Friday, October 29, 2010

City Generation - Revels

Last time, we determined that Belltown, the former entertainment district, was an unconscious plagiarism on my part, being a Seattle neighborhood with the same specialty. Since I was already considering making Belltown a neighborhood rather than a full-blown district, this clinched it for me. As of now, Belltown is retconned as Revels, a neighborhood within Sagelights. Now that we've established where exactly Revels is, let's figure out what it is.

Revels is the main neighborhood for entertainment of all kinds:
  • theater
  • visual art
  • music
  • dance
  • prostitution
and is dominated by:
  • Prometheans, Pariahs, Leovites, Kipmen, and Dead-Blooded
Religion: Religion is not a big deal in Revels, but superstition is. There are beliefs associated with success in the theater, and things that will spell failure. These events are usually not ascribed to any particular deity, thought of as "curses" or "boons from the theater fairies."

Government: Most of the governing in Revels is done by various high-class patrons -- Prometheans making up the majority, with Sky-Carvers a close second and Sons of Light a distant third. Plagiarism is a serious crime in revels, but also a profitable business. When one theater puts on a successful play (or dance show, art show, concert, etc.), other theaters instantly find a way to copy the show -- stealing the script, recording it with Lightcatchers (magical cameras) and Soundcatchers (magical audio recorders), etc. They then reproduce it nearby, usually at a lower price. It is always a race against time for the plagiarists to make up their investment and cease production before the copyright police shut them down and confiscate their profits. Some shows have lost their official provenance, and are often the object of fierce rivalries -- and sometimes physical battles -- over who has the right to produce or display the work. 

Culture: The culture in Revels is dominated by theatricality. Art and creativity are serious business, and plagiarism is a serious crime (see Government). Fashions are fantastical and over-the-top, inspired by theater costumes, and often daring in terms of both propriety and the "rules" of fashion.
Examples of fashion:
  • Promethean Harlequin: A jester's motley with cloth interspersed not with alternate colors, but bare flesh, and an illusionary flame in the mouth.
  • Explorer Chic: Lots of leather and rough fabrics -- a stylized version of rough-and-tumble explorer-wear.
All kinds of art are popular, from high-class to low-brow. Some of the most popular:
  • Theater: Tragic romances, screwball comedy, adventure stories (with more action than would be possible without magic).
  • Musical theater/Dance: Epic opera, Broadway-style musicals, ballet, jazz dance.
  • Visual art: Abstract sculpture, hyper-realistic painting, multimedia performance art
  • Music: Baroque orchestral, rock-and-roll quartets, throat-singing
Here, I was looking for seemingly unrelated and paradoxical artistic styles, emphasizing the openness and strange esotericism of the City. I do consider giving things a little more of a theme, as most cultures gravitate towards a particular style of art during a particular period of time.

Prostitution is a matter of course in Revels, from streetwalkers to escort services to long-term sexual "leasing." There is no shame in the profession, practicing it or partaking in it -- though this may not be true once the client returns to their district of residence. Sylvennis, Council Heights, and Templedowns in particular take a dim view of prostitution.

The Thousand Tastes 
Description: Prostitution, orgies, sumptuous feasting
Theme: You can get anything you want here, so long as it’s filthy
Aspect: Desires Unbounded
Face: Rebec lev-Shivrael – Leovite Madame Willing to Sell Her Girls Out For a Solu

The Cup-and-Ball 
Description: Low-rent whorehouse catering to the lower classes
Theme: When you’re here, you’re slumming… no matter who you are
Aspect: Filthy in More Than One Way
Face: Leopona Bofia-per – Pariah Madam Will Protect Her Girls Even From the Big Boys

Nox Theater 
Description: The biggest theater in the City, center of opera, dance, and stagecraft (literally)
Threat: A Niontian [sentient, evil shadow] is hiding his dark murders backstage
Aspect: Sumptuous Pleasure Hides Dark Secrets
Face: Predjan Ziljovije – Grate-Scratcher Theatrical Manager Without a Dramatic Bone in His Body

Thanks for coming to Revels with me. Next time, we'll head to the Factorium, the center of manufacturing for the City.