Tectoctar

Jevanicia

Tectoctar was a small city of 6,000 people who the rest of the world described as degenerates. Tectoctar was one of the most awful places one could imagine to live in. It had food and shelter, but not of a particularly good kind. The place had its share of problems with all the bugs, the seasonal flooding, and the continual sinking of any building into Danar’s Swamp. It’s rumored that some of the oldest buildings have basements so far done that they go into the Underdark.

Tectoctar was built on Danar’s Swamp, not next to it, under it, or over it, but on it. The town was built by Tectoctar, a Xorian general turned renegade, who led his army to the north and settled in the swamp when he received a sign from Zeus. Zeus had intended the usurper to die in the swamp, but Tectoctar was an excellent commander and managed to force his troops to stay and work through the absolute discipline he had instilled in them prior to their expedition. Additionally he had his lieutenant general cast a spell that let him read people’s thoughts allowing him to punish traitors before they committed their first act of sedition. Unfortunately for Tectoctar the side effect of knowing every man’s thoughts within a two mile radius is rather destructive. The tyrant general went insane and disappeared into the western reaches of the bog. The citizens of the city had already settled down and knowing they would not be welcomed back in Xoria decided to stay.

Tectoctar had no city plan of any kind. Occasionally an architectural accident would make a front door unreachable and required a new one to be cut in the walls. The principal building material was wood sent upriver from Bigby’s forest. The wood was used to create a frame for the house and then covered with hides, leaves, or hay to keep the rain and bugs out. Any building made with a heavier structure sank into the ground within a few months and even the wooden structures were constantly sinking, creating basements of ever increasing size beneath the city.

The extremely moist soil of Tectoctar was quite good for growing rice, but excruciatingly bad for anything else most people consider edible. A type of flower grows in the swamp that can be eaten called Shorehorn. The animal life that served as the protein for most Tectoctarian dishes is revolting. Snails, slugs, leeches, unclean fish, snakes, and other reptiles. The lucky outsider was served Tojanida. These monsters dwell in the swamp and when a dead one is found it was often sold to the wealthy of the town.

As Tectoctar grew older more people immigrated who were rejected by other cities and countries and were told of a paradise where everyone is welcome. Many of them were not impressed by the “paradise.” Some vagabonds left if they could, but most had run out of money getting to the city and were forced to stay. The rare few actually liked Tectoctar better because at least they are the same as everyone else here. The descendants of these immigrants composed the majority of the city’s population.

Tectoctar neither exported nor imported anything because it is nothing more than a large poor town in the middle of a swamp. The one attraction to the town was their local artifact of chewing gum, a type of food that oozes from trees that you cannot actually stop getting sustenance from. You could chew gum forever and never have to worry about eating, drinking, or going to the bathroom again. Unfortunately this miraculous item does not keep for more than a day, so it was only traded in mass quantities to the most foolish of tourists.

The city was ruled by the Race Council. An influential member of each race that lived in Tectoctar was appointed by their brethren to the council. The council had representatives from many different species including, Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Dragons, Ogres, Giants, Goblins, Orcs, Lizardfolk, Gnolls, Trolls, Kobolds, and Troglodytes. Each off shoot of one race was still considered the same. A rather extreme example of the inequity of this policy was present in the representation of Drow by a High Elf councilor. The Race council met once every three months to decide on issues that affected the entire city.

The Xorian government long resented the existence of Tectoctar as it was technically a rebel city. During the regency of Queen Anajakaze, the Xorian army attacked and defeated Tectoctar. It’s people were executed, enslaved, or driven out of the city. With no one else to inhabit the buildings, the city slowly sank into the swamp. The structures still exist beneath the muck, slowly rotting away, but also perhaps holding magic treasures for explorers brave and clever enough to find them.

After the destruction of Tectoctar, Queen Anajakaze created a new colony on the edge of Danar’s Swamp named Jevanicia.

