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About this City Journal

Baron von Awesome and his comical sidekicks Mash Wilson, Willy C and Null Stanton are sent, with no training whatsoever and nothing but their wits and a lifetime supply of Ding-Dongs, to...

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Dreams of a Wetter Future

abva2.jpg  Thanks for coming, guys. Welcome to what no doubt will be the first of many Meetings Where We Discuss Things People Are Bitching About.

ajosh2.jpg  Glad I could be here. I just want to thank my family for always believing in me, and... and...

abva2.jpg  That's great, Mash. Have another donut. Null, I believe you have the first whiny item?

adsk.jpg  That I do.


adsk.jpg  I think you're all thinking what I'm thinking.

abva2.jpg  Certainly. We must carefully regulate the nudity before I can approve it.

acarl2.jpg  Schools are expensive. We can add some later, but right now that's a tough sell.

ajosh2.jpg  Come on, these people are cattle. They slave away in the metal plants all day and then moo their way home and go to bed. Metal plant, bed, metal plant, bed. Like they'd have time to go to school even if we built one.

acarl2.jpg  He's crass, but he has a point. One day we'll need educated masses, but today we just need slave labor.

abva2.jpg  Then it's tabled. Moving right along to item number two.


adsk.jpg  I'm almost positive this is even less important than the school thing.

abva2.jpg  I haven't noticed that at all, actually. All of my staff is taller than I am.

ajosh2.jpg  Not to be a broken record, but I don't see how the hell you can operate a clinic without running water.

abva2.jpg  Oh, yes. That reminds me. About that water system, Null?

adsk.jpg  You deaf? I already said it's coming. If you want to take over the project, be my guest.

abva2.jpg  All I want is a when, man.

adsk.jpg  When? I'd say hopefully before everyone currently in the city is dead. You know, what with the short lifespans and no hospitals and the everpresent threat of the Black Death killing us all.

acarl2.jpg  So, sometime in the next two or three years, then?

adsk.jpg  Sure, why not?


adsk.jpg  But we might not last that long before some schmuck drops a match on his living room floor and burns the whole city to the ground.

ajosh2.jpg  Naw man, all we'd have to do is get some buckets and fill them up in the kitchen sink, then... oh... right. No water.

abva2.jpg  I do feel like I have to raise the question of what the hell a fire station's supposed to do when there's no water.

adsk.jpg  They can still get cats out of trees and the like.

ajosh2.jpg  There aren't any trees here to block anyone's view of the black sludge the metal plants are spewing.

abva2.jpg  This is the first time I've heard you complain about that. Or anything environmental.

ajosh2.jpg  Yeah, well, I've been busy.

abva2.jpg  Look Null, get that water hooked up and then I'll approve the fire station.

adsk.jpg  Jesus Christ fine, I'll hook up your God-forsaken water. Babies.


It took another six months, but lo and behold, a miracle--Null's semi-competent engineering corps located some water! A water tower was placed at the site, at the northwestern corner of the residential part of town...


And water pipes were run to cover the entire town. Well, except for the coal plant. Nully said something about it would be better if we didn't pee black water, and I took his word for it.

It took about three hours to lay the water pipes under the whole town. I tried not to think about this too much. Those headaches can be monsters.


And then the First Pigiron Sludge Bay Fire Company's glistening new headquarters was built on the corner of Third Street and Whale Carcass Avenue. Now if only somebody would set something on fire, maybe my investment could be justified.

This done, we sat back and watched, and were pleased to see a wave of new development. Granting, it was new slums and new muck plants being built on the ruins of the old ones, but it was something. The people wanted more. And more we would give them.


Willy and Null put together the Brown Dreams Industrial Park, which would be connected to the rest of town by Whale Carcass Avenue (which Mash named after one washed ashore on the Bay last year), which seemed destined to become a major artery in Pigiron Sludge Bay...


Some of the property nearest to the industrial muck pit was rezoned to allow the construction of apartment buildings, and two were built straight away...


We expanded the residential area southeast of Awesome Estates, hoping it would draw some slightly classier residents. After all, someone had to be managing the factories, right? Well, it drew the same grimy kind of peasants that lived everywhere else in town. But perhaps that could be remedied later.

And then there was the big project...


The Greg Norman Bridge, which of course Mash named and which would span the river. On the other side...


A new neighborhood was laid out, and the houses were built in about three weeks. Apparently things get done a lot faster when you use slave labor. There was still some space on the east side of the river, but we wanted to save that for further industrial development, and stretch things out toward the bay a little.

