[[cross]]

Cross

The information presented on this page is intended to give you a flavour of this dome, to help you decide where you want your character to live and how they fit into the world. IC, most of it will be unknown to those who are not citizens. At game start, expect to receive a bit more detail on your chosen dome.

A dome notable for its architecture and artistry, characterised by a culture of self-improvement and new ideas.

Situated between the mountains and the sea in the north-west of the known world is the bustling city of Cross. Perhaps the most architecturally developed of all the domes, its many and varied buildings are truly a sight to behold. That said, the skyline of one year is never quite the same as it is the next: Cross is forever in a state of flux. The whims of the people are fickle, but their desire to busy themselves for their own betterment is peerless. Between an eclectic mix of names trying to exert their mark on the city, and a strong workforce making their grander schemes happen, Cross is a busy and vibrant place that has braved the challenges of the world well. However, there is only so much that can be achieved before materials, space, and ideas start to dry up, and a subtle feeling of stagnation is starting to take hold among the dome's people.

Population: ~92,000

History

Ancient History

At least outwardly, the people of Cross care little for the details of their past - they are more concerned with the current state of things, and how they might improve. Still, it is clear from the architecture that Cross has been in a constant state of construction since its very first days. While some other domes have memories and even remnants of simple buildings that had been pre-installed from the start, if Cross ever had similar they must have been torn down and replaced long ago.

Although their deeds are almost entirely forgotten, a handful of well-known names endure from the early days. Chief among them is Verity Cross, the founder of the city, whose careful hand is said to have guided the early population through The Reset - Cross' understanding of how The World That Was was lost - and helped to sculpt the society's ethos. Nicholas Redmark, famed architect and engineer, is another, whose inspiring designs are some of the few to have stood the test of time within the dome's turbulent skyline.

Knowledge of how Cross got from there to here is surprisingly hard to come by.

Recent History

Life in Cross today continues much as it always has done - something of a hive of activity, but never really focussed on any one thing. From year to year the popular fashions, music, buildings and people all come and go - the one thing that never changes is the pervasive attitude of change itself. In the years leading up to their discovery by the other domes, this had led to a gradually building feeling of stagnation among the people of Cross; many 'new' things seemed to be little more than rehashes of all ideas, with creativity in decline.

Cross was the last of the domes to be discovered after Wildekein first set out into the Wilderness, and the drastic change of pace this presented looked like it might be just what the city needed. It wasn't long before Cross was involved with Muruvia's plans for the Inter-Dome Railway, providing a slightly eccentric and at times over-enthusiastic counterpoint to the more academic and rigorous Sophostos. However, once the project was well under way and the initial excitement had died down, Cross was soon back to its old self, and now that the railway has been completed, the old concerns over a lack of meaningful progress have started to return.

The People

The people of Cross place a good deal of cultural value in hard work and enterprising behaviour, but all within measure - there is such a thing as overworking oneself, after all, and the majority steer clear of such extremes. There is plenty to see and do in Cross besides work, and much is to be gained from experiencing and enjoying the hard work of others, from the tallest buildings to the most sublime works of art. By keeping work time and play time in balance, avoiding both over-stress and over-idleness, effective use can be made of both.

Society finds itself divided into three strands: the Administrators, who run the city; the Creatives, who dream it; and the Workers, who make it happen. These divisions are not decided from 'on high' in any way - they simply arise naturally from the lives people lead and the jobs they choose. No rank is empirically better or more valuable than any other, and it is perfectly possible, for those properly equipped, to transcend to a different part of society from where they once were.

Administrators

The Administrative class consists entirely of those employed by the Cross Administration (see below). Certainly, of all occupations in Cross, the role of an Administrator carries with it the most responsibility, as they the oversee the running of more or less everything in the city. Despite the fairly sizeable proportion of the population employed within it, the current Administration seems to be fairly successful, even with concerns that development within the city has been stagnating of late under their watch. Regardless, the relationship between the Administrators and the rest of society is on fairly good terms - there is an embedded ethos within the Administration that the dome as a whole will prosper so long as its citizens feel they are being treated fairly, and in return those citizens will work hard to better the dome, and respect the Administration's decrees.

