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Campaign Creation => Homebrews => Topic started by: Steerpike on July 13, 2014, 10:44:46 PM



Title: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Steerpike on July 13, 2014, 10:44:46 PM
The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean

To the west of the Fevered Ocean lies a land of sand and blood and rust, like and yet unlike the continent to the east.

Gristle, The Voracious City, City of Cannibals

Ruled by the Butcheress – the enigmatic warlord also known as Regina Carnifex and the Queen of Cleavers, who seized control of the city thirty years past – Gristle is a vast, malodorous abattoir perched on the confluence of the sluggish River Cruor and the surging River Swelter, a churning, seething, rutting factory of meat.  The nomadic tribes that wander the Seeping Plains and the edges of the Furuncular Desert bordering the Abscess bring their fleshtree groves, droves of pigs, and herds of dire maggots and mankine here, filling the slaughterhouses and knackeries of Splatterside with the screams of dying cattle and the brothels of Squealside with the shrieks of courtesans.  Those scraps that escape the markets of Gobbleward end up in the arcane workshops of Tatter Hill where they are refashioned into carcass golems or drudges – bloated, semi-sentient labourers formed from patchwork snippets of reanimated flesh.  Around the base of the Hill are the tanneries of Pisstown, the apothecaries of Bilechapel, and the scroll-shops and tattoo parlours of Sallowgate; in the Swelter, haruspices and Hepatomancers divine fortunes from offal on the Isle of Entrails, while gargoyle-encrusted ships from New Pandemonium and scrap-fashioned barques from Verdigris unload diabolic weapons and antique machines while taking on boatloads of meat in the docklands of Bezoar Wharf, their sailors haggling for teeth – the city’s currency – on the rusted quays.

As for crime, Gristle has more than its fair share despite the vigilance of the Swine, the pig-masked police-force who serve Regina Carnifex with loyalty unto death.  Most sinister of the criminal factions are the Skin-Filchers, who steal not only the possessions of others but their entire identities, stripping their flesh and using strange sorceries to assume their semblances, living out stolen lives as doppelgangers of their victims.  Then there are the gangs of the Guts, the sprawling network of sewer tunnels and storm drains beneath the city – groups like the Razortongues with their gruesome clockwork augmentations, the troglodytic, chitin-armoured Tapeworms, and the mad, fungus-ridden Blighters.  Other creatures roam those feculent passages as well – brawngasts feeding on vagrants and sewage, skulking heartgorgers listening for the pulses of potential victims, solitary putrevores reshaping their amoebic bodies to squirm through the narrow corridors, and victims of the Puppeteer Plague carving their own flesh to ribbons, tormenting any they come across.  As for those above, most of Gristle’s citizens are human or mankine, though anthropophagi from the Seeping Plains, cambions from New Pandemonium, annis, drudes, and lamiae from Mara, and shuffling wights from Catafalque are all a common sight in the streets.

Those who would cast the Butcheress out, who resist her rule, take the tick as their totem and symbol: a thing buried deep in the flesh, invisible, sucking out the blood of its host, sickening it.  Styling themselves the Acari, they are organized by the surviving Gluttons, the obese former Hierarchs of Gristle, merchant princes ousted by the Queen of Cleavers nearly three decades ago.  The rebels have embraced their status as vermin, using certain arcane arts such as Swarm-Singing to control the city's rats and insects, using them as spies and agents, spreading disease and poisoning meat.  Even a single parasite, partially burrowed into the skin of a loyalist, can act as the eyes and ears of the Acari.  The Swine and other citizens of the city loyal to Regina Carnifex have dubbed them Fleas, referring to them collectively as the Infestation.

The city is ramshackle, ever-growing, ever-decaying.  Most buildings are tatterdemalions of leather, bonemeal brick, dung, and bloodmud.  A notable exception are the Boneshrines: temples built from the glyph-graven bones of the dead, used for the ancestor-worship that predominates in Gristle.  Such pale fanes are more than mausoleums, they are centres of worship and meditation where citizens can escape from the bustle and bloodshed of the city, seeking solace with the emaciated monks who silently tend the Boneshrines, aloof from the ceaseless, sick-making turmoil of Gristle.

New Pandemonium, City of Cults, City of the Fell Gate, the Bickering City

Riven by sectarian violence, New Pandemonium is a demoniac colony fragmented into a hundred individual wards, each of them dedicated to the worship of a different Archdemon.  Built around the Fell Gate, a locked portal to one of the myriad Hells that has remained sealed since the Membrane Wars, New Pandemonium was once one of the chief headquarters of demoniac forces, but following the destruction or banishment of the diabolic generals and the collapse of the demon-armies the city became fractious and divided.  Now principally occupied by humans, New Pandemonium is home to dozens of cults, brutal sects somewhere between street-gangs, governments, and churches.  The denizens of the many Hells send their worshippers vile gifts, warping their bodies and minds in exchange for sacrifices: thus those who offer up meat to the Beastmother Hromna, Queen of Dogs, acquire bestial fangs and claws, while those who pray in the Rotchurch of the Prince of Decay can wilt and wither with a touch.  The self-mutilating devotees of Phrexus the Painlord become immured to anguish, while the debased zealots of Lady Obscenity curdle the very air with their puissant blasphemies.  The myriad demonists fight constantly for tithing-territory, their vicious sectarian squabbling filling the streets with blood and infernal litanies.

As for demons themselves, lesser fiends are a common sight: sex-switching incubi and succubi hoping to feed on human lusts, winged imps fluttering above the streets with messages or reagents, monstrous hellhounds chained to spiked iron fences as watchdogs.  Here also are cambions, creatures half-human, half-demonic: though interbreeding between humans and demons is impossible, the hermaphroditic succubi and incubi can store and transfer human seed from person to person, and those born from such circuitous unions have something of their demoniac forebears in them.  Mothers are known to drink demon-blood, as well, to nourish their unborn children and grant them diabolic powers.  Others, jealous of such cambions, graft demonic flesh to their bodies, replacing their body-parts with those of demons in an attempt to become demonic themselves.  Such individuals, the so-called Metamorphicists, are maligned as sacrilegious by most New Pandemonians.  Most must hide their habits to avoid persecution, covering their stolen flesh with clothing, disrobing in clandestine groups to compare their augmentations; only in the streets of Imago Heath are Metamorphicists free to display their outré bodies, parading themselves in Desecration Square.  Crimes (as well as unpaid debts) committed in the city are typically punished by a period of Indentured Possession: the offender is branded with certain infernal marks that transform their body into a vessel for a demoniac spirit, made into a monstrous marionette for whatever power is bound within them till the terms of their servitude end.

As many beyond New Pandemonium worship the Archdemons, the city is a major site of pilgrimage, and at any time tent-towns of those pilgrims too poor to afford lodgings within the city sprawl about the five gates - the Bickering City is shaped as a pentagram.  Apart from pilgrims, New Pandemonium also attracts scholars and adventurers, the former seeking otherworldly knowledge in the city's hundred libraries, the latter selling demoniac relics gathered in ruins and old battlefields, artefacts of diabolic power that fetch a high price in the unhallowed marketplaces.  Even objects that seem cursed or malignant are much desired by the many cults, provided their origins are truly Hellish.  The scholars must pay handsomely for access to the grimoires kept by the city's libraries, bringing with them an influx of coin.  Apart from the libraries themselves and the book-making, copying, scrivening, and printing services that furnish scholars with texts, New Pandemonium's economy is fractured and multifarious, each ward pursuing its own industry.  Thus men and women seeking carnal pleasures gravitate to Lady Obscenity's voluptaria in Fleshwell; those desperate, ambitious, or foolish enough to dare the chance-tables in a city of demons are directed to the chaotic carnival of Delirium End, where the streets themselves are capricious, whimsical things, the pets of Murmux the Deceiver, and the games played within the vairform casinos are unlike any others on Earth; those craving oblivion seek it in Void Croix, ward of the No-King and his nihimentals, where mystics and melancholics alike can drink nightbrew, lethe-tea, black soma, and wine brewed in the skulls of monsters, or perhaps indulge in pipes of Algea, which transforms even the worst agonies into unspeakable pleasures.

Most of New Pandemonium is a place of worked stone, though many buildings have been warped by diabolic forces, architecture disobeying known physical laws as the Hells bleed into this universe.  In the domain of the Terrgahl, the Many-Mawed, for example (the district of Fanghill), buildings spontaneously sprout clusters of teeth, and all doors and windows eventually transform into gaping mouths, filling the streets with their fetid breath, the gutters with spittle, while brick and stone gradually assume the gingival pinkness of gums; in Little Stygia, on the other hand, the canals run red, seething with hungry phantoms, and unholy barnacles whisper murderous suggestions to passersby.

Mara, The Nightmare City

Mara, the Nightmare City, is an ancient metropolis now half-subsumed by the fetid swamps of Festerland that sprawl about its ancient, ruinous walls.  Deft in dream-magic and other forms of sorcery, the wizened, impossibly old Crones of Mara and their many daughters, the annis, guard their matriarchal power closely: men in Mara are chattel, unable to hold property, used chiefly for menial labour and other servile functions.  Those summoned by certain dream-visions to the Cavern of Crones just outside the city limits become consorts of the annis, siring children upon their mistresses; females become annis themselves, while males become drudes, misshapen creatures trained as bodyguards and soldiers.  The city itself is a ramshackle vastness of huts, tents, shacks, and shanties built on the slowly-sinking ruins of a much older city, mostly lost beneath the muck.  Primeval, mysterious things lurk in the darkness and estuarine mud of those stygian, flooded tunnels, brinegasts and gloomsquid and certain nameless horrors of the Drowned City.

