Sunday, October 10, 2010

City Generation - Clovenmouthe Part 1

Welcome back to our series on district building. So far, we've covered Sylvennis, the seething stew of aristocratic scheming; Templedowns, the inspiring/asphyxiating religious center; and Council Heights, where idealistic politicians go head-to-head with the vilest schemers. Today we'll head the opposite direction, over to the lowest-class district -- the slum of Clovenmouthe.

Upon reviewing my posts, it looks like I have said nothing about Clovenmouthe - but a few ideas are in my head, so let's start with those:
  • It is the residence of the lowest of the low -- those unfortunates who barely make enough to scrape by, if that -- and is filled with crime, violence, misery... and, oddly enough, in some places more contentment than the richest houses of Sylvennis.
  • It is ruled by the Iversdotter street gangs, who keep safe those under their protection -- for a price.
  • The main Bloodlines present are the Kipmen (mongrels of animal and man), Dead-Blooded (part man, part undead, and hated by everyone), Grate-Scratchers (underground-dwelling scavengers), Rurals (uneducated farmers who grow plants right on their bodies), and the ruling Iversdotters (magical clones of a single woman, living in a martial society).
So, with those pieces, what else can we derive? The first rich piece of setting I see is the idea of the ruling gangs. I see these as rather more positive than street gangs in our own world -- they have a code of honor, and honestly take care of the civilians they extort "protection money" from. But they're not saints, either -- the Iversdotters take much from their charges, sell them drugs, disrupt their lives with gang wars... It's a broken system, but the best the City has to offer these poor people. So -- since the City government must have little to no influence in Clovenmouthe, what responsibilities must the gang leaders take upon themselves?
  • Police and courts: Whether they have their own actual police force or if it is more spread out and less official, the gangs must keep order in their holdings, which means catching those who break the rules and dispensing justice. Traditionally, gang justice is swift, efficient, harsh -- and not necessarily correct, with an accusation almost always leading to a conviction. "Better safe than sorry" and "Guilty until proven innocent" are the watchwords in Iversdotter police work.
  • Public works: With no City workers coming in to fix the roads, pipes, or what-have-you, it's up to the gangs. They're unlikely to put this at a high priority, but they do need to make sure that the roads and such are up to a certain standard, or else their drugs won't get to their locations, their troop movement will slow, and their citizens will rise up in revolt.
  • Taxation: Taxes or "protection money" -- it's pretty much a matter of labels, either way it's people paying money to a more powerful entity to take care of them. And the poor of Clovenmouthe need taking care of.
  • Business and Trade: Much of this business is taken care of by the City's guilds (which I will address in the section on Orhall), but the gangs do need to ensure that their citizens are treated well enough by the guilds' businesses and factories to continue their responsibilities to the Iversdotters. Trade is highly regulated, if not in the way we might expect -- keeping an iron fist on their profit margins is the highest priority, especially when transporting drugs and weapons that might be illegal in other parts of the City or other Realms.
  • Foreign Politics: "Foreign" in this case means other gang territories, other districts, seldom if ever venturing outside the City. The gang leaders need to ensure their areas of control will not be threatened, politically or militarily, so sit-downs and summits are common occurrences -- as are armed conflicts.
Now that we've figured out basically how the Iversdotter gangs will take care of Clovenmouthe, we'll stop here and wait until next time to cover religion and culture. See you next time, for City Generation - Clovenmouthe Part 2