The path to becoming an Administrator is somewhat more rigorous than other professions, with an initial aptitude test taken on application (although this is slightly tailored towards those in their teenage years, as some of the brightest apply immediately upon finishing education at 14), followed by at least two years of training if successful.

Creatives

The Creative class by far make up the smallest percentage of the population, but are easily the loudest and most recognisable figures in all of Cross. They are not only the gifted artists, musicians and actors of the city, but also the maverick fashionistas, exacting architects and eccentric scientists who strive to devise exciting new ideas for consumption by the population. Of course, they still need to make a living at their craft to survive, and so it takes a very particular type of person to 'make it' as a Creative. Those possessing of the necessary drive tend to try and move into the Creative lifestyle as soon as they finish their education, but it is not unheard of for Administrators and Workers to hone their skills in their spare time before taking them into the public arena. Most Creatives are highly independent people, whose identity is defined by their work.

The realm of the Creatives can sometimes seem a world apart from the existence of the everyday citizen; certainly among the Workers there is some degree of cynicism - what is it that they actually do, and how through so doing can some of them maintain their fancy lifestyles? Still, particular elements of the class command respect from all quarters; in particular, the architects and engineers behind Cross' unique skyline. The styles, too, of the dome's resident fashion moguls are prevalent throughout the population, although no one thing ever remains in vogue for long, for the whims of the people are ever-changing.

Workers

The Worker class make up the majority of Cross, and covers more or less all other professions one might take. The construction sector is understandably quite large, but there are also opportunities in teaching, medicine, policing, and so on. The vast majority of Workers enjoy (or at least tolerate) their jobs, and value putting in a good day's work, so that at the end of a hard day they can go home to enjoy themselves knowing they have done their part to better the city and themselves. Despite at face value appearing to be at the bottom of the 'food-chain' of society, taking direction from the Administrators and consuming the output of the Creatives, the Workers are some of the dome's most valuable citizens - after all, it was by their hand that Cross was built, and at their hand that it continues to grow.

Each sector of the Workforce is overseen by a particular department of the Administration, and relations between the two are for the most part cordial and effective. Still, for those times when issues arise, the Worker's Union, currently headed by Marcellus Mason, is on hand to provide arbitration and assistance. Membership of the Union is not compulsory, but is completely free to join or leave at any time at no cost. It is, however, only open to Workers, and acts as a well-equipped and useful buffer between the workforce and those who direct them.

Society

Government and Laws

The Cross Administration act as the government of the dome. It is divided into many different bureaus too numerous to count, each with their own specific set of responsibilities. While some are quite large and general, such as the Bureau of Construction, others can be quite small and specific, such as the Bureau of Internal Airspace Concerns. It is not uncommon for new bureaus to be formed, or even old ones to be dissolved, as the needs of the dome evolve and change over time. Each usually has an Administrator in charge of that particular bureau, although all are ultimately overseen by the Oversight Council, who essentially run the Administration. Tricia Thornley is the current head of the Oversight Council, and by extension is the leader of Cross. The Administration is primarily based within the striking Redmark Hall.

The laws of Cross are decided by the Administration (specifically the Bureau of Law), and legislate against the usual activities one might expect to be criminal in any civilisation. While the Police who uphold these laws are considered Workers, the Judges who apply the law are a part of the Administration. Their application of the law is generally practical and pragmatic in its direction, with a focus on the rehabilitation of offenders where possible.

Economy

Cross has its own currency, the Crossmark (CM), upon which its economy is based. At least among the Workers and Administrators, jobs are paid for in CM; for Creatives, the ease of earning a living varies greatly depending on what it is precisely they do, and the difference between a successful Creative and a failed one often comes down to the profitability of their craft.

The Bureau of Economics keeps a close and watchful eye on the state of the dome's economy, and is supposedly tasked with keeping the spread of capital among the populace fair and in balance. Exactly how well they are doing at this endeavour varies rather, depending on who you choose to ask. Part of their remit is to enforce a tax on earnings, which is used to fund the Administration.

