View Full Version : City of Xexas [Exalted 2e]

2011-08-08, 02:38 PM
Welcome one and all to the darkest depths of the body of Autochthon. I've been preparing to run a game set in the city of Xexas in the pole of smoke, and so I present to you, the playground, some of what I've been working on. Comments and suggestions will be read and discussed, and I will be expanding this as I go.

City of Xexas
Dark towers of soulsteel and iron drop hundreds of feet into a roiling cloud bank below, surrounded by the constant boom and flash of the lightning. The City of Xexas has 40 levels in the Citadel district, the home to 95% of the population of the city. The lowest levels (40-35) are given over to the government organizations: The tripartite assembly, meets on floor 39, while the Sodalities have guild headquarters and specialized equipment on floors 38 and 37 and the regulators and assorted bureaucracies of the city are on the higher floors. Floor 37 is also home to the vats complex and the apartment complex for the Alchemicals. Floor forty itself is the control room for the spine of victory, though it's daily use more often involves regulating the movement of the various fleets.

Floors 35-20 are given over to increasingly crowded barracks, with the majority of the city's cafeterias as well. Floor 28 is also a wide open meeting place used for city festivals and celebrations. Most days of the year, though, it is filled with hammocks and sleeping populat members. The higher floors widen out and give way to the industries and services of the city. The lower floors tend to be the life support: food processing plants, air filters, hydrostations, and recycling all run through this region. The upper floors are by far the largest, and are home to the heavy manufacturing and the support structures for the functions of the great maker.

The storm towers barracks were unused except for during lengthy fleet repairs until 6 months ago, when continuing population pressure forced the tripartite to open them to the populace as a whole. Nearly 2000 workers have moved into the storm towers. The 4 towers are also home to the primary power generation of the city and to the airship docks. More than 100 platforms are built into the sides of the towers.

The Panacean Amphorae: This collection of green jade cannisters and pipes forms the core of Xexas's only hospital. The vats can be programmed to produce and administer a wide variety of treatments by the city's surgeons and can also serve as a diagnostic tool for a person interred. The entire complex is adjacent and connected to several food processing plants and provides the population with a steady supply of anti-carcinogens and antidotes for some of the more common poisons and ailments associated with the omnipresent taint in the air.

The Carrier of Harmonic Thoughts: This web of starmetal nerve fibers connects the AIs of the city and several terminals available to the public, allowing hologlyphic communication between distant parts of the city and producing a subtle posthypnotic suggestion pattern encouraging social order in users. Xexas also has the ability to remotely monitor any terminal in the city and pass on worrisome data to the regulators.

The Spine of Victory: The city's chief defense against gremlin attack, this soulsteel station at the bottom of the central tower monitors essence patterns within a 10 mile radius and is capable of directing massive bursts of red essence lightning against hostiles, vaporizing most threats.
Cost: 20 motes, -4 essence respiration for 1 hour (Xexas has a reserve of 182 motes (almost entirely peripheral) and a respiration rate of 36 thanks to the lightning spires), generates an unblockable attack dealing 50 lethal piercing dice of damage to all targets within a 250 yard radius of point of origin.

The Hallowed Condensation Arrays: Attached to Xexas's air purifiers, this large soulsteel factory both serves as a regulator for the Great Maker's atmospheric processes and the source of many of the raw materials employed by the city: reclaiming materials (mostly oil but also some base metals) from the smoke as it is filtered.

Radiant Worship Regulator This large adamant and soulsteel crystal array located near the base of the city ties into dozens of essence conduits. The device collects and amplifies the prayers of the city's inhabitants, directing a steady stream of essence to the portions of the pole and surrounding reaches most in need of the reparative power of the great maker. A beneficial side effect is a field of ambient essence that is used to remotely power a number of devices throughout the city which would otherwise be unusable by unenlightened mortals, including the city's light systems, trams, and the Tripartite's data slates. The regulator also reduces the repair rating of any artifact which takes in its essence by 1, to a minimum of 1, or hastens the regeneration of machine spirits.

