Original author: Paroxysm
Heavy contributions (Districts): Die Shize
License: Paul Hartzog [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0]
Palgard - Remnants
In the year 026 AO, Palgard sustained deliberate, catastrophic damage to its infrastructure and leadership, causing innumerous civilian casualties and the collapse of the Mega-City’s government. The world had become bedlam, and anarchy ruled the streets. Normal, everyday citizens, bolstered by a host of mercenaries and visiting anarchists, revolted, rioted, and ransacked the hurting megatropolis. The city had been ruined, if not in form, then in spirit. Death had come for it again.
But as in the past, Palgard has refused to succumb. Its newly appointed PeaceKeeper appeared following the city’s fall, and with her came the word of law, and imperial strength enough to enforce it. She marched at the head of a great confederacy of soldiers levied from surrounding cities and communities. They brought a measure of order to the chaos, carving out a section of the city for reclamation. Their mission objective was simple: bring Palgard back into the fold, for empire, for the Saint King, for Gaia.
Martial Town used to be earthen fortifications raised up from streets cleared of debris and people. Four years old now and entering adolescence, Martial Town today encompasses all of the the surrounding neighborhoods, repairing, or otherwise repurposing, the apartments, storefronts, and the high rise buildings that yet stood in defiance of Palgard’s defeat. And with its growth, so, too, did its population rise. Soldiers brought their families, refugees sought safety, and opportunists followed the flow of commerce as rumors of the Way Gate’s reactivation reinvigorated the local economy and renewed interest in the city.
This renewed interest in the city does not bring just growth and opportunity however, but also conflict and strife, as not all citizens are willing to live under military thumb. While the majority of Martial Town, especially its central, regularly patrolled military district, is safe to travel and live, its burgeoning borders and hanger-on communities see significantly higher rates of crime than elsewhere in Terrenus. These peripheral neighborhoods are owned by gangs and tribes of anarchists, sometimes backed by enterprising capitalists, and are further bolstered by the sudden influx of illegal trade brought on by missing military supplies, a black market trail speculatively originating from northern Palgard, and a nebulous network of underground contacts seeking the opportunities afforded by a city in disarray.
Life can be good in Martial Town, or it can be very bad indeed. In order to fight against rampant unemployment and poverty, the occupying military has decreased much of its recruitment from outside of the city, focusing instead on paying adventurers, mercenaries, civilians and the occasional specialist party, keeping the city’s internal economy churning, if only barely, through frequent objective-based undertakings and the rebuilding of infrastructure. Toward this end, many of the black market deals, underground contracts, and use of illegal technology in the district is tolerated within limits.
(Core, Buffer, Peripherals)
The heart of Martial Town, its most central area, is called the Core. Here is where the Martial Town Government is based, as well as some of the most prominent and most wealthy residents of the city.
Crime rate is at an all time low within the Core, at least depending on a particular interpretation of the word "crime". While the Core is quite the opposite of the Peripherals, the outer city limits overrun with organized crime groups, anarchic syndicates and street gangs, the government employs its own full-standing military force to police the city's center. This comes with a price. Crimes against the citizens are still committed. Unsanctioned home invasions. Random street inspections. Abuse of evidence and general abuse. It is all contained enough to minimize the threat of riots, but everyone knows it happens. It is something of an accepted reality.
Nonetheless, such actions are largely limited to those residents of the Core who make up the general population of the militarized district, versus it's higher class citizens. One need not be particularly esteemed or rich to live here. Maybe you have a particular trade or skill that almost forced you to be relocated. Often, it is just a matter of behaving well enough to remain, or proving so and heading through the gates from the Buffer. A number of people do so gladly. Given the tradeoff, they would rather live under the eyes of a camera and listen to boots marching the streets, wondering if a knock would come on their door and a soldier would show up, compared to a knock on their door and thief or a murderer showing up who was not kept in check.
