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  • Walking Shadows: Hedge Domains

    Just something Isabella made for my London crossover game, with a bit of help from yours truly. As a note, while this is ostensibly for London, one can shift these to some other area with pretty minimal fuss. Many of the NPCs mentioned can also be found in my Collection of Fae post. First post has some introductory material, then it's on to the Near, Middle, and Deep Hedge.

    I wrote the introduction, Piccadilly Circus, Terminal, the Confederacy of Needles, and the Notable Locales of the Corpse Farm. Everything else is Isabella's quality work.


    Scholarly Lost perceive the Hedge as a wall or barrier between the human world and Arcadia, the home of the True Fae. Broadly speaking, one can divide the Hedge into three 'bands' or 'circles', based a given part of the Hedge is closer to the mortal world (The Near Hedge), in the middle (the Middle Hedge), or brushing up against Arcadia (the Deep Hedge).
    • The Near Hedge: None of the Hedge can be said to be particularly safe, but the Near Hedge comes closest to it. Generations of effort by the Freehold of New Jerusalem have rendered some parts of the Hedge quite nearly tame, and many of the Lost dwell in Hollows here, as do the friendlier hobgoblins (such as they are). That isn't to say that the Near Hedge doesn't have its dangers, but savvy travelers can traverse the Near Hedge with a fair amount of security.
    • The Middle Hedge: The Middle Hedge is perhaps the truest expression of the Hedge, beholden neither to mortal reality nor to the whims of the Others. The Freehold ventures here only in armed expeditions, and only a few particularly lunatic Lost try to survive here. Still, the rewards can be worth it.
    • The Deep Hedge: On the very borders of Arcadia, the Deep Hedge is a wild and mythic land, where faerie tales come true and where the Gentry stride as dark gods across the landscape. The Deep Hedge is profoundly dangerous, for the Lords and Ladies play many of their contests here, and woe betide those caught between them. At the same time, if the Gentry's attention is turned towards each other, then they aren't looking at you, and a cunning Hedge-traveler can take advantage of that.
    Navigating the Hedge

    Dice Pool: Presence+Survival or Wyrd+Survival
    Action: Extended, one hour per roll; 5-15 successes required (see below)

    Navigating the Hedge is about half trying to find your way and half about forcing the Hedge to take you where you want to go by force of will or Wyrd. Each roll requires one hour of subjective time -- though how long this takes in the mortal world is pretty much random. The number of successes required depends on where you are trying to go:
    • From one location in a Hedge Domain to another location in the same Hedge Domain = 5 Successes
    • From one Hedge Domain to a Connecting Hedge Domain in the same level of the Hedge = 10 Successes
    • From one Hedge Domain to a Connecting Hedge Domain in a deeper level of the Hedge = 5 Successes, unless a specific route from a specific Locale is required
    • From one Hedge Domain to a Connecting Hedge Domain in a shallower level of the Hedge = 15 Successes (this also applies for gettingout of the Hedge, unless one is at an established gateway).
    Each hour (roll) that a group is in the Hedge, roll the lowest Innocence or equivalent in the party. Upon a success, the trip continues uneventfully. Upon a failure, the target has an Encounter.
    Last edited by NeoTiamat; 03-29-2014, 10:16 AM.


    GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
    New System and Setting Material

  • #2
    The Near Hedge


    Rosehaven
    Controlled by: Queen Aurora, the Fiery Rose of Summer

    The height of Seelie power in the Hedge, the sun never sets on Rosehaven, its fiery rays seeming to strengthen all it falls upon. The land itself is lush, resembling in some ways an orchard and garden gone wild, boiling over with strange fruits and plant-life. But although the forests and wildflower fields may look dainty, Rosehaven is not tame, nor is it obedient. It is not a wild land, but it does not yield easily, either. Innocuous plants have sharp thorns, that hook and tear those who try to steal their bounty. Trees have bark like steel, and grow fruits that could stab a man right through. Beetles have razor-sharp wings if touched, and Hedge bees go placidly from flower to flower unless disturbed. And the great old river that runs through the domain may look slow and placid, but heaven help anyone who misjudges its depths. Rose colored stone juts up from the earth in places, soaking up the sun to grow red-hot, and shining like a beacon when the light is just right.

    The Freehold of London had chosen Rosehaven as their stronghold, and it has only grown to more resemble the Summer Queen as time has passed. The Castle on the Waters is an exquisite fortress, a proud display to Seelie wealth and might, and the Seelie intend to keep it that way. The area around the Castle is a fortress, patrolled around the clock by the Freehold's military branch, which mostly consists of aerial sylphs. The Castle is also situated on the river to Piccadilly Circus, which has turned the prow of the great vessel into an open-air bazaar of its own. Insomuch as anything in the Hedge can be safe, Rosehaven is safe. Experienced Hedge travelers know not to read too much into that, however - the Seelie's protection and control only extends so far. Rosehaven's dangers lie in its deceptiveness, as it's easy to mistake beauty for weakness. Leave things alone, and you'll likely be left alone, but Rosehaven is not weak.

    Notable Locales:
    The Castle on the Water - A cross between a modern aircraft carrier and the Palace of Versailles, the Castle on the Water is what most fae think of when they hear Rosehaven, a home for those that had home stolen from them. The massive barge is parked in the middle of the river, connected to the shore by two massive drawbridges. The second of these two bridges runs across the prow, with train tracks and a train station, allowing the Ebon Engine to run aboard it, dropping off passengers or supplies. The castle could be self-sufficient if needed, with local Hedge plants providing both food and weapons, and manpower backups in case the rudimentary power systems fail. It is also armed to the teeth with ancient torpedoes, ballistas, hwachas, and hackneyed versions of Stinger missiles. The towers of the Castle lets the changelings look out for miles, and scouts are always watching for trouble.

    The River - It's not terribly well explored, beyond the Hedgefish that live down there and beg for apples. What is known is there are carvings down there, reliefs and etchings of prayer, and large statues that weren't carved by human hand. And there's a thin trench in the bottom of the lake, that goes down deeper than anyone can measure.

    The Orchard - A long, long field of what seems to be precisely as it says, an orchard. The floor is not neatly furrowed rows, but instead carpets of wildflowers, but the overall impact is the same. Trees run out to the horizon, forever bearing both flowers and fruit. Anyone who is hungry or simply craving the taste of sun ripened fruit can eat their fill here, the sweet juices bursting out from soft skin. The catch being that lots of other creatures have the same idea, from insects to chimera-like hobgoblins. Falling on the wrong side of a Hedge bear is a highly unpleasant experience.

    The Glowing Stones - The glowing rose stones are all over Rosehaven, but this locale is notable in how many of them have clustered together, and how often the sun seems to hit them. At a certain time of day, certain stones seem to light up white-hot, providing something of a literal sun-dial. Touching them, of course, is a poor idea, as they have all the heat one would expect of molten rock. Using a pole to strike one at just the right spot, at just the right time, can cause the whole array to shoot a searing ray of heat, like a laser beam... but anyone who tries it is more likely to wind up with a white hot spray of rock and metal, instead.

    Encounters:
    Dana's Hedge Patrols - Usually made up of sylphs, members of the Rose Knights are often found out on patrol near Rosehaven.
    Freehold Members - Rosehaven is gorgeous and relatively safe, and the perfect summer sunshine prompts many changelings to wander around the area.
    Wandering Merchants - Usually heading up the river to Piccadilly, an increasing number of changelings and hobgoblins are also stopping to peddle their wares at Rosehaven.
    Wild Bee Swarms - Much like regular bees, these are content to forage unless provoked. They do tend to be a bit more intelligent than normal bees, however, woe to those who antagonize them.
    Foraging Hedge Beasts - The fruit of the Orchard is absolutely divine, and animals are just as attracted to it as changelings are. Most animals prefer to eat fruit rather than changelings (fruit runs away less), but there are predators, and even a herbivore might attack if it feels threatened.
    Butcherbranch Hobgoblins - Also lured by the fruit, these weird mobile chef stations are often found wandering the area. The most common one is Butterbug, the well known Piccadilly Circus merchant, but he's not the only one.

    Connecting Domains:
    Piccadilly Circus
    The Aerie Resplendent
    The Closet Cathedral

    The Closet Cathedral
    Controlled by: Erin Lamothe, the Grandmaster of THOTH

    A strip of Hedge that has its tendrils all the way across London, from Hertfordshire to Southwark, but can't always be found even from places it would correspond to in the mortal world. It's spring here, the weather wonderfully warm with just a hint of chill, or the mists pleasantly cool with just a drop of warmth for coziness. The Cathedral and its surrounding lands are all beautiful, as only the Hedge can be, but it is not an organic beauty - this is the beauty of the human hand, with a definite favoring for a color scheme of red, gold, white, and brown. Plants still grow, most especially the white trees that are common throughout the domain, but they're made of smooth ivory or intricately carved birchwood, and their leaves are flattened copper and pressed gold. Lakes and rivers swirl with rainbow colors, or glow blue like Cherenkov radiation. The ground itself is made of grains of gold and silver. Meringues and gumdrops grow as easily as mushrooms. Necklaces and pocketwatches hang off trees like fruit. There is a feeling of safety here, as there's not much in the way of Hedgelife, and certainly not much in the way of the large or dangerous. There are things lurking in the corners, however, and anyone who visits had best remember that not all danger is physical.

    Notable Locales:
    The Cathedral - Erin's personal hollow, a vaulted white chapel lined down the sides with stained glass windows. It's always a pleasantly warm day here, golden light filtering in through the glass. The path leading up to the church is lined with ivory trees, and the sand on the ground glistens like gold-dust. Swarms of different moths fly through the area, clustering on plants in such numbers that they might be mistaken for leaves. There isn't much in the way of sentries, unless Erin herself happens to be around, but the glass windows are viciously hard to break and the door seals itself shut when no one is in. There's also an alms box in front of the church, where Erin or others can leave things for the less needy. Most hobgoblins fail to grasp this concept in any capacity, though there are sometimes trifles or life-saving goblin fruits set out in case they might be needed by a fellow changeling.

    The Tomb of the Seven - A sunken valley with a path leading downward, lit by dying daylight, the Tomb isn't always the same tomb, nor always just one tomb. It's a land of secrets and ancient things left forgotten, guarded by seven statues that seem to shift in features. Sometimes they're golden Egyptian gods, animal headed and proud. Sometimes they're giant stone monoliths, with the features of something divine and disturbing. There's gold down there, gold enough to make the dreams of pharaohs pale, and even more wealth in secrets... assuming you're willing to dig up things that should be left buried.

    The Artist's Graveyard - A surrealist landscape made of manmade objects, the sky the color of sunset and twilight. Clocks jut up from the landscape instead of rocks, continually ticking in maddening time. Watches hang like fruit off decorative metal tree branches. Christmas ornaments lie on the ground like flowers. Intricate orreys are part of the natural landscape, their movements echoing the stars that are visible even in half-lit sky. The only "life" here seem to be clockwork animals and scattered toys. Scavengers can find all sorts of things here, from intricate violins to stained glass lamps. Someone very lucky might even find a gold-plated AK-47 or a high class corvette, although these things don't work in the Hedge, and they may not be very easy to get out.

    The Fields of Desire - It's not paradise, but it might be close enough. Every part of the landscape seems almost designed to be as wonderful as possible. Grass is as soft as a kitten's tail, and almost as playful. Glistening butterflies fly through the air, and sweet smelling blossoms waft on the slightest of breezes. Rivers taste like hot chocolate or ginger ale, yet wash down clear as water. Even the bark of the trees is a delightful rush of flavor. There are feast tables here and there, laden down with every good thing, from roasted goose to your favorite pudding. Clusters of presents lay under trees. There doesn't seem to be much danger here, so really, the only question is why you'd ever leave... which is the troubling question. That's not to say it's impossible to get hurt out here, as the environment can still pose dangers. You might slice yourself open on jagged peanut brittle, which is a great deal more embarrassing to explain than most Hedge related injuries.

    Encounters:
    Cobblebodies - Unsurprisingly, Erin's domain is rife with Cobblebodies, of all conceivable shapes and sizes. While there are a few grand old monsters out there, the vast majority of them are very small, often nothing more than a single shoe, or most tellingly, a broken toy.
    The Yellow Nurses - The Yellow Nurses here tend to have their heads wrapped up in scarves or otherwise concealed, with only their blood-red lips visible. They also tend to dress like World War One nurses, with cloaks to keep out an imaginary chill. Should they smell someone injured, they literally eat the injury away, in a helpful but very disturbing fashion.
    Triflesmiths - Rare even at the best of times, but there's a wealth of stuff lying around for the taking out here, and there are hobgoblins out to scavenge it.
    The Mists of Longing - A soft white fog that rolls across the Fields of Desire, the Mists of Longing are pleasant against the skin and tend to put people to sleep. Once asleep, they have vivid dreams they can't control, even in the case of changelings, always of things they can't have in real life - a forbidden paramour, a loving family, a different past. The mist does not keep anyone asleep, but leaves the victim feeling groggy, which usually leads to them going back to sleep. Drinking or eating food from the Fields can make someone feel better, but instead shifts the feeling to that of comfort and wellbeing... which also leads to them going back to sleep.
    Soul Skeins - The Tomb of the Seven looks abandoned, but there are always little whispering voices just at the edge of your hearing. Sometimes they're shadows that follow you, whispering your greatest fears aloud for all to hear. Sometimes they're little tokens and remembrances of the things you've done that you regret.
    Id-Fiends - They look like normal Hedge beasts, or like someone you know. But they react to your hidden feelings and vices, trying to push you into acting them out, or acting them out for you if need be.
    Moonwings - Along with a thousand other breeds of Hedgemoths, the helpful fruit-seeking moonwings cluster in abundance.
    Tokens - Objects left in the Hedge often become tokens, and there are tokens a plenty here, if you can find them. But not all of them are helpful, or safe.

