From the description of the city of Bastion in the “Into the Odd” book:
Bastion is the self-proclaimed capital of civilization. Its skies are black with smoke and its streets bustling with residents from every corner of the world. Vast factories produce mass goods and new prototypes.
Mobs flood Bastion’s streets with hanged corpses in their search for otherworldly impostors. Meanwhile, countless star cults have vastly different beliefs and agendas, rarely coexisting peacefully.
In the official Into the Odd setting there is but one significant city, and that is Bastion. Here are ten things to remember about the city. Sure, you may hear of the Golden Lands and other such places to go, but Bastion is the center of humanity in all ways.
Captives and prisoners of war during the long eight years of the Arcanum War were all relegated to this massive urban setting. Take a cue from Dark City; it is unknowable because the city changes. It is also unknowable because the fey have a direct port into the minds of all those who drink the water and eat the food of this place, and if something is not to be known or remembered, it is not known or remembered.
Hopesend Port? Some people have vague memories of going there, and it was an awful place. Because the prison is stronger if no one tries to escape.
Then take a cue from the Matrix; humans are imprisoned there, and offer up their lives and energies more often than they realize, but to keep them from revolting they must believe it. They must believe Bastion is the world, not an alien prison. So, it suits the fey to give them all the worst they expect from each other, and a limited flavor of the best.
Bastion was designed to be so vague it requires customization, which reveals something of your Referee. I’m riffing off that to suggest that Bastion is so vague because the fey decided to give the humans the prison they deserve. Bastion is the result; they have made it what it is, with the good and the evil that goes along with that.
The High Council rules Bastion, and is also the Delicate Court of Walls (a decidedly Unseelie flavor of the fey.) They keep the city’s secrets from all but the insane or the watchful rebels that penetrate the ruse. They feast on the forgotten and they are delirious on the waves of misery and lust that roil up from the stone cages that their prisoners pay each other to occupy.
Humanity reveals itself as an ouroboros, its food chain a snake eating its own tail. There are those who struggle for the greater good, but if you scratch their veneer hard enough you see their crusade is for their own self image, or for the good of their tribe. The ruthless seek to concentrate wealth and power and comfort in their own hands, and those who lack their focus end up in awful circumstances, bewildered by the harshness of it all but pathetically grateful for a pittance that allows survival and shelter.
Now and then a remarkable thinker, a bright soul, a true visionary rises up to show the people a better way.
Those people disappear in Bastion without a trace.