Monday, February 6, 2012

The Industrialization of Corruption (Wermspittle)

Business as Unusual
It has long been a maxim to 'Find a Need and Fill It' among many entrepreneurs. It is no less so within Wermspittle, only the opportunities available are sometimes a bit more extreme or strange, or in some instances quite horrific. A case in point is the industrialization and commodification of corruption. Not the political kind--that is an industry unto itself. By 'corruption' we mean the spectrum of by-products generated through the alchemical process known to as the 'Vile Transformation' brought on by the so-called 'White Powder.'

One's Misfortune is Another's Fortunate Opportunity
Those refugees, vagrants and others who are down and out and who have reached the end of their tether, the Patients who cannot or will not be helped by Midwives nor Medical Practitioners, the Unfortunates who are degenerating before everyone else's eyes, the terminally infected or plague-poxed, those cursed by the unrelenting wrath of implacable forces; there are many who are find themselves in untenable positions, with no clear way out and no help either offered nor proffered. The Almshouses were burned more than a century ago, the Charities are over-extended, and if misery could be bottled and sold it would make someone very, very rich indeed. In fact it does just that.

White, Black, and Shades of Gray
Long ago it was discovered that the after-effects and residues left in the wake of the Vile Transformation brought-on by the 'white powder' possessed a number of qualities that could be harvested, processed and put to various uses. An entire underground industry has developed around the Vile Transformation and its various by-products. It might be considered risque among the upper classes to sip absinthe drizzled with a particular brand of Dim Ichor or Black Liquor, but no one respectable will ever admit to their involvement with the Corruption Trade. It is a filthy business, even less publicly acceptable than secret slave-breeding and hybridization efforts or clandestine transplanar researches or unsanctioned medical experiments--all of which are known to be taking place 'somewhere' within the city, but just never quite within reach of what passes for law enforcement these days.

A Terrible Criminal Enterprise
Those who are behind the Corruption Trade are well-placed within society, they have connections, and they know how to use their ill-gotten gains to great advantage, often ruining the careers of those who get too close to uncovering their secrets or discovering the true extent of the rot that has wormed its way deep into the heart of Wermspittle. More than one troublesome, nosy busy-body has been forcibly dosed with the white powder in order to teach them a lesson they'll never forget. Understandably, very few people want anything to do with attempts to stop or disrupt the Corruption Trade. It can be more than a little hazardous to your health--it could destroy your life, body and soul.

A Vile Form of Urban Farming
As with most such endeavors, it often all comes down to money. Simple economics. There is more money to be made in maintaining a productive mass than in simply trying to scrape-up whatever can be recovered from a Wet Spot or lingering Sallow Stain. Somewhere, out there amid the empty blocks of Wermspittle, in certain cellars or attics, there are farms of Loathsome Masses that the foragers and their masters are milking for their horrific fluids in order to produce terrible, addictive and soul-killing Black Liquors and various quite questionable patent medicines that they then hand over to unscrupulous peddlers and bar tenders who put profits well before any sort of human consideration.

A Hierarchy of Masks
The Producers all answer to middle-managers who, in turn, answer to higher-ups whose identities are shrouded in secrecy and sorcery. They could be anyone. The main bosses who run things tend to remain behind the scenes and work through various agents, representatives, factotums and enforcers. No one knows what evil lurks within the midst of this ambiguous collection of masked and obscured members of the privileged elite who have built their fortunes upon the degradation, despair and destruction of their fellow humanity. Perhaps someday a vigilante will succeed where so many have failed before. Where there is great evil, no matter how deep-set or seemingly secure it might appear, someone will eventually find a way to fight it, to reveal the festering sickness that poisons all it touches...but where does one find such a hero? When will someone set things to rights?

2 comments:

  1. The quality and quantity of what you've posted in the past day is incredible. Whole new layers of relationship woven into the setting, new systems, behaviours and protagonists. I can't keep up even with the reading, let alone the absorbing. This is all far bigger than gaming of course, and the links to classics of literature is just the clearest example of that. We need a proper Hereticwerks sourcebook to sit and read by the fire, to comprehend it all, and then we need an online campaign to go explore the horrors...

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  2. Thanks! Wermspittle is a lot of fun to write...and yes...we're planning on a Sourcebook, among other things...

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