The City Edit
Taxon is a small city bordered on two sides by forest and on a third side by ocean. The fourth side is an ever-shifting zone that changes from month to month. (The fifth and sixth sides, of course, are earth and air.)
If you go too far in any one direction in Taxon, you will find it becoming harder and harder to progress. Regardless of personal superpowers or fortitude, characters approaching Taxon's boundaries will begin to feel dizzy and disoriented, as if suffering the effects of oxygen deprivation. If characters continue to try and press forward to reach the city limits, they will eventually pass out. Hopefully they are not doing this while flying up to test the boundary of the sky.
The area enclosed by the city limits is about a mile on each side. (Characters can ascend vertically one mile before reaching the boundary, or, in theory, dig one mile down as well if they have that sort of ability.)
Taxon is laid out around a harbor. Two rivers flow into the harbor, the Miskatonic and the Buenaventura, which together effectively divide the city into three parts: a northern, eastern, and southern district.
In the eastern district, which is listed on resident maps as Central Taxon, the city is architecturally dense. The Sanctuary is located here, as well as several other city landmarks. There are docks here as well, and the suggestion (if never quite the reality) of trade, commerce, and industry. Architecture in Central may borrow from all regional styles of Earth and other worlds beyond, but the feel is clearly urban: tenement apartments, skyscrapers, subway stations, factories, warehouses. As a general rule of thumb, if it has more than two stories, it will be located in Central.
Central is bordered by the Miskatonic River to the north, the waterfront to the west, the forest to the east and south, and the Buenaventura River to the southwest.
In contrast to Central, the southern district of Speares feels more like a suburb, or a small coastal town living in its busier cousin's shadow. Speares hosts a quarter-mile of beachfront, as well as the Lighthouse and other landmarks. Single-family homes rather than apartment buildings are the norm in Speares, as well as beach cottages, farms, and artisan shops of the sort that get profiled in travel magazines. Like Central, Speares' architecture is not confined to one geopolitical region: a ranch-style Californian home might be next door to an Indonesian traditional raised house.
Speares is bordered by the harbor's waterfront to the north, the Buenaventura River to the east, a breakwater and the ocean to the west, and forest to the south.
The forest is the largest of the city's districts. It is listed as Wilde on the map. Wilde has little in the way of structures-- the occasional woodcutter's hut or abandoned cabin-- but encompasses a broad variety of fauna and flora. The forested area can shift from pine and oak to lush tropical jungle in the space of a few hundred yards. Wilde rises in elevation towards the south, so that the southern edge of the map is actually steep and mountainous terrain.
Last, but not least, is the northern district. The name changes from month to month, as does the terrain. The northern district is reachable by crossing the single bridge that spans the Miskatonic (or by swimming the river, or by sailing across the harbor, or by flight).
Unlike the southern shore of the harbor, which is a gentle beach, the northern edge is comprised of steep and treacherous cliffs. Characters approaching by boat will find them a difficult climb.
Each month, the terrain of the northern district is altered to resemble some particular type of landscape. Out-of-character, these are best described as 'genre' areas: a medieval castle under siege, or a futuristic spaceport, or a gritty city at night stocked with gumshoes and femme fatales.
The one constant in the northern district is that it is a place where adventure can be had. Read more on the northern district here. (link coming soon)
The Sanctuary (and Museum)
Every character in Taxon starts out here. This tall building is made of stark white stone, narrowing to a pinnacle at the top. It is easily visible from most locations in the city. The ground floor also boasts a museum containing trophies of past achievements by Taxon's citizens, and arriving citizens will walk through it on their way out of the building.
The library is located in Central, on top of a hill near the forest's edge. Books on every topic under the sun can be found here... as long as they are non-fiction. The library also boasts a broad collection of digital media, music, and art.
This structure appears to be the twin to the Sanctuary in external appearance and design, save that a bright light shines from the top of it, radiating out to sea. If the Lighthouse also mirrors the Sanctuary on the inside, nobody knows yet; unlike the Sanctuary, there appears to be no entrance to this building.
This is an open-air marketplace in Central. It's a flea-market stocked with anything you might need, buried among things you can't possibly find a use for. Aside from Adventure Zone, it's one of the few places you can buy things other than 'the basics'... as long as you have the patience to hunt for things.
A word to the wise, though: the bazaar is known to be rife with pickpockets. Or.... picktablets. Either way, be wary of small urchins trying to pass electric doo-dads near your bracelet, or your credit balance may pay the cost.
Located in Speares, this friendly little zoo contains a fair sampling of all the animals one might run into on Earth... and a few samples of animals that have never existed. The unicorn exhibit is especially popular, as are the miniature dinosaurs.
The city is small enough that most people will be able to explore it easily on foot. That said, Taxon has several systems of public transportation. A one-way fare to any destination along a route costs one credit.
Land – The Bayline tram goes from the Lighthouse to the Buenaventura River, following the beach. The Hamsterline goes from the Buenaventura to the beginning of the forest, following the Miskatonic. The Greenline-West follows the edge of the forest from the coast to the Buenaventura, and the Greenline-East follows the forest from the Buenaventura to the city's edge. Trams run every fifteen minutes for the Bayline and Hamsterline, and every thirty minutes for the Greenline.
Additionally, taxis may be hired, but cost more.
Water – There are two public transit ferries. The Harbor Ferry makes a circuit from the Lighthouse to the docks; the River Ferry goes from the mouth of the Buenaventura to the fork of the Buenaventura. The ferries both run every thirty minutes, but start at sunrise and stop at sunset.
Sailboats and other watercraft may be rented at either the docks or the beach.
Air – Taxon has no public air transport, but a small airstrip exists in Speares at the edge of the forest. Its hangar boasts vehicles from many eras of flight.
TECHNOLOGY AND AESTHETICS Edit
Taxon's inspiration is drawn from a myriad of fictional documents, covering many eras of Earth's history. Each building in Taxon features a level of amenities that is roughly comparable with the era it is supposedly taken from-- a medieval castle will not have flush toilets, or standardized electricity.
The backdrop people who fill Taxon, called 'Extras', will similarly resemble people from all eras and cultures represented in fiction. Most of them will appear human, but you might get the occasional Tolkienesque elf, or wrinkle-headed Klingon.
Taxon's streets are filled with automobiles, bicycles, horse-drawn carriages, rickshaws, and are a general anachronistic mess.
Buildings also vary widely, within the generalized 'feel' of the districts established above. To see examples of Taxonian architecture in all its diversity, check out Taxitecture (you can also submit images of neat buildings you find!).