The Whorl of Swords
The Whorl is a generation starship hollowed out of a huge asteroid or small moon. It has about 200 complete cities inside the ship. The Whorl is a hollowed-out cylinder of an unknown length and a radius of approximately 180 leagues. Through the middle of the cylinder runs an enormous solar tube: The Long Sun. The Whorl does have day and night cycles, but it is never truly dark. At night you can look up and see the cities on the other side of the Whorl. The ship left Urth centuries ago bound for an unknown destination.
The Whorl was created by the tyrant Typhon. Typhon renamed himself Pas. Pas uploaded his consciousness and the consciousnesses of his family and friends into Mainframe and they became the gods of the Whorl. Typhon relocated entire cities from Urth onto the Whorl, and so there are dozens of different cultures from all over the Urth inside the Whorl. This would normally have led to trouble, but the people of the Whorl were given the Plan of Pas through his holy book: The Chrasmologic Writings. The Writings tell of the gods (see Wiki entry “Gods of the Whorl”), and of the Plan of Pas. The plan is simple: There will be peace between the cities, no one will disturb the Seals of Pas, and at the proper time everyone will depart the Whorl.
Cities are about 50 leagues (150 miles) apart. Even though every city is unique the geography between the cities is quite uniform. Each city is near a lake, is surrounded by a farm belt, and then there is desert. There are very few motorized vehicles; people are generally restricted to walking or riding animals wherever they need to go. This makes travel between cities rare, but not unheard of. The vast majority of inter-city traffic is comprised of trade caravans. I picture The Whorl as a kind of molecule comprised of cities, lakes, and trade roads. Each lake would have 3 or 4 cities attached to it. It is exceedingly rare for someone to have visited more than 1 city besides their home town, and the majority of the populace lives and dies without ever having travelled.
The gods used to appear to the people of the Whorl at computer terminals known as Sacred Windows (see Religion on the Whorl). There have been no sightings of gods now for 3 generations. Instead, also about three generations ago Pas’ wife issued an update to the Chrasmalogic Writings. This update was the Song of Swords (see Wiki entry “Song of Swords”). At this time 12 Swords of Power were distributed to cities throughout the Whorl. This marked the beginning of the end of the Peace of Pas. Also, for the first time in the history of the Whorl there are starting to be shortages of resources. The cities are experiencing extreme weather patterns, the lake levels are dropping, and food is becoming noticeably more expensive.
It is this Whorl into which the players are born.