Wednesday, 13 June 2018

The Wodlands 7 - The Actual Wodlands

1. The Plain of Anaesthetic Fire.
2. The Antigoblin Empire.
3. The Whetstone Ridge.
4. The Painted Plane.
5. The Vermilion Sea.
6. The Large Goblin Collider. 





The Wodlands


A city like a turned-over log where the people scatter like pigeons and the pigeons stalk like wolves, the Wodlands are the tumorous heart of a maddened land. Originally, the nobility built castles and mansions ranged around the Old Throne at the Wodlands Heart, then after the Revolution the Masons raised vast monuments to civil law and reasonable thought. Clear sweeps of pale stone washed around windows of glorious glass and hand-carved columns. Statues to Eternal Reason dotted gardens of imported trees.

With the fall of the Master Mason, and the loss of its hinterland to total reality breakdown, Goblins and invading Chaos Wasps, the Capital has collapsed into absolute economic, cultural, spiritual and psychological ruin. Its concentric highways have become a spiralling maze leading to an empty core, the Old Throne has disappeared, some say ruined or stolen or sunk into the grass like a wrecked ship sinking into liquid earth, but still whole somewhere, passed beyond time, never to return.

Proud buildings covered with faded pentangle and hexagrams, with gilded stairways, lists of revolutionary heroes and idealised figures of justice and reason, have been broken down into warrens of tiny flats. The demi-castles of the old nobility, still spattered with musket and cannon scars, were ruined twice.

The Mansions are full of ruined descendants living in penury, cooking magpies, setting squirrel traps, sometimes eating small Goblins or trying to boil a Meta-Fox. A few still keep one of the old hereditary MegaBadgers as guards, but they have been pulled into underground Badger Brawls.

There are things on fire in the night and shadows move against the flames. There are Goblin ghosts in bottles and bins. Everyone is an addict.

These streets are serious. There is movement behind black windows stacked with rotting paperback books. Overgrown ornamental trees, full of angry birds, loom on the lanes and lean over into the street.

All the birds are angry here. And criminal. Crow Zones are inaccessible hells, Gull Gangs harass those too long in the open. All the pigeons are informers and they are everywhere.

The centre has become the margin and the margins have become the core. The city is accessed via hidden paths, routes through fences and walls. Some doors to ordinary houses are left part-open and those who know can walk in, move thought and climb a chair to a kitchen window. Trash alleys are guarded toll-roads. Hidden trails sneak through sculpture dumping grounds from various ages of monumental pride and censorship. Paint splattered ladders leaning against crumbling brick walls could be part of the thoroughfare.


CROW ZONES

Crows are active in the Crow Zones. They sometimes erect cunning signs stating 'No-Crow Zone', but this is a lie. They are murderous, intelligent and theiveing creatures whose nests are full of golden teeth and forgotten I.O.U's.

A Wodlands crow is an intelligent as a Tax Inspector and can change size at will to be as big as a man or as small as a mouse. They have no sense of right or wrong.


GULL GANGS

The Gulls are, thankfully, really fucking stupid, and cannot change size. They will compulsively harass and attack anyone and anything they like, following them until they escape or are pecked to death.


CRACK SHOPS

Sweatshop powered by cracked-up Goblins and anyone else they can squeeze in. The Wodlands is full of these and they churn endlessly, spewing out high volumes of terrible goods.

The Crack shops are the chief, and only really, remaining economic engine of the Wodlands. They make good things badly and at high volumes. So useful tools, cakes, books, handy items like glasses, everyday household objects, all are made at incredible speed, sold cheap and break within d4 months or hours.

Crack pipes, lockpicks, shanking daggers, voodoo dolls, lava lamps, face masks, gloves, syringes, cheese graters, strappy sandals, fedora hats, granny glasses, graphic Tees, acid, slime, certain cheeses, poisons, political pamphlets, commemorative coins, novelty aprons, pointed shoes, cravats and pleather trousers are all made surprisingly well by specific drugged-out artisans.

Any bad object can be found in the Wodlands markets for a reasonable price. It is the only main reason for coming here.


SHOUTING MATCHES

A street that isn't empty or patrolled by birds or unseen gangs or cleared for a Penny Farthing race will have a shouting match on it. These are either Window to Street arguments or Intra-Street arguments. Window to Street arguments are less likely to break into violence but will go on much longer.

