Mechanics and Overviews

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Mechanics and Overviews

Post  Quixoticus on Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:53 pm

This thread will list all of the official ideas relevant to the thread as they are added. This post will serve as an index with quicklinks.
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Re: Mechanics and Overviews

Post  Quixoticus on Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:54 pm

Gods: An Overview

Gods are immortal beings of immense magical power. They are the supreme masters of the ethereal plane. They are capable of emotions and personalities in the same way that mortals are. Gods have often struggled with each other to rule the ethereal realm.

-What is a God?

Gods are sentient, ethereal masses of magic energy. Because of their potent and volatile nature, gods cannot stably occupy the physical plane, and are restricted to the more latent, ethereal plane of existence. The most common way that a god manifests in the physical plane is through magic.

-What Can a God Do?

Gods are capable of influencing natural systems (worlds) through the conscious efforts of sentient mortal souls. Though they are masters of ethereal planes, they are restricted from naturally entering physical planes, and must be guided there by mortals. Mortals channel magic and act as the medium through which a god can influence the physical plane. However, because mortals are usually too weak in comparison to the potent might of the gods, few gods have ever manifested even a fraction of their full power in the physical plane.

A god’s power is dependent on the movement of magic between the ethereal plane and the physical plane. As more magic is channeled in a realm of magic, the god(s) of that realm grow in strength (and vice versa).

-Social Anatomy

Some gods are stronger than others. A select few gods dominate the magic realms. For example, though several lesser gods govern the elemental magics, a single, more powerful god rules over all of the elemental realms of magic (and the lesser gods therein). The same is true for Life magic as well as Void magic. It is unclear whether an omnipotent god rules over all others.

Gods are highly competitive with one another and seek to gain power over each other and ascend the social ladder. Because the ethereal plain is naturally attuned to the potent, volatile magics of the gods, and therefore relatively stable, gods turn to the physical plane to bolster their strength.

-Lesser Gods

The exact number of gods existing on the ethereal plane is unknown. While the principal gods rule over the cardinal magic realms, a greater number of lesser gods preside over the realms of magic therein. For example, though Orswen currently presides over the Elemental realm, there are several other gods beneath him who occupy the individual elemental magics of Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. And even in each of these categories, a number of gods may be working in tandem. The same is true for the Life realm and the Void realm. It is not uncommon for mortal societies to channel the magic of the same god in a realm of magic, or two different gods entirely.

-Gods and Realms of Magic

Gods are, biologically, defined by their personality. A god is not restricted to any one realm of magic; their movement among the realms of magic is determined by their own level of acquired power and if whether they are strong enough to best the god that presides in that realm of magic. Gods engage in power struggles with one another just as often as they bargain with one another. It is not impossible for a god presiding in the Void realm to move to the Elemental realm, or if their power is sufficient enough, to rule over both. A lesser god in the Fire realm of Elemental magic can rise to rule over the Void realm.

-Gods and Mortals

Magic is a natural part of the ethereal realm, and outright owned by the gods. Gods can refuse to give mortals their magic. Gods and mortals often bargain for the use of magic in the physical plane. Gods have been known to bestow their magic in exchange for ritual offerings, prayers, and conquests of souls. Though magic use is often to the benefit of both gods and mortals, abuse of magic in the physical plane has lead to dire consequences for mortals.

Frequent or sustained use of magic can create a bridge between the ethereal and physical planes, which translates to an unstable influx of magic into the physical plane. These “magic rifts” will expand if left unchecked and can swallow the physical plane whole. Though the gods are not concerned about absorbing the physical plane into their own, the mortals understand it means certain death, and take great caution in the use of magic.

-Godspeak

Gods have been known to grant some mortals substantial magic power. They do so by bestowing mortals with the knowledge of Godspeak. Godspeak is the language of the gods and grants its speaker the ability to summon magic without ritual offering, prayer, or bargain. Godspeak is an empowered form of communication, so it draws from the stamina and will of the speaker. Using Godspeak can quickly weaken a mortal and, if they aren’t careful, kill them outright.

Godspeak is unlike any spoken or written language. Without the blessing of the gods, Godspeak is incomprehensible and utterly alien to a mortal. Only those who are given the ability to understand Godspeak can use it and interpret it. And just as the gods can refuse their magic to mortals, they can take the gift of Godspeak away.

---


-Notable Gods

Malcolar – Longstanding ruler of the Void realm. Malcolar is a cunning god driven by power and the will to dominate the other gods and rule the ethereal plane. He believes the potential strength of the gods is limitless, and seeks to discover whether he can ascend to a greater state of existence.

Malcolar is a manipulator and a firebrand. He attempts to usurp power by turning the gods against each other, as well as mortals. His greatest adversary is Eklibra, who has thwarted several of his power grabs in the past, once when he ruled over the Elemental realm, and again when he attempted to take over the Life realm. Few gods can match Malcolar’s cunning, tactical mind.

Eklibra – Longstanding ruler of the Life realm. Eklibra’s success as the god of Life magic is owed to her amiable nature. She treats the lesser gods under her rule fairly and keeps the cunning Malcolar in check, which most gods are grateful for.

Eklibra believes the gods can exist peacefully with one another in spite of the natural imbalance of power. Her selflessness and fraternal affection makes her popular with the other gods, as well as mortals.

She seeks to preserve the physical plane because she believes Malcolar will use any chance at power to his personal advantage, which would throw the ethereal plane into chaos and undo the peaceful order she strives to maintain.

Orswen – Longstanding ruler of the Elemental realm. Orswen is known for his idealism and warm-hearted nature. His success as the ruler of the Elemental realm is owed to how well he brought together the lesser gods of the naturally-conflicting elements and established compromise through inspiring rhetoric and grand vision.

Orswen is a dreamer and tragically self-empowered. He believes that ideas can change reality, and more specifically, that he can change reality. For example, Orswen believes he can ultimately best Malcolar’s chaotic and selfish nature, and Malcolar has used this to his advantage several times. Only Eklibra’s counsel has kept Orswen from becoming Malcolar’s pawn. Still, so long as Orswen swears by his idealisms, he is always at risk of being corrupted or fooled by Malcolar.


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Re: Mechanics and Overviews

Post  Quixoticus on Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:58 pm

Magic: An Overview

Magic is a supernatural force that can alter the physical world. Magic can augment an action and act as a catalyst in many situations. For instance, magic can be used to lift objects, light a candle, intensify an already-burning fire. In short, magic allows things to happen outside of the natural order.

-Where Does it Come From?

Magic is derived from immortal beings, sometimes referred to as gods, who are made of the stuff. In a way, magic is the essence of gods. Because of this, magic is considered an invasive element; it is not part of the natural order. Magic is granted to mortals by the gods, and can be taken away or refused by the gods as well; gods are not forced to grant mortals magic.

-Who Can Use It?

