Monday, October 19, 2015

City of Curses: The Forgotten Guild of Ragwalkers (Fate Core)

Hey.  More #Crux for you.  Here's a worldbuilding-ish one: where does the waste go?  The garbage, the offal, the shit, the piss and all of that?  Well, someone has to do something about it.  In Crux, it's a guild with few members and even less reputation: the Ragwalkers.  Dirty fellows, they dare in the sewers to keep the city of curses clean enough for others to live in.

Secrets And Rats

I cleaned my teeth and looked up from my spot among the ragged waste.  Certainly a nice bit of a
price, all considered.

"If only we had enough rats to eat all the drek and filth they want us to make go away."  Gwan said.  The balding Ragwalker smiled down at me and my clutch of ratlings.  "Alas, not all of it is ratfood, now is it?"

"A needed job is still a job."  I pointed out from my spot.  Most feyborn rats didn't like to dine like their common brothers and sisters.  I didn't feel the need to abandon my kind just because I knew how to speak with the Ursyklon and Humans.

"A thankless job collects more flies than it does praise."  Gwan shrugged.  "Gots to be done."

"Yeah.  What do y'all do with it?  City never seems to overflow, despite all the filth you lot take away."  I observed.  I blinked.  Point of fact, I almost never saw where the Ragwalkers took all of it.

Gwan smirked.  "Archdruid and the Prince pay us to take care of it.  No questions asked, and they gladly pay the price for it.  We just struggle to keep up the numbers to do the job."

"But what do you do with all of it, Gwan?"

The Ragwalker tugged on tight his dirty gloves, their fingers missing.  I could see his human fingernails, all covered in their grim and filth.  They never seemed clean enough.  Gwan also kept his eyes covered in blue-tinted goggles.  He smirked, tugged something out of his pocket.  A brassy object the size of his palm, that looked more like a pocketwatch than anything else.  He flipped it open and revealed it to me.  

"Oh."  I didn't believe it.  "That... that's kind of a scary thought."

"Lots and lots to do, so little that never gets done."  Gwan smirked at me.

"You ragwalkers, ugh."  I shook my snout.  Humans.  Never could understand them.  Always with the bad jokes.

Guttermages, Moldwranglers and Streetcleaners.

Crux has its own myriad of problems.  One that most don't bat an eyelash about in the center of town is garbage and filth.  The unwanted job is a well paid one.  They are the Ragwalkers.  Their numbers are small.

Ragwalkers take care of the sewers, the filth and the garbage.  None of them look like wealthy people.  They must be, having contracts with both the Archdruid and the Prince.  They are a cadre of guttermages, necromancers, conjurers, rogues and spelunkers.  They always are on the lookout for new recruits.  But often the dangerous side of their job drive most potentials away.

Crux's sewers and landfills are millennia old.  Oozes and other things lurk, needing to be contained or taken care of.  Ancient wards that prevent the animation of undead have to be maintained.  Aberrations and other things crawl up from the undercity that have to be identified. Then exterminators have to hired to deal with them.  Many dangers have killed a Ragwalker investigating a section of sewer tunnel.

Those are the active, monstrous dangers.  Diseases, molds and worse fester in dark corners.  The Ragwalkers do what they can to keep them from turning into epidemics.

In other words, the job is never done.  There is always another pile that has to be dealt with.  Ragwalkers are tasked to take care of the entire city's waste needs.  Unfortunately, these days they barely can keep the neighborhoods around the Skullmount clean.  Part of why they choose to keep the job has to do with how well paid they all.  Of all the city services in the employ of the Prince, the Ragwalkers are the best paid.

The Ragwalkers have purchased about fifteen Androids, which they have perform the most dangerous work with.  Even then, they have to replace one once every few months.  They disappear or break down so badly they Ragwalkers can't use them anymore.  This helps keeps their numbers up,  but it is one of the practices that makes folk like the Voice or the Tinkerer see Androids being used as tools and slaves, not people.