They can also be Window to Window. Beyond that arguments can be either Group on Individual, in which case the Individual will probably end up running for it. Group on Group, in which case a gang fight may be about to break out. Or Individual to Individual, which has a wide range of possible results.

Most arguments are about drugs, money or varied opinions and dissenting views on a complex network of interpersonal relationships and deep emotional connections.

It has been said that if you cannot hear an argument in the next street then you are not in the Wodlands.


GOBLIN PENNY FARTHING GANGS

Goblins have learnt to attach very basic petrol engines to penny-farthing bicycles. The engines don't actually do anything other than produce noise and smoke, Goblin technology is not that good. The weight of them probably slows down the bikes. The bikes do not have breaks.

Goblins to 'supercharge' their penny-farthings with rare chemicals and have extensive competitions and arguments about the best engine and the best adaptations. Although all the supercharging does is to change the noise and the smoke and sometimes explode the engines.

The Bikers lounge around with their sleeves rolled up and are extremely macho about their biking culture. It's not clear if they know or care that the engines don't work, or even if the engines are meant to be working to power the bike.

The interpretation that the engine should be powering the bike may be a purely human construct. It may simply be enough for the Goblins that the Engine be Engine.

The Goblin Bikers make a living dealing and delivering drugs and through various other crimes. The feud for street control and run regular midnight races in which Penny Farthings dash down narrow roads a quarter mile at a time. They are commonly killed through being hit in the face by an Great Horned Owl at high speed in the dark.


GOBLIN GARDENERS

The High Status Gardening Gangs of the Wodlands began as aggressive guilds during the rule of the Theigns, who loved to splash cash on pointless bushes and display-lawns. As the Theigns became more crazed and other aspects of the economy tanked, highly aggressive gardening was one of the few routes to wealth for the working classes and the Guilds became more violent and controlling, launching raids on each others Gardens and sometimes even Composting each other.

After the Revolution the Masons tried to force the culture of Gardening competitiveness into matters of pure display, though they were never entirely successful; the association of Gardening with crime and secret violence had already been made and the Guilds were hard to break.

After the Masons fall, Goblns slowly infiltrated and replaced many of the Guilds, and the few that remained had to match them in violence, cruelty and tricksyness in order to survive.

Sculpted Topiary is a danger sign. A clean garden means you have crossed a line Any area of carefully maintained greenery is the territory of a violent herbaceous gang. The plants and their maintenance of them are a status display. Even entering the area may be considered an offence, especially if you are already associated with another gang. Damaging greenery will be considered an attack.

To not step on the grass.

GOBLIN DOGS

Also, do not go in the grass.

Goblin Dogs are green, long-jawed snaggley-toothed creatures that could easily be deformed hairy Goblins going on all fours. They may be the final evolution of the Goblin form, a strange mutation or a freaky experiment from the Goblin Cube.

The dogs are sneaky carnivores. Though they cannot speak or use tools, their intelligence is roughly double that of a Goblin.


GOBLIN BUBONKONERS

Falcony with Owls.

Most birds of prey will not tolerate a Goblin. Only the Great Horned Owl will stand their presence, it is because they share an unreasonable attitude to life and both have very long claws whose points are so sharp they cannot be easily seen, being mere blurs against the air.

Nevertheless most Goblin Bubonkoners are very badly scarred around the face and brain, even by Goblin standard, and will have fingers missing.

The Bubonkoners come forth in the evening and compete for space with the Drug Dealers, Bikers and Badger Addicts. The noise of these activities always bothers the Owls so the Bubonkoners are obsessive about stopping excess noise. unlike most Goblins they go quietly on rag-padded feet and slide slim knives invisibly into lungs to let out the sounds before they form.

The Bubonkoners are tolerated because the Owls kill Crows, Gulls and Pigeons and so reduce the numbers of Terrible and Harrassing Birds in the Wodlands, something desired by all.


WHO RULES AND HOW


The true lords of the Wodlands can only be communicated by whisper, never out loud. They are the Rumour Rulers and Rumour is their law. Whatever rumour they spread will be believed and come true.

2 comments:

  1. I wonder if Crows have a trick of posing as much more respectable but long-gone Ravens, to lure and con and take advantage of unwary or romantic.
    Gulls, if possible, always smell of the sea - sharp smell of iodine air that betrays them even when they try to ambush, even if the sea is far away and never actually was here. When Gulls are trying to sing they only produce a dissonant sound alike to waves hitting a metallic trashcan.

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