The campaign begins in an immense city, which is know by many names. Most call it Hell.
A city of staggering buildings, some large and wide, others narrow towers reaching to great heights and sharp points. The humans that inhabit the city live in settlements built on the rooftops and upper levels of the towers and buildings, closing their gates and sheltering behind their walls when night falls.
For when night does fall, the other inhabitants of the city come out into the darkness. Chief amongst these are the Dwellers, who live underground and in the boarded-up lower levels, mortally sensitive to the weak sunlight. They may once have been human, but are now cannibalistic degenerates, ape-like, with a crude intelligence and savage cunning; then there are the lost and forgotten gods who wander the streets at night, preying on the Dwellers and anyone foolish enough to venture out at night.
The day is not much safer, as beasts of the city roam the concrete, steel and wooden wilderness, seeking out creatures to eat. Living embodiments of the city’s landscape are sometimes encountered, as are hunting parties from the settlements, religious fanatics on some holy quest, and scavengers looking for supplies.
It is a wild and dangerous place, and stretches out as far as the eye can see. It is not an infinite city, bordered on one side by a thick jungle, by the dark sea on another, and by towering mountains on the remaining sides. Few have ventured to these distant lands, however, and the remnants of the human race who once ruled and lived in this great city now survive as best as they can in their settlements and rooftop towns.
The city is a chaotic mix of different architecture, as if someone had reached a hand into other worlds and times and snatched away the buildings in that era’s cities. All are worn, eroded, decayed and often crumbling. The more stable ones are where the settlements are found, and these are all built upon the rooftops and upper stories, linked by bridges to other rooftops. Crude lifts reach from dizzying heights down to the narrow and shadowed streets below, and hot-air balloons can be seen drifting across the sky.
Settlements are enclosed villages and towns, a hodgepodge of buildings seldom more than a couple of stories tall, with streets as narrow as needed. They are frequently crowded, noisy and suffer from sickness and crime. At night silence reigns, and the lights are dim, as no one wants to attract the attention of the things they roam at night.
The churches are often the most extravagant buildings to be seen, varying in their gaudiness depending on the region in question. Smaller shrines and temples are hidden all over the place, some very simple affairs, others more elaborate. All have a tendency to idolise their gods, sculpturing statues and icons of the deity they worship.
Religions of the City
There are numerous cults and small churches dedicated to strange gods and demons, but the most powerful and prolific religions are the church of consumption, the church of fleeting dreams, and the church of the cleansing light.
Gods of the City
There are numerous gods, and all exist and are flesh, living in the city in some fashion. Some are lost and forgotten, wandering the streets and preying on those they come across; others are trapped in churches and temples, caged in shrines and worshipped by their faithful; while some lead their cults, attempting to increase their power and prestige. All recall a day, distantly, when they were in some other realm, their Heavens and Hells, but all were cast out when some great crisis forced them into the mortal realm. There are some gods who long for a return to these realms, and seek the means in which to ascend (or descend) to the home they were forced to leave.
The Church of Consumption
The Church of the Consumers of the Divine Flesh, its faithful known as Consumers or the Gluttonous, worship a deity that is ‘cared for’ in their mighty temple that lies in the heart of the city. This god, known as the Divine Flesh, the Corpulent God, or the Everlasting Feast, has fed its worshippers for centuries. The clerics (or Divine Butchers, Holy Diners or The Lesser Corpulent) consume the flesh of their god to gain a spark of divine power; said flesh being indigestible and lodging in the cleric’s stomach, intestines, or bowls, sustaining them with divine energy that fuels their ‘miracles’. Only those worthy of such power are allowed to consume the flesh, with lesser clergy instead following the lead of their betters by eating, drinking and consuming as much as physically possible, becoming large and fat and unable to walk without aid. The more powerful or higher ranking the cleric, the larger and less mobile they are; they are often carried around on luxuriant chairs lifted by slaves or devoted worshippers, or else float around on balloons harnessed to their bulks, driven by wind-up propellers that move they slowly through the streets and across the rooftops.
The Corpulent God is chained up and in a magical slumber, trapped beneath the temple, its flesh cultivated and cut to feed its clerics.
There are splinter groups that have formed from this religious sect; mostly those of the lesser clergy that do not have the political power to feast on the god itself.
The Thin Men
One sect has gone against the nature of the church, in the opposite direction in fact. These are the Thin Men, thought by the true clergy to be heretics and blasphemers. The sect practices abstinence, fasts regularly, and adopts an attitude that ‘being thin is closer to godliness’. They are generous, supportive, and always helping their fellow men. However, this is simply a means to an end. Their true motive is to rise in power, in order to be allowed access to the god-flesh; it is likely that as soon as they taste it, their doctrines of thinness will disappear down the drain.
Another sect made up mostly of the lesser clergy, these are led by a somewhat insane cleric who has tasted the divine-flesh and has become fat and powerful. He rides around on a plethora of balloons, and believes that it is not only the flesh of gods that grant power, but the flesh of any living creature, including that of man. This sect are secretive cannibals, praying on the people of the city, testing out their lord’s theories on the consumption of flesh being the path to true power.
The Church of Fleeting Dreams
Dreamers, artists, poets and storytellers; these disciples worship the Sleeping Goddess, who forever sleeps in their temple. They believe that dreams are visions, but that these prophecies can, and often should be, changed for the better. They also believe that life is fleeting, that reality is in a constant state of flux, and that nothing lasts forever. As such, they are also historians and keep a library of ancient lore, updating it constantly, to keep some record of all that has come to pass. The clerics have a low attention threshold, spend a lot of time sleeping and dreaming, and the rest of the time seeking lore to add to the library.
The Church of the Cleansing Light
Also known as Light-Bringers, these are the self-appointed guardians of the city. They carry vials around their necks, a mote of Light encased in glass, and their power flows from this holy symbol (and without it they are powerless, unable to use any ability or spell). They seek out agents of the Void, confront Shadows, and do what they can to bolster the failing morale of those that dwell in the slums or dungeons of the city. They are often fearless, dedicated, kind and generous men and women devoted to bringing Light to the city. Their deity is not a being, but Light itself.
Some of these ideas have been posted before, with regard to the religions any how.
Part of the RPG Blog Carnival: Fantastic Locations.