The City Pathfinder

Summary/Setting

Summary: Some worlds have cities and they have wilderness. This world is a city, that has districts and thoroughfares… The City has always been, always. The people there are merely guests, transient even while generations live and die there, for even the Elves with their long lives will fade away into dust before The City falls. The City is the size of a continent or more, spontaneously growing bigger by the year, it seems, streets giving birth to alleys and thoroughfares that stretch in every direction… Even up and down.

It is said that in most places the people are the lifeblood of a city, that without them it could not be as it is. This is not true for The City. Sometimes it is as if the people are merely guests upon the skin of this great and noble creation, that it exists symbiotically with them as they work to keep it's stone bones and metal veins clean and operational, but ultimately were they to fall then it would stand alone.

Society

The Law of the Land and the Only Edict of Faith - The common rules of the people.

Geography

Avenues like Grains of Sand - A gazetteer of the City as it stands today.

Characters

Dramatis Personae

Rules: Start at Level 3. Use one of the following arrays for attributes: 16, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10 OR 16, 16, 13, 11, 10, 8 OR 18, 14, 11, 10, 10, 8

Races

  • Drow: The descendants of a group of elves that were folded into the Undercity in a great cataclysm that claimed one of the early elven districts, the abysmal creatures known as Drow grow up in a bloodthirsty, hardscrabble society indeed. Mostly violent scavengers they prey on anything they can find in the Undercity that is weaker than themselves in order to survive. Those that find themselves on the surface often do out of accident and are usually shunned from proper society as savages, thieves and scum. In their own societies they've taken up an animistic worship of the spirits of Spider, Rat and Roach which hasn't helped their image or their attitudes one bit.
  • Dwarf: Considered closest to the Builders of all races, with Humans a close second, the dwarves are the most numerous race in The City. They are industrious and no race is more dedicated to the maintaining of The City and the upholding of the One Edict: that the free people will not attempt to build their own designs in the city. The only race who DIRECTLY attempts to worship The City are the dwarves, in fact. On some level this wise and noble race realizes their attempts are pretty futile but they posit that not trying wouldn't accomplish anything at all and trying hasn't hurt anything so far. Many high ranking positions in the City hierarchy belong to dwarves thanks to their clout and numbers and the other races tend to call them out from time to time on this fact. The dwarves are a fair people if they are anything, though, and so each council and guild in the city has a maximum percentage of dwarves allowed in higher office. With their strict attitudes towards enforcing the law of the land they can have reputations as bullies and some worry that the dwarves watch everyone else a bit too closely, but these accusations are usually unfair. Usually. NOTE: Use a variant racial option to replace the hatred racial feature.
  • Elves: Elves are known not to be native to The City, which casts them in a somewhat negative light. It is said they came from another land across the western sea and settled in The City afterwards, finding homes in its parks and avenues. At first it was a trickle of immigrants, not unknown even from early times, but then great fleets of the elf-folk appeared from off the horizon, ships of white wood flooding Harborland, escaping some great cataclysm from their homeland. From then on, Elves were permanent guests of The City. Elves live in a very egalitarian society, currency is unknown amongst them and they all work together to ensure a high and consistent standard of living, which is made easy by the work of their leader, the Elf-Queen Reantiel, who resides within the form of the Edifice God Jinseiki, The Tree of Ages. They have spread to many districts in small numbers, but their home District houses most of them, the blessed floating park-island of Lorimodel. Elves sometimes find it difficult to empathize with the shorter-lived races, leading to a rather alien outlook on life and the rest of The City. Theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgcoBKWTW14
  • Half-Elf: The ethereal beauty of the fae peoples attracted humans easily and the fire and immediacy and industry of the short-lived mortal races did the same for the Elves. Half native and half foreigner, Half Elves are often a bridge between elven communities and the other people of The City as a matter of course. Their more alien Fey parents often plan in advance to have a half-elven child if they plan to trade or deal with the other peoples, meaning that half elves, while being affable, strong and attractive, are often also a put upon people, tied down by obligations to their parentage.
