Weekly Design Blog #39: Shangti -- The Imperial City (i.e. Steampunk Musha in a Nutshell)


Hello All,

Last week I covered the physical landscape that makes up Rosuto-Shima, and talked about starting a discussion of the cityscapes that define "the Lost Island" this week. I wanted to start with Shangti, for many reasons, but also know that I need to get a few more things "set" before I share a proper settlement stat block using the rules in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: GameMastery Guide, for instance, or lay down too many of the particulars (like population numbers, etc.)

The reasons for this are many fold. First, Shangti is THE CITY of Steampunk Musha. It will be a focal point of our campaign world the way that certain cities at the center-of-the-world are in other campaigns. An entire microcosm of what we're hoping to do with Steampunk Musha is playing out in real-time in Shangti -- for it is a city of rich past and tradition, that is on the bleeding edge of the technological revolution changing Rosuto-Shima.

Shangti -- The Imperial City

The original empire of Rosuto-Shima's ancient history was based out of Shangi. Centrally located and nearly equidistant to four other cities of Rosuto-Shima, Shanti is a natural central point to the Island with excellent coastline for harbors as well as flat surrounding lands for laying railroad tracks and even other foot traffic.

These conditions also lead to it being a key piece in the War of States era, as it was conquered, sieged, retaken, lost again, partially burned down, rebuilt, and all of those things again at least once more during that long, dark period. Because of this, few of the the truly ancient buildings of the city's rich past survive, but those few that do are protected and well loved by locals and transients that make up Shangti's population.

That population is also something that is quite different. For one, Shangti is one of the only places in all Rosuto-Shima every race can be found. This includes the largest contingent of gaijin on the whole island, but extends to even the jinteki-oni and keshou to even the rare kappa land settlements. This diversity is both a strength and a weakness, as you can have literally polar opposites living besides one another on the crowded streets of Shangti. Sometimes necessity has made the strangest of bedfellows, but at others violence can erupt with a word or a gesture. 

This chaotic space then is largely "protected" (a loose use of that word) by private police known as the Shangti Cowboys. Each district and each controlling factor (be it company, temple, union, or just rich citizens and travelers) maintain their own private force in effect and there are constant disputes about sovereignty and territory. The city itself is effectively divided into larger districts, each based on old Imperial standards but often almost in mockery of ancient laws as sacred spaces have been destroyed in warfare and were made perfect flat spaces for new factories, while former pleasure centers of the city have been made into holy places.

Thus endth my first run at this new series. Future blogs on cities will have much more "detail" and less general overview. This first stab was so general because everything is in flux in Shangti, both in the game and in the processing of creating it. We want to make sure we set aside space for everything and everyone and so the lines of the proverbial map are constantly shifting. Thus while it was the first city covered, it also will be covered again at the end -- hopefully with maps and charts to back up this information!

Lucus Palosaari, Editor & Project Manager at Fat Goblin Games (Like us on Facebook!) 


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