    Connecting Domains:
    Rosehaven
    Straparola
    Babylon
    Somnus

    The Corpse Farm
    Controlled by: The Jack-of-Crows

    In the Hedge there is a Hollow. And this is a Hollow which many know about, but no one goes to if they can help it. It’s a safe place, and easily accessible by the major Trods. But unless one is chased by the Gentry themselves, few venture here to take shelter.

    It’s an eerie place, this Hollow. It looks like a farm, with the corn growing to head height between the thorn-strewn walls of the Hedge, and with a farmhouse at the far end of the field. It is always night-time here, not even the stars daring to shine here, only the full autumn moon glaring down like an eye. There are trees here, scattered among the corn-fields, withered things with twisted limbs, and not a leaf on any of them, though each has a dozen sleek, black crows on its limbs, crows that watch the Hollow. And then there are the scarecrows. A half-dozen, run up on wooden crucifixes throughout the corn-fields. Crude, human shapes, clad rough, much-patched clothing, straw poking out from their sleeves. It is only on close inspection that one realizes the scarecrow’s body was not patchwork cloth stuffed with straw, but actual flesh, cool to the touch. The Corpse-Farm came by its name honestly.

    The Corpse Farm is ruled over by the Jack, its own bloody, iron-fisted tyrant. But not every creature that lurks in its shadows is under his control, and even having the favor of the Hollow's vicious patron does not guarantee a person's safety.

    Notable Locales:
    The House - It's seen better days, but the old farm house is still an imposing sight. Two stories tall with a sharply angled roof, it has a sense of washed out grandeur, as if it had once been the home of bustling matrons and stout youths. Now, the glass windows were dusty and strewn with cobwebs, and the paint had faded and peeled. Supposedly the Jack lives there now, though so few are ever allowed inside that for all anyone can tell, he may just use it as a meeting place and live somewhere else altogether.

    The Bridge - This aged covered bridge marks the border of the Jack's domain, cast above some nameless and swift river. It always appears when one enters the Corpse Farm from the Hedge, no matter the angle of approach, and few creatures of the Hedge will dare cross it to enter the Jack's dominion -- nor creatures of the Corpse Farm depart either. The Bridge represents safety, though as the entrance it also attracts attention from local predators, both two-legged and four.

    The Broken Church - It's a ruin, and even when it had been new it had only been a little village church, a stout wooden building of simple style and austere construction. Part of the roof's fallen in now, and the pews half-rotten, but it's still a place of eerie safety in the Hedge. It's holy ground, the Broken Church, and so is the quiet little churchyard that surrounds it, the headstones weathered away into incomprehensibility, though the saints that graced its walls were to be found in no mortal catechism.

    The Tree of the Dead - Found in the very depths of the Corpse Farm, this ancient tree bears not a single leaf. It looks lightning-struck, blackened and gnarled and hideous, but it has power. The local beings sometimes leave sacrifices hanging from the branches or hidden among the roots, whether dead animals or shiny trinkets, and the Jack respects it well. Black magic cast beneath the shadow of the Tree of the Dead draws on its twisted strength, and somewhere among its roots is a path that leads onward, to the Underworld or to deeper in the Hedge or somewhere else altogether.

    Encounters:
    Fetch Wolves - Created from marionette bodies and imbued with the soul of a sacrificed wolf, these vicious creatures are not natural and do not act in natural ways. The only good thing to be said about them is that they keep other wolf-like intruders, such as Shadow Wolves or Briarwolves, out.
    Scarecrows - Made of soil, burlap, and dead-flesh, these sentinels carry wickedly sharp scythes, and have few qualms about turning them on anything that is deemed an intruder.
    Fetch Crows - Not made from crows, but instead glamour creations, these are the Jack's spies first and foremost, although they can also swarm a trespasser and filch off bits of glamour.
    The Circus Sawbones - Very few of these strange surgeons would dare venture into the Corpse Farm proper, but they do lurk around the outskirts, hunting for victims. Once they find one, they descend upon them and saw off various limbs, leaving a token limb prosthetic behind in their place.
    The Bone Miners - It takes a special kind of hob, or a special kind of prize, for anyone to dare darting into the Jack's domain... but sometimes one of the corpses buried there seems desirable enough to risk coming in to steal it.
    Blackhaw Trees - Black trees with "fruit" that look exactly like crows perched on the branches, it feeds by sending its crows out to rip off bits of flesh and bring it back.
    The Mobile Mushrooms - One of the Jack's curiosities, these resemble giant bugs with scythes for claws, but are actually a fungus.
    Bloodsuckle - The Jack is a gardener, but many things grow here that are not at all nice. Bloodsuckle, as a single example, tries to wrap up victims and suck the blood out of them via its thorns.

    Connecting Domains:
    The Lake of Blood
    The Aerie Resplendent
    Straparola (One Way)

    Straparola
    Controlled by: Othello, the Marquis de Carabas

    Those who know the joyful, mischievous Spring courtier Othello might easily think any Hedge realm around him would be likewise a wonderful place to visit - but this is only partially true. His personal Hollow is indeed a delight, but Othello was not always what he is today. He had a dark past as an Autumn courtier, a twisted and grinning Cheshire Cat, steeped in things people weren't meant to know and offering bargains never meant to be offered. His soul is still run through with sorrows and old regrets, and his blood still runs red-hot with rage at slavers, tyrants, and abusers. The Marquis de Carabas is a complex man, and it echoes in the Hedge around him, a rambunctious riot of color that still hides trouble in the shadowed corners. If there is one overall theme to be had, it's that of the trickster. Nothing is to be trusted at its first appearance. Aid offered always comes with a price, or winds up being dubiously helpful, sometimes causing more trouble than the original problem. The trees and briars are rife with things trying to pull one over on you, sometimes a simple prank, sometimes something deadly. Look before you leap, always read the fine print, and let the buyer beware.

    Straparola is difficult to find even by Hedge standards, following along on the coattails of Othello's mobile Hollow. It usually displays itself as an overlay on the normal Hedge landscape, turning things brighter and more chaotic, but it also twists the surrounding area. Faithful trods lead in wrong directions, while clusters of Hedgefruits sometimes spoil and turn into similar looking varieties, with completely different effects. Despite this, a few certain locales can be counted on to show up in the surrounding area, no matter where it is.

    Notable Locales:
    The Marquis de Carabas’s Traveling Emporium of Wonders - Othello's personal hollow, a small, gypsy-esque wagon in the middle of a clearing. It's brightly painted, very dramatic, and yet oddly cozy. The weather is always amazingly pleasant and sunny, the sort of bright happy day that makes people want to go out and skip. The entire area is strung up with open birdcages, and even when Othello is out, clusters of bright songbirds gather and tweet happily at visitors.

    The Abandoned Carnival - A jolly, brightly painted carnival that has gone to seed and now resembles something from Pripyat. The lights still work - mostly - and the stands still have prizes and food in them, if you're willing to risk taking them without paying or "winning" first. There's also a House of Mirrors, if you're really feeling brave, and one of those old corny fortuneteller machines, which mostly spouts nonsense but just so often drops some real prophecy.

    The Masterless Castle - It's not precisely a landmark. More that Othello himself has a firm sense of sic semper tyrannis, and has caused the downfall of more than one brutal ogre or petty enchantress. The castle and staff don't exactly vanish when he does, however, instead seeming to remain in the general vicinity of his wagon. Sometimes they're abandoned, but usually the staff lingers behind, looking to get a new master... to the point of propositioning anyone who comes in the door. Some are pushy, most are not, but once the castle is owned once more, it seems to be "left behind" when Othello moves on.

    The Well of Broken Dreams - It's a badly upkept well with dark, brackish waters. Throw a coin in, whisper a secret, and you'll get something, as the well handle turns to bring up something in a bucket, or you trip over it on the way out. Unlike most wishing wells, this one doesn't bite you. That catch is, it gives you the perfect solution to something in your past, something you really regretted, something that could have averted all that pain... which means it's not very useful to you now, beyond an emotional knife to the ribs. But you might be able to use it to help someone else, or you might keep it just in case the same problem comes to haunt you once again.

    Encounters:
    Hedge Beasts - The single most common thing to encounter in Straparola. Swarms of songbirds can be heard singing full choral arrangements of famous pop-songs, and small groups of animals can often be found out having picnics.
    Riddlekeepers - Sometimes it's a creature, sometimes it's just a complex mechanism, sometimes a wall of fire and a set of five potions that might get you through. You have to solve the riddle to get past them, although just leaving in disgust is also a viable option.
    Gloomdrakes - They look like wingless dragons made of shadow, with manes of snakes and umbral tendrils running down their spines, and they lurk in the dark places. In behavior, they might be equated with the sphinx of legend. Answer their riddles, or confound them with your own. Otherwise they devour you.
    Harvestmen - These resemble giant trapdoor spiders, but they're cunningly intelligent. They collect valuable trinkets and are capable of spinning elegant clothing, to use as bait to lure someone off the path and into their pits.
    Laughing Ones - Most commonly known as Pooka, these creatures are tricksters, appearing as friendly, harmless things, like a horse or a fox, until someone is lured into trusting them. Most commonly, someone gets up on the strange horse, and then gets ridden through the Hedge at spine-jolting speeds. They rarely hurt anyone, but you're in for a hell of a ride.
    Sprights - Little pixies that cluster around anything that catches their interest. They're not malicious, in fact, they're usually trying to be helpful. It's just they're not that bright, not at all practical, and they have the attention spans of gnats.
    Will-o-the-Wisps - The infamous swamp lights come to anyone who is lost, trying to lure them off the path or generally into danger.
    Hob Merchants - Usually coming to or from nearby Piccadilly, there's usually a merchant or two to be found while wandering through twisty Trods.

    Connecting Domains:
    The Closet Cathedral
    Piccadilly Circus
    The Lake of Blood
    The Mirror Crypt (via the House of Mirrors at the Carnival)

    Babylon
    Controlled by: N/A (Heather Harte)

    It's primal. It's powerful. It's the undeniable rush of living, of lust, of athleticism, of rushing hot blood and rolling muscle. Hatred, fear, existential despair, these things aren't a part of its nature. It loves life with an ardent passion, and it will not be made to apologize for it. Itsattractive, an unstoppable force that can leave you knocked to the ground and breathless, open-jawed and aching for more. There's something sacred in it, the limitless potential of the human race combined with the unbowed strength of the animal - a combination of the two that calls out irresistibly to both. The animals come to bow their heads to human power, accepting bridles and reigns and commands. The human feels something stirring within, the Maenad urge to run wild and free.

    It is not safe. It is unbridled and intense, and that intensity can destroy people. Anyone who has tasted of it knows it can devour them, bursting their heart and consuming them in fire. Desire and destruction go hand in hand, the exhilaration of adrenaline only possible on the razor edge of death. It's the shadow side of vitality, the thief of strength, the untamed void, that leaves smoldering wreckage in its wake. It can taste magic, evocation and wonder, and it can swallow it down. It is not cruel, it does not act out of pettiness or spite, but its passion is something to be touched with caution.

    Connecting Domains:
    The Closet Cathedral

    The Lake of Blood
    Controlled by: N/A

    They call it a lake, but it seems to go on forever, and some jokingly call it the Red Sea. It's always night over the red waters, without a moon, only stars and galaxies - the sky looks like a long exposure photograph, nebulae and comets clearly visible. Shooting stars are commonly seen, meteor showers a regular occurrence, and sometimes even an Aurora Borealis (or Aurora Sanguinius) lights up the night. The Lake itself has it's own weather. There are blood waterspouts, blood hurricanes, blood rains, blood geysers, blood hot springs that the locals bathe in and claim it grants them youth. There's even St. Elmo's Fire out on the bloody seas, crackling green lightning that hypnotizes and sears the soul to look upon. The blood-soaked clay is actually quite good for Hedge plants, but vampire squash does tend to be an issue.

    Notable Locales:
    The Lake of Blood - Exactly as the name states, the Lake of Blood resembles an earthly lake in most ways, saving the actual contents. It tastes like blood, is as warm as blood, and for those who eat blood, it is as nutritious as blood. It does have a few unusual properties, however, as ships sail across it like water, and it doesn't clot and congeal like blood does. It does still stain anything dipped in it red.

    The Sanguine Isles - A cluster of islands in the middle of the Lake of Blood, and a port for all traveling ships. The Sanguine Isles are home to a number of ramshackle, bustling shanty towns, and home to a great deal of rowdy, raucous hobs and other creatures. It's ruled by nothing but anarchy, but the absolute freedom seems to be attractive to many. Its also a well known haven for slavers, smugglers, and Privateers, who are both safe from any semblance of authority and can press gang extra merchandise out of the drunkards.

    The Suicide Wood - A huge forest of twisted, pale trees, branches so thick and interlocking they block out the sky, making it even darker than the eternal night of the lake. The rumor claims that they represent the souls of those who committed suicide in the Hedge. It's not known if this is true, although one can find bodies hanging from the branches. Anyone who chops into a tree finds that they bleed blood-red sap, which tastes sugary and slightly like iron. Some of the locals come out to harvest it as a confectionery, ignoring the fact the trees sometimes scream and weep.

    The Hot Springs - A very strange hob-run resort centered around some bubbling springs of hot red blood. The proprietor claims that bathing in it grants youth, and there seems to be some truth in it, though anyone who wants to stay youthful requires a regular (and expensive) regimen of treatments.

    The Necropolis - Necropolis isn't really the right name for it, since there aren't all that many dead things here. There are plenty of things people wish were dead, sealed away in ornate tombs and placated with rites and offerings. But for the most part, they're stone crypts with plenty of inscriptions and carvings, and without much in the way of occupants. People started moving in a long time ago, and by this point it's turned into a city, the streets lit with candles and fireflies. It's not the safest place to visit, but not too deadly, so long as you stay by the Lakeside where the people actually are. Most the bloodsuckers have a fresh source of food right down the path... just don't get caught to be used as a sacrifice to something.

