Other New New Crobuzons include New Twain (from Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque), The Last City (from From the Sorcerer's Skull), The City of Emination (from The Benign Brown Beast), Thaw (from Archons March On), a nameless new new city (from Dead Tree, No Shelter), Styx (from Games of the Void Rust Medusa), Pandeimos (from Throne of Salt), and New Jericho (from Green Skeleton Gaming Guild).
There are two parts to the challenge - first, choose 3 humanoid monsters to be minority citizens in your fantasy city and assign them cultural niches; second, choose 3 horrible monsters and decide how the city accommodates their presence without them destroying everything.
I picked shaitan genies, dhampirs, and wayangs for my minority citizens; and devourers, callers in darkness, and caryatid columns for my monstrosities.
|Shaitan Genie from Pathfinder Bestiary|
The shaitan arrived as foreign merchants, their caravans carting in untold fortunes in gold and jewels. They bought the banks, the warehouses, paid off the city's debts, and earned the right to collect tolls. They charge entry fees at the gates and the ports, they charge beggars and businesses alike for the right to conduct business on their streets and in their bazaar. Yet traders flock from afar for the chance to pay the shaitan's fees.
They are the gaudiest of nouveau riche, building mansions, throwing parties, holding extravagant festivals and parades. Their pashas rival the power of the old families, though they have remained outside city politics, for now. A new class of oread youths, the product of dalliances between the shaitan and humans, are just entering adulthood, buying up so many seats in the university and commissions in the army that the children of the lesser old families are beginning to be blocked out of positions they once considered their birthright.
|Dhampir from Pathfinder Advanced Class Guide|
Long before the shaitan came, before the Revolution ushered in an elected government and gave power to the so-called "old families", the city was ruled by the vampire oligarchs. For too long, the city starved and suffocated in their iron-strong grip. As the oread are to the pashas, so were the dhampirs to the oligarchs - even their illegitimate children held a higher station than any full human. But when the Revolution drove out the oligarchy and divvied up their estates, the dhampirs were bereft, and remain so to this day.
The most fortunate dhampirs work as skilled healers and caretakers, their hunger met by prescribed medicinal bloodletting. The rest must drink from rats and stray dogs, from the sluiceways at slaughterhouses, from dead bodies awaiting ritual preparation. Rumor claims they are diseased, and they're still blamed for the sins of the oligarchs, generations ago. A few dhampirs take up swords as brigands who steal blood from the healthy, as militants who protect their ghetto from celebratory violence on Revolution Day. These few are the most hated criminals in the city.
|Wayang from Pathfinder Advanced Race Guide|
Wayangs come into the city from across the veil of shadows. They claim the city has a dark twin just across the veil, identical in architecture but with a population and political structure all its own, although strangely, their history also includes a time of misrule beneath vampire oligarchs. Academics debate the meaning of this coincidence endlessly.
The wayang who come here are refugees, exiled from their home for blasphemy or political critique. Whatever their vocations at home, here they are artists, for they control shadow-stuff as easily and fluently as humans control the sound of their own speech. Their concerts and plays are riots of condemnation against the rulers who exiled them, though no doubt much of the metaphor and allusion are lost on human audiences. Still, at their greatest performances, the shaitan pashas sit beside the old families, and even the caryatids gather to watch.
|Devourer from Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition Monster Manual|
The undead bodies of devourers stand two or three stories high, and are all but indestructible. They are thought to be siege engines, escaped from some foreign holy war. They seem to be drawn to the city by the presence of here of belief, although others have been spotted at a distance wandering the countryside. Fortunately, their numbers are few, and they remain mostly confined in the poorest neighborhoods - those places that are poor and remain so because anyone who can afford to move out does so.
Whenever a prayer is spoken or a miracle cast, a bit of its power escapes, just as some of the power of an engine becomes heat instead of motion. This wasted piety fuels the devourers. The cages of their chests fill with divine magic, which takes shape as a ghostly image of the faithful. Usually by the time a devourer has strength enough to lumber about, this image is a composite of a dozen faces, and the deaths and damage they cause can't be easily blamed on one devout. Though the city has rituals, it is officially godless. Though the caryatids guard temples, those stand empty. Prayers spoken within the city are not answered, they are eaten. But still, the people have never fully stopped praying.
|Caller In Darkness from Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition Psionic Handbook|
Since the reign of the vampire oligarchs, the city has known how to burn fossils as a source of fuel. Properly interred after the appropriate rituals, a well-buried skeleton will blacken within a year, and the poorest families have long used their own ancestors for winter's heat. Recently, industrialists have discovered that layers of the ancient dead lie beneath the streets, pressed hard as stone by the weight of the city overhead, and even recently excavated grave earth can be compacted to a suitable density.
An unfortunate byproduct of this process is the release of callers in darkness, composite ghosts made from dozens of souls, released simultaneously when the fossil stone is burned. They are largely confined to the industrial districts that safely empty out at night, and will harmlessly evaporate in warm, dry weather. Unfortunately, they tend to accumulate in the coldest, wettest months of winter, and sometimes spill over into the factory-workers' housing districts and the dhampir ghettos, where they are blamed for the untimely deaths of infants and the elderly, and at least once, of an entire housing block whose lives were extinguished in a single night.
|Caryatid Column from Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition Field Folio|
The oldest buildings in the city date back to ancient times, and each is home to caryatids, who are made of the same stone as the buildings, who remember every moment of their waking lives since the moment of their creation. The ancient buildings are now the city's most important civic sites - the courthouse, the library, the amphitheater. The caryatids enforce the Ancient Laws inside their buildings. It is impossible for one person to harm another inside without lethal retribution, impossible for anyone to appropriate these sites for anything other than their intended use.
The caryatids never leave their buildings except to pay one another occasional visits, walking along the ancient roadways. They spend much of their time sleeping, motionless, unbreathing. When awake, they seem to enjoy conversing with humans. Their knowledge of history is deep, but constrained to their vantage point, and riddled with gaps from their slumber. They never speak first, but will answer if addressed. They will not speak to everyone, and no one understands their criteria for choosing. They will answer any question if they can, and fortunes have been made, powerful people humbled, by asking the right question of a caryatid.