Munera

Titan : Munera - Decadence
AKA: Sin City, the Circus of Fear

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As the artist Bobby McFerrin said in his iconic song, in every life you have some trouble, and when you worry you make it double. However, the ease with which escapism can become wilful ignorance, and cause a corruption of the human condition- averting your eyes from the troubles of the time by throwing yourself into meaningless and shallow pastimes- can lead to the concept of decadence. This concept encapsulates Munera, a minor but dangerous newly resurgent titan.

As befits the concept that led to the fall of the Roman empire, the titanrealm of Munera is in the most part a human, urban construction. Unlike the elemental realms of Muspelheim or the Drowned Road there is no overarching, everpresent theme, but what is most strongly represented is its theme of ignorance and escape. As a huge, sprawling city, Munera seemingly lacks borders or definition- everywhere a Scion travels there is a tangle of escotetic buildings, both ancient and modern, and the features of a society built for pleasure- there are dance halls and there are gambling arcades, flash and neon, circus tents, whorehouses and rollercoasters. Furthermore, many parts of the titanrealm are overgrown with untended plants and general dereliction.

The inhabitants of this place are almost universally humanoid- either shades of humans, the lifeless, faceless copies of humans who have lost themselves entirely to their passions, or titanspawn who are overridingly humanoid over everything else. Those of a more animal appearence are often found in zoos, freakshows or some manner of cage, although such things are often ephemeral. The illusion is the most relevant thing- Munera's goals, after all, are to cause humanity to drown in tawdry pleasures and destroy itself on a far wider scale than the Romans.

Favoured Purviews: Illusion, Chaos, Fertility, Mystery, Darkness
Banned Purviews: Justice, Psychopomp, Guardian


Prominent Features

As mentioned above, Munera can basically be considered a chaotic jumble of urban decay. Like Las Vegas gone mad, the entire titanrealm is covered in a pall of dusk that can only really be made out by the lightless, blank sky, owing to the massive ambient light given off at ground level by this and that. The touchstones of the titanrealm are the only real defined features, which can be journeyed to by those with sufficient intent to enjoy them- buying an overpriced map from a street hawker on a little stand is no guarantee, for if you're not tripping over overgrown bushes or finding yourself carried away by the crowds you may be waylaid by the thousands of distractions.

Munera, despite its natural disinclination towards the powers of the psychopomp purview, has a small method of entry for almost every other greater realm, and with good cause- for it has begun its development into a much greater power by serving as a hub and place of commerce for the titans. Although small, it is making an excellent economy of sorts out of trading all forms of tawdry and not-so-tawdry pleasures to other realms- things they cannot make themselves. This has earned it the ire of the Drowned Road's inherent desire to possess everthing, and puts them at odds.

There is no rhyme or reason to the place's development, other than the potential of specific concentrations of a particular sort of thing. Depending on how close you are to one of the aforementioned touchstones, the tone and variety of buildings and attractions may follow suit- there are always many carnival attractions around the Big Top and far more roman baths and brothels by the Colosseum, for example. However, more than anything else, the environment of Munera seeks to distract the living minds within it- it is a maze of flashy lights, wonderful smells and scandalous shows that seek to entice and entrap.

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The Big Top

The biggest and most colorful tent in Munera can be seen from almost anywhere because of the massive lightshow surrounding it. A massive three-ring circus, The Big Top when viewed from above is probably something far more akin to a huge growing bloom of mildew or fungus. The central core that is its major place of attraction is surrounded by countless other tents, rides and attractions, huge swinging gondolas moving through the air and rollercoaster tracks twisting overhead.

The Big Top is basically every horror story circus of fear writ large. Something wicked this way came and settled down for the long term. In and around the Big Top, everything is sinister and off base- subverted innocence. The clowns are everywhere, all wearing hideous and unsettling makeup to distract people from their claws and fangs. The shooting gallery targets are alive and wriggle helplessly in their eaves, and the rollercoaster carts crash into one another or divert into hideous fiberglass mouths when nobody's paying attention.

