The City of Blue Jays
A model Imperial city
The City of Blue Jays is the administrative centre of the Nome of Farseeing, the most easterly area still under full Empire rule. It is viewed by those within the Empire as the last bastion of civilization before reaching the "wilds" of the rebellious states, forming a sister city to Llaza across the Anhoi River. It has a fairly typical Imperial mix of nekuu, anhione and asharan types, and is surrounded by rice paddies and groves of mulberry trees crawling with silkworms, for Blue Jays is famed for its silk production.
The local government is headed by Magister of Noon and Jade Malandrapin, an asharan whose family have been involved in local government for many generations. Being on the border there is quite a large military presence led by General Chaltekan, a dedicated and able, if not particularly imaginative, commander. There has been little trouble since the wars of independence and the army therefore is growing lazy and complacent. However it is still an important buffer zone which is why General Chaltekan was assigned, his loyalty to the Undying Flame is unquestionable.
Layout of the City
The city is mainly built along conventional geomantic lines and has a stout wall surrounding it, but has expanded beyond this wall in a rather haphazard fashion. There are four entrance gates at the cardinal points but they are only lightly guarded and are not closed during the night. The streets tend to be narrow and overhung with balconies and upper stories. There is no main square or plaza and the main thoroughfare leads south from the Hall of the Golden Crow, called the Street of the Silk Weavers, in homage to the most important local product.
The Hall of the Golden Crow, in the centre of the city, is where Magister Malandrapin is housed. It is a large building which houses the senior clerks and lesser magisters of the nome, with the main entrance facing south. Stone-built with the characteristic steeply sloping, tiled roof with swept-up overhanging eaves, it is set around a large central courtyard which has at its centre an elegant fountain. It depicts the animal-gods of the four directions supporting Golden Crow, the geomantic animal of the Centre, who is surrounded by blue jays symbolising the city itself. Originally it was encrusted with precious stones and materials like rubies, jade and turquoise, and the Crow was covered in real gold. However now these have been replaced with paint and paste and like the rest of the building, on close inspection is rather shabby and decayed. The surrounding gardens however are immaculately kept and the broad painted colonnades are a pleasant place for petitioners to wait for their appointments.
The Magister of Noon and Jade has a magnificent set of offices at the rear of the building, a covered walkway through more gardens at the rear takes him from these to his official residence, the Palace of Jade, a palatial house, with a tranquil pool, enclosed by high walls. General Chaltekan lives in a small but comfortable house in the main barracks known as The Compound, which houses the army's headquarters. Law courts, other ministeries, the local Merchants League Hall, temples and palaces can be found clustered around the centre. The north of the city is mostly a residential area, with the victual market only a few streets away from the Palace of Jade. To the west are schools, academies and libraries, including the Examinations School for training new Magisterial candidates. The merchant's and craftmen's quarter is to the south and the east of the city is dominated by the army. Unsurprisingly close to the barracks in the south-east is the Red Lantern district, the seamier side of Blue Jays with disreputable bathhouses, brothels, gambling establishments and opium dens.
Using The City of Blue Jays
The City of Blue Jays stands as an example of a typical Imperial city planned along geomantic lines. What the central Imperial administration doesn't know is that their greatest enemy is Magister Malandrapin. Despite his family's history as dedicated Imperial servants he views the Empire as a decaying giant, and having lived his whole life in Farseeing sees the capital at Reflected Glory as a distant and out of touch master. He believes its time has passed and that a new generation of smaller more virile states, like those on the Anhoi, is about to be born. He is determined to ensure that Farseeing does not become a casualty in the impending disintegration of the Empire but a strong and important entity in its own right. However he knows that the Empire will not be overturned in a day and is prepared to play the long game, he acknowledges that he himself might never see Farseeing become an independent state.
Player characters can be brought in to this situation by either being sent to root out traitors (if they are loyal to the Empire) or to discover a possible ally (if they are allied to the Anhoine states). Blue Jays can also be used as the basis for a home city for player characters, easily ported to other parts of the Empire and expanded upon for the gamesmaster's individual campaign.
(c) 2011 The Creative Conclave.
Anhoi River Nations
City of Llaza
Empire of Splendour
Imperial Culture (Geomancy)
Discuss this article
From North to South, the nine major streets are simply given numbers, thus First, Second etc. through to Ninth. From West to East they are given the names of flowers, thus:
The southern part of Mulberry Street is more commonly known as the Street of Silk Weavers.
The four great concentric squares formed by the intersections of these streets are named, above their flower/number denomination, from the outside in, Wall, Outer, Middle and Inner Streets.
- Peach Blossom
- Yaama Flower
- Moon Jasmine
Thus the Law Courts (B), for example, may be found at the intersection of Peach Blossom and Fourth Streets, or its location could be described as where Middle Street crosses Fourth Street, on the Autumn side of the city.
Within the city blocks are many smaller streets and alleys not shown on the map.