[Turning a setting idea into a game world for the Fate Accelerated Edition (FAE) role-playing game system: this is Post #4 in the series. We finally return to our setting construction exercise, after a couple of more general posts on Approaches vs. Skills and Approaches vs. Aspects in FAE.]
Because I’m relying on a setting detailed in several books, a lot of material has already been created for me. I’m going to draw up more lists for Step 4: Faces and Places, summing up what I know about people and locations of the Budayeen that appear in George Alec Effinger’s books. (As a bonus, this can serve as a handy reference for people who are currently reading the books.)
These will merely serve as backdrop for our game setup, however. Once the whole group sits down at the table to create our specific setting, people may say “I’d like to have a third crime lord in the mix,” or “There should really be a pilgrimage site near the cemetery,” or “I’d prefer if Marĩd Audran didn’t appear at all in our version.”
This might seem like too long a roster, and normally, it would be. However, remember what we said in Part 2 when we discussed the “feel” of the setting: Connections and community are everything; everyone has a name and a story. This is a repeating motif in the genre, and Effinger constantly reminds us of the names and personalities of even small, seemingly insignificant characters.
Abdoulaye Abu-Zayd: Pimp for a dozen wired boys and girls, known for his roughness; answers to Friedlander Bey.
Abdul-Hassan: Hassan the Shiite’s American slave boy and lover; speaks only English.
Bill: A cab driver who picks up and drops off clients at the edge of the Budayeen. Born in the United States of America before their dissolution, in the area now known as Sovereign Deseret. A cybernetic enhancement keeps him permanently stoned on psychedelics.
Blanca: Dancer at Chiriga’s, a bit moody and light-fingered. Trans woman.
Chiriga: Swahili (East African) owner of Chiriga’s Nightclub, often tending bar, with a fierce demeanor and robust capacity for drinking. Cis woman, tall, dark black skin, geometric facial tattoos of raised scars, canines filed to a point; corymbic implant.
Courvoisier Sonny (aka Tewfik): Pimp who does business at the Red Light Lounge. Big one-eyed Arab man.
Dalia: Bartender at Frenchy’s. Short, round woman, a great source of information.
Devi: One of the three Black Widow Sisters, along with Tamiko and Selima. From Calcutta.
Frenchy Benoit: Owner of Frenchy’s. Big man from Marseilles with black eyes and a big black bushy beard.
Friedlander Bey: Crime lord in control of the Budayeen area, among many other areas of the City and beyond; often referred to as “Papa”. Cis man, practicing Muslim; reputed to be 200 years old, no corymbic implant.
Fuad il-Manhous: Fuad the fool, a simple-minded but entreprising hustler known for his interminable stories and bad luck in love.
Gargotier: Owner of the Café de la Fée Blanche. Oldish man of European stock.
Sgt. Hajjar: The corrupt assistant of Lt. Okking; old guard policeman.
Hassan the Shiite: Friedlander Bey’s top lieutenant. Homosexual cis man.
Heidi: Owner of the Silver Palm. Cis woman, good-looking and well-dressed, with blue eyes and pale blond hair cut in a bang.
Indihar: Egyptian dancer at Chiriga’s Club; resourceful; devout Muslim. Cis woman, pretty.
Jacques: Moroccan Christian, friend of Marîd Audran. Militantly hetero cis man, three-quarters European.
Janelle: Dancer at Chiriga’s, considered lazy. Cis woman.
Jo-Mama: Owner of Jo-Mama’s Bar; large woman, nearly six feet tall and between 300 and 400 pounds, with a mercurial temper. Frequently changes hair colour and style.
Karîm: Hassan’s assistant and accountant; grey-haired bearded old man.
Kandy: Dancer at Chiriga’s. Trans woman.
Laila: Owner of Laila’s Mod Shop. Thin old woman with dark wrinkly skin, clawed fingers and a whiny voice; long straggly grey hair, bushy grey eyebrows, yellow eyes, bloodless lips and missing several teeth; almost never seen without a personality module plugged into her corymbic implant.
Dr. Lisân: World-renown corymbic implant specialist at Abu Emir Hospital.
Mahmoud: Small-time pimp; friend of Marîd Audran. Trans man, short and broad.
Marîd Audran: Algerian Maghrebi; a small-time hustler and fixer, known in the Budayeen for his unusual honesty and his refusal to get his brain wired or to carry a weapon. Cis man, light skin, reddish hair and beard.
Morgan: American free-lancer who sometimes does jobs for Chiriga. Speaks only English.