Daily Life

Given society's emphasis on hard work and self-improvement, and the ever-changing styles of the city, life in Cross can at times be quite hectic. While there are always a few for whom it is enough to work just hard enough to make the money needed to get by, most strive for more - after all, this mentality is widely seen to have served Cross well over the years. Still, there are very few who are so foolhardy or single-minded as to devote themselves purely to their work. From sport to music to personal study, there are many beneficial ways to spend one's leisure time - but equally, it can be just as nice to take a stroll along the city's winding streets and walkways and simply take in the view.

Old age presents new opportunities to enjoy the finer attractions that Cross has to offer; however, many choose to continue working after the official retirement age of 50, and this is equally as acceptable an option. Being out of work prior to this age, on the other hand, is looked down upon, and there is something of a stigma attached to those who remain unemployed for a length of time.

Childhood

Children are encouraged in their formative years to try their hands at many different things, in order to find out at what they are best. Schooling (which is free to all and based on a core curriculum set out by the Bureau of Education) is compulsory from the ages of 4 through to 14. The curriculum covers all the core skills necessary for a productive life, with emphasis on practical skills. Outside of school, there are plenty of opportunities for hobbies, such as arts and sports. Idleness is frowned upon.

At the age of 14, most children have some idea of where their skills lie, and begin an apprenticeship within that field. Apprenticeships are seen the best way of picking up a trade / profession, with the typical apprentice gradually gaining more and more responsibilities as they progress, until they are deemed ready to set out on their own. Some apprenticeships take longer than others, and some (in areas such as medicine) contain a degree of more formalised training.

Apprenticeships usually lead only to careers as a Worker, however. The path to becoming an Administrator is more rigorous. Applicants must sit an initial test to demonstrate their organisational aptitude, before undergoing two years of training, after which they are assigned to the Bureau for which they are deemed most suited. A handful of children, often those that are particularly gifted, charismatic, or perhaps just eccentric, take the third route of striking out on their own - either immediately when they are 14, or after dropping out of apprenticeships. Most of these go on to become Creatives, although those few that fail at even that usually resort to finding more mundane work, or in the worst case become unemployed.

Apparel

The fashions of Cross are ever changing, as the whims of the people are in a constant state of flux. The working clothes of the Workers and Administrators tend to be fairly practical, although many choose to adorn standard uniforms with personal flourishes (scarves, bands, badges, etc). The dress of the Creatives is much more varied. Particularly among the artistic subset, many experimental new trends crop up all the time, from the minimalistic to the extravagant. Anything goes. The output of the fashion designers can be seen modelled throughout Cross, across all parts of society.

Technology

Throughout Cross' history, there has always been a subset of the Creative class with a deep interest in science - of course, the only way to make this work as a career within the Creative climate is if it can turn some sort of profit, and so most of the dome's scientific advances have been geared towards practical applications. Like most Creatives, the scientists and inventors of Cross have a tendency to be somewhat eccentric, but nonetheless they have been the driving force of technological development in the dome since its founding. This places the level of technological advancement of Cross a little way behind the academic might of Sophostos, but still a way ahead of most of the other domes. One of the few areas in which Cross leads above all other domes is in construction - both in terms of gathering resources for building, and assembling them into the structures that form its iconic skyline. One of the first questions asked by many outside visitors to the dome is from where they get the materials necessary to build all of this - Cross has some impressive mining and logging operations both within and (since discovering it possible) outside the confines of the dome, but also has a policy of where possible recycling materials from buildings that are to be destroyed and replaced.

Since discovering the other domes, the Cross scientific community has made efforts to accumulate and apply what scientific knowledge they did not already have that the others had discovered. The majority of these advances were from Sophostos, however the learning process for Cross has not been entirely smooth. Quite apart from the cultural divide between the academic rigour of Sophostan science versus the 'try it and see' approach of Cross, it soon became apparent that naming conventions differed wildly. In Sophostos, names were technically accurate and descriptive; in Cross, inventors had a tendency to name their creations after themselves, their family, their pets, or whatever weird thought happened to be in their head at the time. Working out what was what was a rather infuriating process for all concerned.