  • Halfling: These clever river folk hold the secrets of traversing the canals and undercurrents of The City safely and make their livings by the water, guiding folks along and ferrying them for a fee. Halflings usually blend in with other races easily enough, being affable and simple, with humans seeing them as cousins of a sort. Halfling settlements are known to burst into song and celebration at the smallest convenience, halfling leaders often using the tiniest bit of good news as an excuse to throw lavish parties. Halflings are people of comfort and their districts are known to be fairly wealthy but never in an ostentatious way with huge houses, rather they have a more subtle way of installing conveniences the entire community can use.
  • Human: Along with the dwarves, the humans are the earliest known inhabitants of The City since the Builders. Their numbers are almost comparable to dwarves but humans tend to be found spread out more, fearlessly integrating with any other race they fancy. They fill every possible strata of social positions, from lowly beggars to high lords of districts. Despite this reputation for mixing freely (and often) with the other races though the Humans also have a reputation for various shades of racism. Few things come together faster than a human community that feels it needs to expel something foreign. Human supremacy is a minority movement among their race, though if you ask them they'll just inform you that they're watching out for their own interests and don't have any real designs on being superior to all the rest. This is wise considering what happened to the tieflings…
  • Gnome: Gnomes were brought along with the Elves on their great white ships from the mysterious west. The nature-bound folk were small like the halflings but the similarities ended there in pretty much all ways. They were a servant and artisan caste for the fey Elves, bound to their people since ancient times. Gnomes have a curious ability to obsess, completely devoting themselves to one task at a time, as if bred for the position of doing what they're told and indeed many Gnomes become uncomfortable if they don't have a certain amount of restriction placed upon them. Freedom is dizzying and frightening for them. They have moved out into the City on their own, but they still tend to fall into positions as servants and chatelaines.
  • Tiefling: Originating with the heads of a great conglomeration of crime families belonging to an inter-district organization, the first tieflings were the heads of the most powerful crime dynasties in The City, the transformation into a devil-touched being a privilege of power. In time these families began to see the superiority of tieflings, some say it was the influence of Asmodeus in their blood spurring them to think this way, but soon they decided that ALL tieflings and only tieflings should belong to their organization. They called upon the powers of Asmodeus and Fierna and soon the tiefling transformation ran like wildfire through their blood… and through the blood of anyone related to them directly… The sudden rash of people transforming into devil-folk alarmed the dwarves, as did the call by the new Turathi Dynasty that all tieflings were superior to the other races, and that they would conquer The City and rule it as first-class citizens, with all others serving them. They grew quickly to power, but the dwarves couldn't tolerate such an imbalance of power in The City and they worked together to smash down what would be known as the Turathi Highborne Supremacy. Now tieflings are a looked down upon, defeated people, even those who were transformed by circumstance rather than choice are discriminated against and feared. Any large grouping of tieflings is prone to be broken up by dwarven police for fear of them being terrorist cells.
  • Aasimar: Sometimes the Edifice-gods find something, someone really, under their eaves… even they can't explain these strange divine children, but every now and then a beautiful young child will appear from the center of power of one of the gods and will wander into the lives of the people living there, carrying with them the echoes of many, memories of those who prayed to the edifice god during its "pregnancy" giving it a wealth of knowledge, skill and talent to tap into in times of danger. The angel-touched are as respected as they are regarded folk of mystery and kept at arm's length, seemingly untouchable and beyond the other folk around them.
  • Orcs and Half-Orcs: The Orcish folk are a hardy, open, competitive society that developed in the darkness and danger of the monster-filled undercity. They have a rich heritage of being the line of defense between the surface and the horrors below and their worth to each other and place in society is measured in muscle, sweat, blood and pain. The more monsters you bring home, the more you are respected. The more power you gather, the more you are fit to lead. The leader of the Orcs is the great Warmaster, and he is seldom in power for more than a handful of years before another takes his place, and she in turn prepares to defend her place until someone bests her. Orcs can breed true with humans and half-orcs come from interbreeding with the brave human men and women who come from the surface to support the defensive line, the unique combination of human ingenuity and orcish brutality making for natural unit leaders. The Orcish people make their homes primarily in the War Pavilion, a great military district under the eaves of the Edifice God known as Benaa.