In late March I had just returned from surveying some land for a potential tennis court when I found a petition, signed by 500 of our 3,000 residents, waiting on my desk:


abva2.jpg  You seen this?

ajosh2.jpg  Yeah. So?

abva2.jpg  Maybe we should plant some trees.

ajosh2.jpg  Okay, I'll plant some damn trees. I have a good idea for that, actually. Check back tomorrow.

So I checked back the next day, and...


ajosh2.jpg  See? A couple years for those babies to grow, and we won't have to look at those slums anymore. It's win-win!

He might have had a point. I might be able to lay off a couple of my dozen machine gun-toting guards and make back the cost of the trees right there. Time would tell.


We set up the first settlement in the Gordian Plains a comfortable distance from Factoryland, in a nice simple pattern where nice simple houses would soon be built. The connecting road would eventually have to be upgraded to an avenue, so we'd make sure to leave space for that.


We also zoned space for a few shops along the connecting road. Not much point making money if you can't spend it somewhere, right? Besides, commercial zones conveyed power from Factoryville to the projects--er, neighborhood--just as well as high-tension lines, without being as unsightly. Or scrambling up people's brains. Unless it was the holiday shopping season.

It turned out that wasn't even close to enough housing, so we expanded the plan a little more aggressively.


Things were going quite nicely when, one morning in November, I sat down in front of my computer with barely two sips of tea in me, and read this email from somebody in Null's transportation department whose name I couldn't be bothered to remember:


abva2.jpg Huh.

I mulled this over for a minute, and then yelled downstairs.

abva2.jpg Hey, finance advisor!

acarl2.jpg You rang?

abva2.jpg Damn Willy, it's 6:45 in the morning, why are you already in your business suit?

acarl2.jpg I'm not. My pajamas just look exactly like a business suit.

abva2.jpg Really?

acarl2.jpg No. But it's easier than trying to explain to a bum like youself the virtues of getting up early.

abva2.jpg Getting some work done before Mash wakes up and starts getting on your nerves, you mean?

acarl2.jpg That's number two on the list.

abva2.jpg Anyway. How are you feeling about the road budget?

acarl2.jpg Fine, why? We have like four roads. I think we pay about 20 bucks a year to maintain them.

abva2.jpg Think we should replace them with streets and save some cash?

acarl2.jpg God no. Why the hell would we do that? It would save us like ten bucks a year. You called me up here at 6:45 in the morning to ask that?

abva2.jpg Well, I got this email suggesting you would be kind of pissed about all the money we spend on roads. Also that the residents would hate the faster traffic.

acarl2.jpg Oh yeah, everybody always hates driving fast. Hardly a day passes where I don't hear someone complaining, "man, we need slower traffic and longer commutes around here!"

abva2.jpg How would you feel if I cut the transportation budget by firing the guy who wrote this email, then?

acarl2.jpg Chipper.

abva2.jpg Righto.

I felt confident the question of whatever became of old Whats-His-Name from the transportation department would never cross my mind again.


People were still turning up from God knows where looking to live in picturesque Pigiron Sludge Bay and work in its gleaming metal treatment plants, so we yet again expanded the residential area. Though this time I think Null got a little carried away with the layout, but hey, it's something different, at least. We'll work with it.


Since there seemed to be no end to the available workforce, we expanded the industrial zone and MPR Metals quickly bought up all the developable land. Apparently Pigiron Sludge Bay was on its way to becoming a major center for chemical metal treatment. Or a plague-ridden wasteland that glowed in the dark. One or the other.


We also zoned for our first small commercial center, and saw a few small shops open. Most notably Palazzi's Pizza Palace, which just might one day soon put Pigiron Sludge Bay on the map by virtue of being the worst pizza joint in the entire world. We were rooting for a Chinese restaurant, but no luck yet.

One afternoon in November Mash and I were in overtime of a hotly contested paper football match when Willy strode in. (Willy never walks. He strides.)

acarl2.jpg Oh I'm sorry, am I interrupting something important?

ajosh2.jpg  Actually you kind of--

acarl2.jpg OBVIOUSLY I AM NOT. Anyway, I have something very exciting here.

ajosh2.jpg  Is it a mouth full of broken teeth?

acarl2.jpg Well, no.

ajosh2.jpg  Come over here and I'll give you one.

Willy just gave him a condescending look and tossed an oversized manila folder onto the table in front of me. On the first page was:


abva2.jpg Sweet, a Mayor's House! It was getting old playing paper football on the side of an appliance carton in a dusty basement in the power plant.

ajosh2.jpg  Does this mean I can finally take a shower?

acarl2.jpg Not until we get a water system installed.

ajosh2.jpg  Remind me why the hell anyone chooses to live here, again?

abva2.jpg I'm kind of with Mash there, it would be nice to be able to take a shower in our new mayoral mansion.

acarl2.jpg You're starting to sound like one of those whiny citizens now.

abva2.jpg Whatever, just build the mansion and I'll get Null to get the water done.

