Welcome to the city of Chime, a steam-powered wonder made from brick and brass. Chime is the city of mortals, a safe haven where those of the twelve domains can seek life and liberty free from the influence of their god.
The mortals of Chime must remain faithful to their gods, however, and the Wardens exist not only to patrol Chime’s streets and keep its citizens safe, but to enforce the sacred Covenant between mortal and god and ensure each mortal remains pious and free from sin.
“CHIME WAS THE ONLY PLACE IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE WHERE THE GODS COULDN’T TREAD.
A GODLESS CITY THAT GAVE RISE TO GODLESS MORTALS.
OR SO IT COULD HAVE BEEN.”
The city of Chime is hourglass shaped with an upper, middle, and lower layer. These layers are explained below, but the most important is the middle layer, or Central as its known, which is home to the Gate: a magical portal which connects Chime to the twelve domains of the gods.
Inspired by Edwardian aesthetics, Chime is a cultural mishmash of the twelve domains. Some technologies exist in Chime, such as steam-powered elevators and tram systems, though radio and television have yet to appear. Chime itself is powered via a mixture of steam and a mystical electrical energy known as aether.
Central Chime is the transport hub of the city. It consists of various circular layers built around Central Station: home to the giant clock tower which connects the upper Golden City and lower Undercity, and the Gate archway underneath it.
Travellers new to Chime arrive to Central Station through the Gate; a magical portal brimming with aether energy. The Gate allows travel to and from the twelve domains, however only one domain is active per hour. At the turn of the hour, a new domain appears, and the Gate cycles through each every twelve hours. If you miss your crossing, you’ll have to wait twelve hours for the next one!
Those travelling through the Gate must receive a passport ID which is permanently tattooed onto their arm. This is a circular design with twelve smaller circles dotted around it representing each domain. To gain access to that domain, a mortal’s tattoo must be stamped by gaining clearance from the domain ambassador.
An example of a passport ID with all domain stamps filled.
From Central Station, mortals can also grab a giant elevator which runs up the clock tower to the Golden City, or underneath the plate to the Undercity. Access to the Golden City also requires a passport ID stamp.
As well as Central Station, there are many stores, cafes, souvenir shops and hotels that surround the station in a circular layer. A tram line runs around Central square and connects to Central’s other districts behind, including the Warden HQ and embassies, two residential districts, Meridian Park, and the Market and Temple districts. Mortals can hire a carriage to travel around, but the tram is free to all citizens.
The Golden City
The Golden City is home to the aristocrats of Chime. Named after the Glimmer for their golden skin and vast riches, the Golden City is a carefully maintained work of art comprised of golden and marble architecture and perfectly tailored bushes. As the top layer of Chime, the Golden City has clear air and direct sunlight which the bottom layers lack. This climate is perfect for the Umber-owned farms that grow most of Chime’s food.
Access to the Golden City is via the great glass elevator from Central Station, however only those with an approved passport ID can gain entry.
Whilst there are some gated mansions and estates in the Golden City, many mortals travel here to indulge in some fine dining, luxury shopping or to visit the many art galleries, museums, and theatres.
The Golden City is also home to Chime’s Academy, which is split between the School of Art and the School of Mechanics.
The Undercity is buried underneath Chime where there is no natural light. Here you’ll find Chime’s factories, warehouses, and workhouses, as well as the large steamworks which generates steam and aether energy to power the rest of the city.
You’ll also find Chime’s poorest and less reputable mortals lurking underground, including the Ember, Fauna, and Vesper, who mostly congregate in the Grayford slums. There’s rumours that the heathens known as the Godless make their base here…
The Undercity is also home to Sinner’s Row, a little slice of Rapture on Chime that offers bars, brothels, and other depraved and illegal businesses.
The Wardens are the police force of Chime. They are governed by a Council of all twelve domain ambassadors to ensure equality between the domains. The Wardens not only patrol Chime’s streets and deal with any incidents or crimes, but they also serve as the gods eyes by enforcing the Covenant between mortals and gods.
Any mortals who fail to worship their god by committing the unforgivable sins of apostasy or blasphemy are arrested and entered into a correctional facility to fix their behaviour. Those who cannot be “fixed” are exiled from Chime and taken back to their god, who may then punish them as they deem fit.
Whilst mortals from any domain are encouraged to serve in the Wardens, they are mostly run by the Diviner, who are obsessed with law, order, and justice. Though various domains fulfil certain roles; Leander and Umber make excellent guards.
Click here to read the Covenant in full.
Rumours stalk the shadows of Chime’s lamp-lit streets of an organization called the Godless, a group of heathens who willingly break the laws of the Covenant by committing the unforgivable sins of apostasy and blasphemy. No one knows how many members serve the Godless, or where they operate from, but their fliers can be seen scattered across Central which spread anti-god and anti-warden propaganda.
To the Godless, the gods are cruel and they seek to protect the mortals of Chime from the worst of their whims.
Society and Culture
Whilst Chime was built using Diviner and Zephyr technology and architecture, Chime is a melting pot of all twelve domains, and each have stamped their influence on the city. Though not all domains get along – the Glimmer are rivals with the Vesper, for instance – the Wardens attempt to make society equal. Certain domains require more accommodations than others, such as the Amnae, who need moisture to be able to breathe properly, and the Seren, who are much shorter than most.
Many of Chime’s unwritten laws attempt to create a uniform model of politeness. Chime’s citizen’s are thus quite anal about their manners, especially when it comes to queueing correctly! All citizens are expected to obey the Covenant, though each domain has their own rules and expectations. Whilst most attend temple sermons once a week, some are also expected to make contributions to their domain and god, such as the Vesper, who must make a regular tithe. Failure to do so can result in punishment.
Certain food items are banned or heavily regulated in Chime to avoid offending other domains. Fish, for example, is banned from Chime as eating fish offends the Amnae. Meat is also highly regulated and most citizens of Chime enjoy a vegetarian diet. The Necro are often watched by Wardens to ensure that their need for flesh and blood is catered for humanely.
Mortals of different domains aren’t banned from entering relationships with one another, but sometimes the domain god and Wardens lay down rules and regulations. With the exception of the Glimmer, most domains are fluid when it comes to gender and sexuality, and most would consider themselves pansexual. Some are more open to dating outside of their domain than others, however it is not possible for two mortals of separate domains to have a child together.
For the most part, Chime’s citizens get on, and have settled themselves into expected roles within society. Amnae organise the libraries or act as teachers, Fauna take on less savoury jobs, Umber provide most of the work force and labor, Glimmer run some of the posher businesses in town, Seren contribute their art to galleries, Necro serve as healers and plastic surgeons, Zephyr help maintain the steamworks, Leander dominate the sports clubs, Ember occupy Sinner’s Row with massage parlors, Vesper often seek employment in the workhouses, Mesmer run their dream parlors, and the Diviner try to keep Chime running like clockwork.