Monday, December 5, 2016

Delphic Holes, Worm Trains, Religion, Law Enforcement, Dangers

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. 

* * *


A Delphic Hole (1)
There are magical regions scattered throughout Scarabae called Incarnate Zones where reality itself goes wrong—areas where magic is stronger or the veil between planes is thin. At the heart of every Incarnate Zone is a Delphic Hole—a black void of negation that has desires and must be fed.


* * *

Badge of office used by worm train conductors (2)
You may wish to ride one of the transmuted purple worm trains if you've a need to travel across the city. The city has a massive span. Up and down it goes, undulating in itself like a great worm.



* * *


Prayer beads (3)
You'll find a myriad of churches, temples, ashrams, monasteries, and shrines throughout the city—each dedicated to one of the archetypes of the tarot's major arcana. Some faithful are particularly feared, such as the ghoul monks who serve the Hanged Man or the fanatical, blinded servitors of Temperance.

* * *

Phrenology bust (4)
Scarabae has no official police force, but a number of independent thief-takers and phrenological detectives (those who detect crime by studying features and head-shape) operate as law-for-hire. Masked vigilantes, such as the Red Wraith, prowl the streets doling out their own brand of justice.




* * *

Laboratory equipment belonging to Dr. Jekaro (5)
Be wary of: the traveling market of the goblin mafia, Morlia the Flesh Crafter and her golem husbands, a range of poxes, labor-unionist orcs and their pride parades, the aesthetic terrorists of the Green Carnation Club, ettercap crime lords peddling opiates from their nests in Webhaus, the reality-warping artists of the Meta-Raphaelite Brotherhood, the vengeful machinations of Lady Magwitch, any technology produced by Jekaro Industries.

* * *

(1) - Inspired by Kathe Koja's Cipher, and probably a Borges story I'm forgetting at the moment.
(2) - Inspired by the bio-punk transportation in the recent Prophet comics.
(3) - I find that I'm less interested in having the usual sort of fantasy deities in my settings these days. The idea of having religion based on the tarot was inspired by Alan Moore's Promethea. Roger Zelazny's Amber Chronicles probably factor in here too. I've noticed that they are doing something similar on Rollplay's Court of Swords, which is cool to see a similar idea in action.
(4) - The phenological detective bit was inspired by Jeffrey Ford's The Physiognomy, and the Red Wraith was inspired by Batman, of course.
(5) - Inspired by Mary Shelley, Oscar Wilde, Romanticism, Charles Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson, etc.