Saturday, November 26, 2011

The City at the Center of the World

In the eyes of the people of the West, Zenopolis is a city without equal either in luxuriousness or depravity.  Its domed temples and tall spires are a testament to a bygone age: the age of the Empire.  When the barbarians swooped down from what is now Novgova into the Dark Country and the West, the Empire could do little to resist them.  Plagued by internal struggle and external invasion, the emperor Zeno moved his capital to an island city once used to as a fortress to defend against pirate attacks from the Desert Lands.  The Empire may have withered, but in the eyes of the people of Zenopolis some corneal of it still remains.

Zeno did not only move the capital.  He also revived the worship of the Old Gods.  While the Church of Law still exists legally, it does not hold the position it does in the west.  Instead, a cacophony of religions exist in the City at the Center of the World.  The Church claims many of these are diabolic in nature, and the clergy shudders to think what slithering things these deranged madmen worship.

Zenopolis's climate is arid when compared to the West, but the trade from the Desert Lands, the Dark Country, and places even farther than that have made it rich.  Its armies are filled with soldiers from across the World, though the Autocrat is particularly fond of using barbarians from the Dark Country as his personal guard.  Many of these men fled the lances of the Sword Brothers and found employment in the City.  It is sometimes said that the Autocrat's fondness for them goes beyond mere martial prowess, but most of the barbarians would staunchly deny this.  Such activity is unmanly.

Zenopolis is not the first built on this island.  Even before the imperial fortress, cities existed here.  The location is perfect for trade between the East and the West, and as such there has scarcely been an epoch where the island was uninhabited.  Rumors say that the ruins of these cities lie beneath the current edifices.  They intertwine and overlap creating a network of tunnels, chambers, and catacombs which could never be fully mapped.

In the days before the Church of Law, many of the temples possessed undercrofts and secret chambers that connected to these dungeons.  Since the revival of the Old Ways, many of these structures have seen renewed habitation; however, most still languish in obscurity.  It is said that when they were sealed, many of the priests and oracles were still inside.  What has happened to these populations in the thousand plus years since they were trapped inside is a mystery.

A more intriguing mystery, however, is what became of the golden idols and relics which were sealed in as well...

Recently, my mind has been filled with ideas for different games.  I was having a hard time picking one, but earlier tonight I decided to take the common elements and spin them off into their own project.  The above is a result.

Essentially, I wanted to make an EPT style Underworld that was heavily inspired by CAS's Zothique cycle; however, I don't want to abandon the work I've already done on the Dark Country and the World.  Hopefully, this is a good compromise.

The monsters will not be standard D&D fair but neither will they be LotFP creatures.  I'm not exactly sure what they will be yet, but I have some ideas.


  1. It just keeps better and better! ... or in this case worse and worse ;)

    I think you are onto something that will make the game even more fun!

  2. Love the idea of a city full of temples (or at least a temple district) which are all connected together via various tunnels and cubbyholes and such.

    It could be hellishly difficult for any NPCs to take on any one particular temple complex since all the others could be summoned if needed or the denizens of the temple coudl simply disappear and then reappear.

  3. I can't take credit for the idea, as it's just the background for EPT's undeworlds with a different city on top.

    I you haven't read EPT, it's certainly worth a look.

  4. Sorry, Empire of the Petal Throne.