Clown Town
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Clown Town

Bozocitta, The Mad Province, The District of Columbia

Conspectus

A self-contained microcosmos outside of the known worlds, believed to border the Nevermeant and the Neverwas. It is a realm of surreal chaos and fluid laws of nature. This is in part caused by its relatively low internal reality, but is also due to the quixotic whims of the mad reality benders who call it home, and are known to walk the planes in the form of Clowns1.

Illustration

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A sketch of The Great Clown Pagliacci, made during his visit to the Circus of the Disquieting to assess the current Ringmaster's suitability for becoming a Clown. It should be noted that for this visit he intentionally suppressed his more extreme features in order to pass as human.

Knowledge

Traits: The size and geography of Clown Town are not known, and are believed to be highly variable. Distances between objects are inconsistent, and time itself is capricious and non-linear. In addition to slowing down or speeding up or even reversing, individuals may be translocated to various points along their timeline with no apparent regard for causality. Time loops and ‘montages’- wherein individuals experience disparate but relevant events in rapid succession - are also common occurrences. Physical constants like gravity fluctuate wildly.

The sky itself is luminescent without any celestial bodies, resembling an ever-evolving kaleidoscope pattern. It’s also been known to fall on occasion, though reports of this phenomenon are always dismissed as left-wing alarmism as a matter of policy2. The terrain is always colourful, but otherwise changes randomly, rolling like a stormy sea. Many of the objects and architecture within Clown Town appear to be physical manifestations of optical illusions that should not be able to exist in three dimensions. The atmosphere is thick enough to breathe and relatively consistent at 21% oxygen, 1% helium, 1% trace gases, and 77% nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, making it extremely psychoactive to humans.

Nature: The reality within Clown Town is as thin as tissue paper, and even vanilla humans are able to manipulate it through will alone. Unfortunately, the stochastic nature of Clown Town makes it extremely difficult for even skilled benders to exercise their gifts in a controlled manner, and structured thaumaturgy is basically impossible. Throughout Clown Town there are multiple spacetime tears, which the natives attempt to keep sealed using large, polka-dotted patches of an unknown material. ‘Glitches in the Matrix’, aside from those already mentioned, are a frequent occurrence.

History & Associated Parties: The native inhabitants that give Clown Town its name are a race of vaguely humanoid reality benders who generally fit the description of ‘monster clown’. They appear to alternate between states of euphoric mania and psychotic episodes of rage or panic, utilizing their abilities to either entertain one another or attack each other if their attempts at entertainment went unappreciated.

One notably consistent trait between them are perfect sets of shiny white teeth, which they claim are a necessary adaptation to their high-sugar diets. While Clowns can and do eat non-sugary foods, their apparent need for a high sugar intake has resulted in a culture that regards anything not generally considered junk food as 'non-kosher'. Although the exact criteria for this dietary system are somewhat flexible, every Clown I've spoken with regards raw fruits and vegetables as 'disgusting'3.

Fashion and architecture within Clown Town, as impermanent as they are, appear to have a notably Italian influence. The College Campus is the only set of buildings to have any permanence, which has been explained by the natives as a consequence of their professors all being tenured.

As relatively few Wanderers have been to Clown Town personally, most of the information we have about it and its inhabitants come from the Clown Troupe attached to Herman Fuller’s Circus of the Disquieting. Sometime in the early 20th century, the first Clowns left Clown Town to work for Herman Fuller, enthusiastic for an easily impressed audience of vanilla humans. These Clowns were required to undergo ‘circus time procedures’ tempering their abilities and psychotic outbreaks to allow them to function in human society. The Circus Clown Eugene claims to suffer from mild to moderate PTSD from waking up during such a procedure. The Clowns also rely heavily on a medication referred to as 'Clown Impulse Suppressant' to control outbreaks of unacceptable behaviour, with mixed degrees of success.

Some Clowns, most notably the current troupe leader and Circus Ringmaster Icky and her partner Lolly, were originally human. How this is accomplished is not known4, but the conversion appears to be total. The Clowns do not seem to hold any prejudice against human-born Clowns, instead considering it a great honour and proof of exceptionality to be inducted into their ranks. There is a third sub-group of Clowns with stunted intellect and highly specialized abilities known as bred Clowns, and are claimed to be the result of eugenic experiments forced upon them by Herman Fuller during the growing abuse and insanity of his final years as Ringmaster.