At any rate, Cross currently has the knowledge and approximate expertise to access and make use of all known technology1).

Interacting with the Outside

Since discovering that the Wilderness could be accessed, Cross has made various attempts to exploit it. However, their heavy involvement with the IDRW project has distracted a lot of their attention away from their own projects (although it has, for instance, given them some impressive mining sites in the nearby mountains). Of Cross' own projects, their prototype Expansion Sites are the most accessible to citizens: a collection of allocated zones just outside the dome in which any Cross citizen can rent a plot. As science is currently nowhere near able to build protective structures like the domes, however, the precise long-term habitability of these Sites is still a matter of some debate, so for now they simply serve as a place for people to work on their own projects that are too large (or otherwise unsuitable) to try within the city.

Cross, given its history and societal make-up, has never been too big on militarism or exploration (indeed, it does not have any form of standing army), and as such has produced very few explorers or adventurers seeking to tame the Wilderness. However, particularly now that the railway has been opened, there is plenty of potential for tourism involving the other domes - both in terms of visitors and from, and visits to, the dome itself.

Layout

Architecture

The architecture of Cross is certainly its most striking aspect, not least because there is just so much of it. How so much could be built by an individual dome is a point of much wonder to visitors from outside. Towers, apartments, halls, gardens, theatres, restaurants… all mixed together, each jostling for space and attention as the differing styles of architects both contemporary and historical compete for the aesthetic approval of the people. But this vibrant skyline is never really complete - you don't have to look too far to see construction. As the people's needs outgrow their buildings' capacity, and their fancies are taken by new fashions and styles, existing buildings all eventually find themselves subject to renovation, extension, or in some cases even complete replacement.

Given all of this building work, there is very little unused space left within the dome itself. The fledgling Expansion Sites were considered one potential solution to this issue, but the problem still remains very much unresolved.

Important Places

Redmark Hall

Said to be one of the first buildings to be constructed in Cross, Redmark Hall is a clear-cut example of how buildings in the city can be in a constant state of change. Designed by famed architect of the early days Nicholas Redmark, the Hall serves as the central offices of the Cross Administration. In his original designs, it was indeed just a hall, but 500 years of extension and renovation have transformed it as the Administration grew and its needs changed, so today it stands as a collection of tower blocks and office buildings.

Cailey Tower

Another of Redmark's masterpieces, Cailey Tower is the tallest building in Cross. Quite apart from its height, it is best known for being home to The Pads, the fashionable apartments occupied by some of the dome's biggest names. Many of the dome's most prolific Creatives and Administrators make their homes here, and their influence can be seen both in the lavish interiors as well as the personal touches some of more daring artists have adorned the exterior with.

Cross Inter-Dome Railway Station

Recently completed and now open to all in Cross, the Station sits at the edge of the dome and serves as its link to the outside world. Built around the original exit tunnel through which the other domes first met Cross, it is perhaps the most architecturally intricate of all the railway stations - while Cross architects were involved in the design of all, special attention was paid to their own.

Common Opinions

Citadell

“Tell you what though - although, best keep this quiet… wouldn't want to be starting anything! But I don't see why people have any concern about what's on the opposite side of the sea, when it turns out that our immediate neighbours are a dome consisting entirely of soldiers. Sure, they make overtures of peace for now, but what happens if that suddenly vanishes? Cross has never had need of anything more than its police, let alone a standing army!”
- Warren Uln, Administrator (Bureau of Inter-Dome Affairs)

Sophostos

“The Sophostan's immense wealth of knowledge, and the effort it must have taken to gather it, is truly to be applauded. Plus, the technology behind this new 'railway' thing would never have happened without them - but then again, it was our ingenuity that saw some of its most inspired parts come to fruition. I think herein lies the crux of the matter: for all that they know, what do the Sophostans actually do with their knowledge?”
- Archimillius Farrow, Inventor of the 'Farrowmatic Rotary Axle Driver' 2)

