Friday, October 22, 2010

City Generation - Solura

Last time, we finished out examination of the slum Clovenmouthe. Today, we venture across town to Solura. What do we know about Solura?
  • The center of business and commerce.
  • Ruled by guilds and city and administration 
That's about it. Not much thought has gone into Solura yet. Let's flesh it out. 
  • It'll be a business district, with little to no residences.
  • It will be dominated by the middle class -- LeovitesIversdotters, and especially Pariahs.
    Religion: The Light has little purchase on Solura's citizenry -- they tend to worship the almighty solu (the citizen's unit of currency). With the large percentage of Leovites among the City bureaucracy would imply a strong belief in the Light. However, due to the status of profit and the influence of the heretical Pariahs and Iversdotters, most of the Leovites who work in Solura are unbelievers or attend church only occasionally. However, the precepts of Pariah philosophical thought are very influential, such as the following:
    • Learn all you can, but only share it with your family. 
    • Family first, profit second, all else a distant third.
    • Enter into a contract cautiously, for no contract should ever be broken.
    These ideas have been adopted (some say perverted) away from their original purpose, with most companies and guilds in Solura orienting themselves as a "family" and demanding traditional familial obedience from their employees.

    Credit is a relatively new invention in the City (coming in over the last century or so), but it is extremely popular, with numerous guilds and companies offering lines of credit (at least, to the middle and upper classes). The City's official currency is the solu, named after Solura (and the sun), backed by the consortium of guilds, companies, and banks. The solu is roughly (and I emphasize roughly) equivalent to a dollar from about 1900 -- or about $10 currently. The solu is a silver coin with a stylized picture of the sun on it. A half-solu is a large copper piece, a 1/100 solu, or "penny" (plural pence) is a small copper piece. Solu also come in 10, 50, and 100 solu denominations.

    Government: While profit is the highest motive, it is meant to be profit for all -- the general wisdom is that if a monopoly develops, the economy will collapse. A consortium of guilds, known as the Free Association of Merchants and Businesspeoples, enforces the concept of free and fair trade, breaking monopolies and governing prices. Of course, the Free Association of Merchants and Businesspeoples  is not perfect, and powerful companies often get preferential treatment, while prices are universally set at a level more beneficial to companies than customers. Working against one's organization -- by helping another, providing information or such, is against the laws of Solura, and enforced by a private police and judiciary force known as the Contract-Keepers. The Contract-Keepers use fines as their primary punishment, with corporal punishment second, exile third, and imprisonment a distant fourth. Their first goal is always to discourage further crime, whether through fines or shame.

    Culture: The culture of Solura is fragmented and cosmopolitan. People bring beliefs from all different backgrounds, with only one defining congruence: business. Profit is the watchword, and the most defining ethical concern. Loyalty is an important concept in Solura. Some hold loyalty to their guild, some to their company, some to their administrative department, and some to the City itself -- but all are expected to stay loyal, an expectation usually enforced by ironclad contracts.

    Let's look at some interesting Locations:

    Department of Levies 
    Description: The center for the hard-working tax collectors, who never manage to get any taxes. 
    Theme: Due to poor funding and public hatred, the tax collectors never collect any. 
    Aspect: Underfunded and Underappreciated 
    Face: Eliah lev-Behary – Embittered Leovite Tax Man

    The Free Association of Merchants and Businesspeoples 
    Description: The center of the main merchant guild of the City.
    Threat: A tyrannical mercantile guild forces all traders to belong, with unreasonable fees and rules. 
    Aspect: Tyrannical Officials Crack Down 
    Face: Zebed lev-Shaluchel – Leovite Administrator With His Boot Coming Down

    Guild of Alchemists and Artificers 
    Description: Guild of non-Crafter philosophers. 
    Theme: The non-Crafters are angry at their uselessness.
    Aspect: Second-Class Scientists 
    Face: Nari Rona-per – Pariah Philosopher Resentful That Brains Aren’t Enough

    The Plentifer Club 
    Description: One of the most exclusive gentlemen’s clubs in the City.
    Threat: Class and debauchery mix – mostly cigars and bourbon, but they can set up with drugs or prostitutes.
    Aspect: Exclusivity Means No Prying Eyes
    Face: Michai lev-Cadron – Consummate Host Will Get You Anything

    Seat of Judgment 
    Description: The main official Court of the City. 
    Theme: Very little actual power (as few crimes make it here), but they make up for it with huge egos. 
    Aspect: Perceived Importance Much More Than Actual Power 
    Face: Ornurius Rallius – Imperious Judge Who Cows No-One

    Thanks for visiting the financial district with me. Next time, we'll visit the centerpiece of cross-Realms in The Crux.