Gem, The World, and the Rest of it too.

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Gem, The World, and the Rest of it too.

Post by Tentacle Therapist on Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:30 pm

Six-hundred and fifty five years ago marked the founding of what would eventually become the city of "Gem". It started as a septette of powerful wizards breaking off from an association of mages for reasons never properly documented. They left with their apprentices and a large amount of the support staff from the nearby towns. The journey was long but not unpleasant as the wizards could conjure food and provide protection for the whole caravan.

Soon there was a small thriving town and mine surrounding a large stone tower. The wizards were great artificers and crafters, and soon there was no want for food or shelter. The villagers decided that, not needing to subsist, they could engage solely in trade. The conjured food was tied to the land itself, making it inviable for trading, but the mine produced a wealth of minerals that could be processed and traded after the wizards took a tithe of materials needed for their experiments. Farming existed solely to provide food that traders could keep with them.

Fifteen years passed and the town grew fivefold. The goods and materials conjured by the wizards was eventually dubbed "Flowstone" by the citizens, for it's ability to take nearly any form from liquid to solid. The only limitation was that objects made of flowstone could not leave the boundaries of the city without disappearing, and the boundaries were ever-expanding to accommodate new residents. There were now eight towers, the original central tower that had been expanded into a town hall of sorts for the septette of wizards, and seven more towers spaces equidistantly around it, that were the personal workshops of the founders.

Systems were in place to measure the population and request goods, so that the wizards could provide for the people efficiently, but they were spending more and more time on the upkeep of the city instead of their secret experiments. Eventually one of them called a meeting, wherein they decided that a more elegant solution was required. Another year of hard work resulted in an intelligent self-aware construct to fairly handle all the needs of the town named "AM" short for "Automatic Manufacturer".

The dichotomy between Flowstone objects and real objects, whilst before was handled by the wizards, is now handled by AM. There is a currency for obtaining Flowstone is called "Pix", and an exchange rate is maintained by AM for the conversion of Pix to Flowstone or gold pieces.

Eventually the city became divided into seven distinct districts, with each of the seven secondary wizard towers becoming relays for AM to monitor the city's needs. All the wizards died of old age, save for one, and were replaced by their apprentices and suchforth until the present day.

Need for non-Flowstone resources caused the creation of the "Undercroft", a massive construction underneath the metropolis that now consists of thousands of miles of mining caverns, and a section of the city unto itself. Likewise growth has expanded aerially, for those with power and money enough to support such things, leading to curved strips of alabaster painting the sky with mansions and other grand structures atop them.

Nearly every permanent citizen is a craftsman of some sort, necessitating the creation of a system of ranks and titles now called the "Alchemist" system. One applies for a license to harvest materials from the Undercroft or the lands surrounding the massive circle of a town that spreads 200 miles in any direction from the central tower. The system is complicated and bureaucratic, but lucrative as well, leading many Alchemists to double as adventurers to support their needs. Those Alchemists that shun the danger of obtaining materials themselves often hire from pools of freelance adventurers looking to make their fortune in the "jewel of the world".

Gem now stands as a pinnacle of civilization, and continues to grow despite the many forces that seek to destroy it. Unsavory individuals obtain Flowstone gold, and convert it into counterfeit coins to scam the unwary, creatures bubble up from the Undercroft making the lowest levels no safer than walking blindfolded through a knife factory; and despite allowing, and containing, nearly every race, creed, and walk of life with open arms, nearly every other nation is on tenuous terms or outright war with Gem.
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The Districts

Post by Tentacle Therapist on Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:33 pm

The Terminus

The Terminus is the area within the borders of the seven towers, and is easily the most bustling portion of Gem. It is the economic center of the economic capital of the world, and it is packed at nearly every hour. The building that once held the Great Bureaucracy before the creation of AM has since been removed and replaced with a massive bazaar where the alchemists not affluent or famous enough to have a shop sell their wares, and traders sell and buy their various goods.

In addition to being a center for exchanging goods, The Terminus is the center for exchange of information as well. Every district has direct access to The Terminus through a series of inexpensive teleportation booths and public portals, some as wide as streets. Bars and restaurants line the area, some open-air, and if one is looking for a variety they need look no further. It is easily possible to order a fine elvish wine from the eastern forests, a strong grain liquor from the western plains, and a booze that will dissolve granite from the dwarven holds in the same breath. If something is happening somewhere, you can hear about it here.