Apart from the Crones and the humans they depend on for food and reproduction, Mara is home to many of the vampiric mercenaries and traders known the lamiae, bloodthirsty creatures with the tails of monstrous lamprey and their toothy maws as well, a rapacious merchant people whose greed and ruthlessness are legendary; most can be found in the bazaars of the Crescent Quarter.  One may also occasionally glimpse one of the oneiroi, dreams-made-flesh, the familiars, servitors, and occasional assassins of the Crones, especially in the Black Quarter.  The Coven itself consists of the thirteen eldest Crones at any given time; elder annis live for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years, and when one dies the next-eldest assumes her place on the Council of Crones.  Those who displease the Crones tend to fall asleep and never wake up, unless they take measures to protect their slumbering minds from the Crones’ somnomantic depredations, whispering banned charms before sleep or wreathing their necks with illegal talismans purchased from the shadowy markets of the Gibbous Quarter.

Ganglion, City of Tendrils, the Gangrenous City

Clinging to Wen, the largest of the Tumourous Isles that lie in the black, caustic waters of the Flesh-Eating Sea, Ganglion is a gigantic super-organism, home of the beings known as cephalomorphs.  Mistaken by some as a subrace of demons, the cephalomorphs actually hail from a distant part of this universe, for in aeons now long past and largely forgotten, Earth was visited by many species and creatures from other worlds.  They are powerful psychotheurges, and some believe that all fleshcraft can trace its roots to their arcane sciences; genetic traders, they create more of their number by modifying and cloning members of other races.  Such duplicates have the attributes and even some of the memories of their “donors” but are altered considerably, with enlarged craniums and brains, hairless skin, and the addition of a fully prehensile tentacular tongue; almost all modify their bodies heavily over the course of their lengthy life-spans.  They sustain themselves not with physical food but with numina, especially prizing the minds of powerful witches; after feeding they leave their victims drained, gibbering husks consigned to the quivering Laboratory Viscus for experimentation.

The unsavoury feeding habits of the cephalomorphs leads most to shun them, and so the creatures contract with a number of privateers, humans and others who dwell in the Visitors’ Viscus and the adjacent islands known as the Cysts, bringing their aberrant employers fodder taken on raids, captives used both for nourishment and as raw material to replenish their numbers.  They also create thousands of different specialized thralls in the Breeding Viscus that attend to their various material needs, and to act as protectors, information-gatherers, and envoys.  The city itself is a testament to their skills as fleshcrafters, a throbbing, undulating morass of bony spires, pulsating domes, and swinging bridges resembling knobbed vertebrae or twisted skeins of sinew.  In recent years, Ganglion has begun to decay for reasons even the cephalomorphs cannot fathom, some infection working its way into the membranous mass of living architecture.  Now a leprous affliction mars the glistening organic cityscape, weeping sores and swollen tissues transforming sections of Ganglion into decaying slums like those of the Necrotic Viscus.  Here parasites and renegades hold sway – festergasts, exiled cephalomorphs, and escaped experiments sheltering in the pestilential remnants of the ward.

The Cysts are a world all their own: nine small islands, scattered just off the southern shores of Wen.  Lawless, cosmopolitan little clusters of sin, the anarchic isles totter with slave-pens, pleasure-dens, and lighthouses to guide incoming ships into harbour.  A mix of mucilaginous lamiae structures, rickety wooden towers, and a few inscrutable stone citadels of extreme age (predating even the presence of Ganglion), the Cysts are home principally to those slavers who prefer their own domiciles to the quivering cells of the Visitors' Viscus.

Catafalque, City of Sepulchres

The City of Sepulchres was once a tomb-city of mausoleums and catacombs.  Now the crumbling and cobwebbed crypts are the homes of Catafalque’ new residents, its vaulted tunnels become subterranean streets where pallid merchants cry their wares.  The dead outnumber the living here, for the city is populated principally by wights – pallid, walking corpses, the so called Deathless, who attire themselves in the cerements of the dead and adorn themselves with the wealth of fallen princes.  Despite rumours that wights are the revivified corpses of the city’s original “residents,” the truth is far more disturbing: though wights cannot breed amongst themselves or interbreed with humans they can sire children upon the cadavers of human women, much as flies lay their eggs in the flesh of the dead.  For this reason all female bodies must be rendered to the wights; burying, cremating, or eating the body of a woman is a capital crime.  The wights do not eat or drink save for pleasure, preferring to imbibe wine mixed with the ashes of the dead, to dine on roast bone marrow and desiccated flesh.

Ghouls, a lesser breed of grave-spawn with a voracious appetite for putrefying flesh, dwell in the hinterlands of the city and in the squalid tunnels of Charnel End, occasionally even molesting wights and other upstanding citizens; they are hyena-faced, necrophagic scavengers, sentient but still bestial, violent and sadistic.  The living are employed as labourers and servants, residing either with their wight masters in Ossuary Court and the Grand Vault or in the barrow-houses of Tumulus Row.  Raven-winged harpies also linger in the shanty-towns of Catafalque, begging for scraps, occasionally waylaying travellers and performing other acts of banditry, or acting as messengers and couriers.

Though the upper levels of the catacombs have been thoroughly repurposed the lower levels remain unexplored: thus Catafalque attracts hundreds of tomb-robbers, often deranged and sometimes legendary adventurers who plumb the black depths of the city’s deepest pits where predatory spiders and shadowgasts are said to lurk, guarding forgotten treasures.

Blodvinter, City of Gelid Gore

Perched upon the frigid Incarnadine Steppes where the Shriekwinds scream men into madness and the Razorhail shreds travellers into ribbons, Blodvinter is carved almost entirely out of ice – not frozen water, but frozen blood.  Ruled by the thurs, a race of giants with blue-black skin like that of frostbite victims, Blodvinter was created in millennia long past by a brutal warlord who at that time had led a great horde down from the Steppes to conquer much of the north.  After his wars of conquest, the thur chieftain demanded that every people he had subjugated deliver to him sacrifices, conveyed to his ancestral home on the Steppes.  These sacrifices he had slaughtered, their blood collected and used to form first the blackish-red Hall of Frozen Carnage from which he ruled and then the rest of the city.  Thus Blodvinter stands as a monument to the brutality of the thurs, even after their empire fragmented and dwindled.  Though the giants still hold sway within the city and the surrounding Steppes, their numbers are few, and much of the city is now populated by their innumerable thralls – humans, cambions, lamiae, and others taken in raids.  

What is more, the once-united clans of thurs have fallen to feuding and infighting, each of the Chieftains vying for control, each controlling one of the city’s districts.  The Skoltrstrand, where the corpseships row themselves with grafted arms into their berths amidst the quays of broken skulls, is the domain of Clan Blue-Lips; the foundries of Sverdheim, where swords and axes are quenched in vats of blood, are the territory of Clan Death-Wail; the kennels of Wulfgard, where the thurs still breed misshappen vargr and other beasts, are the haunt of Clan Red-Tongue; other districts are claimed by other clans.  The thralls and vassals of the thurs are branded extensively and sometimes modified through witchcraft to reflect their owners.  Many are born into servitude and raised to view themselves as extensions of their owners rather than individuals in their own right; such thralls are frequent participants in the thurs’ feuds, and more thrall-blood is spilled on a daily basis than thur blood is in a year.

Purulence, the Mucopolis, City of Slime

An inconstant enormity of glistening ooze congealed into the shape of a city, Purulence is the home of the lamiae, a piratical race of merchants, thieves, and mercenaries.  The Brooding Ones, those few lamiae given a desire to mate, dwell here and spawn offspring in the thousands, a civilization of siblings.  The city is a great nursery, a spawning ground.  Here a million pools hold tapdoles, lamiae larvae in various stages of maturation.  They will spend half a decade here before reaching adulthood, growing rapidly, sloughing off their skin, secreting the neonatal sludge from which the city is fashioned, sculpted and re-sculpted by the oldest lamiae, those too old to fight or steal or travel, who tend to the teeming larvae and serve as the city’s caretakers.  The city slowly changes shape, its continuous architecture amorphous, ever-melting, reforming.  No lamiae has been born outside the city for a millennium.

The lamiae are blood-drinkers.  Deep within the Mucopolis, in all-but-lightless caverns of solidified phlegm grown hard as stone, lives a shadow civilization, half-feral and troglodytic: humans and others, taken as slaves and cast into the darkness of the Larder.  In exchange for food they must provide sacrifices.  There are tribes in the gloom, each with their own rites and customs: some give up only their eldest, others the crippled and the sick.  Others determine their sacrifices randomly, and others still reject the handouts of their captors and turn to cannibalism, hunting their fellow prisoners through a black labyrinth of slick and twisted passages, seeking always for some egress, some means of escape – finding none and returning to the hunt once more.

The lamiae themselves are not without their intrigues. The Cult of the Gelatinous God grows in power, threatening to undermine the vicious meritocracy that has long held sway over the bloodsuckers, worshipers willfully sacrificing their flesh to the hallowed slime. Living saints crawl bloated through the streets, swollen with the holy Substance of their deity, vomiting blessings upon the devout.

