Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Transportation, the Great Key, Slithian Vor, Street Foods

Oh, whistle, in Scarabae, and I'll come to you...

This is my attempt to describe a setting through its material culture, which is probably foolish since I'm not an archaeologist or anthropologist. 

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The Scallywag (1)
Scarabae is an unthinkably large metropolis that spans five islands. There are other lands—they can be reached by all manner of conveyances such as sailing ships, zeppelins, or underwater nautilus craft as pictured above.

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A scrap of ancient parchment depicting the Great Key (2)
Scarabae is part living creature and part smoke-belching mechanism—it grows and builds itself according to an unknown design. At times, Scarabae's growth slow and parties of intrepid adventures must venture beneath the subterranean warrens into its guts to wind the Great Key to keep entropy at bay. 

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A statue of Slithian Vor (3)
Slithian Vor, a marilith, is Lord Mayor; she receives council from the Courts of Swords, Coins, Cups, and Wands.











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Street foods of Scarabae
To walk down the streets of Scarabae is to encounter a rich palimpsest of aromas; the scent of curries, saveloys and vinegar-soaked chips, spicy tacos, falafel, oysters and peas, kebabs, strong-brewed coffees and teas, and roasted chestnuts all compete for attention.


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(1) - The island-city idea was inspired by Clive Barker's Abarat, but part of my impetus for making the city unreasonably large is that I really want to have a rationale for it being unmappable and surprising. There's a bit of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Sunless Sea in the conveyances.
(2) - Inspired by Jay Lake's Mainspring and Roger Zelazny's Jack of Shadows. Venturing down into the underdark to wind the Great Key would be a suitable quest for a high-level party of adventurers in the setting.
(3) - Recycled from one of my previous settings, the World Between. Actually, I tend to use a lot of the same villains as motifs that tie my stuff together; I think every setting I've made has at least one member of the von Karlok vampire clan wandering around causing trouble.