Haven

“I have seen the most beautiful paintings and heard the most intriguing stories from my travelling friends of the alien landscape of Haven. Such simple, empty expanses… did the Old World look like this too? I sometimes sit in the Hanging Gardens and compare our flora to theirs, and I really am torn. And the people! The people must be so fascinating, I am sure of it. I simply must paint them, I must.”
- Effy Vayne, Portrait Artist

Wildekein

“Despite the concerns of some of the less… culturally-sensitive… in the department, that the seeming lawlessness of the Wildekein could pose a threat to our security, their enterprising nature in discovering the habitability of the Wilderness and the existence of domes beyond their own is very much to be commended. And besides, should the situation there at all deteriorate, they're on the opposite side of the sea, so I doubt we have much to worry about.”
- Warren Uln, Administrator (Bureau of Inter-Dome Affairs)

Muruvia

“My crew's work on the rail line took us through Muruvia. The buildings there are probably the closest to the Cross skyline I've seen in any of the domes the job has taken us through so far… but they are just so bland! And my mate tells me they don't have anything even approximating our Union over there. Given how over-bearing their 'companies' seem, I'd hate to actually be employed on one of their construction sites.”
- Brigetta Blake, Construction Worker

Kallipolis

“Overbearing governments, you say? Numbers for names? Complete distrust of outsiders? …you know, I think this has all the workings of a most excellent book… yes, there's a best-seller in there somewhere…“
- Shu Latisse, Writer

Ravissem

“When I first paid a visit to Ravissem, I was enthralled by their culture and lifestyle - such extravagance and merriment! It seemed like the perfect place unto which to offer my designs… but having scratched the surface and peered deeper into what makes them tick, I'm not so certain. Truly, I'm not sure I really understand what's going on there any more.”
- Mist Grey, Fashion Mogul

The IDRW

“The significant and meaningful contribution that Cross has made to the construction of this railway is a marvellous showcase to our new-found friends of all at which our society excels. It is my deepest hope that we may all prosper from this endeavour for a long time to come.”
- Cyrus Vayne, Administrator (Chief Liaison to IDRW Project)

The Wilderness

“While I appreciate the effort that has gone into this railway, I cannot help but wonder if we have been somewhat short-changed by it all. Just hear me out! Of all our efforts in the Wilderness, almost all of our workforce has been sunk into constructing the railway, but as a result we've barely done anything else. The Expansion Sites hardly qualify, when you think about it, so… perhaps now that the train is ready for use, we can focus our efforts on projects that benefit ourselves?”
- A 'Concerned Citizen'

Paradise

“What do Cross think Paradise is? My friend, there is no point in you asking me that! No two people in this town believe the same thing, I'll tell you that for free. Some people will tell you we're building it here, but that seems a bit pretentious, don't you think? I've heard others say it's out there in unexplored Wilds, and others still who claim it to be a state of mind. Does it really matter, in the end? If you think you've found your Paradise already, then good on you. If you're still searching… well, good luck!”
- Nina Quint, Actress

Rolling a Cross Character

Note: this section is for creating a character in Cross. For more general character creation read the character creation page.

Characters from Cross are characterised by a desire to work hard for the betterment of themselves and their city, but always within limits - it is an entirely voluntary aspect of their culture, not something anyone is forced into. While their large population and extensive architectural development have afforded them various technological advances, they are not as academically rigorous as Sophostos. Despite the size of the Administration, the bureaucracy is for the most part functional and efficient.

Cross is well suited to civilised characters with ambition, particularly those with skills in science, engineering and the arts, as well as characters with more mundane backgrounds. Politically-minded characters can also work, but may find more to do in other domes. While Cross has a police force, it has no standing army, so military characters will not fit in this dome.

If creating a character in the Creative or Worker classes, you will probably want to specify what their job / occupation is in their bio. For Administrators, it would certainly be useful to know what Bureau they work for - feel free to use any of the Bureaus mentioned on this page, or to make up your own (subject to GM approval). The only restriction is that you cannot be on the Oversight Council.

Playable Ranks

You can choose to play any of the following ranks. The Skills listed are the favoured skill for each rank (meaning you can take up to 3 points in that skill, rather than the usual 2).

