Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Decopunk Metropolis Encounters part 3: Dreamlands Babylon

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Ok so here is final part of my Metropolis series and a bit of an into to my Mesopotamian gaming. I always wanted to do a book like a 3rd ed GURPS history sourcebook or BRP iceland or Rome for this setting. I will run some this year. Possibly not writing about DnD is blog Suicide but im going from 3 DnD based games to one by running BRP/Cthulhu/RQ and Marvel. I will get my DnD fantasy stuff going again and finish my Gothic series and start on probably the goblin mine zone. Need to get my home rules finished and do some more art.

I will compile and upgrade all this into single book and include the novel by Thea Von Harbau with expanded location descriptions. Im pretty happy with the vibe I have so far. So here is some stuff on Babylon Dreamlands in Cthulhu Metropolis. I might make up some money for it. Heroditus worth mentioning too. Some of his data seems spot on other facts have no evidence but were subjects for Victorian paintings.

In the film New Babylon is the central control hub of the city and appears on the city bank notes. It is during hallucinations transposed with the Tower of Babel myth from the bible. While Im happy to have some christian myth I also want to have a bit of history and to include feel of the film Intolerance the 1916 DW Griffith film here. It is kind of a silent cinematic universe. I have also before detailed Moloch the machine god who lives through organisational systems like cities, machines and computers. He has some influences over the dreams of the city and bends it's systems to human suffering. He is the demonic face seen in dreams of the great machines and doorways of the city by those having dreams.

Other dreams include symbolism from the gothic cathedrals especially the dance of death and the seven deadly sins.

To enter the dreamlands sensitive souls might be struck at any time by visions transposed over features of the city as moloch over a machine, or the tower of Babel over New Babylon central building or see the art in a cathedral come to life.

Others might have visions in moments of extreme stress, illness, near death or drug abuse. Special drugs might achieve this effect and even be used by cults or evil doers. When first entering the dreamlands the character will gain a dreaming skill at 1%.

Most accidental dreams are short lived and overlap with reality. Deliberate dreams of experienced dreamer may go deeper into the cities dreamlands.  Religious visions of Christians and demonic dreams of Moloch haunting the dreamer may be warnings or threats. The deepest dreams are those where the dreamer seems to awaken as a previous incarnation in Ancient Babylon.

This is not a historic one, it has been shaped in part with thousands of years of Christian and Jewish myth. It is a silent movie version with inaccuracies of post Victorian archaeology and translations. I have included some images from Intolerance as examples. Events may loop and repeat over again until a lesson of the city is understood or acted upon. Continuity is not important here. Mash up any Mesopotamian cultures from Sumeria, Babylon, Assyria or Akkad.

In the film Metropolis it is used as a parable of the distance between workers and the rulers. Intolerance features a shrewish girl refusing marriage, men and priests and witnessing the violent overthrow of the city. Stories will be personal or metaphors of what is happening in the waking world. A group of dreamers might combine stories.

Your Status in the waking world inluences dreams in Babylon.

A worker with status of 01-20 is a slave with only a loincloth and is clean shaven.
A servant, foreman, teacher, clerk with status of 21-80 is a citizen and wears a kilt and possibly has a rod ( a symbol of middle management and measurement) or possibly a staff or scales, with a beard, makeup and a fancy haircut. Women will possibly get more jewelry and clothing.
A ruling class person with status or 81+ is a ruler with rich robes of office (priest, judge, officer) and a staff or shortsword (symbols of judgement and execution). Those approaching 100 might get a crown.

Once in dreamlands some story will unfold with the character/s involved directly and often a strong parallel  or a warning in waking world . When the story unfolds it may be episodic needing many dreams or may give a complete story. In a sense the city is an entity that seeks t resolve itself. Hostile entities, persons or Moloch may interfere and attempt to waken or kill the dreamer or warn them away.

A dreamer who return often may live a double life with a home, possessions and lovers. You may meet other aware dreamers but also unconscious versions of other citizens even those dead in realworld like your parents. An experienced dreamer may create things or have magical effects like the Dreamlands rules in the official game product. If you die in the dreamlands you will take a d20/d6 SAN loss. You will probably be unable to return (perhaps another dreamer could restore you with dreaming skill and POW expenditure). losing a limb might cause a SAN loss and a odd feeling when you awaken and could be missing when you return.

While in the dream city this table may be used for sights and encounters.

