Crux: City of Curses

THE CENTER CANNOT HOLD.  Things end.  They rot away.  The balance falls apart.  At the center of the world of Orphos is a city built atop the skull of a long forgotten, dead god.  Once a capital of ancient empires, it now sits as the central metropolis for a republic of magi.

It is a time of great change and upheaval.  The vampire clans of Crux continue their schemes beneath its streets.  The University of Crux digs further and further beneath the city for lost knowledge.  Intrigue, crime and secrecy rule the streets.  Everyone is looking for somebody to do their dirty work in Crux, to find things and to get things done.  In interesting times, Adventurers have no shortage of business to find.

Crux is a setting in a Napoleonic/Jacksonian/Proto-Industrial era world- steampunkish, but without any real steam engines or punk.  Gaslight adventures, kinda sorta.  I think I need a better genre- Dungeonpunk?  Semi-Baroque Punk?  Something-something Fantasy?  This page is the main index for a variety of parts of it.  To be updated as I get the chance.

Suggestions always welcome. :D

A world once invaded by the Ursyklon, who fought with the Aboleths and other races to conquer it.  The Ursyklon's empires have long since faded to dust, letting humanity create its own wonders, empires and nations.  The Revolution Wars have ended, and Orphos now enters a time of peace- the new nations of Ainesia and Ith now count themselves equals to the ancient powers of Othebea and Maliph.

Between the continents of Ainesia and Necruxa is the Maru Sea, at whose opening is the Sleeping Straits.  The Sleeping Straits also are home to Crux, which sits on the peninsulae of the straits themselves.

"The Great Powers:"
Ainesia, Revolutionary Empire: "Can You Hear the People?"
A new empire forged from a land of Kingdoms, in the hot forge of the fervor of the Revolution.
Ith, Magocratic Republic: "A Nation for the Sorcerous, by the Sorcerous."
Crux is located in Ith, who twenty years ago declared their independence from Othebea.
Maliph, the Immortal Khanates: "Life Is Pain."
A collection of Khanates who united during the Bloodfire Age, creating a civilization that unifies the best of monsters and humanity.
Othebea, Divine Kingdom: "The Roses Guide Us."
A theocratic kingdom dedicated to the Church of the Twins, Othebea once had been ruled by monsters, but has since conquered and lost many territories throughout the Maru Sea.

"Southern Lands"
Dark Soram: Ruled for centuries by the Ursyklon nation of the Kirgan, these jungle-filled lands are often besieged by Maliphi ships.

"Wild Ocrid"
South and North Ocrid: Kainen Ursyklon rule over these distant, wild lands.  They overlook the Deep Sea, paranoid that the Aboleth are making their return.

The Hollow Lands: Chasms and realms deep beneath the earth of Orphos, where silicate life thrives and has their own separate civilizations.


Humans are the dominant species at the moment.  They still are learning to better themselves.  Their wrongs they strive to overcome, and their technologies promise future greatness.  Human tribes include the Tomasi, Sabizi, Ramelin, Salaro, Rosac, Jarn and more.
Ursyklons once conquered most of Orphos ten thousand years ago.  Theirs is a feral, lupine race, but small in size.  But never dare to call them halflings.
Androids are an artificial race first invented twenty years ago.  Their flesh is wax, yet their hearts burn with aether fire.  A slave race, some Androids become something their creators did not expect.
Tengu are the birdfolk, their heads resembling ravens.  All Tengu claim to come from the Jade Lands, although Crux itself has its own native population.  All adult Tengu remember their past lives, something they keep secret from outsiders or Gaijin.
Tieflings are born of Humans, Ursyklons or Tengu, but are deformed with fiendish features.  Their souls are those who've escaped from the Hells below.  Until a few centuries ago, most killed tieflings in infancy.
Skinwalkers are descendants of lycanthropes.  Blessed by not being under Curse of the Beast, skinwalkers hide their heritage.  In Crux, Lycanthropes and Skinwalkers are considered personas non grata.
Dhampr are the half-blood children of Vampires.  The five clans in Crux hold great sway, but even then, some dhampr hide their heritage as well, wanting to make their own names, and not be defined by their vampiric blood.  The five vampire clans are: The Walridr, the Inculti, the Visconti, the Medama, and the Patrizo.
Cecaelia are known for their sea witches.  Half-human and half-octopi, the Cecaelia are xenophobic, even though they strive to find their own niche in Ith.

