Tuesday, May 17, 2022

GALEA - Twilight City

 CITY INTRODUCTION

GALEA
FUMO
BRIGHT TOWN
POMERIUM
CALDERA
CALIDUM
TENEBRIS
MOUNTAIN TEMPLE

Artist: FreeMind93 Source

Organization of Notes:

Every district has a major Temple. This is located just below the District Summary. Every neighborhood is listed alphanumerically (e.g. A1, A2, A3, etc.) and has a special Shrine, which is the de facto name of the neighborhood. The contents of each neighborhood is listed below the shrine.


GALEA

It is an inhospitable, frozen slum. The cold winds of Sunless Rim shear across the district, freezing flesh black to bone. The living here wear thick furs, or are otherwise frostbitten. Graveyards and crypts for the undead to rest. Air peddlers linger on the stone steps, offering bladders of pure oxygen made in Tenebris to passers by. There would be a terrible stench, if flesh could rot in these clime.


The Temple of King's Crowns

The resting place of one thousand crowns plucked from the defeated helms of one thousand kings. This temple is a basilica, with pillars and floors of rough-hewn and very cold stone. It is administered by righteous kingslayers, rewarded with eternal unlife for their treachery. It is a frozen grave, guarded by the wights of shamed kings-guards. Crown-thieves are held in esteem.

(Monarchs, or those who serve them have their Morale halved here.)

Orlo the Usurper acts as High Priest. He is a thin and gangly ghast, braid-bearded frozen, carrying a hangman's noose. He is twice-received by the temple's powers, having killed his brother for the throne, and then himself. "Death is our most divine act."

The crowns are kept in unceremonious heaps. The central altar is simply a great mound of them. When chaos reigns and the crowns of kings go missing, they often end up here. 

Adding a new crown of a fallen dynasty generates a Blessing: one will be permitted to take any other one crown in its place.

1,000 CROWNS

d10

It is a crown of…

With…

And…

1

Stone

Thorns/Flowers/Vines entwined

Its band is broken.

2

Iron

Faded jewels inlaid

Its valuables have been plucked

3

Wood

Runic inscriptions

It bears battle wounds

4

Tin

Rusted edges

There is blood yet still upon it.

5

Bronze

Filigrees/Horns/Antlers

It is covered in filth

6

Copper

Precious stones

Time has horribly marred it.

7

Silver

Inscribed Images of Soldiers/Priests/Animals

It is well-worn.

8

Gold

Holy Symbols circumferenced

Its edges are sharp to the touch.

9

Platinum

Desiccated Furs

The skull of its wearer remains underneath.

10

Reroll Twice

The World in Miniature Atop

It still holds magical power.

Three famous Crowns lie within the piles (as well as any others one might want). An enchantment is placed upon that heap that makes them all seem mundane. Only a Sage's advice or a historian could pick them out. Stealing a crown from this pile will marshal the wights to defend the temple.

The Crown of Command - 1/Day: A chosen subject which can hear you must obey a single command to the best of their ability, or otherwise perish.

The Black Crown - A ring of black runic stone. In the oldest language: "May Destined Perish". Those of royal blood who place this upon their helm instantly die. (If one makes no claims to any thrones, having less than 1/16th royal blood is usually enough to avoid death.)

The Mundane Crown - A dull wooden crown. The wearer may not cast or utilize magic, and magic will not effect them.


A1. The Bone-Armed Man

This shrine is a statue of a starved man, thin and dry like a shrink-wrap person. His right arm and hand are exposed bones.


Give your arm a gentle bite, praying to the spirit of the shrine. The next time you are starving, you can muster the will to eat your own limbs without rolling.


Necromancer
Beloth is a wheezing elf living in a ramshackle snow-covered house. Says he doesn’t mind the cold anymore. Looks half dead. His chin and cheeks have turned black with frost. He’ll do necromancy for wine, or even grain alcohol, but has a serious drinking problem and can barely control the undead he raises.

Tombs
A graveyard for the Houseless, who died without a contract ensuring their servitude. The hypoxic below-freezing air helps preserve the bodies. Skeletons and zombies sometimes prowl the grounds, searching for replacement parts.

As Houseless, the legal protections over their bodies are weak, and parts may be taken in particular rites. These, however, are rarely enforced.

