Corpus: The Living CityViewed over time and from a sufficiently distant vantage, Corpus appears as a festering wound upon the landscape. Architecture bubbles up as inflamed tissue only to burst and leak the fluid of human exodus after any number of inevitable localized disasters. The dead tissue of uninhabited buildings becomes infested by maggoty squatters and slowly rots away to looting and neglect. The resulting topography is as layered, richly textured, and chaotic as a cancerous tumor. Temples, brothels, and emporiums stack and flow upon and within one another. Buildings are cannibalized to erect eclectic new structures with a frequency that renders entire districts unrecognizable from one visit to the next.
Few tourists fresh from the terrestrial spaceports at the heart of Corpus retain possession of their wealth and belongings for further than a handful of strides after disembarking. The tourist district of Grifter's Wharf surrounds the port in a great ring of structures densely piled on atop each other, ensnaring all with sticky, saccharine commercialism and confounding architecture.
- Gift shops hawk Holy Mountain themed shirts, mugs, religious iconography, rocks, and other tchotchkes.
- Kitschy, themed restaurants, bars, and hookah dens decorated with plastic torture implements and climbing equipment peddle swill at exorbitant prices.
- Coffee-aged, crudely forged maps, prophetic scrolls, and other clues are proffered conspiratorially in dingy alleys and back rooms. Most lead nowhere, and the rest conclude in bandit dens and ambush spots.
- General stores sell defective, shoddy equipment and rancid provisions.
- Apothecaries market miracle cures to desperate, diseased travelers.
Navigating Grifter's Wharf
Surrounding the landing pads, a throng of bodies creates an introductory tableau to the dynamics of Corpus.
- Within the immediate vicinity is 1 of each: Tourist, Profiteer, and Mystic.
- A money changer attempts to reel in tourists fresh off the boat, passing worthless prayer beads off as currency necessary to purchase anything on the sphere.
A ring of shops form the outer wall of Grifter's Wharf, filtering tourists according to need and desire.
- Exterior entrances into shops are 1 way turnstiles. Near impossible to cheat without dismantling.
- Interior exits lead laterally into adjacent shops via 2-way turnstiles, cost 1 sp to cross. Chain of shops loops infinitely and unbroken around the ring.
- Interior of each store protected by d6 Guards (stats as Profiteer), wielding store-appropriate weapons and wearing thematic uniforms.
- Most other employees are tourists who got stuck after running out of coin.
- Each shop has a secret back entrance only the guards know how to access.
|3. Not Your Grandmother's||Meat||Shack|
|4. Bartholemew VI's||Trading||and Bar|
|6. Sphere's Largest||Gift||Shrine|
Narrow, twisting side streets and alleys lead past the shops to nowhere in particular.
- Confusing signage and meandering architecture makes navigation difficult.
- Possible escape routes include climbing over rooftops or tunneling through buildings.
- Cursory exploration leads to fake dungeon created to entice traveling adventurers: The Tomb of Sithisian the Wise.
- Failed navigation or aimless wandering leads to trouble:
- Cornered in dead end by d6 Acolyte Mystics, forced to pray at knife-point.
- Encounter a lost and wandering monster, such as a Tiger or Ogre (see Troika Bestiary).
The Tomb of Sithisian the Wise
- Entrance marked "Tomb of Sithisian the Wise", meagerly disguised by fake moss and other detritus.
- Door at bottom of staircase must be pulled open, else plastic spiders fall from ceiling.
- Harmless, cardboard skeletons pop up from coffins in antechamber.
- Lid to the sarcophagus of Sithisian is stuck, and muffled proverbs and vague wisdoms can be heard from inside, along with the thumping of the animatronic failing to escape its container.
- At the end, a chest receives payment (1 sp) and dispenses plastic baubles, and another coin slot in the wall (2 sp) ejects group photos of the party taken in the skeleton room.