Friday, March 15, 2013

The Emerald City of Smaragdoz


The capital and only city of the world of Smaragdoz is the green crystalline megacity of the same name, which is also the de facto capital of the Alliance and a nexus of trading routes. Smaragdoz has a unique form of government: a psydemocracy group-mind. The captured thoughts and desires of the citizens form a composite psionic entity that makes all the polis’s laws by decree. This civic mind often manifests as a giant disembodied head off-worlders sometimes refer to as “The Wizard.”

The land beyond the capital is divided into four bucolic prefectures: Smalt, Gules, Xanthic, and Purpure. Though pre-industrial in appearance and pace of life, these carefully controlled farmlands, orchards, and forests are more a sanitized, theme-park version than a replication of any historic rural environment. The farms and hamlets are  inhabited by Smaragdines disinclined ito city life, criminals sentenced to labor, and atavism tourists in animal bodies. The convicts aren’t under any restrictions--other than being forbidden from returning to the city until their sentence is up and being followed at all times by conscience wisps. The wisps provide escalating levels of admonishment and finally neurologic lockdown if the convict attempts to commit further offences.

The inhabitants of the prefectures are not part of the civic mind, but the mind monitors the prefectures and interacts with them through avatars. Scarecrows in fields are often criers announcing important events, and quaint clockwork robots help settle disputes among the rural folk.

The outer border of the province is formed by the Waste, or the Deadly Desert: a “no man’s land” made as lifeless and poisonous by the environmental nanites as the prefectures are fertile and inviting. The lands beyond the border are genuine wilderness.  These sparsely populated lands are home to political dissidents, radical nonconformists, and criminals.

12 comments:

JimShelley said...

I like what you've done with this concept. The conscience wisp have a lot of nice potential as characters for stories and npcs for games.

Bard said...

Really cool; I can imagine this psydemocracy as a government where a pure idealized democracy and a "dictatorship of the majority" cross paths. It really has the vibe of a perfect-on-the-surface place with lots of potential not-so-perfect stuff underneath.

Aos said...

Excellent.

Jay Dugger said...

Let's see...Greg Bear's Eon novel has the Hexamon with its constitutionally defined gestalt of citizen mindfile, crossed with a touch of Boorman's Zardoz where the Eternals do much the same thing via psychic powers, wearing a skin defined by Baum's Oz as illustrated by Moebius during his Incal phase (and how I wish he'd done a graphic novel adaptation of those books) with Disney's Jiminy Cricket looking over the shoulder of puppet sleeved Brutals ready to remind them of what's right (a la the Holy Ghost) or out-and-out possess them (a la Pazuzu) when they stray from the path of righteousness.

Did I miss anything, or does wholly capture this bad-assery?

Trey said...

Thanks guys.

@Bard - Yep. :)

@Jay - Oz (with a tinge of Zardoz), Jiminy Crickett, with art by Moebius I plead guilty too. I haven't read Eon, but it sounds interesting! I came to this idea mashing far future cyberdemocracy like in Tony Daniel's Metaplanetary and the Oubliette of Rajaniemi's The Quantum Thief with the Uni-Mind from Marvel's Eternals! ;)

garrisonjames said...

This is a great setting/campaign sketch that could serve for novels or gaming sessions both exceptionally well. The Deadly Desert might well have a few roving bands of potential player character types. It'd also be a really interesting follow the exploits of someone who 'woke up' within this society, flawed, not quite as assimilated or anesthetized as expected. That sort of covert opposition to enforced conformity could inspire a very interesting hero or three. Subverting Oz like this is quite an appealing notion. My first thought was of the smagdarine tablet, funny enough, so there's probably a good deal more that could be drawn into this or examined through the lens you've set-up...

I second Jay's suggestion above--Eon by Bear is really quite a fun read.

satyre said...

Awesome.

Smaragdoz: Takes groupthink to a whole new level.

The conscience wisp'd convicts remind me of Slick Henry from Mona Lisa Overdrive (so more stuff there to mine).

Can't wait to see how you adapt Princess Langwidere. :)

Trey said...

Ah man! I hadn't even thought of her! But now I am...

Tom Fitzgerald said...

Beautiful, I think I need a conscience wisp sometimes.

Trey said...

We could all probably benefit.

Luka Rejec said...

Slavic for emerald, eh?

Trey said...

Actually Smaragdos (Greek for emerald) + Oz.