Monsters And The Like
Gnolls consider themselves the cousins of the Ursyklon, despite their traditions of cannibalism and ties to the Immortal Khanates of Maliph.
Fomori came from another star as well, but blame the Ursyklon for their dark embrace of the Void and their transformation from giants to morasses of worms.
Angels and their various appearances in the City of Curses, have always been moments of miracles and mystery.
Unicorns are enigmatic benders of time, who experience time non-linearly.
Ghosts are the dead denizens of the City of Curses.
Ropers, or the Cht-Rang, denizens from the deepest reaches of the "Hollow."
Dragons or the Behemat'Lang, ancient arrogant exiles from another plane.

Faiths of Orphos
Church of the Twins: A faith centered around two divinities: the Black Rose and the Summer Rose.  The most popular faith in Crux.
Church of the Machine:  Central to the Machinist faith is teaching and learning.
Ariaism, Or The Singer of the Song:  The faith of the streets, the Singer of the Song teaches that songs sung in cities make life worth living.
Kazism: The faith of the Five Winds, the central religion of the Tengu.
Church of Shraxes: Native to Crux is the faith of the Imprisoned Demon Princess, Shraxes, who grants wishes to the desperate and downtrodden.
Lupa the Wolf-Mother: The religion of the Ursyklon, the Wolf-Mother teaches nobility through nature and savagery.
The Cults of the Void: Dedicated to the dark spaces betwixt stars, the Void is about departing from the laws of reality for true freedom from flesh and nature.
The Revolution: The fervent faith of Ainesia.  It is the worship of social strife itself.

Here are the most well-known of Crux's neighborhoods, although not all of them.
The Aerie-Towns: Atop the towers of Havershill, this is the ghettoes the Tengu watch from.
The Skullmount: Atop the massive skull in the center of Crux is the University.  The Skullmount is where the campus is based.
The Wolf Quarter: Covered in forest, this part of town belongs to the Ursyklon, who live in their own way with a blend of druidic magic and modern life.
Gruudl: Underneath Palace Hill is an ancient city and starship graveyard, left behind by the Ursyklon thousands of years ago.
Old Crux: Center of the oldest parts of Crux, Old Crux is where the Prince's influence stems from.
The Blood Quarter:  Home of the Vampyres, the domain of the Five Blood Barons that command them.
The Rose Quarter:
Havershill: On the hill north of Old Crux, dominated by tall towers of all kinds.
The Grand Bazaar: In a valley between Old Crux and Palace Hill, is the mercantile heart of Crux, where anything can be found and almost everything has a price.
Poorfellows: On the western side of its own island, Poorfellows is the poorest slums in all Crux, where those unaffiliated with most icons live on their own.  Underneath it is Tinkertown, where Android worshipers of the Tinkerer gather.  The Tinkerer keeps her workshops in Poorfellows as well.
Irons District:  The factories and mills of the Irons never stop.  Android workers, driven by Devil supervisors, keep them burning long into the night.
Rag Coast:  Stinking of filth and grime, the Rag Coast sits along a stretch of river dominated by sewer grates and landfills.  This is a dumping ground for offal and dead animals from the Grand Bazaar and other parts of Crux.
Perdition Hill: Centuries of prisons have turned this quarry into a hill of fortresses, complexes and penitenaries.  The Gaolers there serve the Prince and only manage a tiny part of the labyrinth that is the Hill.
Palace Hill:
The Wish Quarter: Once a ghetto far outside the rest of Crux, the Wish Quarter has become part of the city.  It is still dominated by a large Tiefling population, most of whom help or are part of the Demon's Orphans and oppose the Prince and his rule openly.