Few other than the lamiae dare to come to Purulence.  Those mad souls who dare to live near the breeding ground of these vampiric eel-things do so in the Dry Town, a fringe of half-sunken buildings about the periphery of the Mucopolis, on the beaches surrounding the partially flooded city.  To dwell here is to live a precarious existence, subject to the whims of the lamiae, but the bloodsuckers do find uses for such beings, on occasion, and compensate them with unexpected generosity with coinage stolen from a thousand realms, amassed over centuries of plunder.

Verdigris, City of Detritus, the Corroded City

Half-buried in the shifting wastes, the rusted spires of Verdigris rise, misted with the hazy bodies of Wraiths – consciousnesses uncoupled from their physical bodies through the use of certain esoteric machines and transplanted into clouds of tiny machines, if the Nanomancers speak the truth.  The city deals in other forms of immortality as well: in the simmering streets of the Cauldron one can pay the Sarcomancers to grow a duplicate body from as little as a plucked hair, a vat-grown husk into which a mind can be poured like liquid.  Others prefer to eschew physicality entirely, to dwell permanently in the fractured, dream-like no-space called the Weft which all those in Verdigris eventually visit, wiring themselves into the tangled morass of metal that makes up the city, a mad, junkyard sprawl of cables, gears, and buzzing conduits.  Some make their living trawling the decaying, immaterial archives of the Weft, libraries of data guarded by ancient ghosts-in-the-machine.  Such adventurous souls delve deep into stores of forgotten lore, sometimes arising triumphant with stolen data, other times emerging from the Weft raving and insane, or drooling and imbecilic (some, of course, never wake at all).

The city is infested by malignant machines, deranged automata, rogue banks of Murderfog.  Some say the Puppeteer Plague started here, some failed experiment of the Teratomancers, the Cancersmiths of the Phage Spire, others that the Nanomancers, their rivals, are at fault.  Whether either of the feuding Warlock-Guilds are truly to blame, Puppets certainly gather in Verdigris in unusual numbers, particularly in the decayed towers of the Nest.  Some wards of the city are entirely ruled by machine-intelligences, as in the case of the Diocese, domain of the Popess of Gears and Her zealous followers.  Most of the city, though, falls under the dominion of the five Warlock-Guilds: the Sarcomancers, Nanomancers, Teratomancers, Ceremancers, and Ferromancers.  The elder Warlocks who rule the Guilds have occupied dozens, even hundreds of bodies in their time, constantly scheming to undermine one another, making a game of assassination and arcane sabotage.


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Ghostman on July 14, 2014, 10:24:37 AM
So this land of sunset has it's own handful of "twilight cities". Obviously they must currently be isolated from the eastern continent, but how long has that been the case? The presence of humans and anthropophagi on both sides of the ocean suggests they've traveled -or been taken- across it in the past. OTOH most other races seem to be exclusively living on either continent.


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Magnus Pym on July 14, 2014, 11:36:50 AM
Excellent stuff Steerpike


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Steerpike on July 14, 2014, 11:40:05 AM
Good questions.

The two continents know little of each other - not much more than rumours.  Crossing the Fevered Ocean is incredibly hazardous and rarely attempted.  Even air-flight over the Ocean is problematic due to storms and large airborne predators.  Eldritch travel might be more feasible, but even rarer than physical travel.

Humans and anthropophagi I'm considering "old" races that have dwelt on both continents for a very long time.  Humans have occupied every continent of the world for longer than recorded history.  The anthropophagi migrated more recently but their histories are fragmented, vague, and uncertain.

Lamiae share a common (but distant) evolutionary ancestor with Hagmen and Lamiae.

Demons are the same, although there are some different sub-species on the western continent, and some demonic populations have evolved to become more integrated with human civilization, or what passes for it.

Oneiroi are the same, but those in the western continent have a better understanding of how to bind and control them.

The Cultivar Technocrats stole much of their fleshcraft from Ganglion.

Gasts and geists are local terms for the same broad type of being.

The civilization that created Verdigris also created the Behemoths and other high-tech artefacts in the Shatters, and were one of the last truly global civilizations on the planet.


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Rose-of-Vellum on July 14, 2014, 11:43:49 AM
EDIT: So others asked and Steerpike answered some of the following questions whilst I was drafting. So yeah...

So very excited to see a new CE post, especially one of this magnitude!

Not sure if you're wanting feedback, but here's some (and some questions to boot):

Overall, the individual cities seem flatter, less complex, and less evocative than the Twilight Cities. Some of the names also seem to lack the sophistication of other mainland ones. Granted, this may because the these are new ideas, less refined -which is completely understandable. But you've set the bar soooo high, that even the hardcore fanboy that I am feels that most of the sites need work, especially after I compared the similar 1-2 paragraph blurbs of the Twilight Cities to the above ones.

1. I'm curious as to the impetus for the post and developing this second continent. Was this older material lurking on a drive, new stuff drummed up in preparation of a game, or the brain-child of some nocturnal reverie?

2. I was under the impression that the Esurience forms the western 'border' to the 'main' continent. If so, does that mean that travel between the two continents is blocked?  If so, how long have the landmasses/cultures been split? The blurb mentions Membrane Wars, but that might be an exception with dimensional ruptures rippling across the world. However, that does beg the question of whether the Chained Ones were similarly summoned in the eastern continent (or if the summoning in the west affected the entire world), and how they were chained there (e.g., did the Hecatomb affect the whole world or just the eastern continent).  Related, I don't how long the Esurience has been around. Has it been around for ages, or appeared more recently?  Or perhaps before the Skyscar, the two continents were frequently/occasionally connected by the Aurelian Tundra, a landbridge made of ice.

3. Am I correct in assuming this continent was not part of the Imperium? (I don't recall any mention of cestoid sea-faring). If so, is the land then devoid of mantids and lilix? I realize this wouldn't automatically prove they are the creations of cestoids, but it would add further evidence -or at least evidence that humans aren't the result of cestoid flesh crafting with mechanoapes and mantids as the mantids proclaim.

4. Likewise with the jatayi -are they present?  

5. Did this area experience the Red Ravishing as well?

5. Relatedly, to what extent are the inhabitants of the landmasses aware of each other? Do they have name for the continents, perhaps amongst the scholarly types who oh-so love to name things?

6. The city-states -are they as large or old as the Twilight Cities?

7. Gasts but no geists? Am I reading that correctly? I see lots of gast references but no geists, though the former seem to fill the same role as the latter based on my admittedly incomplete understanding.

As for the specific cities:

GRISTLE
Love, love the name. The monikers are ok, but don't seem to grab me like some of the other Twilight Cities'. The Hungry City sounds not as poetic (e.g., it's like if Moroi was called the Thin City rather than the Gaunt City). Maybe something like the Hollow, Flensed, Gluttonous, Insatiable, etc. City? Or make it the Cannibal City, and the City of [insert adjective] Abattoirs?  

Love the titles of the ruler: the Butcheress, the Regina Carnifex, the Queen of Cleavers. I also love that you have a single warlord ruling one of the cities –that is something unique for CE –especially if that warlord actively wages war (against something be it monstrous hordes and/or other cities). Perhaps actually adding a current war would help differentiate the continent.

That said, why is the Butcheress enigmatic? What’s mysterious about her, especially given how raw and physical the city otherwise appears? Is she mortal? Did she depose a previous warlord or alternate government? Is there a Resistance?

I love the names and descriptions of the River Cruor and Swelter (though curse you as I was planning on using Cruor…).  Love the individual areas as well. Teeth as currency –awesome.

Mankine? Are those like men-cows? Great name, regardless.

Abscess? Tell me more….

Love the Swine and their masks.

Skin-Filchers –are they perhaps related to the scarab-swarm people of the east who similarly devour flesh and assume identities as doppelgangers?

Love the Guts and its gangs.

Despite all this Gristle-love, the city still seems like it is missing something. Basically, all of the Twilight Cities had 3-4 major, distinct elements that made them really intriguing, evocative, plot-hooking places. For instance, Skein has its diabolic-cocoon Moth-Kings, the masked aristocratic families and their demonic familiars, clockwork automata, and yakuza-like syndicates. Or, consider Somnambulon: it has the psychic vampire Zehrer, the zombic breeding and exploitation, industrial prowess, and the underground rebellion of the Awakeners.

Gristle in comparison just seems to be a giant-slaughterhouse.  Yes, there are the Swine, but Skein has the Watch and Somnambulon has the Whispers.

Thus, I would suggest adding something else to help distinguish the place. Perhaps the Butcheress just conquered the city, or it just survived an ugly civil war that leaves areas in a mess. Maybe they are make fine, if not fancy, bladed weapons (kinda have to if they are master slaughterers), and have been or are weapon-merchants. Perhaps they instigate wars between different cities than benefit from the arms-race? Or perhaps give some hint as to the architectural style of Gristle. Is it built within the bones of some massive god-carcass, with the Regina Carnifex ruling from the Aortic Palace? Maybe some giant carnivore-whale-thing that arose from the sea in a bygone age, devoured entire cities, then died of starvation after it consumed nearly everything –basically the survivors all fled to the other side of the continent (like your space-ship in the Death of Time).

CATAFALQUE.

Name is awesome (and curse you again as I had developed a massive black tomb-ridden mesa called the Grand Catafalque for the CE town I developed for my tabletop ☺ ). The title is good too. Not sure what another title might be (since you seem to have a system of 2 titles): perhaps the City of Restless/Murmuring/Gasping Tombs, the City of Flyblown/Bloated Brides?

