Friday, February 20, 2015

Districts of Lapidir, pt 2

This is part 3 in my rambles about Lapidir.  It has the final three districts.

Here is part 1: An overview of Lapidir.
Here is part 2: It has the first three districts.

this is an airship
fuck you, it's 2 am
and this isn't even my wine
Brassica - The College Crematorium and the Early Market

Inn: The Clam and the Cob.  Sign depicts a pornographic union between a corn cob and a clam.  The patrons here play red rover every night.  Many of them are civil engineers and snake psychologists, and they will happily tell you stories of the underground as long as you promise to stay the fuck out of there.  A sign on the wall offers rewards for any information about fire cult anarchists.

Here is the College Crematorium, a civic edifice with a rich and lauded history, and a wizarding college of modest means (although they will tell you otherwise).  It is the second-largest engineering college that I have spoken of.

The College Crematorium has weird architecture, as much of it is formed by a projection of the city's cupric understuff.  On cold days, the wall slouch and are in danger of falling over.  Whenever the engineers want to expand the college, they build a huge bonfire, which pulls copper out of the ground.  Fire builds.

Now, understand that Centerra's science is not too savvy to the laws of nature, and has never sniffed even the first scent of empiricism.  The pursuit of science is mostly tied to observing the most interesting things that you can find or assemble, and then arguing about what it means.  It's also inextricably linked to wizardry and religion.  You can't be a scientist unless you are religious and also know a bit about spellcasting.

So, although the College Crematorium has no concept of Bernoulli's principle, they've still manufactured airships.

The airships looks like giant hot dogs, two hundred feet long.  They have rows of propellers, and the airship itself serves as the axle for these propellers, so the propellers revolve around the body of the airship proper.  They move slowly enough that you can have a sword fight atop one, ducking behind the slow-moving blades all dramatic-like and shit.

The airships have a tail, which holds the box kite and also a the docking apparatus.  They land on their tails, like bumblebees, if bumblebees landed on their stingers.

The College Crematorium gets its name from the Anti-Enigmatic Crematorium.  This is a room that is burns bodies.  It is shaped like an lightbulb, open to the top.  Corpses that are burned here release their knowledge in their smoke.  Professors and other VIPs can then smoke the crematorium and gain the knowledge of the deceased, along with a ragged, blinking high.

Yes, it looks like a giant hookah.  No, you may not borrow the Crematorium.  Only faculty can use the crematorium.  Why are you still here?  Are you a student of the College?

Most of the College is composed of forges and forums, where engineers argue with each other, but also sometimes with snakes.

The market is called the Early Market and markets bore me.  Perhaps they remind me too much of grocery shopping.  Interesting things about the Early Market: Airship tickets.  Broccoli-based cuisine.  It is a crime to scuff, gouge, or discolor the polished copper floor.

Event #1 - Airship lands atop a small (three-story) clocktower and throws a few corpses off the side.  A bunch of fire cult anarchists yell from the portholes that they have captured this airship, but have accidentally killed the only guy who knew how to fly it.  The first person who can get on the airship and help them fly it to Meltheria (1000 miles away) gets a cut of the profits when they sell it for cash.  Anyone else who is sick of this shitty city can come, too.  In 1d20 minutes, Lapidir officials will attempt to recapture the airship with 3d6 civil engineers and a plumbing golem*.  If the airship gets off the clocktower (and it probably will), it will be pursued by another airship.

Event #2 - Slave day at the marketplace.  Malakeja the Inquisitrix is selling a minotaur, raised from birth and guaranteed to be a faithful hireling.  Bidding starts at 500sp but will probably go much higher.

The Wheelhouse - Central Palace and Control Panel for the Whole City

It is shaped like half of a wheel, a stone rainbow arcing over the city.  Main street runs below its central arch.  It is also shaped like a castle, with battlements and all that jazz.  The royal family lives in it.

The King of Lapidir has only a token role in the city, and generally obeys whatever orders given to him by the Administration.

The King of Lapidir is a human, one of the last terrestrial humans.  His family is also human.  He's a simple man, uneducated except for children's books, which he reads to his children every night.  He doesn't have a name.  The palace is vacuum sealed, and the king's needs are seen by a small army of wobbly brass golems.

In case you're like "wut no humans", read this.

Sometimes the King of Lapidir goes up to his blast-proof windows and waves to his citizens.  They rarely wave back.  This doesn't deter the King of Lapidir.  He likes waving at the people.  This is one of his only duties, and he takes it very seriously.

Somewhere in the heart of the Wheelhouse is the Console, the control panel that controls the sewers, plumbing, agricultural irrigation, and temperature of the city.  It's also capable of raising the whole city up 100' as defense against invaders.  Most of the buttons in the Console have unknown effects.  The King of Lapidir doesn't touch those buttons.  They give him nightmares.

