Ordo Vitiosus Volpes
DESOLATION AND URBAN DECAY: THE SIGHTS AND SOUNDS OF COSCARLA
Coscarla has the feel of a buried and abandoned city, shrouded in darkness beneath a steel sky. It is a cold and empty place, where whole tenements and habstacks are blacked by fire, or stare silently with a hundred vacant smashed window eyes, while ancient and seemingly purposeless columns and arches of black granite soar high into the darkness.
The power supply is poor and the streetlamps along the main thoroughfares flicker and cast a pale twilight, while refuse and debris clogs the alleyways where shapeless and half-hidden forms of dregs (and perhaps worse) haunt. The skyline near the southern portion of the district is crisscrossed by the overhead rail lines of Sibellus’s mass transit network, which clatters and sparks intermittently through the cycles. Far above, in the high shadowed skies, the periodic exhalations and clamor of the hive’s vast air processing network is muted into distant thunder, the action of which materializes later at ground level as squalls of sudden chill wind, and even the occasional curtain of dirty rain lasts too briefly to wash the grime from the streets.
There are people living in Coscarla, thousands of them in fact, but they are so swallowed up by the vast and darkened spaces around them that they seem very few, nor do they linger outdoors, rushing silently to their destinations with their collars turned up and their heads firmly down. They are disheveled, threadbare and have the look of frightened men and women, determined to get on with life the best they can.
As the night cycle comes on, the whole district takes on a truly nightmarish aspect as the power fades, the light level falls and the inhabitants scurry to place bolted doors between themselves and the night. Now the darkness becomes total and oppressive, the habstacks stand like cyclopean tombstones in some immense graveyard. Such light that remains comes from patches of luminous mould growing in the cracks of the rockcrete buildings, radiating a faint and eerie glow, and the few harsh pools of illumination found around locales such as the Workers’ Union and the transit rail-head, seem like mere faltering islands of light amid an abyssal sea.
GETTING AROUND COSCARLA
The only practical way to get round Coscarla is on foot. Whilst this in itself doesn’t present a problem on the main thoroughfares which, while strewn with old rubbish and abandoned debris, are broad and built to accommodate far more foot and road traffic than they now handle. Away from these broad streets, the side alleys and gantry walks between the stacks are a different matter, and many are choked with old refuse, scorched wreckage from the blackout fires and worse. The footing is treacherous and you never know when you’re going to stir up a nest of vermin or if that bundle of rags you accidentally tread upon will turn out to be a maddened dreg.
Anyone moving at any speed faster than a “careful walk” through the worse areas must take a Challenging (+0) Agility Test or they will loose their footing, or perhaps some other unpleasant incident occurs.
Welcome to the Night Cycle
When the night cycle kicks in and the district’s power fades down to emergency levels, the Acolytes are left with a whole new range of problems. Outside the immediate areas of lamp light or the pools of illumination provided by a few buildings that have their own power supply, it is almost pitch black and Perception and Awareness Tests (such as finding your way if lost), as well as attempts at gun-play and the like all suffer a –30 penalty.