The text below is an excerpt from "A Brief Primer on Notable Contemporary Personages & Factions of Luridia"
Authored by the Right Honorable Basel E. Corgington, Esq.
Professor Emeritus of Historical Imperatives
Padamose University of Clockman
College of the Fancy Arts.
The Lords of Paper
The trade of financiers, lawyers, mobsters, mercenaries, merchants, moneychangers, bureaucrats, pirates and politicians, and all other sorts of malcontents who would sell their mothers for a payout.
Bankers lust after power and wealth with an unalloyed greed. Their tools are exchange, litigation, brokering and sometimes a good honest murder. Though present everywhere in Luridia, Clockman is the undisputed epicenter of the commercial world.
Cartels & Conspiracies
The Clockman Government Council - It is important to note that Clockman is not governed by a single body, but rather by a collection of governments that provide services to their constituents on a subscription basis. This is about as insane as it sounds. As such, the Clockman Government Council is not a government in and of itself, but rather a council of governments - where they convene to establish common rules, discuss matters of importance to each organization, and desperately try to prevent the outbreak of utter chaos. It is almost certainly not the pawn of a cabal of Mau known as the Knitting Coalition. The Council is overseen by a mayor, elected “bi-annually.” Sometimes that’s understood to mean twice a year, sometimes that’s understood to mean every two years.
The Knitting Coalition - If one were to believe in secret societies and that sort of nonsense, one might imagine that the Knitting Coalition controls nearly all affairs of governance and business in Clockman, and thereby much of the world. But that would be ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as imagining that the Knitting Coalition is the spiritual successor of the Order of the Golden String, the reigning body of priest-politicians that governed the Mau during their Great Pilgrimage across the continent.
Captains of Industry
Beatrix Winterbottom - An ambitious Mau banker working in Clockman, specializing in hostile takeovers. She is the lead partner of Winterbottom, Marmouth & Co, which regularly brokers in futures contracts, leveraged buyouts, and a dazzling array of impressive-sounding acronyms.
Samuel Gristwalter - A uniquely talented and ruthless, but elderly, attorney operating in Clockman. Wouldn’t be a member of the Knitting Coalition even if it did exist, which it doesn’t. Founding member of Ruthless Bastards of Clockman Anonymous.
Randolf von Macovawitz Spitoon III, Ltd - Infamous reality tycoon living in Clockman. Made a fortune by shorting the gravity market just before the Great Gravity Crash of 1872. One of Clockman’s few Limited Liability Persons
Eustace Padamose Gristwalter-Winterbottom - A graduate of the Gristwalter-Winterbottom Foundation for the Education of Young Mau, it is unlikely that Eustace is actually the offspring of Samuel or Beatrix, though one never knows. He is a timid clerk in the Shameless Litigation division of Winterbottom, Marmouth & Co.
Avarice Wrapped in Fur
There is no other race in Lugubria for whom cutthroat dealing comes as naturally as to the Mau. Originally raiders and petty traders from the western coast of Goru-Goru Gidea, an offshoot tribe established themselves in Marmothoa in the wake of Padamose declaring himself Emperor. There they prospered immensely at the expense of the natives, amassing tremendous wealth with their financial acumen and commercial cunning. When the Mau were no longer welcome in Marmothoa, they smelted their considerable belongings and forged a golden caravan to embark on their Great Pilgrimage. Part-exodus, part-crusade, the Great Pilgrimage led the Mau to pillage and swindle their way across the continent. Excepting a false stop in Kittendrool, they didn’t halt until they reached the other side, at a settlement that would later become known as Clockman.
Rooted deep in the Mau culture is a reverence for the powers of law, finance and the dead. A contract is a magical pact, money has arcane properties, and ancestors demand their due. Mau ghosts are particularly notorious for being restless spirits, who will only leave the living in peace after receiving offerings of wealth and praise. In fact, many aspects of Malaproprean Mau culture stems from the tradition of lawyer-shamans of the feral Mau of Goru Goru Gidea, whose original duties were appeasing the ancestor spirits of each tribe and enforcing contracts with magically-empowered clauses.
In recent times, Mau in Clockman and their banking cartels are held in check by several factors: their history in Marduun and their status as a racial minority puts them in a vulnerable position. In addition to this, they are heavily dependent on the services of skilled workers, and increasingly knowledgeable workers, as well as the resource-producing political powers in Lugubria. For these reasons, they must rely on careful politicking and image management, as well as the deliberate creation of a moneyed middle class in Clockman. The Clockman Mau also go to pains to appear to be working under separate organizations, but many believe them to be secretly conspiring to manipulate every aspect of life in the city.
From the perspective of humans, Mau are inclined towards a kind of calculating heartlessness that can seem almost alien. While the Mau are not entirely without sympathy, they cooperate only when there is a clear benefit and what passes for their sense of loyalty is bounded by the terms of contract or indebtedness. Humans, in particular, are often seen as a kind of prey animal to the Mau. Most often, this is limited to fleecing people for all their financial worth, but it can go beyond that. Eating human babies has been proscribed by nearly all the governments in Clockman, but embarrassing and inflammatory evidence occasionally surfaces to ruin the career of one politician or another.
