Talix-Engine, the City of Clockwork
"Buzzing Talix builds her clocks
To see what secrets they'll unlock
What answers to the Tick and Tock
Of quiet Engine who never stops."
Talix-Engine is a symbiotic city, consisting of two separate creations that have become irrevocably entwined. The Engine is a vast machine set deep into the earth, an ancient device built so long ago that no record mentions its origins or purpose. Upon its immense gears rests Talix, city of marvels, constantly changing and growing even as its bedrock slowly churns beneath it.
The Engine is still functional, and contains remnants of a technology known as MicroClockwork, which is far superior to most non-magical tech in Genesaris at large. The Talixans have mined deep inside it, and used the secrets they found within to build a sprawling city that has become a center of advanced technology, with little reliance on magic or magitech. Powerful and populous, Talix-Engine is a city focused on endless progress, its machines growing ever more advanced as its people become ever more obsessed with mechanical enhancement.
Flag: A stylized human hand, in gold, holding aloft a silver cog, against a black background.
The entire city of Talix is built on the Engine, an approximately cylindrical device that extends miles into the bedrock. The surface is mainly covered by staggeringly large gears, upon which thousands of small buildings have sprung up. These gears are in constant motion, although they turn very slowly, which means the different districts of the city are always moving in relation to one another.
With the sea to the north and mountains to the south, the views from Talix are actually quite pleasant, the glory of nature competing for attention with the allure of the machines.
There is an abundance of metal from the machine below, but stone is scarce, and plant life is near-impossible to find naturally within the boundaries of the city. Several forests and parks have been grown artificially, but other than these, one must venture outside of the city to find any hint of nature.
Sight: a rainy day in one of the wealthier districts.
Though advanced, the city of Talix has limited space on the surface, and as a result is quite dense. The movement of the Engine below makes higher structures unstable and difficult to maintain, and the city has already reached the limits of its upward expansion. Instead, the city grows downwards, with inverse towers and huge caverns being carved into the metal beneath, though care is taken not to disturb the workings of the Engine itself.
The city is made almost entirely of metal, stone, and reinforced glass, with materials such as wood appearing only in the wealthiest of mansions. In spite of this, Talix manages to be oddly picturesque, with the limited materials resulting in some quite creative applications of MicroClockwork technology for aesthetic purposes. Many buildings in the wealthier districts have moving or rotating parts, an homage of sorts to the Engine beneath. The poorer areas of the city are simpler, consisting of ramshackle stone structures with corrugated metal roofs.
The Engine is filled with strange, vast caverns and tunnels running through its mechanisms. Those near the surface are new, but most are simply part of the ancient device itself. Wild and untamed, they are protected by powerful security systems, but hide unbelievable technological wonders within, many of which have yet to be discovered.
Being near the sea means that Talix-Engine gets a lot of rain, and the occasional large storm. On sunny days, however, pleasant sea breezes will often blow briskly over the city.
Columns of smoke will often obscure parts of the sky, but pollution is carefully managed and overwhelming smog generally avoided. As a result of these management processes and its location, average wind speeds are far higher than in most cities.
Flora and Fauna
Little to no flora exists naturally, although some vast colonies of fungi have been discovered deep within the Engine. On the surface, most plant life exists in biodomes (for crops) and parks (mostly trees, grass, and shrubbery). The parks tend to be quite exotic, with plants and even animals imported from all over Genesaris.
Fauna is relatively scarce as well. Large populations of rats, cats, and crows thrive aboveground, and many of these animals are cybernetically augmented. In addition, a variety of fully-mechanical clockwork animals roam the streets, a mishmash of everything from birds to small elephants. Some of these are merely scenery, others are designed to mimic animal behaviors.
There are rumors of strange creatures living in the depths of the Engine, but these cannot be confirmed.
Technology is a massive part of life in Talix, with even the poorest citizens using various MicroClockwork gadgets and devices. The upper classes will often enhance their bodies with machinery, or even replace entire limbs with complex robotic replicas. People strive to transcend their natural limits, showing off their ingenuity and dedications with these enhancements. The rule of thumb here is that the closer someone is to being a machine, the higher their status in society.
The Talixans are a passionate people, very energetic and sly. Hard work and ingenuity are valued, and most of the population attempts to tinker and invent things in their spare time. Science and engineering are the dominant fields here, with most workers either building machines, modifying machines, overseeing machines, selling machines, or some combination of these. If there is a task that can be mechanized, it will be! There is a place for artists too: their job is to make the devices as elaborate and attractive as possible, to worship the beauty of clockwork.
The most revered of all, however, are the inventors. Only the greatest of geniuses are allowed to work full time on the advancement of technology, and are mostly hired by the government. They are considered celebrities throughout the city, with most having groups of followers dedicated to their work.
