According to lore, the Attic is a largely unexplored realm, a treasure trove preserved by the dust of history. It’s said that those courageous enough to brave the rickety pull-down ladder (and ingenious enough to find a way to even access it), will be rewarded with a wealth of knowledge, salvage, and relics of the bygone human era.
A curious toy could spend a lifetime there, studying the rare artifacts that the humans left behind, carefully stowed in chests and crates, thinking that one day they might, alas, have need of these items again.
That being said, the newly awakened denizens of this domain have been more than happy to put these items to use.
Where is It?
The Attic exists in the more rural and suburban neighborhoods of the city, appearing on the top floor of those houses that have not fallen to complete ruin. Typically, they’re accessible via daunting pull-down ladders or other secreted entry points – though if there are any Nickers (wall-dwelling scavengers) nearby, they’re sure to have their own ways in, either through the walls or the ventilation ducts.
It is not uncommon for toys, who’ve lived their entire awakenings in a house, to be unaware that an Attic even exists above the world they live in. It is often a startling revelation for such toys, especially when they find out these Attics are rarely uninhabited, home to communities that refer to themselves as the Attic folk.
While no Attic is identical, there is an eerie sameness to be found within those that have survived throughout the years. Perhaps it is that feeling of abandoned human history, a pervading scent of dust, moth balls and warm wood, or that common back drop of wood panels and pink insulation.
Not even the Attic Folk have fully cataloged all that the Attic contains. There is an endless supply of clutter and curios, and old steamer trunks and cedar chests often remain unopened throughout the years. What they do discover is often left alone. Instead, the Attic Folk will leave behind a scattering of esoteric symbols on nearby surfaces; appearing as little more than chaotic graffiti to an outsider, but a set of comprehensible directions to the attic folk.
The Valley of Shrouds: Brittle dust sheets hang low over the hardwood furniture stored here. Flowing down and around the immense structures, they seem almost like frozen, fabric waterfalls. With time and effort, climbing these dusty folds would provide an unparalleled vantage over the whole attic; conversely, the Shrouds also create countless unexplored hidey-holes beneath the furniture pieces they cover.
The Wardrobe: At the far end of the Valley of Shrouds, hidden from view, stands the Wardrobe. Though the keys to the large oaken doors have long since been lost, a solemn looking Softie by the name of Menshen may be persuaded to reveal the sliding panel that opens up into the Wardrobe’s bottom-most level.
Though its contents seem almost mythical, stories tell of the wardrobe being bigger on the inside, that each floor is like its own little world, that you can climb as high as you like but that the wardrobe goes on forever, and that toys will spend years exploring the inside of this structure, only to find, upon their return, that they had only been gone for handful of days.
What of this is true? No one knows, but perhaps the secret lies at the very top floor of Wardrobe…
The Old Projector: Handed down from generation to generation, there’s an old reel to reel hidden away somewhere in the attic. While the film canisters nearby seem to mostly contain old home movies and “allowance-budget” masterpieces, there are some whose contents are far more cryptic…
The ‘Theatre: At the center of the Attic Folk communities, there is a structure akin to old Roman amphitheaters, with salvaged benches fully encircling a cleared space or stage. Though it may seem of little import, this is where the Attic Folk assemble Atticus when they are in need of guidance.
The Corrugated Expanse: A lesson in efficient storage, large portions of the Attic are made up of jumbled cardboard boxes. It is nearly impossible to traverse safely; Try to climb over it, and you risk falling through layers of rotted cardboard, or getting wedged within darkened ravines; try to tunnel through it, and you risk causing the whole stack to collapse. Even flyers must be wary, lest they collide with the low wooden beams and thick spider webs that clot the upper reaches of the Attic.
That being said, dedicated prospectors wiling to plum the corrugated depths can never say for certain what exactly they might find.
The Pull-Down: The most logical and easy to spot method of getting into the Attic, it is far from the easiest. The Pull-Down ladder has bested even the most intrepid explorers, especially if the Attic Folk are paranoid enough to reinforce it.