Anyone who has the favor of the gods can use their magic. Favor is usually earned through pacts or promises made by mortals. When the bargain is completed, the mortal is often granted a sum of magic to be used as desired, or as demanded. For example, a mortal can make a pact with the God of Earth in exchange for a blessing of good crop season, or to summon an earthquake on his or her enemies.

Similarly, a mortal can harness magic through Godspeak. Godspeak is an empowered language that gods can give to mortals to command magic at will. However, using Godspeak to wield magic is a straining process, and can quickly weaken the speaker, and even kill them outright if they aren’t careful. Similar to how gods can refuse magic, gods can also revoke a mortal’s ability to use Godspeak.

-Is Magic All the Same?

Though all magic is derived from gods, each god has a distinct realm of magic. The exact number of gods and realms of magic is unknown. A number of gods govern the natural elements of fire, water, earth, and air. It is also believed that there is a god of life/vitality and a god of death/void.

-Realms of Magic

Cardinal elemental magics are distinct among the four (fire, water, earth, air).

Life/vitality magics are distinguished by promoting life: healing, growth, birth, strengthening, etc.

Death/void magics are distinguished by promoting death: sickness, stagnating, deteriorating, etc.

-Perils of Magic

The use of magic in the physical plane has its dangers. For example, Godspeak is draining on its user, and has been known to kill users who were reckless or unfamiliar with their personal limitations (stamina/strength of will).

In rarer instances, a magical current is so strong that it forces a bridge between the ethereal plane and the physical plane. These magic “rifts” will naturally expand if left unchecked, and can swallow the physical plane whole. For mortals, this means certain death; most, if not all, mortal societies that wield magic do so responsibly, and understand that magic is safer when used in sparing amounts.
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Geography

Post  AWizardDidIt on Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:52 am



As decided by a popular vote, I present to you the geography of the known world.


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Re: Mechanics and Overviews

Post  Quixoticus on Sat Jun 09, 2012 5:27 pm

The known world is called Calmargur--it's a name derived from a dead language, roughly translating to "World of Calm and Trouble."
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Re: Mechanics and Overviews

Post  AWizardDidIt on Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:11 pm

Playable Races

Individual races are color-coded for your convenience. In addition, fuller and more comprehensive documents are available for many races. If you are interested in procuring one, speak to me over Messenger.

The Gali - by Fireseed

Physiology

The Gali are, put simply, a race of giants. Humanoid in almost all respects, one might mistake a Gali for a human from a distance without any point of reference to pierce the illusion and reveal the creature’s magnificent size.

Standing between thirty and forty feet, erring towards the center, an adult Gali is hard to miss. They tend towards darker skin tones and a tendency towards dark hair ranging from red to black. The men have a tradition of grooming their facial hair meticulously while the women prefer ornamentation in their hair, both of which are considered signs of prosperity. The hair itself tends to be curly in nature, though the women are fond of finding ways to tame their manes, this is often a bonding ritual between mother and child.

Gali exhibit a peculiar quality in their iris that allows the expression of a vivid spectrum of eye colors; essentially the dominant color of the iris proper is accentuated by filaments of iridescent material that gravitate towards a second seemingly arbitrary color. The result is literally breath taking in the proper lighting, though the effect somewhat diminishes over even short distances. Gali scholars hold a theory that the dominant color of the iris is passed on by the parents and the filaments are influenced by the diet.

Upon closer inspection a Gali reveals several unique traits that eschew it from a common, or at least recent, ancestry with humanity. Their vertebrae are considerably stronger and more pronounced than a human’s, often visible through any sort of relatively thin material. Below the ribcage is a cartilaginous lattice designed to support the weight of their tremendous organs without hampering flexibility.

They supplement their diet with minerals straight from the earth and can live off an entirely inorganic diet for long stretches of time before succumbing to gradual illness from a lack of proper protein intake. Generally this is considered an unappealing dietary option for most Gali who prefer to garnish their meals with raw sulfur, ground hematite, volcanic ash or whatever else is locally available. This leads to two interesting developments, namely that most other races find Gali cooking unappetizing and the occasional pilfering of Gali graves to steal their teeth (widely regarded as one of the toughest materials known to mortal races).

Gali grow fast but reproduce slowly. An infant is roughly the size of a fully grown human, but will grow to twice that size over the course of a year. Adolescence starts somewhat earlier for them than humans as well, generally after eight to ten years with the females erring closer to the eight and males to the ten. They generally stop growing somewhere between age fifteen and twenty altogether, though there is a marked decline in growth before this is reached.

Gali regularly exceed 200 years in age if not brought low by illness or violence with the oldest recorded living member just shy of 300.

Society

Origins of the Gali civilization are shrouded in mystery and their scholars seem keen to keep it that way. Instead there is an emphasis on creating a new and better society by learning from the failings of the past. In this tradition they have slowly constructed a flexible governmental structure capable of dealing with Gali affairs on a small and large scale, though it often has problems dealing with other societies who do not live at the same pace as the Gali.

There is a strong imperative on the raising of a healthy child. Procreation is taken very seriously. A single Gali child must consume the diet of almost three adults to keep up with its body’s growth, quickly draining the local environment of food for everyone if more than two are raised in a Community at any given time. This generally limits a local Community of Gali to one or two children every ten years. There is much ceremony and celebration in adherence to the birth and journey of a child through life.

Upon reaching adulthood most Gali experience a longing to exclude themselves from their family and to a minor extent their Community. Wanderlust sets in and they become known affectionately as a Maverick. They are given supplies and wisdom before being sent off to discover the world, interact with other Gali communities, and mingle with the other races of the world whenever possible. For this reason it is not uncommon to meet single Gali in the strangest of environments, especially bright-eyed young ones. This happens to also be a convenient method for the more secluded Gali communities to keep in touch with their far flung neighbors; often treating Mavericks with open arms and sending them back off with news from their corner of the world.

Eventually the wanderlust settles down in most Gali after a decade or so and they either return home or join a new Community. This transition begets a transformation in status and an inclusion to the world of Gali politics. Perhaps their relatively small population works in their favor on this point as it promotes a democratic process that runs with relative fluidity.

Gali society is structured into three essential tiers: the Community, the Parliament, and the Imperium. The Community is simply a local group of Gali gathered together to form a semi-autonomous livelihood. Neighboring Communities are obligated to maintain contact with one another and form a Parliament to deal with larger issues that could affect the aggregate whole. All Parliaments are in turn part of the Imperium.

The Community must have a minimum of eight members to be recognized. Despite having no technical upper limit it has been shown in practice that most Communities average eighteen members and no successful Community has ever supported more than fifty at one time.

Within the Community are a number of commonly established niches. Laborers are broken into three common affiliations associated with their typical duties: Miners, Shepherds, and Growers. Miners oversee the duties of any large scale earth projects from digging mines to carving drainage trenches (read: artificial rivers). Shepherds supply the meat for the community, with a preference for large game such as horses and bovine, they are also often called into use when dealing with dangerous animals that might naturally be found in the local environment. Growers are the agriculturalists of the Gali Community, either harvesting local plants for their spoils or growing food in more traditional ways in open territory. Working together these three groups provide the bulk of the food for the Community and are essential to its survival.

