Friday, November 1, 2013

Cities of Urbis - Building Bodenwald, Part VIII

Continued from Part VII...

Skipping Obergiesing-Fasanengarten, we come to Untergiesing-Harlaching. The name "Harlaching" may or may not derive from "forest clearing", and forests might imply elves... but we already have an elven-themed location and I don't want to overuse them, and frankly "an area cleared of forest" pretty much describes all of Bavaria except for the areas that are still forest (in the modern day, about 35%). So let's use gnomes as the original inhabitants instead - a small, hidden gnomish settlement that got started way before gnomes stepped into the public limelight and started to control international finance and whatnot.

Even back in the 19th century much of Untergiesing-Harlaching was what we would call a "Naherholungsgebiet" in German - a place close to a city which was fairly free of human habitation and thus was great for going on a walk, going on a swim, or otherwise frolicking in nature. It's also the home of a major zoo - which, in Bodenwald, will mean extraterrestrial species on display as well. While they probably won't show the most dangerous species there, it could still cause quite a few problem if the wrong species escapes - do I need to remind you that they bomb rabbit warrens with dynamite in Australia and have even attempted biological warfare against this invading species? Now imagine what happens if some species of hive insect from Surtus turns to be rather more intelligent than it was believed...

Harlaching was also the site of the Nazi Reichszeugmeisterei. Initially believing that the name derived from "zeugen" (German for "siring") and assuming that this was some sort of office for breeding the new Aryan Master Race, I learned that this institution had the far more boring job of handling licenses for which German companies were allowed to manufacture those Hugo Boss Nazi uniforms. But my first assumption is more interesting for gaming purposes, and the 19th century (on which Urbis is based) certainly was a time when eugenics was seen rather more positively. Thus, the "Zeugungsinstitut" in this part of Bodenwald attempts to "scientifically improve the human race by selective breeding". Their main difficulty is the difference in what they see as a "perfect match" and society's acceptance of the same - out-of-wedlock births are very much frowned upon, as are marriages transcending class boundaries in many cases. They may have connections to the Custodians of the Sacred Blood and the Queen's Gambit.

Next up is a district with the overly long name Thalkirchen-Obersendling-Forstenried-Fürstenried-Solln. Thalkirchen has the "Floßkanal München", a small canal used for timber rafting - so there will likely be extensive woodlands upstream, even beyond the impact crater. The district itself may have lumber and paper mills. Solln has its own Wikipedia entry, and it mentions a Bronze Age burial ground where the skeletons of a man and a woman were found, the latter having jewelry as grave goods. To make it more interesting, let's say that the skeletons in the Bodenwald equivalent had matching enchanted bracers. These were kept in the archaeological museum, but were recently stolen.

Hadern is the site of Munich's university clinic, as well of a biology research center. In Bodenwald, this will (of course) also cover research on extraterrestrial life forms, including but not limited to the many interesting effects they can have on the human body.

The district Pasing-Obermenzing has two subentries for its components. Pasing used to be a city in its own right until it was forcibly integrated into Munich by the Nazis. The Salt Route also passed through it, and the land used to belong to an Abbey. This time, let's turn it into a temple of Bucatar, the faith dedicated to "taming the wilderness" (which will likely see lots of visitors from the interplanetary explorers). It says that the area was ruled from the so-called "Wasserschloss", a fortress surrounded by the river Würm - certainly an interesting location for a temple-fortress, and easily defendable in old days when the region was still wild. While the focus of the priesthood may have moved elsewhere (since the district has been "tamed"), I imagine they will still come here from time to time to leave their trophies here, of which this temple-fortress will likely have an impressive collection (now including the heads of extraterrestrial creatures).

Obermenzing has as an interesting tidbit that the Sisters of Loreto built up an institute in a local castle. The Sisters of Loreto (or Congregation of Jesus) were founded by one Mary Ward as a kind of female counterpart to the Jesuits. She believed that women were intellectually equally capable to men (which is a minority view in Urbis) and her order is heavily engaged in girls' (and women's) education. Looking at the list of Urbis deities, Jorunnos might be an interesting choice for the patron deity of the order. However, this version probably won't attempt to convert their students (since that might alienate their parents) - they just attempt to help them reach their full potential, and thus became renowned for the high quality of their education. The Queen's Gambit probably has some secret recruiters in their rank, since they certainly are in need of highly ambitious women...


Continued in Part IX...