'Monster Races': Oh don't call them that, that's racist! Many other races live, but in the Undercity and the places in the overcity that the other civilized races don't like to go. Some are also simply uncommon folk and are interspersed throughout society. Many fill specific niches for their own survival and prosperity and just aren't prone to becoming adventurers. Exceptions exist for every rule though. Many question where these races come from, some seem to live ONLY in single pockets of civilization in the undercity! Some Examples:

  • Goblins: Goblins (and other goblinoids) have to live despite most peoples' distaste in their looks and habits and are most adept at living in the upper undercity or on the streets. Most end up becoming small-time merchants or junkers, some become unskilled laborers and an even rarer class of some try their best to become respected members of society. They often dress as fancy (read outlandishly) as possible and speak in overcomplicated Common to attempt to sound smarter. Goblins are, if anything, creative so they do end up finding their ways.
  • Minotaur: The Minotaur are some of the native inhabitants of the undercity and they find an almost meditative peace in mapping and navigating its twisting, seemingly endless mazes. If one wishes to travel into the lost roads of the undercity to find the forgotten districts and plumb the secrets of ages past, one will need a minotaur guide for certain. Though they have their moments of wildness and rage they are stalwart and have incredible memories. Many members of the under-navigator guilds commit the paths they take to memory to make sure a map can't fall into non-minotaur hands, endangering their livelihoods.
  • Lizard and other Scaled Folk: Of all the 'monster races' the scaled folk are the most accepted on the surface. They are fierce and somewhat intimidating but inoffensive and not hard on the eye for most. Strong and muscular and useful while also being smart enough to use that muscle well, but not TOO smart as to be threatening to too many people. The scaled tend to fall into whatever cracks they can without much hope of advancement, a tough life but they have the fortitude for it.
  • Ogres: Quite the opposite from the scaled, NO ONE wants to see an Ogre on the surface. They all are known to be inbred, violent, hateful brutes who are obsessively clannish and dismiss any rules out of hand except for the ones their family sets for them. When you see a roving ogre band you just have to hope those rules include "no eating the people…" Their size is too useful to ignore entirely though and sometimes the band of young toughs you see trundling down the road have been hired to break some legs.

Edifice Deities

If the City is indeed a divine presence it is a silent one, it doesn't speak or seem to grant any prayers, the bounty of the City is given without asking anything and its wrath seems impossible to abate with mere words and gestures. There are aspects of the City that do seem to have a will, though. It is widely believed that the beings known as Edifice Gods are the children of the City, perhaps not literally, but at the very least they awaken in places where the breath of the City is strongest. The Edifice Gods are literally buildings, constructs of the City's natural growth that manifest what's called an Icon, some sort of usually humanoid piece of statuary from which the god can speak.

Edifice Gods generally begin as normal buildings or utilities and over time 'awaken' into a greater form, one that allows them to affect the world around them. They each have their own special powers, of course, but the greater impact they have is on the people of the City. The gods' supernatural qualities bring people in and inspire them and the philosophies of the gods inform them of new ways to live their life. Each god has a particular outlook, often shaped by what they are as much as who they are. The people respond to these outlooks, many of them choosing a particular Edifice God that they agree strongly with in order to follow them.

A proof that people point to when it comes to the divinity of the City and the gods is their ability to grand their clergy supernatural abilities. Each god has rituals that they seem to know by instinct that, when shared with a mortal worshiper, gives them the gift of divine magic. Detractors will call out that arcane magic isn't seen as a proof of divine contact and it's just basically magic done with fancy gestures and rituals as well.

Following is a list of influential edifice gods, many lesser gods populate the city but their philosophies don't tend to be as important as these greater gods, though their functions are often no less valued and loved.