Slums

Poorest of the poor live here on the mountain top. Houseless, matronless, destitute. They live with zombies and skeletons, almost that themselves. Tiny little ramshackle houses stacked like playing card castles, only not a fire hazard because the air itself is so thin.


Little Orania is more bundles than flesh. She's a short stack hidden behind a hood pulled tightly around her face. People come to her when they have the very specific kinds of problems: usually interpersonal disputes. Most consider her a fair judge. She doesn't have the resources to help with the food/warmth/oxygen problem, but considers that her highest priority.


Monument to the Wind

Sometimes eagles come here to die. Their cold-preserved broken bodies lie strewn about on the rocks.


At the highest part of the highest peak there is a wind-eroded stone, that whistles through a narrow aperture. The words upon the stone have long faded into smooth obsolescence. If one can stand the icy grip of frozen death, one can hear the words of the Spirit of the North Wind. He knows things as a confused old man would, and only about things where the wind has gone.


Extremity Buyer

A house shaped like an upright finger, hidden between two ramshackle apartments. Inside is as an extremity emporium: dangling frozen-black ears, fingers, toes, noses, and sometimes even less savory things.

Cautious, the Finger Merchant, is a many-fingered necromancer (six on the left, more on the right), who specializes in grafting undead parts. She will buy frostbitten extremities for a fair price, and reanimate them with crone-like cheer.


A2. Harbath!

This shrine is a statue grinning man ear to ear with sharp chin, hands tucked in robes. The people here call him "Harbath!" with gusto every single time, like it's an inside joke.


Shout "Harbath!" right at the shrine as you pass, like a loud toast. If you don't shout at the shrine every time you pass you'll see the grinning image of the man as you die.


The Frozen Stair

Runs throughout most of the district. A single stone stair carved into the mountain. Winds blow across it like an air tunnel, and the locals usually avoid it. Covered in snow. Sometimes hidden ice. It is said that the stair was built upon one much older, and that sometimes the figments of strange humans can be seen climbing, but not descending the stairs.

The Spirit of the Stair is a trickster of bad luck, which manifests as an impish child of icy eyebrows and hair. If things are going well for you, the Stair will be safe. If things are going poorly, the Stair will be a hazard - black ice, snow-hidden spikes, cruel whistling winds and sharp teeth embedded in the stone (where previous victims had fallen).

Sometimes old women take people they care for here to ascertain their luck. A small disaster can be a good litmus test to prevent a greater one.


Soup Minders

A smoky community soup kitchen, filled with desperate people of all stripes. The wood shavings of leftover Dreamwood from Fumo make a particularly smoky and hallucinogenic fire. People who come here say that ghosts dwell beneath the floorboards - ghosts of asphyxiated rats.


Servius Houseless knows how desperate these people can be. He is a soup-sustained bag of skin and bones, and a fine self-taught cook with zero connections whose talents for the culinary arts are masked by his mediocre procurement skills. He'll make soup out of anything remotely containing calories. He organizes the cooking effort, and keeps a mental list of miserable and desperate persons - who is willing to do what and for how much. Often it's not much.


The Crows

A “bathhouse” for the undead. They meander up the hill to be ‘cleaned’, which means to be scrapped and peeled of rotting flesh using knives and curved hand-scythes. Their flesh is discarded to the birds.


The crows come far for food, weak in the high altitude but still desperate for food. But sometimes they are not simply crows, but Drow dressed in their feathers. They are a mystery cult devoted to the secrets of the Crow Queen, who they say lives off in the wake of carnage and decay. These cultists eat carrion, and flense with the skill of practiced butchers.


Down the mountain, one can find crows' nests with hand bones and jewelry. The Crow Queen takes these cleaned trophies as tribute.


Air Merchant

They’re sold in bladders made of some fungi that roll along semi-buoyant if loosed. Yurgo the Air Merchant is a short, barrel-chested man. He hires black-coated mercenaries to protect his wares, as he travels from Tenebris to Fumo to Galea selling pure oxygen. An absolute gouger, with the air of a snake salesman. He sells other cure-alls, too. Diluted silver nitrate and suppositories

His goods are highly flammable if pierced. He is thinking of investing in some slave-staffed pleasure houses once he's got the right matron.

Coffin Row
A hive of apartments for the undead and the desperate. Thousands of them. Such proximity has produced a gang of rats to make home in the spaces between the coffins, who scavenge the graves and make skeletons out of bodies.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

November - The Twilight City

Previous Twilight City content: The Greater HousesGlassesTomsCarnaliaArtifacts of Imperium.

