Thursday, September 30, 2010

City Generation - Sylvennis

Welcome to Sylvennis, the first district we're going to flesh out and make playable. Let's list off what we know about Sylvennis so far:

  • It's the main residential district for the upper classes.
  • It's filled with Noble Houses vying for control. that it? Whew, we've got our work cut out for us. Let's see what logical conclusions we can come to. Since it is the domain of the nobility, it is logically rich. From there, we can assume it has a large population of servants as well as noblemen. From the fact that the Noble Houses are constantly in conflict, we can assume that the City government has little influence in Sylvennis, being corrupt or absent. In addition to ordinary servants, the Noble Houses must also hire spies, assassins, mudrakers and spin doctors to increase their own political cachet and decrease that of their enemies. Ethical conduct is probably not highly valued, instead decorum and courtesy are held in high regard. 

There's a start. Next, let's go back -- what is the history of Sylvennis? How do rich and noble districts start in the real world? I have no idea. To the internet! Hmm. Nothing relevant. Internet, you have failed me! If any readers want to enlighten me on how cities really come together, how a particular neighborhood becomes associated with a specific social class or interest, I'd be glad to hear. Comment or e-mail me at realmcrafting (at)

Until then, let's cover some other topics.

Religion: Religion would be pretty big in Sylvennis, given that a large proportion of its populace are Sons of Light, considered chosen by the City's primary deity -- and many of Sylvennis's servants are Leovites, the City's priest caste. However, given that the nobility are, by and large, a deceitful and manipulative bunch, they would probably give the church lip service and go about their daily lives without considering its ethical precepts.

Government: Well, we've determined that the formal City government has little influence in Sylvennis. It is then a question of how is it governed? Given that the aristocracy is constantly vying for control in the City, and given they have little oversight, there is only one logical result: a mess of small neighborhoods, constantly varying in size and power as the Noble Houses push back and forth much like street gangs or tiny kingdoms. In each neighborhood, the laws, customs, and priorities will vary, perhaps radically. Conflict will be a way of life, whether social game-playing at parties or physical conflicts on the streets (between the nobles' servants, of course).

Culture: The defining adjective describing Sylvennis is "scheming." Nothing is simple in the aristocracy, whether in London or the City of Lives, and constant games of oneupmanship are daily concerns. Social status, fashion, and etiquette are life-and-death problems. Aside from that, culture changes from House to House, depending on Bloodline and the patriarch or matriarch's personal taste.

And let's round off this post with a few interesting Locations in Sylvennis:

House Idoletta
Description: Seat of the Sky-Carver Idoletta family's power
Threat: Failing house will do anything to restore their power
Aspect: Beware of Cornered Nobility
Face: Suliana Idoletta - Desperate Sky-Carver Matriarch Will Do Anything to Restore Her Status

House Daceas
Description: Seat of the Promethean Daceas family's power
Theme: The single biggest supporter of the arts, but they don't protect themselves well enough from political machinations.
Aspect: An Artist's Eye Can't See Behind Her
Face: Oritryta Daceas - The Perfect Patron of the Arts

House Gwaioth
Description: House of the powerful Son of Light Gwaioth family
Theme: The Gwaioth family hides an shameful secret - they're Dead-Bloods
Aspect: A Powerful Family Protects Their Dark Secret
Face: Aliavera Gwaioth - Blood-Denying Avant-Garde Matriarch

Join me next time for another district with City Generation - Templedowns.