Impenetrable Essence Array A mixture of Jade, Adamant, and Soulsteel nodes throughout the city allows the generation of blood red essence shields, baffles, and other simple shapes at any location between the storm towers. These fields have hardness 40B/30L/20A and overload if their hardness is penetrated, vanishing into nothingness for 5 ticks. While mostly used as a safety net (harmlessly dissipating momentum and allowing the use of "drop tubes" for rapid transit) or as mobile platforms to levitate heavy loads, on more than one occasion they have been used to isolate and contain riots. This function has become more common in the past few decades as overcrowding has caused increased tension among the populace.

Non Charm Amenities:
Essence powered heating: a small magitech production plant near the city's primary water pipeline diverts water as part of its forging process to cool finished products after final smelting. This produces a large amount of steam, which is piped throughout the city. As a result, blasts of vapor and mist are common "weather" occurrences during "hot season," the 3 months of the year when annual maintenance on the city's infrastructure requires the production of significantly more Essence couplings.

Lighting: While the omnipresent steam and fog mean that Xexas is not bright, essence globes line every street, linked wirelessly by the Radiant Worship Regulator. Filled with a gel containing traces of orihalcum, the lights glow a soft yellow.

Trams: The city has 5 tram lines, each running several cars. Four of them are strictly vertical, running up and down through the various floors of the city. The last one, the spiral tram, runs a complex path up and down the perimeter.

Data Slates: The tripartite uses these crystalline, clipboard sized devices in daily use. Data is displayed and may be manipulated by means of a stylus, and the slates have information storage capacity equivalent to a small personal library.

Food: Xexan food is spicy to disguise the large numbers of anti-carcinogenic additives. The staple meal is a curried noodle bowl with lumps of artificial vegetable fibers. Individuals who exceed their work quotas may be rewarded with a variety of filled buns, mochi, and the ever popular candied roaches. Kaf is an extremely popular beverage.

Social Structure
Tripartite Council
Surong Egan: The youngest member of the tripartite council, Surong Egan is the head of the Olgotary. While he has not yet found much of his own voice, he has already begun to get a reputation as being tough but fair. As he rose from the ranks of the regulators, he has largely favored enforcement over legislation so far, but he has made a number of concessions to cement his power base. As the leader of the airship fleet, he has pushed for increased recruitment quotas.

Rarata Ragara: The Celebrant of the Theomachracy, this genial old man has only 4 years left in his lifespan. He is well liked by most citizens in large part because of his weekly sermons over the telecommunications system. He is widely considered the voice of reason and compassion on the council, and a petition has been circulating to allow him a dispensation to avoid euthanasia. This facade covers a vicious, political, and often reactionary individual. Ragara has voted consistently for harsher conditions for the populat, harsher punishment guidelines for criminals, and a standardization of the city's theology away from its heterodox roots. Even in his twilight days, he is taking advantage of his own death to encourage political infighting among his underlings to choose a suitable successor.

Vepea: While the Vepean clade has never had a sterling reputation, about 50 years ago some enterprising young regulators from the family requisitioned the materials for a still. With a combination of favors, theft, bribery, and intimidation, they converted the still into a steady stream of goods to give to those they favored. By this stage, their inheritors of this favor trading run a criminal empire with tendrils of favor that almost certainly fall short of the City assembly.

Foreman Vepea Cali: While not particularly bright, foreman Cali makes up for it in cunning and ruthlessness. Starting out as a narcotics trader for the family, he rose through the ranks with a series of accidents that happened to prospective rivals. Now, despite his low rank, he shares an apartment with several bodyguards and a series of attractive young men and women.

Power to the Populat: What started as a minor political heresy several years back has grown into a full fledged reformer voidbringer cell. The initial requests of the organization were for straw polls by the populat to be made available to the tripartite when considering promotions and certain policies. By now, the movement has gained strength and turned into calls for full fledged democratic reform. Crackdowns have proved counterproductive, and graffiti has begun springing up in unlikely places throughout the city.