CITY INTRODUCTION

GALEA
FUMO
BRIGHT TOWN
POMERIUM
CALDERA
CALIDUM
TENEBRIS
MOUNTAIN TEMPLE

The old city of Glazz'gibrar has been abandoned to a waking nightmare, unleashed to destroy the old monarchy and entomb their loyalists. Now, in the warmth of a distant vassal caldera, where the sun perpetually skims the horizon, the survivors of the nightmare-razing made a new city across the oceans of the Underdark.

November, the City in Perpetual Twilight.

Fire Nation Capitol from Avatar: The Last Airbender
Source

From the freezing peaks of Galea, to the abyssal depths of Tenebris, the dark elves make worship to their stolen Gods. It is an ant colony of a thousand divines: taken, found, seduced, imprisoned, entombed. Tutelary gods of forgotten nations, de novo genius loci, artifacts of religions no longer worshipped - all find themselves caught in the web.

It is said that the Goddess of Poisons (whose name has been stricken and worship outlawed) died with the monarchy. But her secret cults know this not to be true. Like any god that survives the tests of time, she has been adapted and reformed into something new. The poisons of the Kingdom, now the venoms of the Republic. She is survived by politics and daggers.

Twilight City is ruled by Great Houses. Their matriarchs become Executors and Senators. Their children become magistrates and officers. Their plutonic wealth funds great bathhouses, temples, monuments, and loyalties. Their House Gods are the gods of all: separation, violence, fate, order, rot, life, victory, smoke, envy.

Twilight City is lived in by many folk: Lesser Houses, guildsmen, free folk, foreigners, slaves and the undead. If they are fortunate or well-connected, they live somewhere warm with modest amounts of bread and wine. If not, then not even death will give their bodies respite. Their gods are the gods of some: freedom, vengeance, death, fertility, home, light.

Every house has a little god. Every street has a spirit. Every neighborhood a shrine. Every district a temple. They nearly all came from somewhere else, moved through the dark tunnels below in a millennia-crawl that ended here, in Twilight City. Not even the very wise know them all. The cityscape is a fractal labyrinth: tunnels upon tunnels and mazes within mazes.

~~~~

BEHOLD! MS PAINT DISTRICT MAP!



GALEA: Where naught but the least fortunate live. The cold winds of Sunless Rim shear across the district, freezing flesh to bone. Graveyards and crypts for the undead to rest. Even air is peddled here.

FUMO: A town's worth of people thrice-choked: fumes from below, the pooling smoke from burning the Dreamwood's bounty, the bitter haze of drug houses. Smoke pools in the gutters and the streets. Lakes of it form in low places, occasionally sent hurtling through the streets by gusts. An unenviable place to be.

BRIGHT TOWN: Ever within the rays of the Sun. It is a despised location by the Underdark denizens, but highly tolerated by surface dwellers. It lies on the surface roads that lead from the city to its empire. The outlying human settlement of Knife's Edge lies precariously upon a balance of opportunity and mortal risk.

POMERIUM: The city's sacred religious and political center. Walled off from the other districts with volcanic stones. No weapons or magic are allowed within. Guarded by sacred ancestor-wraiths and feared imperial blackguards.

CALIDUM: A hot, desirable place within the lower interior of the caldera. Houses a number of senatorial estates, elaborate bathhouses, commercial markets, and entertainment venues. As the major crossroads of the city, it receives frequent attention in the form of architecture, art, and science.

CALDERA: Herein lies all the city's medians. A zone of moderate climate and pleasant temperature. A frequent battleground for influence and development. Behind the pleasant façade, Houses, Guilds, and Interests wage a political war which not infrequently spills out into the streets.

HISS: The misty nabe. Water flows down from above in dozens of waterfalls, aqueducts, rivers, and misty fountains. Every surface precipitates, and every alley hides knives. Everything that resides in Hiss has something to hide, and so its people tend towards the esoteric and criminal. One much watch where they walk, in both the literal and figurative sense. An errant misstep can send one as easily into a dangerous den as careening off a cliff.

TENEBRIS: "All things flow to Tenebris": the deep sweltering dark. Vast fields of fungi tended by pale-eyed denizens. The final destination of all the city's forgotten waste. Long winding tunnels hollowed out by monstrous things. Protein farms. Spider workshops. Endless pits. It is the dark frontier of the city's reach, where unspeakable things make home.

THE MOUNTAIN TEMPLE: The realm below the city, and a city unto itself. The heart of the mountain. It is guarded from above by great Magmatic Gates, and below by elementals beholden to a Prince of Fire. None of flesh survive here long. Slaves are sent down, and they do not return.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Amnesiac - GLOG

Amnesiac, Amnesiac

A thousand lives, a thousand deaths

Knows not where they are, or was

Zealous in another cause


THE AMNESIAC

Starting Skills: ???

Starting Equipment: Custom Tattoo (see below), Undergarments, Headache.

Every Template: Gain One Custom Tattoo

A: Amnesia, Slippery Mind, Starting Skill

B: Beginner's Luck, Spell Tattoo (1MD)

C: Quick Learner

D: What Are The Odds?, Spell Tattoo (2MD)

