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"Cynosure - City of Dreams"




Life in the City

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The city itself is too damned big to be really ruled. The dimensions govern themselves, while the citywide matters are tended to by an oligarchy called the Council of Ministers. Nobody voted them in, and nobody's gonna vote them out either. So what goes up for grabs at election time? The bureaucracy.
- GrimJack

As noted above, Cynosure is far too large to be truly ruled. Each dimension governs and maintains itself, leading to wide discrepancies in the quality of such things as law enforcement and medical treatment. Some dimensions post armed guards at their borders, to protect themselves from the “wrong element”; others are nothing more than violent maelstroms of brutality, with no laws enforced except “the strong shall survive”. Most fall somewhere in-between. Almost universally, systems of justice in Cynosure are harsh; with so many sentients and so much violence, few are allowed a second chance.

There is an overall citywide government, at the top of which is the Council of Ministers. The Council is “an oligarchy of the wealthiest and most powerful beings in the city,” and does wield considerable power. The Council has prevented Trade War for years by vowing to ally themselves with any corporation that falls under attack, a tactic that has kept the peace in Cynosure since the Demon Wars.

Perhaps the most powerful of the 20 Council Ministers is William Honesworth, the Finance Minister. He oversees and decides which corporation the city will buy which commodities from. Honesworth has a reputation as a fair and honest man, and every day he walks a razor's edge to avoid being perceived as favoring any one corporation over any other.

Below the Council of Ministers is the Bureaucracy, the bloated and largely ineffective collection of petty politicians who run the city's day-to-day affairs. Corruption is common at this level of the government, but as long as certain criteria are always met the Council generally leaves the politicians to their own devices.

There are no set terms of office - whenever the city's coffers begin running low, the Council will decree that an election is to take place. Corporations will then spend huge amounts of creds to back their favorite politicians' campaigns, in exchange for preferential treatment after the election. Citizens vote by making donations to the account of the candidate they wish to vote for; the winner of a particular office is the candidate who receives the most donations by election day. The city government then takes control of all the creds donated.

Offices of the Bureaucracy aren't particularly powerful (Secretary of Street Maintenance, Officer of Waste Management), but they can be used to amass a great amount of wealth in a short time.


Laws in Cynosure are designed to protect the interests of the city itself, not its citizenry. Murder is illegal not because it harms an individual, but because unchecked violence is bad for business. The bulk of the city's legal code is concerned with corporate and contractual law; violations of these laws also carry the stiffest penalties. Cynosure enforces its laws not only on all dimensions currently in phase, but also on the timelines. Time travel is extremely difficult and unpredictable, but it can be done, so Cynosure mandates that all time travel be cleared and registered through Temporal Control.

In practice, the extent to which the law will protect someone depends on their wealth and status. A robbery against an office worker of some huge megacorp might be investigated; the murder of a few street laborers won't.

A few crimes always attract immediate attention, no matter where they occur. Demon worship has been outlawed since the Demon Wars, under penalty of immediate execution, and is not tolerated for any practitioner, no matter who they are. Bloodsports are illegal as well, though there are certainly small, exclusive arenas for the rich and powerful. As long as these sports remain discrete, and the appropriate bribes are tended to, the government generally looks the other way. Finally, any individual or corporation discovered researching ways to affect either the vortex walls or the mechanics of dimensional phasing faces serious consequences.


There are a couple of ways to reach the more remote dimensions of the city. The Eternity Road is a "paved dimensional portal" which allows easy access to hundreds of dimensions. The Office of Road Control and Repair is charged with maintaining an up-to-date listing of all dimensions currently in phase with the Road, and with posting this information to the appropriate Spatio-Temporal Ramp sign. Dimensions come and go with amazing frequency, however, and you may not always end up where you wanted to go.

Similarly, the Eternity Rail, housed in the mammoth Cynosure Grand Terminal, is "a sometimes dangerous proposition. You can't always be sure that your station will still be in phase with Cynosure by the time you get there."


A wide variety of currencies find their way to Cynosure, and money changing is a huge industry. Cynosure mints its own currency as well, and this is considered the standard for all transactions (individuals are, of course, free to negotiate payments and contracts in any currency they wish). The smallest unit of city cred is the decicred, a tiny silver coin; other common coins are the cred, the fivecred, the tencred, etc...all of these coins are made of a silver and iron alloy.

The CynTimes is the only newspaper distributed throughout the entire city. Some see it as merely a government propaganda machine, others as the last bastion of the free press- it's probably a little of both.

Finally, common sights on the streets of Cynosure are tourbots, small robots that allow their users to tour the city without ever leaving the safety of a booth. "Tourbots go everywhere you can, and some places you can't. See, hear, feel, taste and smell through their sensors- with a built in 95 mm camera besides." The average price for renting a tourbot is 500 creds/day, making it mostly a pastime for the well-off. Many places, especially in the rougher sections of town, don't allow tourbots, and will shoot them on sight.

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Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly.
-- Robert Schuller