Last Chance is located on the extreme south-east portion of Terrenus; the furthest possible distance from as many of the other cities as anyone could possibly manage. Its closest neighbor is Ashville which, having adopted an 'incarcerate first, ask questions later' manner of dealing with Last Chance's citizens, no longer worries overmuch about its still-thriving criminal population- they've all grown wise enough to want to avoid ending up in Dead Peaks.
Over the last year, some of the negative stigma surrounding Last Chance has evaporated and the obstacles which kept it from realizing its potential as the second largest port city in Terrenus have been overcome. Hand in hand with Argus Incorporated, Last Chance has turned the majority of its docks into a thriving shipping port which fuels the city's healthy commerce. While the incidence of crime has noticeably declined, the docks are still not completely safe and, just as La Ultima Opportunidad has emerged as the heart of the city's persistent criminal subculture, the docks have also managed to retain a shadow of their dark past.
Last Chance's new place as a diverse, economically viable and commerce centered port city, has allowed it the opportunity to renew and replace some of its aging infrastructure with new, modern conveniences. In the portions of the city where law rules and the criminal structure has been forced out, often by the newly augmented and extended guard force, the formerly rat infested alleyways and sewage filled streets have been replaced by up-to-date aqueducts and underground sewage transport systems. Drinking water is clean, here, and the food is good; crime is down and there are jobs to be had. In short, La Ultima Fortuna is a worker's paradise, while the third-to-half of the city which refuses to submit and often comes to blows when the guards intrude, continues to be the run down, crime-ridden hell hole that it has always been
A brief but intense skirmish took place on the southern beach of Last Chance which saw thousands of criminals and hundreds of soldiers dead, basic weapons strewn all about the sand and shallow ocean water, and put the citizens of both halves of Last Chance on edge.
Last Chance itself is flat, snug between rolling hills which slowly taper toward the ocean. A major river lies to its west, traveling down to the ocean from its originating point on the lake just south of Ashville. For the adventuring types, the coast moving west outward from Last Chance boasts Witch's Cave and Black Ridge, with No Man's Land just a hook northward from there.
Below is a list of nearby locations and their approximate distances
- North: ~300 miles is Ashville.
- North-East: ~90 miles to the coast.
- East: ~80 miles to the coast.
- South-East ~60 miles to the coast.
- South: ~20 miles to the coast. ~650 miles to uncharted land.
- South-West: ~10 miles to the coast.
- West: ~60 miles to Peaceful Woods.
- North-West: ~85 miles to Great Pine Barrens. ~700 miles to unnamed lake.
Since its rebirth, the half of Last Chance which the locals refer to as 'La Ultima Fortuna' has gone through an array of changes ranging from the installation of a modern aqueduct system, to the enhancement and expansion of the Watchmen, the addition of the Civil Defense Force and the Civic Safety & Defense Academy, and the near complete calming of the streets. Alleys which used to nightly run red with blood are now victim only to children shouting as they play stickball, and the sewage stained cobblestone streets are clean again with the waste moved below ground into piping. It's an unbelievable transformation; the CDF patrols thoroughly, and often, and while there are whispered rumors of magical scrying, everyone is safe enough, warm enough and full enough that they're willing to give up some of their privacy- if that nasty rumor is even true, who would care? It's worth it to the citizens of Fortuna to believe, for the first time, that they will most likely live to see tomorrow-- not only live, but thrive.
The most noticeable characteristic of the city, and still its most impressive feature, is the wall which completely encircles it. The The wall is made from a single, unbroken piece and has apertures only at the four cardinal directions to control entrance and exit. The wall has a structural color that reflects 40% of visible light, making it extremely shiny and of metallic blue color. Indeed, it can be seen from several miles away. The wall is capable of enduring intense levels of heat, lasers capable of warming its surface by only three degrees over a period of an hour, and withstanding tank assault for days with minimal wear. The wall is also completely frictionless.
The city built to hold criminals is perhaps one of the safest cities in all of Terrenus.
Inside, however, the dichotomy holds supreme -- the south-west portion of the city is the section which the locals derisively began to call 'La Ultima Fortuna'. The name stuck and Fortuna is now noted for its civility- it is clean, pleasant, green and very, very, busy. These days, Last Chance is a thriving center of commerce - at least this half is - and the reason for its bloom rises up from the town like a shining trident pointed toward god-- Argus Incorporated.
The heart of Argus Incorporated, Seraphim, is the largest man-made structure in Last Chance. Each of the three massive buildings is comprised of nearly twenty floors, with each floor holding at least thirty or more offices or suites, and connected to the other buildings via bridges or hallways. On its own, it's a marvel of engineering - in Last Chance, it's a Marvel.