If you are not a laborer then you are often a craftsman of one kind or another. Architect is chief among this niche in popularity, all Gali at some point come across the ancient ruins of some bygone Gali empire and marvel at the architectural splendor of their past. This grandiose awe runs strong within the Community, which often has as many Architects as it can manage planning and building great structures that can only be imagined by smaller races. Weavers and Smiths are also highly respected niches that provide the day-in and day-out means of livelihood to the rest of the Community by providing clothes and tools for everyone. Other crafting professions exist, but are uncommon enough to bring traffic from one Community to another just for such a unique Gali’s expertise.

Every community has at least one designated Scholar whose job it is to catalogue and dispense the communal knowledge to all Gali freely. They maintain great libraries and large enough Communities will often utilize several at a time. While not implicitly stated, there is a strong attraction towards Scholars becoming philosophers and scientists. In a way they act as the heart of the Community, uniting its various branches into one whole. When an Architect requires aid with knowing what materials he should use for his next project he often calls upon the combined expertise of the local Scholars and Miners, for example.

If one is not devoted to labor, craft, or knowledge than one must find use as either a Sentinel or a Senator.

Sentinels are effectively members of the Gali military branch. Small Communities rarely need more than one Sentinel at a time, but should a Community find itself in need of more they can petition to immigrate more from the local Parliament. When not actively conducting the arts of war a Sentinel is obligated to keep a vigilant eye on the Community’s surroundings for danger and prepare tactical plans in case bloodshed arises. Sentinels also train locals in the art of self-defense, though this is rarely needed by most Gali, and have the unsavory job of acting as the Community’s armed judicial branch by bringing rogue Gali to justice.

Senators are Gali trained in the ways of politics. They are ambassadors, diplomats, and negotiators. Every Community has at least one Senator whose job it is to try and maintain peaceful relationships both within and without the Community. Unlike most positions, one must be voted in to become a Senator. The position itself has no time limitation, but a simple vote of no confidence can immediately strip a Senator of their privileges. Senators are often the face of a community to the smaller races in neighboring areas and strive to maintain, if not peaceful, lukewarm relations.

Within every Community there is a Council composed of Scholars, Sentinels, and Senators from within that Community. Put simply the Senators can propose movements, the Scholars evaluate them, and the Sentinels make sure they are enforced. Councils vote on important matters to the Community as well as provide essential arbitrations and judgment for contested matters.
Parliaments are not so much different to the Council system of the Community, but on a much larger scale. From each of cast commonly associated with a Council, a Community votes a representative to Parliament. Thus a Savant (from among Scholars), a Patriarch/Matriarch (from among Senators), and a Warden (from among Sentinels) convene with those of other Communities to discuss matters of importance to the Parliament as a whole.

The Imperium itself is simply a term that the Gali use to describe the entirety of their race. If each Parliament essentially acts as a State and every Community acts as a Town, then the Imperium is the Nation. From every Parliament a Savant, a Patriarch/Matriarch, and a Warden are chosen to represent the whole and provided extra powers to cast deciding votes in the case of a tie or political foul play. They are called Sages, Arbiters, and Imperators respectively.

Magic and Religion

The Gali as a whole are fairly secular and do not prescribe to any particular faith. Traditionally they follow the teachings of Empyrean, which emphasizes having an open mind, a hunger for knowledge, and the freedom of thought and expression. This self-enlightening path leads the Gali not to view the Gods as objects of worship but partners and examples of the supernal truths to existence. While this ruffles the feathers of some demagogues and dogmatics, it has nonetheless been an effective tactic in earning the use of God Speech without chaining their society to any one particular theology.

Regardless, there are still many cultures that view the Gali as inherently heretical at best and outright blasphemous at worst.

The Oto'ghal/Ghalian Cartel - by Alezin

A tiny nation that lies nestled deep in the forest regions of the mainland. Their only city, Guo’Ghal, towers above the forest canopy and can be seen from a great distance. The rest of the population lives in small communes and are spread throughout the Ghalian territory. The nation’s economy is based around one single resource: Guachi. This small toxic plant only grows in the forested region, and the Ghalians have mastered the art of cultivating it.

To this day, they are the only ones that can grow and process the plant, a skill they guard zealously. An assortment of “medicines” is extracted from guachi, all of them facing demand in markets. The use of guachi products as a trade good has allowed the Ghalians to gain resources and commodities previously unavailable to them.


Physiology

The Oto’ghal are omnivorous creatures who at first glance appear to be no different from other beasts, yet their bright, yellow eyes betray their intelligence. Evolved for life in the forest, the species has disproportionately long arms that end in large, four-fingered, clawed hands. These powerful claws are used for a variety of activities, from tearing a tree stump open to disemboweling an unfortunate victim. Due to the length of their front limbs, the species can comfortably move bipedally (On their hind legs.) or as quadrupeds (On both hands and feet.), maintaining balance with the use of their long, prehensile tails.
When standing on two legs, they reach an average height of seven feet. Oto’ghal have long snouts with strong lower jaws. Their bodies are covered with hair-like feathers; these feathers get longer at the top of their heads and a long their backs (Similar to a horse’s mane.). The primary feather colors exhibited by the species are tan, green and blue shades. They exhibit sexual diphormism: The females are heavier/wider and the males have brighter feather color. During mating season, the males gain wildly colored plumage patterns. The vivid coloring makes them more attractive to females.

Females lay from one to two blue colored eggs, which must be carefully incubated with rotting vegetation. After 80 days or so, the eggs hatch. Hatchlings are covered in pale downy feathers which they shed after their first 180 days. At the age of 15 they reach sexual maturity.
The species has a sense of smell and hearing comparable to that of humans; their forte is in their eye sight. They’re observant creatures and quick to detect movement, even subtle ones. Although their diet is mainly vegetarian with occasional protein intake (fish, insects, small mammals…),Oto’ghal with, monetary resources can import fine meats and other highly desired treats.

The average life span for an Oto’ghal is 60-70 years.

Society and Culture

The Ghalian Cartel follows a pyramid-like power structure. From top to bottom we have:

1-) The Nahrag (The Leader/Kingpin):
Since the creation of the title, all of the Nahrag have belonged to the Gui family. Holding absolute power in the nation, the majority of the proceeds gained from guachi sales go directly to him/her. The Kingpin resides within the capital city and rules with an iron fist.

2-) The Generals:
The Nahrag’s right hand men. They manage and control different branches of the cartel and make sure things run smoothly. The Generals and their families reside in the city and due to the power and trust given to them by the Nahrag, they are the Oto’ghal’s version of nobility. Some generals have set up cells outside of the Ghalian territory in order to better control the guachi merchants that travel outside the jungle.

3-) The Guachi Apothecaries:

The keepers of the secret of distilling and processing the drug. They enjoy the fruits of their labor, and live comfortable lives in the city with their families. Apothecaries are FORBIDDEN from ever leaving the cartel territories lest they be tempted to sell their secrets.

