Sunday, February 26, 2017

Through the gates of Factory City

Welcome to the Machine. Art By: Me

Author's Note: Well folks, this is the idea I have been working on for the past week, a follow-up to my Noir Weights setting (LINK). This mini-setting is based on the music of: Nick Cave, Warren Zevon, Tom Waits, and Pink Floyd. What you see below is an outline of the fluff I plan on including in the setting, I will also be including a bunch of stats for baddies, equipment, and divine intervention in the final product. I have also included some of the pictures I have been working on to illustrate this setting. As always, I would dig your input. At the end of the post I have included YouTube links to the particular songs that have acted as inspiration for the setting. 

I have been very remiss in thanking folks for the support they have been giving me. I am bad at communicating with folks in general, which can come off as being dismissive of their presence in my life and work, this could not be further from the truth. I am truly lucky to have people such as yourself read and look at my work, I can't write thank you enough to express the amount of joy it gives me to know that there are folks out there who appreciate the insane stuff I make. 

One of the many factory facilities. Just a quick sketch. Art By: Me
A Place of Industry and Smoke
Welcome my son
Welcome to the machine
What did you dream?
It's alright, we told you what to dream...
- Pink Floyd

How'd you get here, to this awful place of smoke, oil, and rust? Perhaps through strange passages, following the scent of runoff and careless industry? Maybe you saw the smoke on the horizon, filling the eastern sky from where you stood in your Eden, and followed a seldom walked road? In the end, the how might not be so important. The why, however...

There can only really be one of two why's: curiosity or desperation. Rumor can be a powerful thing, pushing someone to travel far beyond familiar territory with the promise of wealth and stories to tell. More powerful though, are the cries of children and loved ones from empty bellies and bare feet on broken roads. Factory City offers fulfillment to both motivations through costs as firm as iron.

At These City Gates:
Everyone is greeted by the same sight, giant neon letters of welcome over the titanic, grinning face of the current Factory Head. As years go on, the faces change, but they always bear the same qualities: over fed, empty eyed, a grin of self-satisfaction, and smoke that pours from eyes, nose, ears, and mouth that never seems to stain the 'skin'. These heads have made a career of creating filth that never seems to get them dirty. The heads set on towers of pipes and tubes, pumping forth product to spew into the air.

Beneath the head, a giant cement pipe that acts as the only entrance into the city, red tinged light spilling from the way's terminus. As the roads progress towards this grand gate of industry, more and more junk begins to line their sides until they form ten-foot high walls of rust-plated junk. Though the Factory may have discarded these machines, one might still find useful parts to scavenge.

If you were to go here, you would only be one of hundreds; thousands if the economy is bad. People tend to form groups with strangers, the fear felt in their first sight of the city enough to push aside any wariness of the outsider, yet not enough to still their march towards steady pay. Those that come to this place are desperate enough to brave bad situations that are as obvious as the sun.

Tried to draw one of the workers using color and shape more than lines, kinda meh about it. Art By: Me
Packed in Like Sardines:
Workers come from all ages, colors, and sexes, the factory doesn't discriminate. Here, the elderly (having been robbed of pensions) and children (having been robbed of any childhood) sit together, hands and fingers moving with mechanical efficiency.

Paid half in company script and half in the script of their choice, these workers toil their mandatory 42-hour work weeks only to spend their days off wandering the tight concrete halls of the factory. Occasionally, these leisure seekers might find Doctor Caligari and his strange Cabinet in a room few remember being there the day before. Other times, they might find the Owl Cinema or Madam Xaviera's Mechanical Brothel. These short periods of distraction give the worker enough strength for another week of shifts.

When done with their day's entertainment, they may go a company store to purchase varies necessities with their pay, or send off their 'real' money to needful loved ones; oddly, the company is very diligent when it comes to this task, theft of these funds never ends well for the thief.

At the end of the day, the worker plods their way back to a small room packed with their few belongings. Laying in bed, the worker might stare up at the speaker that will wake them all too soon, before they succumb to their too familiar exhaustion.

A quick sketch of one of the strange furnaces that powers Factory City. Art By: Me

Come See My Wares...
Outside of the items within the company store, few know what else is made in this city sized factory. According to the flow of rumor, only the highest in the company structure know exactly what is made in the factory. Each worker who is responsible for assembly only combines smaller parts of a whole, with the parts being incomprehensible alone and together. Who, or what puts together the final product, no one knows and is worked too hard to care.

Each shift, for the progress of industry never ceases, workers move to their stations, passing worn toilers on their way out. They take their places, the 'cushy' position having metal seats the rest being required to stand. Looking down for hours, they assemble their work, stopping only for a short lunch and for the end of the day's toil.

Beneath This Metal Skin...
Not all runs perfect and well in this Factory City, and the workers must appeal to greater forces.

Designed and directed by his red right hand. Art By: Me

The only official higher power is the company, and its representatives. Here, the worker is encouraged to come to their Production Manager for work related issues, or their Residential Manager for everything else. Despite being just a cog in an endless line of management positions, a Manager wields considerable power, for they can call in the 'Red Hands' when things get too 'disorderly'.

The Red Hands are company security, secret police, and strike breakers all rolled into one organization. Dressing in worker coveralls with added armor and helmets like welder's masks, their truly defining feature is their red right hands. Always looking as if covered with wet paint, these hands are capable of causing pain that transcends the screaming of nerves and flesh. Just as easily, they can bring pleasure and healing, the hands can give you want you want as long as you play by the rules.

One of the manifestations of Our Lady of Neon. Picture Totally Not By Me

Hidden in forgotten alcoves, empty warehouses, and abandoned control rooms one might find shrines to little divinities attended to by workers in their off hours. Despite being disorganized out of a need to stay hidden, Management doesn't take kindly to other forms of authority, there is an accepted pantheon within Factory City. Mister Grins, Our Lady of Neon, The Quick-Fingered Kid, and Mister Stitches are but a few in this strange family of industrial gods.

Little alters are piled with the deity's favorite offerings in the hopes of gaining their attention. However, these offerings are merely a down-payment for their services, everything in this city comes with a hard price.

When the divine and official powers are ineffective, one can always go to 'The Headless'. The Headless are a cross between a labor union and a gang, wearing red scarves around their necks and black headbands; these items symbolizing the blood stump of a neck and the empty space above it.

Founded by a man named Roland, they began as a union demanding better pay and working conditions. Unfortunately, he was beheaded by a trusted friend named Van Owen, this betrayal forming the basis for their name.

Now, they act as minor saboteurs and contraband runners as a way of combating Management. If you have the script or coin to pay for their constant war with the Red Hands, The Headless can be of assistance.

Musical Influences
Pink Floyd – Welcome to the Machine: YouTube Link
Warren Zevon – Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner: YouTube Link
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand: YouTube Link
Tom Waits – The Earth Died Screaming: YouTube Link

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