Sunday, January 11, 2015

City of Curses: Poorfellows, In Depth


Aspect: Overcrowded & Ready To Explode
Connected To: Havershill (to the North), Wolf Quarter (To the West), Rose Quarter (to the South), Gallowsford (To the East)
Most Significant Icon: The Tinkerer
Well known For? Its gangs and poor.

I cross the fine marble St. Cuth's Bridge into Poorfellows proper.  Crowded, so much of the streets here are less than a man's width wide.  Some buildings can only be reached through wooden stairs, others are half-sunked villas from a forgotten age.  But even the ruins in this place aren't abandoned.  People, people, people.  Poorfellows is named after a Tomasi Legion, but if you come here, you will think it is for the raggedy, plague-ridden folk from all nations.

This place has rooms and board for any, but it is a dark urban nightmare.  A trap to its bedraggled folk.  The stink is perhaps the worse.  The rancid stench of the trapped, between the gnoll cannibals on the one hand and the fetid, forgotten dead on the other... this place is the worst of Crux, a stain on the city's character. 

The feyborn rats of Crux tell of even scarier horrors in this slum.  Those I spoke with curse Poorfellows on their tails- they speak of experiments on wererats and plagues under Poorfellows, of a massive pocket of methane doomed one day to explode, and warned me that one day the island would certainly explode in another fashion.  The Tinkerer and her androids grow daily, and most fear one day of the repercussions- a riot that this town has never seen before.

The area known as Poorfellows first was built as a fort prior to the Tomasi Empire.  The old fortress was raised with arcane magic, taking the name for the Tomasi who manned it.  Their fortifications on the island were key to the Tomasi taking Crux and the rest of the region from the Ursyklons' rule from Gruudl (what now is Palace Hill).  These Tomasi were the poor and downtrodden, slaves of the Ursyklons who were recruited by the Arcanists of the Tomasi Legions.

The Poorfellows Legion would command their Fortress for nearly a thousand years.  Its control over the sleeping straits secured the might of the arcane Tomasi Empire.  But the arcane nature of the Fortress's foundations never survived the downfall of the empire.  They had settled the island's west bank and cliffs heavily, building the many fountains, plazas and villas that would serve the island in its later years.

During the Othebean Crusades, Poorfellows was first taken by the Eternal Order of the Eagle and the Crow.  They never kept the land, instead destroying the last fortifications and making sure their warpriests created wards and symbols to prevent its use against their takeover of Crux.  As Othebea took control of Crux, the island became easier for Tomasi and other poor to settle.  Without bridges at the time, most of the island also suffered from damaged sewers, aquedects and foundations.  Mosquitos and disease were rampant for centuries, up to this day.

Perhaps the worst moment in Poorfellows' history was the Great Burn.  A group of Cecaelia witches were found on Poorfellows, and a Inquisitor of the Summer Rose insisted on burning them on the island.  Despite warning to the contrary, the Island became engulfed in flame.  The Great Burn lasted for a week, as attempts to stop the fires- which had managed to move into the damaged sewer lines- failed.  Later pockets of gases underneath Poorfellows were discovered by the University of Crux, revealing a huge pocket of methane and helium under the island.

Another fire could possibly burn for far longer should the main pocket of the gases ignite.

The fires destroyed a number of the older villas on the island.  By the time of Ith's own revolution, Poorfellows had become one of the denseist neighborhoods on all of Orphos.  Othebea did improve Poorfellows in one way before losing control of Ith- the three bridges that connect the island to the Wolf Quarter, Havershill and the Rose Quarter all were the end result of work done by the Archbishop, whose position once controlled Crux's government for Othebea.

Still known for its disease, poor and slums, Poorfellows retains its own history with a sense of pride.  The Tomasi families of Poorfellows can trace their lineages to some of the greatest generals and mages of the Tomasi Empire.  Its gangs protect their own.  The City Watch keeps clear of the island.  Each year, more and more downtrodden from all over the world find their way to Poorfellows, crowding more and more in.

In Poorfellows are its gangs, who come together to protect themselves.  Without the City Watch or others to interfere, these gangs more or less have free reign in the slums.  The Metropolitan Police seek to change that- but they still lack the funds, and more importantly, the recruits to do that.  [As mentioned in a prior post, the gangs come in a variety of flavors.  Instead, here I name two or three gangs in particular.]

The Nightfish: Newcomers to Poorfellows, the Nightfish are Patrizo vampires and dhampir.  Most of the other gangs distrust their emergence on the island, especially Gaim'lr's Husbands.  The Nightfish have been taking turf and business away from the Maliphi, most often trade goods.  No one knows why these Patrizo have left the Blood Quarter.  One rumor is that the Patrizo clan's infighting is fracturing faster than outsiders might've thought- becoming exiles and trying to start new ventures of their own.
Aspect: Making A New Home 

Gaim'lr's Husbands:  All Maliphi Gnolls, Gaim'lr's Husbands have taken over the most profitable business in Poorfellows, the import house that most stores on the island get their goods and groceries from.  Known for their cannibalism, Gaim'lr is one of the Spice Khan's agents in Crux.  The least interested in Poorfellows itself, the Spice Khan seeks to dominate all trade in the city regardless of where.  Each male member of the gang is married to Gaim'lr, an obese gnoll matriarch known for her rather violent bent.
Aspect: "I tell You Best Way To Eat People"

The Tinkerfolk: These Androids work and live in the shadow of their creator- the Tinkerer.  Most of them are customized Androids, modified by the Tinkerer.  Most live their lives in praise of their creator, one or two attempting to forge a Church for her.  Other live like a church of the Machine, attempting to educate others about the Tinkerer and technology.  Unlike most Androids, Tinkerfolk seem to have learned a great deal about emotions, most being older models that have spent years getting use to them.
Aspect: All Praise For the Tinkerer!

The Ratkings: Primarily dwelling in the sewers of Poorfellows are the Ratkings.  Some suspect them to be wererats, living in the filth and disease of the lower parts of Poorfellows.  The Ratkings don't acknowledge these accusations, enjoying their privacy and trying to help their own poor folk out.  Also the Ratkings tend to massive herds of rats, which they sell to street vendors throughout Poorfellows for food.
Aspect: "Rats Are People Too."

The Station Streeters: Interested trying to make a difference in Poorfellows, Aldo Oppi and others formed a tight knit gang that helps others on the island against those who might prey upon them.  The Tinkerer has long allied with the group, as has the Voice.  Both do what they can to help the Station Streeters to protect their neighbors.  But Poorfellows resists their efforts, a task sometimes monumental in its scale.
Aspect: Station Street Honor