Thursday, September 8, 2016

It's a magical city, setting the mind on fire, an infinite train of spectacles


What a strange and beautiful place you have become lost in. Art By: Quique Alcatena

Author's Note
This city, in so many ways, has become a living thing. I am continually amazed at the interest people have been showing in my mad little world, and not just from people of my own wonderful American culture. I look at the audience section of my blog that tells me where all these hits are coming from, and I am truly amazed: Finland, Japan, Ireland, Germany, Ukraine, France, New Zealand, Russia, Brazil, Italy, Australia, Portugal, Kuwait, as well as so many more. Unfortunately, blogger doesn't keep records that I can access that of countries that I have received hits from that are below a certain threshold. You have fulfilled a dream, to be read by people across the world. Thank you.

The beauty of the mind is that we can give a level of reality to things that may not have a tangible existence. While some folks might apply this principle to religion, I do not, I am one of those mad wonderful folk who believe in a reality beyond what I might touch and see. I do apply this concept to fictional worlds, however. If I were to die, or suddenly stop writing this mad city, it would still have a level existence in your mind. Yes, I am writing to the person who is reading this post right now. Because of you, my city lives beyond me, and that is an incredible feeling. Thank you.

When you imagine my city, though really it is now our city, since it lives within you, I want you to imagine it filled with the people you see everyday. I want it to be real for you, fill it with the colors, sizes, sexes, ages, and genders you encounter in your daily life. In doing this, you, with the rest of my world audience, will help create a city filled with every variation the humanity. I, we, have created a city that spans the world in the minds of dreamers. Thank you.

I am slowly working to eventually put out a single volume with all of what I have written about the city, and more. Ideally, the majority of the book will be the content of this blog, with another third to half of brand-new material. However, this is quite a ways off, so, until then, everything about the city that exists outside my brain and notebooks will be here.

In finding a 'voice' for the city and how I want to present it, I want to experiment with various formats. The format I will be using, until I find a better one, or if it makes reading the blog confusing, will be modeled after entries in a strange encyclopedia with commentary scrawled in it by a strange/mad poet. 

Publedina Vombatidae. Pictures Mangled By: Me

Encyclopedia Infinica
Written by the City Works Agency, and distributed one article at a time through leaflets raining from the sky at semi-regular intervals. While a staple of Infinite City weather, leaflet showers being part of the city's weather reports, errant winds have been known to carry these pages across the globe and multiverse. Unfortunately, at least for the City Works Agency, a mad poet somehow is able to scrawl his commentary on each leaflet right before it lands on the ground or the hands/claws/beak/tentacles of a potential reader. Of course, no one has caught sight of the scrawler, the writing just spontaneously appears. Recently a device, called Camera Adsimula and invented by a wombat named Publedina Vombatidae, was used by its creator to capture the image of a leaflet as writing began to appear on the printed page. The device created a perfect, though sepia toned, picture of the page with a strange figure writing on it with a quill pen. Described as a thin and somewhat taller man, with thinning dark hair, shabby clothes, round spectacles, and a crazed look in his eyes, the figure has now become known as the Peculiar Author. Please keep in mind, Publedine is a wombat whose ancestors were changed during the Storyteller Wars, not the kind that live in burrows and wanders about the bush. It'd be rather strange if one of those bush dwelling wombats invented something, wouldn't it?

Publedina's Camera Adsimula.

There's a long black train, comin' down the line. - Josh Turner
Leviathans connecting 'here' and 'there', playing the poetry of spaces as it crosses the miles. Faces of women and skulls emerging from the fore, as much beings in their own right as they are contrived mechanisms. Wandering halls, catwalks, passages, and closets the ticket takers punch the ticket, take the money, or oust fare-thieves into the spaces between stops. FEAR the spaces between the stops, they can be found on the Nowhere Maps in the Hall of Records, but not anywhere else. Nowhere Spaces are filled with Nowhere People, Nowhere People with too wide grins and hungers too big for a single body to sate. - Peculiar Author

The City Works Agency is responsible for the maintenance and operation of the Infinite City Railway System, everyone from bathroom attendants to station managers are employees of the City Works Agency. Proper respect for City Works Agents is mandatory, those who do not show proper respect are in violation of Chapter 4 – Article II – Section 4.1: Disrespectful Behavior Towards City Works Agents is Prohibited, violators may be written a fined citation by a Works Agent or a member of the local neighborhood-state constabulary.

