Tourist Guide

The Locals

The denizens of London Under are a strange lot. Some look like they strolled out from the pages of a particularly grubby and battered history book. Some have claws. Some have branches. There are those who subsist on the heat of others, and those who rely on dreams for sustenance. Most were born, some fell, a couple just manifested. But despite their differences they're all trying to do the same thing. Survive.

London Under isn't just an uncaring world, it can be actively malign. There's no shortage of knives in the dark to give the day an added spice, too. Survival is therefore something of a challenge. There's a number of ways to go about it:

  • Be small and useful. The more powerful figures of the Underside are so noticeable that they can't walk the streets Above and rely on the more insignificant in appearance to go up and get them things. Like food. Making yourself invaluable to a patron in this way is an excellent method of gaining powerful protection.
  • Be powerful and dangerous. Learn the secrets of magic or herbalism, or earn a ferocious reputation. That'll teach people to tread carefully in your presence. Of course, as your power and reputation grows, you begin to stand out in a crowd and leaving the Underside becomes a more challenging proposition. Lady Neon and the Earl have both taken this approach.
  • Be rich. Build up a network of owed favours or gather rare Artefacts. Buy your safety by paying for bodyguards or by purchasing enough favours that people can't afford to let you fall. Being rich does have the downside of making you a target for theft, however. This is King Rat's choice and, in a sense, Hammersmith's.
  • Be immortal. Easier than it sounds, although risky. It takes luck and something powerful. This seems to have worked well for Charles Oak, Mama Thames and Kaspar.

Gentles are the ones who've made it. They've survived with style, to the extent that they can now concentrate on the concept of luxury. But don't be fooled into thinking that they're untouchable. Survival is an ongoing process - one that the Pearly King famously failed. It takes skill and luck to get to the top, and more of both to stay there. Nor are the ranks of gentles closed. Both the Pearly Princess and Lady Neon are relative newcomers, the former a case of dead man's shoes and the latter of making her own niche. Who knows? Maybe you could be the next to rise.

The Area

London Under is a vast labyrinth of tunnels, passageways, foundations, ruins, sewers and sunken levels. Each suburb has its own secrets, mazes and resources. No denizen claims to know them all. In addition, geography is relative and inconstant. Don't expect things to stay in exactly the same place, or for a journey to take the same amount of time twice. Sometimes paths will be closed 'for scheduled maintenance', forcing you to find an alternative route. There are only two areas which could be called in any way reliable - the River (although Mama Thames' temper should never be relied upon) and the City (thanks to the Aldermen's extreme dislike of disruption in the performance of their duties). Nor can you rely on the geography of London Above to navigate - the surface isn't a map of the Underside in the same way that the Tube Map isn't a map of Above. But if you can work out where you're going and how to get there, there's no shortage of things to see and do.

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