The Renaissant

The play is the thing. We sit here in bounteous isolation, freed from the rigeurs of that pestilentially complex life in our former home. Here we have all we need. We have the greatest players, honed by a focus that would be unachievable without this glorious city. We have an audience with tastes more varied and refined than once we would have believed possible. And last, but not least, we have streets in which the people may proclaim our glory. Here, we can make Art. – Ari Folah, Scriptwriter and Director of the Link Street Players.

When you get right down to it, most people just want to have a good time. They may claim high political ambition, and fight like cats in a bag for even a sliver more power. They may devote their every ounce of effort to reaching the pinnacle of their trade. They may fight wars, mercilessly cutting down those who oppose them until one day their luck runs out. Ultimately, however, a substantial portion of human (and inhuman) endeavour is motivated by a desire for comfort, a desire for ever more pleasure and gratification out of life. The Renaissant were originally made made up of those who have embraced this truth, and turned the pursuit of ever greater happiness into an end of itself, turning aside from petty squabbling over temporal power elsewhere in the city. After all, what, truly, can be achieved within the constraints of this sealed dimension that would be worth devoting ones energy to it other than simply having the best eternity possible.

The first Renaissant then were pure, bohemian pleasure seekers, looking to face eternity with a smile on their face and a drink in their hands. Their affiliation was loose, more a gathering of like minded individuals than a true guild, groups of poets, artists or simple, uncomplicated bon-vivants. Given time however, the nature of people everywhere began to shine through. It started for safety’s sake, more than anything else. Others in the city saw these who eschewed the accumulation of raw power as easy prey on their own path to the same, forgetting perhaps that in this city there are *always* wolves among the sheep, ready to defend the way of life they have chosen to the death. Around those of power among the movement their formed the first official collectives: actor’s guilds, unions of brewers and vintners, collectives of individuals of negotiable affection. Once these organisations were in existence of course, they began competing and collaborating in equal measure - sometimes feuding, sometimes combining to form greater affiliations of more varied purview and talents, ever growing as more and more denizens of the city, both new arrivals and members of long established families, flocked to the palatable banner of pleasure above all else.

The rest, as they say, is history. Today, the Renaissant are the largest and, potentially, the most powerful guild in the city. Happily for most other guilds, the latter tends to remain a potential, as they are by far the most loosely affiliated and internally divided guild, different factions within competing viciously with one another in a manner usually wholly encouraged by whatever passes for the upper echelons of the guild this month, who tend to feel that a bit of competition spices up existence and ensures a continuous profusion of novel excitements and indulgences for them to sample, even if it can tear them down as fast as it raised them up. As this would suggest, power within this guild tends to fluctuate more rapidly than within others, the flavour of one month often being the butt of ribald jokes the next month. A few, however, do manage to gain and maintain power within the guild, either via years of careful machinations, or through the meteoric rise of one with a truly original idea and the wits to stay ahead of their inevitable imitators combined and maintain position.

Over the years, many guilds have risen and fallen - some cast down in fire, some merely fading away. Of all those extant in the city today, the renaissant are the least likely to suffer this fate for the simple fact that everyone wants what they’re selling. Cults rise and fall, mercenary guilds wipe each other out in wars over territory, but someone always wants somewhere to have a decent drink, somewhere to watch a play with special effects possible only through the intervention of several gods, somewhere to go for a bit of no-strings attached sex, somewhere to find pleasures and experiences that would never have been possible in their home planes, somewhere to forget that, for better or worse, this place is like to be the only one they know for the rest of their existence.

Why Play with the Renaissant?

Your character wants to have a good time - Many characters within the Renaissant have a motivation no more complicated than squeezing every ounce of enjoyment out of their existence within the city - at the same time both a base and noble way to face eternal imprisonment. You want to play an artist - Want to stage the greatest spectacle ever seen throughout the planes? Want to create portraits of such surpassing beauty that all who gaze upon them weep? The Renaissant are the guild for you, encompassing large proportions of the cities artists, actors, musicians and other creative types within their number. You want to play guild politics - ironically (given their beginnings), the Renaissant have some of the most dynamic and complex internal politics of any of the guilds. It takes real skill to rise to the top and stay there - are you up to the challenge?

How Powerful are you in the Renaissant?

The structure of the Renaissant is such that, if you are an individual of sufficient note to be counted among the upper echelons (as most PCs will be), you are likely to be the head of some sort of organisation within the guild. You could be the patron of a guild of actors, a ruthless pit-fight promoter, owner of a chain of upper class wine-bars, director of a whole new artistic movement or anything you can think of vaguely related to entertainment and the pleasures of mind and flesh. Your particular enterprise is likely to be a relatively successful one, giving you a good foundation with which to deal with other groups within the guild and those without it. Guild politics are a fickle thing, however, and you could easily find yourself upstaged by a new competitor with a better handle on the zeitgeist. Unless, of course, you have them quietly (or sometimes noisily; an example never hurts) eliminated first.

Notable members

Niobe Riette

It would be utterly unthinkable for an organisation such as the Renaissant to have something so mundane as a guildmistress. Or at least that is what the leaders or troupes, unions and collectives tell themselves as they they collate their monthly reports and gather their contributions towards guild funds, all directed towards the offices of Riette’s Fine Wines and spirits. Once a simple vintner (says the official biography), now revered patron of the arts, gentle steering hand upon the oft jumpy tiller of the guild as a whole and, by many measures, the most powerful person in the city (at least among those who choose to make their power public). Few know much of her distant past (though it is generally agreed that she arrived here rather than was born), but it is common knowledge that about thirty years ago her distillery began to gain real notice within the guild. A potent mage, her unique (and still closely guarded) arcane brewing techniques managed to perfectly chime with the tastes of the time, and her products became some of the most sought after in the city.

