Friday, May 27, 2022

FUMO - Twilight City





It is cold. On the wide northern mountainside, volcanic vents mix with smoke produced from the burning of the Dreamwood for heat, creating a thick hallucinogenic fog that settles in the low places like waiting thieves. It kicks up as you go, casting suffocating dreams. The denizens of Fumo have learned an elegant shuffle to avoid disturbing the fog. They appear as if in coffin pose, keeping their arms crossed on their chest and their chins high.

The denizens of Fumo make their wooden buildings tall. Though the crowding makes the alleys thin, which necessitates taller buildings yet. Fires are common, almost always started by careless inhalation. On a windy day, the dream smoke will kick up in spirals, revealing paths usually abandoned to the haze while making safe paths unsafe.

The Temple of Dreams

The God of Smoke ate the God of Dreams, and became what it ate.
The God of Chaos ate the God of Smoke, but he found he could not keep it all down.
The God of Entropy eats the God of Chaos, but it is a slow meal. It will take eons yet to devour.

They are traditionally depicted as an old bearded man, confused, forgetful, riddled with dementia. From his nose and mouth pour smoke. On his helm rests the toothy crown which eats him.

The Temple of Dreams (sometimes called The Temple of Smoke) is little more than an abandoned façade against the mountainside: two pillars holding up a triangular pediment, inscribed with depictions of poppies and sleeping animals. Beyond is nothing but empty, solid rock.

The real temple can only be entered in dreams.

Once the entrance is found, pass through the petaled threshold to the rooms of smoke and madness where the masterfully drugged priestesses of House Hakar exhale the forms of beasts.

Then further past the phlegmatic fields of flowers where the weary and drugged come to rest in forgetful sleep.

Through The Grinder.

There one might find the Throne of Dreams, and upon it sitting Hakoldo (Smoke), Mauk (Chaos), Thton (Entropy), Ka (Dreams) or phases yet unknown of the Hungry God. It is said that they who sit upon the throne changes with the tides of the celestial spheres. Or with the ebbs and flows of the collective dream.

B1: The Eviscerated Woman
Her name was stricken from all records, but the spirit lingers on. A hero of the lower classes, having gotten the gods' righteous vengeance on a sadistic magistrate who thought themself beyond reproach. As punishment she was eviscerated, but went smiling.

Worship of this idol has been outlawed by the Senate (as it is believed to encourage insurrection). That doesn't stop people from hanging fresh offal from the bellies of nearby statues, making the Eviscerated Woman out of haughty monuments.

Draw the flat of a blade across your stomach and smile to the statue. Your next attack against someone of a higher class has Advantage and crits for additional damage.

Valerin’s Tavern (The Smokehouse)
The air is choked with wood-burned smoke. The cold mountain air is thin. These things together feel like asthma. The smoke keeps out the cold though, so the tavern owner keeps that over the freezing winds. His name is Valerin di la Hun’ana, a thin hard-working man with a terrible cough. He says he was cursed with two sons he hopes to send to fight for plunder. Smoked grasshoppers on barley bread is his specialty.

The Personists, who believe that all should be entitled to a soul, a persona, secretly gather here in the back rooms. In a place where most people cough occasionally, there are a few who never do: undead wearing masks that sometimes murmur but rarely speak. Valerin owes their leader Dred his life for organizing his legal defense after a patrician falsely accused him of murdering their daughter.

A houseless witch named Luana serves as apothecary to the people of this neighborhood. Her house can best be described as a "tent of sticks". She is an elf of wrinkles and fancy handheld fans. She curses at the smoke whenever it creeps near. Her remedies most often try to treat the hallucinations and respiratory-related illnesses that frequent those who live in Fumo.

It is rumored she poisons children, but that probably isn't true. She knows she’ll be a scape goat for something or someone one day, and knows a great number of escape routes around the district into Tenebris or the Dreamwood.

Woodsmans Guild
The lumber of the Dreamwood is necessary to keep one from freezing outside the graces of the city’s volcanically heated core. Its wood burns very smoky, and settles along the ground in a heavy fog.

The guild hall is a wooden facade built into the mountainside. Managed by House Despana, with the guild leader being one Floria di la Despana, a miserly old fat crone that will nickel and dime apprentices for every piece of equipment and protection from the Forest’s hazards. They employ mostly houseless drow, but find themselves out-competed by necromancers utilizing undead (who are immune to the nightmares produced by the trees of the Forest).

They wouldn't mind a few undead going missing.