    Encounters:
    Bloodsuckle - Prehensile vines that wrap around victims and drain blood through their thorns, Bloodsuckle grows in large thickets right at the edge of the lake.
    The Kiasyd - Sometimes vampires find their way into the Hedge, perhaps unwisely chasing a changeling victim, and then discover they have no means to leave. Perhaps after finding the eternally sunless Lake of Blood, they felt no urge to leave. The Hedge and the blood have twisted them, leaving them uncanny creatures, much less violent than normal vampires but a great deal more inhuman. Some strange power in their blood lets them cloud the senses and plant illusions in the minds of others.
    Hemoleviathans - The lake has its own native flora and fauna, disturbing as that may be. The fauna is usually gory algae or blood-colored seaweed, but the fauna is a great deal more vicious. The most common are the pale white sharks, but there are known to be huge albino whales and giant squid, mad-eyed and blind.
    The Bloody-Handed Buccaneers - Pirate ships crewed by hobs sail the red seas. It's not entirely apparent why, where they're going or what they are hoping to plunder. For the most part, they seem to attack each other.
    Wyrd Mites - Unpleasant insects that seem to resemble mystically decorated ticks, these creatures burrow into flesh, suck out glamour, and then lay their eggs under their victim's skin. They're not by themselves deadly, but they're certainly disgusting. The presence of the Kiasyd has created a separate strain that instead feeds off Kindred vitae.
    Vileshrikes - Creatures that live up to their name, they resemble an ugly cross between a vulture and a man. They swoop down and scoop up their prey, impaling it on the Thorns so it can slowly bleed to death.
    Songwraiths - Hypnotic and alluring creatures that lurk by the shores, or even in the blood, Songwraiths lure victims to them with their enchanting songs, a tune so beautiful it literally drains the life and heat from someone.

    Connecting Domains:
    The Corpse Farm
    Straparola
    The Mirror Crypt (down the roads of the Necropolis)

    The Aerie Resplendent
    Controlled by: N/A

    It's not a large domain, at least, not in length. To see the real depths of the Aerie, you have to look up. It used to be a kingdom, castles and cities stretching up into the clouds, perched on thousands of shimmering rainbow islands, with the giant Reflecting Citadel in the center. It's falling apart, now. The glorious castles lie in ruins, inhabited by squalid monsters or simply picked over for resources and then abandoned. The cities have turned into a squabbling series of petty fiefdoms. Some islands depend on others to keep them aloft, bound up to other cities via silken cords, and giving into any demand just so they won't be cut loose. The Reflecting Citadel is still there, but no one can reach it anymore, with gale force winds and flying monsters keeping things that way. And then there's the lands below it, the lands where the citadel's island has completely blocked out all light. That's where the unwanteds were thrown, the dregs, the addicts, the people who weren't pretty enough. But they didn't die, there's still down there, glowing eyed in the darkness.

    Notable Locales:
    The Reflecting Citadel - It was once ruled by the Siren Queen, the peahen who stole the Hesperian Apple, so they claimed. She and her white peahen handmaidens would fly across the skies, a magnificent sight. It was a city of nothing but women, save for when they invited a lucky man up to stay with them. When she ruled, people say, life was perfect. Now no one comes down from there, and no one goes up. Magic fails, ships crash, flying beasts attack anyone who dares. Those in the kingdom are long on rumors, and short on facts. But the Citadel still sends prism rainbows and beams of light all across the land.

    Griffin's Roost - A collection of mountainous, snow-tipped islands that seem to be literally nestled in clouds. Every manner of large flying beast seems to make its home up here: griffins, rocs, firebirds, aerial serpents made of clouds, even stranger fare such as pegasi, winged lions, or glass-eyed thunderbirds.

    The Flying Cities - A smattering of cities spread across the mid-level flying islands, these cities have wildly different cultures, stylings, and inhabitants. Cat-headed merchants sell elegant brass wares on one, while wind-haired elves cast nets for flying fish on another. They're insular creatures, and very demanding. The city inhabitants will gracefully welcome anyone who meets their bizarre standards... anyone else is shunned at best. There is some trade between them all, but for the most part, there's miles and miles of sky between any one town and another. Those who need to get from island to island do so by climbing the silk bridges, or through the use of flying carpets, flying mounts, balloons, dirigibles, or Icarus wings. There is also a heavy amount of sky piracy, raiding merchants trying to reach distant clouds, that keeps things insular.

    Shattersvale - The ground below, where the lost islands fell and smashed across the valley. It's a beautiful landscape of rainbow gem and glass, and trying to walk through it will slice flesh to ribbons. Those unfortunates who live down here, and there are many, prize the sundered castles, the fallen ships, the ruined cities, as places to live in. They connect their strongholds via silk bridges, forming a criss-crossing network of bridges in the air.

    The Spider Span - Located on Shattersvale's biggest bridge, under the pitch black shadow of the Reflecting Citadel, this is where the discarded people of society come to thrive. The Spider Span is a Goblin Market, but even compared to Piccadilly, it is not tame, friendly, or safe. Slavery thrives, as well as every vile market for any degenerate product for any unwholesome appetite. The True Fae shop openly here, the merchants sell to them gleefully.

    Encounters:
    The Aerial Menagerie - All manner of magnificent flying beasts can be found here, from pegasi to firebirds. The largest is the Roc, who could eat elephants, although elephants are in short supply on the islands.
    Sylphs - Wild sylphs live in hive-like structures, though Hedge bees fail to thrive too far up, meaning the sylphs turn to piracy more often than not.
    Stray Aircraft - Some brave and foolhardy folk can be found flying around the skies, on everything between bicycle powered balloons to magic carpets. Some aircraft fly around without pilots, having become sentient in the Hedge.
    Steelweavers - The spiders who make the Spider Span's giant silk bridges. They're not hostile, but they tend to freak people out anyway.
    Gloomdrakes - The riddle-drakes like the utter darkness beneath the Citadel, lurking in corners and waiting for lost travelers to pass their way.
    Shadowbanes - A spot of hope in the gloom, these intelligent black hounds are sworn enemies of the Gentry, and are trustworthy sentinels for those in need.
    Spider Span Merchants - The unwanted, the abandoned, the just plain vicious, they'll sell you anything, and they'll chop off your hands and sell you if they can get away with it.

    Connecting Domains:
    Rosehaven
    The Corpse Farm
    Piccadilly Circus

    Piccadilly Circus
    Controlled by: The Worshipful Company of Goblins Traders, Merchants, and Peddlers

    They say the goblins bought the last dreams of Troy from Brutus when he set foot on Britain’s shores, and built their market in the ruins. When the Great Fire swept through the City, the goblins made a good offer from the burned-out husks. The Blitz was a buyer’s market if ever there was one. That’s Piccadilly. Cobbled together from a hundred pieces of London’s past, it’s a lunatic maze of ruins, all of them occupied by goblins with varying degrees of articulateness and sanity, but all of them wanting to sell you something. There’s seven sisters hanging by their feet from a very old tree, each one selling a different sort of dreams – no one buys the dreams of Pluto. A fat, gross hob sells fine gowns, hats, and lingerie from underneath half of a German bomber. A Jazz-age bordello run by a giant praying mantis with a red pillbox hat, catering to every possible lust, and a few impossible ones. A talking horse sells his less gregarious cousins into service, offering up equine transport in four, eight, and twenty-legged varieties from a Medieval livery stable. A stick-thin man bent almost double by the length and weight of his beard can get nearly any book you want, all imported direct from St. Petersburg and the Winter Palace to his roving barrow – he only accepts cats as payment, though. It’s certainly the largest goblin market in Britain, it’s probably the finest, and it’s definitely the maddest.

    Navigating Piccadilly Circus is a challenge. It’s a labyrinth of closely packed and ramshackle buildings, constructed out of quite nearly anything, the weak light of the Hedge all but blotted out by the awnings and buildings about. Piccadilly is always so dark you can just barely see, lit by candles and torches and lanterns full of fireflies. In the darkness and the maze-like alleys of Piccadilly, somehow all you need to do is take two steps and turn a corner and you’re suddenly somewhere you’ve never been – and going back the way you came just gets you more lost. And now it’s just you and that stunted, twisted hob with the bottle of nightmares, a dark deal lost in shadows.

    Notable Locales:
    Ponsonby’s – Formally, Miss Judith Cecily Ponsonby's Accouterments and Paraphernalia for the Discerning Gentleman, Lady, or Squamous Individual , this is the largest and grandest holding in Piccadilly. Located in a Victorian-era townhouse, the many rooms have been converted into little display spaces for all manner of occult supplies, sold by bright-eyed hobs in double-breasted jackets with shiny buttons. Do you require eye of newt, toe of frog, wool of bat, or tongue of dog? Ponsonby's wholesales them. Something more unique, a set of highly detailed globes of the Galilean moons, a candle made from human fat, bell, book, and candle that were used in an excommunication? Let the staff check the back room, they might just have something like that. Something particularly odd and outré, Lewis Carroll's fountain pen, a grimoire containing a bound demon, a ruby the size of a man's thumb? Step into the office, sir, and let us discuss matters with Miss Ponsonby.

    The Maestro’s Stage – The goblin Marie Tempest runs Piccadilly’s Shakespearian-era stage, providing all manner of entertainment to weary travelers or curious shoppers with musical accompaniment from Black Huiarnviu the Púca. On the outside, the place appears as a crude, if entertaining, sideshow, often run with shadow puppets or paper cutouts. Once inside, though, the true special effects come out, sometimes appearing more real than life. For most, the side show is just a way of letting off steam, or perhaps a deeper catharsis - visitors can get on stage and act out a fantasy of their own with no consequences or prying eyes.

    The Statue of Eris – Piccadilly Circus – the mortal one, that is, not the goblin market – is known for the statue of Eros in the middle. Well, the goblin market has its own statue, a lovely marble work of Eris with her Golden Apple in the middle of a fountain. The light’s a little better here, and there’s actually enough room to spread out your hands, if you don’t mind accidentally punching someone else (this happens regularly). The changeling Oswald and the butcherbranch Butterbug run their restaurant here, quite possibly the safest place in Piccadilly. Just don’t drink the water.

    The Seven Sisters – Turn down the right alley and you’ll enter a cul-de-sac, with a very large ash tree growing in the middle. Few people come here, but there are seven women hanging from the tree, tied to its branches by their feet. They’re named Luna, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto, and they sell their namesake dreams, though only suicides buy Pluto’s dreams. If you’re very eloquent and you ask the right questions, they might even tell you how to find their eighth sister, Lilith.

    Encounters:
    Goblin Merchants – A goblin is any creature of the Market, whether hobgoblin or changeling or self-animated dream or banished Keeper. They’re hard to tell apart, and they all seem a trifle odd, but they all want to sell you something.
    Customers – The only group more varied than the goblins are the customers. Hobgoblins make up the biggest group, with changelings the second biggest, but you can find anyone here. Hedge beasts, vampires, nightmares, witches, fetches… rumor has it that even True Fae come to Piccadilly’s, in disguise.
    Blunderbores – It’s a faerie gorilla, basically, a huge, muscle-bound ogre wearing a double-breasted suit and usually a small hat. Blunderbores have the brains of tofu, but they’re too dumb to fool and they’re perfectly capable of bouncing an unruly customer off the pavement a few times till they follow the rules.
    Indentures – Slavery is banned in Piccadilly, but selling days, weeks, or even months and years of service is perfectly acceptable. Indentures always wear a sign of their status, a small chain somewhere on their body.
    Thralls – Sometimes, people sell more than they can afford. They sell their soul, or their free will, or their will to live – and the goblins will buy all of those. Thralls are still alive, but they’ve no motive force, are no more than zombies. They make wonderful stock boys.

    Connecting Domains:
    Rosehaven
    Straparola
    The Aerie Resplendent



    Terminal
    Controlled by: King Todd White, The Frosthaired King of Winter

    Ever-shifting Terminal is the center of Unseelie power in the Hedge, a land of ice and snow and biting wind. The sky is the slate-grey color of the storm, and the Thorns are frozen over, outlined in pristine ice. Terminal is a beautiful land, possessed of an austere magnificence – the snow here is always purest white, the wind tossing it forth in elegant flurries. Ice-covered goblin fruit hang from the branches here, and the weather is always snow or blizzard, never ugly slush or bitter freezing rain. But for all that Terminal seems a seductive winter wonderland, it conceals its own dangers. The cold saps ones strength, and the snow and ice hide both treacherous deadfalls and cunning predators. Those who become lost in Terminal are best advised to seek out the tracks, the blue-tinged steel that crisscrosses the area and can lead them to a train-station.

    The Ebon Engine, the great fae train of the Unseelie, is the dominant feature of Terminal. Indeed, it pulls Terminal along in its wake. Forever accompanied by a howling blizzard, Ebon Engine travels to every corner of the Near Hedge, and when it docks at some other region it brings its ferocious weather with it. In Rosehaven, it brings beating rain, in Piccadilly Circus, a blanket of wretched snow. And then it’s gone once again.

    Notable Locales:
    The Ebon Engine – The home of the Unseelie, ten massive cars of carved black steel and prismatic crystal, racing down a set of icy steel tracks. It is huge, and it looks somehow ever so faintly alien, like a train out of a dream, or possibly out of some opium nightmare. The carvings on the outside of the train remind one of something not quite right, something not quite human, a little too organic to be natural.

    The Stations – The Ebon Engine serves dozens of Stations, in Terminal and in every part of the Near Hedge. Some are grand affairs, barren cathedrals of ice and steel or snowed-over marble ruins, but far more are secret and hidden. Some are underground, to be found by entering through a dark, cold tunnel, while others are concealed by switchbacks and labyrinths of Thorns. They’re usually uninhabited, though sometimes there is a stationmaster – whether hob or hedge beast or something stranger.

