The rich and powerful live above, in Topside. To know Topside is to know your enemies. Every place has a history.

Lanre Tower

At the center of Topside is Olanrewaju Tower - Lanre Tower, for short. The central spire of the complex is 127 stories of green glass and gleaming white steel. They say that if there were clear days in the City you could see the whole of Topside from Lanre Tower.

The tower was named for the founder of the Corporation, Olanrewaju Agbara. It was his business acumen and ruthless leadership that his family with the Hiim, Kula, and Mattur families. Together, the Four Families - the Arba'a - have become an oligarchy controlling the entire city under the guise of The Corporation. The old families that opposed Lanre's rise to power are gone. The few that sold their heritage for survival promised to serve the victors were absorbed into the Arba'a, their family names erased from records.

This is what Lanre Tower means to the citizens of Topside: the Arba'a are everything. They are the City, and everyone who lives there does so to serve them. To the Arba'a it is a symbol of power and strength; to the Nikan who work Topside it is a reminder of their place below.

The Director of The Corporation, Halldor Mattur, rules from the top of Lanre Tower, and lives there in his penthouse complex.

Hyeon Complex

Surrounding Lanre Tower is Hyeon Complex, a collection of rounded towers that resembles a set of test tubes placed upside-down. The richest of the Arba'a - the one percent of the one percent - live here in opulence, with servants both Nikan and robotic. The stereotypical inhabitant of Hyeon works in Lanre Tower by day and attends elegant white-glove parties by night. Other Arba'a are rarely invited into this inner circle.

It's not uncommon for young and wealthy Arba'a to rebel against the safety and comfort of Hyeon. Some even venture as far as the Shadows, and, discovering how the Nikan are forced to live, return to Topside with ideas of changing how The City works. Many leave the Shadows promising to make things better. Nothing comes of it. They never return to the Shadows, and life continues apace. Whether by social pressure or something more sinister, dissident voices are silenced in Hyeon.

Topside Exchange

Clean, exclusive, and dangerous, Topside Exchange is where the richest Arba'a go to trade with one another in favors and unique code. If you're a wealthy process looking for something that rep can't buy you, the Exchange is the only place you'll find it.

The City has no history of slavery, but Nikan servants can be traded from one house to another. Working for the Arba'a means that you work for whichever of them cares to purchase your service. Such exchanges are fairly rare, as the Exchange deals more in intangibles than in anything so mundane as servants.


Getting around Topside is easy for the Arba'a. Hovercycles, aircars, tube subways, dirigibles and other airships, taxis, all sorts of modes of transport are available to those with the rep to catch a ride. For the very rich - the heads of the Families and their immediate kin - there are even teleport platforms. Nikan who work Topside typically walk to work in the morning, riding the moving sidewalks if they have enough seniority.

The Arba'a

Each family is gigantic, with over twenty thousand individuals.

House Hiim is the most aggressive and . Matriarch: Yoon.
Typical Names: Korean
Suit: Swords
Corporate Holdings: Weapons development and supply

House Agbara, whose . Patriarch: Adebola
Typical Names: Yoruba
Suit: Pentacles
Corporate Holdings: Finance and administration

House Kula was last to join the Arba'a. Matriarch: Mitra
Typical Names: Persian
Suit: Staves
Corporate Holdings: Research and programming

House Mattur is, by many measurements, the most important of the Four Families at this time. Their patriarch, Halldor Mattur, leads The Corporation. His second, Brynja, handles matters within House Mattur in lockstep with Halldor's desires.
Typical Names: Icelandic
Suit: Cups
Corporate Holdings: Labor and Real Estate

Arba'a Culture

  • The Arba'a call each other "citizen", or sometimes "cousin" or other variants of "kin". They call the Nikan "Nikan" as if it were their name.
  • Family is everything. If you didn't have your family, you'd be no one. Betraying your family is unforgivable.
  • Other families are out to get you. We're allies with them because it's better to have the dog on a leash than at your throat.
  • Keep your rep up. You can get slow and weak and stupid, and while people might make fun of you for it, they can still respect you. No one respects you if your rep drops.
  • Have pride in what you are.
  • Modders are trying to be something they're not. There's no pride in that.
  • It's not arrogance if it's true.
  • Respect the aged - to a point. Once they've lost their edge, you can ignore them.
  • The MPC isn't sentient; its subroutines might be dangerous and powerful but they're just natural phenomena, like the weather.
  • Never talk to the Nikan about how we do things or why.
  • You don't fight within your family. You don't fight other families where the Nikan can see it.
  • The only Nikan worth paying attention to are those with talent - artists, singers, dancers.
  • Ghosts should be ignored or studied, not talked with.
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