It turned out it was going to take a while to get the water pipes installed, first of all because none of us had any clue where to find water or how to get it out of the ground. But we woke up the next morning and, bam!, the house was ready for us. I named it Awesome Estates, naturally, and we placed it just off the residential area, right on the river bank.


Truly life just kept getting better in Pigiron Sludge Bay. For us, at least. Life still sucked for the citizens, I guess.


The Lunacy Begins

acarl2.jpg"What's this place called now, again?" Willy C asked distastefully as our few remaining possessions were being unloaded.

ajosh2.jpgPigiron Sludge Bay.

Mash took an exaggerated deep sniff.

ajosh2.jpg Smells like... lilies.

acarl2.jpg Sounds like... stupid. I can't believe you talked me into letting you be the guy that names things.

So we arrived in Pigiron Sludge Bay, carrying only the necessities for now; the rest of our gear would be shipped to us soon. Or so we were told. Our mission was simple: Now that the great and wise Beegle had staked his claim to what was now called the Gordian Plains, we had been chosen to colonize it. And I, Baron von Awesome, had been appointed in command of the project.

We were given more than enough money for the job, we were told. (And Willy, who was in charge of the money, assured me that was true.) The people would come, we were told... if we provided what they needed.

Step one would be to place a power plant; this wasn't Amish Paradise, people weren't going to build anything here without electricity freely available. We reviewed our limited options and decided to build a coal plant, right next to the eventual garbage incinerator, and deal with the heinous pollution.

ajosh2.jpg I say we build our residential right around the garbage burner. There's nothing like the fresh smell of toxic smog in the morning.

abva2.jpg .....

ajosh2.jpg What? It's not like the poor saps that come here first are going to have any say in the matter. We'll tell 'em it might make them develop superpowers.

I was already beginning to regret appointing Mash as the Recreation & Environment overseer. Oh well, at least he'd be good at the recreation part.


I put the coal plant in a central location, some distance from the bay (though, tragically, near the Pit Viper River), in a place where it could provide power over a wide area before we would need to build another.


And I'd already decided to follow Null's advice instead of Mash's, and zone for industry around the power plant. The houses would be much further away.

We'd have to offer some sort of incentive for businesses to open factories in Pigiron Sludge Bay before there were any actual, you know, workers there. But that could be done. The great Beegle did promise.


We had to reconfigure the zone layout a bit at the behest of the company planners, but lo, it was done.



Welcome to the Gordian Plans City Journal, the entirely silly story of four entirely unqualified guys that got shipped out into the middle of deserted nowhere with nothing but a lifetime supply of Ding-Dongs and a huge pile of cash, to colonize it in the holy name of the great Beegle, whose followers are damn well expecting some housing and a job when they arrive.

This game is played in vanilla SC4 Deluxe with only a few of the essential mods: the NAM, the industry quadrupler and IH census fix, and a few dilapidation disablers. The only added building is an underground parking garage lot that probably won't get used much, since the NAM is set to ultra capacity. Technically there's no "cheating" here, but it's being played in Deluxe easy mode, which might as well be cheating. This is not a serious game, just a bit of fun.

The region map is Marinhao by Paulo HB; many thanks for your maps, Paulo. It's downloadable from the STEX, of course.

Our stars are:

  abva2.jpgBaron von Awesome has been appointed by the great Beegle as Supreme-Dictator-for-Life. Gets to make all the final decisions, but also has to listen to all the incoming bitching and moaning from citizens and the insane babbling of his advisors.

acarl2.jpgWilly C is Baron von Awesome's city planner, treasurer, and highly trusted Guy Who Tells You When You're About to Do Something Stupid. He will be busy.

  ajosh2.jpg Mash Wilson fills the roles of Safety Chief and Recreation and Environmental Chief. He only agreed to join this expedition at all because Baron promised he could name everything and because he looks forward to cracking criminal skulls. It doesn't look good for Fairness and Justice. It was also a Bad Idea to put Mash in charge of looking after the environment, but nobody else wanted to do it.

adsk.jpg  Null Stanton is Baron's primary advisor on the matters of Education, Health and Transportation. This is a dicey proposition inasmuch as Null hates people. He doesn't especially care for overseeing transportation, either, so he sometimes just gives Mash the maps and tells him to have fun. Hilarity probably will ensue.

And this is your basic snapshot overview of the Gordian Plains before Team Baron arrived to defile it:


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