The metropolis of Noyade is nestled neatly between a desert, a river, and the sea. The desert is a sandy stretch of land that seems to have no end; the dunes are teeming with mysterious creatures, and while children often venture out to play in the sand during the day there are stories and recent memories of people disappearing into the hot landscape. Across the temperamental river, a piece of water that can be as calm as a brook or full of vicious rapids, a leafy forest resides. Headstones are scattered between the trees farther into the forest, an eerie piece of property that surrounds the massive canvas maze of the fairgrounds.The Circus
The circus is a place teeming with life every day. Workers are up and about before dawn, preparing breakfast, maintaining the fairgrounds, and training for their chance in the ring. Presiding over all of this is one of the first who came to this strange land: a young man by the name of Joker, with a skeletal arm made of resin and henna-bright hair. He tests those who wish to join the cirque, welcomes the outcasts who search for a place among the ranks of the freaks, protects those he holds dear, and keeps the secrets of his employer well. Even he does not know the dark workings of this place, and though he follows his orders and runs the circus to perfection, he seems to have quite a bit of compassion for his fellow residents.
If you’ve ever wanted to see a real sideshow, the fairgrounds of Noyade are the place to be. In the cages of the freak show, the oddest of mutations can be found, a spectacle of the best and worst sort. The shadowed sides of these grounds hold satisfaction for more carnal desires; men can watch a girl put on a show of a different sort for a small price, and spend a half hour with her for a larger one. Other pleasures can be offered, as well, but one must know who to ask and where to look. If you have a dark fantasy, the circus is the place to have it granted- but there is always a price.
The show goes on once a month, a week at a time; It’s always something new, unexpected. When the sun goes down, the lights turn on, and the cirque is waiting with open arms to sweep you away from the harsh realities of the city across the river. Forget the crime, the stress of your job, the worries about money and food- You have six days to enjoy it. On the seventh day, it will end, and you can only stay if you want to join the ranks of the show. The City
Across the bridge, on the grungy industrial streets of the city, you are part of the daily grind. As a city within natural borders, Noyade has developed into a self-sufficient society, with organized crime dominating the hierarchy and the workers keeping the world running in exchange for their food and lodging. There are always opportunities to work your way up in the scheme of things, but this is entirely based on skill. If you have none, you have a problem; nobody lives here for free. Earn money or starve. Lodging is not provided in a city where the residents eat one another alive. Rely on the kindness of strangers until you can get your footing, if it really is kindness at all. Perhaps they wish to sell you to the organ market, and you’ll wake up missing a kidney or an eye; maybe that well-wishing gentleman wants to sell your pretty face into the sex trade. No matter who you trust, you had best adapt quickly and find your place in this world.
Noyade's metropolitan area is divided into distinct districts based on the kind of development in the area. These areas are described in detail below, and can be seen on the map above, as well.
Orchards, fields, and vineyards cover this expansive property. A quiet retreat from the noise of the rest of the city, the agricultural district gradually expands out over more desert territory through the years. There is enough food here to help feed the city for months, and it is guarded well against the threats of weather or swarm. Some find respite in long strolls through the greenery; others may labor here as a farmhand for some property owner.
Boardwalk & Commercial
If tourism were an industry in Noyade, the boardwalk would be the axis of interest. With the pier and sand only feet away, stores in this area cater to a wide variety of interests, from the classic sweet shop to the necessary beach equipment store. The wealthy enjoy spending much of the summer at the seashore, and the common folk enjoy the benefits of fishing, digging for clams, or simple leisure on the sands.
The central hub of Noyade is a picturesque park, complete with vast, grassy knolls, a gazebo, a small pond, and trees of every imaginable shape and size for climbing. Occasionally, events are held in this area, but it is often a simple common area for the citizens of the city. After dark, some more sinister activities take root in the park; caution is wise in all parts of the city, however, and a person will generally not be bothered unless they put their nose where it doesn't belong.
Movies, restaurants, bowling alleys, and similar establishments are found in this area of the city. Family-friendly fun is all in the business, and you can find specialty shops for a large variety of entertainments here. Cheap prices are as common as the more expensive pleasures, and you can easily see a movie for a dime on a Sunday night.
This area is something of a mystery to the current residents of the city. Covered with a vast array of buildings from different historical periods, the original builders seem to have had the mastery to perfectly reproduce every detail of the respective structures' time period before disappearing completely from the face of the earth. Many of these stand empty, but some have been converted into part of a museum for the entertainment of the citizens.
Factories and warehouses characterize these grungy backstreets. You can usually find nothing but trouble here, with the desert only a short distance away and few people around to hear someone scream. Some small gangs have taken up residence in this area, taking advantage of some abandoned buildings for the sake of a game. New residents may be able to dig up a place to sleep among these deserted warehouses as a last resort, so long as they beware the myths that creep around the darkened alleys.
The large houses of this district belong to the crime lords and high-ranking businessmen of the city. If you wish to earn your way into a home here, you had best work hard and get in the good graces of someone powerful.
Red Light District
A constant in any world, this is the place you may go to satisfy any earthly pleasure you may crave. The bars and bordellos carry no age restrictions, and the whores will do as you please. The services range from the high-class brothels of fantasy to the filthy henhouses, and many businesses will rent out a 'hotel' room for a night of your own creation with another guest. With every kind of toy, device, fetish, and location you could imagine, the red light district is an opportune place to find a night of fun or a desperate job.
Most residents of Noyade reside in this district. Housing ranges from apartments to large houses in a variety of styles, and the price range varies as well. Be prepared to save up to have a place of your own, unless fortune greets you at the door.
Victorian London was infamous for the filth of its slums, and the bowels of Noyade are fair competition. Rats and dirt clog the streets, with low-class businesses selling potions, poisons, and drugs at the lowest of prices and lowest of quality. Opium and other drugs are served at dens scattered through the dim streets, offering a night of hallucination in exchange for the high chance of addiction to their wares. Some of these establishments carry a level of honor, but most should be wary to fall asleep in the borders of this district. Many have awakened to find their valuables gone, and some have found their very freedom sold out from under their drugged noses.
The desert within view of the city is a pleasant enough place during daylight hours, or as pleasant as a desert can be. Children enjoy running the short distance to the dunes on the border of the town and playing in the sand, but parents are careful to keep an eye on their offspring. The things that come out of the desert are far from nice, and those who venture beyond the safety of the dunes alone are often found dead by hunters weeks or months later. There are rumors of ancient monuments out in these sands, but nobody wants to tempt fate by looking farther than they need to for fresh meat.