Alpine City is separated into five geographic districts that wind their way along the western edge of the Alpine Mountains. Each district is ruled by a pair of judges. Judgeship is a family affair and passed on generation to generation with the oldest living couple working as matriarch and patriarch (officially known as District Judges). When either the matriarch or patriarch dies, regardless of their age, their eldest married child will inherit the judgeship. If none of the family’s children are married the eldest brother and sister will share rule until one of them marries, in which case that sibling will take complete control of the district (sharing with their spouse). If the ruling family has no close kin or offspring, the closest living relative, who is both married and has children, will be appointed acting judge after which the judgeship will continue from their familial line as normal. Alpine City native have always viewed large families as the wish of the gods and as a result families in Alpine, on average, have at least four children. The intense focus on the family means passing the judgeship is a standard affair in all but the most unusual cases.
Alpine’s convoluted hierarchy seems prone to all manner of power struggles and foul play amongst the ruling families, and it would be incorrect to say that Alpine families are completely exempt from feuds. However, the past 20 years notwithstanding, power struggles and civil unrest have been less common here than any other major city. The “family first” mentality means that most citizens focus on the good of the community before themselves. More often than not the disagreements and dissensions have revolved around siblings or children wishing to pass the ruling seat to someone else as opposed to seeking it for themselves.
As of the first of Poe, 248EM, all five districts are ruled by elderly couples with several children and grandchildren. One district is run by a couple who now have fifteen great-grand children and have ruled longer than anyone in Alpine’s history—78 years.
Alpine is Atla’s most populous city with nearly 200,000 more citizens than Westlake, and 500,000 more than FreePort, the second and third most populous cities respectively. Over 90% of the population are Followers of the Five; most sects view Steyman as either the creator-god or worship Him for his role in creating the land itself.
Alpine City is said to have been settled after the nomadic mountain dwellers that inhabited the high plains and valleys migrated to the foothills and began cultivating the land. Legend says that Steyman visited the people of the mountains and told them the valley had been prepared for them as a holy city and they were to build a temple to pay their respects. Though the area below the Alpine Mountains is a high desert with a relatively poor climate for growing, the people were able to establish a thriving, if small, community sometime around 3,000PM with the temple following shortly afterwards. As a final command from Steyman the people were told to build all future homes and cities out of granite, the most common stone in the region. After numerous excavations of ancient ruins it is clear that, regardless of where the motivation originated, the earliest buildings in the region were indeed constructed from blocks of granite and the tradition continued until the first Raillines were installed.
For nearly 3,000 years Alpine City has grown at a slow and steady rate. Hundreds of years of records show little to no changes in the ancient people’s lifestyle, tools, technology, or farming techniques. However, the city has faced more change within the past 50 years than the rest of its history combined.
Once, despite its size, Alpine was considered a close-knit ‘family’ where neighbors knew neighbors and the most important thing in an individual’s life was the welfare of his or her community. But all of that changed with the construction of the first railline in the heart of the city 30 years ago. Alpine’s location in the heart of the nation made it the default choice for railline hub of Atla. Alpine City is home to more raillines and stations than any other city in the nation. The explosive growth has had a tremendous impact on the geography of the city and the people who live there. Today the city’s economy is based almost entirely around the Raillines. This relatively recent change created a rift between the citizens, some in favor of the city’s new identity others considering it an affront to thousands of years of tradition.
Though they have brought people together like never before, the Raillines are a source of contention and debate among the people of Atla. While they do make traveling easier, their impact on the environment cannot be understated. And nowhere is that impact more obvious than in Alpine City. What was once a beautiful valley surrounded by aspen and pine-covered granite peaks is now a dingy dystopia with more crime, pollution, and poverty than any other major city. Rail companies pay less and demand more from their employees than any other industry. 90% of old jobs (from restaurants to stone quarries) have been run out of business and replaced with rail-focused or themed stores. It’s almost impossible to earn a livable wage unless one works for the raillines, and those that do are forced to endure inhumane conditions.
Many analysts and government officials throughout Atla feel that if conditions continue as they are then the city will fracture into two distinct regions—the areas owned and controlled by the rail companies and the few natives who oppose the lines and refuse to leave. A majority of the rail infrastructure is located in the top half of the city. However, most of the opposition to the rails comes from the same areas, making any type of rebellion or mutiny all the more complicated.
Alpine is known for more than just its network of raillines. The high peaks and beginner-friendly trails provide endless Hiking, hunting, and camping for locals and travelers alike. The mountains are perfect for families to recreate, picnic, or explore. And with dozens of paved motorcart roads winding up the narrow canyons it’s possible to see some of the nation’s most beautiful vistas without hiking for hours on end.
Numerous small lakes and reservoirs are hidden around nearly every bend and peak rewarding those who wish to immerse themselves in nature. While protests and demonstrations for and against the railline are an everyday occurrence in the city itself, it is still possible to escape the demands of modern life and enjoy the best nature has to offer just beyond the city’s borders.