Through careful application of supply deals, and a ruthless judgement for exactly when to offer credit and how much, Niobe quickly ended up with a large number of important people either owing her favours or in her debt, using this to grow her own power base and redoubling her levels of supply. Within five years, she had assimilated several other breweries, vineyards and distilleries. Within ten, she controlled the largest alcohol conglomerate within the guild. And within twenty, having branched her now considerable influence into all areas over which the Renaissant held sway, she was almost indisputably the most powerful figure within the guild.

Under her auspices, the guild has reached whole new heights of prosperity. Having been forged in the fires of the infighting and backstabbing that plague the steps to the top within the guild, she had little difficulty in maneuvering on a citywide stage. She has ensured that nearly everyone stays sweet towards her guild, ensuring any reason they might have for taking action against them quickly evaporates, making herself and the power-base behind her out to be a friend to everyone and a threat to no one. Perhaps surprisingly for the “leader” of a guild harbouring many chaotic and fractured individuals within its number, she has been a considerable force for stability within the city - chaos and conflict simply not being good for business, and getting in the way of the ultimate Renaissant ideal - freedom to have the best time possible. Inevitably, she has enemies - some whisper that she has grown too powerful, and has ambitions and designs outside her own guild, perhaps on the entire city. A few dissenting voices, however, have not stopped her in the past, and it is like to take more than whispered words to halt her continued rise

Samovar Thetts

Samovar is the owner and promoter of what is currently that most sought after thing within the guild - the flavour of the month. He runs the hero pits - pit fighting (an old, but still popular entertainment within the city) with a novel twist. Playing on the rarity of those capable of summoning sentient beings from other planes, and the fleeting window of mental domination available on those newly brought to this place, he has popularised (and sensibly, retained substantial control of), a whole new kind of contest. Two mages enter the arena, and one will be victorious. But thy do not fight each other - far too old fashioned, and frankly detrimental to the ongoing supply of competitors. Instead, each is required to scry into other worlds, and select and summon a combatant to fight on their behalf, controlled on their mental puppet strings. By convention, and playing to the desires of the majority of the crowd, these will often be suitably pure, heroic individuals, and many get a sadistic thrill from watching these helpless paragons of virtue forced to spill one-another’s blood to the delighted baying of the audience.

Samovar has already made a small (but rapidly increasing) fortune from both tickets to the fights themselves and the side betting in which the house has at least two fingers. Some casually mention that such an abrupt rise hasn’t been seen since that of a certain Niobe, while idly suggesting that a breath of fresh air can be such a good thing, but so far Samovar has proven to be entirely dedicated to his art, surviving as a relative novice in guild politics due to his sheer popularity. What personal power he possesses is also a matter of some speculation - it was originally assumed that he must be a summoner himself, but he has never been seen to participate in his own events.

Jasmira of the Party

Jasmira was once a deity concerned with the chaos of the onrushing storm, a great force of destruction within her own world to the extent that she was eventually brought down and banished to the City by a cadre of heroes. Upon arrival, she found that the city is by and large not a welcoming place for beings aspected primarily to chaos; too many have too much aninvestment in the status quo. Unlike many other gods and mortals obsessed with chaos and detruction, however, Jasmira was savvy enough to find a place where her nature could be welcomed in moderation, and worshippers could be found.

Where Jasmira walks, the Renaissant give in to the basest desires within their hearts, abandoning all the trappings of civilised society to party harder than they ever have in their lives. Whole districts can be left laid unto waste in the wake of the organic, mobile engine of destruction that is the Party. It can survive for days, as long as the drink doesn’t run out, meandering through the streets with an inveitability that leaves residents locking their doors and praying to whatever force they believe greater than the one who stands at its head - Jasmira.

For many years, Jasmira has been considered the de-facto patron god of the Renaissant, a comforting reminder that beneath the politicing and backstabbing they are a group of people united by an ideal. However, in recent years opinion has started to turn against Jasmira, with many believing that she gives the guild a bad name. It is rumoured that a campaign of whispers is being waged, which some believe may even stem from Niobe herself. What is more, those who hear the whispers themselves murmer that, with her ongoing power now under threat from the very parts of the guilds nature that she herself eschews Jasmira’s days may be numbered.

The Glittering Quarter

The name is not just a turn of phrase - nearly a quarter of the City's area falls under the sway of the renaissant, streets lined both with revellers and the facilities to provide almost any form of entertainment conceivable. In the better parts, you will find the City's most prestigious theatres and music halls, alongside the most refined and exclusive restaurants and bars, offering those with influence a night out only rivaled by the very best the Inheritors can offer (and many of them would rather come here anywhere). In the more salubrious parts, you will find the fighting pits, the brothels, the dens offering the latest narcotic delights and the proper dive bars. Of course, the majority of the area falls between these two extremes, offering more modest versions of the entertainments found in the former, and more respectable versions of the latter, and it is here that the majority of the City's denizens come for a good time.

the_renaissant.txt · Last modified: 2011/09/30 21:17 by jamesg
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