4-) The Enforcers:

The soldiers and “peacekeepers”. They follow the will of the Nahrag and are usually in charge of patrolling the borders, keeping revolts under control, and assassinating naysayers. Athletic and strong, their main weapons are their sharp and deadly claws.

There is a sub-branch of Enforcers that work outside of the Ghalian Cartel’s territory. These assassins can be hired by paying a suitable amount of money to the Nahrag. Besides guachi products, assassination jobs are the only other source of outside income for the nation.

5-)The Dealers:

The merchant class. Their main job is selling and distributing guachi drugs. Some travel from place to place, while others establish themselves in a region and form gangs with locals in order to sell their product. In areas where guachi is considered illegal, pushers tend to stay hidden, and will only do business transactions through employed locals. Dealers don’t have a “rule book” that details how business should be done and will employ their own personal management styles.

6-) The Workforce/ The Common Folk:

The oppressed commoners. They mostly work the fields all day, taking care of multiple crops and plantations of guachi plants. Part of the workforce’s diet is a paste made from guachi, it keeps them quiet and complient. Still, the Enforcers keep a close eye on them, eliminating any seeds of revolt.

7-) The Exiles (Oto’migi):
The lowest of the low. These are Ghalians that have fled the jungle nation and have taken residence in other countries. Considered traitors, they usually belong to the Workforce, but a few are Enforcers. These exiles refer to themselves as the Oto’migi, The Walking People, and aren’t thought of as Oto’ghal by the Ghalian Cartel. The punishment for “betraying” the cartel is death. Any exile, unlucky enough to be caught by an Enforcer will be promptly excecuted.

Guachi

Guachi is a small flowering plant. The leaves and stem are a bright turquoise while the flowers are a deep violet. It can grow up to 3 feet in height. It’s a toxic plant and if ingested without being processed can be fatal. The drugs that the Oto’ghal create from the plant are addictive and can cause physical withdrawal symptoms such as muscular pain, vomiting, fever and delirium. Products obtained from this plant are as follows:

1-) Guachi Paste:

The weakest kind of drug. The paste is consumed orally and produces feelings of general happiness and well being. It has a bitter taste, and is the weakest and cheapest of the products. The common folk are made to eat it as part of their daily diet.

2-) Dried Guachi:

This drug can be boiled and dunk in a tea, or it can be smoked. It serves as a kind of energy boost with the added benefit of making you feel GREAT, leaving the user extremely euphoric. Habitual users claim that it sharpens their senses. It is slightly more expensive than the paste.

3-) Guachi Water
A purple colored, liquid extract from the plant. It offers the effect of the paste and the dried guachi, but with the added effect of hallucinations. As it is possible to overdose with this product, it is used not only for recreation, but also as a poison.

4-) Guachi Dust

The purest form of the drug. The appearance of this drug is that of a light purple powder. It is sniffed. Powerful and potent, it causes severe synesthesia on its users. People that snort this drug open the door to a new world inside of their minds. Users have struggled to find words to describe the experience. It is extremely dangerous, extremely potent and extremely expensive.

Religion

“The Old Ways” have been stamped out by the current government. Instead, the current leader is worshiped. Citizens are taught that their leader is the only reason they live such “good lives”.

Historical Overview

The Oto’ghal started out as gatherers, mainly foraging for vegetative matter, and on occasion managing to secure fresh meat. With the discovery of agriculture, the society became completely agrarian. Large segments of forest where burned and cleared to make room for their crops. About 300 years ago, they discovered how to process guachi. This even had mayor consequences for their culture and resulted in a complete reorganization of their way of life. Little documentation exists of their way of life before guachi came along, but from what researchers can tell the Oto’ghal were a peaceful farming society. The population lived communally in Guo’Ghal, and resources where distributed equally. Leadership was assumed by a council of Elders, composed of elderly females and males.

At some point, an Oto’ghal by the name of Gui’Ango ventured outside the forest region and began trading guashi drugs with merchant travelers. This proved to be the turning point in Oto’ghal history. Faster than anyone expected, Ango set up a number of trade routes and began interacting with a variety of cultures. The savvy merchant started accumulating wealth, a concept utterly alien to the race until that point. Entranced by all of the new commodities and wonders Ango had, other Oto’ghal began to flock to him. Ango’s Trading Organization began to grow and flourish, spreading outside their forest home. Soon Ango had enough power and muscle to take over the city of Guo’Ghal. Common folk were reduced to plantation workers, tending fields of guachi plants, and food crops. Oto’ghal that attemped to escape or fight back met violent ends. Within a few years the Gui family had taken control of the nation, and the Ghalian Cartel was formed.

Current Affairs

The current leader of the Ghalian Cartel is Gui’Jagar. He rules the cartel with an iron fist, quickly stamping out any threats and dealing with dissenters in brutal ways. Jagar runs the nation as his own personal business and it is ill advised to visit jungles of Ghal without presenting some sort of offering before the old Oto’ghal first. Jagar’s daughter, Gui’Junga is set to take over the cartel in the event of her father’s passing.

The Veran - by Miss Tiger

Veran are a humanoid race somewhere between elves and humans, but twisted by the Void. After being exiled to the frigid northern mountains for recklessly abusing the destructive powers granted to them by Malcolar and his lessers and opening a giant rift that they barely managed to close, they developed a society based entirely around the idea of destroying the soft southerners and reclaiming the lands that they view as rightfully theirs. They are an antagonist race more likely to be used as a villain in an RP than as a playable character (though individuals could potentially RP as one who had left Veran society).

Physiology

Veran really aren't that much different from normal humans, just twisted. Darker skin tones tend to dominate, as well as eyes in shades of red, orange, or purple, though others have been noted. The Void corruption manifests differently in different people, but horns, elongated snouts, fangs, batlike wings, claws, hooves, and tails are all common mutations.

They tend to vary wildly in size, and run the gamut from short and thin to tall and muscular. There's little discernible difference in size and strength between men and women. The Veran race have developed a resistance to the cold, and that is supplemented by their training, where they purposefully expose their children to the below freezing temperatures of the mountains for days at a time.

Approximately one in every fifteen children born to the Veran is born a monster. Called the Tainted, these children are a true throwback to the corruptive influences that twisted their race. They are huge, as tall as nine feet, and horrifyingly strong. Every possible mutation has taken place, and these children are never truly children in any sense of the word. They hunger for blood, and battle, and are a terrifying sight on any battlefield.

Society

Veran society is a society obsessed with conquest. The whole race has dedicated their lives towards regaining the southern lands. Every citizen receives military training, and failure in it is punished by death. There is no room for weakness in Veran society. And beyond military training, every citizen is given a place according to their skills. The most physically powerful are trained as warriors. Those who show proper strength of will are expected to earn their dark god's favor. Those unsuited to front-line combat are given support tasks. Everyone is a cog in the Veran military machine.