Argus' campus is situated in the southern portion of the city near the Docks, sprawling over nearly a quarter of Last Chance. A good portion of the campus is, as termed in Argus' literature, 'green space'- playgrounds which spill out into parks, drift out to fields, to scrub wood and hiking trails, until eventually reaching the outer walls. The citizens who lived in the shanties which formerly occupied the space? Relocated at Argus' expense into renovated homes within the newly rising metropolis. Some citizens took offense, packed up and moved far away from the company and its gifts, but most found it hard to object - to them, it was akin to living a fairy tale, except the Prince was a business conglomerate and no one was trying to prick their fingers with a sewing needle.
The other half of the city, though- the area the locals called La Ultima Opportunidad, which claimed the north-west section and a bit of the docks, was not so lucky. These were the citizens that took offense; that made their living off the criminal enterprises which Last Chance's 'fortune' was now shutting down. As it did, the less determined criminals migrated - work was plentiful in the south, the pay was good and the streets were clean, and so the criminals that are left in the north are the literal worst of the worst. Career criminals, fugitives from other cities, murderers, thieves and addicts so base that even given the chance at redemption they would continue in their ways.
Entering Last Chance here is a trial; an exercise in willpower where once convinces their nose that the scent wafting about is not as bad as imagined, while at the same time having an extended argument with their stomach about not vomiting in the street. It smells here like most people lose.
This is the pit of devils that most people think of when they hear 'Last Chance'; the wallowing, disgusting and putrid city where the culture is one of cons and whores, of murderers and madames, and a lucky day is one when the knife in your back misses your vital organs. Non-natives have to fight the fear; it's innate, as if all sentient creatures instinctively realize the viper den they're about to walk into. Violence here is constant; everyday, unending. Guard patrols are nearly non-existent and the criminal gangs which run their designated sections all have very different rules with very different punishments.
This, the 'Last Opportunity', seems to be more of an opportunity to die than to live.
Last Chance runs cool due to the temperate winds which come off of the ocean. Residents there see all four seasons and, in normal ears, none is particularly difficult. Summers see max temperatures of 80F outside the wall (88 inside); spring can be a rainy, foggy, mess; winter sees temperatures flirt with freezing while fall remains the city's best season.
Flora and Fauna
Culturally diverse population with a predominance of humans, gnomes, halflings, dwarves and the occasional drow, which tend to segregate along socio-economic lines with La Ultima Fortuna boasting a population primarily comprised of humans and gnomes, with some dwarves and halflings, and La Ultima Opportunidad an even mix of humans and halfings, with some gnomes, dwarves and drow.
Last Chance is such a cultural melting pot that the city itself boasts no overarching 'culture' aside from hard work; hard work for Argus, hard work slinging starshine, hardwork hauling fish. It's all hard work, but there's no complaining about it in Last Chance- just grateful citizens who welcome each day like they just dodged a bullet the night before.
There's a general grey-ness in the morality and ethics of the city; a holdover from the times before now, when murder and crime ran rampant. Nearly everyone in Last Chance has a family member in city jail, or Dead Peaks, missing or in the cemetary. It's common, so no one frowns on it, no one hides it, it's just the way things were.
The economy of Last Chance is in, what economists call, a 'boom' phase. Rapid expansion and the influx of workers seeking jobs with Argus or its subsidiaries have caused the town to swell to capacity. The creation of Argus' campus created construction jobs both building and relocating, as did the aquaducts and sewer system, and the recent attention to healthcare has brought in medical workers like the creation of the CSDA brought in retired military.
Companies, institutions and locations
Argus Incorporated: An international import/export company with its main base of operations located inside Last Chance. Argus is wildly successful, estimated to be worth billions of dollars, and uses that cash flow to heavily invest in Last Chance's infrastructure and other philanthropic causes within its home city.
Black Market: Location only known to those who deliberately seek out Last Chance's criminal element. The black market has rare and illegal contraband for sale.
Civic Safety & Defense Academy: The Civic Safety & Defense Academy was formed early in 23 AO; funded by the Aegis Grant and backed by generous benefactors at Argus Incorporated, it provides enhanced equipment, techniques and training to persons interested in furthering their law enforcement career within the walls of Last Chance. Enrollment is very competitive- a waiting list is to be expected, so trainees are urged to apply immediately upon entering the guard force and tailor their assigned duties and skills to facilitate acceptance. Tuition costs for accepted enrollees is covered by the Aegis Grant.