Additionally, residents of the Core have an opportunity to work their way up to better living standards, including within the ginormous skyscrapers at the heart of the heart itself. While some of these great towers are owned by and dedicated to the government and the most powerful corporations, others are self-sustainable complexes that provide the greatest security, sustenance and seclusion from the rest of the city.
Living in the Core really boils down to a matter of preference and permission. As long as the city government allows you to, you are allowed to. As long as you would rather live under the thumb of the government and its military than the MTPD, the corporate paramilitary forces or criminal elements of the Buffer, or worse, the endless gangs, rebel groups and crime groups that overrun the Peripherals, then the Core just might be for you.
GRAFT Center (Genetic Research, Augmentation, Fortification and Transformation)
License: zaroshi [CC BY-NC-ND 3.0]
The GRAFT Center is the headquarters of the GRAFT Corporation. "GRAFT" stands for "Genetic Research, Augmentation, Fortification and Transformation", a broad series of terms that cover a broad variety of functions.
While GRAFT clinics are spread throughout the city of Martial Town, from the Core to its suburbs, the GRAFT Center contains the most sophisticated and state of the art technology to service its clients. It fulfills a variety of needs for cybernetic limb and organ replacements, and cybernetic enhancements, such as infrared eyesight.
However, GRAFT is not limited to just 'technology', as with mechanized or digitized features. The former is its primary identity, but it also supports a full-fledged magical enhancement program; a nice alternative to any technophobes, though the reverse also applies.
Additionally, the GRAFT Center, located in the militarized heart of Martial Town, is where the bulk of the corporation's research is spearheaded, among all levels, including both magic and technology.
The Purple Penguin
Amid the night life of Martial Town, where the streets are lit up by neon dancers merely in the way the advertisement signs blink and flash and glow, The Purple Penguin represents the pinnacle of that night life.
Located on the 'border' between the Core, the militarized heart of Martial Town, and the far less policed areas that serve as its outskirts, the nightclub receives a diversity of visitors, from regulars to newcomers looking for a good night out after a hard day's work.
Amid its trademark purple lightning that basks the entire building, inside and out, day and night, The Purple Penguin boasts three public floors and a fourth VIP floor that includes management. The floors beneath this one cater to a wide variety of music, with soundproof walls offering additional sections and bars.
The Purple Penguin offers more than music and drink, however. It is almost impossible to forget or forgive the drug scene running rampant, though this in turn provides any would be do-gooders with a morally questionable source of intel.
The CyberFunk Cafe
License: David Revoy / Blender Foundation [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]
Located nearer the Core, amid its most lively shopping centers, The CyberFunk Cafe is a cybercafe said to always be filled, but always having an empty seat available.
This paradox of a statement is in part due to the ear-splitting arcades located beneath the soundproof floor of the main cafe. On the main floor, guests can enjoy a latte spiked with caffeine to see their eyes through a deep dive into their favorite VR program, or simply a soothing cup of tea while they surf the web on a laptop for a fine leather trenchcoat on sale.
Whatever the customer's desire, the cafe itself can probably cater to it, with cakes and scones aplenty. In its own parallel, however, the arcade rooms below ground have a much quicker pace. Down here, gamers of all kinds can sit back and relax, or sit forward in highway-racing tension, as they play video games of all types. Sometimes that may mean looking at a screen from feet, or inches, away. Other times, it may mean plugging a cable into the back of your head and closing your eyes while your mind enters a world like in one of those Sword Art Online games. KAWAAIII!!
However, what most people are not aware of is that The CyberFunk Cafe has a third level—one beneath the arcade floor, accessed only by a secret door and express permission. This is where an underground hacker club, called ILLusive, plays a whole different game, one with real stakes, and real thrills.
Pal's Guard, obviously a play on "Palgard", is not at all anyone's idea of a playful bar. This drinking establishment is owned by the well established Vilad Circle, one of Martial Town's most ruthless and powerful organized crime groups.