At the centre of it all, of course, the massive three-ring circus is the major attraction. The crowds- and there are always capacity crowds- sit mindlessly eating candy and peanuts, vendors milling through them with a never-ending supply. In the centre of the ring all manner of foreign titanspawn cavort and do tricks- or more likely, they break loose and cause carnage in a section of the stalls before being brought back under control. The entertainers perform crippling, bone-twisting slapstick or hellish humiliations on one another, or the prisoners of Munera- beaten Scions or lesser immortals who failed to escape. Things very rarely, however, turn into outright bloodbaths… that's the Colosseum's trick, after all. Often, The Clown himself will take to the sands, never failing to terrify audiences to and beyond the point of sanity. It is strongly aspected towards Munera's grasp of the Chaos purview.

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The Colosseum

The Flavian Ampitheatre was once the iconic colosseum of Rome, so much so that it became the definition of all such things that shared its name. It lends its appearence to this ur-colosseum once again, mired in a section of Munera that reflects the worst excesses of the Roman Empire. Caligua, of course, presides over this aspect of the titanrealm, most often seen in his personal box presiding over the life and death of everyone therein.

The original definition of 'bread and circuses' was created in Rome, and where the Big Top lacks in unecessary bloodshed, the Colosseum more than makes up for its shortfall. Here, the warriors of Munera are trained against one another- not just classical gladiators, but humanoid monsters in every form, using every one of their weapons and tricks of the trade. Monsters, too, are spawned in the cavernous dungeons which spread out into the aqueducts, and caves where unspeakable things dwell.

In and around this place, much like the Big Top, there are enormous levels of roman architecture and the like. There are huge banquet halls where any manner of huge, excessive gluttony may be fulfilled, or more carnal appetites. The intoxicating scents that drift out of this area spread throughout the entire city, and although most all of Munera is filled with a rather relaxing, druglike haze of opiate it is at its thickest here. Humans and monsters even lie around in the paved streets, doped out of their minds and enjoying the cloud of excess and luxury. It is strongly aspected towards Munera's grasp of the Darkness purview.

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The Groves

Although most of Munera is urban, the tenacity of plants to grow over what humans have made, surrendering them to rubble and overgrowth, is well known, and of course, since nobody in Munera can be bothered with things like civil upkeep or maintainance there are huge portions of the 'city' that are filled with plants. All of these things, however, trace their roots (so to speak) back to these Groves. It is here that everything grows.

Drugs and dazzling fruits of every kind can be found in the rampant trees and brambles, the muddy ground always populated by some sort of intoxicating something-or-other. Of course, none should ever look too closely, lest you find the corpses dumped here for things to grow on. This representation of the ignorance of suffering and death in favour of enjoying hedonism and sweetness is a microcosm of Munera itself. The plants here have their most effective intoxicating power when closest to the source, creating addiction almost instantly. Those who lose themselves to this 'lotus eating' often fail to notice as thorns and brambles stronger than steel cut apart their wandering bodies, and many living beings bleed to death while chewing on a peach. Obviously, it is strongly aspected towards Munera's grasp of the Fertility purview.

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Bauhaus

Based on the 'decadent culture' of 1920s Berlin, an era which led many bohemians from cultural revolution, film and gothic literature into mysticism and titan worship, parts of the city of Munera are representative of the school of fine arts. However, what is it most well known for are its cinemas. Within the many movie theatres of the Bauhaus, bizarre film reels appear and find their way into classic projectors. When played on the silver screen, and especially when viewed under the influence, these movies display activities taking place in the World and sometimes even the Overworld. These are always of relevance to the minions of the titan and guide it to where it can cause the most damage, and sometimes even allow glimpses of things they could not possibly see. It is strongly aspected towards Munera's grasp of the Mystery purview.

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Goblin Market

In some parts of Munera, the need to part a fool from his money is much greater. The biggest concentration of hawkers, shysters, racketeers and fences can be found in the huge goblin market, a place where all manner of … well, anything really can be bought and sold. In a way, this is partly how Munera has risen to power in such a short space of time- it is a market which encourages trade of resources, relics, reagents and rumors between various titanspawn, a hub of commerce where rapacity can be sated no matter what the creature is looking for. Naturally it is also a hive of scum and villainy, where theft is rampant, twisted justice is dealt out and mortal lives are enslaved by the score. It is strongly aspected towards Munera's grasp of the Illusion purview.