Talixans are generally kind to outsiders, and are very enthusiastic about explaining the workings of MicroClockwork and the nuances of their city. Once you've got one talking, it's often hard to make them stop! They do tend to look down on magic and magitech, considering it inferior and lazy, but do not forbid or loathe it as the Antigone Isles do.
Violent crime is not particularly prevalent in Talix, due to the sheer variety of unexpected enhancements. However, theft, conspiracy, sabotage, and other subtle forms of conflict are commonplace, as various competing factions and groups strive to advance their own agendas.
Civilian population: 4,125,000
Sight: diagram of a typical MicroClockwork power source, heavily magnified.
Talix-Engine is a major exporter of technologies, though it keeps all the best for itself. Trade with outside nations is generally simple, with low-value devices (worth much more to people outside the city) being traded for simple goods like wood and livestock that are highly valuable to Talixans. Within the city, trade is frantic and constant, with millions of materials, blueprints, devices and even prosthetics changing hands on a daily basis. There are rarely set prices on goods, simple trading is more common (with money used to make up small differences in value).
The rich and poor are fairly evenly spread, with even the lower classes enjoying a fair quality of life due to the sheer advancement of the infrastructure. Social mobility is very high: a rich man one day becomes poor the next, when it turns out his machines are now outdated.
Major Companies and Institutions
The Engine Chamber: One of the largest buildings in the city, it is built on top of the main access point into the depths of the Engine. This is the seat of government, as well as an exclusive research facility where the greatest geniuses of Talix-Engine toil away on MicroClockwork machines of unimaginable complexity . It is also the only place where research on newly recovered Engine parts is allowed.
The Tinker's Palace: The greatest academy in Talix, it is here that the workings MicroClockwork itself are most extensively studied. The building itself is beautiful, covered in metal vines which grow all over the building during the day, and recede back into the earth at night.
The Aetherport: A large airship port, and the center of trade in Talix-Engine. Many of the city's markets surround this place, trading with newcomers and buying the exotic goods they bring. Powerful traders' unions operate from here, whose influence is rapidly growing to rival that of the government and the research organizations.
Parks and Recreation
The Biovarium: The largest park in Talix-Engine, this place lies in a large cavern carved into the Engine itself. The roof has been removed, leaving it open to the air. A huge variety of plant life thrives here, including genetically engineered species not present anywhere else on Valucre. Clockwork animals roam freely here, programmed to be friendly and playful with visitors.
The Lonely Forest: An artificial forest planted deep within the city, this park contains only natural plants, and actual animals such as squirrels and songbirds. Access is restricted, and must be requested in order to enter. However, it is well cared-for and pleasant, and offers an interesting contrast to the city of metal around it.
Grand Museum: Dedicated to the Engine and MicroClockwork, it is here that the history of Talix's advancement is shown in detail, and pioneering technologies are shown off. When major inventors come to unveil their latest work, thousands flood in to gawk.
The Ring of Battle: Though most in the city aspire to lofty goals, there is always room for more base forms of entertainment. In this wide arena, ramshackle combat devices are pit against each other in a flurry of sparks and blades. Place your bets!
Landmarks and monuments
The Maw: A large section of the city looks down on open space, with the spaces between the Engine's gears leading deep into its innards. The Maw is the greatest of these gaps, and the one where most expeditions into the Engine begin. Government approval is technically required to descend, but many expeditions simply sneak through and climb down themselves.
Agency Overview: Talix-Engine is controlled by a single regent, who holds near-absolute power. Several advisors and councils gather information and make suggestions, and a small parliament runs day-to-day affairs, managing the bureaucracy that in turn guides technological development. The regent has the authority to overrule these at will, but mostly restricts himself to policy related to the world outside of the city, and anything to do with the Engine.
Regent: Johannes Larque. Exactly who, or what, the mysterious leader of Talix-Engine is has inspired much debate among the upper classes of the city. He, she or it has never made a public appearance, and instead governs entirely through a set of advanced humanoid drones, which are controlled remotely through unknown means. They make speeches, conduct negotiations, and handle most duties as any leader would, but the force behind them remains virtually impossible to track. It is theorized that Johannes is in fact a seemingly ordinary Talixan, hiding in plain sight while governing the city remotely, making an assassination or coup nigh impossible.
Prime Military: Silent Legion
The armies of Talix-Engine consist mainly of semi-autonomous MicroClockwork drones, which lie dormant beneath the city until called into action. This makes the army very fearsome indeed: without the need to constantly supply and train its forces, Talix can maintain a massive legion with relatively little effort. Most combat drones are capable of seeking out and fighting targets themselves, using guns and swords with deadly accuracy. However, they are not sentient. Rather, they are directed as swarms on the field by Administrators, highly trained strategists who direct the overall formations and movement of hundreds of drones at once. When seriously threatened, the city will call on highly advanced mechs, including five legendary super-weapons said to have been recovered from the heart of the Engine itself.
Sight: default-model combat drone.
