Wonderful Begma City

Imagine if the Great Terra Cities of London, New York and a dab of Chicago got together in the year 1870, merged and produced the jewel of the Golden Circle perched upon the ocean, its rows and rows of great white marble Government and Scientific buildings reflecting in to the bay. Horseless carriages rush back and forth through the cobblestone streets.

East Begma


Shadows of Begma

The Begma Shadowpath

It is a mark of mutual trust and dependence between the realms that a dedicated shadowpath exists, cutting down considerably the uncertainty, hazards, and duration of the trans-shadow journey by any other typical means. Funded by the Crown of Amber, and maintained by the Royal Pathfinders Corps, the Path is constructed of five waypoints, or Nodes. Each requires a certain toll from those utilizing the Path, which the average ship's crew tends to find tedious or perhaps pointless; what they don't know is the ritualized procedure is vital to the stability of the node, and thereby the shadowpath as a whole. The order of points is as follows:

Amber <-> Pea Soup by Gaslight <-> Topsy-Turvy Uncanny Locks <-> The Drawing Board <-> The Iceberg of Dr. Margeaux <-> Welcome Until We Meet Again <-> Begma

The first node is a venture through dense fog, navigating by the coloured gaslights of large buoys and briefly interacting with their impishly inventive humanoid tinkers. The 'mechanics' of the node seem to rely on random chance more than anything, however the G'Nooms are quick to point out the alchemical processes behind the fog, lights, and movement of local currents. In the end, who knows! At the end of the trek, voyagers seem to be pointed in the right direction, and are sent on their merry way through thinning mists.

The sea horizon skews deceptively here, and ships come upon a large structure in the middle of nowhere. A channel runs through it in an automated series of ascending locks: Reservoirs in which the sea level is made to artificially rise and fall, carrying ships higher as though they were climbing up a staircase into the sky! The unmanned walls are too high to see over by normal means, and even to the flight-capable it seems they are destined to sail over the top and pitch hundreds of feet back into the sea! At the last moment, fortunately, the final gate opens to a new horizon line and what seems to be a new stretch of ocean! But was that Faith or Science what saved your bacons? Food for thought. The reverse trip is of course, an unnerving descent below the water line which still ends safely somehow at sea level.

The next leg of the shadowpath is found in the form of an obstacle course of fanciful innovations and overeager attempts at Progress, at Sea. Intermittent wind turbines, smog filters, albatross launchers, sky magnets, fish sifters, hull scrubbers, and a thousand more mental hazards await those who don't manage to see the opportunity and potential in so-called "flaws" and "mistakes". One must set one's navigation by way of utilizing certain machinery to expedite their passage. Hot steam sail treatments, anyone?

A touch of impending doom marks this nexus, with an island of solid ice floating haplessly on a temperate sea. The inhabitants are striking in their deformity, so much that it becomes obvious the colony is one big sideshow celebrating Oddity. The Ringleader must be met and offered a few hours' service or the equivalent in spare parts, to keep the climate of the island constantly chilled via massive engine and coolant system. Isn't it obvious their by-products are the cause of the freakish physical defects of the residents? That indeed is the price of refrigerated convenience!

Huzzah! Incoming and Outgoing ships arrive at the edge of the Begman Sea proper, a vast depot churning with cyclical currents; small quick whirlpools to massive but ponderous maelstroms, all fitted together in a dizzying array… just like the gear system in a tower clock! Swept into the cascades, captains must use their knowledge of sprockets to time each merge into new rotations and ride their way through to the other side. The Begma side, naturally, smells of victory and pollution. The real highlight of this gateway is the sheer spectacle of aggressive advertisement, stages and billboard displays to be both witnessed and avoided. Cultural horntooting, commercial enticements, and customs bureaucracy jump out at every twist and turn. Become dazzled at your own peril!

Roleplay Note: Successful passage in-game is the automatic assumption. Reference has been provided to create opportunities for detailed, enriched play, however no one is obligated to play out every node along the way.

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