Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cities of Urbis - Building Bodenwald, Part II

Continued from the previous post...

Let's continue with plundering the Munich Wikipedia entry for ideas for the city of Bodenwald. I note that the symbol on the Munich Coat of Arms is this:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/17/Muenchen_Kleines_Stadtwappen.svg/200px-Muenchen_Kleines_Stadtwappen.svg.png

This is the so-called "Münchner Kindl", or the "Child of Munich" in monk's clothing. Originally it was an adult monk which over the centuries was gradually portrayed in a more child-like manner. But we can be a bit more literal for Bodenwald - perhaps a powerful creature of the Fair Folk had the appearance of a child, allied itself with the monks of the abbey and took to wearing their clothing? Perhaps it is still around as the self-appointed "guardian" of the city...

I only glance through the Architecture section of the Wikipedia entry, but the Temple to the Roman Goddess Diana in the palace gardens does capture my attention. Perhaps some of the ancestors of the current king built shrines to all the known gods around the world (over the protest of the priests of Thenos) in order to gain their favor (or at least avert their disfavor)? And as the world is explored, more shrines to newly discovered gods are added to the palace gardens, which certainly might make them the focus for some interesting scenes...

As I pass through the "Culture" section, I note the Glyptothek - a museum dedicated to classical sculpture - and the Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst (State Museum for Egyptian Art). As ancient artwork often tends to be a trigger for the kind of Lovecraftian adventures we all adore, we certainly need something similar for Bodenwald. Perhaps the collection originally started with sculpture from the Lake of Dreams region, continued with the surrounding areas, and finally ended up with wings on pre-human and (now that the city has strong interests in that direction) extraterrestrial artwork. As the Ancient Masters said, what could possibly go wrong with this?

Now let's move into the descriptions of the individual districts of Munich. The entry for Altstadt-Lehel mentions the Graggenauer Viertel, a name derived from an older word for "Crow". Which brings across a district where large numbers of crows flock for some reason... watching everyone and everything. The Graggenauer Viertel was home to the well-to-do gentry, but to make the "Krähenviertel" of Bogenwald a bit more moody let's say that the nobles have largely moved on to more fashionable areas, giving the district a patina of faded glory where rich people still might live - but not the respectable kind of rich people. This means underworld bosses, shady businessmen... and adventurers.

Another interesting neighborhood is the Kreuzviertel, which used to be home to an abbey of the Order of Saint Augustine, an order of mendicant monks - not the same abbey which was connected to the founding of Munich. Mendicant orders are called "Bettelorden" - "Beggar Orders" - in German as they are dependent on charity. In Urbis, such monks would likely be connected to the goddess Dahla, and a major concentration of such monks would likely be located near or in the poorer districts of the city. Let's name the district "Eremitenviertel", the older, alternate name for Munich's Kreuzviertel.

The section on the Angerviertel mentions that this neighborhood was home to many craftspeople who made use of water power deriving from the many small streams coursing through it. Let's call the Urbis equivalent the Grabenviertel ("Ditch district"), and as the industrial revolution is changing manufacturing many traditional craftspeople are left behind, making this part of the city also somewhat run-down. It certainly doesn't help that all those ditches and old, crumbling houses are ideal for hiding the odd corpse or two...


Continued in Part III...