November 26, 2018

The City Beneath the Burning Stars

Oh hey. I started a new DCC campaign so I better start dumping setting content.


A city in the wastes. Ben-Dagra. Ruled by a sinister queen called the Hag or Beloved. Protected from the blistering stars by the Witch Wall, which covers the rich parts of the city. The Hag is protected by a legion of faceless armored guards called the Bronzemen. In the northeastward of the city is a huge pit that slowly cuts its way through the only safe sources of copper ore on the world. This is the lifeblood of the city, without which no one would bother to penetrate so far into the Waste. The Hag rules the city, but the day to day decisions in each district are made by the judges. Each renders justice as they see fit. As such the legal system of each district is vastly different from the next. Some solve disputes by ritual combat, others draconian rules that ordain every interaction, all backed by sprawling jails. All infants are taken to the Children’s Quarter when they reach seven days old, by force if necessary, to be raised by the Copper Matrons, a cadre of identical automatons. They remain for seven years then returned. This ensures the Hag will always have leverage over large swathes of Ben-Dagra. This has led to a cutthroat tattoo industry as the scions of noble families are indelibly marked to ensure their identity and return.

Districts

The Gold District
The Perfume Quarter
Children's Quarter
The District of Weavers
The District of Priests and Lepers
The Tumbledown Quarter
The Tanner’s District

Districts at a Glance

The Gold District is where the richest and most successful of Ben-Dagra reside in opulent palaces and elegant spires. It lies beneath the Witch Wall and is inoculated against the depredations of the Hydra. The palace of the Hag is here, called the the Tower of One-Thousand Eyes.

The Perfume Quarter is a walled city-within-a-city populated by the lovers, concubines, and spouses of the citizens. It lies beneath the Witch Wall, and is safe from the depredations of the Hydra. It gets its name from the abundant spices and perfumes which fill the hanging gardens, rotundas, and pleasure dens.

The Children's Quarter is a collection of enormous squat orphanages connected by narrow alleyways. Chalk graffiti in rainbow hues adorn all flat surfaces. Order is maintained by the Copper Matrons, who care for and protect their charges with impenetrable metal bodies. Outside of designated meal and sleep periods the children move freely within the district, but are shadowed at all time by at least one Matron.

The District of Weavers is a riot of textures. Infinite variegated cottons, silks, and brocades. This is a center of trade for the city, bringing merchants of all types to ply their wares between fabric stalls. Turquoise Arbiters ensure that thieves and forgers face immediate final justice. Below the streets crypt-looms sing, tended by weaver morlocks.

The District of Priests and Lepers is home to the holiest and most destitute of the city. The Hag commands no worship but of her illustrious Self. She also recognizes that enforcement of this edict would empower any movement against her, so she has banned the practice of religion outside of this district. Shrines to a thousand small gods line the tight streets. Layers of shacks blot out nearly all of the sun and hellish stars leaving only the light of guttering votives to guide travelers.

The Tumbledown Quarter is one of the oldest parts of the city, and includes the original wall that surrounded it before the discovery of copper. Now it rings with the sound of pick and anvil as the myriad slave miners dig up the raw ore to be fashioned into tools by skilled hands. As the strip mine has expanded in pursuit of the twisting veins many buildings have canted as their foundations dip. Some have fallen into the pit entirely.

The Tanner’s District lies outside the city gates to keep the stench from overwhelming civilization. Planted beside a series of geysers, acidic pools, and mudflats, the tanners can render nearly any creature in usable material. The walls are porous but the eyes many.

The Hydra

Each district, save the Gold District and Perfume Quarter, are haunted at night by a creature called the Hydra. The Hydra slays indiscriminately, choosing a different building each night and slaying all it finds within. No one knows what the beast looks like, all die before sharing what they have seen. The Bronzemen are quick to secure structures targeted by the Hydra

Factions

A thousand Noble Houses, of infinite splendor and hue
A thousand Cults, of infinite panoply and ritual
A thousand bands of Robbers, plying dark alleys and sand wastes
Seven Justiciary, acting as sole law in their district. Upheld by a thousand scribes and functionaries.

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