The Mist-Hidden Temple

Where the smoke forms a lake in the midst of the buildings there lies the entrance to a hidden Temple, where skeletons give worship to the God of Bones. All of its rooms are filled with choking smoke, and coughing is a dead giveaway to its guards that intruding flesh has tainted the halls.

Locals or those with bone-related illnesses often make offerings by tossing coins or bones into the smoke-lake. The undead of the mausoleums place these coins within their eye sockets, or make long strings of them to wear like beads.

Public Bank

A red-bricked building of arches and columns. Its wide dark central entrance and two higher windows give it the impression of a giant demonic smiling face, into which one would walk the mouth.

A public warehouse where anyone can store things in private units or rooms. Doubles as a granary. Managed by Magistrate Halna di la Grachia, a stout woman with short dyed hair and an excessive love of mushroom wine. But that's in namesake only. The day to day is run by Clinicus, a wiry, knotted middle aged human. He's an educated slave of the neighboring Southlands, who was a tax man before being captured. A very hated tax man.

B2: The Faceless Man

A lifelike life-size doll of a commoner man crafted from ivory, except that his face is featureless and blank. Believed to represent some immortal trickster or astral thief taken patronage in the city.

Kick some smoke between his and your faces. Your face transfers to the Faceless Doll. You can still breathe and see. If you perform the mirror trick on someone else their face will transfer to you, and so on. This can happen a maximum of 1d4 times. The person stuck at the end loses their face for one full year.

Estate Hakar

Dark pegasi love the cold mountain air. House Hakar keeps a stable of them outside their estate. Pegasi have the personalities of mean teenage girls, and often throw petty insults at guests unless given a reason to fear them.

The glory of Estate Hakar are in its mountain atriums and warmed lounges. Perhaps it is the residual smoke, but the architecture itself feels unreal. To be within Estate Hakar is to feel as if one were dreaming. Strange sights walk the halls: skeletal creatures from across the world, thirsty revelers asking for blood or wine, or perhaps even demons.

Quenze de Hakar, the matriarch of the House, loves the smoke. The estate is kept warm by low burning fires smoke-flowing like waterfalls. The bitter scent of opium lingers on every surface. Undead skeletal animals adorn every room. Their priestesses are often found sleeping on divans or beds in plain view, though their spirits are elsewhere (see: The Temple of Dreams). They are guarded by their skeletal trophies.

Fumo Arena

A small time arena for small time fighters and criminals. This is where people die when they have no promise of being entertaining or capable. There will, however, be one or two scouts here from House Feth looking for anyone who might remotely make it in the city’s bigger arenas.

The fighting era itself is on low ground, and within the fighting area itself the heavy smoke comes up to the knees or sometimes the waist. Gladiators who duck their heads down or fall over can find themselves fatally hypoxic, but hidden from their opponents. Undead have a distinct advantage.

Gladiator Family - Bright Eyes

More a prison than a school. Most given to the Bright Eyes Family are criminals condemned to Death by Games, and have little chance at sporting an entertaining death. It is a compound guarded by drugs and invisible walls: the acolytes of House Hakar keep the family fat on a diet of drugs, deception, and barley.

Most of the fighters here will participate in mass slaughters: wretched slaves, unobedient prisoners of war, unskilled murderers. As they are measured they will be watched by the more experienced prize fighters, whose signature weapon is an armored claw for snatching and dragging.

The Family got its name from an effect of their particular drug cocktail that makes conspiracy difficult. It causes the pupils to constrict to pinpoints, and the eyelids to compulsively widen, showing an offsetting amount of white.

Smoker Merchant

A phlegmatic green dragonborn, with a long snout, dull eyes, and silk robes named Hagatha. She lies under the patronage of Hakar, having once been their slave. She suspects that the stories her previous masters told her about the raid that took her are lies, but it's long enough that she doesn't care anymore.

She sells small sticks of Dreamwood, imported opium, tobacco, and a substance called Juske Vine, which turns exhaustion into hallucination. Obviously, she partakes in all three. Sometimes all at once.

Glory Insulae

Wooden slums. Strangely, rent is greatest in the middle tiers, as the upper apartments are dangerous from fire hazard, and the lower apartments are hazardous from the smoke.

The little god of these apartments is a warrior spirit, tasked with watching over the dead and bequeathing them dreams of glory. It was tricked long ago into coming here, and cannot tell those who sleep from those who are dead, and so it infects the dreams of those who sleep with battles and conquests and dreams of righteous death.

It may be seen sometimes, waving its spectral spear over sleeping bodies. An old man, braid bearded, eyes blind and nose severed.

The people who live here not infrequently sign up for the Dark Legions.

No comments:

Post a Comment