Headed by the elven Vilad Family rumored to hail from Palgard since around its inception, the Vilad Circle, as the overall crime syndicate, has since employed other species of all kinds to do its bidding and dirty work. Thieves, assassins, hackers, black market merchants, drug dealers, prostitutes and other colorful careerists come here already under the Vilad Circle's ring or as fresh folk looking for a new career path.
Whatever the case, whatever the face, the Vilad Family usually doesn't care who, how or why. They are only concerned with profit and power, two paramount aspects that are inseparable as far as they believe.
However, probably not a good idea to come to Pal's Guard for a beer and nothing else. There are nicer, friendlier, cleaner bars out there. Enter at your own risk, and remember where the nearest GRAFT clinic is!
MTPD Headquarters (Martial Town Police Department)
Where the Core of Martial Town is chiefly policed by the government's military force, along with the private military companies of certain corporations, it falls to the Martial Town Police Department (MTPD) to keep the greater extent of the city in check. As with many things in life, however, that is a task that is easier to write than to carry out.
Only the bravest, finest and most able and capable souls sign up for the MTPD, or else those with a death wish, a low IQ or a streak of psychopathy as they seek to abuse the badge and beat the victims being repressed by it.
Meanwhile, the farthest suburbs of the city would be hard pressed to find an officer on patrol, unless they're really just strolling toward some crime lord so that they can receive their bribe money.
There are, though, those who firmly believe in the badge and what it represents. Then there are those hired by the badge, bounty hunters and private detectives, because, when it comes to Martial Town, the MTPD needs all the help that it can get.
License: Waylon Wesley [CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)]
Just beyond the Way Gate facility, another community has formed from within Palgard, made up of the Weland expats that sought safety in numbers after the collapse of the city’s government. Their desperation made them susceptible to the Bessho-kai, a family of wealthy entrepreneurs that had stricken an accord with the people, offering protection in exchange for labor and small favors, but who now hold the district in their clinched fist.
The Bessho-kai keep their streets free of outside influences, but their own people are nearly as bad as the anarchists. There is a foot soldier on every street corner, and an eye or an ear always watching for troublemakers or potential threats. They harass the people for what little they have, and recruit their children, perpetuating a cycle of violence and extortion.
Magic and technology are not at war. Like much of Terrenus, they are instead blended and mixed together, until where the one begins and the other ends cannot be easily distinguished. However, much of the heavily regulated, illegal, and obscure technology kept off the streets in the larger cities has in Martial Town fallen into use by anyone aware of, and able to afford, the black market. Most of the technology is benign. City-wide communications are now easily available, and enhanced prosthetics, both bleeding edge and crude knockoffs, some owed to Hell’s Gate, others Last Chance, can be acquired with no red tape or government interference.
Then there are the killing implements. Cybernetics and magical augmentations designed to make recipients harder to kill while also making them more efficient at the act themselves. Bone-lacing, retractable claws, subdermal implants and vision enhancements, equipment normally associated with military wetwork can be acquired and utilized with little to no interference from the government. For a price.
Humans, elves, orcs, dwarves and other, Martial Town and its immediate surroundings are made up of many, of a diverse, hodgepodge people whose differences have allowed them to adapt even to its current circumstances. They move ever forward as cutthroats meet military task force, or corporate backed mercenaries. The poor and the downtrodden pick up weapons and fight back, choosing one side or the other, or neither. They exist in flux alongside their city. Order and chaos flowing one way, then the other.
A surprising visit: In an unexpected visit to the fond Neon City, reunited Choisel lovers settle in temporary residence there, terrorizing citizens with an unnatural desire of bloodlust. Leinhart and the Queen Matriarch slowly taint the city.
I mean, really now: Eldwine organizes a team in Martial Town to help recover a shipment of stolen ercaniron which was stolen from the bandit who stole it to begin with. Through the course of an operation which drags them all over Martial Town and ends with a raid on a police station evidence locker, the loot is successfully recovered and divided among them.
An aye for an eye: The General'ny Direktor engages in a mech battle for the win, and manages to pull off nabbing a cabinet that contains the powerful Left Eye of Mogonto