
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Well, that's a first pass on the Western Coast. Much can be said about all of this, in fact it will be.

I think, optimally, wishes being granted by a magic ring style ambitions? I'd like to finish this up in watercolors so that it's 5'x12' and then get some nice photos of the pieces, get them color-corrected and edited lightly digitally. Then join them up together into a big scaleable image file and then put that on the internet and make it interactive so that you click on a spot on the map and it gives you the option to read something about that place by choosing an author and a time.

I guess I should explain that when I write the history of my imaginary country I make up primary and secondary sources and that I kind of really do write it as a history - rather than as a novel. There's a lot of forged documents that count as authentic testaments of previous times. It's a whole thing. Can I tell you why I'd want to do this? I cannot.

Anyhow- the top of the coast is where you'll find Pinepath - the first of the Kannylte to join the Empire after the conquest of the Weft Valley. Pinepath is prinicpaly the home of the Zun people who joined up nice and easy because their existing civilization was governed by a handful of Mad Alchemists who were easy enough for the Empire to roll over, particularly with the groundswell of support by the common folk, who were pretty much done with being ruled by Mad Alchemists. Naturally there's an undercurrent there of Sane Alchemy now, which will is based on my modified hermeticism that uses 6 elements each with 2 'genders' or 'poles' that will end up being a mashup of the Tao and the Kybalion. Probably. They're called Pinepath in reference to the Mad Alchemists being crucified along the roads - but also, because of the roads themselves being made of wooden-boards and rope bridges, largely.

Next down is Copperring which has a similar backstory - here, you see the concentric rings of river and hill and mountain and river (sorta - it's something that doesn't really come out in a map, but the experience of the people living there is all about this concentric orientation). There's copper in the hills and in the river - so that's partly the source of the name. Also, this area was the head of a proto-imperial system, where the Url-King who'd fashioned the Copper-Ring, a kind of lightning-rod/static-sulfur-ball contraption lived. He used his technical knowledge, including the understanding of metal-smithing to draw people into his authority and governed his own region for 300 years(!) but also became a patron and defender of the people further south. Those people had been terrorized by the Eno (a tribe of religious zealot/assassin/nihilist/satanists) who lived on and worshiped the big mountain in the middle of the plain. The smaller kingdoms that the Eno preyed upon turned first to the Url-King for help and defense. He in turn disseminated his technical ability and knowledge throughout the region (but in a methodical, experimental way, so that some of the kingdoms were given some knowledge and denied other knowledge). This was effective at stemming the tide of the Eno's predations, but was not sufficient to turn them back entirely. The Url-King in turn pledges himself and all of his clients to the Empire so long as the Empire agrees to conquer the Eno. Being somewhat benign, the Empire drives the Eno of off the One Mountain and into a permanent diaspora. This ends a period of human history in which knowledge and wisdom might have prevailed against danger and heralds the age of Steel, in which military dominance and force become the final argument. Below Copperring are a couple of Kannylte that lie on what is called the Ruined Coast- in that it is full of ruins, not that it is ruined itself. Here you can still find the weird remnants of the Url-King's client states, a mish-mash of peculiar, individualistic city-states. I'm working on names for these places right now because the ones I had, I just don't like.

Stealing from Sargon the Great who conquered everything to the Persian Gulf and erected a monument saying: "I have washed my weapons in the sea." I have considered Tidescour or Oceanflight - but also things like Seaflight and Wavemask. None of them is really doing it for me so far. I'd probably really like Tidescour if it didn't sound too much like some kind of cleaning solution. The idea is that places are named for part of their conquest - so they should have some reference to people being driven to the sea, and some reference of the Empire rescuing them by marching to the sea. The Sea.

South of that, at the end, you can see the mountainous fingers rising out of the ocean - this is Whitesail which is sort of like Novaya Zemlya - at the southern tips these peninsulas are conjoined and linked on a seasonal basis, but the very, extremely, super-duper old old mountain range (appalachian style but with glaciers and fjords) help create these warm lowlands and super-rich fisheries. These areas are the traditional home of the Hlorii people - who express a lot more sexual dimorphism than you're used to. The dudes are 3 meters tall and sometimes have fangs, and the ladies are like, regular sized lady Fado singers. These people have a lot of weird duality in their cultural attitudes that are based on the land and the sea, the man & the woman, the highland and the lowland and so on. Their deal is a devotion to old-time religion that's dualistic and theological (rather than mystical). They gave up on resisting the Empire after a famous event in which one of their Hetmen's harem was captured and ransomed back to him in exchange for his complicity in helping the Empire.
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At times like these I like to remember that I'm almost 40.