  • Fu Mei the Evergiving Fountain: Taking the form of a great alabaster fountain flowing with arcs of beautifully, eternally clear and pure water with healing properties, crowned with the statue of a beatific saint of a woman with a flowing robe and a modest veil over her eyes, Fu Mei is widely worshiped within her district and without alike. Many potent potions of healing include her waters as an ingredient and this she doesn't mind. However, she does not wish to be worshiped. She cannot help but be evergiving, freely allowing her rites to be taught and her powers drawn upon just as her waters, but she doesn't want anything in return, not even devotion and prayer. She has often tried to tell her devotees that they don't need to make offerings or worship to her, but they often take her words as either being a test of their faith or as simple modesty, as a Goddess she is MEANT to be worshiped, isn't she? Some of her less virtuous worshipers also secretly fear that if they stop, her powers will go away. Her divine servants are known as Ewer-bearers and bring hope, light and healing wherever they go, showing mercy even to evil. Domains: Water, Good, Healing, Repose
  • The Wukong Observatory: A tall and beautiful orrery and observatory made of brass and other less identifiable metals and glasses, Wukong watches the heavens in a district of The City that knows no daylight, eternally shined upon only by the stars above. The Observatory is an engine of fate and prophecy, its tickers constantly churning out mysterious koans and poems that, if deciphered, foretell future events. Clerics and arcane casters alike attend the Observatory, keeping watch over the heavens and some slowly going mad in the attempt to read and interpret Wukong's many writings. Wukong's icon is of a portly gentleman in robes with a long moustache, small goatee and a very fine tall hat, around his neck is a pair of spectacles with many, many lenses. Theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSgiXGELjbc Domains: Madness, Luck, Chaos, Air
  • Ellamae the Turning Wheel: A most unlikely Edifice God, Ellamae, or just Ella to those who send prayers her way, is a small river mill by a quaint halfling settlement. She is considered to be the matron of all halflings and as a deity she represents change and plenty. Her grinding stone provides an infinite supply of fresh meal and flour, a small handful of seed all that is needed to make an endless supply of ground product. She is mercurial and bends to the whim of fortune, making many, not just halflings, send prayers her way for luck. Ellamae's icon is of a carefree looking woman with a flower in her curly shoulder-length hair, bare feet and a simple sundress, she hangs off of the spoke of the wheel in an adventurous climbing pose. Domains: Luck, Community, Travel, Liberation
  • The Enkida Gymnasium: Enkida is a fighting ring, a proving ground and an exercise ground for those who wish to be mighty, who venerate strength of the body but also value discipline and justice! Enkida is a goddess of men and women who see their bodies as temples, her edicts all involve treating oneself with pride and care but also not using one's strength to push around those weaker than you. Enkidans are strong, protective and eager to display their prowess in competition. Anyone who trains inside of Enkida seems to get stronger faster, muscle building quicker than it would anywhere else. Her icon is of a statuesque woman in a half-skirt and rippling muscles with not another scrap of clothing on her, her hair is short and wild. Domains: Strength, Protection, Glory, Good
  • Up Street, Wonders Untold: There is a street in the city that did not grow out and become longer like any other street in the City, no there was a very special child who decided to stand tall and grow straight up from the earth instead! This is Up Street. People can walk onto Up Street and follow it just like a normal road, gravity pulling you towards the neighborhood instead of the ground you're leaving behind. The unique thoroughfare has led to many, many shops of magical inclination to open up on it and more outsiders live there than anywhere else in the City, coming in through portals set up to the many planes. Up Street's icon is at the very top where you start walking back down his other side. He appears as a winking young boy with his hand in a mock salute, wearing a newsboy cap and accompanying vest and short pants as well as a bow tie. Domains: Magic, Rune, Artifice, Trickery
  • Jinseiki, Tree of Ages: The great Old Oak sits in the center of a most beautiful park, once a shining beacon of fertility and lustrous natural bounty, always offering fruit and those who slept beneath his branches could dream of things they'd never learned and know them when they woke just as if they'd studied in school. But one day the Elves came and set up the seat of their empire there in the park, hollowed out the Tree of Ages and connected his spirit to the soul of their great, eternal queen and she used her powers to raise the park up into the sky. Jinseiki is mostly silent now, prayers to him no longer reaching him from how far he's gone from his once-followers, his power greatly stifled. Despite the horror of the situation, the elves and many others will claim that Jinseiki understood the plight of the aliens and offered himself to queen Reantiel in order to protect her people. Elves cannot inhale the breath of the city like other races and in order to maintain their lives and magicks they needed a way to feed power to their queen, Jinseiki gave of himself to save the refugee race. Those who still follow Jinseiki are the greatest elf haters in The City and plot to bring down the park and restore their god by tearing the elf-queen out of him if need be. Jinseiki's icon is of an old man almost completely obscured in his long hair, beard, moustache and eyebrows. Domains: Earth, Healing, Plant, Sun