Major Leaders: Unknown.
The men and women of the Scavenger fleet are the symbol of hope and the heroes for most of Xexas. Most are members of the Populat, holding the rank of Scavenger, trading massive risks for additional privileges (including better bunking arrangements and the respect of their peers). Members of the Regulators who join are given the rank of Scavenger Marine, outfitted with the finest technology available for the defense of the fleet. Scavengers have the traits of regular soldiers for the most part, with Archery 3, Craft (fire) 2, Lore 3, Occult 2, and are outfitted with a mechanized crossbow, short sword, godstrike oil, protective gear complete with a gas mask (treat as Synthetic Leather greatcoat, gives +3 to resistance rolls against inhaled or exposure poisons) and an assortment of tools for recovering magical materials. Scavenger marines have the same stat modifications as applied to Elite soldiers (except with Archery 4), and are equipped with Aegis Inset amulets, Gunzosha Armor, and a small concussive essence cannon with a built in essence capacitor to provide charge.

Other Fleets
The conductors run a large number of additional fleets. By far the largest is the Construction fleet, charged with the desperate task of expanding the city's dimensions. Welding and hammering dangling from a harness in a swaying dirigible wearing a gas mask often proves difficult, but safety routines have largely prevented many on the job casualties. Nearly a hundred dirigibles are constantly engaged in construction projects. Less numerous are the food blimps, which travel to known food pipelines and attach harvesting pumps to bring back sufficient nutrient slurry to satisfy the people.

2011-08-08, 02:45 PM
The Pole of Smoke
The pole of smoke is a vast hemisphere, 1000 miles across and 200 miles deep at it's deepest point. It has widely varying terrain, from mountains and valleys dozens of miles high of rubble and junk, to an ocean of toxic pollutants and filthy oils where runoff drains into intake pipes, and vast forests of hungry smoke elementals known as Fungus elementals.

One of the more common elementals in the pole of smoke, a rustspider is born when a metal object collapses under it's own weight giving off a cloud of rust. While they range in size from a handspan or two to the size of elephants, they all share some common traits: 8 eyes, 8 legs, and a body of rusted steel encasing a core of insubstantial smoke. Rustspiders exist to capture gremlins and broken exmachina and force them into autochthon's recycling processes, which they do by weaving vast webs of insubstantial smoke within which to trap their targets before breaking down their essence and bodies with powerful digestive magics.

Fungal Elementals
The pole of smoke has vast forests, but they are far more fearful places than almost any other place bearing that name. Amid the hills and valleys of refuse, softly glowing canopies of mushroom caps rise from the floor. When the howling storms and distant booming of engines softens enough, the faint natural noise of the environment becomes audible: A constant whisper in old realm of just one word. Hunger. Millions of perils fill these forests, from creeping amoeboid slime molds who will engulf anything that touches the wrong surface to hideous spores which twist the unwary into mindless shambling husks to the fires that rage as custodians vainly try to contain the mindless growth of these hideous smoke elementals.

Data Doxie
The pole of Smoke is the location where more than mere physical items are recycled. Data Doxies are crystal elementals whose thankless job it is to restore, sort, catalogue, and refile any information which falls into the pole. The size and shape of human children, their only features a pair of lidless eyes the size of a man's hand, they are translucent smoky glass which slowly begins to glow as the essence of the data they have accumulated begins to permeate their being. A full Doxy can be seen from up to a mile away, and instantly becomes a target to some of the less savory denizens of the pole. As such, these creatures are both shy and vicious, skittering nervously into the darkness when possible and fighting like cornered rats when another creature draws too close.