Cutthroat Dagger, Tavern & Inn: The generic tavern and inn. Players are free to come up with their own inns as well.
Full Deck Dock: The Full Deck is an extravagant Casino Boat that docks in Casper, Last Chance, and Tia.
Gambler's Chasm: A six-foot wide chasm into the earth left-behind as remnants of the riot which took down the Greylands Watchtower.
Mausoleum - Terrenus Branch: One branch of the Catalyst owned hospital conglomerate. The hospital has a modern psychiatric wing, a disease wing, a wing for intensive care and a wing for research and development of medical cures and technology.
Paotr's wishing well: A sign hangs from the umbrella top of the stone wishing well, reading in simple handwriting: Throw a silver piece and get one wish, but be careful what you ask of the world. One wish per customer.
Shallow-Graves Cemetery: The Shallow-Graves Cemetery is the final resting place for the poor and down-trodden. True to the name of the site, there are shallow graves all over the cemetery, as well as a number of sepulchers, each with a tunnel that leads to a modest catacomb. Being that Shallow-Graves is in Last Chance, it should come as no surprise that the Cemetery is often victim to grave robbers, and so comes equipped with a small host of traps to fend them off.
Wayward Harlot: Shut down.
A commonly known and visited brothel buried in the far west buroughs of Last Chance, deep within the area known as La Ultima Opportunidad. The Harlot is far and widely known as a hotspot of criminal activity- a strong remnant of Last Chance's bygone years, when the law was a distant memory and money bought anything you could see. The manager, Moirae Solenne, is in 'charge' of the establishment, and makes sure all rules and laws of the owner are carried out.
Regent: Madam Isadora Argo
12,000 Watchmen. The Watchmen are a trained and structured militia, comprised of the citizens of Last Chance, who have taken the city up on its offer for better housing and food allowances for themselves and their families in return for service in the Watchmen. Because they are local men and women, incidences of corruption are more likely within the Watchmen than within the CDF, but it's estimated to have declined 25% over the last year. The Watchmen are commonly trained in high technology, pyromancy, and telekinetics.
To counter the Watchmen and to stand in opposition to what they view as the 'pacification' of Last Chance, La Ultima Opportunidad's gangs have chosen to militarize some of their forces and, in specific areas, police their own streets. These roving enforcement gangs are obviously bound by no law and enforce a wide range of infractions from 'snitching' to 'this ain't yer hood' to 'bein' a bitch'.
Recently, the Regency has turned its eye toward the Health and Welfare of its citizens. Quarterly, Last Chance holds Innoculation Fairs to immunize its younger generations and open health checkups for those who cannot take advantage of its growing medical sector. Additionally, as temperatures descend toward freezing, Last Chance has responded by opening several free shelters and making them, and their onboard health clinics, available to any who need them.
The gangs of La Ultima Opportunidad have made their own overtures to the unaligned, offering onboarding incentives to newcomers and flooding the drug market with very addictive narcotics in their attempt to combat Fortuna's 'open hand' policies.
10,000 person Civil Defense Force (CDF) - this force is very well equipped, trained by the military and assigned for five-year terms from bases from across Terrenus. Permanent assignments and ranks above 3rd are provided with enhanced training and equipment provided by the Civic Safety & Defense Academy (CSDA). Training often consists of enhanced crowd control, elementalism, with some specific members trained in unspecified psionics.
Madame Argo's first year brought major reform to Last Chance's educational institutions. With the financial backing of Argus Incorporated, she was able to provide free basic education to all children within Last Chance, and additional job training to any adults which relocated to Fortuna from Opportunidad.
In addition, the CSDA is one of the continent's premiere military training apparati- enlisted men and women apply from across Terrenus in hopes of winning one of the few billets available to non-citizens. There is a waiting list, of course, but the line moves and the curriculum is worth the wait. With courses on 'Urban Uprisings', 'Defending the Interdimensional Threat' and 'Winning Land Wars in Asia', certification from the CSDA is a gold-star on any officer's resume.
- Elnic Fuller: Patriarch of the largest family-run gang in Last Chance. After Argus moved in to improve infrastructure and minimize crime, Fuller died during a gang war and his family broke into smaller, weaker units.
- Michael Blacke: CEO of Argus Incorporated
- Michelle Beauregard: CIO of Argus Incorporated
- Reflections: A tale of betrayal and crime, Reflections is a brief look into the criminal underworld of Last Chance that involves Miss Blonde and a few other hires guns making a violent exchange for a rare and stolen material from the Fuller Crime Family.
