And here we have the penultimate installment of the Hanging Gardens Freehold – some additional styled Waypoints and the City Treasures of the Ring.
- The Temple District: Here, surrounded by trickling streams, tiny waterfalls, and fountains splashing into reflecting pools, a hundred modest shrines and temples are scattered along the winding forest paths. For those who wish to retreat for a time there are even a few monasteries and hermitages mixed in – although there really isn’t space for all that many supplicants at any one time. Still, the beauty and serenity of the place is incredibly soothing – and there are always a few people scattered about who feel a call to serve as priests of one faith or another for a time. Their task is substantially eased thanks to the fact that the Temple District – like so many of the other waypoints in the Hanging Gardens – has a fantasy laid over it, providing a +1d bonus on all attempts to provide wise council, conduct religious ceremonies, pray, meditate, seek inner peace, and so on.
The Hanging Gardens provides appropriate fantasies for most of the areas within itself; the Kitchens are overlaid with fantasies about how anyone can cook, how only the most marvelous food comes out of them, and so on – providing a +1d bonus on such activities. The workshops promote craftsmanship and productivity, the poor quarters promote good communications, happy family life, and ignoring noisy neighbors, etc, etc, etc. When you can easily give everyone who’s doing something useful a free boost, there’s no reason not to.
- The Library: Sometimes illusions are just as good as reality. A good illusion of a book is every bit as useful – or more so given that it can’t be damaged – as the real thing. A play presented as an illusion or a piece of artwork can be quite indistinguishable from reality – and in a Freehold with internet access it is remarkably easy to provide. Sure, there are quite a lot of genuine books, films and other media in the library, and that number is growing – but why worry about it when you can simply project a quasi-real illusion from an electronic file or stored original? While such “books” cannot readily leave the Freehold, you can loan out any number of copies without worrying about their return. This does mean that Authors would have a hard time getting paid, but they can easily submit their works to the Library in exchange for a basic stipend (over and above the freebies that come with residence in the Hanging Gardens) and royalty payments based on how often their work is requested. Similar arrangements apply to other artists… And yes, the place is wrapped in a fantasy that provides a +1d bonus to research, composing, writing, and similar activities.
- The Shipyards: These four waypoints are always bustling, busily assembling ships of the sea, of the air, and of space out of gossamer, wood, and lesser magical materials. Despite the helpful fantasies wound about the place the production isn’t actually that high; there aren’t actually all THAT many orders to fill – but the background fantasy is bustling, whether or not there’s really much of any work to be done. The master workmen here are always happy to discuss a special order with you though – or to build a ship that’s mostly technological rather than magical. If you wish to be driven out of your mind with discussions of thrust-to-weight ratios, where it’s best to use a little magic to augment the technology, and aerodynamic qualities, they masters are willing and eager to oblige you – and are some of the few Raksha about the freehold who have no trouble at all in dealing with electronics, rocketry, orbital mechanics, relativity theory, and other esoteric scientific subjects.
- The Hedge Maze: This is – despite the obvious possibilities – more or less just a park. The winding paths meander through woods, hedgerows, and small pavilions, with quiet picnic areas, game courts and fields, and occasional vendors selling refreshments. The central pool (actually one of several “centers”) is actually a well-maintained (if quite natural seeming) and very pure swimming pool, with several lifeguards lurking around.
- The Stables: This area mostly contains what Raksha consider to be “exotic steeds” – creatures other than the Behemoths and sword-shaping weapons that you simply stow Elsewhere until you want to pull them out. So yes, there are a fair number of conventional horses about. Of course, there are also griffons, unicorns, riding lizards, small dragons, and even odder creatures – but they are all cared for similarly; housed in elegant barns, stalls, lairs, or nests (as appropriate), well-fed and groomed, and with plenty of room to roam the fields, light woods, and various tracks of the waypoint. There are some basic veterinary facilities as well, but nothing too complicated; after all, the healing power of the Hanging Gardens makes that sort of thing pretty much unnecessary. Not surprisingly, the area offers a +1d bonus to animal handling, riding, and similar occupations.
City Treasures – The Ring Grace
The last set of the Hanging Garden’s treasures is relatively straightforward…
- The Fountain Of A Thousand Dreams (Treasure *****): This mighty treasure allows the one using it to touch the sleeping essence of mortals within sixty waypoints, either en mass or focusing in on smaller areas. The user can send fantasies into their minds or – if they wish – use charms of dream-entry or thaumaturgy on them.
- Manifest Destiny Totem (***): This Freehold artifact helps bolster the magical geometry of the Freehold against the pressure of Creation; each waypoint inside covers roughly one square mile instead of fifty acres. As a side effect, the user may opt to thin the geomantic veil that wraps itself around the Freehold, allowing the inside to become visible – and for Thaumaturgy to be projected outwards with relative ease.
Leon hasn’t actually activated the Manifest Destiny Totem as of yet; for the moment, there’s enough room in the Hanging Gardens already. If the population starts going up however… then it may well be of great service!