I like the wights a lot, and their method of reproduction is horrendously perfect (or is it perfectly horrendous?).  It’s not clear if they need to eat –but I might suggest they don’t, as that would set them apart from lamiae and Gristle and the other races. So basically more like shade rather than ghul.  Doing so also allows them to pursue other things besides just eating. For instance, strange arts and philosophies. Or maybe they have a highly, if morbid, sense of aesthetics –without eating, immortal, they pursue a culture akin to the peaceful era of Japan with elaborate rituals and so forth. Maybe Meanwhile, the ‘lesser races’ might be considered crude, undisciplined, and without taste. Maybe they perform periodic mass mourning ceremonies for the original dead –or just the dead brides –the Mothers of their race, elaborate, solemn affairs. Maybe they perfect calligraphy or tattoo their lineage on their skins, memorializing their ancestry as well as other epistolary arcana. Maybe the city in sections is covered in graffiti covering graffiti –epitaphs upon epitaphs like a layer of constantly shedding, peeling skin over the ancient tombs.

As for the harpies and ghouls, it seems like you could use jatayi and ghul. Or, make them more distinct.  For instance, you could call them strix, give them the heads of humans, but the bodies of ravens or owls (which in most cultures are symbols of death), or with beaks in which they carve holes and play mournful dirges. They might be great lamenters, singers, perhaps only speaking in song (singing telegram anyone?).  The ‘ghouls’ you could keep as “hyena-faced, necrophagic scavengers, sentient but still bestial, violent and sadistic”, but call them something else (e.g., gnole, bultingin, bouda, tabib, yena, crocotta) and make them live in packs where they create, perform, and enjoy macabre plays and crude, dark comedies, considering life a joke, otherwise devoid of meaning (dada nihilist counterpoints to the refined perfectionism of the wights) and have powers of mimicry and mesmerism.

As for the lower tombs, I would suggest changing this up a bit. Macellaria already has the catacombs, Marainein has the Necropolis/Bonemound, and Dolmen has the spider-and-cobweb crypt angle. Thus, I would try and differentiate the architecture and layout of the city and its tombs.  For example, maybe the city is built into a mountain, or it is completely underground (only exposed through some distant tunnels or a place where an earthquake opened up a fissure to the surface). Or maybe it is built into/on a giant mesa, surrounded by quicksand. Said eldritch slithering sands might occasionally shift, revealing new tombs to be plundered. But they might also hide corpse-eating worms ala Beetlejuice. Consequently, the wights have to generally rely upon the living as intermediaries –apart from hot-air balloon-barges that are more like giant paper lanterns –the fuel being eldritch oil, or crematory fires burning esoteric essenses or somesuch. Or maybe the city never had an interred corpses –instead, it was a massive city of centophs and crematoria. In this case, there aren’t old tombs waiting to be plundered. Instead, the hyena-like beings or maybe the wights ‘decorate’ a series of tombs with treasures, setting them up like stages for massive plays where they then invite outsiders to ‘play’, whilst they watch and see if the living can survive the death-traps and recover the treasures. Most die horribly, but the lure or treasures always draws new ‘understudies’.


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Steerpike on July 14, 2014, 12:29:35 PM
Really great thoughts, thanks for the feedback!

I might change some of the names.  I am happier with some more than others.  I might also add some more cities.

Could be I need to add more stuff to the cities to make them less one-note?  I think what I was going for here was more thematic tightness and unity, but that may actually have resulted in simpler-feeling places.  I sometimes felt that the old cities felt less sort of cohesive, but in light of your comments, perhaps that's a good thing...?

As to questions:

1. Old material and some newer stuff thrown together.

2. I'm thinking the continents lost contact with one another after the Membrane Wars.

3. Not sure whether the Imperium was here... I was thinking of adding a full-blown Cestoid city still in operation.  No mantids or lilix, probably.

4. Probably no jatayi.

5. Probably no Red Ravishing, or less severe.  Two continents are barely aware of each other.  They're effectively mythic lands at best.

6. Comparable size and age.

7. Gasts and geists are essentially the same thing.

Good thought on Gristle.  I agree maybe it's not complex enough, but I'm glad you like it.

Mankine are exactly like humans but have the minds of cattle, so ethically killing and eating mankine is the same as killing and eating other sorts of livestock.

I do imagine the wights as sophisticates.  I like the idea of their not eating, though they might drink wine.  I'll definitely expand all of the races in lengthier descriptions.

I agree the catacombs need something more unique.


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Rose-of-Vellum on July 14, 2014, 01:25:34 PM

Steerpike

Really great thoughts, thanks for the feedback!
Glad the feedback is well-recieved.

As for new cities, perhaps some smaller ones? Or help differentiate which are the big mega-cities like the Twilight Ones, and which are smaller ones?

Quote

Could be I need to add more stuff to the cities to make them less one-note?  I think what I was going for here was more thematic tightness and unity, but that may actually have resulted in simpler-feeling places.  I sometimes felt that the old cities felt less sort of cohesive, but in light of your comments, perhaps that's a good thing...?

Long ago you posted the themes you saw for each of the Twilight Cities; each one had 3-5 if I recall correctly, even if some of the themes were related. Personally, I think that worked great for the Twilight Cities. It certainly allows a variety of adventures and player preferences. Especially if these are old, ancient cities, then have a mottled, multi-faceted nature is a good thing (imo).

Quote

I'm thinking the continents lost contact with one another after the Membrane Wars.
Not sure whether the Imperium was here... I was thinking of adding a full-blown Cestoid city still in operation.  No mantids or lilix, probably.
Post-Membrane War disconnect sounds great. If that's the case then, I would agree for no Imperium presence. But having a 'living' Cestoid city that never had any connection to the Imperium would be really cool. Almost providing the menace that they might one day rise and repeat history, all unknowingly to them and the other inhabitants of the continent.

As for the Membrane Wars, though, did it end the same way on this continent? Meaning, Chained Ones beating them back, or did the Chained Ones 'just' suture the dimensional wounds, then slaughter the demons on the east continent before being imprisoned -meaning that the demons of the west might have fought on for a much longer time. No reinforcements coming, but no 'sudden slaughter' by divine beings.

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Probably no Red Ravishing, or less severe.  Two continents are barely aware of each other.  They're effectively mythic lands at best.
That makes perfect sense. What about names for each other -I mean, myth-tellers love some names.

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Gasts and geists are essentially the same thing.
As a designer here, what's the aim of this? Meaning different names to give to players?

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Mankine are exactly like humans but have the minds of cattle, so ethically killing and eating mankine is the same as killing and eating other sorts of livestock.
Oh, that's worse than McDonalds. Maybe.

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I do imagine the wights as sophisticates.  I like the idea of their not eating, though they might drink wine.  I'll definitely expand all of the races in lengthier descriptions.
Sounds good. Though I'd skip having them drink blood, since you have a bunch of that already. Maybe they need to drink to wave off desiccation, with some falling to rigor mortis if need drinking, but able to be revived with sufficient liquor (gleetwine anyone?).

New Pandemonium.

Name is good. Like the Hungry City. City of Cults rings a bit flat for me –maybe something like City of Schimarchs, or the Sectarian City.

As for the Fell Gate –how big we talking and who closed it? Is it a closed gate of solid material, or is it a gate of bars, threaded with chains, with opens spaces where occasionally gusts of demonic breath and screams emerge –spectral infernal hands reach out from the walls –perhaps it is akin to the Wailing Wall –a place of great worship, a liminal space where messages and ‘gifts’ can sometimes be exchanged and intercepted. Control and access to it would thus be a prime object of sectarian violence even if it is something that unifies their ‘faiths’.

In the east, eidolons are also known as incubi –yet I’m assuming these are different that the sex-switching incubi/succubi. If so, I’d suggest changing the names. At least from a meta-game perspective, it makes it easier to learn and remember the setting material, especially for players. Also, there is a plethora of alternate names from RL lore that were similar spirits/roles of seducing women.

New Pandemonium, like Gristle, is cool, but seems a bit one-dimensional. It’s a big city of demons and demon-worshippers. Yes, the Fell Gate gives it something and the execution of the demons and their cults is novel, but the city seems like it is lacking something ‘else’ to make it more rounded.

Perhaps you might add in elements based on what the story was before the demonic invasion. How might this affect the architectural underpinnings? Or did the previous city worship otherworldly seraphs, beings of supraphysical light that sometimes still glint and shine from the dark corners of cobblestones and sewer-grates?

Or is the city, due to its dimensional linkages possessed by strange physics? Like maybe the entire city is built sideways on a cliff? Or does its geometry fold in on itself in non-Euclidean ways, such that it is actually a smattering of sites across the continents but still one whole (and thus an ideal command center for a world-invasion). Akin to gatetowns in Planescape, victories in sectarian wars might cause the shifts to change, ejecting old cults or making rising ones closer to the Gate.

Beyond that, you might consider a ‘mundane’ facet to add to the city that might draw non-demonologists. For example, Skein has silk and ur-bone; Erebh has miasmas and mines. Maybe it has ink-fields that Catafalque craves (although I think Mara’s gloomsquids serve that niche better). Or maybe it has iron/diamond mines that Gristle craves for its slaughterhouse blades.

MARA.

I like the name, but isn’t it a cognate of Moroi?  Maybe name it Striga or Strigas?
Moniker is okay (as mara/mare is already present in the name). Maybe something like the Warlock City, the City of [insert adjective] Sabaats.

