Avenues Like Grains Of Sand

Dimensions

The City is massive, a continent and more and absolutely unfathomable depths with lost Districts Below in the Undercity. The City is generally divided into 8 directional Boroughs, for the over and under-cities, then further divided into districts. This is analogous to a division of state (Maybe even country) and town, in places that are not The City.

The City is shaped like a slight oval as the city grows outward in a circular fashion, but is apparently unable (or reluctant) to grow out too far to the north and south, making The City bigger from east to west than from north to south, but only slightly. The coastline seems to grow with the city, meaning that while it can be measured that the city is growing east and west out into the oceans to either side, there always seems to be beach on those parts of the world. The growth is relatively slow though and it's said the City only gains a handful of miles every 4 years. Cartography is always big business in the City as every growth period means more of the city to map out.

Technology

The city, generally, is fairly magitechnologically advanced. The Globe company, for instance, crafts alchemical lights that glow brighter than flames and draw power from the magical energy emitted from the City itself, meaning they work regardless of where they're set up and even portable globe lanterns are possible. The technology was extrapolated from the lighting that The City provides for itself in most of its public areas such as forums, baths and automats.

Speaking of, the City has several public services it seems to provide, though never for free. It charges fees for usage of public areas and bathrooms and for the food it provides in its cafeterias and automats, automatic restaurants where food just seems to materialize on plates with silverware in little windowed columns that keep the food fresh and at temperature until someone comes along to eat it. Payment is accepted in coin slots and exact prices in copper, silver and gold appear in handy and politely worded signs next to them. It is one of the great mysteries of the City just where all that money goes… People who farm in the parks usually do so because they can't afford to eat at automats or for the simple novelty, many people LIKE to be able to cook their own meals rather that accept whatever is available. The City doesn't offer anything other than food or water packaged in this way, however. Merchants and craftsmen have to make everything else by hand, buying their materials from handy material stores (metal, cloth, leatherworking, etc) that the City provides then selling back what they make for a profit.

Transportation, whether public or personal, work on a similar system. The magical emanations from the city look like waves to magical senses and so hovering conveyances that work in The City alone are possible. Transportation usually takes the form of the ubiquitous Coleoptera class transports from the mighty Hercules hovercraft that can carry hundreds of people from one end of The City to another to the tiny personal Ladybug scooters that take grandma down to the market. Popular among kids are boards and boots that work in similar principles but on a smaller scale, unable to undertake any true fight but gliding just above the ground to make moving around faster. And more fun! Teens and children will set up competitions for this sort of thing. The Free disdain this method of travel, however, preferring to move around with their own two feet when possible. They will take public transport for long distances but they don't tend to own personal transportation.

Communication in the City is carried out mostly by couriers, easily identifiable by the royal blue cloaks worn by the Olyia guild. Madame Olyia has a fairly tight hold on this sector of business and people who try to be independent couriers may find an ogre bullyboy 'accidentally' breaks their leg one day and SUGGESTS they become an Olyia. The very rich can afford personal terminals that let them have face-to-face illusory communication with other people who own such terminals. As for the news it is both printed and available through voicecasts either through said terminals or at local places of interest like taverns and herald stages. Voicecasting covers everything from stories of the MYSTERIOUS BEYOND past the sea, to local and Citywide sports to entertainment serials.

Magic

Magic for people who do not know magic is mystifying and strange, for those who DO it is as natural as breathing and quite understandable. The City constantly gives off the energy commonly known as Breath (as in 'The Breath of the City"). Breath seems capable of providing power to anything attuned to receiving it, which includes the magitech wonders of the people as well as the reality-changing power of magic. Sorcerers are actually more common that Wizards in The City as inundated by the Breath even in the womb makes one more likely to manifest any sort of magical bloodlines even in the distant past of one's family. Or even totally spontaneously, without such history! For the people magic works in the following way: through blood or study one develops "magic circuits' which are configured in such a way as to provide a specific power channeled through word and gesture (mostly as a method of self-hypnosis that lowers the power requirements of such spells.)