Fines not paid in full, are usually paid in blood. - P.A.

Infinite City Railway System uses a number of locomotives who are unique individuals, each with his or her own preferences and physicality, though all adhere to the mandatory Infinite City Rail Gauge of 18' (5.49 meters). Pictured below are Zephandiel (Length: 214' 6” [65.38 meters] Height: 40' 8 ½” [12.47 meters]) and Abbadon (Length 286' [87.17 meters] Height: 70' [21.34 meters]). All Infinite City Locomotives arrive and leave on time

The grand locomotive Zephandiel. Pictures Mangled By: Me
 
The grand locomotive Abbadon. Pictures Mangled By: Me

Bodies, blood, and limbs have been known to litter the tracks before the Cleanly Folk remove the mess. All sacrifices to the art of punctuality. - P.A.

Below is a list of fares presented for various kinds of currency. REMEMBER! If you cannot name the destination, you will not be allowed to buy a ticket. Infinite City Railways does not support pointless trips of exploration.

Silver Based Currency: 1 sp.
Gold Based Currency: 1 gp.
Odd Based Currency: 1 s.

Now, for an interview of a conductor of the Infinite City Railway System.

Conductors

This conductor is looking particularly shabby today. Better have your ticket. Art By: Harry Clarke

Description:
Movement marked by the shuffle and crinkle of paper, it walks with perfect posture. It's clothing the rags of an ancient uniform, stained from soot and rail-ash. Skin, digits, and face are made from coal dust that wafts off of it in gentle breezes, leaving a floating trail wherever it passes. A humanoid face without expression or indicators of sex and age, its hair nothing more than a short dust haze. “Do you have a ticket?” its voice a sexless agglomeration of whispers from stale rumors and disingenuous apologies.

They are formed in the halls of the City Works Agency where bored fascism and bureaucracy holds sway. Conglomerations of rote lies and pen-strokes that create misery for the sake of efficiency, these beings are formed from the byproducts of over-organization that the City Works Agency leaves behind. Mild annoyance and dislike are all the emotion they are capable of, though they act on such feelings to extinguish or reorient those that attempt to ride the rails without paying. Without souls, and a dislike for those that have them, they burn out the talent of others, scrape out the passion of peoples' hearts, and lay waste to imagination, unless they pay the very fair fare.

OSR / AD&D / LotFP
Type: Magical Creature (Not Undead, since undeath requires a previous life, for which they never had)
Activity Cycle: All times, they exist to work.
Diet: The chads from punched tickets.
Intelligence: Very Intelligent, though without any imagination.
Treasure: None
Alignment: Lawful (Evil)
No. Appearing: 1D3
Armor Class: 19 / 1 (They possess the immovability of the City Works Agency.)
Movement: 30 ft.
Hit Dice: 4
To-Hit: +4
No. of Attacks: 2 – Unarmed OR Choking Dust
Damage: 1D8
Special Attacks:
No Ticket – Those who refuse/can't pay their fare are asked forcefully to leave the train. The Conductor stares at the individual for a full round, saying nothing. Outside of being rather unnerving, the stare is also opening a portal to eject the individual. At the end of the Conductor's turn the target must make a save versus magic with a +2 bonus or be ejected from the train into the Nowhere Lands outside the rushing train. Those who make their save are immune from this ability for 24 hours.
Choking Ash – The Conductor emits a blast of dust 15 feet wide, and 15 feet long. Those caught in the blast take 1D6 and must make a save vs. Poison or be blinded for 1 round.
Special Defenses: They are completely immune to any magic that involves emotions (such as Fear). They are also immune to suggestion, charm, command, or any other spell that gives authority over the monster.
Magic Resistance: 25% (Magic is prohibited while the train is in motion)
Size: Medium (5' to 6' tall)
All Saves: 13

Into the Odd
Str 12, Dex 12, Wil 12, 10 hp. Armor: 1
Driven to collect fares and eject unruly or deadbeat passengers.
Attacks with fists (D6).
Those who are stared at for an entire turn must make a successful Will save with a +2 bonus, or be ejected from the train into the Nowhere Lands. Those who make their save are immune from this ability for 24 hours.
Also attacks with Choking Ash, which releases a 15 ft x 15 ft cloud of dust. Those who are caught in the cloud take 1D4 damage that ignores armor, they must also make a Strength save or be blinded for 1 turn.