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Another Australian Otherspace
Any city could have an entrance or two to the Tomb. You’ve seen the sort of places it chooses – empty lots, the buildings that once occupied them now burned out or knocked into rubble, choked with weeds and garbage. These lots dot the cityscape like old sores, and for some reason or other they never seem to get built over.
The entrances to the Otherspace itself just look like openings into old cellars or the corners of foundations – small openings into a dark space, usually no more than a few metres across. The floor of the entrance is invariably a mixture of dust, soil and fine ash, no matter where the entrance is or what sort of building formerly occupied the spot. Most of them have graffiti sprayed around the walls and ceilings, sometimes even giving a clue to the nature of the place.
Here’s the thing, though. The Tomb of Homes isn’t a place you can just go swanning into. You have to get attuned first. To do this, you need to find a small token that represents your current residence (whatever that may be) and bury it in the ashy soil of the entrance. Most people who’re looking to use the Otherspace for a while use a house key. Some dukes swear that an un-duplicated key works better than one that’s been copied, but there’s no hard evidence either way.
Once you’re attuned, you can crawl into the entrance and find what looks like a cardboard-lined tunnel that wasn’t there before. It won’t be obviously new – it’ll blend into whatever openings or corners were in the entrance before. Just crawl down the passage and you’ll be in the Tomb.
The Tomb proper is a three dimensional maze of twisting passages that occasionally open out into larger galleries. The walls are made up of a kind of stone with a texture not unlike heavy canvas. Most of the walls are lined with dirty cardboard, though, which has led the few dukes who know about both this and the Cardboard Palace to theorise about a connection between the two.
The cardboard-covered walls are littered with what look like x-ray images of people. Closer examination by someone with some medical experience will reveal that all these people were all lying down at the time the images were taken, and that most of them have some minor malformation, possibly a birth defect. Nobody is sure what, if anything, the x-rays have to do with the rest of the Otherspace, although they’re clearly integral enough to the place that any which get taken down get replaced by new images within twenty-four hours.
The Tomb enjoys a reputation as one of the safest Otherspaces around – it’s got no native inhabitants, the geography is stable enough that regular visitors can easily learn their way around, and things left in there don’t mysteriously vanish. The temperature is consistently comfortable, though cool, and air circulates enough that lack of oxygen is never a problem. There’s no source of natural light, food, or water, but that hasn’t stopped the occasional, desperate duke setting up a permanent base inside its twisting halls. The reason it’s not a popular residence among Australia’s freakier adepts is the price you pay for attunement.
As soon as a person buries their token in the entrance (which some have likened to making a sacrifice to the Tomb) they gain a new Soul skill called Domestic Entropy, or similar, at 10%. Every day they sleep in the same place for two nights in a row, this skill is rolled by the GM. On a success, the skill increases by a point, and something happens that will result in the character’s expulsion – mortgages are bought out and foreclosed, leases are lost, hotel records fail to show the character’s booking, etc. In extreme cases, members of a shared household can turn on each other and separate, or buildings can burn down. All this tends to mean that long-term inhabitants of the Tomb are incapable of living anywhere else – instead spending their lives scrabbling in and out of filthy holes in ruined buildings.
Some dukes who know the secret of the Tomb have been known to steal tokens from their enemies and attune them to the Tomb without their knowledge. This ultimately leads to the victim’s homelessness, without even the compensatory knowledge that they have another place to go.
Victims of such an attack, or people who are simply sick and tired of the place, can de-attune themselves by finding their token and digging it up. As usual, though, this isn’t quite as simple as it sounds. Since the Tomb connects multiple entrances, tokens have been known to shift between them. Characters wishing to de-attune themselves may have to sift through many different holes and cellars until they find their token. Once they have it, they can buy off their Domestic Entropy skill with experience points, in much the same fashion as people freeing themselves from an unwanted Proxy bond. players spending their characters’ points in this fashion should go into some detail about the steps they are taking – buying a new house, signing a new lease, redecorating and inviting new flatmates are all favourite methods.
What You Hear
Freaky Pete, an occasional explorer of Otherspaces, likes to tell people that the reason there are x-rays of misshapen people on the walls of the Tomb when it seems to be much more concerned with living arrangements is because the Tomb is a shred of a previous universe – one in which the bodies we know were something that we inhabited, not something that we were.
Now that is a fine example of a "What you hear"
It'd be great if there were some unexpected side-effect to fleshworking or maybe urbanomancy. Or something similar.