Sample Passages

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The easiest way to get to Munera is through decadence, of course. Although it's a bad way to begin, getting completely trolleyed on drugs, fine wine or some other unfathomably indulgent method and paying sufficient legend with intent to enter will often cause the god who did so to wake up in Munera. Vanishing into the seedy underbelly of its representative cultural icons also works- wandering drunk down a nightclub alley, sneaking into a west end theatre on opening night on drugs or crashing a god's raucous feast could work very well. Within Munera, due to its natural inclination against allowing gods to travel freely and sanely, boons of the psychopomp purview related to movement and bypassing inconvenience may suffer penalties.

In addition, walking ignorantly through Munera's chaotic streets until everything blends together and the world becomes a blur of light and sound will often place the traveller within the realm of Hundun. Venturing into the aqueducts and caves beneath the city where the disturbing and unspeakable happens may eventually lead into Soko no Kumi. Flying up into the lightless night sky and away from the city proper will often cause gods to find themselves inverted and suddenly within the landscape of Po.


Avatars

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Caligula
Legend: 12

Alias: 'Jupiter', Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus

Widely known for his cruelty, hedonism and sexual perversity, Caligula used his position as Emperor to declare that Rome should worship him as a God. Even before he ascended to Olympus, he had already developed a tendency to impersonate various Gods at official functions, and eventually even took to signing legal documents with the name “Jupiter.”

After assisting in the masterminding of the Axis War, otherwise known as World War Two, by way of impersonating Zeus and drawing the rest of the Dodekatheon into support of Nazi Germany, Caligula was tossed into Tartarus to join the Titans. While mired there, over an indecently short period of time he found himself drawn to the energy of Munera, and much like Kagatsuchi he both merged with and became the controlling influence in the titan, turning into one of its Avatars. Thanks to his experience and power, he was able to take control over the titan from its relatively weaker avatars such as Aibell, although the Clown stood aside and let him do as he pleased.

A former Scion and god, Caligula has formidable abilities and knowledge of how the relatively modern world works, as well as some degree of military knowledge. To this extent, he is capable of using industry and technology to suppliment his forces in the World, arming his minions with modern weaponry. He uses nemean lions almost exclusively, although he also has a fondness for horses. His Gladiators are often faceless beneath their fully enclosing masks, if they even have heads at all. In battle he favours physical attributes, if only because due to his insanity he cannot rely on mental or social ones. He is capable of fighting using his old relics and armor which he retained.

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The Clown
Legend: 11

The Clown has no name, no identity beyond his job description. He is simply the condensed embodiment of what the learned would call Coulrophobia, the almost innate fear humanity has of the common clown. Twisted eventually by media over the years into an almost totally negative form, The Clown is a modern-day mythical version of the boogeyman- an, quite possibly the, embodiment of fear.

He is somewhat mutable in appearence, generally taking on a form with aspects of what the person viewing him will fear the most- for those who don't like people looming over their shoulder he will be taller, and those who perhaps have a complex about their weight will see him as fat. However, what is always present is his utterly disarming appearence- often a brightly colored polka-dotted uniform with fancy ruffles and a squirty flower on his lapel. Nobody paying attention to him ever notices the little blood stains here and there until it's too late. His face is bone-white, covered in facepaint, neon hair and a red nose- and like the rest of his body, the facepaint constantly changes, sometimes even switching to a different design when the observer looks away.

The Clown is representative of fear and madness, and commands many, many, many lesser clowns. He also has many nemean animals at his beck and call, often those most often found at circuses like lions, elephants and goldfish. Also, he has a perchant for leading creatures that terrify, such as spiders and sharks. In some rare cases, he can even call upon titanspawn who resemble iconic story and movie villains to hunt down those he particularly needs eliminated. In battle, he favours social attributes, using his abilities to put opponents off guard and destroy their confidence and sanity with his bizarre tricks.

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Aibell
Alias: Aeval
Legend: 10

Purportedly one of the faerie queens, the fair folk connected to the Tuatha de Danaan, Aibell is described as a woman who has taken the concept of justice into her own hands due to her dissastisfaction with other laws. She primarily interrogated men over their fidelity and their capability to sexually satisfy their wives, and appeared to be concerned with the business of fertility and meddling in peoples' sexual relationships. She takes the form of a traditional winged fairy in a long blue dress, with black hair.

Somewhat closer to the truth is the identity of Aibell the titan avatar. One of the lesser facets of Munera, she is considered to be the twisted mockery of 'justice' within the titanrealm itself. However, since Munera itself cannot truly grasp the intricacies of this purview, her courts are often kangaroo in nature, filled with mocking, insults, violence and illusions, existing to meddle with the sexual politics of what goes on within Munera.