Despite their unity of purpose in claiming the southern lands, Veran society is very cutthroat. Aspiring mages have been known to sacrifice their classmates to Malcolar in the hopes of being granted Godspeak. Strength among the military ranks is often decided by brutal deathmatches between soldiers. The average soldier is brutal and merciless; the average mage sly and manipulative.

Most Veran live in Verastad, their large city amongst the mountains, though there are smaller mining towns everywhere, where they mine obsidium, a rare, lightweight yet strong ore that forms the basis of all of their armor and weaponry and military vehicles. There are also outposts further down the mountains, keeping constant watch for any who would enter their frigid home.

Magic

Magic is a very central part of Veran society. Almost exclusively, they pay tribute to Malcolar and the lesser gods of the Void. But where once every citizen was expected to be given the gods' blessings, magic is now strictly limited to the Hall of Mages. These mages are looked upon with awe and respect, for they are the wielders of Malcolar's will. But anyone caught practicing magic recklessly or found to have opened a rift is put to death. When it comes to magic, control is more highly sought than strength.

Historical Overview

Many generations ago, the Veran lived on the mainland. Even then, they were warlike and quarrelsome with their neighbors, and found themselves caught up in a magical arms race. Every citizen was taught how to use magic. It was an experiment that made everything go wrong. Every Veran was gathered in the castle courtyard. They were all given a prayer to speak, each voice raised to Malcolar another source to power a weapon that the mages had declared was the end of weaponry. None would be able to question the might of Veran then, and they would crush their neighbors, and rule as was their due.

With so many men, women and children gathered, each chanting the prayer, the magic practically shimmered in the air. One could feel it, taste it... And then it was ripping, tearing. A huge rift tore open in the middle of the courtyard. It grew at an impossible rate, swallowing more and more of the citizenry and the city. Only by sheer force of will were the mages able to close it, but by then, the damage had been done. Only a tenth of the Veran population had survived, and among those lost were many of their most powerful. And the rift hadn't closed gracefully. As it closed, a massive backlash had swept through the city. Pure void energy corrupted every living being it touched.

Veran's neighbors watched all of this in horror, then leapt on the opportunity. These people had proven themselves dangerous and troublesome, and their numbers were decimated. More and more were dying by the day, their bodies unable to survive the void corruption. So the Veran were exiled, to the far northern mountains, where their neighbors hoped that they would die to the sub-zero temperatures and the monstrous beasts that stalked the frozen heights. To their dismay, the Veran survived, and even flourished. The trials of the mountains killed off the weak, leaving only the strongest, the smartest, the most determined to survive.

The Veran have lived quietly in their exile, building their strength and biding their time. But the wisest among them have heard whispers in the winds. The time for conquest draws near...


The Shrirein - by Mormosi

Based within the southwestern plains, Shrireia is a nation of humans that is well-known for its aggressive and irregular military, emphasis on honor in everyday life, and variety of artistic products. Currently, their borders extend to the river just beyond the range of mountains separating the desert and the plains. However, their ongoing hostility has them moving north on a warpath, intent on taking more habitable land to support their growing population. The majority of Shrireia's people reside in towns and villages that dot the plains, and their capital city is located within the mountains alongside its foremost pass. Several other holds are also located along this range.

Historical Overview:

Contrary to the beliefs held by most of the civilized world, Shrireia is not comprised of a singular folk, but of two, the Shrira and the Kolein, that have learned to mesh and coexist in relative cordiality over the years.

At first, the plains were occupied by roaming hunter-gatherer tribes, or, collectively, the Shrira, that occasionally warred with one another. Due to the region's lack of a central government and its people's tendency to move in a circular pattern, never venturing beyond the mountains, the area stagnated in comparison to the rest of the world. As most of the land's resources were untapped, much of the contact they received from other nations dealt with trade agreements that often fell through. Despite this, few nations bothered with conquering the region. Thus, even with its simplicity, the plainsmen were content with their lifestyles, albeit at a constant risk of being controlled by greater powers. Shrira earned what they had, and the strongest were always in control, free to raid and take what they wished.

Meanwhile, another nation of humans, the Kolein, flourished nearby. Practically the tribesmen's polar opposite, the people nestled by the rivers and lakes to the northeast embraced a strong, central monarchy that was reinforced by a multitude of noble houses, each with their own miniature armies and forces to command. Their mastery of war allowed them to carve out a niche for themselves, which, upon establishing the edges of their lands, they solidified with their strict hierarchy. Through and through, it was a society full of privileges and inherited honors. Shifting one's social status was not a feasible goal for anybody. While this setup ostracized the upper and lower classes from one another and brewed discontent among the peasantry, it ensured that the kingdom was a powerful force to be reckoned with. Most neighbors quickly allied with the fortified nation, realizing that they could never take on its armies by normal tactics. Trade and innovation progressed rapidly without any larger foes to dismantle.

Soon after its initial wars of expansion, the Kolein, in an ironic twist of fate, fell to its own devices. A civil war between nobles broke out in the vacuum of conflict. As they quarreled amongst themselves, drawing more and more from the nation's garrisons to fuel private goals, a rapidly growing empire descended upon them from the north. It sheared through the lesser Kolein kingdom like a knife through butter, slaughtering its fractured armies and sending most of its inhabitants fleeing in a mass exodus.

With almost all of the sizable powers around them under the control of the aggressive empire, the scattered humans regrouped and set off for the southwestern plains. The Shrira, they believed, would offer little resistance to a few concessions of land. Naturally, this notion was crushed in the midst of negotiations. The two peoples could not live around one another without hostilities. Another war erupted, damning any chance either group had of successfully defending themselves from the oncoming threat. Still advancing throughout much of the known world, the same empire that destroyed the Kolein's monarchy invaded the plains as well, subjugating both folks and shaping them into lower classes.

For decades, the shattered nations were forced to work on feats of physical labor for their overlords. Townships emerged, along with larger cities, roads, mines, statues, and other gargantuan pieces of architecture. The empire's governor made his seat in the current capital, where he watched his workers haul silver and other precious metals.

Of course, each race was in a constant state of near-revolt. Riots were common, though always unsuccessful. Each failed attempt was a lesson learned, and often merely enflamed the human races further. Only the empire's oppressive military kept them in check.

Nevertheless, when the time came for the humans to strike, they did so without delay, nor coordination. Weakened from a catastrophe, the empire watched in dismay as their holdings rose up one by one, tossing off their shackles and butchering their former governors. The whole of the plains was awash in blood for nearly a year before the empire's last vestiges of power were completely expelled. The prevailing human groups, who had never officially aided each other during the revolution, met at the capital to decide upon the future of the land.

Even after all of their struggles, no one seemed able to agree. The Kolein descendants knew that returning to their homeland was a lost cause, so some suggested establishing a new kingdom where they were, an idea hotly contested by the native Shrira, and even by several other groups of peasantry, who believed that the very privileges of monarchy had caused their downfall. Going back to hunting and gathering seemed fruitless as well. No idea seemed able to take command without more bloodshed, but the freed humans, fresh from their revolution and having taken few casualties, were almost eager to satisfy this demand, taking up their weapons once more to kill one another. One final battle took place, and the victor, an ambitious monarchist, formed the groundwork for the Shrirein's current governmental system.