The most powerful individuals in Crux, whose organizations and intrigues drive the City of Curses.
The Prince: The mysterious figure whose outlaws control the city government from behind the scenes.  No one has ever seen him, but his decrees and actions echo throughout Crux.  He maintains the status quo, despite attempts from within and without to make Crux change.  Some fear he has started to lose control over the City of Curses.
The Archdruid: The leader of the Ursyklon of the Maru Sea, the Archdruid also leads the Faith of the Wolf-Mother and knows ancient secrets.  Fears what abolethic secrets the Chancellor seeks to learn.
The Archbishop: The head of the Othebean Bishophric of the Twins in Crux- the most popular religion in the city.  The Archbishop also heads the vigilante Eternal Order of the Eagle and the Crow.
The Blood Barons: The heads of the five vampyre clans in the Blood Quarter; granted their baronies by the Prince centuries ago, they refuse to let progress unseat them from their place of power.
The Publisher: Publisher of the three major newspapers in Crux, as well as harboring a church of the Revolution, the Publisher and his family are dedicated to helping the People take on the power, using whatever means necessary.
The Archwitch: Head of the Church of Shraxes, the criminal syndicate known as the Demon's Orphans look to the Archwitch as their unofficial leader.  She can grant any wish, for anyone desperate enough to pay the price.
The Tinkerer: Nikolai Ripley, the inventor of Androids and a opponent of the Chancellor.  She is one of the most prominent directors for the Esoterium Machina.
The Voice:  The most famous celebrity of the Maru Sea, the Voice is also the leader of most priestesses and divas of the Singer of the Song.  She strives to use her celebrity to help the downtrodden of Crux, especially the Unsorcerous who are most often abused or mistreated.  She works to help the creation of illegal unions, always pushing the powerful to try and change the law.
The Police Commissioner:  Appointed by the Senate of Ith to enforce the law, but not allowed to investigate crimes, the Police Commissioner heads one of the conflicting different police organizations within Crux: The Metropolitan Police of Crimsonspire, in defiance of the Prince's own City Watch.
The Chancellor of Crux University:  Head of the University of Crux, the Chancellor works for the University to be unimpeded in its efforts to research any subject, including dark and forbidden works that both the Archbishop and Archdruid oppose.  One of the directors for the Esoterium Machina.
The Spice Khan: The wealthiest Khan of Maliph, Ambassador and Consulate for the Maliphi in Crux, the Spice Khan is the largest employer in the City of Curses.
The Banker:  The Cruxite head of the local part of Ithic Standard and Loan, the Banker finances a great deal behind the scenes- and always is out looking for new investments to hedge or make.
The Prophet of the Winds:  She governs the xenophobic Tengu from the Aerie-Towns- her ninja work in the shadows, loyal to whoever is willing to pay the highest price.

Organizations And Guilds of Crux
Esoterium Machina: A international, fraternal society of spellcasters.  They pursue and exchange knowledge, with the tutelage and support of the Church of the Machine.
The Esteemed Ghostwalkers: A Guild that the Prince employs to patrol and keep the native Ghost population under control.
The Eternal Order of the Eagles and the Crows:
Street Doctors: The
The Timewalkers: A Guild the Prince has patronized that patrol and keep the separate eras of Crux from slipping into one another, on the penalty of death.
The Wolf's Circle: The
The Geistrakers: A gang of the Demon's Orphans who use science and magic to repurpose ghosts to help the people of the Wish Quarter; they are rivals of the Esteemed Ghostwalkers.
The Forgotten Guild of Ragwalkers: Dedicated to keeping Crux's waste under control, these wellpaid, understaffed gutter mages deal with what others ignore.

Other Times
Age of the Last Aeons: A far future time where Crux is dead and its Ghosts cling to the remnants of a dying world.  No one knows how to avoid this future or what may lead Crux to it.