Lately I have been doing some world preparation for my solo Lady Blackbird campaign. I have been mainly thinking of planet Nightport and its capital city. The ruleset says: “Unlike other worlds, Nightport does not rotate, which means one face is always in darkness. It is on this side that pirates and smugglers have built a hidden port city in which to carry out their nefarious dealings”.
I have decided to use here two ideas I have had for some time:
1. Using the great Vornheim city kit to run the city (the module is packed with random charts that will provide a lot of action).
2. An upside-town city. It is built inside a huge cave, above an uderground sea. The buildings are like stalactites, hanging from the top of the cave, towards the sea.
Here is a cross-section of how I imagine Nightport. Skyships will land on the surface of the planet, above the city.
And here is a retouched photograph meant to give an idea of what Nightport could look like (but the pirate city will not be so glamorous… I should try to come up with an illustration in the cool punk style used by Zak for Vornheim).
Because of the strange cave and underground sea, I made Nightport an artificial planet, built by some long-forgotten civilization. To visualize the planet, I painted a small watercolor, wrapped it in a cylinder, applied a circular mask, and here it is:
Finally, to provide some context for the events in the campaign, I used the idea of Factions from Stars Without Number to build a simple scheme of the main forces. I only used the basic idea of defining factions, without adding any of the many details provided by SWN (yet).
The factions are:
- The Lower Depths – i.e. the mysterious entity living below the Wild Blue;
- The Empire – the place of origin of Lady Blackbird;
- The Free Worlds – the other main political organization in the “system”;
- The Pirates – which our heroes hope to contact in Nightport;
- The Cult of the Stone Goddess – was suggested by me by Chris Stieha, via RND Issue 1: I ran a couple of sessions in the Arrowshield monastery.
I rolled a few dice to define the nature of the relationships between the factions. Appropriately, the dice did not point to any friendly relationship. I have not made sense of all the results yet, but they seem to be interesting:
- The Pirates have hostile relationships with all the other factions;
- The Cult of the Stone Goddess is neutral towards everyone, but the Pirates and the Free Worlds. Since the Cult is rooted in the area controlled by the Free Worlds, the reasons for tensions between state and church are rather obvious:
- The Free Worlds and the Empire are declared enemies. This is perfectly consistent with the setting and with what happened in my previous sessions. The two sides are in some kind of cold war.
I still have no idea of why the Cult is particularly hostile towards the Pirates (and vice-versa). Ethic reasons could be the simplest explanation, but we will see.