Shrireia's ethnicities still grind against one another from time to time, but the nation has been a unified whole for decades, directed in its efforts. Recent events have the plainsmen's military pushing up and out to acquire more land, as well as advancing their technology to catch up to the more modernized nations of the world.

Physiology and Characteristics:

The Kolein: The remnants of the monarchists maintain a sizable presence in the mountain holds. They are easily identified by their tighter, plainer forms of clothing and tendency to remain in organized clusters. Brighter hair and eye colors (blonde, red, auburn; blue, green, hazel) are common. They are prideful of their heritage, often aloof, even to the Shrira. They also hold the most council and governmental positions, a trait that displeases some of the Shrira. Despite this, their metalwork and construction capabilities are prized throughout the region, leading most to become blacksmiths, jewelers, stonemasons, and researchers.

The Kolein make up roughly thirty percent of the population.

The Shrira: Tall and dark in color, the "pureblooded" plainsmen are known for their casual way of carrying themselves and odd speaking mannerisms. Shrira citizens drape themselves in loose, shifting cloth and leather, toting open coats, baggy pants, trinkets of all sorts, and headbands or headdresses. On top of this cluttered attire, the Shrira also obsessively purchase jewelry. Both men and women wear their hair long, often stylizing it into braids or tails, and adorn themselves with face paint or tattoos for identification or special occasions.

The remaining tribes thrive just as much as their Kolein counterparts. Bands of hunters and traveling craftsmen trek across the plains, products trailing in their wake, which they often sell just as much amongst themselves as they do among others. Some remain stationary inside the various towns, plying their trade as they see fit.

What the Shrira are truly known for, and what many pride themselves on, is their skill in battle. Whereas the Kolein have provided additional tactics and weaponry, Shrireia's real strength lies in its able soldiers, the majority of whom are Shrira-born.

The Shrira encompass roughly sixty percent of the population. The remaining ten percent are of mixed descent, often favoring Shrira company and traits.

Government and Hierarchy:

The Shrireins, as a result of their mingled history and experiences with supreme authority powers, have developed an unorthodox government, which can best be described as a mixture of an absolute monarchy and a republic. While offsetting in foreign diplomacy, the majority of Shrireia's population has come to enjoy their system.

Their monarch of sorts is known as a Warlord, and acts as both a supreme general and a head of state. He/She is expected to personally lead the nation's forces during a war and adhere to the desires of their people. Should the warlord be busy with the former, his or her council handles the latter, which is comprised of elected officials. When a warlord dies or is unable to fulfill their requirements, the title is passed on to the oldest, closest living relative, regardless of gender.

However, at any time, this lineage can be contested. Should someone else find their own more suitable for the throne, they can take it before the current warlord and initiate a challenge. A challenge cannot be ignored under any circumstance, lest the denial be seen as a sign of weakness. Anybody, from the lowliest dreg to the wealthiest noble, can initiate a challenge.

All viable challenges are carried out as soon as possible, though some warlords have abstained from partaking in one until current conflicts, such as an ongoing war, are settled. The specifics of a challenge are determined by the participants, but traditional methods include:

-A fight: Either a duel or a battle between small armies (to display tactical strength). The victor becomes acting warlord immediately afterward.

-A "Crossing of Blades" (or just Crossing): A presentation between two or more contestants before a crowd, each stating why they should be allowed the title of warlord. The best reaction from the crowd is noted, and the council makes a vote. A combination of both is used to decide a winner.

-A quest: Should the contestant(s) lack the approval of their people or skill in battle, they can, alternatively, set out to accomplish what the current monarch has been unable to. The significant feat is left to the current warlord to decide. If a contestant achieves the goal, they are immediately crowned warlord.

Though lengthy reigns by individuals or their lines have been recorded, the title of Warlord is constantly in a state of uncertainty. Shrireia could initiate a trade contract under one warlord, then see it carried out under another. Accords of peace could be written up during the tenure of a dwindling line, and a successor could throw them all away. Paradoxically, the warlord's status is supreme, yet always in flux.

The rest of Shrirein society is split into:

-Nobles: Highborn men and women function similarly to their feudal counterparts. They are obligated to serve the state as governors and war leaders, and possess a mostly supreme command over their holdings. Unlike the Warlord, they are not voted upon, but distressed citizens can petition before the warlord to force a noble line to reform, or be removed and replaced. Almost all noble lines are rooted in military backgrounds.

-Heroes: Men and women sponsored by the monarchy, these people are experienced mercenaries, veterans, wandering warriors, and exemplary citizens. They hold no special rights, but are deemed worthy enough to be granted seats at special ceremonies. To not address a hero or heroine with the proper title and level of respect is considered a grievous insult by most. Similarly, heroes may be informally challenged for their title, if it is of a transferrable quality, though the requirement is almost always a duel.

-Soldiers: Shrireia's military is a deceptive force. Compared to the rest of the world's standing armies, Shrireia's warriors look uncouth, undisciplined, and without organization. Yet, their unconvential forms of warfare are precisely what make them a formidable opponent. On the warpath, scouts both mounted and on foot continuously scan their enemy for any weaknesses, assassins utilize this knowledge to infiltrate and dismantle, and mounted raiders ravage countrysides, pillaging without restraint. When the time comes for battle, Shrireia fields a mobile, loose force well-suited for stealth and skirmishing. Masters of ambushes and flanking the enemy, Shrirein armies take no prisoners, surrounding their foes and slaughtering them, or, in the case of a failed assault, fleeing and waylaying pockets of men into traps.

Bows, spears, and axes (both thrown and held), and daggers are their weapons of choice. The sword, ironically, is revered as a weapon that only the best of warriors can handle, and is only formally dispensed to elite troops and generals. Many traveling warriors have original blades fashioned for them outside of the military. Since the average soldier favors speed over protection, leather armor is dominant. Chain and plate armor are almost unheard of to the Shrirein. Horses also play an important role in Shrirein warfare, for they boast some of the most skilled cavaliers in the realm. However, despite their unmatched strength in open battle, the Shrirein horde's siege weaponry is archaic, and their navy is nonexistent.

As glory in battle is an aspiration shared by many, and the whole of Shrireia is united in several mutual goals, the government needs to do little coaxing in its recruitment, especially with the steadily rising population. Certain tribes raise their children to be hunters (often simultaneous with soldiering) from birth. As with most armies, mostly males participate, but there is no formal restriction for female fighters. In fact, women tend to be honored more for their sacrifice than men.

-Seers: The Shrirein priest is known as a shaman. Although the amount of active seers is low, this number has been increasing due to an elevation in shamanism overall. (See: Magic and Theology)

-Workers: Those who do not war or preach about the spirits live a calmer way of life. Hunting, metalworking, woodworking, masonry, leatherworking, jewelcrafting, and tailoring are all appropriate occupations for the Shrirein working class.

