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  1. Presently only the Main Hub thread is open for posting of new plots. All new visitors are encouraged to post here instead of making a new thread. If posting for a specific quest/plotline, please include the name in your post header. Thank you! ABSALOM AUTONOMOUS ARCHITECTURAL ECOLOGIC ZONE 'The Free City' Geography The Architectural Ecologic Zone - the 'Arcology' - is a colossal megastructure comprised of scintillating agri-domes, elegant spires, and graceful monorails - encompassing a microsociety of about twenty thousand souls, and myriad chattel. Its towering heights lord over the desolate remains of a once pristine alpine forest, the only point of light in the sprawling wasteland. Holographic advertisements loom over the churning industry of the surrounding badlands, acclaiming the virtues of this jewel of self-sufficient civilization. Organization Absalom is divided among its shareholders, with the position of owner and leader granted to the majority stake. While some maintenance of the overall structure is maintained by the owner, individual levels and wings of the arcology are the responsibility of their private Holders. As such, interior aesthetics of one area may vary drastically from another. Because the fundamental right of a citizen is property, those that own no property, or whose property, including their life, is rendered forfeit by incurred debts, are stripped of citizenship and relegated to servitude and slavery until such a time as the debt is repaid. In reality, however, because a lack of means to protect one’s assets is commonly considered forfeiture, even those completing their contracted enslavement often immediately find themselves back in bondage just to be able to feed themselves. Free citizens, but whom own less than 1% of the arcology, are a fragile middle class that dwindles daily, and are only replenished by new arrivals to this futuristic ‘utopia’. Government and Politics Contracts rule all but the most informal of exchanges. Because there are no non-private adjudicators, private middlemen almost inevitably favor the party with greater influence in disputes regarding these contracts, making justice a hopeless pursuit for most. When adjudication fails, squads of private security forces are deployed, leading to brief but incredibly violent shareholder turf wars in which one party will attempt to seize the assessed debt it feels it is owed. The common result is total seizure of assets, to cover the ‘cost’ of the operation, and subsequent enslavement. Somewhat paradoxically, the average day is relatively peaceful and secure for the bulk of the arcology’s denizens, as the threat of wholesale destruction and the ubiquity of high-powered personal weaponry make most sane people strongly reconsider the use of physical force, or attempting an unlawful act. Nonetheless, criminal elements do exist, inseparably entwined into the fabric of the ultra-capitalist society, functioning as yet another tool for ambitious holders to undermine their peers. The spirit of the city's founding was based on the anarcho-capitalist ideal of the Non-Aggression Principle - the idea that the supreme right of a free man is complete dominion in his own affairs so long as they do not tread on the right of another to exercise the same. In practice, like many utopian ideologies, this often boils down to who has the bigger gun. Nonetheless, remnants of this spirit continue to persist in the legal contract morass of Absalom's laws, and the sight of heavily armed citizens going about daily business, or debt slaves selling their bodies in public is both common and praised. The Holders comprise the effective ruling class of Absalom. Collectively, they own over ninety percent of the structure, with free citizens owning the remaining eight or so percent between them, which includes personages such as company CEOs, celebrities, and other independently rich individuals. The Holders are even richer - moguls that command monopolies on industries, services, or goods, raking in profits from several corporations or broad swathes of rental properties. A vanishing few members of the middle class have the deed to their own apartment or business, who the Holders usually allow to remain unmolested to give the impression that the founding myth of Absalom continues; allowing an enterprising soul to pull themselves to a place of worth in society. Everyone else is a servant or slave, whether by debt or choice. They live in Absalom but hold no political power, having no say in decisions that affect them. Women fall into this demographic with near total certainty - even those that are well-off and seemingly independent are kept in that luxury by powerful men. Chauvinism is not merely common in Absalom but almost universal - it is understood that the weaker sex by nature desires policy that is ruinous to free enterprise and free association, and thus is disenfranchised at every