Mau carry family names, but do not have families in the sense that most humans would be familiar with. Unlike people, the Mau go into estrus twice per year. The banking district is closed and all business grinds to a halt as Uptown Terrace and the King’s Fields are overrun by a feral orgy. The noise alone is horrific. The resulting children are only briefly nursed by their mothers, before being turned over to the nurseries, grammar schools and academies sponsored by the wealthiest of Mau patrons. The wards of these institutions will typically adopt the family name of the patron. As one might imagine, tracing a Mau’s familial ancestry is a hopeless affair. Inheritance, as a result, is not determined by bloodline, but by contract.
The Shambling Indebted
Necromorphs are reanimated corpses. They retain a dim and mechanical semblance to their previously living selves. A growing body of necromorphs has created a kind of rotting underclass in Clockman, where they are used for menial tasks such as transcribing, cleaning, and so forth.
‘Necromorph clauses’ are becoming more and more typical in debt contracts. They represent a form of corporeal foreclosure by which indentured servitude may be extended well beyond the natural life of the borrower, and are an attractive option when considering borrowers with no children, property or other collateral. While necromorphs have been around as long as arcana, their present day invocation in legal agreements is the canonical example of the intersection of magic and law made possible by voidal science.
A Civil Sort of Anarchy
The city-state of Clockman is organized into distinct neighborhoods, each with their own rich histories, quirks and dangers.
Torchlight District - A sprawling dockside district with all the charming features one might expect: gambling dens, brothels, warehouses full of smuggled goods, inns with regularly scheduled brawls, rookeries home to bands of thieves and cutthroats. The Torchlight also has the dubious honor of being home to the city’s sarcophyles, the only district of the city they are allowed to reside in without special permission from the Office of Sarcophyle Registration. This has also given rise to a social institution peculiar to Torchlight: the Blood House, a sarcophyle-only equivalent of a social club.
Plebeia - Home to the working classes of Clockman. One step above the slums of the Torchlight, but two steps below the genteel poverty of Subtopia Bohemia, Plebeia is a warren of tenement buildings crowded atop one another, divided by strips of cobblestones and punctuated by gin houses and pie shops.
Subtopia Bohemia - One of the most dynamic neighborhoods of Clockman, the Sub-Bohemia is a rich, bubbling stew of professions and peoples. Honest shopkeepers rub shoulders with philosophers and petty bureaucrats. Writers, actors, artists and other scoundrels congregate in coffee shops and wine sinks that line the streets. One can learn a great many things in the Sub-Bohemia. Some of them may even turn out to be true.
Knight’s Terrace - Once belonging to the lesser lords of Clockman and their agents, over the years the Knight’s Terrace has become home to the burgeoning middle classes of Clockman. The richly appointed mansions have been subdivided into apartments for rent by the families of lawyers, financiers and bureaucrats. Many of the schools and academies responsible for educating the profession classes are also found on the Knight’s.
Isle of the Dead - Traditionally home to the city’s mortuaries, crematoriums and hospitals, the Isle has more recently become the place where necromorph clauses are executed. In a growing number of cases, there are apartments (well, storage closets really) that necromorphs can go to at the end of the day if their owners do not keep night hours.
Uptown Terrace - The throbbing, golden heart of Clockman. This is where one can find the banks, the legal offices, the towering and lavish apartments, the rich and exclusive social clubs, the glittering manses of Clockman’s wealthiest elite heavily patrolled by the Clockman Guard. Features the greatest proportion of Mau in Clockman, as a percentage of residents.
King's Fields - No longer belonging to any sort of king or nobility, the name sees continued use in spite of the course of history. The Mayor’s Manse sits on the King’s Fields, in addition to a series of nicely maintained public parks and water gardens.
Other notable Clockman features.
Wizard’s Bridge - The apparently empty span between the Wizard’s Gate on mainland Clockman and the isolated tower that houses the Clockman Arcanology branch. It is traversed every day by hundreds of workaday arcanologists. Whether the arcanists walk on air to work every day or if it is an invisible bridge that only holds arcanists is a hotly contested topic amongst the coffee houses and bug dens of Clockman, and no shortage of fools and paid orphans have plummeted to their death trying to resolve the argument.
The Office of Sarcophyle Registration - One of Clockman’s many bureaucratic institutions, the Bloody Office (as it’s known) is responsible for initiating and maintaining all documentation required for sarcophyles who wish to remain citizens in good standing of the city. Failure to do so results in summary execution, possibly preceded by a public flogging.
FUMAST - The central hub of commercial and financial activity in the world, the FUMAST has innumerable currency exchanges, futures markets, voidal trading houses and offices representing the major banks of Clockman.
Foreman Pete - Before exploding into the sprawling industrial city-state we know it as today, Clockman was originally a mining outpost located in the harsh territory of northwestern Malapropea. The name Clockman comes from Foreman Pete, a towering clockwork statue that loomed over the mines. Driven by the mighty furnaces that powered the engines of the mines, Pete would mark the hours with his arms, literally blowing his top in a pyrotechnic display of steam and flame to call the miners to work. So the name is literal: clock man. Foreman Pete is now buried under layers of industrial growth and overshadowed by the city named for him, but lives on as an icon of progress and industry. Ironically, most of the inhabitants of Clockman have never laid eyes on their city’s namesake.