Society:

For the Shrirein, fortune favors the bold. Only the nobility holds any sort of innate right to their possessions, but even this is a right that can be stripped away or challenged, if others feel that it is undeserved. By Shrirein logic, the rest of society, from soldiers to craftsmen to seers, has earned their position (but whether or not this holds true is another story entirely). "Luck" is a meaningless word.

No matter a citizen's chosen profession, personal achievement is rewarded, admired, and has become a driving force for many, hence the nation's large army, due to its flexible and wide chain of command. Artistry is appreciated almost as much. People are spurred to engage in varying acts of friendly competition (often taking a harsher tone amongst the Kolein) from a young age. With achievement and honor come respect. Making a mockery of one's hard work is either considered a challenge or downright foolish, but the exchange goes in both directions. Flaunting one's earnings is a decent practice, but abuse is not. Humbleness is not a commendable trait for the Shrirein, unless it is done to make a point.

Shrireia's peculiar form of government was fashioned partially to provide freedom. The government's lax ways of repression are supported by an unyielding sense of justice. No man is more dishonored than the one that commits crimes against his own kin, Kolein or Shrira. Thieves lose fingers or hands, depending on the severity of their theft; murderers are forced to make confessions before the relatives of the deceased; those who desecrate holy relics are sent forth from their tribe, left to wander the world in exile; etc. Crime is, of course, quite low, albeit higher and of greater severity amongst the Kolein. Because of this, and because of the Kolein's faith in security, the mountain holds are often more highly garrisoned.

Nevertheless, scuffles in everyday life do occur in the form of disputes. Witnessing a burglary may be rare, but some citizens, especially amongst military and tribal encampments, are accustomed to seeing men and women duel over slights or accusations. So long as a duel is entirely consensual, nothing is illegal. People may fight with weapons, fists, and even to the death, if they are so inclined, and as long as the duel is within reason.

Many tribes, especially wandering ones, hold traditions specific to themselves, but most of these are minor, and are usually mere tendencies in dress or occupation. Written records are also much more common amongst the Kolein, and a high percentage of the Shrira are illiterate.

Magic and Theology

During Shrireia's empire years, the Shrira's spiritual religion had been outlawed and nearly cast aside. With only oral instructions keeping the belief alive, the notion was nearly driven to extinction. Recent years have caused a resurgence in faith, and interest is rapidly growing, but the religion is still fledgling at best.

The Shrira scorn the concept of personified gods and goddesses. Instead, they hold the idea that "spirits" exist in a realm outside that of mankind's. They possess perception beyond measure and witness all deeds, making any attempts to hide oneself from the spirits impossible. They can also bestow gifts and selectively communicate with shamans or seers, Shrireia's official religious practitioner, through visions, telepathy, or by allowing them to transcend into their own realm. Further information on "the spirits" is impossible, even among the Shrira. There are no visual depictions of the spirits, no given names, no religious texts, and no facts on the spirit realm. The shamans' reasoning for their current knowledge is that they were ostracized from the spirit realm during the years of the empire, and have only recently regained contact.

Shamans are typically trained within tribes specifically designed for such rituals. Sometimes younger individuals embrace the arduous tasks required of a trainee, but they are often crippled or elderly warriors. The shamans teach that the spirits are neither good nor evil, but simply watch and influence the world as they see fit, promoting the growth of certain species while allowing others to die out. They may send challenges in the direction of a growing race to test its strength, or impair one to see how it fares. The task of a shaman is that of a mediator: they beseech the spirits for potential aid, in the hopes that the spirits view the Shrirein worthy of gifts. To commune with the spirits, seers intoxicate or send themselves into a stupor, conduct various rituals involving dance, fire, and music, and craft charms or ceremonial items. Once a shaman has garnered the attention of the spirits, the otherworldly beings may offer a gift to a chosen recipient, usually wordlessly, but with the potential for an actual exchange as well. Said gifts come in the form of clairvoyance, temporal physical gifts (a boost in agility, strength, vitality, clarity of mind, etc.), changes in weather, or blessings given to equipment. The path of a seer is one similar to the goals of the Shrirein overall, just with the aims of Shrireia as a whole in mind.

The Kolein, on the other hand, hold a more conventional worship of gods, specifically to Dos, the god of order, and Hermia, the goddess of wisdom, but this is a dying faith. Almost all dedicated cathedrals have been demolished.

The Chevaar - by Sorrowrunner

Physiology

Chevaar, pronounced with a hard c, it directly translates to being or sentient being, losing a manner of strength in translation, the few foreigners that dare to come through the desert use it to refer to these 'cat people', hell more often than not, they're just called cat people, for obvious reasons. To a degree they resembled cats with dark skin, their ears, while not feline, they are pointed and about quarter elven, though with pink insides. Their hair is long and either light brown, dirty blond or blond, they aren't without streaks of yellow hair. Their bodies are lithe, barely muscular and all oddly feminine. Hair anywhere other than the top of their head is, while not uncommon, very sparse.

Their eyes range from an amber to a very yellowy green, but their pupils are all slits or very thin ellipsis. Being feline in nature, they have somewhat limited night vision, but night vision nontheless. As previously mentioned, they are void of body hair, facial hair including whiskers or manes of any sort.

Down the agile bodies, down lithe arms, down dexterous hands it's not uncommon to have multiple joints in the elbow or shoulder to get away from danger or something of the like. Their hands tend to be slightly calloused, not rough, not patches of dried skin, but fairly thick, almost pads on the base palm and opposite of the joints in the base of their fingers. Their nails tend to seem fairly tame, unless they're in a killing mood, actually, they tend to extend when a Chevaaran are angry, on demand (and when aroused (hilarity ensues))

The lower half of the body is fairly similar, though it lacks the double jointedness in the ankles and they tend to have quite a bit of muscle in their legs for leaping, though largely for running. The pads on their feet are thicker, and are often used in lieu of shoes, at least while on the hunt. Some of the more 'domesticated', read farmers/herders/ranchers/merchants/craftsmen (a minority of the population) and sun priests (we'll get to that later), wear sandles.

Society

The populace is split right down the middle, they don't war, in fact one half of the civilization could wholly annihilate the other. One caste consists of hunters, gatherers and ranchers, they roam the dust blasted deserts and semi arid plains, searching for oases and animals, that are also looking for the oases, they're aren't necessarily big game hunters, in fact, they often hunt feral herding animals and, on occasion large cats. Yes, you can call them cannibals, but you have to admit, lion pelt is soft.

In this world, family is all that matters, 'clowders' as animal enthusiasts might call them, often consist of three or four large families bonded through marriage, hardship, (inbreeding) and religious rituals.