opportunity. Nonetheless, the enigmatic Lady of Absalom, Spaide, who 'rules' as majority owner... seems perplexingly untouched by this attitude. Technology and Magic Power generation forms the spearhead of Absalom's technological development, its ever-hungering industries and wasteful lights needing a boundlessly increasing supply of electricity. Six immense nuclear fusion reactors, each housed within one of the support columns holding up the entire structure, currently provide power to all, including the leeching underbelly that clings desperately to their onerous, oppressive warmth. Advances in material science and nanomachinery recovered from the husk of the Sarcophagus has allowed a general eschewing of chemical propellants in both civil and weapon engineering applications. Sleek monorails ride super-conducting rails, jetcycles accelerate using state-of-the-art ionic plasma engines, and wireless mechanical devices of all sorts carry incredibly sophisticated, energy-dense batteries or capacitors. Coupled with the relative fragility of many luxury areas, personal armaments in Absalom strongly favor melee and directed energy solutions, manifesting in a wonderfully creative array of absolutely batshit crazy close-range weapon platforms, from arc-sabres that weld metal on contact, to pneumatic spike-hammers and plasma torches. Despite this, projectile weaponry continues to be regularly employed outside the megastructure, and is common among more heavily armed mercenaries and security forces, taking the form of rail or gaussian accelerated slugthrowers. Magic, too, has its place in Absalom, though is largely underutilized with the exception of a few interested parties. Still, new arrivals with magical abilities or items will find they largely continue to function as normal, and the sight of a corporate magus in action is a memorable encounter indeed. Foreign Relations Absalom's foreign relations are currently still formative, but are generally cordial. The owner recognizes that national governments, even those with inferior technology, command resource monopolies that a neofeudal city-state cannot hope to match in open conflict. Trade and diplomacy are conducted openly to import what little the arcology cannot produce on its own, and to market its own products far and wide. Military The Arcology’s armed forces consist chiefly of the private security forces hired and outfitted by the aggregate of the Holders. However, the owner separately employs a full company of mercenaries loyal to herself, as well as a fleet of 200 semi-autonomous armored drones that can rapidly deploy anti-riot ordinance as well as lethal munitions if necessary. Lastly, in case of imminent invasion, the arcology can muster the Free City Militia, consisting of the Holders themselves, outfitted with fantastically futuristic power armors, exo-skeletons, and astoundingly devastating weaponry - the best money can buy. Economy Absalom's economy is a complicated mix of services and goods. It's a lucrative locale for companies or governments to contract out the labor necessary for product manufacture, being that labor is so cheap and available here due to the prevalence of indentured servitude. In a way you could say that the Free City's biggest export is labor. Workers of all sort are exploited within the territory of Absalom. Factory workers, laborers, programmers, service clerks, and sex workers are the most common types. A sizable portion of the population is under some contract or another, often of indentured servitude, binding them to a term of unpaid service. These terms, and by extension the people for which they are made, can be bought and sold. In the sprawling slums that comprise the hinterlands around the main tower there are dozens of industrial sectors dedicated to the processing of raw materials. These factories are populated largely by the lowest caste of people, and as they are indentured, their labor is sold cheaply. Sexual gratification is its own commodity, and gratuitous sexualization pervades society at nearly every level. Moving within the tower, scores of programmers, accountants, salesmen, craftsmen, etc are bought and sold from one corporation to the next. The trade of indentured servitude contracts is common with workers that have special skills. Another practice is for companies to own nothing but these contracts, selling or renting the rights to various corporations as freelance indentured servants. Absalom produces high tech and completed goods. Anything from portable electronics, to medical prosthesis, or even fully functional life auxiliary Androids. These kinds of goods are what most companies in Absalom sell abroad for money and goods. The main import of the city is raw materials and food stuffs, as these things are difficult to find or produce. If you can dream of something and there is a way for that thing to be manufactured then you can probably find it in Absalom. Just don't think about the exploitation that built it and you