The stronger one is the more of these circuits one can maintain at a time. When you use magic you take in Breath through your skin and channel it into these circuits in your soul to produce the desired effect. However these circuits become 'burned out' after one use per day and require rest to recharge. Wizards have to build specific circuits to cast their spells every day, however they can change up the circuits they choose to build by reading their spellbooks and using the mental exercises and mnemonic devices contained therein to create the spell repertoire they'd like for that day. Sorcerers work a bit differently. They have general magic circuits that they can use on the fly to cast any spell they know because unlike Wizards their spells are inborn, parts of them, each one a piece of their identity. They only have so big a "spell pool" however, making their casting easier and more frequent than wizards, but also more specialized and limited in utility.

Since magic enters the body through the skin, heavy clothing and armor interferes with the process creating what's known as the "arcane failure chance." As such armor training isn't common among magic-users. For the most part magic users wear as little clothing as possible as many believe this smooths magic casting even further, usually at least leaving their torso mostly bare. Especially sorcerers are known for being fairly prideful in their appearance, being as exhibitionist and bare as possible and remaining fit. Even those who eventually DO take the training that increases their reception to Breath so they can wear some types of armor (through the Arcane Armor feats) generally wear magical variants that still allow them to be scandalous in public.

Divine casters do not need to fear spell failure. The rites they learn are more limited in scope to utility and support for the most part, thanks to the role of the Edifice Gods in the city and thus the nature of their magic. Clerics are not merely trained to channel the breath, but build and maintain the faith and focus required allow one to actually carry the Breath within them. Instead of creating a magic circuit and using it as a channel, each 'prayer' is stored within the spirit and then expended as a sort of packet of energy and information. These prayers can only be received after an hourlong session of meditation and prayer based on the Edifice God and only after a good rest and sleep when the mind and body are prepared for it. Once the body's supply of Breath is worked through it takes rest and sleep to recover it and then the prayer to shape it. Spontaneous divine casters have the ability to carry a pool of general purpose Breath that they then prayer-shape at their whim, but like Sorcerers only to prayers that have become part of them. Like all other Divine casters once they've run through their Breath it takes rest and prayer to build it back up.

The Over-City

The City is divided up into boroughs based on the directions of the compass. The City is, therefore, sometimes called The City of Eight Directions. It is also said that there are at least ten thousand districts in the over city. References to eight directions and ten thousand things are fairly common in everyday vernacular.

North

The North is known as a place of heat and squat buildings, many districts connected together with white cloth canopies seemingly made from thousands and thousands of sewn together sheets. The Sun is oppressive during the day, beating down harshly on the people, and during the night residual humidity makes it just as uncomfortable. It's never quite dry in the north, alternating between clear skies with high humidity and series of hot, sweltering monsoons. It's obvious why the people need to canopy the streets as nothing from the sky ever seems kind to them.

The Edifice Gods that call this place home are Mjrngrinn and Ahlaki

To the west the blazing sun fades into black night and to the east the heat gives way to the misty eastern weather.

Theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6Ssg-i4T4I

Haman: The home of Mjrngrinn, god of the furnace. Haman has much more metal than other districts in the north which are generally made of materials that stay cooler in the sun. The people who live here wear very little and relish the heat reflecting off their homes, sweating out their troubles happily. Inside it tends to stay cooler thanks to magitechnical help, which isn't too uncommon as building such devices is within Mjrngrinn's purview. Haman is a place for the strong and has many workshops and an Arena for testing one's strength and the strength of one's creations. Many of the forged folk come from and live here as the heat doesn't bother them but many Orcs and Gnomes also call the district home.

Qabal: North of Haman where the Furnace God dwells and nearing the mysterious edge of the City where few dare to tread. The newborn goddess Ahlaki resides here as a great courthouse.

Northwest

The Land of Evernight. For some reason the northwest borough never sees the sun, the stars and moon always twinkling overhead. The artificial lights here are brightest of all and the shadows the deepest as well, the technology the most advanced and the people the strangest. It is known as a place both of excess and freedom, sin and innovation.