With an assortment of giants at her beck and call, Aibell can also call upon the lesser goblins and fairies that cause mischief and waylay people. The fact that her minions don't have much muscle is the reason she has never gained much power within the titanrealm, as although her minions are numerous they are also petty and mainly concerned with stealing tidbits of food and making Scions' lives an inconvenient muddle of nuisances. In battle she favours social attributes, using insults and a position of assumed power.

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Ta'o Tie'h
Legend: 10

One of the four great evil creatures of the world as described by the Shen's Zuo Zhuan, Taotie is the progenitor of many dragons that share his name and appearence. In life he may have been a tribal leader named Chiyou, who following his death rose to become a great and terrible monster; a dragon of gluttony. However, much like his progeny, Taotie these days is mostly just a head, having had his body severed and no lower jaw. Despite being so thoroughly maimed, he continues to live.

He was recognised as both a symbol of terror for alien tribes and one of protection for others, and is a twisted guardian of sorts. In a way, he serves as a protector of Munera, albeit a reluctant one. He is symbolic of gluttony but very much lacks the ability to eat much of anything any more, a fact which causes him no end of bitterness. He even tries to swallow people without much effect, as everything just slips out of the back end of his severed neck.

His progeny, the lesser dragons that share his appearence, serve as enforcers within the realm, marginally more capable of eating people who cause trouble or invading gods. Because of his weakened physical attributes, he is a somewhat jaded figure and in some ways represents the hollow ennui that comes when people have exhausted their hedonistic desires. In battle he prefers to use mental attributes and coordinates his lesser spawn to outflank and crush his enemies.


SIDEBAR: Tao-who?
Kin to Taotie and one of the four fiends of Chinese mythology- and likewise, a titan- it is rumored that there is another creature that wields power in Munera, named Taowu. However, other than his name, that is generally all people know- even the other avatars of the titan, much to their consternation. The reason for this is that Taowu, whatever cause he serves, is a deification of ignorance. Accordingly, he is mostly defined by his lack of definition, as a being that people are unable to retain or locate information on. He seems to naturally obliviate knowledge, especially that about himself. This makes describing him as an avatar difficult, but excellent as a source of mystery. If it serves you, consider using Taowu in your chronicle as an antagonist dedicated to perpetuating ignorance and naturally good at hiding his identity, with a firm grasp of the Illusion and Mystery purviews, or whatever powers you deem appropriate.



Titanspawn

The primary natives of Munera are humanoid in nature and represent archetypical versions of some of society's feared and reviled figures. As archetypes with no purpose beyond their profession, they display consummate skill in their fields of shystering, abduction, drug dealing and murder. There are also the numerous clowns that are subordinate to The Clown, who are often armed with murderous variants on comical toys and props.

Often, nymphs, sirens, medusae and other creatures of various kinds can be found within the groves or alleys, seeking to seduce and devour their victims. Obake concerned with theft and goblins indulging their passions at the expense of mortals also flock to Munera. In fact, in some respects the city serves as a social hub for creatures interested in satisfying their rapacity over all else. In the caves and aqueducts beneath the city, huge horror-esque creatures such as minotaurs and nemean 'sewer gators' can be found.

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Chahnameed
The tricky Giant
Legend: 7

A giant mentioned in the legends of the Mannitowock, Chanameed is both an infamous glutton and a trickster. He was very unfaithful to his wife and spent all of his time moving around causing terrible trouble, tricking people into humiliating and even killing one another for his amusement and never doing a lick of good. Supposedly, his wife killed him using a strand of her hair fashioned into a spear, but he slipped into Munera using his talent at illusions. He still carries the bottomless bag used in some of his tricks, which allows him to store massive amounts of objects useful in enticing people out in the World. He has a strong grasp of the Illusion purview as well as Mi'kmaw. His bottomless bag is also his trophy, depending on whether a Scion wishes to empty it out first and maybe patch it up a little.

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Palookas
Generic Minion
Legend: 1

More a footnote than anything else, beings known basically as 'Palookas' are the shades of mortals who have become entrapped in their thousands within Munera. Having disappeared from the face of the World on a drug bender, gambled their life away or drifted into such a corrupt moral state that they fade away from society, these lost spirits decay into shadows of their former selves. They are best represented as generic mortal followers, used as cannon fodder.