    The Opal Lake – A shimmering expanse of ice several miles across, the Ebon Engine crosses over the Opal Lake atop fragile-seeming bridges of blueish steel. You can see through the ice, actually, down at the fish and narwhals and Tizheruk sea-serpents. Sometimes, though, the stormy clouds of Terminal part and a few rays of sunlight strike the ice, causing it to light up with all the colors of the rainbow.

    Hôtel de Glace – Not truly a hotel, the Hôtel de Glace is medium-sized Station carved of blocks of ice, found at the shores of a small inlet at the Open Lake. It’s a popular partying spot for the Unseelie, who descend on it en masse and use it as a skating rink, or warm the inlet with powerful magic and turn it into a spectacular swimming pool.

    Encounters:
    Freehold Members – Usually trudging through the snow or waiting at one of the Stations, many of the Freehold can be found going to and from the Ebon Engine, though the cold means that they rarely tarry.
    Frost Moths – Hand-sized moths composed of ice crystals, individually they’re beautiful and harmless, and are even kept as pets. They’re attracted to heat, though, and a swarm of them can freeze someone without winter clothing to death.
    Snowmaidens – These ghostly hobgoblins resemble pale, lovely women, and are the most dangerous beings to be found in Terminal. They are sirens that sing a bewitching song, and invite those they meet to trysts with whispered words and swift kisses. If the enchanted victim isn’t frozen by the weather itself, then the snowmaidens will steal every last bit of heat with their kiss.
    Rimedeer – Large, shaggy creatures with snow-white fur and antlers of pale-blue ice, the Rimedeer move in small groups or in vast herds through Terminal. They’re mostly harmless, though can become aggressive if disturbed – and those antlers are sharp.
    Winter Beasts – Terminal is home to a number of arctic Hedge Beasts, most commonly pale cats, snow-white foxes, or the occasional weasel in its winter coat. They are friendly but mischievous, and if approached correctly can lead a lost traveler to safety. Or lead them around in circles, one of the two.
    Jotuns – A smattering of Jotun live in Terminal, singly or in small family units. Each one is a blue-skinned giant some nine feet tall, enormously strong and with a bit of wintery magic at their call – most work as hunters, trappers, or lumberjacks that sell their goods at Piccadilly. They take hospitality very seriously and sometimes rescue stranded travelers, but they are possessed of a powerful and touchy sense of pride.

    Connecting Domains:
    All – The Ebon Engine goes where it will in the Near Hedge, and one can find a Station at any part of the Hedge if one looks hard enough.


    GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
    New System and Setting Material

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    • #3
      The Middle Hedge

      Somnus
      Controlled by: N/A

      Do you hear what I say? This is where dreams — dreams, do you understand — come to life, come real. Not daydreams: dreams.
      -C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

      It is easy to describe when setting foot upon it, and difficult to describe once you have gone. In Somnus, reality softens, the borders between one thing and another blurring together like watercolor. The Hedge thorns turn different colors, violet or blue, bleeding across the world like slashes of paint - but still cut just as deep. The landscapes are slowly swirling shapes of dreamlike hues, pink-orange mountains or bright green waters, blots of darkened trees on the horizon, the sky filled with planets so close you could jump to them. One path leads to a never-ending ocean, with only yellow drops of autumn leaves as stepping stones across the white waters. Another leads to a staircase of hot-air balloons, with the miles between them traversable in a single step. A third leads to a landscape literally quilted, a soft purple path leading across gold cloth fields. The rules of reality don't apply here, unless the land of Somnus says they do, and that can be deadly to the unwary. All it takes is a wrong thought, or a misstep to a place with different rules, and a dream of flying can turn into a nightmare of falling.

      Notable Locales:
      The Color Pools - They're scattered all across Somnus, circular pools with diamond clear water, glowing softly with pale colors. Some of them are hidden beneath the surface of other landscapes, and if you aren't careful, the ground can give way and you can plunge into them. The water feels like water when touched, but when immersed, it seems viscous, almost like some manner of crystal syrup. You can breathe it, and subsist on it, and it keeps you from aging when immersed in it. It is almost impossible to swim through. The pools go down deep, opening up into a veritable ocean, filled with gemstone fish and whales made of songs. It's common for creatures to fall in, struggle until they tire themselves out, then sink down into the ocean until they fall into a slumber, undying and un-aging for all eternity.

      The Crystal Spheres - The series of low-hanging planets in the Somnus skies, setting, rising, and aligning on a clock that no one else knows. A person can reach them by climbing a spiral staircase of moonlight steps, each step floating in the sky, free from supports. At the top, if they time it right and jump, they can fly, caught in just enough of the planet's gravity to jump across to it. From there, so long as they're careful, they can leap from planet to planet, skating across rings, skipping across moons, reaching out and eating glowing stars. Move too far from a planet, however, and the strange gravity will no longer keep them up, sending them plunging down to the shifting landscape below.

      The Dreaming Tree - At the center of a long salt flat, covered with just an inch of water to reflect the sky, is a single tree. The leaves of this tree have soft, silver-white undersides, and it grows pale, sweet smelling fruit, sometimes of differing varieties. All of these fruits do wondrous things, and at least one of the fruits can cure any earthly ailment, and possibly many more things besides. It's guarded by a powerful hobgoblin, a many-eyed beast that looks like a cross between a six-legged basilisk and an erupting volcano. Anyone who dares to pick a fruit from the tree will have to get past it first.

      The Pillars of Sky - A series of fourteen pillars set across Somnus, each one a different array of soft, dream-like colors, each one going up past the clouds and into the stars. There's said to be a rare and powerful flower at the very top of each of them, and anyone who manages to climb it can pick it and take it down with them. The Pillar of Stars, for instance, glows deep indigo and light powder blue, with occasional dashes of pure white light, and at the top is a pure white moonflower, which is said to grant immortality and sorrow to the one who holds it. The Sunset Pillar, glows pink and orange and purple, and has a single rose that is said can save a dead loved one, if brought back in time.

      Encounters:
      Shadows - From a distance, they're translucent black shadows with not much definition beyond that. Shadow animals, nothing more than four legs, a body, a head, and glass eyes. Shadow people, with no faces or details. It's only when you get close that they turn into anything, becoming something that matches the landscape. A blobby shadow animal turns into a quilted cow. A blobby shadow human turns into a face you once saw in a dream.
      Skywhirls - Whirlpools made of cloud, they roam across Somnus, sucking people up and flinging them into the sky. For a short while after, you can fly, but the experience is jarring and disorienting, causing damage from whiplash.
      Dreamlights - Little lights that look like fireflies, or maybe just will-o-the-wisps, Dreamlights simply glow beautifully unless they gather in large numbers. If there is enough of them, however, they start to form illusions, creating landscapes where there are none or acting out strange scenarios with imaginary people.
      Nightmares - They look like shadows at a distance, saving there's something keenly wrong about them, and anyone who sees them can feel it. They lurk up on their prey, driving them mad with paranoia and terror, before moving in to devour them and turn their shadows into another Nightmare.
      Crystalfishers - They wear bird masks and have the bodies of men, with tiny, stubby wings on their shoulders. They come in groups, strapping harnesses to themselves and plunging into the Color Pools, diving down to pluck out anything and anyone who looks interesting. For the most part, they take these creatures or people to the Goblin markets, preserving them in coffins filled with crystal water to keep them asleep until sold.
      Slumberswarms - Tiny swarms of flying fish or unearthly birds, or perhaps fluffy little balls with many pairs of wings, these things are not physically harmful but put unwary visitors straight to sleep.
      Insomni - They're strange creatures, kind of looking like a spotted baby tapir the size of a chihuahua. But if they bite you, they inject a venom that makes you completely unable to sleep, going madder and madder with every passing night.

      Connecting Domains:
      The Closet Cathedral
      The Mirror Crypt
      Controlled by: N/A (Jack Scarlet, Bloody Mary)

      It's almost symmetrical, in a way. The entire layout isn't... or perhaps it is, but how could you tell for certain? But from any given point, a person can see a refection. It's not easy to notice when you first stumble in, but it gets more and more unsettling the closer you get to the center. The path you are headed toward looks so very much like the path you just came from. The statue you are looking at has a twin, right across the way. Even the thorns are perfect mirrors of one another, simply flipped from left to right. Mirror-eyed Hedge owls show up in pairs, each one echoing the other's movements perfectly. Your footprints show up on a path you're certain you never walked down. Everything else here has its reflection, after all - maybe yours is here too, walking down the opposite way from you.


      The Mirror Crypt has plenty of normal mirrors as well, wedged in the Hedge walls or set in place of doorways. It also has a great many crypts, hence the name. But it is less a mausoleum and more an old-fashioned graveyard. There are paved paths and impressive tombs, but it's also home to a very overgrown grounds, with grass grown wild, barbed bramble bushes, and ancient trees - each with its twin somewhere along the way. Every crypt has its double as well, save the one at the very center, rumored to be the resting place of Bloody Mary, the infamous mirror spirit. Venture in, and you can see mirror hallways, a nightmare labyrinth that's impossible to tell which way is real and which is a reflection. And the mirrors lie, reflecting paths where there aren't any, or hiding the real escape routes. You can go in, if you don't mind losing the light, or the exit. Just don't be certain the thing that comes out is actually you.

      Notable Locales:
      The Oak of Judgment - It's a twisted piece of reflective glass, set in the hollowed heart of a twisted tree. There's nooses hanging from the branches, but there never seems to be any bodies. The legend says that it shows you as you really are, no delusions, no comforting lies, no nothing. Its hard to say whether this is true or not, but few people can look in it and come away unaffected. More to the point, it leaves marks on you, so everyone else can see what you are as well. A murderer, a demon summoner, a thief, but also a parent, a lover, a life-saver. Anything that would leave a mark on the soul, now leaves a mark on the body.

      The Black Pool - An polished black mirror with a shallow layer of water over it, haunted by obsidian butterflies. Ask it a question about the future, and it will show you the entire truth, but at a price. Once you've seen the future in such clarity, you lose the power to change it. Any roll you make to affect it will fail, any warning you give will go unheeded, or curse the person you warned to likewise fail. The best you can do is try to benefit from the fallout, or drop cryptic hints and clues to nudge others on a different path... and pray.

      The Midnight Causeway - It looks like basalt pillars, only made of mica, or obsidian, or pyrite, all of them polished to a crystal mirror shine. It's claimed that it traps people who died violently or highly emotionally while able to see their reflection in it, and if you smash open the pillar containing them, you might get them out alive. Others say what you really get is one of the mirror doppelgangers, pretending to be the dead person, but really a crystalline fraud. Certainly, faces sometimes appear in the polished reflections, though these might easily be unrelated Hedge phenomenon. But it does make a grave marker for any such dead unfortunates, etching the name and relevant dates onto one of the hexagonal pillars.

      The Spider Crypt - Bloody Mary's tomb, surrounded by black brambles. The door is usually open, and you can walk inside, though few people are brave enough to do so. Those who do rarely talk about what they found, at the very center, but it seems compelling enough for people to risk going in. There's still light on the first level, assuming no one shuts the crypt door, so the only real danger is getting lost in the mirrored halls, or accidentally going into the lower levels. When you start going further in, you lose the light, and have to depend on Contracts or candles... neither of which it is safe to view a mirror by. By the time the spiders start to come out, you've lost the exit, trapped in a thousand reflected passageways, discovering that every path you find always seems to go down. Some people find their way out, before they starve or something else finds them. Most don't. But you can always try calling Bloody Mary's name out, three times, if you'd prefer an uncertain fate to certain death.

      Encounters:
      Mirror Traps - Look in the wrong mirror, and it will suck you inside. Smashing the glass can usually get you out, but you can't do it from the inside, so hope you had someone accompanying you. Some of them don't even trap you, simply teleporting you straight into a crypt.
      Twisting Glass - They look like distorted sheets of metal, or Funhouse mirrors, except their distortions aren't wacky so much as disturbingly realistic. One makes you look old, another fat, another frail. If you look into it, you start to match the mirror, flesh shriveling or bloating to accommodate. But some of the mirrors make you look handsomer, or stronger, which is incentive for some to risk it.
      Doppelgangers - No one is sure if these things come out of the mirrors, or are simply wandering creatures that shapeshift as soon as they are seen. But they'll steal your face and your powers, and they'll try to steal your identity if you let them. And they won't shift back when killed, which always leaves your friends and allies wondering.
      Magic Mirrors - The one tells you who loves you most, that one tells you who you need to kill. A third lets you talk to your fetch, a fourth to your Keeper, a fifth to your past self, but they won't remember it. There are hundreds of magic mirrors scattered around, and they'll tell you the truth when you look into one, whether you like it or not.
      The Glass-Eyed Men - They look more human than the average hob, save for the mirrors they have in place of eyes. They don't speak, and they're dangerous. Try to cast a spell at one, and it will reflect back on you, striking their eyes and bouncing right off.
      Spidershards - They say breaking a mirror is seven years bad luck, but the misfortune is a bit more direct in the Mirror Crypt. The shattered glass forms the "webs" for these delicate, jewel-like spiders, who descend and bind their victims into the cracks between two worlds.
      Jack Scarlet - An enigmatic and sinister creature of unknown providence, Jack Scarlet can appear in any mirror, and can be summoned if you know how. He can also teach his own brand of magics, but he is not to be trusted in any capacity.

      Connecting Domains:
      Straparola (to the House of Mirrors at the Carnival)
      The Lake of Blood (to the Necropolis)
      Somnus
      The Underground
      The Poppy Fields
      The Castle of Twilight (Arcadia)

      The Underground
      Controlled by: N/A

      There's no sun here, no moon, no stars. There's not much in the way of plants, either, and even plain earth is hard to find. There is a great deal of stone tunnels, either natural stone or man-made carvings, tiles, bas-reliefs, and cobblestones all lining the walls. The Underground is exactly that, a domain far below the earth, a series of interlocking tubes that form a network of indeterminate size. Survival here is rough and violent, as there isn't much in the way to eat. A lucky traveler might find some phosphorescent Hedge mushrooms, and hope hard they aren't poisonous. Others might try to trade with some of the twisted denizens who live down here. The most common means of survival are the albino fish that lurk in dark waters. At the very least, there is plenty of water to fish in, with half-flooded tunnels and caverns common. But there are more sinister fishers in these places, who send out glowing lures in a dazzling display, hooking the unwary and hauling them up to be devoured.

