Yesterday began a delve into the Gods of the Fall setting book by Monte Cook Games; today I’ll continue and see if I can’t get through the rest of the Nightland chapter. So far it’s the kind of place you’d only want to go if you’re looking for trouble or rich enough to buy off any trouble that comes looking for you.
The Sea of Shadows is the next area; it’s a cold and stormy sea that lies partly in the shadow of Nod, braved by captains who pay to have their vessels warded against the worst of the weather. I expect it gets plagued by the same curse-storms that come off the Eye that the rest of the Nightland suffers, with added waves and the like.
The Fleet of Sin is a seafaring pirate nation in the midst of the Sea of Shadows. While it claims a few islands, those exist solely for repair and resupply; the only true city of the Fleet’s nation exists only a few days each month, always in a new place, as many of the ships come together to form a floating city. This collection is referred to as Empire City, and the pirates themselves refer to their nation as the Empire of the Sea.
There’s also a bit on something called the Ship of Lost Souls, a ship cursed by one of the dead gods before the Fall. The Empire of the Sea occasionally chases it in hopes of finding a source of divine power to wield against the Nightland, but all such attempts have ended in disaster and death. Maybe don’t chase the accursed ghost ship, kids.
Next up we have the thematically named Iron City, a place that smells exactly as good as you’d expect from a city full of forges and smelters. Slag flows like sluggish rivers here, and iron constructs roam the streets like people. And here we learn that seraphs are iron constructs created by the gods, and that Iron City is also known as Seraph City; the city is a haven for seraphs that survived the Fall and became trapped in the mortal world, apparently. An interesting tidbit to go with the black stone sculptures of Corso, which depict gods that aren’t readily identified: some of the seraphs claim to have served gods before a previous Fall, hinting that maybe this is something cyclical.
Iron City is also the source of the only legal coinage in the Nightland, with the production entrusted to a single Mint operating in the city. Coins from the past are collected and melted down to be cast in the current style, which of course bears the face of the Empress on them. With this knowledge, the city wouldn’t be complete without being the headquarters of a society of predatory loan sharks who are all too happy to put bounties out on the heads of debtors who’ve fallen behind.
Moving along we come to a city of domes called Mehergan, home to the Thieves’ Guild that we all knew had to be around someplace. It’s also home to a large market where items from the Ruinscape are traded and something called the Furnace. That last one sounds promising, doesn’t it?
The ruler of the place is a man who apparently was once known for compassion and humor, who these days is only interested in collecting items and eating. While he isn’t a Hutt – he gets around just fine on his own feet – he certainly gives the impression of being the Nightland’s very own Cartel member.
We get a pair of segments on a “Museum” of torture implements and the Thieves’ Guild, with the Museum selling the items on display and the Guild operating out of Mehergan’s catacombs. Needless to say, the thieves are always trying to pilfer from the collections of the city’s ruler.
The Furnace, it turns out, is a TARDIS that someone accidentally left around long enough for a city to spring up and incorporate it; while it serves as the southern gate to the city, the structure is improbably vast inside, with red-glowing runes that are cool to the touch and endless corridors and chambers that seem to lead on forever. Sometimes, expeditions into the place never return.
Next up, a place called Hornscar; it’s a city that died in the Fall, with the Horn in question being the only one of the city’s great towers that remains standing. It used to be a place of great magical research and knowledge before the Fall, and the current wreckage holds all the delightful disasters you’d expect from such a place turning into a ruin. That includes a nice supply of mutants called the Scarred, and the city’s leaders, a pair of twins who can jointly manifest divine powers.
Then we have a city called Somorrah, which straddles the Line of Nod such that half the city is shadowed and the other half gets to experience daylight. At the same time, it’s also a crossroads city between the Nightland, the Ruinscape, and the Verge, and it’s considered to be in rebellion by Nulumriel since the leader doesn’t recognize the Empress as an authority. It’s also the only Nightland-affiliated city that doesn’t have slavery or indulgences, and where something we’d consider civilization apparently thrives.
Interestingly, the road that was once called the Lane of Shadow is where the Line of Nod falls; it’s not clear if it was called this before the Fall or not. If so, it might have some interesting implications as to where Nod came from; if not, good on the city’s inhabitants for renaming it to something cheerier.
It’s also the home of the Adherents, people who still hold to the worship of the old gods and who cling to the idea that they might yet return and put things back to their proper order. This no doubt helps aggravate the Empress to no end. The place also has a protector in the form of a man with a divine nimbus, who claims to be a sorcerer who isn’t a dragon who is there to defend the city.
Then we get to learn about the Afterworld’s answer to the Swiss Alps and the Himalayas, a mountain range called the Krakens that was thrust to extreme heights during the Fall when the heavens hit the ground. It makes sense; the ground got hit hard enough to form a crater sea with a raging storm over it, that had to result in some horrible quakes and shock the ground. Some future geologists of the Afterworld will be able to mark the exact time of the Fall by that damage.
This is followed up by a short list of other locations in the Nightland, with charming things like the windowless towers of Dark City, the Goblin Wood, Lake Wulan (which used to be a city named Wulan, only to be sunk beneath green-glowing water), and more.
Drop by tomorrow, when I start in on the next chapter, which covers the Ruinscape!