The City Of Paxia

The City of Paxia

Description

zeppelinsmall-1.jpg?t=1273051155

One of the most striking things about Paxia is its size. It is an unabashedly massive urban landscape, sprawling in all directions, including upwards. Built on the eastern coast of the island of Agnesia, Paxia spreads itself over countless square miles, spreading and enveloping the mouth of the River Pax. The city is home to millions of people, and filled with buildings of every shape and form. It isn’t static, either; it is continually growing, expanding outward, enveloping smaller towns and cities, its growth outpacing the infrastructure continually being built.

One of the other striking things is the fact that Paxia, when you look at it for a while, is a city of harmonious- and sometimes not so harmonious- contrasts. Towering corporate buildings cast their shadow over short, long government centres, whilst new buildings made with cutting-edge techniques are raised next to the crumbling relics of the past; the mysterious, arcane and esoteric cults of the old magic mumble their spells, whilst mere miles away, numberless groups of magitech engineers unveil their new inventions, built to be accessible and cheap; a weak low elf from a kingdom absorbed centuries ago dwells in inescapable squalor, whilst a mile above his head, the wealthy, powerful newcomer Eladrin sink themselves into unimaginable excesses and hedonism; graceful zeppelins hurl themselves through the air, whilst below the earth dwell entire communities, living in near-isolation from the outside world.

It is a dangerous city, an adventurous one, one that has abandoned the reassuring familiarity of the unchanging old ways for the fickle, exciting and ambitious delights of the unexplored new ways. It is a city where anything is possible; a lounge singer might secretly be a murderer; a corporate princess a rogue; a robot engineer an AI sympathiser; a mute demon hunter a demon vessel. It is a city limited primarily by imagination; all other limits are rapidly disappearing beneath a tide of unlimited possibility as well as danger.

Paxian Geography

Some two million people live in Paxia, the vast majority living in cheap apartment buildings. The oldest parts of the city are along the river Pax and the coastline, the first areas to be settled; the areas around the river are mostly residential, whilst the coastline is littered with ports, warehouses and dry-docks. Near the centre of the eastern half of the city sits the government precinct, home of the Agnesian Parliament, the Agnesian Senate, dozens of embassies, courthouses as well as City Hall and the treasury. Near this lies St. Patriclus’s Station, the main junction for the magitech-fuelled trains that run all over Paxia. Many corporations have their headquarters near the Station, usually within an hours’ walk.

Towards the western side of the city lies the industrial area, a massive, smog-choked area of the city filled with factories, mass-producing the magitechnological items that now flood Agnesia, from ubiquitous magitech lamps to super-expensive telepathy phones. Weapons, gadgets, vehicles, if it’s been invented, then the Paxian factories are probably producing it.

Paxian Society

Classes

Paxian society is far looser and less binding than it used to be in ages past. The age of firmly set social level has given way to the age of free men and women no longer bound by feudal or magical ties. Instead, people can fluctuate through the levels of society freely, depending on the whims of fate; a poor but skilled man might one day become rich, whilst a wealthy capitalist can be laid low after a terrible venture.

That isn’t to say society isn’t stratified. In fact, there are often very visible symbols of wealth; many men of wealth travel the skies in luxurious zeppelins, wear fine clothes, and have access to amazingly sophisticated magitechnology that is far too expensive to be produced for the regular man.

The magitech boom can be attributed largely in part to the intervention of adventurous Eladrin; as such, those Eladrin that are present in Paxia tend to be uniformly upper class, and their tastes, fashion and quirks have permeated throughout society. They tend to be the trendsetters, the most privileged and influential members in society. The Eladrin tend to not be overly fond of the lesser members of society, which has also become something of a hallmark amongst the upper class.

Meanwhile, the working class has not ignored the injustices against them. The exploitative measures employed by the wealthy- especially in the factories, such as no minimum wages or safety standards- has embittered the working class. Even worse, the increasingly automated factories are sending a swell of redundant workers onto the street, unable to find jobs. Growing unemployment has led to resentment and anger against the corporate elite that controls Paxia.

Races

Paxia is a world-famous city, attracting thousands of people of all shapes and sizes from all over the world. A native Paxian would not be shocked to find even the most reclusive of peoples in the city. That said, a few races tend to stick out even amongst this hodgepodge.

Humans

Humans are obviously in the vast majority in Paxia, what with it being a human city. They dominate most industries and the government, and are widespread. Not all of the humans are Paxian; many come from other Agnesian cities, or from overseas. To non-Paxians, Paxian humans tend to be stereotyped as bitterly determined and remaining confident, whilst also being ambitious.

Elves

Elves make up the 2nd largest racial group in Paxia. In centuries long past, Agnesia was split between three disparate nations; the kingdom of Paxia, and two Elven kingdoms, Hariel in the south and Miridor in the west. Over time, Paxia’s ambitions to rule the entire island grew too powerful to resist, and both of the Elven kingdoms were destroyed, with their populations absorbed into the fabric of the new state of Agnesia.