There is also a countdown that must be reset every 11 hours.  It is unclear what will happen if the timer is allowed to reach zero, but the king and his family are careful to never let this happen.

The Console is rumored to be guarded by an IOUN stone beholder-golem.

Palpum - Civil Administration Edifice, Civil Services Building, and Snaketown

Inn: The Ascending Column.  This four story inn has a small footprint.  It is frequented by snake psychologists and the occasional civil serpent with Int 10 (who drink out back, with the horses).  It is decorated in faded French rococo.  A midget sleeps in one of the cabinets, coming out every few minutes to clear the plates.

The real power in the city is Administratrix Varalicta.  She's 6'6" (2m) tall when barefoot, and she likes to wear heels.  (Varalicta's Heels: feather fall at will, heels +3 vs peasants).  

The administrative buildings are all distinctive, compared to the rest of the city.  They're squat cylinders, arranged in hexagonal grids.  Only the Administrators know why this is so.

The administration buildings often have short, trumpet-shaped chimneys going from them.  This is part of the smoke mail system.  You write a note, place it into a tiny (3" cube) incinerator, and burn it up.  Then the smoke flies over to the recipient and reforms the note.  This mail system only works in the Palpum District.  

This is why it's a crime to interfere with smoke within the city.  You could be fucking with important city communications.

It's possible to catch the puff of smoke in a large bag (think butterfly net) and centrifuge it down into the original communique.  Spies do this, and anyone with a sack on a stick is suspect.

The Municipatorium is the largest building.  It's shaped like a two-tiered wedding cake.  This is the most important building in Lapidir.  It's where Administratrix Varalicta rules from.

Despite all the boring names, Lapidir isn't really big on beauracracy.  It mostly runs on graft and nepotism, like any other civilized city.  They just style themselves this way because all the sunlight reflecting off the copper has gone to their heads.

The snakes don't live in the Reptile House.  This is a common misconception.  Although you can stand on the Millstone Bridge and watch the civil serpents file into the Reptile House, all that the snakes do there is clock out.  (They are very well trained.)  The snakes mostly travel through the Serpentine Aquaduct.

The snakes live below the Civil Services Building (which is basically a huge garrison with filing cabinets in it) in a place called Snaketown.

Snaketown is a smaller model of Lapidir, lit by a small amount of light let in through the skylight.  The snakes have their own crude society down there.

Remember that civil serpents have an Int of 5.  Remember that 10% of them have an Int of 10, and can speak.  The snakes are not clever, but they have a dogged persistence and a ready knowledge of the city's laws.

The Reptile House is where the snake handlers live.  They manage, direct, and discipline the civil serpents, with snake-catching spears, live rats dipped in bourbon, and brothel vouchers.  They are lead by Comptroller Uzira Delomangusa, who is 6'2" and therefor inferior to Administratrix Varalicta, whom she schemes against.  The Comptroller is a sorceress of no small talent.  She lays the eggs that grow up to become civil serpents, and oversees their legal education.

Event #1 - A man in a small, steel-barred crate promises accurate maps of the underground if he is freed.  He is about to be wheeled off to the Civil Services Building, where he will be fed to the civil serpents for the crime of copper theft.

Event #2 - A bunch of the snake psychologists were recently poisoned by fire cult anarchists.  Administratix Varalicta agrees to commute their sentence if the PCs take the snake psychologists' places for a few weeks while proper replacements are found.  If the PCs are not guilty of any crime, the Administratix will discover something (such as scuffing the floor, or disturbing the smoke with their shouting).

Their first task is to remove the purple, bloated bodies from the Snake Psychology Office within the Reptile House.

The second and ongoing task is to manage the civil serpents.  This involves finding lost snakes, delivering orders to snakes in Snake Town, beating unruly snakes back into docility if they've had too much to drink (no lethal force allowed), comforting the snakes when they've had a bad day, and occasionally accompanying the snakes into the Mechanism to do some task that they are unable to do, such as turning a doorknob.

Ten Splendors - Poverty and Fire Scars

Inn: The Giant Mouse.  The common room is a maze of long benches.  It is so crowded after working hours that you'll have to rely on your neighbors to pass your beers to you.  There is a trio of dire rat skulls over the bar.  Every night, patrons pay 10sp to play Scaldine's game (she's the owner): make her laugh, and win 1000sp (nailed individually to the ceiling).  No one has ever won it.

The poor collect in Ten Splendors, like dirt under the fingernails.  The buildings here are the oldest, green-rusted copper and brittle wood, made light by long fires.  It smells like a pot of boiling water after you let all the water boil out, but forget to turn off the heat and all the precipitated shit paints the inside of you pot white.