-GoCorral

Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 22

Previous: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 21

This post sees the start of the Shanties around Hykma. The Shanties are similar to suburbs or slums, depending on what neighborhood you’re in. We also see the start of the Merfolk Blockade that influences a lot of subsequent events in the third age of our Dawn of Worlds campaign. Everyone is going to start scrambling to get around the Blockade to continue the profitable trade with Hearthland. And of course the Grez continue to expand and no one does anything about it.

704 NA: The Grez animated the frozen corpses of the humans in the north. To lead their new undead army, the Grez reanimated the Hero. The world shuddered at the still foreboding presence in the arctic.

705 NA: The splendor and draw of the glowing city of Hykma continued – incredible wealth resided in the city and the Elven Gardens were hailed as one of the great wonders of the modern world. The government began to solidify as the old blood princes and their merchant counterparts established themselves as proper lords. A new order was formed and a new constitution written. The Revered Administration now ruled over the Hykman League.

Meanwhile, the poor and disenfranchised in Hykma were slowly forced out through zoning and vagrancy restrictions. The Elves sheepishly closed the gates of Rotandean, apologizing yet refusing to accept the flow of refugees. The masses turned east, heading down the river toward Pulchrito, Domicilius, and The Hearth. The Rana were gracious hosts, but unable to host the numbers in either of their own cities. With the help of the Monks of the Gossamer Waves and the “gracious charity” of the Hykman Administration, shanty towns popped up all along the rivers, spreading from the base of the mountains at Hykma to the Tonsil Lake, and then more stretching from Domicilius to The Hearth. Impoverished at first, soon wealth began to trickle down from Hykma and The Hearth as merchants saw consumers and laborers in the Shanties. The Shanties grew in splendor. Festivals were common along the rivers and colored lanterns and lights adorned the long stretches of water and cobblestone roads.

709 NA: Profits in the Maw soared. Peace bred wealth, new power, and an influx of new blood into the old aristocracies of Najar, the Hykman League, and the pirate princes of Balkus.  Tensions rise. The seas were not as safe as they once were and piracy was rampant. Merchants begged their governments for protection and demanded action. The cities of Hykma, Cynelle, Alixria, Alrdia, and Balkus each raised a “defensive” fleet and begin to patrol their waters.

710 NA: The Grez froze the area connecting Glacierstone, the Upper Maw, and Hearthland. Reesrevo used his godly power to animate the entirety of the frozen Najar people as a new race of people. An undead race entered the world as servants of the Grez. The world was shocked and horrified, but no one would take action against the Grez. Commanders feared that while their army was away fighting the Grez, another city-state in the Upper Maw would attack their home city.

711 NA: The Merfolk, frustrated by the latest threat to their naval supremacy, unveiled new advances in the craft of shipbuilding and naval patrolling. New fleets were constructed in Drolfo’s Cove, New Tortuga, and Cyflenwi. The Merfolk flexed their new naval muscles by setting up a blockade across the Mouth of the Maw from the ruins of Nanatok to Cynelle. The people of Drolfo demanded reasonable tariffs for passage in and out of the Maw. This blockade was in response to the raising of Proaxium by the Dwarves. The blockade would end only if Proaxium was returned to Merfolk custody. The Merfolk blockade sent chaotic ripples through the Human trade networks. Dwarven goods were in high demand and prices soared. The Mouth of the Maw had always been the only free and safe route to Dwarven lands. Where would the Humans get their fine Dwarven luxuries now?

-Mister Ed

Next: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 23

Annie Movie Review

Annie Movie Poster

I went to see the new Annie movie recently with my wife. She’s a big fan of one of the previous movies, the 1982 Columbia Pictures version.

As my wife’s a fan of the 1982 version we spent most of our time comparing the new 2014 movie to the older one.

There’s some rather obvious changes they made to adapt the movie to the modern world.

The original was set during the Great Depression with Daddy Warbucks earning his money by selling weapons. The new movie replaces Warbucks punny name with Will Stacks and his stacks of money he earned from his mobile phone company.