~~~~~

Custom Tattoo:

You may write a custom tattoo, containing one single image or a message containing 20 characters or less wherever you'd like on your body. This tattoo persists despite your condition.

Amnesia:

Whenever you wake up from sleep, you will have lost virtually all of your memories. However, you maintain basic reading and writing comprehension of the most common language. You know basic facts about your biology (what and how to sleep, go to the bathroom, eat, etc.), and social interaction. Your personality is (largely) intact. As long as you DO NOT FALL ASLEEP you will retain all accumulated memories since your last visit to dreamland.

Slippery Mind:

Whenever you fall asleep and lose your memories, you also dispel any enchantments, GEAS's, magical boons, or curses effecting your person. This same effect erases any tattoos or other permanent writings on your person above the limit conveyed by the Tattoos granted by the Amnesiac's acquired templates.

Starting Skill:

The first time an NPC alludes to the Amnesiac about a particular skill they might possess, it becomes the Amnesiac's Starting Skill.

Beginner's Luck:

The Amnesiac is slightly more adept at trying new things, getting a +1 bonus to their first attempt at anything they haven't done before since they last lost their memories.

Spell Tattoo:

One of your Tattoos may contain a single use of one spell of one choice encountered during your last waking period. It takes one hour to scarify this tattoo into your flesh, and cannot be used until after you have slept (and lost your memories). It may be used once, with up to 1 MD per 2 Templates of Amnesiac you have (rounded down).

Quick Learner:

Have you done this before? It feels like you've done this before. Confidence is sometimes as good as experience. When doing something challenging that would not normally require super specialized expertise (such as operating basic machinery, dancing, intermediate algebra, mixing chemicals, cooking an omelet) the amnesiac has advantage on subsequent checks after the first attempt.

What Are The Odds?

There is a 1 in 4 chance that the Amnesiac can recall a skill requiring significant expertise if exposed to relevant materials (examples: googology, maritime property law, snake circulatory systems, quantum mechanics). All ability at this skill will be lost upon sleep, though it has a similar chance of being recalled during the next waking cycle. This 1 in 4 roll may only be attempted for any particular subject once per cycle.

~~~~~

Tattoos

Each Tattoo may convey one piece of information or idea. They can be words, messages, or images that convey meaning. Some Examples:

d20

Tattoo Location

Message / Image

1

Chin

A Black Swan

2

Forehead

Reverse Script: “Your Name is Morgan”

3

Inside Forearm

“When I Sleep, I Will Forget Everything”

4

Across Both Hands

“You Owe the Wrecker’s Union 6,000gp.”

5

Inner Thigh

“The Dragon’s Name is Calamus”

6

Back of Hand

“Hunt the White Rabbit.”

7

Inside of Hand

“My Name Is”

8

Left Wrist

“I Live. I Die. I Live Again.”

9

Right Wrist

A Treasure Map

10

Stomach

“Never Trust a Wizard.”

11

Chest

“2568327104”

12

Upper Back

“If You Remember Them, They Will Find You.”

13

Lower Back

“You Are Allergic to Shellfish”

14

Buttocks

“Red = Dead”

15

Deltoid

Pictogram to Assemble a Spear

16

Left Cheek

“Spring Break 2000”

17

Right Cheek

x = [-b ± √(b2 - 4ac)]/2a “

18

Under Lips

A Unicorn

19

Tongue

“Don’t Forget”

20

Ankle

“Don’t Touch Fire. It Hurts.”