can sleep easy. In true anarcho-capitalist fashion, no 'official' currency exists - theoretically any transaction where buyer and seller agree on an exchange constitutes a legal sale. Of course, considerations for the sake of practicality and convenience still requires some manner of standardized exchange. Since the Free City lives and dies on the ubiquity of usable energy, the EUC or 'Equivalent Use Credit' constitutes the digital currency of Absalom, with each unit equivalent to the use of one kilowatt-hour of electricity. The relative stability of the value of the commodity (it is perpetually in demand) simultaneously has a strong, persistent deflating effect as well as a fantastic amount of granularity for bookkeeping. Exchange of credits is done via biosignature authenticated chip cards or implants at the point of sale, backed by individual secure deposits at Personal Vault companies. (The term 'bank' is heavily frowned upon). Personal Vault companies are forbidden to speculate with the contents of the accounts the way a traditional bank would, so instead they charge onerous transaction and security fees. One always has the option to host their hard-earned credits on personal architecture... but is the lack of fees worth the risk? Identity theft is a death sentence in Absalom. History Absalom is not a nation, not in the sense that a traditional state exists. Rather, having no actual governing body, it is a microcosm of individual organizations attempting to live in proximity. It is generally agreed between corporations that a certain respect for common law is necessary, but why do all of these groups choose to operate here? The reason is simple, and it has a name: The Sarcophagus. The Sarcophagus is a structure that exists buried deep underground at the very heart of Absalom. The only portion that exists above ground is a vast open hole - a hole over which the main body of the city is suspended. It has been speculated that this structure, The Sarcophagus, is actually a ship from some unknown space faring civilization that crash landed in the wilds of Lagrimosa in ancient ages past. Nobody knows for sure how it got there. Back when the city first formed, it was occupied by tomb raiders and grave robbers who went into the opening to look for treasure, and what they found was both wondrous and terrifying. The Sarcophagus was filled with autonomous machines, hyper advanced technology, unheard of metals, and most perplexingly it was also stuffed to the brim with the living dead. Not zombies, so to speak, but rather the shells of beings whose organic components have been commandeered by the very technology that built their home. These early adventurers waded into the depths of The Sarcophagus. Those lucky, or skilled enough to return came back with tech that had previously been unheard of. It was these few who began the very first corporations of Absalom. These days, ventures into The Sarcophagus are rare and dangerous. It is less profitable than it was in the beginning as an understanding of most of the tech within has been reached. With the ability to replicate many of the devices laying inside, it's seen as a net loss to send people there, even if they do return alive. Even so, it is estimated that a mere five percent of the structure has been explored, with untold miles of corridors and chambers laying unseen beneath the wasteland below, and around Absalom. Locales/Points of Interest Fatal Seduction - As one of the few non-incorporated businesses in Absalom, this club has a reputation for having a little bit of everything, if you are bold enough. Exotic dancers grace the stages day and night, with private booths and lounges for more intimate interactions. The open bar is financed by a hefty cover fee, and robust security ensures Ryker Albrecht's investment remains profitable. Although the kingpin rules supreme in his establishment, it is also completely devoid of any recording devices and thoroughly padded with sound-absorbing wall panels, making it one of the safest places to conduct 'business' in the Free City... as long as you don't mind the head-pounding music. Arcades - Rather than the flashy game cabinet centers this name might invoke in one's imagination, these establishments are commonly found tucked away along the sides of wayfares, with warm rows of subtle lighting casting an inviting glow onto discreet booths with luxurious, padded interiors. For a few credits, one may then indulge in their basest desires upon the most unfortunate of Free City denizens - the arcade slave. Restrained into their working compartment for shifts of up to six hours at a time and powerless to resist, this is where those women (and sometimes men) whose usefulness in other aspects have expired to their owner, are sold to be used until expired. The Pantheon - The name a callback to pagan temples of old, the Pantheon is the slang term for the casino and game levels of Absalom, most notably the row of establishments all owned by