The air above The Terminus is spider-webbed with thousands of pipes creating interesting and ever-changing shapes as the day passes. Areas too dense with these pipes have sets of magical lighting installed that are lit all hours of the day.

(80% Human residents, 20% Non-human, <1% Constructs)

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The Greenhold

The Greenhold is the portion of the city surrounding the tower of the wizard Vinaeus and is unique in the care in its design for those races not normally suited for life in a city. The streets are patched with thin layers of moss and lichens, the buildings overgrown with vines, and the area itself is interspersed with parks and small forests. These places make great homes for the races that prefer living closer to nature or that outright require it to live. As such, this is the only part of Gem where one will find Pixies and Dryads, and even a particularly old Ent. Alchemists that favor potion-making often set up shop here as many things can be grown and many creatures here can offer insight into plant-life.

Security constructs are almost non-existent in this section of the city as they make the "natural" inhabitants antsy. Instead security and law-enforcement here is taken care of by the various woodland creatures that don't take kindly to their lands being damaged, intruded upon without care, or otherwise vandalized.

(30% Human Residents, 70% Non-human)

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The Dwarfhold

The next sector over is the Dwarfhold surrounding the tower of Urist Stoneflayer. Though Dwarves don't actually hold a majority of the population in Dwarfhold, it is still home to the greatest of the Dwarven Alchemists. They have shown their skill in construction by, through some unknown process, converting Flowstone into buildings without the use of magic. This is a closely guarded secret of the Dwarven Alchemists with the secret only otherwise known by AM for safety reasons

The Dwarfhold has the largest and most technically amazing structures in all of Gem. Some buildings take strange shapes, some make odd and impossible changes in direction as they grow higher, and some are made of patchworks of different materials for no particular reason.

Supposedly the Alabaster Platforms were made by Dwarven Alchemists, and that the wealthiest individuals pay top dollar to have their houses built and designed by them.

(50% Human residents, 10% Dwarf, 20% Goblinoid, 20% non-human)

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The Grey Hold

The Grey Hold tends to be less populated than the other sectors, but makes up for it with larger houses and more substantial room underneath. It is situated around the tower of the only remaining member of the original septette of wizards, Rilian. Foreboding gothic structures and houses consisting primarily of hewn stone and baked bricks dominate the long wide streets set between thin channels for diverting water.

Near the base of the wizard Rilian's tower lies a huge cathedral owned by the only registered sentient undead in the city. He manages the massive catacombs that spider out above, and often into, the Undercroft. Though there are many smaller burial locations and other means of handling the deceased of the town, the large cathedral is the most ostentatious of them.

Turf warfare between those races that don't think that the dead should be handled certain ways, and the ever-present threat of necromancy has necessitated an increased security force, some directly commanded by the leader of the church. Some even offer their services after death to protect the dead from those that might misuse them.

(40% Human residents, 30% non-human, 20% Construct, 10% Undead)

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The Undercroft

The city portion of the Undercroft consists of a hive-like mass of multi-tiered structures much akin to shantyhouses or treehouses. The Undercroft has the lowest portion of humans to other races, and the highest incidence of illicit activites owing to the fact that AM's constructs don't actually patrol the Undercroft. As such, the majority of law-enforcement comes in the form of Adventurers and Alchemists.

Indeed, life is generally harder in the Undercroft, as it is the only district regularly in contact with outside forces, usually raiding parties from other beings that live underneath the ground. Whereas the rest of the city tends to be largely homogeneous, in this place it is not uncommon for a large amount of practiced diversity to be present.

(20% Human residents, 80% non-human)

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The Guilds

The district of Guilds is an ad-hoc governmental structure made by Alchemists and based around AM's classifications. Whereas the Terminal is the place you go to hear about the world at large, for news in the world of Alchemists, there is no place to go but here. The majority of Alchemist workshops are built in the Guild district, alongside large communal houses and the mansion of the reigning Grand Master. When major renovation projects, environmental preservation, or diplomatic issues arise, the Grand Master accompanies the wizards on the council.

The buildings of this district tend towards the necessarily practical, but many of the buildings have been around and handed down through families for hundreds of years. They also tend to change size as the head of household's rank changes over the years (usually due to succession).

