Tuesday, January 20, 2015

City of Curses: Icons: The Prince

The Prince of Crux
Possible Aspects: In The Prince's Name; The Prince's Law; Mine Is a Higher Authority; Ancient Immortal Or Ancient Lie?
Quote: "The Prince himself has a interest in this matter."

The Prince controls the oldest criminal empire in the world, older than the university on the Skullmount or even the Ursyklon ruins of Gruudl.  This organization controls the city government of Crux and has maintained that control despite the many who've tried to conquer it.

Common Knowledge 
Specific details about the Prince remain murky.  Believed by many to be the same immortal being, who has ruled his criminal empire for countless lifetimes.

There is a story often told about the Prince and the goddess Shraxes.  They say he and her were lovers, and that she granted him Crux as his wish.  He betrayed her, caging Shraxes rather than let the Demon Princess take Crux away from his control.

Some claim she cursed him, turning him into the first vampire.  Others say he is a ghost, or perhaps something inhuman- an aboleth or Lich or something else.  And there are a few who disbelieve all the stories: to them, the Prince is a figurehead and lie used by the corrupt government of the City of Curses.

Everyone knows all the city's civic institutions are on the Prince's take.  Outside forces have never been able to break his hold on Crux.  More puzzling is the strict code his own people uphold, working from established organizations like the City Watch or the Ghost Walkers.

The Prince hires all sorts, and always does so through proxies.  But his proxy always are certain to explain who they represent.  The Prince is always busy, always having something afoot.

Adventurers are the bread and butter of what the Prince does.  With his intricate complicated plans, often there are layers of people who are hired by the Prince- even if they never realize it.  Further, most criminal enterprise in Old Crux and Northern Crux are solely conducted by his people.  All that revenue is used by the Prince for his endeavors.

Always the Prince strives to keep the status quo.  Anything more than that remains unknown.

The Prince has long maintained a strong relationship with the Blood Barons as well as all the other oldest families to be found in Crux.  This mutual pact was forged centuries ago when the Prince first opened the city up to many of them.  The vampires remember this kindness, despite their infighting and occasional attempts to strip the Prince of his titles.  Old Tomasi families always receive respect from the Prince, often treating them as though they were favored subjects.

Others the Prince often is on good terms with is The Voice and the Tinkerer.  Both have found support from the Prince at unlikely times, especially when other forces aren't as forthright.  In particular, the Prince's choice to protect all citizens of Crux regardless of their sorcerous ability.

The Prince has more enemies than Allies, which is fitting for such a mysterious figure.  The Archwitch and the Church of Shraxes has long acted against the Prince and his own for millennia, often with groups like the Demon's Orphans claiming the City of Curses is theirs by right.

The Chancellor and the University have long come to conflict with the Prince.  Many projects of the university and the Esoterium Machina have been halted or ruined by the actions of the Prince.  It is never any surprise that the Chancellor has often sided against the Prince when outside forces have tried to remove him from power.

The last rival of the Prince that bears mention (there are more for certain), is the Publisher.  The scathing stories stirred up by the Publisher have only one goal: to bring the Revolution to Crux and remove one of the oldest royal figures in the Maru Sea.  The scariest part is what the Publisher is willing to do to accomplish this.  Anything, or as many fear, anyone, is a price the Publisher is willing to pay.

Our oldest records of the Prince are vague.  The identity of such a figure existed in the region even prior to the Ursyklon's conquest.  The Ursyklon notably never truly conquered Crux itself, instead founding a second city to the south called Gruudl, where Palace Hill now stands.

Throughout the myriad wars and crises of Crux, the Prince has appeared and reappeared.  The archmage  Ith supposedly came to Crux to ask the Prince for his leave before facing the Aether-Blooded of Rruk.  Other famous arcanists and magi also came to Crux to ask the Prince for his approval often before doing anything in the city.  The Empress of the Tomasi Empire even reportedly knelt in the Prince's Square, when the Prince offered it as a price for Crux becoming that Empire's new capital.

The Poorfellows Legion was given the island of Poorfellows by the Prince, even allowing them to build the fortress there.  Othebea's crusade to conquer Crux famously failed thirteen times.  One tale claims that a Archbishop of the Twins spoke with the Prince, and only after apologizing did he let them into the city.  That story has little veracity, though.

Notable, though, is that the Prince held no opinion about the Revolution Wars when Ith tried to win its independence.  He didn't help, nor did he hinder, revolutionary efforts in Crux.  Even when Ith had won its independence, the Prince's stance didn't change that much.  Efforts by the Ith senate to try and control or alter Crux's government have failed.  The Prince always re-emerges on top.

These days he enforces his own laws, often with criminals and corrupt city officials enacting them in his name.  The affluent and monstrous of Crux often enjoy abusing the unsorcerous, but the Prince always finds ways to remind them whose city this is.  Even though Ith may above of the unsorcerous being eaten or treated as cattle, the Prince will always have his say.

A Different Gang War: When the Metropolitan Police and the City Watch come to blows, Old Crux becomes a war zone to a different kind of gang war.  The characters find themselves in the center of this debacle, tasked by the Prince himself to stop it.  Can the characters uncover the source of the conflict?  Can they talk the Commissioner or the Prince into backing down?

Monstrous Neighborhood: Some parts of Crux lack any one who can protect the weaker citizens from the depredations of the monstrous.  The characters are hired by the Prince to root out one of these monsters- only to find it slain, and its blood trail leading into a den of even more wicked evil.  Can the characters discover what slew the monster or is something worse out on the prowl?

The Package: A young woman, desperate for some help for her journalistic endeavours, convinces the characters to help her by carrying some cameras into a sealed off part of Old Crux.  But things go sideways as camera equipment explodes and the woman who hired them instead frames them as terrorists working for the Prince.  Can the characters clean their names or will the Prince himself take offence at what has happened?