AutomataAutomata is the gate town to the plane of absolute law and it certainly looks the part. Outside the city walls you may find a few perfectly straight roads cutting through fairly bland fields of the Outlands on their way to Rigus and Fortitude. There is also one large road commonly referred to as Modron Way that leads straight out of the gate to Mechanus towards the Spire - the route the modrons take when they marched. The entire city is laid out on a strict grid of streets and blocks, and lodged firmly in the center of the outline of a small wheel. The buildings are all made of the same grey-red stone, cut into identically shaped and sized small blocks. The streets are paved in the same perfectly squared stone. Throughout the entire city the buildings are made of ninety-degree angles, each designed to match with the other. The blocks in this town are identically sized, and strictly laid out in a proper and sensible zoning system.
By sensible of course, we mean overly designed. A block may be dedicated to breweries, and the next block over dedicated to making kegs, and so on. Each block within the city has been given its purpose and only there may the activities associated with it occur without incurring a fine or worse. At least this means that one can easily find a service you need, if you need a carpenter you simply go to the carpenter's block. Unfortunately you won't find any need to shop around - all the prices in Automata are as controlled as the zoning districts are. Prices are fixed in this town, so it doesn't terribly matter who you get to do your work for you - they're all the same. Of course, while this may protect the lesser skilled in a craft, guaranteeing them a certain income - any true expert in his class may wish to move elsewhere to where he can command better prices.
The people of Automata are just as orderly as the city. The petitioners of the place dress uniformly alike in red robes and generally make every effort to appear to be identitcal to each other. They say this promotes a unity of thought and action within the town. The more mundane races such as humans and dwarves are also common in the city, though they tend not to dress all alike - thankfully. There are a large number of modrons here, generally coming and going on their assigned tasks in the city and elsewhere. In addition, there are a large number of formians that have made kip in this town securing their own zone within the city. The rest of the population is mostly of a lawful nature, including raksasha though not many of the fiends hang out in this berg. Those of more chaotic alignment, while not outright rejected by most of the populace, will swiftly find life in the city too frustrating to stay for long.
Everything about this town, at least on the surface is orderly and planned. Every new business must wade through months and months of paperwork to open. Each major business deal and contract must be registered with the city government. In fact, all transactions within the city are to be recorded and noted and authorized, though most of the more common ones, such as buying food or housing are considered to be pre-authorized by the license of the business to operate within the strict parameter of city law. Waivers and contracts are commonly seen throughout the city as the residents and businesses of the place have no interest in getting into a tangle with the bureaucracy of the place. Whatever the transaction, if asked the government of the city should be able to track down the relevant details of it.
Map of Automata
1. The Gate to Mechanus
2. The Coucil of Order Building
3. Modron Way
4. McGuvol's Stabling Establishment
5.The Divine Machine
In the middle of the town sits the Gate to Mechanus, in a block all to itself. The gate's a great disk on its side, a turning, toothed gear. Travelers to Mechanus hop up on the disk and disappear. Where they come out depends on the time of day, the position of the disk, and probably a lot of other arcane factors. The government's got a whole building of accountants, calculators, and computers (the old-fashioned, humanoid type) who work at figuring out where the gate will drop a traveller at any given time.
The Council of Order Building
Automata is governed, at least on the surface, by the Council of Order. This triad of representatives consists of a representative from the town guard, from the craftsmen, and from the temple districts of Automata. These three individuals are the final decision makers within the town, and are the ones whose seals verify the lawfulness of all above ground laws and contracts. However, with all this visible orderliness, one would think that the gatetown was in extreme danger of slipping right over into Mechanus. There is a second source of "law" within the city that prevents this from occurring.
The current members of the Council of Order are: Captian Arstimis, a githzerai and leader of the Town Guard. Pelnis the Clockmaker, a clockmaker and one of the best craftsmen in the city. And Scrafil, priestess of Lei Kung, a tiefling.
The Council of Anarchy, a triad of thives, rogues, and ruffians run the seamy underside of Automata. The underground passages, built from tunnels and forgotten buildings long built over top of are ruled by this Council. What is declared illegal above ground, the Council of Anarchy has declared legal below. Below the surface, there is no need to sign a waiver before buying a meal from a bar, nor any need to observe proper procedures for obtaining alcohol or anything else for that matter. It is the existence of this Council, and its underground community that keeps Automata from sliding entirely into Mechanus. This is the Council that rules the night and the below ground, watching over the rest of the city's activities and giving their approval for them.
The current members of the Council of Anarcy are: Leggis Scrog, a githzerai crimelord. Ravis Corcuncewl, a vagrant who spends much of her times in the higher levels of the Complex. And the erinyes Aurach the Fair.
This long road leads straight out of Automata into the Outlands. It is as wide a city block and as long as four of them and is designed to accommodate the procession of modrons that burst from the gate every 289 years (for those not in on the working of the modrons that 17 Great Cycles. Each Great Cycle is the length of time it takes the largest gear on Mechanus to complete one revolution. One revolution takes exactly 17 years). This march is called the Procession or the Modron Walkabout, but only Primus, the modron High-up knows the true dark of it.
McGuvol's Stabling Establishment
A cutter with the jink to throw around can find natives who know ways to get down below. As a public service though, one entrance is well known. The back of McGuvol's Stabling Establishment has a cast-iron circular staircase leading downward. It's sealed during the daylight hours, but it gives the clueless and other first-timers an easy way into the Underground. The bad news is that the stairs are watched by the proxies of Primus and other forces of Law, and those who come and go by this staircase are marked.
The Divine Machine
Nestled squarely in the visitors district of Automata, the Divine Machine has a reputation as the finest eating establishment in the city. Seemingly designed for Halflings it is far more common to see it filled with those of all races, with very few Halflings ever stopping in. The proprietor, Tourlac, is a likable Halfling and knowing the comfort of his guests is important he will usually apologise to any patrons of larger than average stature.