Elves & Espers: The Broken Spire

The Broken Spire is the Westernmost of the spires that comprise the New (upper) part of New Ark City.  It is called Broken not because the physical structure has been compromised, but because all the systems have failed and cannot be repaired.  When queried, Gax–the Giant Thaumaturgic Brain in charge of the city–always replies that repairs are underway as he has done for at least the past millennium.  No broadcast power reaches the Broken Spire, and all equipment that hasn’t been modified to be self-sustaining, including but not limited to all standard models of air-car and beam weaponry, cease to function well before they get to the edge of any of the Broken Spire’s discs.

Visual inspection with image amplification shows that the discs and tower itself are mostly intact, with some signs of wear, but the Web connecting them is in tatters, and all the cables that ordinarily connect the spires to each other have fallen.  Most of the visible buildings are at least partially ruined, and appear to have been damaged by some combination of fire, weather, weaponry, and neglect.  High levels of thaumaturgic radiation prevents a closer inspection with any scrying gear, though at night the naked eye can see the glimmer of campfires.  The spire is dark and brooding, and most inhabitants of the other spires prefer not to regard it too closely, to the extent that the regions of the discs closest to it (save for the Eastern disc on the far side of the Spire of Ark, and the Spire of Ark itself, which lacks all discs) are the “low-rent” areas of the city.

Adventurers occasionally mount expeditions to the Broken Spire, and those that return tell tales of primitive tribes, cut off for so long from the rest of the city that even the descendants of the Elves have forgotten their common heritage and speak a language unknown to modern ears.  The pervasive thaumaturgic radiation has given rise to horrible mutations, and the primitives of the Spire are barely recognizable as the descendants of the species that inhabit the rest of the city if indeed that they are, and not some other races that once lived in New Ark and have now been forgotten, or invaders from outside the Arcology altogether.  Monsters and abominations abound, again whether the mutant offspring of domesticated creatures such as the beasts of burden that pull the bulette-trains or the various helpful oozes that keep the city clean, or invasive species from elsewhere that have colonized in the absence of the city’s normal security systems, none can say.

Wondrous treasures are said to be found there, relics of an almost forgotten era when New Ark City was in full flower, and all the city’s functions were efficiently carried out by Gax, while the college of the Tower of Ark turned out marvels and miracles of modern thaumatology, the design, construction and operation of which have since been lost, or the parts having been cannibalized to patch the increasingly creaking and overburdened systems of the aging arcology and the vast spires, once teeming with more millions of inhabitants than now seems conceivable, now a shadow of their former glory.


The Broken Spire is intended to be the “Gamma World” part of the city, and a suitable place for wild-and-woolly mutant-filled adventures without leaving the arcology entirely for adventures in the Badlands.  Stuff powered by the characters Power Points will still function, but ordinary gear (such as laser pistols, communicators, blasters and the like) won’t work unless the characters spend extra money to equip themselves with (bulkier) self-powered gear.

2 thoughts on “Elves & Espers: The Broken Spire

  1. Hey J,

    I like it.

    Gave me an interesting background for an idea for a possible PC that I was futzing around with. See what you think.

    Twonky Green- Hazardous Materials Transport and Disposal droid.

    Twonky was a magical residue transport droid deep in the heart of the New Ark City power generation station. Unfortunately, during the time when Gax was first starting to lose his grip on the city, minor mistakes were beginning to be made, but the aura of infallibility was still being maintained. One of those mistakes was a change of classification of TW-0N(Key-Green)from automaton to living creature when its transport permit was being renewed at the Department of Moving Vehicles.
    Normally, this wouldn’t have caused much fuss, except that living creatures aren’t allowed to work inside the power generation area due to the extreme toxicity of the environment, and Twonky was flagged for immediate removal. Repeated visits to the Department of Moving Vehicles to demonstrate his non-living status failed to change their minds, since, as non-security droids, they were forbidden from injuring a living being, which, of course, included changing status from living to not living. The one upside is that living being status has kept him from being “upgraded” and having his idiosyncrasies, errors, bit shifts and buffer overruns put back to normal.

    This situation left Twonky without a real purpose. He was unable to find work in the living being world. Who would hire something that was bathed in ultra-magic for centuries? So after wandering the arcology for days, months, or years being bored and occasionally making off with full garbage cans, he ended up in the remains of the Broken Spire. While not nearly as magically charged as his previous job, at least the nice glow reminded him of home. So he decided that he would make the cleanup of the Broken Spire his new purpose.

    It’s been centuries since Twonky started. The decay of the Spire itself isn’t helping any, but there are a few patches of the Spire that are now almost clean. It’s possibly that he may even finish a whole disk before the tower collapses.

    Hey. It’s a job.

    I see Twonky as being somewhat irritating to most living beings. Not intentionally, but Twonky tends to take the _long_ view of things. Time has less meaning to him. He’s been around thousands of years already. He doesn’t sleep, so there’s no concept of “tomorrow.” He’s in the middle of his multi-millennia day, and when he eventually turns of, that’s it.

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