I hope all of you who went to the protests today wore a mask.  This is your official reminder: covid-19 is still a thing and it could kill you.  Fight the man but be safe!

I promised I would write something short about the City of Eversink in Swords of the Serpentine.

I have many favorite things in Eversink — wackiness with Laws, food trucks, more food trucks — but one of them are the underbasements.

One of my favorite reference books when thinking about the architecture of a city is Kate Asher’s The Works.   It’s not the cheapest book — it’s $25 on Amazon — but if you’re spending time twirling a pen and thinking about cities, this is one you should have in your library.  (So is New Your City Politics: Governing Gotham but that one is very dry and spends most of its time talking about committees.  It’s one of the two sources for the endless governing committees in Eversink.)  The Works walks through each public city service one by one.  Most of them have an underground component.  Water, sewer, power, natural gas, telecommunications, subway… all underground.

One established fact about Eversink are the sinking buildings.  All buildings save the Haven sink.  Not all at the same time.  Not all at the same rate.  But they do sink into the ground.  There is constant building up, new floors on top of old, as the lower floors sink away and new ones become street level.

It’s a cool thought, but what’s cooler is the concept of a three-dimensional city.  From flipping through the Works, we know that all cities have three-dimensionality even if it’s only a few feet deep.  But Eversink isn’t a mere few feet deep for sewer lines and coax.  Eversink has been sinking for two thousand years.

There’s all sorts of weird things down there.

Let’s think for a moment about the archeology of a truly old city like London or Rome.  When you walked up to the Largo di Torre Argentine in Rome, the spot where Caesar was stabbed to death, you look down.  (Also, it’s currently home to a cat colony.)  Over the last two thousand years, repaving, river silt, people, things, and stuff, Rome is dozens of feet… taller… than it was two thousand years ago.  Check out the Wikipedia page because it has a good comparison between the ruins and the street up above to get the idea.

Now imagine the Largo di Torre Argentina if it sunk an inch a year.  That’s 16 stories (166 feet) beneath street level.  Have silt and pave-over and build up and to get to where Caesar died, if it was in Eversink, is some 20 stories down!

I reflexively go to a place of “ooh so much cool archeology.”

As an added wrinkle, the buildings sunk intact.  The rooms, the doors, the boarded-up windows, they’re all still there.  They’re just underground.  Think about the Tangle, the poor section of town where building is dense and buildings crowd on top of one another.  They all sink at once, in a buried warren of houses and shacks.

Meanwhile, the Canal and Architect’s Guild patches and plows city services underground right through these sunken buildings.

What does this tell me?  It tells me that Eversink is a giant, three-dimensional dungeon.  And, as a PC, I want a high-stakes parkour chase that starts across Eversink roofs and then ducks underground through broken Eversink sunken rooms and then to emerge again on some street and then back on the roofs again.

And there are things down there.  Stuff.  Hidden secrets.  Secrets people both have forgotten and have conveniently buried in some sunken, waterlogged basement.

We can put all kinds of cool and horrible things down there:

  • Cults worshipping forgotten gods
  • Sorcerous cabals
  • Meeting rooms for thieves guilds
  • Floating black markets with the best food stalls
  • Temples to the Old Nameless Gods
  • Random demons from a forgotten time simply lost and eternally wandering
  • Hidden gashes in time
  • Intelligent fungii
  • Swamp things
  • Forgotten libraries
  • Rooms of statues full of angry souls
  • Serpentine holding court plotting their return
  • The occasional small god
  • Government paperwork strangely dry
  • Weapons that can both save and destroy the world
  • Tunnels between major Eversink buildings so people can sneak from place to place
  • Busy Eversink Academics “researching.”

You know, things.  Cool things.  Eversink is kind of like a big mullet on its back.  Business up on top, party underneath.

Spend a few minutes thinking up things that could be down there and it probably is.  Then ask yourself if there’s some way that thing down below could affect the world negatively up above in some horrible way.  If you can think up a way, have it happen, and then point adventurers at it.  You have an adventure in Swords of the Serpentine.

I can think up a dozen more things already because it’s so awesome.

Stats:

  • 19,778,873 covid tests.  This is a huge jump and phenomenally good news.  It looks like we’re getting to 500K tests a day.  We’re definitely testing.  The CVS up the street that is doing tests has a line of people waiting to get nose swapped constantly.
  • 1,925,356 positive tests.  With the huge jump in tests comes the huge jump in finding it.
  • 110,563 confirmed dead.  It is wiping out entire nursing homes.  Arizona’s ICUs are 100% full.
  • 57,407 cases in MD with 2,774 dead
  • 1 out of 155 people have it in Howard County.

Good on testing.  Bad on people keep dying at a good clip.  Wear masks, folks.  Please.