The name of the district refers to the fountains.  There are ten of them.  If you bathe in one, you'll get a new save against any ongoing diseases you have.  In the morning, the fountains will be filled with children, and will smell faintly of urine.  At night, the fountains will be full of lepers, massaging each other's sores.  The water is always clean (despite any smells) and there is no risk of contagion.

The Charcoal House is full of burn victims.  It's actually a church (like the one in Wychenpither), except that it shepherds a much poorer flock.  They also sell charcoal and torches.  The torches are considered lucky.  Buy ten and you'll get a small but vicious dog.

There are many burn victims in Ten Splendors.  They leer out of doorways like sullen mummies peering out of crypts.  Like the mummies, they often wonder what day it is, and why their lips hurt so much.

Ten Splendors has seen the worst of the misfires and combustions that mark a "successful" action of the Mechanism.

In Ten Splendors, the sewer sinuses are open to the sky, and it is from these garbage-choked holes that the Mechanism shoots its fire into the sky.  It's just that when the sewer sinus is filled with garbage (as is often the case), it also results in a lot of burning garbage raining down on the slums.

There are blackened craters in Ten Splendors, some of them as large as a city block.  If you look at Ten Splendors on a map it looks like it has the pox.  Most of these craters are filled with several inches of rainwater or steam condensate.  Packs of feral dogs congregate near these weed-choked ruins.  They lounge in the brackish water; it cools their burns.

This is a superstitious district.  They believe in spirit-folk called brooskas, which look like tiny men mad of soot who only drink cream and only communicate by humming.  They supposedly herd vast herds of fleas the way ranchers work their cattle.  As long as you leave them a bowl of cream every so often, you'll never be tormented by fleas.

Many of the poor in Ten Splendors are tormented by disease.  The city of Lapidir has some magic that prevents the spread and progression of disease, but some cases are so grievous that they linger on, even through infections that would have normally killed them.  Behind some closed doors and curtained hallways, you will find the sickest people in the world.

Mama Mothwing is one of these.   She's old enough to have spawned a clan of ashen-faced, phlegmatic offspring.  She is so weak that she can only communicate by lifting her finger, as she is dying of consumption.  She has been dying of consumption for the last twenty years.

Most of the street gangs are unaligned, or ally themselves with the fire cults.  But the Whiskey Pups hate the fire cult gangs, and work to destroy them.  They hide liquor in all sorts of secret places around the city, so that no matter where they end up fighting, they'll have a bottle at hand.  Woe to those who steal their liquor, even unknowingly.  They are led by a man named Beggar Twosie.

Event #1 - Slavers snapping up loose victims.  If the PCs don't look tough, they'll be targeted like all the other poor dopes who didn't have the sense to lock themselves indoors.  If the PCs look dangerous, they'll be ignored, and get to watch 1d20 people caught.  There are 3d6 slavers (1 HD fighters) and a single cage golem*.

Event #2 - One of the fountains has turned to poison.  Mama Mothwing is paying a small fortune for anyone who can discover the cause and reverse it.


Plumbing Golem
HD 6, AC 15, Fistsx2 1d8/1d8, Move 9
- Immune to magic, except for stuff that affects water or stone golems
- Create Plumbing.  The golem sits its ass down on the ground and shits out a length of pipe, which installs itself across 20' of ground.  Only works in cities.
- Sewer Geyser: Existing plumbing erupts with water, dealing 2d6 damage to anyone standing in that particular spot and then launching them 1d4 x 10' into the air.  If they survive, Save vs filthy sewer-water disease.  A successful Dex check takes half damage from the geyser and avoids the launch.
- Sewer Travel.  Incredibly, the plumbing golem can travel through pipes like Mario, although it sounds like a buffalo chewing a bunch of rocks.

Cage Golem
HD 8, AC 16, Bite 1d8 + capture, Move 9
Looks like a cage the size of school bus, with a blunt-toothed crocodile head.  It walks on six legs.  It's a cage, so every part of it is wireframe.
- Immune to magic except for the stuff that affects iron golems.  Casting freedom of movement on the cage golem causes it to fall apart on a failed save, or take 5d6 damage on a successful save.
- On a hit, a target much succeed on a Str check or be swallowed.  Cage golem has Str 20.
- Swallowed targets are trapped inside the cage golem.  The inside of the golem has 2d6 cowed prisoners and 2 ghouls, who have been commanded to cow all prisoners inside the golem, so that they are not trying to escape.
- Escape from the cage golem is impossible unless a character has a crowbar and succeeds on bending the bars OR the golem's controller orders the golem to spit the prisoners out.
- It is shaped like a fat, smiling dog.

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