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Junkie
Generic Minion
Legend: 2

Most obviously a modern creature, the Junkie is a human transfigured into a titanspawn in much the same way as a Shikome and the like. However, rather than blood, the Junkie is a representation of the terrors of drug addiction, and much like other creatures in Munera is an embodiment of the worst spectre of public opinion. Human in appearence, they have terribly swarthy features- sunken, listless eyes, unkempt facial hair, an appearence that has gone totally to the dogs or a pallor such that they could be mistaken for a zombie. However, they retain enough intelligence to know what they want- more drugs. Their addiction gives them a violent, absolute recklessness and a strong desire for money, which they will focus on taking from Scions in their violent attacks. Since many titanspawn don't care what's in your wallet, this can take Scions by surprise which often leaves them open to a bludgeoning. Their trophy is often a small sample of the drugs they were taking, which allows for visions similar to the mystery purview.

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Femme Fatale
Generic Colossi
Legend: 4

Otherwise known as the 'lady of the night' and 'that girl mother warned you about', the Femme Fatale is a humanoid female figure with a body much like carved onyx. Generally faceless, they can expend legend to take on a seductive humanoid appearence. Equally effective as assassins as they are social figures, they are extremely good at sneaking around and blending into the shadows, using darkness boons to move around at will and disguise their appearence. There's usually more around than you can see in the shadows of any part of Munera. Upon being destroyed they often disintegrate into a black sludge, which can be used as body paint which aids in stealth rolls… but only by women.

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Gaki
Japanese Dead
Legend: 5

A midway point between a covnentional spectre and a Gashadokuro, in terms of size, a Gaki is a spirit who has transformed into a monstrous creature more teeth than anything else. Unlike the methods of self-cannibalization used to create the former, a Gaki is typically just a soul destroyed by conventional starvation and poverty. In fact, some players of online video games who neglect their health sufficiently that they drop dead in a gaming marathon can end up becoming Gaki. Considered to be vicious attack dogs by the more intelligent beings of Munera, they roam around searching for food and drink and are not in any way choosy about what that sort of thing is. In a pinch, they can even possess people and cause them to express their gluttony, or cause food to transform into sand to infuriate other Scions. Their teeth can easily part any sort of animal flesh or hide, reducing their soak. These teeth are also their trophy, which can be fashioned into soak-reducing knives.

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Hidebehind
Yankee Chimera
Legend: 4

Another of the more stealthy creatures found in Munera, the Hidebehind is a furry animal like a bear, from American folklore. Said to be characterised by its ability to take refuge behind trees, sucking in its stomach and flattening out its body so as to become invisible, it lurked in forests and preyed on Lumberjacks. However, it was often quite repelled by any form of alcohol. Supposedly, the Yankee god Pecos Bill once encountered a Hidebehind and sold it to a zoo, causing the creature much consternation. Now they can be found within Munera. The city's tendency towards alcoholism has driven them wild, giving them a firm desire to hide behind whatever they can and wreak havoc, adding to the chaotic nature of the titanrealm. In battle, they are capable of twisting their bodies and making excellent use of cover. They have no trophy.

Taotie
Chinese Chimera
Legend: 6

Sharing the name of their progenitor, the Taotie are chimera-like creatures that are a fusion of bull, dragon and tiger. They are rather lizard-like despite the additions and have a primarily rapacious appetite for food and drink, although much like classical western dragons they will also hoard money where it is available. Ta' o tie'h the avatar is able to coordinate them through mental domination, although he cannot do so effectively outside of Munera itself. They have the ability to transform into vases as a method of disguising themselves, although they will eat any liquid or items placed inside. Their trophy is this vase, which is relatively useless aside from its material worth.

Template: Terrific
Reflecting both the dual meanings of 'incredible' and 'causing fear', the Terrific template represents the inherent appeal of creatures of Munera. A being with the Terrific template is granted an unnatural degree of supernatural poise and inhuman grace, for better or for worse, and additionally an ability to captivate and drain the will of their victims. This grants increased Epic Appearence (either positive or negative) and the ability to drain a Scion's willpower or virtue channels in dedicated attacks. Against mortals this can directly devour their willpower dots instead, enslaving them to the cause of the user.

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