Dual Face, Inc. On-site attractions include complimentary accommodations on sufficient chip buy-in, table and card games, slots, horse and jetcycle racing, five-star dining, nightly shows, and more! Stay as long as you like, and if you win big, your stay is immortalized on the golden obelisk in the central avenue. Just remember, the house always wins in the end... The Suburbs - This is the mocking name the citizens of Absalom use to refer to the slums that sprawl underneath and around the arcology. Polluted, stinking, irradiated and miserable, the rotting underbelly of Absalom is host to the poor souls of Absalom who have lost everything to debt. A hollow facsimile of life above can be found in parts, with flickering neon lights advertising grimy sex clubs, back alley medical clinics, and dive bars, surrounded on all sides by heaping shanty towns and mountains of junk and trash. It is perpetually swelteringly hot, a byproduct of the obscene heat and noise pollution from above. Why would you come here? Penthouse Park - The highest tier of Absalom is its sky-jutting spire, encompassing about a hundred or so apartments for the absolute wealthiest citizens of the Free City. Its hanging hydroponic and levitating gardens lavishly surround the twin open-platform lifts that ferry the most important personages of the city up to their slice of heaven. Perpetually illuminated in the sick haze of the air surrounding Absalom, its piercing beacon can be seen as far as Predator's Keep on a clear night. Access to this area is incredibly restricted, and only the most important of dignitaries or guests can ever hope to experience the nauseating level of luxury within. For the fortunate few servants and slaves that find employment in these areas, life is as good as any citizen's, if not better. Canon Presently only the Main Hub thread is open for posting of new plots. All new visitors are encouraged to post here instead of making a new thread. Quests/Plot Hooks Lagrimosa ErgoTech Expo - Ergo Tech, the foremost biotechnology and brain-machine interface developer in Absalom, is gearing up to host a one-of-a-kind technology exposition open to investors, scientists, foreign dignitaries, and even mundane citizens for a 'nominal' fee. Covering two weeks of exhibitions, other entities are welcome to rent out convention space to display and sell their own products as well. New technologies of any kind are eagerly welcomed, though of course the focus is Ergo Tech's own specializations. All convention pass holders will enjoy complimentary housing for the duration of their stay, as well as access to the vast array of other entertainment available (on their own dime, of course). This is a two, possibly three part quest that will encompass applications to display or visit at the convention, social interactions and dalliances in and around the convention halls, and of course the expositions themselves. Corporate sabotage and secret stealing are the order of the day, so come prepared to defend your intellectual property (or steal someone else's)! Difficulty: Varies, up to 10 players Weekend at Sonny's - Sonny, a notorious philandering rock star, has died of a drug overdose days before his life insurance policy matures and becomes claimable. Either as his agents, or outsiders posing as groupies/fans, maintain the facade of his continued lifestyle for at least two days, then claim the insurance money without being tossed in jail for fraud. Difficulty: Medium, 2-3 players Survey of the Barrier Peaks - While the Sarcophagus is a nightmare landscape all on its own, its massive bulk shaped the surrounding land in strange and unstable ways during its ancient impact. As (expendable) surveyors, head out into the blasted hills surrounding Absalom and take seismological, meteorological, and radiation readings at six different points, all while battling the hostile environment and aggressive, mutated wildlife. Additional rewards available for a detailed map of the findings and surrounding region. Difficulty: Hard, 2-4 players Delving the Sarcophagus - Absalom has two kinds of tourist traps - the shining, never-sleeping nightlife of resorts, casinos, brothels and clubs - and the existential terror that constitutes that yawning crypt below the megacity: The Sarcophagus. Anyone can enter, no questions asked... but no one will go looking for the return of your corpse, either. If the technological treasures within still entice your bottomless greed, by all means, head into the endless deeps. Difficulty: Extreme, any number of players. [This is an on-going plot hook for solo players or groups and actively GMed. Contact @Sigil Warden or @Spooky Mittens for assistance.] Completed Plots
  2. Contact Sigil Warden as active management for Absalom The information below is purely for archival purposes. For the current lore go to Absalom - Overview