After a very long day full of progress bars and upload templates & field management I got drawn back to my imaginary world-  you know the one, the one I go crazy and work on endlessly, the one that I consider to be my main work in life.

So yesterday I realized something I wanted to work on, and then I did work on it. Because I love doing that and being busy and useful to myself.  I do not like washing dishes or cleaning up after myself because those things just don't seem useful.

Actually - let me talk about that thing - see, I was in the midst of the winter malaise because of all the effing cold and dark and I thought "I should have more fruits." But the thing is - I kind of don't like eating fruits. I don't mind them, but I... I don't even know. I like Square Meals. There's hardly any square fruits. What I decided to do was to just make potions for a few weeks. I mean, I got a blender don't I? Ain't I got a blender?! I do, so I bought like, nonsensical amounts of fruits and have been grinding their bones to make my juice. Anyhow - a couple of weeks of heavy potion consumption have left my guts somewhat out of proper order. My thought was to substitute all sugar and candy with fruits and then to drink them up all the time. Anyhow that was fine, as things to do go, except that there's a trashbag full of peels and cartons and peels and washing out the blender is a nuisance and... For all it's dietary imperfections the peanut-butter nutella diet is tidier with less hassles about cleanups. Anyhow I hate cleaning and love messing. I would make a sweet nomad, wandering the earth, littering it with peels and cartons as I move to less messier pastures.

Tomorrow, I'll clean up - I have to, no one will do it for me, and I'm supposed to be a kind of person. The kind of a person who has a clean blender. This reminds me - actually, of when I was a salesman - you'd always be pitching people on how you'd save them from hassles. People hate hassles. I bet 100% of all people dislike hassles, if someone did like hassles, man, I bet you wouldn't even want to know a person like that.

Of course, I like complicated challenges with no payoff a lot. I love that stuff. That's not a hassle. That is weird pleasure.
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It came to me that I could work harder on my imaginary country and I realized that I could paint a whole big map of it. I work better from maps - they give good ideas, geography=history you know - all human experiences are predicated and mediated by the local environment, so I work on setting up the world as a bunch of pictures. A bunch of feet by a bunch of feet - this is going to be a big-fun and big fun project. Also? 0 payoff, and extra effort. But washing my blender is a HASSLE. It's weird being alive no? My size 14 shib-shib is thrown in there for scale.



Here's the first pass on the upper northwest corner -
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more details to be added, more embellishments to fall, labels, the whole thing.

and for the extra pinch of verisimilitude:
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Time goes on, the work continues. Life is as full as you can fill it. Lately I've been thirsty for inputs - empty vessel. Empty of money, empty of ambition - that kind of thing - it's a rest period. That's all ending now though - the creative effort resumes, the tides shift, the seasons and the personal chemistry all create the next phase. Which is a story I'm going to tell you.



This is the journey you take.  You leave your home  & do not want to.  Your people come to see you off, there are tears & long embraces - you try to hold the sounds of voices & the feel of those embraces - this is a final good-bye.  You are taken in a carriage which gathers a few people, delivers others.  It makes its meandering way across the earth.  You are halting & hesitant with these other passengers - unused to strangers & travel.  You are brought to a town along the sea & board a ship.  Now you are far, far from what you know.  The ship rides vagrant over the sea meandering.  You speak to the sailors who are alike & different from you as night is different from day and as alike.  You do not make friends but you have friendly times.  You learn new card-games, new songs  stories.  How to curse in a dozen languages.  The ship stops often along coasts.  You learn to watch the weather - see icebergs & whales for the first & final time.  Your nameless ship takes you to the marshy estuary where the river Music meets the Ocean-Sea.  Disembark there.  Land underfoot for the first time in months, only an hour of that before you're put aboard one of the local dhows, a low open sailboat that swims up the current.  Others are put aboard in the Prashnilivarii town.  You sail & help to sail up through the Valley of the Music through the marshy heart of Arcingspray, the dominion of the Prashilivar.  You pass through brick  stone cities perched over reed-crowded marshes, vast paddies of rice under towering ziggurats. Passengers come and go, you are destined for the final stop.  Soon it is down to just you & the boatman who smiles & is kindly and worried.  He's been paid well, you know, to brig you so far.  You've nothing to give him though.  He says nothing until you reach the destination, your final stop, far up the River Music where the mists of Arcingspray fall like a curtain from the wall of the Silverheaven beyond.