So a witch-run city is cool. But I might suggest turning the trope on its head. Instead of another matriarchy where women rule and men are chattel, like Dolmen, how about making the place a patriarchy? That doesn’t exist in CE to my knowledge, and having a coven of male witches reverses the trope of a female witchocracy.  I like the concept of the Crones and annis and calling men as lovers. But perhaps you could have the warlocks be self-castrated males, who have bound the Crones deep in the sunken bowels of the City, having overthrown the gynocracy, but unable yet to truly depose/slay the Crones –or maybe the Crones are dreamspawn themselves. In fact, the castrati might resent both women and men. The eldest might subsist on dreams of the sleeping chattel, and they might ‘craft’ dreams like feasts, invoking dreamspawn, injecting victims with psychoactive drugs, etc, to create certain flavors.

Both Mara and Ganglion currently are divided into Quarters –perhaps one might use another title for its sections.

I like the ramshackle huts and tents and sunken city. Maybe some of the tents or ‘undrowned’ city is located inside trees. Witches gotta loves some trees. Or maybe the city is surrounded by gnarled, leafless trees that sway with unseen aetheric winds and are under the command of the warlocks/Crones where their dreaming victims slumbering, twitching in haunted, eternal reveries and nightmares, sometimes sleep-talking or screaming with night-terrors before the dream-shepherds coo them back to sleep until the next somnolent harvest begins. Eventually, the dreamers would go ‘stale’, their minds deadened husks that produce bland-tasting dreams. Thereafter, they are hauled down and sold to the Lamiae for their blood.

I could even see you pairing this city with the home-city of the lamiae or making them quit close.  Speaking of which:

PURULENCE.

Love the name. Love the Mucopolis. Love the slime-architecture.

Do the lamiae typically reside in water? Hagmen and leechkin are both watery folk. I ask because they seem like perfect pirates and river-traders, but this makes their home city odd in that dry caves sit underneath their homes.

Anyways, I love the larder tribes below and their myriad ways of delivering ‘food’ for food. If possible, though, it might be good to differentiate these slave humans from the currently similar abhuman, half-feral, troglodytic humans of Dolmen who are likewise chattel of a vampiric race (both of which begin with ‘l’).  I don’t have any suggestions off hand, but still.


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Rose-of-Vellum on July 14, 2014, 03:24:58 PM
GANGLION

 Great name. Love the title of Gangrenous City. City of Flesh sounds a bit bland and might not be idiosyncratic enough considering Gristle’s deal.  Maybe City of Quivering/Sarcoline/Carneous Vats? City of Fleshwrights? EDIT: You already changed it: Love the City of Tendrils!

Wen and the Tumourous Isles, sounds awesome. Black, caustic waters, cool. Flesh-Eating Sea sounds a bit too bland though. Maybe something like the Escharotic Sea, Skinclutch Sea, or Mordant Sea (or some alternative word for Sea, like the Mordant Swells).

Love the whole living-city, single-organism thing. Very creepy and cool. I might suggest toning down the ‘invaders from space’ aspect. Maybe leave it more like the zehrer, where they are described as “quite possibly” and only definitely left as “otherworldly”. Basically, keep their origins as they are but make it less explicit; some players might be turned off when they hear of interstellar aliens. Regardless, it does make me wonder if the alien races of zehrer and cephalomorphs have any past interaction.

Also, if you are going with psychotheurges and ganglion, how about  instead of ‘normal’ rot, the city is afflicted with something akin to Alzheimer’s. Basically, portions of the city are shrinking, nasty plaques are forming on the supra-organisms like necrotic nova, twisted tangles of dying tissue strands, fluid-filled canals are flooding even as other areas are shriveling. So shrivelgasts rather than festergasts. And accompanying the decaying/dying is memory distortion and loss in the psychotheurges, so the exiled ones are these gibbering, sometimes remembering, oft-senile members of the race.

Apart from all that, who rules the race/city? Do they live elsewhere
What do they trade to the pirates in return for numina-larder? Anything besides flesh-grafts? Psychotheurgy? 

Also, I love that they’re the origins of the Cultivar Technocracy.

BLODVINTER

Good solid name. Gelid Gore, sounds good. Wholesome.

I like the Incarnadine Steppes as a name, but if the steppes are pink-red, then doesn’t that diminish the blood-ice architecture? Or are they named poetically reflecting the various wars and bloodshed on them?

Love Razorhail. Screamwind might benefit from a change (especially since there is the Screamwood (only 2 letter difference). Shriekwinds? Howlwinds? Wailwinds? Bawlwinds? Bawlbreath?

Regardless, the architecture of the place is awesome and the tribute story is great. Love the additions of giants (how big we talking) and the fact that it means the city is giant-sized. I also like the psychological aspect of slavery that exists as well. Love the fractious clans.

Perhaps thurs only eat bones? Makes them different from all the meat and blood drinkers. You know, and then they make bread from it (kinda kidding on that).

One suggestion to tweak the trope would be to make them a little less Viking and a little more Mongol. So Khans and make them ride giant vargs or horse-monsters. Have silks as well as furs. Cannons as well as swords. Just a thought.

Being from far north, maybe thurs have legends about the Polyp Dominion. Maybe they have spores they feed to their slaves, or strange devices from that error. Or perhaps living in lightless tunnels beneath the ice. Or something about the Oorls to include, like the throne being made of the nautilus or sleds made from their shells.

Maybe something for the clans to fight about besides control of districts? Did the chieftans of old rule by force, birthright, ceremony?

Basically, you have the in-fighting giants and the ice-structures. It just needs like one thing more.

VERDIRGRIS

Good monikers. An okay name, but doesn’t grab me –doesn’t seem up to snuff for how cool the place is. Especially since it likely had another name when it was ‘living’, just like how some of the machine cities of the east have names.

Nice evocative image of rusted spires, and the wraiths sound cool and distinct. Sacromancers, Nanomancers, the Weft, Murderfog, Puppeteer Plague, Papess of Gears, all very cool.

However, since you plan to have a Witch city, I might suggest you give the Guilds and their bosses another title. Something like Magi Guilds/Archmagi, Aether Guilds, the Grimoire Caucus, the Theosophic Sodalities, the Pentarchs.

It’s also cool to meet the makers of the Behemoths and learn of a global civilization wrecked by the Membrane Wars. Know that I think of it, doesn’t that make them related to the Sorcerer-Kings?

Moreover, what prevents the ‘mancers’ from arising again? Meaning, what caused the living witches to lose the lore their forebears once possessed that enabled them to ‘rule, much less travel, the world’. Sure, secrets might still linger in the Weft, but did the demons kill off the learned ones? Is the Puppeteer Plague related (and what exactly does it do again, cause people to cut themselves?).

Re: GRISTLE

Love the tick-totem, Fleas, Acari, Infestation, obese Gluttons, swarm-singing, bonemeal brick, bloodmud. Really awesome. Perfect additions. Take that hog to fair. 

***

Overall, one thing I notice is that these lands seem more brutal, savage compared to the east (or some of the Twilight Cities). Lacking is any 'civilized finery/beauty' such as exists in Skein or Moroi, for example. Catafalque may become the exception. This isn't a bad thing, just a difference I perceive (and perhaps erroneously at that). 


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Ghostman on July 14, 2014, 04:11:17 PM
If you feel that wights should feed on something, how about bone marrow? That would mesh nicely with the grave-spawn aesthetic while making their appetites clearly distinct from that of ghouls and vampiric types.


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Steerpike on July 14, 2014, 04:12:13 PM
I'll be working on incorporating more feedback slowly :)

Ghostman, "Sunset Lands" is officially the "mythic name" of the western continent that people in the east use.

Rose, I picture Verdigris as quite civilized in a decadent cyberpunk kind of way.

Also bone marrow eating sounds pretty perfect.


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Rose-of-Vellum on July 14, 2014, 05:42:14 PM
No problem, Steerpike, I realize there was a barrage of feedback (hopefully helpful all the same).

As another option for wight diets, crematory ash might be interesting -sprinkled in drinks, molded into cakes, drawn into elaborate patterns like edible bonseki.

Any macro-info on the geography?


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Steerpike on July 14, 2014, 07:56:13 PM
Great suggestions.

I have only the vaguest ideas for macro geography - nothing specific.


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Rose-of-Vellum on July 15, 2014, 07:17:07 AM
Nice addition of the Boneshrines, worship, and the emaciated monks. They provide nice counterpoints to the other elements.

Also, I like the Cysts as well -though I did just remember that you have used Wen already -i.e., the Great Wen in the Temple-Palace of Yzch. Perhaps a synonym, such as Whelk, Blain, Syrinx. 


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Steerpike on July 15, 2014, 09:00:25 AM
I'm not too worried about a bit of repetition between the two continents.


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Llum on July 15, 2014, 07:39:38 PM
Well, Blodvinter and the thurs are probably my favourite CE thing ever.

It seems there are no ghilan on this side of the ocean, but lots of undead things anyway. How different are the wights and the ghuls anyway? Superficially they appear fairly similar.

To me at least the science fiction-y influences of CE are stronger or perhaps more evident here as well.


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Xathan on July 16, 2014, 06:49:28 AM
Wooo, something from CE I can sink my teeth into due to not being massive yet. Is there anything from the main thread in particular I should read to better understand this?

Due to countless reviews you've given my stuff over the years, Steerpike, which I have never properly reciprocated, I'm going to spend the next few days going though this location by location and attempting to provide feedback on every part of the setting in as much details as possible. Starting with...