As a result, the modern Paxian Elf is culturally similar to the human Paxians; the links to their original cultures have eroded over time. Of course, the incorporation of a large body of Elves into the nation had its own effect on the people of Paxia, usually in a cultural sense; the Elven love of nature, for example, is often quite prevalent in Paxia, a trait that has continued in spite of the massive industrialisation going on; Paxians are known for their great love of gardens and flowers, and it’s accepted that Paxia was the originating place of floriography.

The homelands of the Elves tend to retain strong ties to their original culture. Naturally, they see the encroaching spread of industrialism as a cause for concern. Of course, many Elves have failed to convince the ruling classes of this, and some have turned to more drastic measures.

Dwarves

The technologically minded Dwarves had been working with combining magic and technology centuries before the Eladrin’s heavy influence in Paxia. The current magitech revolution would never have been able to progress as quickly as it did without the help of the Dwarves.

Before magitech, there was a fairly large population of Dwarves in Paxia, and it often fell to them to build many of the buildings and machines that were available to Paxia in those times.

When the revolution started, the Dwarves took to the new and inventive ways of creating magitech with great enthusiasm. Although the Eladrin are generally credited with spurring the revolution in the first place, Dwarven ingenuity has left its mark on Paxia; it was Dwarves who first mastered the creation of zeppelins, trams, trains and the auto-carriages favoured by the rich as well as the mecha-chariots favoured by the army. They also spread into other areas as well, especially ships and, in some instances, Warforged.

By and large, the Dwarves are happy with their lot in life in the new world of magitech. Why wouldn’t they be? It’s a world that offers great opportunity for them.

Eladrin

The Eladrin are practically synonymous with the Magitech Revolution in Paxia. The large influx of Eladrin about 60 years ago spurred a sudden and rapid growth in the new field. In the present day, their presence in Paxian society cannot be ignored, nor, apparently, can it be removed.

The Eladrin dwell in the Feywild, their natural pristine homeland. Most Eladrin have not been to Paxia; those who have came for mostly the same reason. These particular Eladrin, those who were naturally capricious, fickle, and given to indulging in hedonistic delights, saw in Paxia the chance to create for themselves a wonderful playground, one that would satisfy their desires.

Time, it seems, has proven their experiment a success.

Synthetics

The ‘Synthetics’ are not a race as such, but are nevertheless significant enough to warrant observation. Simply put, Synthetics are sentient machines, given life either through magical spells or by accident, and have gained their own personalities and consciousness.

Deliberate granting of autonomy to automata is not an aberration, nor is it difficult; it’s one of the standard pillars of creating automata, in fact. What is considered an aberration is the deliberate granting of consciousness. This is capable through magical spells, often ones used to summon or create life, or adapted from ancient golem-creating texts, modernised and updated for the magitech world.

Accidental granting of autonomy is, in most cases, used to describe ‘Rogue Warforged’. The Warforged are designed with combat in mind; they are durable, strong, self-sufficient and capable of sustaining themselves for weeks without repair or servicing. They are piloted through the use of refined Psykanium, a curious and semi-rare metal that is sensitive to psychic thought and action. A central nugget or brain of Psykanium is placed within the Warforged unit, which is then attuned to a specific person. This allows a Warforged to be piloted psychically over many miles.

However, the integration of psychic thought and a humanoid construct can have unintended side effects, and over time, due to perhaps the creation and design of Warforged, or due to the nature of Psykanium, a trace of the pilot’s thought patterns and mind can remain in the Warforged as a subtle ‘charge’. In the short term, this is beneficial, as it allows the pilot to mesh with his unit easier over time. However, as the anomaly progresses, more and more ‘charges’ are stored within the Psykanium, until it finally manages to achieve a cohesive state of sentience. There, it is sealed within the Psykanium, which is now entirely dominated by this sentient charge- the pilot can no longer use it.

These sentient Warforged usually start with personalities, ideals and virtues identical or very similar to its pilot; these often change with time as the two undergo different experiences. Rogue Warforged are usually confused or disorientated as to their new sentient state.

No matter the cause, fully sentient automatons are a terrifying thing to the average Paxian, something reflected in the government. After all, the Rogue Warforged are built for strenuous combat, and are now effectively uncontrollable. As such, all uncontrolled, conscious automatons are ‘illegal’ in Agnesia, and are hunted down and tagged, and in some cases, destroyed.

Paxian Culture

Paxia is a vibrant, bustling city in an era of great change and activity, and its culture tends to reflect this in many different ways.

Paxian Cuisine

Traditional Paxian food tends toward several trends, the first of which being strong, hearty dishes. They may not be simple, per se, but they rarely rely on spices or the like. There tends to be a fair focus on fish, thanks to Paxia’s coastal nature, as well as beef and chicken.