The Secret: Should one be so inclined, one may even find that the Attic folk have devised methods of travelling to the attics of other nearby houses. They have ranged from the re-purposing of model planes and drones to crafting mechanical carriages that run along the long defunct phone and power lines that still line the skies.
Who Do We Meet?
The Attic Folk: The Attic folk are ever exploring the myriad nooks and crannies of the Attic, jotting down their discoveries on scraps of cardboard or on the closest flat surface. While Socks don’t often find their way into the Attic, the Attic Folk are typically made up of an equal smattering of various Softies and Mechas; wind-up tin toys and porcelain dolls in faded dresses inherited from older relatives, and newer toys put into storage as kids grow older and move away.
As a group, they are capable of creating some rather ingenious mechanical Devices. However, when they encounter something unexpected, an observer might hear something along the lines of: “Well, you know what Atticus would say about that, don’t you?”, to which those in earshot will nod solemnly, venturing off on a singular course of action despite nothing having been verbally agreed upon.
Atticus: As often as they’re spoken of, an Atticus, the leader of the Attic Folk, is very rarely seen by outsiders. When the Attic Folk decide Atticus must be consulted (such as in times of great need or desperation), they congregate at the “Theatre. Starting from the outermost circles, each of the Attic Folk removes a piece of themselves, handing it through the ranks to the center, where each piece is skillfully knit together by the clan’s most talented hands.
When the last piece is attached to the growing amalgam, the hybrid begins to move, and the Atticus awakens. An Atticus is wise beyond the years of any one Attic Folk, and will advise their clan on their best course of action to face the trouble ahead. Though a highly rare talent within Awakened populations, there are even mutterings amidst Attic-Folk that a truly exceptional Atticus might even be able to decipher the old letterings left behind by the humans.
In truly desperate times, though immobile themselves, an Atticus can use its hive mind abilities to help their clan function as a single-minded and coordinated unit. In exchange for a Personality Part, the Attic Folk may allow an adventuring party to assemble Atticus at their behest.
It is through the guidance of an especially wise Atticus that Attic Folk will devise ways of travelling between Attics. An outsider will assume these travels are to seek salvage and trade partners; but Attic Folk know that the true goal is to find willing more willing personality parts (often in exchange for one of their own) to bring back to their domain, so that their Atticus might acquire new and useful knowledge.
The Mannequin: There is a long standing argument as to whether the towering Mannequin is sentient. No one, not even Atticus, know much about it, aside from the fact that it has been there since time immemorial, placed there by those who’ve since disappeared. Though it may be simple superstition, many of the Attic Folk swear that the Mannequin’s gaze has shifted throughout the years.
It is lodged behind some of the densest expanses of clutter in the Attic, but who knows what knowledge could be gleaned from this creature, who has been watching and waiting in silence for so very long.
Savvy, The Beam Strider: Hopping from beam to beam with ease, this Mekka, an action figure from a once popular comic book series, is rarely noticed by the ground dwelling Attic Folk. She lives quite contentedly in the cobwebs and rafters of the Attic, salvaging what she can from those hard-to-reach areas in the Attic, and trading with the Nickers for the things she needs to decorate her hidden home. She is rather partial to comic book scraps, creating collages of dizzying patterns along the upper walls. Though she lives alone, she is excited by new faces, and will swing down to the floor with her trusty grappling hook should a non-Attic Folk make an appearance here.
Menshen, The Gate Keeper: Descriptions of Menshen vary from person to person, but he is always mentioned as being a rather solemn Softy. He appreciates company, and for a price he will reveal the sliding panel that leads into the Wardrobe. Though not much is known about his, it’s assumed that he was Awakened long before the humans had disappeared.
The Dust Bunnies: This tribe of ramshackle Softies often seems little more than clumpy bits of stuffing with eyes and appendages. They are constantly on the lookout for new and useful bits of Stuff to help augment their numbers. In Dented campaigns, this may even result in them swarming a party to steal Parts from the unwary. They can be found anywhere in the Attic, but most commonly hiding beneath the dust sheets in the Valley of Shrouds.