The Northwest's main Edifice God is The Wukong Observatory, which watches the forever starry sky with its great unblinking eye.

Theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOvxfYbz_ro&feature=related

West

Known as a land of privilege and plenty, the West is home to the City's one great harbor to the western sea and is where the greatest concentration of Elves and other outsiders live. It is considered most advanced and is the most populated borough by far. It's a potent combination of the tinkering of the Northwest and the spirituality of the Southwest that makes the West so special, a meeting place for the two different ways of living.

The West is home to both Fu Mei and Ellamae.

Theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PFARHChNxA

Southwest

The Southwest is known as the most blessed of the boroughs as it houses more Edifice Gods than any other borough. Most heroes who are divinely trained come from the great temples and academies here. The southwest also promotes great learning of arcane knowledge, housing one of the City's most prestigious schools of magic: The Bright Academy. Like the West it is known for clear, temperate weather.

The pantheon of Edifice Gods that call this place home are Cucirca the All-Scribe, Up-Street, Jinseiki the Tree of Ages and Penda, the house of Ivory and Silk.

Theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-L4jj9lRmE

South

Sometimes called The Necropolis, very few of the living make residence there and it is a place shrouded in mystery. The Southern Borough has no Edifice Gods that anyone can name but an overflow of the undead. It's said that in the distant past Viola The Heaving Cemetary claimed the land for her own, turning it into a safe haven for those who have felt the touch of her love. Very little goes in or out of the South though, and so very little is known of what it's really like.

Theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEnb13YM514

Southeast

The east as a whole is dominated by misty, foggy weather and the Southeast is no exception. The southeast is slightly cooler than the other eastern boroughs and is slightly less advanced technologically than the other boroughs, relying on gas lanterns for lighting rather than more efficient magical globe lights. The buildings that appear here tend to be made of more exotic and beautiful, but fragile, materials like wood, paper and silk and material shops tend to provide beautiful, delicate but strong silks and cottons dyed in exotic colors. The luxurious but old-world surroundings tend to attract nobility, so the Southeast as a whole has a reputation for very strong class divides and is sometimes called the Feudal Quarter. It is also known as a place where art and creativity are encouraged and nurtured and many people intending to become great artists, writers and chefs will seek out the wealthy nobles here for patronage.

Tetela of the Skyrim calls the Southeast home.

Theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLCdYlw_tSI

East

The East is the foggiest and mistiest of the eastern quarters and is also one of the most dangerous to live. Stone is the material that dominates the East, pollished stone buildings, cobblestone streets, windows with heavy sheet rock shutters, all materials that don't burn very easily, essentially. It's as if the City knows that the biggest entrances to the Undercity, and thus the easiest ways for dragons to make their ways up from it, lie in this borough. The fog hides many things, from back-alley deals to charity houses to barracks, and it also hides the monsters that make their way up to the surface. Mostly they're the races that are trying to make their way on the surface, away from the darkness of the Undercity, that manage to prove to the Orcish battle line that they deserve to be up there. As such the Eastern borough sometimes has the ignominious name of the Monstrous Quarter.

The Edifice God that claims home here is Benaa the Dragonsgate, guarding the greatest of the entrances to the Undercity.

Theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exUcGgDubc0

Northeast

Though far more lightly shrouded than the East the Northeast is slightly more foggy than the southeast and warmer, naturally, thanks to its proximity to the North. The Northeast is strangely heavy on wilderness, with more parks than any other kind of district. Many of the people are rather uncomfortable around so much wildlife and so many trees that are so much bigger than them, and the fact that the Northeast is home to many large beasts, many of which are uncatalogued thanks to the mysteries of the fog, doesn't help this at all. Still, for those who crave more natural surroundings, like many elves and those who wish to test themselves against the rigors of the natural world, the Northeast is an attractive home. It rewards strength of body and quickness of mind and reflex and the social structures here aren't as strong or as important as anywhere else. The people of the Northeast live off the land and with their proximity to Enkida, they show it in their bodies.

