Sunday, 21 July 2013

Now I know my A B C

Matthew Adams had YET ANOTHER request

“Knowing full well it is probably too late, and that I have already posted a request (which was more of a joke in response to spam than a real request, so please ignore), here is an idea which I think you could really go to town on.

A city that did not pay the piper, and when he returned he took everyone from the age 9 and up, leaving only young children behind. The months following many of the young children died, but some survive, creating small gangs and turning feral.

A few generations later, and the city is inhabited by the descendants of these feral children, still operating in gangs, and leaving vast areas of the city uninhibited. They are still mostly feral, each gang creating its own language, culture, belief. Some small groups of humanoids and wolf packs have also moved in. It is basically a mega-dungeon that is above ground.

Can you describe 5 gangs, their beliefs and attitudes, methods of communication, how they interact with other gangs, how they get food, etc. Are they still human beyond the physical level, whatever else might interest you?”

These things are generally accepted by all, though sometimes in very different forms.

The Gods built the city, then one day they left.
We are descended from the gods.
Their leaving is our fault
(Unless it’s their fault)
There are Olds, who are the first. They are few.
No-one yet has died of old age, only violence, starvation and disease.
No-one knows how old a person can get or if they even die. Maybe they just keep shrivelling up and getting wrinklier forever.
The oldest Olds say it can happen because they saw gods die that way.
There are many tribes but these are the biggest.

This gang coalesced in the year following the piper. It was made up of those children who could read and who wanted to keep reading, along with their younger dependant siblings.  They are now a kind of religious caste with their religion as the godlike past. They are an informal culture with access and status based on ability and desire for reading. People move in and out of the lower echelons all the time so the edges are fuzzy.

Ayebeseedys are seen as fortune-tellers, advisors and magicians. They have little direct physical force so retain complex alliances with other gangs, particularly the Ayoo’s. They tend to speak all of the gang dialects and are the chief form of communication between them. Like Bards, they can be reasonably assured of a good reception anywhere as they can easily ruin your reputation.

There is a deep hidden schism between secular Aybeseedys who believe they understand the objective truth of the past and between the overtly religious faction who understand it in spiritual terms. There are a handful of actual magic users but no-one knows who they are. Most clerics and religious leaders are from this group. They worship the imagined past, tied to the disappeared gods by the guilt of failure to live up to their promise. Chaotic clerics secretly believe that the gods left because the creators themselves were flawed in some way, they tend towards nihilism.

All Aybeseedys will present a united front if one of them is harmed. They swear vengeance and divine doom, which sometimes actually arrives.

The fortresses of the Ropecutters are two or three orphanages and boarding schools dotted around the city. The Orphans already had a structure of authority when the teachers and older kids disappeared. They were not too damaged by the loss of parents as they never had them. They obsessively self-segregate by age and gender. They separate by exact school year, and are quite good with dates and calendars as a result. They have a strong class hierarchy based on age with the oldest always highest. Like a monarchy, this is ruinously unfair and, like a monarchy, there are limits to how abusive it can get as the choice of person in charge is essentially random.

Year jumping in either direction is a massive crime (Most commonly people try to move up a year to get the extra status but occasionally some try to move down a year so they have an extra year of development, enabling them to dominate their yearlings.)

Ropecutters have a conservative non-expansionist culture based mainly around farming and scavenging. Their gender mix is as close to exact 50/50 as they can get it. Their base is very stable so successive waves of change have left them in the second position in the city, just behind

The Ayoo descendants were living as homeless criminals on the streets when the piper came. They already had a power structure in place and were fully self-sufficient in an already-hostile environment. They lost nothing during the event. They are the most confident, capable and aggressive group. They are also the most formally ignorant and care least about the past. They are highly violent both within and between groups, but generally nonlethal. Violence is tied to status and heavily socialised to prove dominance but generally not to kill. Beating, maiming and breaking are fine. Fistfights are the most honourable way of settling fights, except in inter-gender fights, in which case one, or  both parties might be thrown a knife, if someone likes them. A loser can retain, or even gain status by showing ‘class’, a mixture of bravery, indifference to bodily harm and sly humour when in danger. It’s possible to climb to the middle of Ayoo hierarchy without even winning any fights, you will lose fingers and soft tissue though.

They have a mafia/feudal arrangement of bosses and capo’s. They are the easiest group to move up in and in their own violent way, are something of a meritocracy. Tend to soak up self-made individualists from other groups. The top hierarchy is 70/30 male/female. This group is the one most like the vanished society though they know nothing about it, they have preserved the reversed mirror image of its culture and status markers. If anyone were to unify the human tribes, the Ayoos would lead them.

Pariah low status class. Only is a curse word in the city. It might mean one of the Only gang but might also be an insult meaning ‘weak’ or ‘coward’. The onlys are descended from the only children of middle class families, their settlements cluster round churches or schools but are widely dispersed in places no-one else wants to live. They have a weak social structure with a great deal of intra-group violence, simple hierarchies based on the use of immediate force. It’s hard to keep them together for anything longer than a short term plan as they lack discipline. There is not much trust from person to person, or in outsiders. No-one wants to be an Only. They form most of the mob if an Ayebeesedy preacher gets people riled up about the return of the gods. They survive by theft, scavenging, whatever they can get. Sub groups have own dialects, sometimes not understood even by other Onlys. It’s not a good gang to be a woman in. There are no female Old survivors in this group.

They are descended from the children of violently and sexually abusive parents. These children were set free from torment when the piper came. They celebrate the Harrowing. Like slightly evangelical wide-eyed barbarians. Like hippies but fearless and fucking nuts. Weak social ties and low levels of organisation but spiritual and moral unity. Often in conflict with conservative Ayebeseedy clerics as diametrically opposed views. Exactly the kind to get into adventures with. Crazed wanderers. May be easy to kill  but you never know so maybe leave them alone. The Olds are universally tough as nails and not to be fucked with, have mildly legendary reps. Roughly even gender split. Get food by scavenging, begging or killing something dangerous and eating it.

Tony Pace had this request

“Appearnetly i am a Ravenloft Victorian somehihng. I am severlely lacking inspiration, but i trust my DM. Spatter some inspiratiuon.”

Tony I honestly don’t know what that means, so… no. Sorry.