Dreamland Babylon for Cthulhu Metropolis

01 Workers rioting around the great tower of Babel
02 Invaders attack city killing and murdering and robbing
03 Procession of a king with servants, musicians and wives
04 Procession of a high priest with lesser clergy and servants 
05 Slaves dragging a colossal statue of a god, king or beast
06 Procession of a god's statue with servants, musicians and slaves
07 Procession of a high priestess with sacred virgins and holy animals
08 A judge holding court over some dispute
09 A warrior executing men with a sword and stacking heads in pyramids
10 A witch being cast into a fast flowing river for judgement
11 A foreman or bailiff beating a prisoner with a rod
12 A procession  of soldiers from war with captives, livestock, loot and a foreign god's statue in chains
13 A man making idols in a shop of holy paraphernalia
14 Students learning with clay tablets from a strict teacher
15 Enemy soldiers crossing a river or sneaking past sentries to enter a city 
16 A procession of chariots to or from a war
17 King in chariot shooting lions
18 Workers building a temple or zigguratt    
19 Workers in terrible accident kills many
20 Sacred marriage ceremony, king and priestess walk into shrine atop ziggurat
21 Bridal auction where girls auctioned off as religious rite
22 Prostitutes wave from windows at passers by
23 King battles a beast hand to hand with sword or wrestling
24 Bird headed genius (or costumed priest) sprinkles holy water on sacred tree
25 A walk through the luxurious hanging gardens
26 A walk through the great library where busy scribes at work
27 A shedu (a human headed winged bull or lion) comes to life to give a message
28 A sphinx statue comes to life and riddles dreamer
29 Demons with lion heads and bird feet drag screaming man to underworld 
30 An exorcist performs his duty
31 Astrologers consulting stars and delivering a verdict
32 King ritually dismembers a dragon (sacrifice dressed up)
33 A king on the tower shoots heavens with bow, blood drips from sky 
34 Soothsayer dismembers animal and examines its liver
35 A clerk measuring fields with his rod or staff
36 A clerk taking note of tributes in form of grain, beer and animals
37 A great temple feast layed out before god with drunken merry priests
38 Dancing girls perform great ballet in front of a leader 
39 A great bizarre with exotic goods and merchants
40 People gathering and meeting by the great Ishtar gate
41 Musicians celebrating about great golden calf
42 Slave driver whipping slaves at work or tied to punishment post
43 Men taking oath before leaders
44 Father and elders stoning a ungrateful child
45 Animals being sacrificed before a god for a great feast
46 Men being flayed and hides nailed to a wall
47 Executing witches of Elamites
48 Foreigners bringing tribute to their imprisoned god in dungeon of temple 
49 Procession of subject diplomats in different dress, bringing tributes to ruler
50 Train of camels and donkeys bringing goods to market
51 Burning a unlawful sorcerer
52 People gathering goods on baggage train to leave city to settle other lands
53 Merchant caught cheating with scales gets hands cut off
54 Drunken robbers try to rob dreamer
55 Barbarian wants to fight over a woman
56 Chariot nearly runs dreamer down
57 Men weaving huge rafts to save animals from yearly flood
58 Women weaving a huge house
59 Men in woven coracles crossing river or canal
60 Horse prow ship moves down canal ladened with goods
61 A god statue talks to dreamer
62 Sacred barge moves down canal with statue of a god to visit other city
63 A sorcerer offers protective charms
64 A witch curses the dreamer
65 Shepherd with herds mooning over lost love playing his pipes
66 Girl with farmer and shepherd competing for love
67 Drunks urinating in street make lewd suggestions
68 Heavily made up priest offers dreamer to visit their chambers
69 A marriage procession with great festivities and feast
70 A funeral procession with wailing mourners
71 Evil plague spirits in smokey form swarm around dreamer
72 Madness spirits attack sanity and inflict sorrowful conditions on victim
73 Moaning ghost  begs for vengeance or justice
74 Fishermen with nets singing as bring in catch
75 Sacred tree with holy jeweled serpent offers prophecy, healing or wisdom
76 Public lamentations, sad songs of regrets performed in public
77 Man on deathbed, wailing women and various healers trying to help
78 Fire! crowds panic and flee knocking over people and stalls
79 Plague! people  die in the streets moaning and crying to gods
80 Flood! overflowing canal or dyke releases water into a street
81 Stampeding herd beast thunder out of control 
82 An bull or lion loose on the streets menaces public
83 Witness a shooting star or significant constellation
84 Fierce dry winds blow searing sand, everybody takes cover 
85 Filthy nomads harass you, try and provoke a fight
86 Builders repairing wall or building, leader laying ceremonial keystone
87 Sculptor in workshop making statues
88 Potters with wheels and painters decorating pots in street
89 Musicians and harpists performing, a poet recites epic such as Gilgamesh
90 Spinners and wool dyers making cloth, while weavers make tapestries and clothes
91 Children playing games, swimming, laughing, shouting and chasing each other
92 Crippled begger cries out for food or money
93 Exotic animals and slaves from far off lands in exotic caravan
94 Rich men dueling to the death over eye for an eye honour killing
95 Delicious cakes, bread and beer for sale with special price today 
96 Recognise a citizen from waking worlds dream counterpart
97 A dark shadow comes over you, a gateway becomes maw of a horrible beast
98 Demons or ghosts pour from crack in ground to torment you
99 A dreamer recognises you and approaches
100 A great apocalypse strikes the city with fire, war or wrath of gods, try to wake up!

Many scenes below based on artworks

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