      Notable Locales:
      The Corona Geodes - A cluster of caverns found throughout the Underground, a Corona Geode is much like a normal geode, only on an impossible scale. Crystals bigger than buildings line every side of the walls, and sometimes Hedge creatures carve them into statues, pillars, or palace-like domiciles. They are very difficult to traverse, for obvious reasons, and a traveler who happens across them can only hope there is a bridge from one side to another, or that interlocking crystals form a path across. While most of these locales simply resemble caves, some look like giant vortexes, a twisted pit that goes down deeper than the eye can see.

      The Wall of Souls - An intricately carved wall, only bits of it aren't stone, they're flesh and blood creatures, somehow fused into the rock. They're locked into elegant poses, limbs intertwining, faces buried and lost within the stone. They're still alive, despite being unable to eat or breathe. Every last one is asleep. Scholars who know of it theorize they are all sharing a dream, though what could be powered by so many minds, and to what purpose, is unknown.

      The Underground City - It starts out as rough stone rooms, barely carved and barely furnished. Go further and it becomes intricately carved palaces. The floor of one opens up into a stone tunnel downward, the walls lined with thousands of houses. Keep going down and you'll find a metropolis, huge metal cords running across from one city building to another. Further down the city sits on metal floor set across the abyss, like a manhole cover wedged between the walls. You can take the dumbwaiter, or creep through cracks in the floor, and keep going. There always seems to be more down, and even the bravest of Hedge explorers doesn't know when it ends, or if it even does. Creatures live here, but it's simply too huge to be continuously occupied, and thus the inhabited bergs are few and far between.

      The Cyclopean Gateway - It's a stone door taller than a skyscraper, made to resemble a circular calendar, only it isn't Mayan or anything else recognizable. It's sealed shut, and even if it wasn't, no mortal hand would be able to move the thing. Magic doesn't seem to work on it either, but there does seem to be some manner of code to the markings on the door. If anyone has cracked them, they aren't telling, but there are marks on the ground that indicate this gate has opened before.

      Encounters:
      The Tunnel Dwellers - Here live the kobolds, the morlocks, the mole-people and the serpent men. They eke out their livings below the earth, many of them never having seen the sun, many more twisted, albino, and blind.
      Spider Span Merchants - For the most part, they trade with the tunnel dwellers, hauling up huge chunks of crystal or other earthen treasures, in exchange for food, slaves, or supplies. But it is an alliance of convenience, and many of the merchants are willing to take what they can't buy.
      Lunkers - Most of the fish down here are sickly, pale, and blind. Some of them are huge, vicious-mouthed barracudas or pikes.
      Glowhooks - Giant glowworms, and not a cute variety. They send down sticky phosphorescent strands, in a display that looks breathtakingly beautiful to those who don't recognize it. Touching it, however, causes the strands to stick like glue, at which point the victim is pulled up, paralyzed, and eaten.
      The Undying Ones - They have the bodies of people, and dress like people, some of them wearing fake wings on their backs. Their heads are usually large glass globes, or World War I gas masks, or what look like dark motorcycle helmets with a single red light coming out of them. For the most part, they walk through the tunnels and ignore anyone they encounter. Sometimes they get violent, however, and if there's a way to kill them for good no one has found it. The best you can do is brutalize them until they're too broken to move.
      The Megaliths - Relics of civilizations never known litter the Underground, not one carved by human hand, not one that still has a name to it. Huge stone temples, obelisks, wall-murals extending out for ages, carvings of prayer and ritual to long dead gods who will never answer.
      The Colossi - Giant creatures live in the Underground, sharing the name Colossi, though sharing very little else. One has the body of a slug, a slime filled maw in its belly, a delicate and ornate human head perched on a long neck. One looks like a bloated worm, thousands of bulging eyes sticking out towards the ceiling. A massive onyx fish carved with thousands of intricate lines floats through the tunnels, its body made of metal pipes. They each have their own thoughts and motives, those that have any thoughts at all.
      The Basilisk - Perhaps nothing more than another Colossi, but a great deal bigger than all of the others, a six-legged serpentine creature made of carved stone, with yellow eyes like floodlights. Its huge claws cut through the stone like butter, it leaves tunnels the size of freeways in its wake, constantly expanding the Underground further and further.

      Connecting Domains:
      The Aerie Resplendent
      The Confederacy of Needles
      The Mirror Crypt
      The Confederacy of Needles
      Controlled by: The Pinned Conclave and Fatesfire, The Dark Herald

      Everything is sharper in the Confederacy, every footstep slicing your shoes with stones honed to a knife's edge and fallen Thorns as sharp as needles. The trees here are all prickly and pointed, the hedge-walls even more extravagantly Thorned than elsewhere, the paths thin and narrow and twisting. It's an
      unfriendly place, the Confederacy, where a single false step threatens to send you sliding into a tangle of sharp briars that will leave you bloodied and poisoned. But to those that know how to navigate here and who keep their footing, it's a haven from predators and hostile forces.

      There are towns here in the Confederacy -- the Thorn Towns, from whose union the area takes its name. No grand cities here, just little hamlets and villages, banded together for protection from their more twisted neighbors. Some of the locals are changelings, some are hobs, some are exiles from Arcadia or still stranger places, some are simply things of no known nature or origin. They aren't very friendly and theyare terribly dangerous, but for those that can navigate their prickly sense of etiquette, the Confederacy is a safe haven against the Middle Hedge.

      Notable Locales:
      Underholm – This is the largest of the Thorn Towns, and the one that seems closest to conventional standards of safety and sanity. The hobgoblins live in perfect darkness, their luminous eyes the only light to be found beneath the hill, but their holes are comfortably furnished (if somewhat fishy in smell), and they are polite and keep their cthonic religious practices to themselves as long as sacrifices aren't required. They have some arrangement with the Horseman, the Exiled King of Autumn, providing that mad Lost with home and hearth and dead things to eat in exchange for Fatesfire's protection of Underholm.

      Mourning Vale – The tall, pale hobgoblins of this place seem almost human, dressed always in Victorian finery of blackest hue. They mourn the dead though they themselves never seem to die, smuggling in corpses from the mortal world. They make coffins and hold funerals in the narrow streets of this hamlet, and weeping and singing twisted hymns. Any visitor had best show appropriate grief, or they may find themselves in a coffin and buried beneath the Hedge, without being killed first.

      The Brazen Tower – Crafted of pitted brass, this squat ziggurat is inhabited by swarms of metal ants and the human-like golems. The Queens (so ancient their verdigrised exoskeletons have turned black) forge ever more elaborate homunculi from bronze and wood. They don't have the recipe quite right yet, as each golem still needs a pair of fresh human eyes to come alive, but they'll get it eventually. In the meantime, they leave their many homunculi to do as they would, and so they wander about the Tower, their artificial minds ridden with bugs and human eyes staring from metal sockets.

      Fleischberg – The inhabitants of this grimy, warren-like mound of tunnels and alleys call themselves Fleischers. They are tall, powerful creatures of faintly canine aspect, but they are most distinguished by the fact that they possess no skin -- their muscles and organs and veins are all on clear display, protected only be a sort of transparent sheath. The fleischers are friendly and boisterous, but also violent and prone to forget that their visitors cannot consume sentient flesh in order to heal from all wounds.

      House Morgana – Resembling nothing quite so much as a fashion showroom in the middle of the Hedge, House Morgana is home to the Empty Suits, elegant suits and gorgeous gowns that appear to move of their own accord, worn by nothing more than empty space. Occasionally the Empty Suits don masks to make customers feel more at ease, but they are above all interested in designing Hedgespun clothing, the more beautiful the better. Everyone is a potential customer and model at House Morgana, at least unless they show themselves not to be and are downgraded to 'raw material'.

      The Pinned Conclave – Located in an ivy-covered dome half-buried in the earth, the Pinned Conclave is the governing body of the Confederacy of Needles. Here, the elders and wise men and diplomats of the various communities are brought, and then pinned to the insides of the dome with scores of slender silver needles. They live here, pinned in a state between life and death, aging and decaying but needing no food nor water, debating the governance of the Confederacy, until they've rotted too much to speak and are replaced.

      Encounters:
      The Horseman – The Horseman occupies a position in the Confederacy something akin to that of a sheriff or reeve, responsible for protecting the Thorn Towns and keeping order in his own, terrifying fashion.
      Confederates – The members of the local Thorn Towns are none of them prone to perambulation, but there is still some little trade and communication between the towns. One may come across a funeral cortege of Mourners, Empty Suits bearing the latest fashion, hunting Fleischers or abandoned, human-eyed automatons.
      Merchants – The Confederacy of Needles, at the end of the day, is one of the safer parts of the Middle Hedge. Sure they might eat you or turn you into a coat, but only if you don't know the right way to behave. Merchants from Piccadilly or the Spider Span regularly come to the Confederacy with corpses and raw materials, and bring back hedge-spun machinery or fashion.
      Harvesting Engine#4 – Looking like nothing quite so much as the ill-begotten lovechild of Baba Yaga's hut and a combine harvester, Harvesting Engine #4 is the latest effort by a mechanically-minded hob named Zerevandius Mulciber to squeeze some profit out of the Confederacy by providing raw materials to the Thorn Towns. A large hut that walks around on mechanical legs, Harvesting Engine #4 has skewers to pick up corpses or animals, chainsaw limbs to cut down trees, an undercarriage steam-powered jackhammer for mining, several articulated arms, and a machine-gun strapped to the roof for defense.
      The Gentry's Servants – The Confederacy is close enough to Arcadia that periodically the slaves and warriors of the Others come through, raiding and pillaging and enslaving those that they find. Not often, for the needles are no more pleasant to them than to any other, and the Horseman is a powerful ally, but it does happen.
      Lightskins – Supposedly castoffs of some House Morgana experiment with angel-skin garments, the Lightskins are found here and there throughout the Confederacy of Needles. They resemble pale, glowing cloaks or coats, save that instead of clasps they have sharp, hooked needles that bite into the wearer's neck and back. The drink a little blood and glow more brightly in the presence of violence or depravity, and the brighter they glow, the stronger and faster the wearer becomes.
      Needle Snails – They look like somewhat large snails with shells camouflaged to look like rocks or stones, and mostly they behave like snails. Except that they have a pneumatic tongue tipped with spikes and an extremely painful paralytic venom. They wait until someone comes close enough, then stab their tongue through the traveler's tendon (they're perfectly capable of piercing a boot). Then, once their victim cannot move, they slowly approach and begin to eat away at the extremities by dissolving them with a potent gastric acid. Needle Snail attacks are rarely fatal (the poison wears off and the snail only has enough venom for one attack), but they are excruciatingly painful and scarring.

      Connecting Domains:
      Piccadilly Circus
      The Underground
      The Lost Woods
      King Midas' Table


      The Lost Woods
      Controlled by: N/A

      You're lost now. The little birds ate up all your breadcrumbs, and now you've no way to get back home. Every twisted, tortured tree can be mistaken for another, and they snatch as you as you try to walk down the wild pathways. The beautiful, majestic forest doesn't seem quite so friendly when you're not allowed to leave it. Surely there's someone in here that will help you? Or maybe the only friendly face you're going to find is an iron-toothed witch, who invites you inside so she can eat you right up.


      It's black as pitch inside the woods, for the trees blot out all but the faintest fraction of the moonlight. Everything seems in dark shades of grey and green, but for the places where the branches part, and the pallid light of the moon creates an oasis of bleached bone white. You can see further there, but what you see might not be what you want to.

      The Lost Woods holds true to its name. It's easy to get lost in -- one tree looks much the same in the perpetual murk, and their thick boughs ensure that neither stars nor landmarks can guide the weary traveler. There are a few paths in the wood, but they very rarely lead you where you want to go, and there are a few guides to be found as well, but they very rarely have your best intentions in mind. The trees won't kill you. It's who you meet in the forest that you should worry about.

      Notable Locales:
      The Henge - A circle of weathered standing stones, moss and time having worn the carvings into illegibility. There's a clearing in the middle of them, and nothing except grass will grow there: no saplings, no flowers, no shrubs. Anything killed in the Henge stays dead, which would seem to usually be the case outside the Henge as well... but this also and most notably applies to the True Fae as well as mortals. One might think this would mean the True Fae would avoid it like the plague, but this does not seem to be the case. Some scholars think it is a point of pilgrimage for them, somehow, while others believe a True Fae cannot fail to answer if their name is called out in the Henge to summon them.

      The Sable Lodge - A rustic hunting lodge, if said lodge had been made on the scale of a palace. The thatched roof is stained black with pine tar, and there are always lights in the windows, so it can be seen from a ways away. It is completely uninhabited, yet always seems to be in perfect repair. The doors are always open, though no leaves are ever blown inside, and no cobwebs can be found in the corners. It has all the comforts of home: magically stocked pantries, comfortable beds, lots of firewood to ward off the chill, and a lit fire to save one the trouble of starting it. The locals hold a deep mistrust of the place, not knowing what the catch is, and avoid it as much as possible.

      The Cottage in the Woods - The most obvious to spot are the overgrown woodsman cottages, though they come in many other varieties. They might be tree houses, gingerbread cottages, hollowed out oaks, or burrows. Something is living in there, and said something might be your only hope of guiding your way through the twisted woods. On the other hand, said something might be a Woodwitch or a wolf in grandmother's clothing, and more dangerous than anything else you encounter in the Lost Woods, disguised with a fair face to lure you in.