  3. Owning and operating a nightclub meant you were the first one in and the last one out. Closing was tedious--correction, closing properly was tedious. Cleaning up after a night full of booze, drugs, and many other vices was very time consuming. Most of the time Ryker had help, but not tonight, as considerate as he had felt he was now regretting that decision. If uninterrupted, preparing the Club for the morning shift would take him a couple hours. So as soon as the last person stumbled out the front doors, he went to work, picking up every bottle and glass, disposing of them properly. Glass wear went into the sink behind the bar and bottles went into the trash. Once that had been accomplished, out came the washrag, wiping up the tables and bar top with a combination of bleach and soap. Then came the chairs, placing them neatly atop the tables. Last but not least, sweeping and mopping, which was probably the most time consuming out of all the other tasks. People were messy. But before he could truly close for the night, Ryker had to enjoy a vice of his own. Taking a seat at the bar, he would withdraw a nicely rolled joint from his jacket pocket. Placing it firmly between his lips before lighting it. It didn't take long before a majority of the club reeked of potent cannabis, as plumes of smoke were exhaled from his nostrils only to forever linger. "What a night." A sigh of relief escaped him as his eyes slowly but surely glazed over. @Voldemort
  4. Absalom. A dystopian nightmare, spawned from the adherence to ultracapitalist principles, lacking any oversight or governance. This cesspit of slavery and vice was responsible for grandiose suffering felt my thousands of people in the streets below. In the high central tower, however, their moans of agony were silent and foreign. Absalom's high society was sterile and demure. People were robotically pleasant in passing, and money changed hands here as a matter of habit. To find yourself in the upper echelon of the Archology's high society was usually the result of countless atrocities committed below and out of sight. One such individual, Annalise Schuyler, was born into this society. Her father, a purveyor of unique technology that helped integrate the use of supernatural abilities with modern technology, was able to maintain his position in this place through the very specialized skills he possessed, along with his many holding in other corporations. He was part of a network which his company sat at the head of, and within this particular sector the name Schuyler was synonymous with royalty. Annalise was the very image of privilege. She wanted for nothing. She knew not a single days hardship. Every minute of every day had been filled with dozens of yes men and servants. The word "No" was not something Annalise could even understand. So when she asked her daddy for a new bodyguard, she simple couldn't refuse her. Leopold Schuler, her brother and former guard, awaited his replacement at their family's private shuttle pad. The woman on question should be arriving any minute, but he seemed in no hurry. @Houndy Poochykins
  5. Fatal Seduction was thriving; which was a double edged sword, on one hand clientele increased significantly and on the other hand they were slowly but surely expressing less interest on the entertainment the establishment had to offer. They wanted variety. They wanted exotic. Ryker agreed and sought out entertainment the City of Absalom had never seen before. In order to work for Fatal Seduction, an entertainer had to go through a screening process, assuming they passed they were placed on a probation, so to speak. An entertainer had a preset amount of time to make a certain amount of money to be considered for full time employment. With his high standards, most didn't make it through the screening. It was rather simple; if a potential employee could turn him on, his customers would be putty in their hands. Which spelled money. Ryker's schedule was hectic, if he wasn't interviewing, he was off running his other line of work. Perhaps a secretary would be beneficial. That was something he often pondered, but it would have to be someone he could trust. Someone who was capable of running his club in his absence. Sure, there were plenty of people on his payroll that could fit that role, but there was one problem with that, they were all men. Hired muscle to do Ryker's dirty work. He couldn't trust them to keep an eye on his beloved Club, or to put their noses where they didn't belong, among many other things. It would have to be a woman. So that's what he was looking for today, a secretary. But at the same time, they had to fall under the same category all of his employees did. They had to be beautiful and above all else, exotic. Just his clientele seeing them would put their wandering imaginations at ease. "Sir, I believe your interview has finally arrived, should I escort her to your office?" A brutish voice came to life inside his earpiece. "Please." Ryker answered. And so he waited. @Houndy Poochykins @Witches Brew
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