That said, Paxian cuisine does not live in isolation. As the most advanced city in the world, a great many cultures and people have arrived in the city, bringing their food with them. The most obvious introduction is practically Paxia’s 2nd set of traditional foods: the cuisines of the Agnesian Elves. There has been a strong Elven presence in Paxia for centuries, and their dishes are readily accepted as ‘Paxian’ in nature. In contrast to traditional Paxian foods, the Elven dishes tend to use a great deal of vegetables and herbs, often with small amounts of actual meat.

But most any sort of cuisine can be found in Paxia, from the exotic dishes of the Orient to the flour-based dishes of Southern Arcolia, to the lavish meat-platters of Amency.

Paxian Fashion

Paxian fashion has many influences, but none are so notable right now as the impact that Eladrin tastes have had on the city and country. Whereas before the Magitech era, the dominating virtue of fashion was demonstrating wealth in an obvious, flaunting manner- demonstrated in garish colours, rare materials, and excessive jewellery. With the rise of Magitech, many materials became easier to produce and dyes could be made synthetically as opposed to collected from plants.

Thus, the virtue shifted from the demonstration of wealth to a focus on elegance and natural beauty with less of a reliance on baubles or jewellery. For women, this generally means softer colours, snug, form-fitting clothes emphasising the body’s natural curves, long, flowing skirts and perhaps a hint of cosmetics, but never enough to dominate the face, merely enhance what is already there. Long hair is also looked upon favourably, as well- many Eladrin being known for their elegant, flowing locks. The change in focus has also had a side effect, blurring the line between the public image of the upper and middle classes.

Amongst the male population, clothing trends have seen something of a shortening of the garments worn in past ages. That said, the influences remain decidedly military in many cases; fashionable jackets, shortened from the long overcoats of past years, that cut off just past the hip, that either button up the middle or button with one end folded over the other; matching vests, adapted from military designs used for support and protection, as well as typically tight trousers, as worn by dragoons or cuirassiers; and whilst the cravat of yesteryear remains popular, it is slowly giving way to the bow tie and long tie. Of course, the colours almost certainly differ from that of the typical Paxian uniform- the most common colour scheme being white and black.

It should be noted that one of the more noticeable trends, fashion-wise, has been the growing acceptance of trousers and pants over skirts and dresses amongst the female population; this trend supposedly started in the early Magitech years, when numerous women were employed to work the new factories, where loose, flowing garments would prove to be a genuine hazard.

Paxian Trends and Entertainment

Entertainment in the Magitech era is often aided by the new developments that come with the technology. For example, many singers are starting to find fame and wealth thanks to the invention of music records, allowing that singer’s reputation to spread far further than he or she might actually travel. At the same time, composers are finding it easier and easier to have their pieces heard and seen, and thus be accepted.

Such famous singers and composers include…

Susan Elemin, the Half-Elf singer known as the “Sweet Nightingale of Paxia”, who, most famously, sung for the army whilst it was abroad, and was beloved by the soldiers for her ability to soothe the horrors of war with only her voice, and her songs of love and hope.

Leo Balarine, a sweet, sensitive young composer from southeast Agnesia, known for being able to capture the concerns, worries and troubles of the age in music; his most famous song being the “Ode to the Age of Steel and Conquest”, a somewhat controversial song that expressed his sorrow at the lives lost in what he saw as a violent cycle: the lives lost in conquest, to earn the resources that would be used for yet more conquest.

A quiet, yet rising star in the field is the Eladrin Xirinas Fae’driel, known and adored for her admirable ability to rouse deep and passionate emotions in people with her songs, as well as for her exclusivity; Xirinas refuses to record her voice, believing that it loses its message the further from her it travels.

In amidst the singers and composers of Paxia are those who ply Paxia’s favourite art: the stage. Paxia is known for its love of theatre and acting, and a successful and popular actor is essentially a sort of noble, often finding themselves invited to spectacular parties and functions for no other reason than that people want them there. There is, of course, plenty of opportunities for playwrights as well, especially with so many new resources and themes to draw upon.

Some famous actors and playwrights include…

Alexander Rose, a witty, intelligent, intensely charming man famous for his convincing, strong acting style as well as being able to bring something new to classic characters without diminishing them. He is a household name, and can be recognised basically anywhere.

Surinel Tylmirilin, an Eladrin lady of glamour and elegance who has received national acclaim for her ability to act. She approaches acting with a natural flair and an ease that can reputedly make it nearly impossible to differentiate between actor and part; many have noted that meeting her in person, as herself, is often surprising since she acts nothing like anyone expects.

Oscar Litmund, a veteran playwright whose works dominate Paxia’s theatres, he is known for his moving, memorable storylines and convincingly realistic characters, as well as striving to work relevant, personal themes into the work. “Many people come to see my plays because they feel that, in some fashion or form, it relates to them. And it does.” He says famously.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License