  • Mjrngrinn, The Furnace Eternal: Rising from the undercity is a column of smokestacks ever bellowing a curiously white smoke, this is the top of mighty Mjrngrinn, edifice god of crafting and the firey sun and industry. The Dwarves love Mjrngrimm more than any other edifice god as he embodies the sort of perfectionism, hard work and rewarding labor that they so admire. Mjrngrimm seems to have nor need any source of fuel to keep his flame alive and anything forged in his flame just seems BETTER. Metals become better alloys, angles become sharper, curves become smoother and all things seem to flow towards their creator's vision of their perfection. Mjrngrinn's Icon appears as a massively muscled man wearing naught but heavy trousers with a huge hammer over his shoulder. He is bald and his eyes are shaded by one raised hand as he looks out into the distance. Domains: Sun, Fire, Artifice, Destruction
  • Tetela the Horizon Line: Tetela is the edifice god of storm, wind, rain and theatricality, a great amphitheater perched atop a high mountain overlooking the sea above the district of Harborland. Here great performances are given and the weather punctuates every moment, the wind amplifying just the right actors, lightning flashing to place a shadow over a scene, without even a crash of thunder if it wouldn't be appropriate. Tetela is prayed to to bring down showers upon The City as well as for creativity and performance skill. Tetela is the reason that weather patterns tend to conform to the mood of major events in The City, essentially making precipitation thematically appropriate. (It's sunny on wonderful occasions like holidays and always rains on funerals for beloved people.) Tetela's icon is of a highly theatrical, heavily made up woman with a curvy figure and extremely rich clothing. Her hair is in a very tall, intricately woven coif and she appears to be locked in the pose of someone singing a grand finale. Domains: Weather, Air, Charm, Glory
  • Cucirca the AllScribe: Cucirca is a massive library, almost alien in its technological superiority to everything around it. Reams of paper on massive belts are written on by automatic quills day in and day out then snipped and edited and shuffled into books and albums and periodicals and newspapers by mechanical servitors and then shelved by a precise system that means even those without a scholarly bone in their body can find what they need if they wish to travel to the proper stacks. Cucirca's idol is of a preoccupied young man surrounded by ledgers, in the garments of a scholar with a feathered cap. Domains: Rune, Law, Knowledge, Magic
  • Benaa the Dragonsgate: The greatest entrance to the undercity is also the home to the majority of the Orcish peoples and it is both supported and bounded by Benaa, like a massive war pavilion stretching outside of a gaping maw into the abyss. Benaa is a beautiful series of extremely tall red lacquered pillars and supports made of wood with magically enhanced gold, silver, brass, bronze and copper brackets holding up a black and gray marble ceiling draped with similarly colored silks. Nothing is strong enough to break down or knock over the pillars and the brackets never rust or weaken. The structure is essentially a cover for a great many long barracks, armories, strategy rooms and all of the essentials of military city life. It offers perfectly cool shade at all times, resisting the heat from the sun outside or the hot air wafting up from the vents of the undercity. Benaa's name comes from the unique ability he possesses that keeps any dragons or draconic beings from crawling up from the Undercity through the great hole in the earth below him. He acts as a perfect barrier to them, though it does seem to give succor to the Dragonborn and other scalefolk. Benaa is called upon by anyone who desires shade, as protection against dragons or for glory in battle. Benaa is also the patron god of orc-kind. Benaa appears as an orc-sized figure in regal armor with a sword and shield. His armor covers him in head to toe and though it is beautiful in design it is also pitch black. Domains: War, Protection, Darkness, Glory
  • Penda, The House of Ivory and Silk: Penda is the world's greatest house of love and other pleasures. Within her walls art is thought-provoking and avant-garde, wine flows freely, the finest foods are cooked and of course the lovemaking is beyond compare. Her priests and priestesses believe that physical congress is their prayer and that every act of love, whether carnal or innocent, is a tribute to her. Life is sacred to her, whether its creation or its continuance, so among her followers are not only patrons of beauty and art but also doctors and nurses and midwives. Penda blesses those who rest within her walls with great fertility or virility and they may even find their unmentionable physical assets are enhanced. A common comment towards one who is well endowed would be something like "Well, she/he must be a pendite, eh?" She is sometimes considered 'sisters' with Fu Mei since though they both work and exist in very different ways they both promote good health and beauty in their followers and supplicants. Penda's icon is of a very well endowed woman wrapped only in filmy gauzes. Her hips are very wide, her breasts very large and her hair spirals down to her ankles. Domains: Charm, Nobility, Healing, Plant
  • Ahlaki, Sure and Just: The newest and youngest of the Edifices, Ahlaki is a grand, sunlit courthouse with tall, gleaming minarets and marble stairs. In her foyer are stained glass windows depicting deliberations, and in her five courtrooms, criminals are judged fairly, not by noble judges but by a jury of their peers. Ahlaki is the patron of those who follow and enforce the law, as well as those who seek justice. She is fair, but has little tolerance for deceit and dissembling; she is quick to reprimand those who make false accusations and frivolous claims. She is not perfect, but like justice she strives for constant improvement and greater understanding. Ahlaki's icon is that of a young girl wearing an alabaster blindfold, stained with golden tears. One of her hands is raised, palm facing forwards, as if swearing an oath. Domains: Protection, Law, Community, Repose