There is a little jetty, a collection of tin & wood shacks & a great pillar of mortar & brick, bigger than a house, from its peak a leg-thick cable extends off into the impenetrable mists, lost from sight.  The boatman leaves you there, at the jetty under the pillar with the others sent or chosen to come.  Besides yourself there are what look like some mercenaries, warriors; prisoners, some who've a reedy-scholastic appearance, some who're nondescript.  All have a reason to enter the unknown.



Bolted to the door of one of the shacks is a sign that says Engineer & the Engineer proves to be a young Prashnilivarii man, thickset, squat-built like an anvil & black as soot.  He's amber-eyed and his affable manner, avuncular presence- they convey a sense of persistent mystification, surprise, wonder.



"You are going to Awese?"  He asks you.  You have no choice and wonder why he would ask.  "We have your kit here, we do not know what you will need in Awese, but we guess.  Everyone gets a trunk.  Every trunk is a bit different..."  He trails off, thinking of another thing.  Stamps his foot, reproving himself.  "I am the Engineer.  I just operate here, some return, I take their statements.  We give you a trunk.  Ever trunk is a bit different - in case one item is needed where another is not.  But you all need food.  Water.  We provide you that too, a purse of each, canteens.  We do not know when you can go.  We all wait here it has been some days, but soon.  You'll go soon.  Relax here for now.  No escape is tolerated.  There is no escape from here.  Do not leave without permission."



You do not leave.  You do not know what is going to happen.  The Engineer has a staff of armed men, they provide you with the food he mentioned, the canteens, they feed you and watch over the pavilion where the other travelers all gather and sleep out on the ground.  It seems improper to talk, you don't.  None do.



The day, days are confusing, with the wall of mist.  Perpendicular to the earth, by day it is the color of pearl and snow, by night it is gauzy and infused by rainbows.  There is a faint sound of thunder from within.  The third day comes and when the moon rises steady & full, chasing the sun from the bisected sky there is a rhythmic clanging that becomes an insistent clanging, then demanding, then overwhelming.  You are unused to the loud rhythms of mechanisms.  It is like a metal heartbeat, racing, faster.  The encampment wakens and the staff hurries you and the other travelers to the pillar.  Out of the mist a great metal boat, or a carriage, some union of the two, it descends along the cable, which it seems attached to by a channel at its top.  It stops as it reaches the pylon & apertures on its side open, sliding doors, metal and glass.  A few ragged people dart from the doors even before they open completely, falling over themselves and each other.  They run across the dirt-field around the pylon and are set upon by the Engineer's men immediately, restrained, you don't get a good look, you are hustled onto the carriage by others of the Engineer's retinue.  "It may leave quickly, it may stay only a moment, hurry!"  You are pushed along with the others barely hearing the Engineer's hasty benediction.  "My friends it is time.  Good luck!"  In a flurry of arms and efforts the crates and luggage are pushed up onto the carriage what seems a frenzied effort to wall the doors behind you.  The crates are stacked, and the urgent loading of the carriage stops, completed.  And then anticlimax of nothing happening.  For a long time.  "You go no-one knows where.  You will see what no one else will see, or ever does.  No one knows what will be provident or reckless where you are going.  You are like infants born today, you are like the first men and women in the world!"  The Engineer begins his longer speech.  It seems he might continue - but the carriage lurches and there is a disheartening sound - metal on metal warping, or worse, and then the rhythmic clashing and then the carriage begins its hasty ascent into the mist.



More to come.  Awese awaits!





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And every other project as well. There's time enough for them, for the moment, and impetus, dreams,ideas, the fulfillment of ambitions.

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