Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bel Noir

I love my Friday night gaming group. We recently started a new campaign (GURPS, though we'd discussed QAGS) based in the city of Bel Noir.

Bel Noir is an interesting place. Take a stereotypical 1920s dark, gritty, film noir city, and shift it...sideways. Much like Amber, it is the city at the center of all things, but unlike Amber, existence is a two way street. If something is present in all cities, then of course it is somewhere in the twisting, ever-changing street maze of Bel Noir.

May I introduce Sister Mary Elizabeth, of the Special Executive Action Branch of the Poor Clares*? Recently summoned to Bel Noir at the ascension of her predecessor to higher things, she's of the branch that deals with...internal remonstrances within the Church and holy artifact recovery. What she blesses is blessed, and what she curses is cursed (she's also more than a minor healer). She also prefers Italian leather and bespoke suiting.

She is based out of the chapterhouse of the Poor Clares in Bel Noir...because this is a city at the heart of all things, reflecting the existence of all places. Where there are cities, there are the poor...and where there are poor, there are sisters, ministering to that need.

Christ said, “The poor are with you always,” and in constructing this fictional, fantastic city, where gods are truly faith-based, belief-made-flesh (or possibly, a real person that filtered outward as so fantastical that it could only be deity. This is an unknown cause-effect relationship), the DM and I discussed just that. A city would not be “real” without the poor, the depressed sections, the people who are criminal just to survive, or because they don't see other choices, or because it's easier than anything else. There will be people without enough to eat, and people who have no home to go to. But, in hope along with this, there will always be those who see it as their mission to help, to ease the suffering, soothe the afflicted, feed the hungry, clothe the poor, give shelter to the homeless, and comfort the weary.

If the poor are to be with us always, and we are called among them to minister to their needs, what city would be complete without both parts?

I don't know where the DM will go with this. He may just use it to add color to an already colorful city. On the other hand, I know my DM, and while he is not as...passionate about solving these problems as I am (he has a different ministry that effects all income levels), he may, just possibly, have other plans. 

He *is* an evil DM.

Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten; 
Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.

*source cannon is available here, in a very fine book by Jim Macdonald

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