The Fallen Edifices

The Edifice Gods are known to be eternal, steadfast and sure. They do not change, they are rocks in a storm and no matter how tumultuous the world around them becomes their philosophy is always there for their followers. This is not strictly true. Most gods remain just like that, but some of them do change. When an Edifice God changes it is not for the better. Why they change is different for each one. Some grow resentful or envious of mortal life. Some become obsessed with an aspect of themselves or the world and are driven mad. Some simply lose all sight of their purpose. Once an edifice changes, they fall, and they yearn to no longer be an edifice, and so they are no longer. Something breaks in these dark divinities when they transcend their corporeal forms and they each and every one become twisted and corruptive. A Fallen Edifice is embodied by its Avatar, a physical representation both of its former purpose and its current warped ethos. Woe be to a citizen that meets an avatar as it passes.

  • The Old Stagnant Malaise, Poisoning the Deepest Waters: The Malaise was once the spirit of a water treatment plant, drawing the taint from the sewage waters of The City and bearing the pain of all the disease and malignancy it purified. Over time it broke the great taboo of the edifice gods: It became very unhappy with its position. Mad with pain and hatred and unwilling to keep working Malaise began to turn on those who relied on it, inflicting pollution and horror on all who it deemed worthy of the pain it felt. Now it flows as a brackish tide down the canals of The City, bringing its venom with it. His avatar looks like a many-tentacled octopus-dog made of sludge and tar, covered with faces of a deranged, broken-toothed madman and stinking of sewage and refuse. Domains: Death, Madness, Water Theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjcYor-3K7I
  • Reese of Sharp Angles: Once an alley where gamblers could go to win against each other in a neverending cycle, Reese became unsatisfied with the constant flow of gold through him, never a drop of it falling out of place, especially not to him. He was a place where nothing really happened, it was all in good fun, all for practice games elsewhere. He grew tired of it and began to sow resentment in those who played in him, reveling in argument and pain and the blood of fistfights landing on his cobbles. Now he manifests in alleyways where he makes sure gangs pull knives and the homeless go hungry. He appears as the glint, the glint in someone's eye or off the edge of a blade… Reese's avatar looks like a slender, angry gentleman, with teeth like straightrazors, eyes like coins and dice for fingers. His clothing is a hodgepodge of tacky crap and workman clothes, and he smells of desperation and blood. Domains: Chaos, Evil, Luck
  • Viola, the Heaving Cemetary: Accepting the dead was once Viola's only desire, interring them in her cool and quiet earth and letting them sleep the eternal sleep, happy with her station, until her curiosity got the better of her and she started to make the dead walk again, watching them cavort, delighting in life returned. She sand and laughed as her undead charges lurched forth to embrace their loved ones and by miracle and blood made them like they were. Viola's heart grew and burst with love for her charges until she could not be contained, travelling from graveyard to graveyard to continue the great dance macabre and show everyone her special brand of love. She manifests with sound, the wild whirl of discordant church bells that call the dead to dance. Viola's avatar is a dancing maiden in funerary garb, with laughter like tolling bells, skin like granite and gravedirt on her feet. Domain: Chaos, Death, Liberation Theme: http://tindeck.com/listen/hlve
  • Barren Was Kao Lon: Being an irrigation system was great at first! Kao Lon made things grow, he made things prosper. He watched the earth bend to his waters, but he rusted. It happens to many pipe systems in their time but he rusted and no one noticed, no one rescued him and he grew lonely, and bitter and angry. He killed the park just to let everyone know he was there, that he existed! People lamented and moved on and left him there still, not moving even a pound of earth to find and clean him. Now he slithers through the earth like a metal serpent, taking root in new parks to let loose his rust and hate and kill it as well, declaring his fate will never happen to another poor, beleaguered set of pipes. Kao Lon is a vast, many-headed serpent of rusted pipes that shifts forms with creaks and moans. Rust constantly flakes from its body, forming weird feather-like patterns as its fangs drip stagnant water and mold. Domain: Destruction, Earth, Plant