City Guard total: 4500 (1000 living beings, 3500 drones)
· High-Ranking officers: 40
· Living detectives: 300
· Drone engineers: 600-700
· BlackBeaks (special operations drones): 50
· Other drones split between Surveillance and Enforcer types
· 120,000 Combat drones
· 25,000 Raptor drones
· 1000 Administrators
· 500 Heavy Mechs
· 5 Bullet Golems
Education in Talix-Engine focuses almost entirely on science and engineering. The people here will know their clockwork like the back of their hands, and can tell you exactly how the universe works. However, this leads to a fair degree of ignorance with regards to the history and culture of the rest of the world, leading to frequent culture shock when residents first leave the city.
Classes are highly competitive, as the government surveys its schools closely and will often hand-pick the best and brightest for special courses in research and mechanics. Education is mandatory regardless of social class, to ensure that no potential genius is lost among the masses.
Sight: a railway, swooping well over the ground among the structures of Talix.
- Roads: Most roads in Talix are very well-paved and maintained, and spread throughout the city so that all districts can be accessed no matter what the configuration of the Engine's gears. Some roads are in fact massive conveyor belts, allowing rapid travel on foot if necessary.
- Rails: Fast transit is provided by an incredibly efficient railways system, with some of the fastest trains in Genesaris. None of the rails actually touch the ground except at stations, and the arcing paths of the railways are one of the city's signature sights.
- Crawlers: Instead of carriages, transport-for-hire is provided by six-legged walkers, capable of carrying anywhere from four to eight passengers at a time. Far slower than the railways, they are nonetheless a pleasant mode of transportation, with the more intrepid drivers using them to clamber over buildings on the way to their destination.
- Private: Private transportation in Talix-Engine is immensely varied and competitive. Instead of purchasing their own transports, the wealthy will buy up parts and materials, and build their own, trying to make it faster, fancier, and/or more efficient than those of their peers. Some use wheels, others legs, others wings. The most advanced ones simply levitate around through mysterious means. Simply watching the traffic in Talix is a popular form of entertainment.
Johannes Larque, regent (see Government). In addition to being a leader, he is also an engineer of legendary skill, and the figurehead of the movement for the endless improvement of MicroClockwork.
Azmuth Bilton, discoverer of MicroClockwork and master of the Tinker's Palace. An old, battle-scarred explorer who led dozens of expeditions deep into the Engine. He is a strong advocate of expanding Talix-Engine's influence, claiming that their technology ought to be used to 'advance' other cities and replace magitech around the continent.
Marina Tysh, lead Administrator (see Military). A dark-haired woman who maintains a youthful appearance through extensive cybernetic modifications. She oversees the maintenance of the Silent Legion, as well as law enforcement in the city. She favors an introverted stance, claiming that the city should keep its technology to itself, and will mercilessly hunt down any who steal or meddle with military MicroClockwork.
Eleanor V, biologist and cultivator of most plantlife in the city. A beautiful young artist who seeks a balance between life and machines. One of the most prolific builders of clockwork animals, she is one of the few in the upper class who speaks out against rapid advancement, warning that more time is needed to fully understand the technologies of the Engine.
Caza, master saboteur and assassin. One of the only violent criminals to continuously evade the BlackBeak special operations drones, this man is public enemy number one of Talix-Engine. He controls most of the criminal organizations in the city, organizing daring heists so clever that the victims never realize they've been robbed until well after the fact. In spite of his illegal activities, he has become a kind of folk hero in the city, with exaggerated yarns of his exploits being told in every tavern.
What will happen? RP will decide...
The Engine is thought to have been created millennia ago. Whatever made it, however, they abandoned it long before it was discovered.
Tales of the great machine have long been told throughout Genesaris, but only within the last hundred years has it been settled. It began with small mining towns, set up to extract valuable metals from the device. However, these barely scratched the surface, until Azmuth Bilton decided to delve deeper into the Engine.
Braving the security systems that had scared off most other explorers, he led a small band in- and was the only survivor to emerge. However, he carried with him the first working sample of MicroClockwork, an intricate technology capable of harvesting and using energy with incredible efficiency.
What followed was a rush of prospectors and engineers, desperate to find and exploit this valuable new technology. The small mining settlements expanded, and merged with each other, forming the city of Talix. MicroClockwork became commonly used, as it was easier to access than magitech, which had to be imported. Gradually, as the wonders it was capable of became clear, the technology became a focus of the city, with more and more resources being pushed towards its advancement.
Of all the eager engineers, the mysterious inventor Johannes Larque produced by far the best devices, and gained huge wealth and a near-mythic reputation for his creations. Gradually gaining power, he soon formed an organization of researchers, which would evolve to become the government of Talix-Engine.
Since then, the city has expanded into and merged with the upper layers of the Engine, growing ever more advanced. For the first time, it is gaining power to rival and even exceed the other cities of Genesaris, leading some to question whether MicroClockwork should be shared. With its nature solidified, the city is now entering a phase of debate and consideration over its purpose.