Rank Favoured Skills
Administrator Persuasion and Strategy
Creative Persuasion and Craftsmanship
Worker Endurance and Craftsmanship

Cross Specific Traits

For more information about the traits system, as well as other traits a Cross character can take, please visit the traits page.

Union Member (0) [Workers Only]

You are a member of the Worker's Union. You may join or leave the Union at any time.

Influential in the Union (+2) [Workers Only]

You have gained some level of influence within the Union, which you can use to rally your fellow Workers to your side.

Note that you must be a member of the Union to make use of this. However, leaving the Union will not permanently remove this trait - it will return upon rejoining. Not compatible with 'At Odds with the Union'.

Pads Resident (+1) [Administrators / Creatives Only]

You are a resident in the Pads, the upmarket and highly fashionable residential area at the top of Cailey Tower, popular among Creative types. As well as giving you a very comfortable standard of living, this also plugs you in to the busy social scene of the tower, and all the swirling rumours that go with it.

Expansion Site Plot Owner (+1)

You own a plot of land within one of the expansion sites just outside the dome. While the sites are essentially secure from the threats of the Wilderness, there is some debate about their safety as the sites lie outside the protective technology of the dome. Still, it's away from prying eyes and is yours to do with as you will. Good for creating your own little space outside the cramped city, or for building that experimental contraption or glorious statue you've always dreamt of that just won't fit within what space you have in the dome itself.

Due to workforce limitations, there is a limit to the number of Sites available, and no new ones are scheduled to be opened soon. As a result, the waiting list for Sites is quite long, so do not expect to be able to easily obtain one without taking this trait at Character Creation.

Unemployed (-2)

You are currently out of work, and have been for some time. While being briefly between jobs is generally not an issue, Cross' cultural demand for busyness means there is a certain stigma attached to being unemployed for extended periods - it is thought to reflect badly on the person's motivation and skills. Perversely, this can make getting back into work non-trivial for a variety of reasons (do not expect to be able to easily negate this trait without a bit of effort - several major actions will be required to find and demonstrate your effectiveness in employment). The stigma associated with unemployment will close various doors to you socially, but more practically will also make you short on income, making it difficult to use services or obtain goods.

If your character is over the age of retirement (50 years of age) then they may be unemployed without taking this trait; taking this trait with a character over the age of 50 indicates unemployment up to the point of retirement (similarly for characters who turn 50 during the course of the game). The rank you choose for a jobless character will reflect what their employment was prior to being made unemployed; if they have been unemployed since reaching adulthood, you will likely wish to choose Worker.

At Odds with the Union (-2)

For some reason, you are not in the Worker's Union's good books. Perhaps you're an Administrator responsible for poor working conditions in a particular sector, or a Creative whose ostentatious attitudes are seen as crass and disrespectful to those who built this city. As a Worker you might be an insufferable brown-noser, or maybe your actions have been labelled as betraying the cause. Whatever you've done, the Union hate you for it, and are not likely to let you forget it.

Not compatible with 'Influential in the Union', but may still be taken with 'Union Member' for Workers - no amount of dislike is enough to bar someone completely from the Union.

Costuming

Remember, dressing up is entirely optional! These are simply suggestions for those who want to.

(See Apparel.) Fashion in Cross is very varied and changes often, so there are no particular prescriptions or restrictions on clothing. The work clothing of Administrators and Workers is generally practical, with personal flourishes, while Creatives tend to dress more elaborately. Inclusions of the city's cross-shape symbol are not uncommon as a pattern on certain items.

Naming Conventions

The ever-changing trends of Cross mean there are no particular styles or conventions when it comes to names. However, it is not unheard of for high-profile Creatives to adopt alternative pen-names, or just outright change their name from what it was at birth to something more pretentious unique.

1) N.B. that has been (re)discovered since The Reset
2) A most innovative powered mechanism that Farrow was rather disappointed to later discover had been independently invented by Sophostos almost two hundred years prior, with the somewhat less Farrow-tastic name of 'Steam Engine'.
cross.txt · Last modified: Fri 3 Oct 2014, 02:03:40 UTC by gm_jamesc
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