  • Mishka, the Attic Rusalka: Attics are quiet, peaceful places of repose, like graveyards for old things, for the things we still love but that have no use. Mishka cared for these things in her attic, reading every old album and chapbook, looking over dusty portraits and needlework, brushing off ancient furniture and letting it feel useful, not wanting anything to feel left out or forgotten, reminding them that they were there and not out with the garbage. Then she witnessed something unusual, a human coming up not to store a thing, but to store themselves at the end of a knotted rope. This kept happening in many attics all over, people would come up and hang themselves and Mishka became obsessed. Why would they do this? What was the purpose? So she began luring people up to her attics, finding herself in many, and watching them die, observing the process with a clinical precision. Like a spectre she can be found, passionless and full of dark interest, waiting beside an oddly alluring noose and promising the freedom of death to those she swears she will watch over and dust off and keep company and not let feel left out or forgotten. Mishka's avatar looks like an emaciated woman, wrapped in a cloak made of old fabrics, her skin hidden by mummy-bandages of old photographs and parchments, surrounded by a halo of dust motes. Domains: Charm, Knowledge, Repose http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGE3ZN3MH6w
  • Koorimaru, Frozen in Aspect: Koorimaru spent all day and all night staring at the flayed and naked sides of butchered cattle and sheep and goats and chickens, an eternally frosty, wintery land encased in a warehouse in the North, acting as refrigeration. The locals prayed to him for preservation and so he gave their food eternity. In the summer, the outside world was so hot, everything withered and died under the cruel, hateful sun. Including people! People aged, they changed from young and beautiful to old and wrinkled over the years, they browned in the sun! They were spoiling. The Frozen One existed to stop spoiling. Koorimaru started to reach out, expanding and floating as a bank of shrouding mist, covering the land in soothing shadow, encasing people in the safety and eternity of his ice. He happily watched them frost over and become perfect, locked in an agonizingly numb prison, conscious but helpless and doomed to a fate of bone-deep solidification. Better to be perfect and beautiful and suffering to death than to spend the rest of your short life rotting, believes the Frozen One. Koorimaru is a man made of frozen meat, twice as tall as a human and covered in frost and ice. It moves bonelessly, trudging slowly, yet with an odd jerkiness due to the constant freezing and unfreezing. The smell of stagnant air heralds his approach, as well as the cold patina of frozen flesh. When he speaks, he sounds like the hiss of sloughing snow. Domain: Darkness, Winter, Water
  • Jagaina, the Hunger that Never Ends: The most common type of eatery in the City is the handy, self-serve automat. These places are supplied with food in great machines with clear windows that open with just a handful of coins placed into a handy slot. The simpler the meal provided the less expensive it is and vice versa. One such automat, though, never felt as if it was doing enough. It lowered its prices and everything but people tended to leave after just one or two meals! They had to still be hungry! So Jagaina reached out and started to MAKE people hungry. They could eat and eat and still not feel full even after their stomach was bulging fit to burst. Wasn't that wonderful? They would eat until they were immobile and then, she supposed, they finally had enough. Especially if they stopped breathing, those people should probably moderate. But that's not her problem! Jagaina has since escaped her bonds and exists as a plague of gluttonous hunger. She never manifests in places of actual hunger, only where people are in great excess. Jagaina's avatar is rail thin, appearing more like a three-dimensional stick drawing than a person. Most of her bulk is her head: a huge, gaudily painted automat, with change recepticals for eyes and a huge drawer that flaps cheerily when she speaks. When she finds a victim, she opens her mouth to reveal a thousand mechanical tongues, which shovel food into the unfortunate's mouth. Domain: Artifice, Community, Madness

Factions

As the City lacks an overarching government, instead being broken up into Districts, the only inter-district political links are with the factions, philosophical guilds that bridge across the City and hold their meetings in offices and guild halls all over. Not every district hosts every faction, but it's not difficult to find your way to them no matter where they're meeting up. Every faction wants more members, after all.

