Thursday, October 9, 2014

[Urbis] Locations of the Cold Frontier - Soaring Eagle Village

It's time to finally detail the last village of the Coastal Tribes - Soaring Eagle Village. At only 200 inhabitants, it is the smallest but by no means the least important of the villages - as it serves as the home base for the Giant Eagle Riders, who serve as scouts for all the villages and keep an eye on the interior of the continent. As this includes warning of a new outbreak of the Great Darkness, this task is seen as being of the utmost importance for the Coastal Tribes, who all pay for these services with supplies and other support. Furthermore, they serve as one of the primary source of news.

The giant eagles don't actually live inside the village, but to the north of it at the Giant Eagle Eyrie. Still, individual giant eagles can frequently be found perching on the cliffs overlooking the village.

So, what else should we know about the village? Let us turn once again to the Random Nations Generator to fill in some details.

For government, we get Autarchy, a minimalist government whose inhabitants adhere to strong, informal codes. For this village, let's say that everyone is dedicated to the ultimate mission - everyone is either an Eagle Rider, supporting the Eagle Riders in some fashion, or a minor, and everyone who doesn't do their best to support the Eagle Riders is not-so-subtly encouraged to move to another village. The nominal chieftain is Black Falcon (male gender like all warriors, female sex), but he is out on patrol so often that there is little in the way of actual leadership, not that it is necessary. If there are any conflicts, each of the three groups (men, women, and shamans) will handle their own affairs in an informal manner.

As for organizations, we get Biker Gang - well, it should be obvious that the Eagle Riders take a lot of pride in their jobs. Some members might "mod out" their saddles, picking particularly garish colors and feathers to adorn them. Some of the giant eagles might even consent to dying some of their feathers. We also get the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program, which is interesting in this context. Perhaps as part of their initiation into the higher ranks of the Eagle Lodge, the Eagle Riders must retrieve something noticeable from far inland - whether an exotic stone or even an artifact of a prior civilization. The more unusual and unique an artifact is, the more bragging rights the Eagle Rider will get, and these artifacts are proudly displayed within the local Eagle Lodge.

Among the NPCs, we get Jason And The Argonauts. Let's say that quite some time ago, a group of young Eagle Riders decided to press on inland as far as possible, and after many reached the central crater where the God Chamber is located. They even brought a minor Mothman artifact with them. Only one member of this group - one Fading Light - is still alive and very old. He would have quite a tale to tell - if he were inclined to talk to the PCs, which isn't likely.

The next NPC is Bede, the famed 8th century English monk. Let's say the village has a shaman - Deep Water - who has an unusually scholarly bent. He is deeply interested in the writing system of the Old Native culture and may be one of the few alive today who can read it. He is also interested in the writings of the Flannish Cities culture and has even managed to acquire a book all the way from Footfall. Once the colony expands, he will be very interested in acquiring print products from them, and he might not like what he reads there. Once he learns of printing presses, he might be interested in modifying one for the Old Native script and promote its use among the Coastal Tribes. Likely as a counterweight to the spread of Common - which, after all, is a memetic virus in Urbis, and he may be one of the few able to see it for what it is.

Finally, we have an Artifact of Doom - as a distinct character. Maybe the "artifact" brought back from the God Chamber by Fading Light actually contains a small fragment of the Immortal Ichor that still lives there. For now, it is safely sealed away - but if something were to crack its container, it would try to dominate a nearby human and use them as a minion to restore the God Chamber.

Among political issues, we get "More than 230,000 Japanese centenarians 'missing'" - a report that there may be rather less old Japanese people than commonly reported. And indeed, somehow Soaring Eagle village seems to have rather fewer old people than the other Coastal Villages. Where have they all gone? Well, once they feel they can no longer contribute to the Village and its Cause, they are led to a nearby hidden cave that is strongly protected by spirits. There they are put into suspended animation by magic - inactive, but still alive, and their souls represent a vast reservoir of power as well as a ritual circle of sorts that the local shamans can tap into when the need is the most dire (as well as for enchanting powerful magic items). More than 2,000 old people have now been put into hibernation here - ten times the living population of the village!

The "Major Projects" section at the Random Nations Generator reinforces these themes. The Bible Retranslation Project represents the efforts of Deep Water to translate works in Common into the native language. The Global Consciousness Project represents the souls of the old people gradually forming a gestalt mind, which is also very sensitive to all sorts of psychic disturbances - such as increased Mothman activities, or whatever else the PCs get involved with. Finally, Scientists Make Teleportation Breakthrough could represent Deep Water's use of the Circle of the Elders to teleport to the ends of the continent - including to Footfall (where he got those books), but potentially also to other interesting locations (such as the Crater).

Among "Religious Practices", one stands out - Glossolalia. This might represent the Circle of Elders taking temporary possession of someone when they have an urgent message. The "unknown language" spoken in such a case is simply the result of so many minds speaking through one tongue - but still, it requires magic to understand. Magic which, of course, the local shamans have access to.

Among the historic events, Chilean Blob and  "Huge blob of Arctic goo floats past Slope communities" stand out - which remind me of the aquatic abominations that come to the nearby Mating Beach to the west. It probably wouldn't be too surprising if sometimes the... secretions of these creatures drift further along the coast, and some of the shamans might as well collect some of the substances for their own purposes. The normal villagers, on the other hand, are encouraged to stay clear of the oceans at such times. We also have "Portal to mythical Mayan underworld found in Mexico" - which here, once again, refers to the Cave of the Elders, which has probably all sorts of warning symbols to keep outsiders away (you know, the kind of symbols that seems to attract daft graverobbers and adventurers).

Among the "Famous Locations", we get Ys, a city sunk for its sinful ways (also, by the Devil opening the floodgates). Perhaps there was a nearby village which also consorted with the abominations from the depths and which gave rise to many mutated children, just like the marsh giants. But the shamans of Soaring Eagle Village destroyed it with a mighty magical earthquake and sunk it beneath the waves.

La Isla De Las Munecas - the Island of the Dolls - also conjures an interesting image. What if the dolls are animated? What if, in fact, they are some variant of tupilaqs, a construct that fits into the general mythology of the region. What if they can be powered by the Circle of Elders? What if one form of tribute Soaring Eagle Village receives from the rest of the region is whalebone, and they have built a Strategic Tupilaq Reserve? If so, intruders had better step very lightly in these parts...

Note: A list of all Urbis-related posts can be found here.