These Androids are unpaid, of course.  If anything, their silence seems more disturbing than whatever things the Ragwalkers have them do.

Kafkaella's Cleansing Crusade.

The Ragwalkers take their name from their founder, a guttermage by the name of Kafkaella.  They nicknamed her Ragwalker.  A resident of the Docks of Crux three centuries ago.  Ragwalker lived in landfills that piled up along the docks.  What little we know about her seems monstrous.  Kafkaella always remained covered in cockroaches.  She had a pair of antennae, or so they say.

In those days, Crux's streets tended to be more offal and sewerage.  The ancient tomasi sewers had become overused.  They were too small to handle all the material going through them.  Newer monsters migrated upward from the undercity. This in turn blocked off key sewer junctions in Old Crux and Poorfellows.  Ragwalker lived in the rot and the filth.  She crafted golems and constructs from the rot and castoffs.

When filth and plague broke out, though, Ragwalker became drafted.  The Prince offered to pay her to deal with it, to employ her skills to contain the growing problem.  Ragwalker, a tiefling, is said to have thrown the Prince's letter away.  The person who convinced her had been the Archdruid.  How the Ursyklon Priestess of the Wolf-Mother convinced Ragwalker remains unknown.

Ragwalker's solutions seemed mysterious.  She cleaned large swaths of street in mere sweeps.  She unblocked blocked sewers.  She cleansed  plague-ridden pockets.  She took up apprentices to help with the task too.  Within two decades, the landfills and streets became cleaner than they ever had been.

Never Die Down There, Girl.  Better Ways To Go.

The question remains, yet, about what Ragwalker and those who followed in her footsteps do with all the filth they collect.  Conspiracy theories abound on the subject.  Some think they feed a host of mongrel aberrant folk under streets with it.  Others claim they burn the stuff in pools of lava deep under the undercity itself.  The craziest claims are that the Ragwalkers know spells that let them shrink the waste.  Then the shrunken material is pocketed and teleported to a site far away from Crux itself.

Ragwalkers will explain that they use magical means to make the waste go away.  They can go into specifics.  Most don't dwell on it.

They also find bodies of the dead, thrown into their wastes.  Ragwalkers sometimes will take bribes to help make some troublesome corpses up and disappear.  Such things are supposed to reported.  But in a order desperate like theirs, they always are willing to make allowances.

The Ragwalkers have failed on repeated occasions to expand into the new parts of the City of Curses.  Areas like the Wish Quarter, the Irons and Northcrown fall outside their purview.  Sometimes they even fall outside their ability to even visit.  The Tieflings of the Wish Quarter think this is on purpose.  The Ragwalkers are the first to claim they don't play favorites.  They just lack the people-power to reach as far as they'd like.

Their greatest trouble these days are Wererats.  Calling themselves Groka's children, the Wererats have nests in every part of Crux's sewers.  The Ragwalkers aren't adapted to fight them.  They bring in outsiders, but each case is its own individual, dangerous situation.

Their most common trouble, is dealing with the old things they come across.  Ragwalkers interact with the outskirts of the undercity on a daily basis.  They find odd things.  Strange things.  Magical items and cursed knicknacks.  Paths and gates to places they don't want to wander into ever again.

Their motto is "Never Die In the Below."  That fear dominates their actions, their attitudes.  A Ragwalker doesn't dress well, doesn't act like a target.  They make friends.  They do whatever they can to make sure someone will come looking for them.

They never want to die down there.

A Bit of Mechanics.

Ragwalker Aspects: "Never Die Down There"; Raggedy Guttermage; Sewercleaner;

Ragwalker Stunt

Sewermap: You always know where one sewer connects to another.  You can navigate them, even blindfolded.  If chasing or trying to move quickly through sewers, it takes you half as fast to get from one point to another. This is so long as you are travelling via sewer in Crux.