mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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Oubliette: Kakusui-en, "The Pyramid Gardens."

("Vedute di Roma", 18th century, by Giovanni Battista Piranesi.)

For no particular reason I was flipping through the Pathfinder GameMastery Guide today, & I decided to play with some of their random tables. Just see what sparks happened to fly. I didn't even get past the first chunk of it, though; I rolled up some urban locations, & then decided that what I rolled would inform the setting for the next Oubliette adventure. Well, what I rolled up was actually super campaign appropriate, which is fun, on account of how my campaign isn't your typical swords & sorcery setting. I know quasi-Japanese isn't so radical-- that is partly why I've adopted it this go through-- but things are a little more layered & more complex than they appear at first glance. The random tables still had plenty of room for interpretation, though, & they suit my game really way, by happenstance. Here is what I got, from the tables on page 211, the "Urban Toolbox."

Unique City Decorations:
  • 68. Street fountain & watering trough.
  • 81. Alley with 100 fountains.
100 City Locations:
  • 08. Arboretum; garden for exotic plants.
  • 65. Longhouse; timber structure used as a meeting place.
  • 81. Pyramid; massive pyramidal tomb.
  • 34. Church; place of worship.
  • 76. Park; open space set aside instead of being developed, often landscaped & sometimes public.
So, with that as my starting point, I'll get cracking. First step is use a little very basic research to come up with a name. I'm generally in favor of super stupid names, because in reality places have dumb names. "New York," what is that even? So, banal & obvious, huh? So let's look at Japanese. My easy rule of thumb is to "translate" the language of the Shogunate to Japanese, the old Imperial as Chinese, & then the pre-cursor, Al-Kem, into Ancient Egyptian. Linguistic drift though stealing. Anyhow, Japanese for "pyramid" is "kakusui" so that is the first part-- a giant pyramid tomb from Al-Kem sticks out. The fountains & parks of the place lead me to drop the suffix "-en" for garden. So, Kakusui-en is the Pyramid Gardens. Easy enough. Now, I already have some designs on the next adventure, & I'll just say that this fits them pretty perfectly. I see three or four layers of occupation here.

First, the pyramid obviously dates back to Al-Kem. The Shogunate is 300 years old, dates to the fall of the Empire which stood for 900 years; there was a millenium of tribalism & city-states before that, which were the result of the decline of the Kem...which means the pyramid is probably around 3,000 years old. So, that is the earliest apparent element. The fountains are maybe the next oldest piece of the city; I'll say that their construction dates to the Empire. Using some persistant ancient technology from the pyramid that pumps water, the Empire made themselves a city of fountains & gardens. Those will be functional-- the 100 fountains & the arboretum-- but ruins. The more modern element will be the church & the water fountain that has been turned into a trough. A crossroads temple, with a place to water your retinue & horses; the landscaped park will be kept up by them. Given that Joko Izumi, the town from the last arc, was a town founded around hot springs, that means there is a "water" theme, huh? The newest element is the longhouse; a very recent occupation, put there by a warlord who is using it as his temporary headquarters, as the fountain & gardens are a good place for his troops to provision themselves.
Tags: campaign4, oubliette, paizo, pathfinder

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