Clown Town itself is led by ‘The Great Clown Pagliacci’ though it remains unclear if this a title or a specific individual. It should be noted that the Clown’s system of governance, such as it is, is highly informal and chaotic and does not clearly correspond with any political system on Earth, past or present. Paligacci’s power has been said to range from a theocratic dictator to an all but politically neutered figurehead, depending on what’s funnier at the time5.

The Clowns do apparently have a caste system, separating Clowns into ‘Highers’ or ‘Lowers’. The Lowers are essentially commoners, whereas the Highers are appointed by the Great Clown Pagliacci as a kind of nobility. Pagliacci can seemingly grant or revoke this status as he sees fit. While the Circus Clowns originally practised a version of this system, Icky was successfully elected troupe leader on the campaign of abolishing it6. This has created the odd situation wherein Icky is a Higher Clown in Clown Town but not within her own troupe.

Clown Town is also inhabited by a species of reality-bending creatures known as Fun-Lovers, who are kept for the black ‘Clown’s Milk’ they produce when having fun. They occupy the lowest status among Clown Town citizens, though they are not completely subjugated and will use their powers to assert themselves when necessary. There is a degree of symbiosis between the Clowns and Fun-Lovers, with the Clown’s being dependent on Clown’s Milk for their powers and possibly their immortality, and in turn serve as one of the few sapient races capable of providing Fun-Lover’s with long-term entertainment. A sizable number of Clowns appear to have sincere sympathies towards and even friendships with Fun-Lovers, and have been known to stand with them in solidarity over key issues, such as unionization, ultra-pasteurization, and freedom of ontology.

Approach: Clown Town is not connected to the Library by any known Way. The Clowns utilize their own Way nexus referred to as The Phoneyard. This nexus is comprised of a multitude of pocket verses, each a replica a real-world location like a lake or a cornfield, which have been attuned to allow Waymaking into specific realities. Each pocket is simultaneously entangled with Clown Town and each other, serving as a hub for rapid travel across the Worlds. There are no known permanent Ways connecting Clown Town or the Phoneyard to any other reality. The Clowns themselves claim this is a security feature to keep outsiders out. However, given their nature, it is perhaps not unfair to wonder if the inaccessibility of Clown Town was originally meant to keep the Clowns in7.

Making a Way into the Phoneyard typically requires Clown-specific magic, however, Herman Fuller was able to bypass this with the use of his Kaleidoscope, a mechanical Waymaking device of his own design. While this seems to suggest that sufficiently advanced Waymaking techniques can allow mortals access to the Phoneyard, there are currently no confirmed occurrences of this outside of Fuller’s Kaleidoscope. When asked, Eugene claimed that this is because Clown Town has upgraded its defences after Fuller’s original incursion.

Any Wanderers wishing to visit Clown Town themselves will most likely have to seek aid from the Circus of the Disquieting. Fortunately, many of its members are frequent visitors to the Library and usually quite willing to work with our organization.

Other Detail: Certain Wanderers have observed a strong similarity in both appearance, abilities, culture, and architecture of the Clowns to that of Alagadda, and have speculated that there may be a connection between the two. The Clowns themselves insist that, due to the odd nature of time within Clown Town, they have no beginning and have always existed. The Palace Library in Alagadda, however, contains a record of a troupe of mummers whose powers grew to rival even those of the Masked Lords. They were even able to produce non-cardinal colours within the city, and for this heinous crime, they were exiled and left to go mad in a neighbouring realm.

Observations & Stories

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And so the vast and horrid troupe of mummers were brought into the Palace of Alagadda to be judged by the Masked Lords, the Ambassador, and the Hanged King himself, all of whom glared down at the throng of outcasts and nare-do-wells with vitriolic contempt.

“Buffoons!” The Black Lord cried. “Untalented, vulgar, half-wit buffoons! For untold years now your philistine pageantry has degraded the culture of our great city. For untold years, your dunderheaded antics have sown incalculable grievances amongst both people and property. For untold years, your slanderous and seditious satire has undermined our authority and the authority of Alagadda itself, and now you have finally abandoned all pretence of loyalty and patriotism by openly and flippantly breaking our most sacred of laws!”

The mummers showed no sign of contrition, their masked visages all staring up at the court in complete apathy.

