Monday, April 25, 2011

Founding the Seven Cities of Magic

I realize it's been some time since my last post to the blog. Rather than start with some sort of placeholder post signifying my return, I have decided to pick right back up with the sword-and-sorcery setting construction thread I had started back in 2010.

Jaws of the Six Serpents is the game for which I'm now constructing the setting. The element I want to work on at the moment is the collection of "Grimy City States" I was planning on calling the Seven Cities of Magic.

Each of the Cities of Magic is governed by a single sorcerer (or a cabal of sorcerers). I would like for each city to reflect the magical specialty of its ruler (or rulers). The question is how to realize that specificity in Jaws. The rules for Alchemy*, Charmcraft*, and Sorcery* take me in the right direction, but I'm thinking that I may need to follow the suggestion on p. 114 to divide Sorcery* in the setting into smaller, theme-specific categories of magic. Thoughts?

There's also the possibility of adapting the Urge system to fit my setting. I would probably not keep the idea of the Six Serpents, but there does seem some potential value in linking each of the Cities to a specific element (and a corresponding subset of magic). I just worry here about needless symmetry: might it not be better to separate the idea of Urges/mana entirely from geopolitics?

Here are the names I have down for the Seven Cities as well as any ideas I have about their magical tradition:

1. Achiroth, City of Shrouds - Necromancy and Shadow Magic.

2. Belrood, City of Witches - No particular thematic emphasis, but a clear political one that takes the shape of a matriarchal government.

3. Kherem-Kha - No ideas at present.

4. Enkal, City of Spirits - Unlike the other six Cities, Enkal is actually a temporary city formed by the annual gathering of the nomadic clans wandering the plains. Spirit Magic would be the theme here, and it's possible that I might give the Enkali the ability to serve as Intercessors (i.e., channels for the Ancestors in the world of today).

5. Honsulath - No ideas at present.

6. Meton, City of Gears - Here I was initially thinking of the Barbarians of Lemuria idea of Alchemy as the recovery of the lost magics of the Ancients. Alchemy* in Jaws is less mechanically and scientifically inclined, though, so I'm not sure how to realize Meton.

7. Regest - No ideas at present.


  1. I don't know the system you're using at all, but how about one where the city is built around a university of thaumaturgy, with the usual gown-vs-town issues that sometimes creates? You might also have a town torn between two sorcerers who are both vying for top-spot.

    Good to see you posting again. :)

  2. You know your previous post convinced me to buy JAWS and then *poof* you're gone. And me with serious abandonment issues...

    Does Enkal have a fixed location or does it just from 'somewhere' each year? If it has a fixed location, then it is pretty likely that there will be something permanent there. even a nomad culture will have individuals that want to settle down.

    One of the cities should have a 'GodKing' that the people are devoted to. Either he is the wizard, or a puppet for the vizier or somesuch.

    Welcome back!

  3. Kherem-Kha has a kind of egyptian feel, so maybe a pharoah/God King type, with an emphasis on power in the afterlife, communing wit ancestors, summoning plagues of nature, etc...

  4. Welcome back.

    I still haven't bought Jaws. I'm going to have to do it.