Nikki: Prostitute in Abdoulaye’s pay; Tamiko’s roommate; friend of Marîd Audran. Trans woman, blonde; corymbic implant, needs an add-on to speak Arabic.
Lt. Okking: Police lieutenant, probably of German origin. Not a saint, but usually a straight shooter. Cis man, florid face.
Pualani: Dancer at Chiriga’s, reputed to be a little scatter-brained. Cis woman; corymbic implant.
Qasim: Landlord of a small apartment building in the Budayeen.
Reda Abu Adil: Crime lord, sometimes rival of Friedlander Bey; holds the medînah quarter and other areas. Arabic man; corymbic implant, reputed to be at least 150 years old.
Rocky: Second bartender at Jo-Mama’s who pads her income by occasionally selling drugs to friends. Hefty woman with short, brushy black hair.
Safiyya: Old woman known as “the lamb lady” because she always has a lamb with her, occasionally an imaginary one if something has befallen the live one.
Saied the Half-Hajj: Friend of Marîd Audran, well-off. Homosexual cis man, tall and well-built with a carefully trimmed mustache; corymbic implant; favourite personality module is a tough-guy persona.
Selima: One of the three Black Widow Sisters, along with Tamiko and Devi.
Officer Shaknayyi: Police officer, takes his duty more seriously than the average cop. Egyptian cis man.
Tamiko: One of the three Black Widow Sisters, along with Devi and Selima. Trans woman, not actually born Asian.
Umar Abdul-Qawy: Reda Abu Adil’s right-hand man. Corymbic implant.
Yasmin: Dancer at Frenchy’s; Marîd Audran’s girlfriend. Trans woman, black eyes, long black hair; corymbic implant.
Dr. Yeniknani: Doctor at Abu Emir Hospital. Turkish man, big dark mustache.
Although it’s very conceptual and contains elements that are not mentioned in the books, you can check out the map from the 1990 computer game The Circuit’s Edge from Infocom, which was set in the universe created by Effinger.
The Budayeen is an old walled district located in the northwest portion of the city, about 16 blocks long from the East Gate to the cemetery, and closed to vehicular traffic except for emergency vehicles. The main artery runs east-west and is just called the Street. It is a big tourist attraction during daytime, and an entertainment nexus at night.
Big Al’s Old Chicago: Lower-class diner.
Café de la Fée Blanche: Old man Gargotier’s place on Ninth Street North, where Marîd Audran and his friends Mahmoud, Saied and Jacques often hang out during the day.
Café Solace: Small coffeehouse on Twelfth Street.
Chiriga’s Nightclub: A club on the Street, halfway between the East Gate arch and the cemetery. “Real girls” (cis women) dance and host from noon to 8pm, debs and sexchanges (pre-op and post-op trans women respectively) work nights.
Frenchy’s: Nightclub known for hiring strictly cis or trans women as dancers (aka real girls and sexchanges), no pre-op trans women (aka debs ), non-op trans women, or transvestites. Drinks are expensive.
Haffe al-Khala cemetery: Western limit of the Budayeen quarter.
Jo-Mama’s Bar on Third Street, caters to Greek sailors.
Laila’s Modshop on Fourth Street, crammed between a dark, grim gambling den and a noisy bar that caters to teenage sexchanges (post-op trans women). Dingy, but you can always find the moddy or daddy you need — or close, anyway.
Red Light Lounge: A rough sort of place, another night club with dancers and sex workers. Owned by Fatima and Nassir.
Silver Palm: Cafe on the Street.
Never named, the city is frequently visited by sailors and is located near the centre of the Islamic World. To the south, it is set right against the encroaching desert.
Boulevard il-Jameel: Major artery running north-south, running just past the East Gate to the Budayeen.
Christian Quarter: Located just east of the centre of the city.
Courane’s: A restaurant in Rasmiyyah.
Gay Che’s: A gay bar on Aknouli Street in Hâmidiyya.
Haffe al-Qala, “the Edge of the Wilderness”: Lower-middle-class neighbourhood on the south edge, near the desert.
Hâmidiyya: A poor neighbourhood under Reda Abu Adil’s control, immediately adjacent to Sunset Gate.
Medînah: Old city section, not as well preserved as the Budayeen and therefore not a tourist attraction; poor, dilapidated and unsightly.
Rasmiyyah, an upper class shopping district east of the Budayeen.
Shimaal mosque, located north of the Budayeen’s East Gate.
Sunset Gate: Welthy neighbourhood to the west, where Reda Abu Adil’s estate is located.
Image: City of Dubai at night, UAE, seen from the International Space Station. NASA Crew Earth Observations: ISS020-E-39932.