(90% human residents, 10% non-human)

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The Menagerie

As the forerunner of trade in all of the lands, more than just humanoids make their homes in Gem. Sometimes, the rather temperate climate of the city and its immediate surroundings aren't exactly hospitable to everyone that wants to live there. Enter the Menagerie which is not much more than a patchwork of every conceivable architecture. Deep oceanic lakes sit alongside statuesque sandstone buildings beside desert oases. Circles of magical darkness sit atop towers made of alabaster and inscribed with angelic scripture. The that wish not to, or cannot, live in other sections of the city live here, and one can find facsimiles of every location in the known world here.

(Good Luck)
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Pix, Gold, and the Barter System

Post by Tentacle Therapist on Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:02 am

The distribution system for Flowstone, whilst affected by the original wizards-seven, was largely created by AM who aggregates economic flow through the city and sets exchange rates based around it. The value can change by the minute, so most people just round off and call it good enough unless there is a drastic change.

The exchange rate for Pix to Gold, however, has not and will not change. Since Pix (and thus Flowstone) are worthless outside of the walls of Gem, and Gold in a certain amount (a coin's worth) has never changed value (for reasons scholars cannot seem to understand), Pix convert to Gold at a ratio of 1,000 : 1 and DO NOT CONVERT BACK. Pix are used exclusively for Flowstone transactions, and Gold is used exclusively for "True" transactions.

The "Pix" exists in two forms: Potential and Real.

"Potential" Pix is the value present in one's personal account. One can charge repeated and regular transactions to their account for convenience's sake (such as paying rent and for daily food delivery).

"Real" pix is what you get when you withdraw from your account. Small featureless cubes of varying colors and etched with numbers denoting their worth. The lowest value cube is a blood-red one etched with "10" for 10 pix. Each shade up from there increases the value of the cube by ten-times following the colors of the rainbow. Since the implementation of the system, no being has witnessed a cube with a color beyond yellow at one million Pix value. The lack of a cube for individual Pix means that Real Pix transactions generally occur with values in multiples of 10 Pix for ease's sake. These cubes seem completely indestructible by normal means but nonetheless disappear when removed from the city. Only Hex-Spiders seem capable of destroying the cubes, as they are the means with which AM keeps the streets clean (and it is often that a crazed citizen attempts to flood the street with their life-savings in red cubes.)

A "Citizen" is any individual assigned an identification number and scan by one of AM's "Resident-Identification Internal Control for Helping Individuals" stations, or "RIICHI" for short. These allow one to make withdrawals from and deposits to their personal Pix account that accrues 100 Pix monthly. As only 60 Pix is enough to live relatively comfortably (in regards to food and "assigned" shelter) for a month, even if a citizen chooses not to contribute at all economically, they live with a relatively high quality of life. Citizens may not leave the city for any reason.

An "Adventurer" is an alternative type for any individual that wishes not to become a permanent resident (and thus not get the 100 Pix stipend), but still utilize a Pix account. Entry as an adventurer allows one to be hired as a "Guard" for an Alchemist, which allows one to be paid a salary from the Alchemist's own accounts. Contracts of this manner are generally hashed out one-on-one, and the specific jobs vary from Alchemist to Alchemist. Adventurers are free to come and go, but are restricted from entering certain surrounding areas without being a Guard for an Alchemist with high enough ranking to enter said areas.

An "Alchemist" is a permanent resident that owns a crafting business and forgoes the Pix stipend. A practical test is required for a Citizen or Adventurer to become an Alchemist, and ONLY registered Alchemists are allowed to sell True goods. The Alchemist is also given a rank that may be increased by continued testing after meeting certain requirements, that give them access to more dangerous (and lucrative) areas surrounding Gem. It is not uncommon for an Alchemist to hire half a dozen guards or more, especially as their rank increases. Alchemists set out on expeditions to gather True materials that they can craft and then sell, or buy those materials from traders in exchange for other True goods. Alchemists are also the handymen of Gem, being the cobblers, masons, woodworkers, tailors, and other such jobs for the populous.

ALCHEMISTS WITHOUT A RANK (those that haven't passed the initial entrance exam) MAY NOT TAKE UP JOB REQUESTS OR TRADE GOODS THAT THEY HAVE MADE. Doing so is against the law, and punishable with exorbitant fines and/or permanent revocation of the Alchemist's license and/or imprisonment depending on the severity of the offense.
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Re: Gem, The World, and the Rest of it too.

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