The Edifice God who claims this borough as home is, naturally, The Enkida Gymnasium. She's placed upon a strangely tall natural formation called a 'mountain' that people climb to reach her.

Theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38uz9vQRZIQ

The Under-City

The Lords of the Undercity

Despite the Orcs and their bravado and their great movement to claim the Districts Below once again there is no dispute as to who the true rulers of that dark place are: the dragons. The dragons are not like they are in tales of worlds outside… No, here they are twisted, corrupting influences and those who call upon draconic power or who are related to them are not brought to trial, nor imprisoned nor is there even a law specifically for them. There doesn't have to be. They are killed, on the spot, and no one is hesitant to do so. Everyone knows what dragons are capable of, and what they do happily.

A few of the dragons are well known at this point as they have either attacked the Undercity's front lines, terrorized its outlying territories or sent their servants into the Overcity to try to spread their corruption through corruptive magic and cultish rhetoric. One thing is known for certain: while the dragons have been driven off before, not a single one has EVER been killed.

  • Ghanaver, the Lord of Darkness: Ghanaver's presence is heralded by the deepening of darkness, the sharpening of angles and the WHISPERS that follow in his shadow. Living beings near him weep black tears that sap life energy and corrupt all they touch with life-stealing venom and souls that fall in his wake are caught up in his shadow for all eternity. He commands complete control of dark energy, necrotic power and the dead.
  • Kiinamestilan of the Pure White Doom: Kiinametilan is always preceded and followed by frost and intensifying levels of cold. The closer to the ice dragon one is, the less tolerable it is until you start getting frostbite. Kiinamestilan is also known for causing terrible feelings of loss and sorrow, some people falling upon their blades before they die from the freezing air. Winter is her heart and home and power, sending minions of living ice to do her bidding.
  • Verisimila, Who Is The Lightning's Blood: In Verisimila's presence, devices and magitech tend to short and behave erratically, sources of energy overload and cause damage to things around them, including divine spellcasters! She causes feelings of intense paranoia in those upon whom her power falls, often causing in-fighting and for groups to split, selfish self-preservation coming first.
  • Khander, The Pestilent Radiance: Khander is the mote of light in the darkness, the king of radiance and the bright lord. His radiance brings a horrific wasting with it, beings withering as all the water evaporates from their bodies, the land being blasted sterile and all color being bleached from the world. Khander's light brings complete and utter purification down to the microscopic level and his power does the same to the soul, scouring it of all emotion and reducing people to tranquil, lethargic, uncaring husks of their former selves.
  • Cinderhart, the Magma King: Cinderhart is rage, Cinderhart is heat, Cinderhart is muscle struggling against skin to bring dominance and pain to the world. Cinderhart is like the polar opposite of his sister Kiinamestilan, the closer he is the more blistering the heat becomes until your skin is sloughing from your blackening bones and you are cooked to perfection for his flame-resistant minions. He emotional effect causes not only an increase in anger and and a heightening in the instinct to fight, it causes muscle to painfully harden and swell and communication to become more difficult until all people can do is FIGHT, either his minions or each other.
  • Rose of Veridian Terror: More than any of the other dragons, the Rose favors death. Ghanaver might control death, but the Rose THRIVES on it. The Rose is the cycle of growth from decomposition, she is the breaking down of things. In her presence the living feel their flesh burning as toxins mingle with their blood and their flesh sprouts with roots and vines and tendrils until they are held stationary as poisonous, thorny flowering bushes. She causes intense fear in those she influences, fear enough to make her victims curl into balls and shiver and shake while her fearless, tireless plant minions march forth. All things fall before the might of the rose.
  • Glittering Kashmal: The least understood of all the dragons is this being of living crystal who eyes rarely fall upon and are in any state to recall. Kashmal transforms the world around him into a landscape drenched in diamonds and sapphires and amethysts. He causes bones to brittle and become inflexible, transforming into quartz-like stone. Those who are influenced by him fall to delusions and madness until catatonia sets in and the ones who look at him have it worst, their minds break staring into the infinite facets of his magnificent body and they can never see anything else ever again.
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