Dirigible Whale (Alpha-2)
As the pole of smoke is autochthon's lungs, he must have a way to breathe. Dirigible whales serve a vital role in the Maker's respiration, their hundred yard long frames serving as mobile factories and harvesters. In pods of 6-30, these gentle behemoths cruise the upper layers of the pole, filtering the smoke for years at a time before rising to the quarantine layer and belching filtered and cleansed smoke, steam, and oil back into the channels above. Boarding a dirigible whale can be immensely profitable, as they tend to accumulate vast amounts of soulsteel and jade dust, and sometimes even traces of the other magical materials, but is also considered almost suicidally dangerous by the scavenger fleet. While personally defenseless the whales swarm with aggressive fix beetles and every pod is accompanied by a Dragon Tender to protect it from gremlins.

Dragon Tender (Alpha-6)
A dragon tender is a vicious, remorseless, and somewhat stupid predator which attends a dirigible whale pod to protect it from gremlin attacks. Normally, the creature cruises circling half a mile above its charges, ready to drop upon any perceived threat in an instant. As a result, the safest way to approach a pod is from below. When the dragon does identify a gremlin, human, or unauthorized spirit it descends belching forth gobs of toxic lightning and shredding with it's vicious chainsaw claws.

Flying Rats:
While Xexas has none of the space required for the rat ranches of it's origin, it has simultaneously a pest problem and a source of meat for festival days and enterprising or suicidal workers. Flying rats nest in the crevasses along the bottom of the quarantine layer and occasionally breaking into the city proper to raid the food storage vats or even (on a few nightmarish occasions) attack the creches. These vicious animals have sharp claws, beady red eyes, and a wingspan of nearly five feet. The city places webs of sticky pseudosilk around the storm spires, and also has in the municipal code a guarantee that any member of the populat who kills a beast has full rights to do with it as they please (as long as the Harvester's sacred duties are not infringed upon). As a result the waiting list to requisition small nets or harpoon crossbows is nearly three years long.

Str/Dex/Sta:2/4/3 Per/Int/App/Will: 4/1/3/5
Health Levels:-0/-1x2/-2/-4/Incap
Bite: 6/7/4L/1, Claw: 6/8/2L/2
Abilities: Athletics 4 (Flying +2), Awareness 3, Dodge 4, Integrity 2, Investigation 1, Martial Arts 3, Resistance 2, Stealth 3, Survival 3

Toxic Sea: Located near the center of the pole of smoke, this ocean of toxic pollutants and oil occupies a vast portion of the floor of the pole. Three rivers feed into it from nearby mountain ranges and are fueled by runoff from the acid rains. The entire sea is a perfect circle in constant circular motion, speeding into a vortex 500 feet across at the center directly above the drain. On the side is the port town of Hope: a fortified shantytown filled with lost spirits and ashbreathers under constant siege by gremlins. Those lucky or foolish enough often try to brave the acidic maelstrom: legend has it that a hidden path in it leads to the godhead and away from the constant warfare of the pole.

2011-08-08, 02:47 PM
Reserved for later

2011-08-09, 12:15 PM
Updated with a little of the social structure. To Do: The Sodalities, additional elementals and custodians, and locations in the pole of smoke.

2011-08-09, 02:51 PM
Very cool. I especially like your short-form but useful Municipal Charms. :) I think I'm going to have to steal those dirigible whales for my own use later, too.

Since you've got some trouble brewing, how do you think Xexas handles exile? The local Reaches seem like they'd been particularly murderous.

2011-08-09, 03:10 PM
Very cool. I especially like your short-form but useful Municipal Charms. :) I think I'm going to have to steal those dirigible whales for my own use later, too.

Since you've got some trouble brewing, how do you think Xexas handles exile? The local Reaches seem like they'd been particularly murderous.

I was thinking that "exile" takes the form of being sent out to a pumphouse somewhere: A one room shack clinging precariously to a nutrient vein where you have no protection against the elements and can never remove your gas mask and your options are to stay and make sure the pumping station doesn't break or take a 2 step and 50 mile journey to a new life, and the folks back home don't much care which. But I was also thinking Exile is less common than lumpenization, prison and reeducation, and possibly capital punishment.

2011-08-18, 02:41 AM
Added a new location, and am working on another (The Fortress of the Integrity Ending Engine).