Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Tower Realm of Gilgamesh

Pieter Brughel the Elder, Tower of Babel (1563)
Gilgamesh, the Tower Realm which has not fallen. 

Virtue: The Smith - Productivity
Fault: Striking the Dragon's Tail - Underestimating the Challenge
Fate: Summer - Energy vs. Exhaustion

A city as populous as Everway stands at a point of brief convergence between two great rivers: the Swift River to the East, and the sluggish Silty River to the West.

Level-on-Level the Tower rises, almost to the heavens. The Tower is the work of generations. Who was the original Planner? Several competing cults point to different godlings of the city, or to one or more ancient priest kings. Go to the Great Library and do you own research. Just mind your words carefully. The Tower's Northward list is visible from a great distance. Just look away; pretend the Tower rises straight into the sky. After all,


"Better the low view of a bent neck than the bright vista 
enjoyed by heads mounted on King's Level." 


At the topmost levels of the Tower lives the Great King and his court. Immediately below him live the priests. Still lower are the nobles, and then the merchants. Finally the artisans, and layer-after-layer of workers, pilgrims and foreigners, and finally the wretched poor.

At ground level, the Tower is flooded so that food and other goods can be brought up into the Tower readily. The gondoliers of the Longshores, a guild-family believed to be a distant offshoot of Everway's own Whiteoars, control this trade. Once inside the Tower City, the goods are hoisted from the rafts and then moved up and onto the great ramps that lead up and up and up. The Sore Feet are the guild which controls this trade.

Beneath the Tower, the Foundation extends seemingly forever; some say to the center of the sphere itself.  Here are great storehouses, sufficient to withstand a hundred-year siege. There are numerous dungeons, safe houses, armories, forges, and blast furnaces. Whole warehouses with Demon Urns. Also below are the great beasts who consume the city's sewage and refuge. Beware of the Blind Shafts that connect Level to Level. Fall in one of these, and you will end up in something's stomach.

If Gilgamesh were not so distant from Everway, it would be a close and deadly rival. The city has a vast standing army, and is the hub of an inter-sphere trade empire. Gilgamesh has 36 gates, exactly half-plus-one the number of gates leading from Everway. The gates were constructed as part of the Plan. Each one binds a godling - each formerly a god - to the destiny of the city itself.

For the last 100 years, new construction has been suspended on the Tower. Some say there is a New Plan under constant revision - one which will correct the Tower's evident lean. But that is a story for another time. The various cults dedicated to the 36 Gate Godlings each assert that their godling is the unique protector and preserver of the city. For certain, something is helping Gilgamesh to avoid the isolation, confusion, and ultimate disaster experienced by so many other Tower Realms. Will this state of equilibrium hold?

3 comments:

  1. What an interesting place. Warehouses full of Demon Urns. Gods bound into gates. It would be fun to go exploring this place. Potentially lucrative as well...are there merchant-princes in Everway who'd like to discretely (deniably) bollix things up a bit for these folks?

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  2. Almost certainly, especially if they get wind of Whiteoar family offshoots living here. The Diggers (moneylenders) would be prime candidates in the merchant-prince department, and the Weavers (adopters of all sorts of new trades, especially with Outsiders)might also be there checking things out. The Library of All Worlds sponsors the Chamber Platinum, a society of Spherewalkers who are charged with exploring new realms and spheres. I imagine that the Chamber has the same informal relationship to the Snakerings (ambassadors/political advisors) that the Peace Corps and USAID do to the CIA. The Crookstaff and Stonebreaker families would be keenly interested in the magic that holds this Tower Realm together, as might certain members of the priestly Moondance family.

    I have been thinking about this setting for a while, primarily thinking about a good setting for an OSR or FATE RPG. I just channeled it into Everway's continuity first, but it could easily be used for more "delving" styles of gaming.

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  3. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

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