      The Moonflower Glade - Pale white flowers that glow softly with absorbed moonlight. It is claimed they always come in pairs, and if you pick one, another will die. At their base, they can be used as lights in the rest of the woods, and much of the natives will not be hostile to someone carrying one. Sitting and resting in the glade can also restore glamour. Finally, a plucked moonflower can store a point of glamour in it until it wilts, and thus can be given to someone else as a gift, even a mortal (who can use it to activate Hedge gates or Tokens, though a stolen moonflower is said to inflict the thief with the madness of the fae if they try to use it).

      The Council of the Hours - A grove of thirteen, sentient, talking trees, set in a circle. A the head is a wise and ancient Oak who claims to be King of the Forest. There is a weeping and mournful Willow, a haughty Ash, a cunning and malicious Yew, and others, each with their own ideals and agendas. As trees, their ability to influence things is limited, but their roots go down through the entire Lost Wood, and so they know about just about everything that happens in their domain. They can be persuaded to guide people or use their powerful magics in exchange for services elsewhere in the forest.

      Encounters:
      Woodwitches - In a bit of Hedge sexism, they're always women. Some are old crones, some matronly women, some young and ravishing. They are all creatures of great power, and not a one is to be trusted. The old crone has forearms stripped down to the bone, and curses you if you ask her the wrong question. The matronly woman has a mouth in the back of her head, and turns visitors into gingerbread, which she then devours. The young lady has peacock feathers in place of eyes, and makes you forget everyone but her.
      The Horned Ones - They are both male and female. Some have satyr feet, some wear fur hoods or masks, some have wings and the heads of harts, some have delicate human feet and some go bare-faced. They all have horns, hence the name. They are a wild, fey people, deeply rooted in the forest, practicing a strange, corrupted version of Druidic rites. They watch all intruders in the forest carefully, and they appear and dissipate with surprising silence, leaving only the rustle of leaves in their wake. They can be helpful, but it is important to remember they are not safe.
      The Forest Spirits - The Naiads and Dryads, spirits of the trees and the water. They vary greatly in shape, size, and form, but most often appear as beautiful young women. They are protectors of the forests, and so any who break branches or take axe to the trees will find themselves attracting a great deal of ire.
      Habetrot - Deformed and misshapen to a one, the Habetrot are nonetheless some of the most helpful creatures one might find in the Hedge, so long as you don't abuse them for their ugliness. Their specialty is spinning alone, however, so they might be limited in the ways they can help. But they could spin you a shirt made from thistles to protect you from curses, or a lightweight rope out of spiderwebs.
      Moonwolves - Most the animals here are Moon Beasts, mundane looking creatures with fur black as night, which can only be seen in the moonlight. Those such as Moon Rabbits mostly make for a beautiful spectacle. Moonwolves, however, are a lot more dangerous.
      Familiars - They look a lot like Hedge Beasts, save the mystic words in their fur and the oval porcelain mask in place of a muzzle or animal snout. It's rumored they have no face, and try to steal the faces from lone wanderers. Faceless people usually do not tell tales, if they even exist, however. For the most part, Familiars quietly follow at a safe distance, occasionally darting off only to return a few hours later.
      Corpse Candles - They float just under the surface of pools of water, looking like luminous jellyfish. Anyone who stares too long at them risks being possessed by one, who then uses their new body to their own ends. Beware of anyone who has eyes like flames, glowing orange or bright blue in the shadowed woods.
      Lotus Flies - They look like jeweled wasps or large fuzzy bees more than anything. They lurk on several varieties of harmless Hedge lotuses, waiting for a victim to come close. When a suitable target comes into range, the Lotus Fly stings and paralyzes them, causing them to fall into the water. The decomposing body provides food for both the Fly and the lotus. In fact, one particular lotus has adapted to form a symbiotic partnership with the Lotus Fly, the root system both keeping the victims semi-preserved in a half-dead state, and animating the victims to move if someone comes close. The previous, corpse-like victims grab on to the new victim, dragging them into the water where the Lotus Fly stings them until they stop struggling.
      Forest Tarragons - Not true dragons, but certainly large and dangerous enough. They're made of jagged wooden roots and mossy peat, with flowers and saplings growing out of their hides. They don't seem to have eyes, but they can somehow hear well enough. For the most part, they sleep, burrowed into a local glen. Unfortunately, that means they are quite easy to unwittingly step on.
      Mushroom Circles - If you dance in one, it will take you to another mushroom circle somewhere else in the Hedge. No one can know for certain where else in the Hedge until they've already gone through, but sometimes "anywhere but here" is good enough. They also say if you eat the mushrooms, you can walk to Arcadia in seven steps.

      Connecting Domains:
      Rosehaven
      The Corpse Farm
      Somnus
      The Confederacy of Needles
      Mythica

      Last edited by NeoTiamat; 03-29-2014, 10:08 AM.


      GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
      New System and Setting Material

      Comment


      • #4
        The Deep Hedge
        Mythica
        Controlled by: N/A (The Sunset Princess of Stolen Desire, The Shear-Fingered Mistress of Twilight and Fate, The Grasping Beast with Golden Hide)

        Here there be dragons, old gods and monsters. Here the sun and moon both hang in a deep blue sky, and the world seems encircled by a giant serpent. Here the ocean stretches out forever, and yet can still be traversed in seven days. This is Mythica, and it is
        epic, beyond the scale of mortal men. Every bite of food is somehow more than it is on Earth, every breath of air somehow sharper. Every clash of swords is a titanic struggle, every mild crush is a love that will outshine the stars. This is the land of kings and heroes and treasure beyond compare. To succeed in Mythica is to become a legend. But when the stakes are so much higher, defeat is so much more bitter, betrayal is so much more crushing. There is no such thing as an ignoble death, here, but there are plenty who would rather they had died face down in the mud, lost and forgotten, than toyed with Fate and reaped the punishment.

        Notable Locales:
        The World Tree - The branches seem to go up forever, and the roots go down just as far. The branches are bigger than an airport landing strip, and some colonies of elves and dwarves and wurmlings live in the branches. They say the fruit of the tree could grow another world if planted, perhaps even another universe. The wood of the tree is deeply magic, and if you get into the hollowed out heart of the tree, you'll find a jungle inside of it. If you find the dancing orbs of light, you can even speak to the tree itself.

        The Beastfelt Pools - A single sip of the water here is enough to turn the drinker into a beast, and not just any beast, but a legendary one. Spears shatter against its hide, knights fall beneath its claws, and its beating heart is nigh-immortal. It might even be a boon, if you don't mind staying in Mythica forever as a monster. To someone hoping to kill their Keeper, perhaps it is worth the price... and there are ways to break the curse, but they require someone else to do it for you. They are also usually loathsome and deadly, and so even those who hoped on their trusted friends to free them often find themselves trapped in the Hedge, slowly losing their minds.

        The Lindworm - A serpent that circles all of Mythica, like the rings of a planet. Its coils raise up out of the Endless Ocean, and stretch across the entire sky. It is not immobile, however, and it can reach down and eat someone if they give it cause to.

        The Tower - A ruined tower set near one of the High Roads, once an army outpost but now long abandoned. It still bears weapons, but is hardly anything of note compared to most of Mythica. What it does bear is a set of five tapestries, one for each of the near Arcadian domains. If one looks very carefully, it forms a map, showing safe paths into the Gentries' lairs.

        The Grove of Aphrodite - They're not quite the Hesperian Apples, one must venture into Arcadia for that. But an apple from this grove can give you eternal youth without eternal life; the person who ate it would look twenty or so until the day they died of old age. Sharing one of the apples can make a couple fall in love with one another, though it is a fickle love, constantly tempted by fate.

        The Eternal Cliffs - Stark, chalk white cliffs that stand tall against the beating sea. If someone throws themselves from the top of one into the ocean, and makes a wish while doing so, that wish will come true, though the one who made it will never know. There seems to be no way to avoid the price, even via the wish. Not even the wisher's body can be found, swept away by the dark waves. They sometimes call it the Lover's Cliffs, as many desperate and heartbroken suitors plunge themselves into the depths, in the vain hope they will make their paramours happy. There's a legend that the sun and moon in Mythica were once a pair of lovers, each one walking to the top of the cliffs in turn and throwing themselves off, wishing that their lover would be alive again, only to be returned to life the next day by their partner's sacrifice.

        The Well of Knowledge - An ancient stone well with deep, dark waters, it grants knowledge in exchange for a sacrifice. Those who drink of the well can "trade in" their physical prowess for mental acuity, but the well demands a further payment, a portion of the knowledge-seeker's body, which can never be grown back.

        Encounters:
        Hedge Fruit - The normal Hedge fruit varieties can still be found this deep into the Hedge, but there are many more here that are barely recognized, even by the most devout scholars. The ruby red seeds of a pomegranate cause gemstone trees to burst out of the earth. The mouthbursting flesh of a white peach causes a changeling to change her kith. An olive, when pressed, creates an oil that can be placed on the eye, to see through all illusions. A strawberry bears the promise of a healthy and talented child, no matter how infertile the imbiber might otherwise be. They all taste far beyond anything of the mortal world.
        Legendary Tokens - They say there is a skeleton of an old dragon, and her teeth, when thrown down, create an ivory army. They say there is a cauldron that, when a corpse is thrown in, can bring it back to life. They say there is a loom ruled by Lachesis, that allows the weaver to change someone's Fate. They say there are wedding rings forged here that let two lovers share their soul and their powers. They say Caldabog is out here, or Gungnir, or the Lance of Longinus. They say there is anything you want, if you know where to look or how to get it.
        Chimera - Not just the Chimera of Greek legend, but a catch all term for beasts made of many other beasts. Wingled Lions the size of an elephant soar across the sky on peacock feathers. Unicorns and ki-rin prance in dappled forests. Manta rays, winged-fish, and half-bird mice fly across the sky in giant flocks.
        Sleipnirs - Some have eight legs, some have wings, some simply float as if they were half cloud. The fastest steeds in this world or any other, and highly prised by True Fae, hobgoblins, and changelings alike. They are spirited and proud, and being the fastest steeds in all the world, they are not easy to catch.
        Linnorms - No true dragons, these wingless wurms dwell beneath the earth, in caves or burrows or mountainsides. They are powerful and canny sorcerers, knowing ancient magics and even more ancient tongues, long forgotten names and lost Contracts.
        Kingmakers - They wear deep crimson robes and have bird skulls for heads. They wear sprigs of mistletoe around their necks on a golden cord. These are Kingmakers, sometimes whispered to be Banished True Fae, mostly thought to be Hobgoblins, but they can sniff out strands of fate, and also work to forge them. When they find someone to their liking, they work to assist them... be it to be lord of a Hedge domain, or a ruler in Arcadia itself. But once the Kingmakers have chosen, they will never let their prince go, not until he has been risen up to his rightful rule.
        Gallants Would-Be - Victims of the Kingmakers, or perhaps simply ambitious changelings or hobgoblins or Banished. They act out the role of hero, in Mythica, riding out to slay beasts, court fine ladies, or make merry war with one another.
        Gigantes - Giants, Titans, and Ogres of legend. Unlike the Jotun in the Near Hedge, these creatures are of truly gargantuan proportions, ranging from fifteen feet tall to the size of mountains.
        Behemetropoleis - Guardian beasts so huge they have cities on their backs. Turtles the size of islands, a thousand-winged platform with a palace set upon it, a pair of koi the size of whales, a massive crystal caterpillar with the city inside of it. The residents vary as much as their guardians. A colony of fuzzy pixies lives on a giant beetle's back. Colorful, striped mermaids live in coral palaces on a giant hermit crab. A flock of well-dressed Hedge geese live in a house strapped to the back of a gargantuan dog. Winged and bird-faced men live in a citadel aboard a simurgh.
        Briarhounds - Favored servants of the Gentry, and favored dogs for the Wild Hunt, these vicious creatures look like a cross between a man and a wolf. They cannot speak, but their eyes are disturbingly human. Little else about them is, and they are hunters without mercy.
        The Golden Army - They look like the Clay Army of China, only made of gold and silver and platinum. They go out to take what their master demands, and to make war on the Kingdoms in Mythica. They are the servants of the great dragon, and the wealth of a single one of them could make someone rich for a lifetime.
        The Mistress' Soldiers - Designed by the Mistress to be perfect, twisted by her to be obedient and freakishly loyal, they carry out her orders to bring her back the most perfect and beautiful things they can find... and sometimes act on their own initiative in hopes of pleasing her, if they spot something very enticing.
        The True Fae - So close to Arcadia, the Gentry often ride out into Mythica, making battle with one another or simply sampling the Hedge's delights. The Mistress comes here, bringing twilight in her wake, taking and commanding as she will, and shattering men's hearts with just a glimpse of her beauty. The Sunset Princess comes here, enchanting Would-Be Gallants, driving them to more and more impossible tasks for just a hint of her favor. The Ivory-Throned Huntress comes here, to hunt the most terrible and awesome of beasts. The Grasping Beast comes here, the great Golden Dragon, raining death and destruction where he will, devouring heroes and hoarding treasures. Old Red comes here in the guise of a Bloody Handed God, giving favors in exchange for sacrifices.

        Connecting Domains:
        Somnus
        The Lost Wood
        The Poppy Fields
        The Castle of Twilight (Arcadia)
        The Sunset Glade (Arcadia)
        The Silver Pools (Arcadia)
        The Palace of Quicksilver and Jade (Arcadia)
        King Midas' Table
        Controlled by: N/A (The Sunset Princess of Stolen Desire, The Tempter and Troubadour Incarnadine)

        Oh, there's black jack and poker and the roulette wheel
        A fortune won and lost on every deal
        All you need's a strong heart and a nerve of steel
        Viva Las Vegas!

        -Elvis Presley

        Come in, have a seat, have a cigar, don't mind if you do. Welcome to King Midas' Table, where you can win anything, and that's not a hyperbole. You want this lovely lady's pretty green eyes? You can win that. You want your rival's status and power? Step right up and roll the dice. Want to be a mortal human again? Just cross your fingers and win it off somebody else. Got your eye on this perfect copy of your lover? You have some good taste, you can take him home if you like. One's enough for you? Well, that's alright, he won't go to waste. Pay no mind to the whimpering sounds he's making.