- Two if by sea: The Legion of Doom attacked Last Chance with several allies and were met by a Peacekeeper and organized defense forces (see post for specifics). After a day-long battle on the beach and fringes of the city, the Legion of Doom escaped badly beaten, but with the supplies they had come in hopes for, and several of their rank taken prisoner for interrogation.
- For the greater good: Operating out of a bar called Just Ice, vigilante organization Justice made a public declaration of war against Last Chance's criminal underground. Over the course of a single day Justice operatives killed a habitual sex offender, several smugglers, and infiltrated a major corporation suspected of unscrupulous practices. Although most of the violence was limited to criminals, the city suffered notable collateral damage; a large chemical fire sent noxious fumes through the streets, a minor bridge was destroyed, and a spire was ripped down from a building and dropped into the middle of the street, destroying part of the road.
- Less-world: Corporal Anouk Enouk reported to Paotr's Well in Last Chance. She dove in, and nearly drowned to enter an underworld called “Less-world”. She met several strange creatures, but eventually returned with the silver finger she was sent to retrieve. She believes that Less-world is actually a magical land made up of failed wishes.
- Chasing shadows: An agent of a group that calls themselves Justice helps the editor-in-chief follow through on a story that has resulted in two deaths and one missing persons case. Following the trail of the last reporter takes Jericho to a brothel, where he discovers a connection between Last Chance's criminal element and the Argus company.
- The great last chance spire: Eleven drunk heroes met at Cutthroat Dagger Tavern. Only three of them reached the Spire, where a cabbage merchant sacrificed himself to open the doors. Those three were soon joined by another three heroes from Blairville, and they fought against the Spire's last line of defense - golems. After a valiant battle, the Spire was destroyed by huge beasts and the heroes toasted their victory.
- Watching the Watchmen BURN: Overcome by the social and economic unrest, the citizens of La Ultima Opportunidad riot and, aided by other criminal agents and agents of chaos, tear down the greylands Watchtower.
- 24AO: Argus Inc. is changing the landscape of Last Chance.
- The Wayward Harlot is shut down
- Hanging of an Innocent Man: Summary coming soon...
- No More Room in Hell: Local gravediggers discover a massive, ghoul-filled catacomb under the local cemetery. Two brave souls followed the rumors and cleared out the catacombs with a Book of Holding found in catacombs themselves.
- Deliverance: Years ago (22AO), two strangers meet and fight in the center of Last Chance. Their meeting resulted in one of the largest fires known to Last Chance history. People die, buildings burn, and a sixth of the slums are burned destroyed.
At its origins, Last Chance was created as a final refuge for the hunted, by the hunted. No one ever knew if the government sanctioned its existence or if the Terran officials were simply content to let the criminals have their sanctuary, their 'Last Opportunity', and simply wait while they murdered each other in never ending war-- that's what it was, of course. A never-ending war. Gangs rose and gangs fell; organizations flourished and were destroyed. Warlords, tyrants and corrupt officials grew to power and were then, summarily, extinguished.
Last Chance was unforgiving.
Its ruler was one Glinda Double, who had the auspicious beginnings of a whore, and kept them through her adult life. Born in the 'Red Light district' to a family of drug addicts who sold her to avoid having to pay for her food or clothing, she started out without a chance in the world. That's the thing about luck, though, it just doesn't stand up to smarts-- and Glinda had smarts. Not the fancy educated kind, but the kind that feed you words to avoid fists, blushes to avoid insults, and instincts to avoid cheapskates. Glinda grew up a house slave, but soon proved to be an artisan at the oldest profession in the world, and spent her wonder years selling her body for food, drugs, money or whatever else of worth she could get. She had it and they paid for it. Did they ever.
During this time of relative financial security and freedom, Glinda broke out of 'the life' and started her own brothel. The ins and outs of the powerful coincided all too often with the base and the depraved and Glinda realized that she was right at home in the cutthroat world of politics. So began the political career of Glinda Double, who assassinated and fucked her way up the political ladder until she reached the coveted throne of Last Chance's 'Madame'.
For years she ruled; tumultuous, tortured years, where the law was absent or abusive and if you didn't 'know someone' you didn't know anyone. Personally, Glinda thrived, but Last Chance continued to spiral into chaos and depravity. Her friends, favorites and financial backers were lifted up out of the grime, but everyone else was left to wallow.
And then she abdicated.
The new ruler of Last Chance is one Isidora Argo; a nobody, really, but . . . oh, such things being accomplished there.
Edited by supernal