Gristle, The Voracious City, City of Cannibals

[Paragraph 1]

Starting right off, this is beautifully horrible. Really, what you're describing is aweful in the most visceral possible way...and part of me really wants to see it, based on this. Somethings I'm curious about from this; is a fleshtree just a tree made out of meat? Some kind of stationary animal? Something more aweful? What is a mankine? From the description it sounds like they're some kind of manlike pack animal that's also food...but I imagine the truth is far more horrible.

I'm also interested in the Drudges – you say they are semi-sentient, but what exactly does that mean? Are they intellectually on the level of apes? Small children? Or are they more like automatons that can understand more complex commands? If they are intelligent in the human sense, have they ever tried to break free or escape? And what horrible things happened to them when that failed? (It's CE, I can't imagine any other possibility except they do manage to break away and become even more horrible tyrants in their own right.)

Also, I'm afraid to ask...how big is a dire maggot? And what's it used for? Is...is dire maggot for eating?

[Paragraph 2]

The fact that the police force wear literal pig masks make me absurdly happy. I'm guessing they don't have any police brutality laws? The gangs/syndicates here are awesome and horrifying. Why don't the Skin-Filchers rule the city, given they can become anyone they want? What keeps them in check?

With my focus and love on monsters, I want to know what Brawngasts and Heartgorgers and Putrevores are very badly, especially given how horrifying their brief descriptions imply them to be.

[Paragraph 3]

I like the Acari as a ripe breeding ground for PCs. How big a threat are they to the established order? Do they work with any of the above criminal organizations to overthrow Regina? Or do the criminals like things the way they are and oppose them? Is swarm-Singing actually musical? How horrible is it to hear?

[Paragraph 4]

The Boneshrines sound awesome! How long have them been building them, and how large are they? Do people go to the Boneshrine made out of the bones of their dead ancestors, or does any Boneshrine work? How does the ancestor-worship work? What do the worshipers expect, and is their any idea of an afterlife?

Apologies in advance if any of these were answered above and I missed it. Great stuff as always, Steerpike, looking forward to taking a bite of the next bit!


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: LordVreeg on July 16, 2014, 09:16:14 AM
DIRE MAGGOT!
now that is a concept.


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Rose-of-Vellum on July 16, 2014, 12:52:38 PM
Dire maggots are the larval stage of gorgeflies.

Steerpike

One of the most feared creatures of the Cadaverous Earth, the gorgefly is an enormous, bestial fiend resembling a horrific hybrid of an obese giant and flesh-fly. Similar to normal flies, the gorgefly undergoes an extensive larval stage. After hatching from an egg laid by an adult gorgefly in a suitably large carcass, the larva -a horse-size thing sometimes called a dire maggot- slowly develops, feeding off carrion and enlarging itself many times over: some gorgefly larva reach titanic sizes, often well over a hundred feet in length. They are detritivores, feedings exclusively on carrion, including grave-spawn, who they differentiate easily from the quick; despite their taste for decomposing matter, however, dire maggots are not scrupulous in their diets and have been known to attack smaller living prey. They are also powerful burrowers, tunneling through soft earth as if through necrotic flesh. Most live in the Slaughterlands, feeding off old battlefields; a few have even been sighted in the Etiolation, where they feast gorily until blanch page cripples them with apathy. A few have also found their way to Macellaria, where they must be dispatched by the Watchdogs. Those that survive and grow to a critical size eventually molt and pupate into adult gorgeflies, sloughing off the husk of their maggot-stage and emerging, tenebrous and triumphant, from their larval husk.

As for flesh trees:
 

Steerpike

Thought by some arcanobiologists to be related to the morbid Bloodwoods of the southern swamps and linked by others to the warped experiments of the Cultivar Technocracy, the bizarre, unsettling beings known as fleshtrees are not plants at all but grotesque creatures of dubious intelligence usually encountered singly or in small 'copses,' or, more dangerously, in 'groves.'  In place of bark, fleshtrees have sickeningly human-like skin; in place of branches, they have a series of fully mobile, brachiating humanoid arms, each with long, claw-like nails; in place of roots, a great mass of writhing, pallid tentacles.  Covering the central trunk of the fleshtree are a number of 'knotholes': tiny, jawless mouths, round, like a lamprey's, that greedily consume almost anything thrust into them.  Though omnivorous, flesthtrees exhibit a clear preference for protein, and go out of their way to devour meat rather than vegetable matter.

Lacking eyes, noses, or ears, fleshtrees seem to hunt primarily by sensing tremors along the ground, seeking out vibrations.  They are also quite sensitive to changes in air currents: many an unwary bird or bat has been snared by the groping limbs of a fleshtree.  Rib-like bones form the central trunk (which houses a variety of organs, including multiple hearts), while the creature's limbs possess extremely flexible, many-socketed joints.  As a fleshtree grows it develops new 'branches' much as a normal tree might.  Though fleshtrees sweat they produce no other waste-matter, using all of their energy to grow new limbs.  They reproduce asexually: when a large enough branch of a fleshtree is removed it will eventually grow roots and become a new fleshtree.  Periodically fleshetrees will pull off their own limbs to produce such saplings, even bringing their 'young' food in the early stages of growth.  This disturbing practice has led many to speculate that fleshtrees are intelligent in some way, though they have no discernable brains, only crude nerve-bundles.

Though dangerous, fleshtrees are also highly useful.  In some areas -particularly the hinterlands of Macellaria- small copses of fleshtrees are tended by enterprising individuals known as treeherds.  Using percussive instruments they drive their copse from one location to another, always maintaining a safe distance, until ready to prune their gruesome livestock.  At this point, paralyzing drugs or hexes are used to temporarily subdue the fleshtrees, at which point limbs or other meat will be shorn off.  This does little permanent damage to the fleshtree, which will eventually regenerate lost branches or roots with minimal scarring, though the creatures do seem to experience pain -their many mouths moan dully and whimper when limbs are being pruned.  Treeherds will also typically collect blood during pruning.  The resulting harvest is usually sold to the Skin Markets, to either be eaten by the city's grave-spawn or else utilized by its fleshcrafters in the tissue-shops.

Both of these are present in the east; mankine, however, are unique to the western lands, or at least this is the first time I have heard of them. When I asked what they are, Ungoliant's Spawn replied that
"Mankine are exactly like humans but have the minds of cattle, so ethically killing and eating mankine is the same as killing and eating other sorts of livestock."


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Steerpike on July 16, 2014, 01:32:38 PM
Thanks for answering questions, Rose-of-Vellum!

Some more answers:

Xathan

I'm also interested in the Drudges – you say they are semi-sentient, but what exactly does that mean? Are they intellectually on the level of apes? Small children? Or are they more like automatons that can understand more complex commands? If they are intelligent in the human sense, have they ever tried to break free or escape? And what horrible things happened to them when that failed? (It's CE, I can't imagine any other possibility except they do manage to break away and become even more horrible tyrants in their own right.)

I'm thinking golem-style thrall-like intelligence, i.e. stupid but obedient, capable of carrying out commands.  But there are probably crazy renegades and Drudges that are smarter than they should be due to eldritch mishap.

Xathan

Why don't the Skin-Filchers rule the city, given they can become anyone they want? What keeps them in check?

Who says they don't rule the city?  At any given time there are probably conspiracy theories about any given high-up.

I imagine only the Butcheress is exempt from such rumours on the grounds that no Skin-Filcher would be assassin enough to steal her skin - I'm imagining her as a ridiculously badass, bload-soaked warrior-queen who even in her fifties is an extraordinarily talented fighter.  I'm planning on including all sorts of rumours about this (that she sold her soul for martial talent, that she's an avatar of the Bloodletter, that kind of thing).

Xathan

I like the Acari as a ripe breeding ground for PCs. How big a threat are they to the established order? Do they work with any of the above criminal organizations to overthrow Regina? Or do the criminals like things the way they are and oppose them? Is swarm-Singing actually musical? How horrible is it to hear?

I'm thinking that the criminal factions might be allies of convenience occasionally, but some might well be benefiting from the current status-quo, especially if they have arrangements with the Swine which most probably do.  I see the Swine as probably being absurdly brutal but also fairly corrupt.  The Butcheress probably approves of and even cultivates tenuous relationships with the criminal element to some extent.  This is generally the sort of thing dictators do.

I don't see the Acari as posing that significant a threat, since they've been kept in check for decades now, but they probably cause a lot of random violence.  Most of the city probably hates them more than Regina Carnifex, who at the very least has made the city prosper.  The Gluttons taxed everyone severely and spent most of the resulting funds on themselves; they weren't a popular regime.  When the Butcheress arrived many citizens welcomed her with gratitude.  It's probably only now that people are starting to wonder about some of the changes she's made, like the excesses of the Swine.

Xathan

The Boneshrines sound awesome! How long have them been building them, and how large are they? Do people go to the Boneshrine made out of the bones of their dead ancestors, or does any Boneshrine work? How does the ancestor-worship work? What do the worshipers expect, and is their any idea of an afterlife?

I haven't worked out all the details but I'm imagining pretty large shrines.  You'd visit the shrine(s) containing your ancestors' bones, much like people visit a cemetery, for example - probably on the anniversary of a person's death, and on particular religious days.  There'd be various offerings to the dead.  Might be that the monks are actually mediums, or claim to be - if given offerings they might claim to "channel" a specific spirit.  Whether this is real or not might be rather ambiguous.  It's possible the monks are just skilled charlatans or it's possible they're genuinely communing with the consciousnesses of the departed, perhaps stored somehow in the glyph-graven bones.  CE has traditional not been big on ghosts (I want a pretty corporeal, physicalist/monist ontology...) but there have been some allusions to "souls" as the psychic imprints of a person's mind.