“Know that only your sheer numbers have earned you mercy!” The White Lord bellowed. “A mass execution would only serve to further galvanize the unrest that you’re stirred up!”

The mummers cocked their heads innocently, as if ignorant of any possible wrongdoing.

“I can think of nothing more tragic than pragmatism demanding mercy when justice demands vengeance,” The Ambassador hissed, their sharpened nails glistening in the spectral light.

“And mercy requires remorse, does it not?” The Yellow Lord asked. “These vagabonds have shown nothing of the kind. They take pride in sowing chaos and anarchy at every turn, turning all in their path to rot and ruin!”

The mummers cocked their heads to the other side, and shrugged their shoulders.

“You’re not funny,” The Red Lord declared flatly.

The mummers gasped in horror, and produce a great clamour in protest at what they deemed to be the only truly heinous charge against them.

“Enough!” the court physician pleaded, his beaked mask insufficient to shield him from the sickly saccharine smell before him. “Truly, have you no shame? Have you no decency? Not since that most vile of Clowns Pagliacci has this court beheld such contemptuous and unrepentant knaves!”

It was then the leader of the mummers stepped forward, and in violation of Alagadda’s inviolable law, removed his mask.

“But doctor,” he laughed. “I am Pagliacci!”8

The court all gasped in shock as the other mummers removed their masks as well. The Ambassador moved to speak, but even they were cowed when Pagliacci broke the laws of alchemy themselves and draped himself in a thousand impossible shades of purple. His troupe followed suit, and for the first and only time The Court of Alagadda was flamboyant with incardinal colours.

“Behold: The Purple Lord, Wearer of the Perfidious Mask!" Pagliacci sneered, dancing a jig upon the palatial dias. "I gladly accept my generously self-appointed position. For my first edict, I hearby decree that from this day henceforth all of Alagadda shall taste of purple, that all elections be openly rigged in the name of transparency, and that the Palace Library carry some modern scientific periodicals without any of this alchemy nonsense in it!”

“Here here!” the mummers cheered in agreement.

All their laughter and celebration drew to a sudden halt when their garish colours were snuffed out and the court was plunged into spectral monotone.

The Hanged King had risen from his throne, his chains slackened, and his veil lifted by the Ambassador, revealing the unspeakable horror that is the god-shaped hole.

The unnatural silence was broken by the King's enraged wails, and Pagliacci and his troupe all dropped to their knees, too paralyzed by their terror to even beg for mercy. By the King's will, a crack in Creation opened wide beneath the mummer troupe and swallowed them whole, letting them fall deep into the bowels of madness that was the nether of the Nevermeant.

The crack was sealed, the King veiled, and the Court was free to move on from the pestering nuisance of Pagliacci and his troupe. Many would just as soon forget he ever existed at all. Though the Great Clown's reign as The Purple Lord lasted barely a moment, beneath the reek of lust sweat and sweetmeats there still lingers the persistent taste of purple amidst the streets of Alagadda.

~ Excerpt from the Palacial records of the Hanged King's Court, acquired by Ickis the Wayward

Doubt


Few Wanderers have ever set foot within Clown Town, and those that have have reported experiences so surreal and bizarre it's impossible to know what was real and what was madness. The Clowns themselves are the best first-hand source of information regarding their native realm, but it is far from inconceivable that their testimony is unbiased. Though powerful, the Clowns are far too fickle to ever be counted as an enemy or ally, and neither their threats or promises should be taken too seriously.

If the Clowns are from Alagadda, it is unclear why they would not acknowledge this. If the above records are to be believed, only the Hanged King himself possesses enough power to subdue them, and he is forever bound by his own noose and cannot leave his kingdom. It seems unlikely that the Ambassador would hunt them down and drag them before the Hanged King one by one.

Perhaps the greatest mystery of the Clown Civilization is how much they have impacted our culture's conception of clown performers. Since time is non-linear within Clown Town, it's impossible to know if it inspired non-anomalous clowns, was inspired by non-anomalous clowns, or if they both inspired each other in a causal loop. Prior to their joining up with the Circus of the Disquieting, human encounters with actual Clowns were likely few and far between. Over the past hundred years, however, it seems likely that at least tens of millions of people would have witnessed Clowns firsthand courtesy of Herman Fuller, and there can be little doubt that so many people witnessing such amazing and terrifying beings has left an indelible mark on both the anomalous and mundane worlds.

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