Monday, 5 November 2012

Yellow City Personages

Lefu Yi the Tall - In busy markets, outside boutique tea shops, by thronged quaysides, or outside fighting pits, there are always entertainers: Jugglers, jongleurs, puppeteers, and clowns. Wherever people come together in the Yellow City, these types can be found.

Lefu Yi is never seen in such locations. He is always alone. You may seem him at twilight, lurking under a bridge over a deserted canal in some forgotten neighbourhood. Or in the early morning, standing in the doorway of an abandoned tenement by the river, glaring mutely at its grey, murky depths. Or during the monsoon season in the pouring rain, alone under a tree in the Old Town, soaked to the skin because of the paucity of his chosen shelter. But he always wears his makeup - his face is always the fullest, most crimson red. And he is never without his stilts, those bamboo crutches that keep him eternally two feet from the ground and give him gaunt, lanky appearance of a mantis.

Children and faint-hearted people are afraid of Lefu Yi, but to nobody's knowledge has he ever been harmful. Because he lurks in the city's dark and dimly remembered places, he surely knows many of its secrets; those who would learn the geography of the Old Town in particular would be advised to seek him out. He can be approached and will take payment for his knowledge, in gold or a gem. His voice is querulous and you must lean close, standing on tip-top, to hear it.

Tripti - Tripti is a hijra from the far North, from distant, mountainous Sughd. Like all hijra, she has the body of a man though she lives as a woman, and her strange androgynous beauty is famed throughout the city by those who are of that persuasion. She abstains from sexual matters, however, and because of her purity she is able to offer blessings to those who need it, as well as curses to those who would insult her - or to those whose enemies are willing to pay her.

She has of course never married, though it is well known that she is loved by the Lamarakhi trader, Bemsh Kwellaminamon. Bemsh is the headman of a barge-village which plies the God River between Lamarakh and the Yellow City, bringing precious metals and opium from the North and taking slaves upstream. He is a small, wrinkled, shrivelled man of late-middling years, possessed of a fierce, wiry strength and even fiercer wit. He is a man of considerable power and influence in Lamarakh, and particularly among the Lamarakhi traders who come to the Yellow City.

Bemsh has at least a dozen wives, perhaps more, but his true love - at least in his own mind - is the unobtainable Tripti. Undoubtedly, the hijra's unobtainability is nine tenths of the attraction.

Bemsh's oldest and most trusted trading contact in the Yellow City is the slugman, Po Lu. Po Lu is a scion of an ancient merchant clan which is itself part of one of the great cartels in the city - the Indigo Cartel. Po Lu is sarcastic, bitter, and incredibly old, but his one weakness is loneliness. Though constantly engaged in mercantile activities, he longs for discussion of history, philosophy, and art - and this Bemsh provides.

Po Lu is the patron of many archives, libraries, and museums. He is constantly searching for opportunities to add to his collections - and although he will accept only the rarest curios, he will pay vast sums in return.


  1. Memorably-written, efficient, and full of gameables.

    Nicely done.

  2. Yes, well written except for the occasional modernism such as 'those who are of that persuasion'.

  3. I think that if we were playing this I would let another PC talk to Lefu Yi, in case he would try and plant eggs in my ear or something!

    What's the Old Town? An abandoned part of the city, inhabited by strange and dangerous denizens?

    1. Yes, the city used to be much bigger - there are entire suburbs where nobody lives any more. Some of them are given over entirely to jungle, so there are ruined palaces and temples that have been reclaimed by the forest.

    2. Nice. So that's how you have a dungeon despite being an "Urban GM".

      I took another route to having a megadungeon in the city which no one goes to. The locals have age-old superstitions/customs that keep the monsters at-bay:

  4. Where is the Yellow City in relation to Silaish Vo and the surrounding countryside?

    1. Very far to the South. Months and months on foot, probably, though the quickest way is by the river.