Annie used to be in an orphanage with dozens of other girls. Now she lives in foster care with four other kids.

Roosevelt is removed from the movie. A political element is still present as Stacks is running for mayor. He takes over Annie’s foster care as a PR move for his campaign instead of the nonspecified reason that Warbucks does in the first movie.

A few of the songs are missing, but the originals are joined by a few new ones such as “Opportunity” which you can hear on Youtube.

The song performances themselves are good with the exception of Cameron Diaz who plays the evil foster caretaker, Miss Hannigan. “Easy Street” and “Little Girls” are much worse than their 1982 versions, but how could anybody compete with Carol Burnett and Tim Curry?

The new Rooster character is a lot creepier than how I perceived the Tim Curry’s comical performance. I’m unsure if that was a decision made by the director or just that when the character is updated for a modern audience his creepiness comes out in a way that I can appreciate.

The movie has a few problems with lip syncing which is… odd. You’d think that’d be something they could’ve worked out by now with software.

There’s tons of other new additions to update the movie, Annie has a Twitter account run by her fans for example. There are still plenty of homages and jokes to please people like me who liked the original. If you enjoyed the 1982 Annie then I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy this new version as well. Quvenzhane Wallis and Jamie Foxx are just as cute as Aileen Quinn and Albert Finney.

-Mister Ed

In Time Movie Review

I watched the movie In Time the other night. The movie stars Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, and Cillian Murphy.

I was not satisfied with the movie based on what I’d seen in the trailers.

The premise of the movie is that in the near future all medical problems have been eliminated.

Additionally, now that people are effectively immortal there isn’t really any reason to use any normal currency because eventually anybody will accumulate an infinite amount.

Instead of spending money, people spend time. Time is the remaining years, weeks, days, minutes, and seconds in someone’s life.

When someone turns twenty five their clock begins. You an see the clock on Timberlake’s arm in the above poster. When someone’s clock runs out that person suffers an instantly fatal heart attack.

The clock starts with a year on it. Time is spent on everything, coffee, taxi rides, movies. Everything.

And all income is in the form of time. If you work for a day at a factory then maybe you earn two days of time. One day to buy stuff with and one day to live with.

The movie villains are the rich who hoard time in order to live forever. The rich drive prices up in the ghetto to steal time from the poor because “not everyone can live forever.”

The movie heroes, Timberlake and Seyfried, fight back by stealing the hoarded time from rich banks where time is stored physically somehow and redistributing it to the poor. Surprisingly the movie never mentions the name of Robin Hood.

Giving time to the poor is somehow supposed to make them realize that the system is killing them, but the epilogue shows only that the poor are happy frivolously spending their money on vacations. The rich don’t lose power and the poor don’t gain any. What was the point if the poor waste their money on a week of pleasure?

There’s other problems with the currency system that are never explained.

Theoretically the only time that exists in the system is one year for each person when they turn 25. The average age would be around 25 because most of that time is spent on food, rent, clothes, etc.

Where is all the extra time coming from? Are there power plants that produce time? Or is the rich oligarchy just minting time and using it to pay their workers?

The rich are right in a sense. If everyone lived forever then the world would be overpopulated, but is the rich effectively murdering the poor really the plan that was landed on?

Why not use a traditional currency and set everyone’s clocks to one hundred years? Then people still have long lives with predictable deaths and the economy has a natural development instead of being controlled by some strange merchant dictatorship.

Plus, the script was clunky and the acting was bad. I’ve seen good acting from all these actors though, so I’m tempted to blame the director. The director, Andrew Niccol, also wrote the script, so really all the blame lies at his feet.

Niccol’s other movies are really good though. I’d recommend checking out Gattaca which has a similar premise and The Terminal.

As for In Time, it had a cool premise, but failed to make that premise compelling or interesting outside of the trailer. The other parts of the movie weren’t so hot either. I’d avoid it unless you’re dying for people to talk about wealth in amounts of years instead of thousands of dollars.

-Mister Ed