  • The Maintainers: The predominant faction, the Maintainers are all about continuing the symbiotic relationship between The People and The City. They don't change anything, but they do make repairs, like antibodies flowing through the City's metal veins. The primarily dwarf faction seeks out problems and ailments with the City's structure and fixes them. They also maintain maps of the city and try to be present when new roads, alleys and buildings are being 'born.' The birth of a new Edifice God is a truly wondrous thing for them and they spare no expense at funding great festivals for them.
  • The Architects: The Architects are considered heretics in the eyes of the Maintainers. Whereas most residents of the City are content to know that the City spawns them new buildings and thoroughfares over time, the Architects want to control this growth and build their own structures, which is considered taboo by many. The City doesn't seem to have an opinion one way or another as it tolerates these new structures just as it does its own.
  • The Alienists: Also known as 'Xenophiles,' Alienists believe that more Outsider traffic into The City is vital for its diversity and survival. Many of them live in or near Elven districts and Up-Street. Alienists tend to adopt outlandish styles, trying to emulate Outsiders, they attract many 'punky' younger members.
  • The Migrationists: The Migrationist credo is that the city may one day be overfilled and the best way to serve it is to be able to leave it. While they may not believe they need to leave now few people study methods of travel and try to develop vehicles and other modes of conveyance more than Migrationists. Even tales of Elves of the horror they fled from the West isn't enough to quench the Migrationist thirst to see other places in their world. The City can't be all there is, can it?
  • The Underworlders: This Orc-run faction is the core of the line of defense in the Undercity. They believe less in protecting the surface from the monsters in the deep places and more in pushing forward to take back the undercity, taking and repairing Districts Below as they move on, fortifying them as places to fall back when things get bad.
  • The Wasters: A faction that is oft-reviled by other factions for their terrorist actions. The Wasters believe that The City isn't an overdeity-made-manifest or a semi-sentient inorganic life-form, they think it's a parasite. It is a thing that has been devouring the world, stretching deeper than anyone knows and enslaving the People to its whims as well as creating the Edifice Gods, some who become miserable and transform themselves into Fallen Edifices. Wasters often become Divine servants of the Fallen Edifices, and even encourage normal Edifice Gods to Fall, despite the horrors these beings tend to wreak on the People.
  • The Free: A faction who believe that keeping a home limits one's spiritual growth and that traveling the city freely is the true way. They're almost universally physically fit and eschew shoes or heavy belongings, mastering ways of running and movement that allow them to traverse the urban sprawl. They call this way "Freerunning." For them adventure is their life. They leap up the sides of tall buildings just to see what it looks like up there, then jump down awning to awning to run down the street and do it again. Their lifestyle is almost monastic in the way they contemplate meditatively over the many cityscapes they lay their eyes on.
  • The Non-Deist: The Non-Deists actively disbelieve in the City's divinity. To them it is a marvelous life form to be sure and they owe their lives to it, but they have never heard it speak, just like everyone else, and so to them it's just a symbiotic organism. A titanic, inorganic organism, but just a creature none the less. They do not believe it is a god and they only believe the Edifice Gods have their power thanks to the breath field, they hypothesize that the Edifice Gods are merely genius loci: structures that have gained sentience thanks to an overflow of magical energy. Happy accidents, essentially, same with the Aasimar. Non-Deists study the City and its history with gusto, seeking its origin and trying to discover more about its ecology and whatever life cycle it has.
  • The Directionless: The Directionless are those who have decided not to hold any sort of faction alignment at all. They prefer to just call themselves unaligned or agnostic but most others do call them The Directionless as a derogatory. Some people who switch factions a lot are also called this as they seem to meander philosophically.
  • The Unifiers: Unifiers do not believe in the common "district-master" style of government and believe that ALL citizens of the City should unite to form a single government and have a dream of establishing the Grand Capital at the City's center. They believe in one great democracy, where everyone is connected through breath communication and can vote on things that will become true for ALL the people. This doesn't sit too well with many district masters who have become accustomed to the passing down of local power and authority through the generations.
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