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Rose-of-Vellum on July 16, 2014, 02:24:22 PM
Glad to be of help -plus I figure that gives you more time to respond to other questions... like these, for instance:

Fleshtrees: creations of Ganglion?

Mankine: Seems their existence/exploitation would lend them to extreme breeding and drug work to accelerate development, hypertrophy (more muscle, more meat), and maybe a smaller skull/brain (at least in the prefrontal cortex which might mean slanted forehead). Also, branding 'stock' I could imagine would be a big thing. Thoughts?

Love the additional info about the Skin-Filchers and the Butcheress. Was she originally from Gristle or did she hail from the herders or elsewhere and thus conquer as an outsider?

Boneshrines: awesome. I can imagine they erupt from the city akin to giant termitaries. Different families/clans comparing prestige by size (with others vying for artistic design?).

Perhaps those emaciated monks extensively fast -which stands out starkly in a city of endless slaughter and eating. Thus, they rely upon the offerings of the dead (maybe they eat them save for the bones, which they then use to enlarge the shrines). As eaters of the dead, they allegedly hold the ability to commune with them -and so the oldest monks would be viewed with the greatest respect and thus given the choicest bits of the dead. Eventually as age takes them, these monks would be devoured by their acolytes, so that a chain of devouring could trace itself to the first ancestors interred therein.

Perhaps some actually have the prophetic gift, whilst others are charlatans. Perhaps it is less about communing with discorporated spirits, and more about the corporeal life within -that the dead ancestors 'live' within the monks who ate them (or at least part of them)? That they train their own flesh to remember through ritual fasts and feasts, digesting secrets and imbibing the hidden truths of a life (imagine an eldritch, grisly, preternatural practice that's part forensic anthropology and part gastronomy).


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Steerpike on July 16, 2014, 04:03:24 PM
Ooh really good idea on the monks.  I'd say they'd be more brain-eaters than flesh-eaters (you'd probably sell off the flesh).

I was definitely picturing rival Boneshrines, although in a sense you don't *want* to grow your family's Boneshrine, what with the deaths required.

You've got mankine down.  Powerfully muscled imbeciles.  There are probably all sorts of grotesque strains, force-feeding practices, that kind of horrific thing.

For Fleshtrees and such-like, I generally like to build-in some ambiguity and not leave everything resolved.  Maybe they're from Ganglion, or maybe they're the result of some eldritch weapon that nuked a city, or maybe they're a distant relative of the Bloodwood...


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Rose-of-Vellum on July 16, 2014, 06:57:37 PM
Love the brain-consumption. Much better.


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Kindling on July 17, 2014, 12:05:44 PM
Ooohhh.... Ahhh!
New CE! Very exciting.

So, does Vetter count as a Metamorphicist? :P

I love these new cities (Mara and Blodvinter especially) but I kind of agree with Rose-of-Vellum that in places they're a little less multifaceted than the old ones. Some extra angles could do with adding/exploring I think...

If I may be so bold as to make a few humble suggestions?

GRISTLE
Compared to the other cities, I think the various gangs and the Infestation already add a couple of nice alternatives the overall slaughterhouse vibe of the place, but maybe expand on the ancestor-worship a bit more? Bones are important, which I guess makes sense in a place so focussed around the meat trade, but what is their specific significance in Gristle beliefs? How else does the religion/philosophy/tradition/whatever manifest itself? Rituals to commune with or evoke or be temporarily possessed by ancestor-spirits? A day-of-the-dead type festival where the ancestors' bones are paraded through the streets and taken into the homes of their living descendants as honoured guests? Or maybe they fear the ancestors, and that's why they keep them locked away in the shrines, guarded by the endless vigil of the gaoler-monks? Or maybe even all three could be cool – like they honour the ancestral skeletons as guests on certain holy nights, not joyously, but rather out of terrified duty?

NEW PANDEMONIUM
This seems like almost the most vivid and the least fleshed out of the new cities. I love the cults and cambions, but what else is there going on? Aside from adding another facet using whole cloth (a significant foreign quarter perhaps, of outsiders relatively unrelated to daemonic matters), my only idea is to add a more scholarly class of citizens. What with the history of the place, maybe the cultists find themselves rubbing shoulders with archaeologists and historians of the membrane wars, as well as other more esoteric and occult academics there to research daemonology in one form or another. Perhaps there's antagonism or even open conflict between the cults and the scholars; between those who worship and those who study?

MARA
As I think has already been mentioned, the matriarchal, men-as-chattel theme seems a little close to that used in Dolmen “back east.” Whether that's intentional or not, I have a couple of thoughts on how to vary the formula slightly, without casting it aside completely.
Firstly to have the men as a lower caste in society but not out-and-out slaves or possessions of the Crones and the annis. Their servitude, rather, is seen as a privilege and they aspire to work for the greatest of the womenfolk. As the men are not seen as capable of operating on the same mystical or cerebral level as their betters, they instead prize physicality – both athleticism and beauty – and so seek to perfect various dances, martial arts, and other bodily, material disciplines in order to catch the eye of potential mistresses. Perhaps they peacock a bit as well, with heavily-kohled eyes, white-powdered cheeks and elaborately spiked crow-dark hair.
Secondly, maybe there is an influential faction of eunuch-witches who have overcome the weakness of their sex to operate alongside the Crones and annis as almost-equals. Similarly, though, their powers could differ from that of the female witches to reinforce a duality of Maran society (women = mind, men = body) so that their hexes are all about real physical change rather than illusions and dreams. Maybe they're fleshcrafters, and modify themselves to work towards a feminine body ideal, further removing themselves from their lowly male origins.

GANGLION
Not sure what to say on this one – although it has a tight focus as is it doesn't seem like there's an obvious direction in which to broaden it. Maybe flesh out the Cysts a bit more, some of the factions, trends, personalities and so on of the slavers that live there?

CATAFALQUE
What jumps out at me about this city is where you say that although many believe they are, the wights are not the original residents of the necropolis. This begs the question of who was, and what, if any, relevance they have to the modern city. Of course you may want to keep that as a secret to be discovered through play but if not it could be one avenue to expand down with this city. The other obvious one is the dungeon-crawling you talk about happening so often in the unexplored lower levels. Perhaps this could lead to another facet of the city, if a subculture was developed around the practice. Maybe some factions a little bit like the Macellarian robber guilds could be in operation and/or parties are sent by the other cities (or at least by powerful groups or individuals from those cities) to engage in sanctioned tomb robbing delves? There could then be embassy-like offices of foreign bureaucrats to co-ordinate and regulate things – obviously all in competition with one another.

BLODVINTER
This is another one that seems to have a very tight focus, so it's a little tricky to see an angle to go with for extra facets and so on. Maybe it would be enough just to expand on the peculiarities of each unique clan, and their backgrounds, histories and traditions and so on. Perhaps you could try something a little bit like the Factions in Planescape, so that each clan is not only a political entity but also espouses philosophical concepts or a certain way of life. Sticking to the somewhat nordic/viking theme you could tie each roughly to parralels of deities – maybe not as gods but as archetypes. So one clan might have been founded by a one-eyed mystic and praises the ideals of wisdom and pursuit of knowledge along with martial valour and respect for the dead. Another (Clan Death-Wail?) might be great smiths who revere individual strength and resilience, hard work, and a oneness of thur/thrall with nature, especially nature as embodied by the weather.

PURULENCE
Similarly to Ganglion, it seems like the easiest way to add another side to this city is to expand on the foreigners. I can imagine Dry Town being home to all kinds of madness. Are the same religions present in these new Twilight Cities as in the old, eastern ones? There could be a lot of interesting possibilities for missions from the Church of Srtiga to set up shop here and possibly even try to convert the heathen lamiae. And what about Hirud-cultists? Maybe they would come to Dry Town as pilgrims, seeing the lamiae as living avatars of the Ravager-Worm?

VERDIGRIS
This city strikes me as being pretty cyberpunk in a lot of ways, so you could try throwing in another cyberpunk staple: the megacorp. Perhaps there's a Weft-based banking firm based in Verdigris that has its fingers in lots of pies all across the western continent, and funds/is funded by some very suspect people? Perhaps there are companies that buy and sell arcane data dredged up from the most distant, ancient and esoteric depths of the Weft? Or maybe the more mundane data is actually more valuable on the open market, and people are often assassinated or disappeared to protect secret recipes, plans for the latest irrigation schemes, and so on?


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Steerpike on July 17, 2014, 12:22:20 PM
Great thoughts Kindling!  Particularly about Mara and the idea of eunuchs.

Hopefully I'll get round to proper write-ups for these places at some point where I can incorporate more details on things like Boneshrines or specific cult rivalries in New Pandemonium.  For now I'm definitely going to work on getting the broad strokes of the main cities in place.


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Rose-of-Vellum on July 17, 2014, 01:43:50 PM
To expand on Kindling's ideas for Mara, as well as my previous ones, what if Mara has a male society of castrati-merchants? This caste, if you will, travels the outskirts of Mara, setting up trading posts and traveling to other towns. They attempt to garner riches, exotic relics, and thus peacock with coin and curios to gather the favor/patronage of the Crones. As eunuchs, they practice a grotesque form of chaste/courtly love. They would have a mixture of envy and pity towards males dream-summoned who couple with the witches, with the survivors of such couplings joining their fold. Their's would be a culture that disavows masculinity -or reinterprets it as something other than physicality and sexuality. Imagine svelte figures, clad in silken robes, gem-drenched veils, adorned with charms and amulets, sipping teas from porcelain doll-cups, haggling for oddities, scholars of the sky, roads, and ruins: self-avowed pacifists: their castration their last act of violence.

