Sunday, February 7, 2021

The City and the Setting

Map by Amy Weber

The Everway Kickstarter has surpassed its goal and – as of this writing – the project has about a month left.  Readers within this time period are encouraged to check it out.

Anyway, Everway the game is named after Everway the so-called “City of a Thousand Deities.”  Located in the sphere of Fourcorner, Everway is the central city of the the realm of Roundwander and is “home to half a million people.”  There are “at least seventy-one gates in Roundwander.”  (We learn, “Most spheres have two gates, each leading to a different sphere.”)  Like characters, realms have a Virtue, a Fault, a Fate.  Realms also have an Usurper.  For Roundwander, these are:

Virtue:  Autumn ( plenty).  The place is old but still active.  It is past its most energetic stage but not yet into winter.  Roundwander's Autumn Virtue represents not just “plenty” in terms of quantity, but also in terms of variety.  The people of Roundwander present the hundred colors of a forest in fall.

Fault:  Spring – reversed ( stagnation).  Roundwander is an old, old place, and the habits of a hundred generations are worn into the stone-paved pathways.

Fate:  Cockatrice ( corruption vs. recovery).  The influx of new people, new magic, and new ideas could undermine what is good about Roundwander or bring it the new energy it needs to overcome the threat of stagnation.

Usurper:  The Pyramid ( order and cooperative effort).  This Usurper represents coming together, working together, balance, order, and progress.  Reversed, The Pyramid means dissension, imbalance, conflict, and regress.

The Walker's Pyramid sits in the center of Everway.  It consists of seven tiers of blocks “about twenty feet high.”  It is “some three hundred feet on a side.”  The Walker is a legendary being who supposedly built the pyramid one stone at a time and “is out among the spheres now, searching for the capstone, which will complete the pyramid.”  We learn, “No one knows what will happen when the pyramid is completed.”  The pyramid is tended by priests and “temples, wandering mystics, and booths that sell magical goods and items for offerings” surround the base.

Jonathan Tweet's “original idea was to have no background at all” in the game, but included the city-setting for people “who want to create their heroes and quests in a cultural context.”  Tweet states that he made the city “big and varied so that you would feel free to add the details that you wish to add.”  He also claims, “Heroes can find plots within the city itself, or they can find reasons to explore other realms” or spheres.  Additionally...

...Everway includes a few magical patterns that aren't explicit.  You can enjoy Everway without finding out all of its secrets, but they're here for those of you who like a little mystery.

There are various “centers of interest,” each supporting “a different sort of business and attracts a different sort of visitor.”

Arenas:  This is “where gladiators fight and martial families demonstrate their skill and courage.”

Council House:  “Centuries ago, the leaders of prominent families formed the Council as a way to relieve the great king of an endless stream of mundane decisions and obligations.“

Court of Fools:   “[A] large plaza where entertainers of all types demonstrate their arts.  Mixed in among the buffoons and jugglers, one can sometimes find prophets and seers.”

Gaming Houses:  This is “where fortunes change hands over the rolls of dice.  Other amusements of questionable morality can also be found nearby.”

Gardens:  This place contains “various temples to deities of nature and the earth.  Exotic animals and plants from other spheres can be found here...”

Houses of Dusk:  This is “where the dead are prepared for their final journeys.”

Library of All Worlds:  ”[A] collection of large buildings filled with scrolls holding knowledge and wisdom collected from a thousand spheres.”

Temple of Mercy:  ”Here one finds poorhouses, hospitals, orphanages, and temples to deities of fertility and healing.”

A page in the Playing Guide named 'Sights in Everway' lists various encounters that heroes might have in the 'centers of interest' described above.  There might be a “humanoid dragon, a guest of the [Library of All Worlds], teaching the language of the dragons.”  Around the Gaming Houses, there may be a “spherewalker getting beaten for getting caught using magic to influence the roll of the dice.”

No description of the city of Everway would be complete without mention of Strangerside, “home of Strangers ... and Outsiders.”  (A 'Stranger' is someone from another realm.  An 'Outsider' is someone from another sphere.)  Strangerside is to the southeast of the walled portion of Everway, across the Sunset River.  (On the map above, north is to the right.)  Possible encounters in Strangerside include:

  • A large, two-legged bearlike creature wearing a harness.  It's sitting in the shade, swatting flies that buzz about it.  It watches passersby with intelligent eyes.
  • Bedraggled refugees from a distant realm who have come here to find champions to bring justice to their homeland.
  • A narrow alley in which several short, light-skinned, brown-haired merchants ply visitors with a bewildering array of small, exotic goods.  They refuse beads, insisting on being paid in silver, gold, or (preferably) gems.

“There are nearly a thousand families in Everway,” the Playing Guide tells us, “some with a handful of members, some with over a thousand.”  These families “are the central system of ordering society in Everway.”  Examples of noteworthy Everway families include:

Crookstaff:  “A family renowned for magical ability, secrecy, and strange ways.”

Digger:  “Historically, a family of miners.  Now, however, they're mostly moneylenders (who still maintain a monopoly on mining).”

Emerald:  “The royal family of Roundwander.”

Mask:  “A family that, officially, provides amusements and diversions.  Unofficially, they are involved in various illicit activities.”

Moondance:  “A family of priestesses and cousins who support them.  Moondances are found in temples dedicated to many different deities.”

Mudbank:  “Leatherworkers.  They are responsible for removing dead animals from the streets...”

Snakering:  “Courtiers, ambassadors, and functionaries.  They were once a powerful family, but now they work at the behest of others.


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