Making my own New Crobuzon

2 June, 2010

Inspired by China Mieville’s New Crobuzon directly and The Githyanki Diaspora‘s thoughts on Make your Own New Crobuzon (yes, I know I am almost exactly a year late on this).

We shall call it Sphynxcourland and place it on the Nearmar Peninsula.

The three major, but oppressed, ‘races’ are:

Harpies, once the servants of the Court of Sphynxes now consigned to working as messengers, scouts and less-savory professions.   They tried to cling to their ancient traditions (“one step above barbarism” according to some) but only those families left in direct service to the Court have managed to maintain some semblance of them, the rest have succumbed to the lure of human temptations and degradations.

Lizardfolk, arrived as refugees from the losing aside of a civil war, absorbed into the city as mercenaries, soldiers and laborers.   They have also become major players in the criminal underworld, importing all sorts of exotic goods from their former homeland.  Only those who few that gone into government service have been granted full citizenship though an increasing number of young lizardfolk have become increasingly political and are agitating for full rights.

The Indentured Dead, the Nercourgic Technichon developed a way to tie pieces of a person’s soul and memories to an animated corpse.  Initially used only as a punishment for the most heinous crime where execution would be followed by the restitution of eternal service.  Naturally, once it was realized how useful untiring half-way competent servants could be, the crimes punishable by the Indentured Death slowly increased.  A handful of the Indentured Dead retained more of their intelligence and some of them have even earned their freedom.

The three bizarre hidden races:

Angel Solar, sealed in amber crystal at the heart of the city.  Occasionally, it will strike down an unbeliever passing through the central square at noon but that is very rare (but popular when it happens).   Legend says that the crystal will shatter and the angel will fly free to defend the city if it is attacked.   A thousand and one stories tell how the angle came to be here in the first place and some of them may even be true.

Intellect Devourers, these terrible parasites have formed an alliance with the government within the government, they act as spies and infiltrators.  When an intellect devourer has taken possession of a body, the eyes of the possessed body go bloodshot and the body suffers from occasional muscle tremors.  The revolutionaries know that muscle tremor indicate bad things and having a fit in an anarchist pub will often lead to a tragic death.

Sphynxes, the city was founded around the ancient Court of Sphynxes which remains the highest court in the city, though rarely used as the justice of the sphynxes is based on their own inscrutable logic and allows for no appeals.  There are nine sphynxes and they watch the city and occasionally they walk the streets searching for . . . something.  It is wise to avoid them, for those that speak to them often vanish.

An amusing little exercise.  What is in your New Crobuzon?


  1. There is no deadline, no worries on showing up to the party late.

    This is splendid, thank you for playing.

    • My pleasure. Thank you for starting the game.

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