Drudes on the other hand would be the exact opposite: brutish, carnal, physical males who revel in violence, cowed yet lusting after the annis with a banal physicality. Competing against one another in savage, night-contests of barbaric strength and bloodshed.


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Ghostman on July 17, 2014, 04:39:13 PM
There seems to be next to no information on the status of human women in Mara; we know merely that they must rank above men. If the crones and annis are supposed to be a kind of "aristocratic" caste ruling over a larger population of humans, what reason do they have to enforce matriarchy among this underclass when they themselves would be in charge regardless?

Regarding Verdigris, I have this little idea for a potential addition: the value of the brain as a resource for computation and data storage. I'm imagining warehouse-farms full of people stuffed inside stasis tubes, cables and pipes plugged into their inert bodies, their synapses harnessed to process mystical formulae for the benefit of techno-warlocks. On the streets mnemonic couriers are relaying huge payloads of data fed into their brains via cranial implants, wary of gangs that would abduct them to steal or ransom that information.


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Steerpike on July 17, 2014, 05:00:53 PM

Ghostman

There seems to be next to no information on the status of human women in Mara; we know merely that they must rank above men. If the crones and annis are supposed to be a kind of "aristocratic" caste ruling over a larger population of humans, what reason do they have to enforce matriarchy among this underclass when they themselves would be in charge regardless?

For a long time the aristocracies of Europe were pretty staunchly patriarchal, with very strict laws of primogeniture (some still are).  The men were definitely in charge - yet patriarchy still flourished in the underclass, too.  Matriarchy/patriarchy aren't always enforced consciously so much as they form the background assumptions of a given society.  For a long stretch of human history the supposed inferiority of women was held as a self-evident truth, not a discriminatory social construct.

Women couldn't inherit properly fully in Britain until 1882. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Married_Women%27s_Property_Act_1882)

Love the cyberpunk brain-as-commodity stuff!!


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Rose-of-Vellum on July 20, 2014, 09:19:16 PM
Regarding New Pandemonium's additions:

Love the name of Imago Heath and the concept of secret disrobing gatherings.

The pentagram shape-city is a nice addition -not spectacular or surprising, but alright.

The Corpsewall reminds me of Forgotten Realms' Wall of the Faithless, except they're stitched together rather than bound with supernatural mold. The part that surprised me, however, was the explicit mention that the corpses are animated with the "souls of the damned". I thought it was your intention to avoid dualism, no?  Also, if the city is so fractious, do only wards that border the wall use said punishments?  Regardless, if you wanted to further differentiate the Corpsewall from the Wall of the Faithless, you could instead make it a massive 'moat' that can surge up, rise, slither, and so forth: call it the Corpsefoss(e).

Regarding treasure-sales, where does New Pandemonium get the 'cash' to buy all the relics? Primarily from scholars and pilgrims making donations? I guess I'm failing to see how the economy of the place survives, much less thrives, what with the alleged constant civil-war/territorial disputes. Sectarian violence consumes a lot of resources.

Indentured Possession: totally awesome addition.

Architecture: Love it -both the general concept and the two examples (I also love the name of Little Stygia).

Fell Gate -I'm still at a loss as to what the structure looks like. As the symbolic and literal heart of the city, some brief mention of its appearance may help.


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Magnus Pym on July 20, 2014, 09:29:52 PM
That Corpsewall reminds me of the Wall of Moaning Faces in my Plaguelands setting. Except mine was a gathering of severed heads, instead of whole corpses or other kinds of limbs. However morbid the idea is, I really like it. It's grand.


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Steerpike on July 20, 2014, 09:33:43 PM
Souls of the damned - more a descriptive phrase than an ontological statement.  The Hells aren't afterlives, but this is the way the city presents the wall.

But I wasn't aware of the Wall of the Faithless.  I may have to tweak/remove that, now.

Thinking about the economy - I'll detail more on the city's micro-economies, but I see tithing/protection-rackets as being the main source of funds (so, basically, you have merchants paying taxes to their cult/protectors).


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Rose-of-Vellum on July 20, 2014, 11:15:46 PM

Steerpike

Souls of the damned - more a descriptive phrase than an ontological statement.  The Hells aren't afterlives, but this is the way the city presents the wall.
Ah, makes sense.

Quote

But I wasn't aware of the Wall of the Faithless.  I may have to tweak/remove that, now.
Well, what did you think of the moat idea? Alternatively, it could be a more liquid-y moat, a fosse filled with boiling oil or pitch, in which the hexed corpses are submerged, prodded and stirred by hookspear-weilding Malebranche-figures. Basically for the worst of criminals, they 'sew the soul' up in the corpse so that it feels pain such that not even death can release them. Or maybe cursed to wade in moats of excrement. Basically, a twist on the Ten Bolgias of Malebolge.

Quote

Thinking about the economy - I'll detail more on the city's micro-economies, but I see tithing/protection-rackets as being the main source of funds (so, basically, you have merchants paying taxes to their cult/protectors).
This makes sense, but only insofar as there numerous merchants making/trading/selling 'stuff'. New Pandemonium seems to lack any named product or two of mercantile value, unlike say industrial Somnambulon, Skein's silk and clockwork and ur-bones, Moroi's factories and nectar, Erebh's miasma-harvesting and mineral mines, Gristle's livestocks and slaughterhouses, etc.

Do they make great weapons that other cities want to buy? Is the city nearby some mines or location that holds worthwhile commodities? For example, massive battlefields akin to the Shatters and/or Etiolation?


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Ghostman on July 21, 2014, 03:12:13 AM
I think paper mills, book-binding and boneblock printing would be industries suitable for New Pandemonium. Apothecaries dealing in salves and elixirs might also be approriate. Also materials needed for ritual purposes such as incense, ainointment oils and embalming fluids.


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Rose-of-Vellum on July 21, 2014, 07:08:36 AM
Although printing industries might make perfect sense for an internal economy, I think the site needs an industry that lends itself to exporting. Assuming the distances between cities are similarly distant and incredibly dangerous (a modest assumption given that this is CE), the product(s) or service(s) needs to be something quite special.

For example, Moroi also has printing presses, but what draws merchants to travel from and to the Gaunt City above all is nectar. The Resin Guild is the big fish in the mercantile pool of the city. In Skein, there are plenty of businesses in the wards, but the silk, clockwork, and fossils make its market and merchants unique and tempting enough to travel the Slaughterlands.

If the city is land-locked, all the more reason for such a product or commodity. But even if it borders a river or sea (e.g., do any of the other cities besides Gristle rest on the River Cruor or Swelter?), I think the place still needs a special commodity prized by non-diabolists. Beyond making the place more 'believable', doing so opens up plot-hooks for adventures and travels to/from the city apart from diabolism. 


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Rose-of-Vellum on July 30, 2014, 05:26:34 PM
Love the additions of Fleshwell, Delirium's End, and the Void Croix.


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: HippopotamusDundee on August 20, 2014, 10:44:57 AM
I'm fascinated by the tantalizing hint you dropped in the description of Mara - "dream-magic and other forms of sorcery". What are these other forms of magic, and what  purposes do they serve - are they the means by which the transformation of male into drude is accomplished? Do they slow the sinking of the city's foundations? Hold back the brinegasts and gloomsquids (very evocative names - any chance that more detail might be forthcoming?) and nameless horrors?

On which note, if "certain" nameless horrors are active in the tunnel, does that imply that the remainder are still down in the heart of the Flooded City? And if the rule of the Crones is so based upon the fear of their somnomantic retribution, then why is the Gibbous Quarter and the trade in illegal protections it offers allowed to continue existing? (unless talismans and charms don't actually work at all).

Also, just putting it out there, Verdigris is incredibly cool and creepily inventive as a concept. But what exactly is a Murderfog...?


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Steerpike on August 20, 2014, 02:17:21 PM
Mara is next on my list to expand.

Murderfog is a form of self-replicating nanoswarm that creates new nanobots by consuming organic matter.  It looks like pinkish mist, and most people don't realize that it's actually a collection of tiny machines. It used to be a form of weaponry but now it pretty much regards everyone as hostile, unless you have a Nanomancer to tame the swarm.

Some of the older swarms are so old they've evolved sapience and adopted personalities but most are just feral swarms of imbecilic eating machines.

(It also may or may not be a "cousin" of Rotmist on the other continent)


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: Rose-of-Vellum on August 20, 2014, 03:27:08 PM
Cool info on the Murderfog. They remind me of a mix between Numenara's nano storms and your space-dandy's setting with its nano-legion. That some have evolved sapience and personality is just extra unique coolness.

I look forward to seeing more on Mara.


Title: Re: The Cadaverous Earth: Across the Fevered Ocean
Post by: HippopotamusDundee on August 20, 2014, 06:16:09 PM

Steerpike

Murderfog is a form of self-replicating nanoswarm that creates new nanobots by consuming organic matter.  It looks like pinkish mist, and most people don't realize that it's actually a collection of tiny machines. It used to be a form of weaponry but now it pretty much regards everyone as hostile, unless you have a Nanomancer to tame the swarm.

That is frankly terrifying, and not just in the please-don't-let-my-character-meet-one kind of way but also the please-please-don't-let-science-figure-out-how-to-make-one kind of way.