        Coupla caveats. First, you gotta have it to bet it, which means your opponent has to have it for you to win it. You can win anything here, but someone still has to put it on the table. No fair betting someone else's stuff, unless you own them, but in that case you gotta offer up the whole package when you put them down - you ante up a slave or spouse, the winner gets them, but you can't try and siphon off their eyes or smile one bit at a time. You want to do that, they gotta willingly play a hand, and they'll probably be wagering against you for their freedom. Second, no cheating. Course, if you're not caught cheating, you weren't really cheating, and there's no rules except the ones you all agree on. The rules apply to everyone, so if you sneak in your lucky dice, and your opponent steals them and wins with them, sucks to be you. Sure, you could kind of say that means everyone cheats all the time, but you have to cheat fair. If you've rigged the game so you always win, well, that's not really a game, is it? Third, no stealing. You wanna be a dirty sneak, you go play a hand and you cheat. You get caught stealing, and the person gets what you took back plus something equal value of yours, their choice. Four, no stopping someone from gambling. Doesn't matter if you own every last hair on their heads, they want to go play a round or buy things at the market, you gotta let them.

        Sound fair?

        Notable Locales:
        The Stone Tables - It does look a lot like a bunch of stone altars, doesn't it? But what's worshiped here is Lady Luck. Sit down, play a hand. There's every game you've ever heard of, and every game you've never heard of. You can wager for cash, if you really want, but the real high rollers are looking for meatier fare. You state your wager, and the table takes care of it for you, transferring the winnings around once the hand's done. You bargain something intangible, and someone wins it, it makes a little token to carry it around, until someone decides to claim it personally. Makes sure everything stays nice and fair. No walking away once you've anted up, or you forfeit.

        The Carnelian Racetrack - Everyone loves racing, really gets the blood pumping to watch. They've got the horses. They've got the greyhounds. They have your giant blood-weasels. They got the Most Dangerous Race, where people get to see if the man can outrun the wolves. Odds aren't so great on that one, but if you win, you're gonna win big. Just don't bet more than you can pay, or you might find yourself running down there to pay it off. On the bright side, you'll still get to bet on yourself.

        The Golden Colosseum - They dug up those old Roman ruins centuries ago, and what else are you going to do with them? It's not all blood and violence. You haven't lived until you've seen a six woolly mammoth chariot race. 'Course, if the mammoths aren't so good on their marks, it can get bloody pretty quick. But sometimes, you just want to see the biggest, nastiest things around stab each other until one gives. The one on one battles are the most common, but sometimes they'll flood the place and run an entire navy skirmish. Some bright guy even ran a Hedge automaton destruction derby a while back. The explosions took him out along with the first few rows, but it was the biggest hit the place ever had.

        The Silver Amphitheater - Look, there's nothing that beats the rush of dice and the thrill of the game. But you want a bit of relaxation. Something to cool down, so there's some contrast. We get that, we really do. There's just the thing for you, too, the finest entertainment the Hedge anywhere has to offer. They even sell things to throw at the stage to make it more entertaining, just in case the production's a dud. Sure, it's rough on the performers, but it's good for them, keeps them on their toes.

        The Pool of Bacchus - You're not the gambling type? That's alright, that's alright, it's a vice anyway. Maybe you're just here with some friends, or looking for a different kind of thrill. And hey, even the best of us can't fly high all the time without it getting a little stale. Step right this way, we'll set you up. The Pool of Bacchus has every entertainment you can ask for, and some you didn't know you wanted. Try the food and drinks, they're beyond compare. If someone here suits your tastes, why not take them in back and give them a whirl? Nothing tickle your fancy? Just be patient, we have people working on it. Maybe you've already got a beau, that's fine, that's fine. Why not bring them back here to soak up the atmosphere? Maybe you've got some ideas you always wanted to do, but were afraid to ask, why not bring it up now? I bet they'll be a little more willing to listen.

        Pluto's Market - Say you've swept the tables at poker, and now you're stuck with someone else's hopes and memories as part of the pot, only you happen to like yours just fine and don't really want to take on more. Hey, we get it. We're here to oblige. We have a market set up right down the hill, so you can trade some of that junk for something a little more to your liking. If gambling's not your thing, feel free to just come out and browse. So long as you have the spending power, you can pick up anything that catches your eye.

        Encounters:
        The Dealers - They say the House always wins, son.
        Scalesmen - It's a bit hard to measure some of the stuff on the tables. A lot of people have debated how much a human life is worth, for instance. If its just you and your opponent, well, you can just agree if two bets are equal and move on, but that gets messy when you're playing five-man poker. So you call over one of the Scalesmen, those Jackal-headed guys... what, Anubis? Never heard of him. They'll get you sorted right out, though, make sure everyone's met the ante fair and square. They can't be bribed, more's the pity, but that sort of thing is bad for business anyway.
        The Suits - Someone's gotta make sure this place keeps running smoothly, after all. Killing your opponent to win the game is pretty poor form... although if you get him in one shot, that was pretty smooth. We have a lot more problems with people trying to kill their opponentafter the game, and that's just bad for business. So the suits keep things nice and peaceful, by ripping the arms off troublemakers. Don't get on their bad side, they're real ogres.
        The Theatre Recruiters - It's rough being a performing artist, you got a lot of pressure on you. In the case of the theatre men, they have the most fickle audience in the world. They're always looking for fresh blood... that is to say, acts, and they can get pretty desperate if they know a big name's gonna be in town. So desperate they'll be willing to pay you anything they have if you'll just perform. 'Course, then you're the one on stage, so you'd better impress.
        The Debtors - Some people just don't know when to stop. Or maybe they bet something they weren't supposed to and they dug themselves into a hole trying to get it back. If they're lucky, they lost their freedom before they started siphoning off bits of themselves, because that just starts making them damaged goods. 'Course, once they're in the hock, they've got to earn it off, or at least earn something that lets them get back to the tables and get betting again. You can find them working at pretty much anything. They're entertainment, or serving staff, or dealers if they're lucky. If they're not so lucky, well, let's just leave that there.
        Fleshdoubles - Let's just say we have people whose job it is to know your taste. The Tables pride themselves on catering perfectly to your whims. You got a lover? Well, that makes your preferences a little easier to nail down. We can tweak them a little too, get rid of that belly or that annoying habit she has that irritates you so much. And we make especially sure they love you just like the real one. Just leave them here when you're done with them. We're understanding about that sort of thing.
        Wandering Weddingsmiths - Now what is any fine entertainment establishment without the ability for hasty hook-ups and extremely bad choices? The Weddingsmiths are a bunch of shapeshifters with a very specific niche, as it were. You want to get married by Johnny Depp? Well, they're functionally impossible to tell apart from him. You wanna get married to Johnny Depp? We got some fleshdoubles for that. They can also bind you a little closer to your partner than most vows do. You want to bind your Fates together? Maybe your minds? Your Wyrds? Be my guest. Just hope you were sure about that whole 'till death do us part.
        The True Fae - Any Gentry with a sense of fun knows this is the place to be and be seen. The Sunset Princess comes around here a lot, not so much of a gambler herself, but she really likes high rollers. The Lion-Toothed Lord likes to run a few joints around the place, raking in the cash when the house inevitably wins. And of course, there's the Tempter and Troubadour Incarnadine, who lives this place inside and out. He's constantly found at the tables, offering out prizes past your wildest dreams, but... heh... don't actually think you're going to beat him.

        Connecting Domains:
        The Confederacy of Needles
        The Poppy Fields
        The Palace of Quicksilver and Jade (Arcadia)
        The Sunset Glade (Arcadia)

        The Devil's Crossroads (Arcadia)


        The Poppy Fields

        Controlled by: N/A (The Tempter and Troubadour Incarnadine, The Honourable Corporation of the Ouroboros, The Grasping Beast with Golden Hide)

        Society is kind of a funny thing, when you think about it. Don't get me wrong, when it's good, it's good. You can't build a freeway overpass or the Great Pyramids of Giza with just your neighbors and your friends down from the bar. Well, okay, maybe there was those one guys. My point is, when it's bad, it starts becoming sort of a funny thing. War's the big example - you and your buddies go get sent to kill some guys who've never seen you before, because some politician you never met wants to go kill some other politician you never met. But at least there's a chance the other guys might've done the same to you if you hadn't killed them first, and maybe you'll get some cash out of the whole deal. Nah, I'm talking about society when it's gone really bad, not just bad to the guys who don't feel like paying their taxes. You wouldn't think it would be such a hard thing to screw up. You work, you eat. You don't work, you don't eat. Fair enough, right? Only then you find out that you're not actually
        allowed to work, 'cause they don't have enough jobs for everyone, and whaddya want from them, they gotta run a business. You gotta pay your taxes, but they can't give you anything back like food or coal, 'cause someone forgot to dot the I's on their paperwork. You're not even allowed to tell them to shove off and handle things yourself, 'cause then they send men down with guns and shoot you for it. So you have a bunch of people who want to work and who grow enough food and who are living in poverty and starving to death. And by the time they get around to processing your aid requests, couple million people are dead.

        See, turns out most people don't really like starving to death. And at a certain point, they start to realize that words like "honesty" and "integrity" are always being told to people who don't have enough by people who have more than plenty. And maybe they realize the people they're supposed to be killing are being just as screwed as they are, and they have a lot more in common with each other than the obsolete suits a thousand miles away - and to be fair, the suits'll be punished if they so much as think about trying to buck the rules to actually help - and some of these people start realizing society is just a bunch of made up rules, the rules are utterly stupid, and if they just ignored the things they could actually get something done. That there, my friend, is when things start getting interesting.

        Notable Locales:
        The Blocks - Every once in a while some conquering hotshot tries to spruce one up with a new name, like the Monarchy of such and such or the Happy Free Republic of so and so. Never sticks, and not just because they'll probably be dead ten months later. They're the Blocks, because that's what they are. Big, ugly, shoddily constructed apartment buildings, clustered in groups, painted an ugly color of tan, half of them with floors blown up by some war-machine or sliced open by a laser beam. There's usually miles of shattered road and wilderness between one set of Blocks and the next, so I guess you could kind of say they're what counts as cities here. Funny thing is, they're so run down they're actually kinda pretty. Wildflowers, trees, all that stuff's grown back in, all over them. Rain fills up some of the roofless floors and makes a little pond. Some of them even had lakes next to them to start with, or little orchards. You're not legally allowed to fish in them, or pick the fruit, even if you're starving. That'd just be anarchy.

        The Paperpits - Seems the folks out here got so fed up of their government a while back, they unanimously agreed that any official who screwed the pooch would be summarily executed. Don't act like you haven't wished you could do the same. Turns out there's no penalty for doing nothing, though. So any official here sits in her Paperpit, ignoring any and all requests given to her, 'cause if she screws up a single letter on the form, that's it for her. They're not allowed to throw anything out, either, though I hear that most of them start building fortresses out of the stuff after a certain point. And no one here'll give you anything if you don't have the right paperwork. Not legally, anyway. So everyone submits their forms, and then the forms go to die in the Paperpits. I'll throw you a bone, here. You want something done, you gotta bribe the official to make it worth their while. Then you gotta go with her to the one up the chain, and bribe him to make sure no one reports any bad paperwork. All the way up to whomever's in charge this week. You might have to wade through some parchment to find em all, mind. I'd bring a shovel.

        The Transient Embassy - The name's kind of an exercise in irony, 'cause the Transient Embassy has been around longer than pretty much anything else that's left. See, a while back this dame named Crazy Ivy declared herself, and the pillar she was sitting on, an independent sovereign nation. She lived up to her name, so everyone just agreed so she'd sit on her pillar and leave them alone. They didn't really think that one through. See, being a separate sovereign nation means the law doesn't apply here, and Crazy Ivy doesn't believe in extradition. So if you find the police hot on your tail, all you have to do is run over to the Transient pillar and touch it, and you get off scott free. They've expanded the pillar out into a huge, mushroom-type city, none of the buildings touching the ground so no one can claim they're on any nation's soil. It's pretty much the biggest den of criminals you can find on this side of the Hedge.

        The Gilted Furnaces - Every so often some would-be dictator decides he's got "ideals", or someone decides that screwing the other guy is more important that getting it good himself. So here we've got the furnaces, the proper disposal units for undesirables, or too desirables. It does the trick for pretty much anything. Your arch-rival has a big old museum of valuable statues? Into the furnace. Find a ruby mine, but worried it'll get taken from you? Strip mine the place, toss it in the furnace. Priceless artifact? In ya go. Never-seen trees that give life-saving Hedge fruits? Chop those suckers down, pitch them in. Wouldn't want any of the seeds escaping, would you? Your enemy might use it against you. I should probably warn you the Grasping Beast has a running arrangement with a lot of these places, though. He floods gold into their pockets, they give him pretty much everything.

        The Seven Seals - They kind of look like giant obelisks, each one with a different set of carvings on the face of them. They're still light enough to be moved around, if you have the musclepower. If you happen to climb to the top and crack the gem up there, everything within the next ten miles gets spontaneously unmade as a star explodes out from the pillar. Most people aren't crazy enough to do that, though you wouldn't know it from the way they handle these things during transport. If you don't crack the gem, they're pretty much infinite batteries, so that's nice. You'd think these things would have been locked down right quick, but turns out they wound up being auctioned off to cover some government debts. Not looking to have been a really good decision, in hindsight.

        The Blue Star - Remember when I said most people weren't crazy enough to trigger the Seals? Yeah, there used to be eight. You can go up and look at it if you want, it won't burn you unless you touch it. If you do touch it, well, you won't need to splurge on a funeral urn. There's usually a big crowd of people just staring hypnotized into the thing. My recommendation? Don't stand too close. The light'll do weird things to you.

