Friday, June 3, 2016

City of Curses: Neighborhoods: Perdition Hill, In Depth

A #Crux post today.  Perdition Hill, the ancient series of labyrinthine prisons that overlooks the city of curses.  A look at this neighborhood and what to expect from it.  Kinda the closest to a pure "megadungeon" in the setting overall, but my opinion can be weird and a bit off, I guess.  Crux is a dark fantasy setting in the City of Curses, a city of dark intrigues and early industrial technology founded upon the site of the massive skull of some long forgotten god.

Perdition Hill.
Aspect: Thousands of Doors Without an Exit In Sight
Connected To: Havershill (to the South), Northcrown (to the West), Blood Quarter (to the South, underground)
Most Significant Icon: The Prince
Well-Known For? Prisons, Jails, Labyrinthine Complex, The Prince's Prisoners

I'd been putting this off for awhile.  

The dark spires of the Hill loom over the City of Curses.  It has always been a foggy place.  The dark grey and black bricks look like some sort of infernal sculpture.  

Grotesques from a thousand different eras line the outside walls.

I can't tell what wall is the outside wall.  The layers of stone, concrete and statuary make it impossible to get an idea of what is where.


I walk through the black cast iron double doors.  I study the reliefs cast into the doors.  Angels chaining children.  Tears.  Screams.  Pain.

Inside, each part of the Hill feels like its own castle.  Fortresses and Prisons.  Down one hall, Builders work on a new wing for the Prison.  Down the opposite, black market covered in a century's worth of grime. 

"Perdition Hill."  I try to steel myself.  I hoped the stories of getting lost in its maze weren't true.  I'd rather read about that than find out for myself.

History

Perdition Hill has served as a holding place for the criminals of Crux for as long as the city has existed.  The plethora of layered prisons makes the hill look like some infernal castle.  It looms at the northern edge of Crux, a dark gothic crag.  But it didn't become a hill until later.  Perdition Hill started as a quarry.

We know that Perdition Hill once had one of the rare adamantine ore veins in the world.  The Prince founded the Gaolers who oversaw the prisoners who mined the ore for the Prince.  By the time of the Tomasi Empire, the vein has long since been drained of ore.  The Tomasi used the quarry for political prisoners.

Tomasi expanded on the Prisons.  Every generation has seen its own attempt to change or expansion of Perdition Hill.  Each Warden of the Gaolers strives to build more facilities.  Over time, it became a hill that rivaled Havershill for overlooking Crux.  At one point, dozens of prisons functioned at the same time on top it.

Only one of the prisons on Perdition Hill functions as a prison these days.  The Incorrigible Gaolers continue their work in the name of the Prince.  The Guild also has registered to work with the Metropolitan Police.  The Prince doesn't seem to care who else they work with, so long as they do the work that he sends them.  They do as he bids, even when the Metro Police would disagree.

The Maze and the Lost

The Gaolers use only a small part of Perdition Hill over all.  Entire wings of the older prisons were abandoned.  Condemned, many of those rooms have fallen apart or into disrepair.  Parts of the lowest depths of Perdition Hill connect with the vast undercity of Crux itself.  The Blood Quarter has its own access to these lower mazes.  Some vampyres employing abandoned parts for their own use.

The complex layers of Perdition Hill are a horrible maze if one leaves the designated paths.  Gaolers see this as an added benefit.  Another kind of wall that keeps prisoners and convicts from trying to escape.  But the use of convicts for forced labor within Perdition Hill, some always manage to escape.   They escape into the Maze outside the working Prison, sometimes trapped.  A few do make it out, but worse for wear.

Repeated attempts have been made to map out The Maze itself.  But some suspect planar junctions have formed throughout the Maze, warping reality in it.  Gates to Hell and other planes alter some passages.  Beings from all over reality roam the corridors of it.  Old and abandoned projects attract other creatures.  Gaolers sometimes use prisoners or even outside contractors to help remap the landscape.

The alterations of Perdition Hill aren't just physical ones.  Not the collapse of an old story, nor the opening of some sealed ancient passageway.  Parts of Perdition Hill touched by other planes sometimes experience other circumstances.  Places where gravity reverses itself.  Extradimensional pockets that cause some rooms to be larger within than without.  Some rooms even seem to move on their own, as if alive.

The Gaolers and Reformers. 

The other point of contention for Perdition Hill is that it is the remnant of an older era.  Ith as a whole has gone out of its way to reform its prisons.  Perdition Hill remains to still be the most ancient in its practices.  They use Manacles and irons.  Other Ithic prisons eschew them in favor of simple magical constraints.  Gaolers ignore the Rights of the imprisoned Sorcerous.

Ith sees Prisons as ways to rehabilitate criminals.  Perdition Hill seems to enjoy dehumanizing its convicts.  It resists reforms, viewing those trapped in its walls as little more than slaves.  Gaolers have made in-roads to work with Ith itself, while fighting against reform.  They also use their connection to the Prince to deflect attempts to alter the way they do things.  Cash often greases whatever wheels they need.

Gaolers aren't the only major faction at work within Perdition Hill.  Escapees over centuries have formed their own trapped places within the Hill.  Lycanthropes manage to escape the Beast Wing of the Prison only to become trapped.  Those lycanthropes lost in the maze often go mad.  Within the Prison, the Lycanthropes have high numbers.  More than a few were born inside Perdition Hill.  They're descended from generations of lycanthropes deemed enemies of the Prince.

Deeper still, the Gaolers keep a tight hold on a mystical artifact that holds a dozen or so in deep chronic stasis.  Few from outside have studied it.  The Gaolers consider the Stasis Chamber their primary holding.  What or whoever they keep in it, they refuse to let any outsider encounter.  Within Perdition Hill, the Stasis Chamber is the source of countless rumors.

They suppose the Prince's greatest enemies are kept within them.  The Scions of forgotten vampyre clans.  Lycanthropes of great power that couldn't be slain.  Some even suppose the Prince's own children are there.  Imprisoned for refusing to serve him.