Saturday, January 10, 2015

A World A Week: Pholus City

Pholus is a big city.

Better put Pholus is big city-state with about four actual cities and sixteen smaller ones within its area. T&T has Khazan. The Forgotten Realms has Waterdeep. Earth has New York City. My city that never sleeps is this one.

Pholus was at first named Phollux. After five years of the word "nexus" being involved in about 20,ooo gaming products had my regular players, even a couple irregular ones, panning on that name, no "X"s could be heard in the pronunciation. Sideways pronunciations aside, my collective worlds have had Pholus since about 1999.

The area actually started out as an exploration into what was becoming "steam-punk." I had been reading White Wolf's Changeling releases, and wanted to develop an urban fantasy High Fantasy setting. To keep it cool, I decided to make sure that steamships, dirigibles, and coal-fueled boilers made it into the mix, while players played their T&T kin Characters. I called it "Modern Fantasy" after the literary classifications, now these days we call it "late-Victorian or Edwardian-Aged fantasy" The differing species addressed racial issues that we had trouble discussing in reality. The initial couple of table-top sessions were a murder mystery. When everyone kept wanting to turn small clocks into cell-phones (the new tech widget!!!)--  Lest I forget, every hand-help stick became a semi-automatic weapon... . I grew tired of this "new" genre.

This collection of before-the-industrial-age cities became the starting point of various fantasy campaigns. These campaigns were influenced from a very wide range of fantasy sources. From those based upon Zelanzy's The Changing Land to Samuel Delaney's Neveryona, with plenty of Larry Niven-ness in between and on the sides. Finally, I came across Monty Cook's Ptolus and didn't feel so bad about reviving this particular old material for new settings, as his introduction inferred that it was actually a good idea. I pronounce Ptolus as "Thole-Us", so "Full-Us" sounded just fine, even catchy, in my ear from that point on.

Pholus has, of late, held as the "Jeruslaem" city for my Isun campaign on my world of Elder. With Peryton's inclusion, the realm has been pretty firmly affixed there.

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