        Encounters:
        Blood Poppies - Damn things are everywhere around here, though they supposedly sprout up from blood, so there you go. You aren't careful, they'll put you right to sleep. But they've got some uses. You pin one to your lapel, you can call up and speak to the dead, or at least think you're speaking to the dead, which is usually close enough when dead people are involved. They also say the opium makes you harder to kill. Though believe me, blood poppy addicts aren't people you want to get around.
        The Networks - They all have different names, but they're effectively the same thing. See, let me explain how this place works. You get some hotshot idiot who declares themself in charge, and who sets about killing all the other hotshot idiots who declared themself in charge. Then you got the little guys who actually run things, who just ignore the whole war and keep doing business as usual. So you have one Network selling weapons to a Network that's trying to kill them, only the guys really in charge won't be affected at all, so who cares? Unless a deal goes bad, then it's just murder all over. Eventually the hotshot gets killed, the Network goons take their weapons as back pay, and another Network steps into the power vacuum. What it does mean is you have a steady stream of goons demanding you pay them protection money. You pay up, they actually protect you. You don't, they mash your skull in. Pretty straightforward, really.
        The Winter Soldiers - They get bought or conscripted or just grabbed right off the streets, get a gun shoved in their hands, and get shoved out to kill some guys. If they're lucky, they're still alive when their group falls to pieces and they get shoved out into the world alone. That's about when they figure out that "sides" are a little more tricky than they thought. Most of the living ones are for hire now. You can find mercenaries everywhere, but there's something about the Winter Soldiers that marks them out. They kill someone, that shows up on their skin. They get hurt, that's a mark more permanent than a scar. Every sin, every injury, inside and out. Usually tattoos, but sometimes something weirder.
        Wartitans - The biggest, nastiest, deadliest things that anyone could find, breed, or build and set out to kill suckers. Only half the time no one thought about how to feed them, or maintain them, or anything like that. Or maybe the whole operation just fell apart halfway in. So they're still wandering around, muzzles and armor grown into their skin, bomb-shells and swords stuck in their side, starving and half-mad with pain. Kind of like the Winter Soldiers, really, just with more heads or limbs.
        Shrapnelsaplings - Trees of every shape and size, really. They grow up around the stuff that gets left over around here. You know, bullets, bombs, machine guns, that sort of thing, until it's wedged into the tree with the wood growing around it. You crack open a fruit, they sometimes have bullets instead of seeds, so that's nice. Course, sometimes they're bombs instead and explode. Gotta be careful there. They spread their seeds by exploding or opening fire, which tends to trick people into thinking someone's out to get them.
        Paperpleas - So you write out your heartfelt requests, 'cause if you don't get it some people'll die, or a whole lot of people'll die, and then it goes to get buried in a Paperpit and left to rot. Well, that kind of desperation can build up when you leave it there to stew. You wait too long, sometimes the paperwork decides to take matters into it's own hands. It folds itself into some pretty impressive papercraft shapes, and goes out into the world to accomplish its goals. Those things have sharp teeth, too, so unless you want to die of a thousand papercuts, you better watch out around one.
        The Blackmarket Chains - Every hotshot in charge is either bound up by the old rules, or starts making new ones. 'Cept it turns out if you get really creative, you can get around them pretty well. The Blackmarket chains are in a spot so split up by regulations that you change rulers every hundred feet. So one place says you can only take five goblin fruits from it, well, you and your buddies all take five, then walk twenty feet over to where you can legally have a hundred of the things. Keep walking back and forth and you'll soon have more than you can carry. You can make obscene amounts of money doing this kind of thing, and trust me when I say I know what an obscene amount of money looks like.
        The Company Men - The Honourable Corporation of the Ouroboros usually has one of these guys out here looking for new recruits. You could kind of say that they're attracted to people screwed over by institutionalized insanity, or maybe they just like the smell of desperation. There's plenty of both out here, and I hear the Company Men are very persuasive. They also like to use the place as a testing ground for new models, or things that make other things blow up. They sell that stuff off to the highest bidder. After all... heh... that certainly won't come back to bite em down the road.
        The True Fae - You can find them out here if you know where to look, or if they can find you if they care to bother. The Grasping Beast swings by, but he's just in it for the money, though trust me, there is a lot of money. The Huntress is in it for the carnage, and trust me, there's a lot of that too. The Honourable Corporation of the Ouroboros prefers to send out the Company Men, or just Human Resources, but you can convince them into a personal meeting if the deal is good enough. As for the Tempter and Troubadour, they say there's no atheists in a foxhole, but heaven isn't exactly going to do much to save your hide. You want something really done, you'd better find the opposition.

        Connecting Domains:
        The Mirror Crypt
        King Midas' Table
        Mythica
        The Chrysalis Foundation

        The Silver Pools (Arcadia)
        The Devil's Crossroads (Arcadia)
        The Salmagundi Conglomerate (Arcadia)


        The Chrysalis Foundation
        Controlled by: N/A (The Shear-Fingered Mistress of Twilight and Fate, The Honourable Corporation of the Ouroboros)


        You are trying to be emotionally manipulative, now. You will find I will not respond to that. No one here will play along with you any more, when you try to blame others for your current situation. Did you not listen to your parents? If you keep being a bad child, the boogeyman will come and put you in a sack. Yes, he did come in a van, and he was employed by a private company. We have to keep up with the times.

        You thought they were joking, of course. You, being selfish, could not conceive that your parents were more than automatons meant to cater to you and to get out of your way when you didn't want them. So you pushed the boundaries because you assumed they meant nothing, and are only upset now because you've found that it has consequences. You have proven you lack the discipline for your parents to be able to deal with you. Once you have learned to obey, you can go back home to them. They're doing what is best for you, you need to understand that. That's why you're here, so we can make you better.

        *laughs* You are trying to do it again. You are outraged that anything that offends you could possibly be allowed. This is perfectly legal. I can even let you call the police, if you like. Hundreds of children before you have tried to cry their way out of responsibility for their actions. But you are going to find that doesn't work, here. No one is going to come for you.

        No, you cannot call home. Calls are a privilege, and you abused yours last time. You cannot keep guilting your parents to slip out of the repercussions for your behavior. As soon as you start taking your re-education seriously, you may have your privileges back.

        If you are done protesting, it is time to discuss your unsatisfactory performance of late. You have not been taking your lessons seriously, and you have not been keeping to your eating plans. We both agreed that was what was best for you, did we not? Since you lack the discipline to keep to your word, I have instructed the cooks to assist you with your program. There will not be any food until you can prove yourself responsible with it, and you will be expected to jog a mile three times a day. Should this fail to have results, the school surgeons have some stronger measures in mind...

        Notable Locales:
        The Campgrounds - It must be comforting to think that only a nightmare could create such a place, that nothing like it could exist in a civilized nation. There are many more just like it across the Western world, you might like to know, run by mortals to force their disobedient children into something better suited to their parent's wishes. The Troubled Teen industry, they called it. The Campgrounds is where they keep them. It used to be a rather unsightly building surrounded by acres of wilds, but I've redecorated things to have a much more classical, old manor look. It's more wholesome, so they say, and the children have nowhere to run. The Honorable Corporation found it, a few years ago, when the untrained camp councilors were instructed to let several manipulative children die of starvation to teach them a lesson. I came along later to give the operation some modicum of class. Really, the death rate went down when we took it over. We're not so sloppy as to allow our children to die out here.

        The Realignment Chambers - Your father left you because you were ugly and fat, of course. You already knew that. How fortunate that you are here, then, where we can fix you. Your pretty older sister will never mock you again, indeed, she'll likely stare at the ground in shame just to look at you. Realignment is our most popular procedure. Please step into one of the wired glass tubes, right at the base of the stone pillars. These are the finest surgeons that can be found anywhere... saving my own employ. We're up to date on all the fashionable looks. Really, I do believe the Honorable Corporation sets a great deal of them. We might have to remove a few ribs, or shatter all the bones in your toes, but you want to be beautiful, don't you? I am told the surgeons can even fix the little imperfections of the mind: down syndrome, ADD, autism, all those little words your parents use to pretend they still love you but tell you you're broken. We can even alter your inner self. Do you want to feel innocent again? Would you like to be alive again? Do you want to be special, an Awakened soul?

        Student Records - Yes, we know about your little escapades back in fifth year. We know everything. We keep very extensive records on all of your behavior, and quite extensive dossiers on any perspective clients. The very walls here are made of nothing but file folders, all aligned so neatly in rather unsightly metal boxes. If you looked, you could likely find perfect information on anyone you ever wanted. Yes, we keep track of your dreams. Dreams are very telling about a person. Yours last night showed a very anti-authoritarian streak, and that will be addressed in your upcoming program.

        The Department of Curriculum - Try not to step on any of the blueprints, or knock any of the papers off the walls. And do watch out for the strings everywhere connecting them all. The mess is unseemly, yes. I have nothing to do with it if I can help it. One could probably drop a random file into the room and find it showing up in schools a year later. The Honorable Corporation uses this place to plot out the curriculum for both our school and others, assuming they don't misfile any of their fashion work into it by accident. They make certain to teach every possible interpretation of events, so that no one's viewpoint is left out. You wouldn't want to be brainwashed by political interests, now do you?

        The Lockup - We have a very strict safety policy here, for the security of our clients. Anything that might be dangerous or illicit for the children is not permitted, and must be taken to the lockup. Children never want to accept the word "no", and so we have employees to search for these sorts of things. You will not believe how often we find children trying to sneak medicine or insulin in past us. Continued bad behavior will result in all confiscated items being burnt in our incinerators, assuming they are not claimed by one of the staff. Most of the problem children aren't even responsible enough to take care of the paperwork to reclaim their items. The Lockup is by this point a graveyard of lost toys, Tokens, medicines and Goblin Fruits, all safely trapped and behind bars.

        The Killing Walls - Some unruly children try to escape the Foundation, usually to find themselves in the Poppy Fields. They're given a gun and forced into warfare, at which point they all suddenly want to be taken back. We are, of course, forgiving, and if they turn over their weapons and admit their wrongdoing, we are gracious to them. But some try to turn their guns against us, taking out their own destructive feelings on other, innocent students. We built the walls to keep them out. We staff them with our children, of course, as a punishment work detail. Protecting the Foundation will give them more investment in the Foundation's well-being, and seeing the results of attempted escape will teach them to appreciate the good things they have here.

        Encounters:
        Hallway Tormentors - I don't want to hear you try to pin the blame by claiming they started it. It takes two to start a fight, and you're just as responsible as they are, even if you didn't fight back once you provoked it.
        The Students - They come in all shapes and sizes, although those who stick to their programs are noticeably superior. The obedient children report any wayward fellows to their teachers, and are given special privileges for doing so. Of course, there are so many bad little students, who are resentful or try to claim innocence. We make sure to give them the special attention and discipline that they need, in order to improve.
        The Teachers - They are mostly provided by the Honorable Corporation, as they prefer a more structured approach to teaching than I do. We give them free reign to run their classrooms to see fit, as they know their students and their material best. It's a very trying position, and we are very strict about the quality of our educators. We scour their past, their home life, and their dreams for anything controversial that might be damaging to the Foundation's reputation. However, it must be stressed that we are very understanding. We ensure all the unfair complaints of abuse never stick, as we know the children love to falsely accuse such things in attempted revenge.
        The Janitors - Merely hired help, though they do valuable work hunting down spare bits for the Food Ladies or the surgeons. I must recommend not to bother them in their daily duties. It decreases productivity, and they are all much stronger than their frail bodies give on.
        The Food Ladies - If you continue to resist fulfilling your programs, you'll end up just like them. They are not permitted to leave the kitchen, and they are barely cognizant at this point. It is easy to pity them, but remember, they brought it down on themselves.
        The Surgeons - The demand for them is so great they are no longer permitted to sleep. Of course, this does sometimes result in accidents, but I can assure you, any alternative systems would be far worse.
        Retrievers - My elegant brass cranes serve as enforcement for our policies, sniffing out any hint of contraband and taking it away to be placed in the lockup. A number of vandals took to destroying them in the hallways, which forced us to start arming the Retrievers. They are now authorized to dismember anyone who attempts to damage them, or impede them in any way.
        The Border Hounds - No, they are not always hounds. What an astute observation. Yes, you'll find them everywhere on the borders. We wouldn't want you to try and leave, would we? It's dangerous out there.
        Mnemonics - An effort by one of our best teachers to ensure the students remember the course material. Mnemonics burn their way into your head and never leave, repeating themselves over and over. I suppose the surgeons could remove them, if so inclined. But why would they take away your education?
        Fleshscraps - The leftovers from the Realignment Chambers. They do have a distressing habit of trying to inch away or cause mischief, although the Janitors have gotten quite adept at running them down.
        The Mistress' Servants - The girls do so love to help out. And it is good practice for them to work in the Realignment Chambers, before moving up to more prestigious and demanding work.
        The True Fae - The Honorable Corporation and the Shear-Fingered Mistress both keep an eye out for potential recruits. Fortunately, as the Corporation's tastes are not so refined, the two very rarely clash over who may have whom.

        Connecting Domains:
        An Unknown set of Boarding Schools and Camps for Troubled Teens (Mortal World)
        The Lost Woods
        The Poppy Fields
        The Castle of Twilight (Arcadia)
        The Salmagundi Conglomerate (Arcadia)
        Last edited by NeoTiamat; 03-29-2014, 10:10 AM.


        GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
        New System and Setting Material

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        • #5
          And that is it for Hedge Domains! Tell me what you guys think.


          GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
          New System and Setting Material

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          • #6
            Oh man, this stuff owns really damn hard. I especially love the format of how you laid all this out and how areas can be interconnected, but really I love every bit of this! Very nice!

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            • #7
              This is really cool and really inspiring. Thanks so much for this!


              My horror roleplaying blog with a strong focus on World of Darkness and Call of Cthulhu can be found here: http://stwildonroleplaying.blogspot.com.au/

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