The tribes worship gods of winds, perhaps lesser gods, perhaps the same exact god with a slightly different manifestation. There are priests in this sect of Chevaar society, they are hunters, they pledge the tribes kills to the god and in exchanges, their priests are allowed to protect their families from wind storms and sand, cover their tracks, uncover their prey's and probably most importantly, it's a ward against arrows and it makes sure arrows fly straight.

The animals herded usually consist of sheep and goats, goats can be skinned, milked, eaten and turned to paste, sheep are largely sheared and only eaten on occasion. Paste and raw hide are used in the production of recurve bows, as wood is fairly uncommon, and if it is common, it's used for tents, arrows and spears.

Being cats, they're obsessed with cleanliness, to a degree, they'll bathe whenever they have an opportunity to wash, forsaking decency on the off chance that children will become attracted to one another at a young age, reproduce young and give meaning to their short, on average, fifty year lives.

As for a bit of an explanation for the wind priests, hunters are told to kill for their gods, herders give sacrifices, and seemingly at random, they get magics. Maybe it has something to do with will power, intelligence, or necessity, but once they do have magic, tradition has it that they're shipped off to various temples, we'll get to religion and whatnot in a bit.

The rest of the culture takes shelter in towns. At first towns existed as formality to other races that couldn't dwell in the desert, because 'oh it's too hot!.' After a couple lifetimes since there was a general peace towns sprung up, surpluses, blah, blah, blah, you know how civilizations start to form. Towns do sometimes have smaller churches, only manned by a few priests at a time, often by sun priests, but sometimes wind priests that are seduced by the prospect of being in one place, and of course the reverence people have for priests. Note, by reverence, there is still the thought that priests are plainly superior and priests, should they choose to, have harems to breed superior Chevaar

There are also a few monastery towns, abbeys, what have you, these are heavily walled and fortified, no outsiders are allowed in, and despite their intention, they are heavily guarded to keep outsiders out. These towns do tend to have smaller towns on the outskirts, a few KM away from the temples for the sake of offering other species respite and of course profiting off of other species. Temples are more often than not based around springs rather than rivers, inwardly, the cats are still paranoid about outsiders who might possibly assault by boat or poison rivers.

I don't need to explain much more about them, aside from they do bits of trading with nomad cats, which is how nomad cats get most of their not crude wool, not leather clothing, and in return town cats get dried meats, pelts and wild herbs that don't really grow well in tons of water.

Town cats also seem to have grown a little more human looking, in that they've managed to maintain bits of body fat, but they have insane metabolisms, so they're incapable of nearing human levels of unfitness, at most they'll look like an underweight human. This has two effects on the town cats, one, they've begun to like food a bit too much, and two insane productivity is insane, furthermore they don't tend to sleep nearly as much as nomad cats, so excess energy is put to work ever longer.

Enough about cats, the town cats worship a god of the sun, it's a god of life, helps plants grow and tends to make town cats live a good decade longer than their nomadic counterparts.

This is where they meet, regardless of their gods, both sides of the culture have occupy the same temple, they have the same education, the three Rs and a bit of priesty stuff, despite one culture preferring arms and outdoors and the other farms and indoors. Priests of the sun and winds are taught the same rituals, give or take a couple words, preform the same birth rites and have the same coming of age ceremonies and have similar laws about cleanliness, preparing meats, prayers and same overall sense of justice and to a lesser degree in town cats, family.

Ancient bloodlines are still important, all families carry a mental, if not written record of thousand year lineages.


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Re: Mechanics and Overviews

Post  AWizardDidIt on Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:19 pm

The Hele’Dai (Heledaine) - by Mercutio

A people who live on the island northeast of the mainland, the Hele’Dai (often referred to as Heledaine by the mainlanders) are a recluse peaceful folk often look down on the other races for their violent ways. Hele’Dai means in their tongue means “Peaceful People,” Hele meaning the latter and Dai the former, though most people mistakenly assume the reverse. In more recent times, they have been governed by the mysterious Eternal League, a clandestine order that work for the Hele’Dai peoples’ independence and freedom but often uses shady tactics and manipulation to accomplish it.

Physiology
The Hele’Dai very much resemble tall humans, with an average height of 6’6”, often with a metabolism that allows them a slim frame. Inherently, Heledaine are not a strong people, and so they rely on finesse in their fighting, though there are those willing to strengthen their own bodies via intense training. In addition to this, they have a natural resistance to chemicals of a poisonous nature thanks to their ancestry from the volcanic southlands, as well as the prominence of alchemy in their society. Inadvertently, this also makes them able to imbibe more alcohol before they become noticeably intoxicated, which makes them a tough opponent in a drinking contest.

Since migrating from the south, their skin color has softened considerably from an ashen gray to more easy colors, like pale lilac and beige. Some might still retain their previous colors, though, but it is a fairly recessive trait in more recent times. They also have unusually colored eyes, akin to metals like gold, silver, and copper, and shades both lighter and darker. The eyes themselves are shaped like almonds, angled and distinct from the rest of the races.

Other features of their anatomy include their pointed ear lobes, but most significant to their actual culture are the Ajna Marks, that is, peculiar birthmarks located atop the Ajna chakra on their foreheads. Augurs and fortune tellers often interpret these as signs for the individual Heledaine. An eye on this point might indicate that the person has a good perception of the world, or a diamond shaped mark may indicate wealth in the future. Sometimes they are passed down through families, sometimes not.

Culture
The Hele’Dai are a people of a rich culture very much different from the mainlanders, with many customs and traditions that would be outlandish to them. The notable aspects are their religion of the cycle of the seasons and life, their silks and precious stones, the martial arts that the Silver Lions practices, and the alchemy prowess that has been rising through in the years since Amo’s reign and especially during the Eternal League’s rule. The ruling government, the Eternal League, take extensive precautions to ensure that their people’s cultural identity as well as freedom was secure from any threats, and so they often only trade for goods they need, as well restricting visitors to their lands.

Theatre, Song, and Dance
Often performed during festivities, the Hele’Dai are avid appreciators of the arts, and put on some fairly ornate shows that are otherwise uncommon throughout the world. Plays are often legends and old wars retold to the masses, often conveying morals and themes of profound wisdom, with actors portraying the characters by masks. The masks themselves are an important part of the performance, often giving indications to the audience what kind of character they see through distinct patterns and colors, and sometimes the masks themselves are designed to change expression depending on the angle the audience beholds. Some morally ambiguous plays may even play around with this, leaving different people in different parts of the audience with different interpretations of the characters and events. Masks are also vital to a performance due to the fact that all the players are in fact male.

Dances are another staple of their celebrations, though a very different one. What theatre conveys through words and action, dancing conveys through simple yet elegant movements. A good many dance styles are not so much the simple act of swinging arms and legs around, but a metamorphosis. From animals to elements, Hele’Dai dancers are adept at taking on the traits and mannerisms of the subject matter.

Dress
Most Hele’Dai garments are made out of silk, one of their primary exports. The prestigious classes have more colorful garments, and most everyone dresses up for the festivities and holidays. Casual dress for lower classed civilians often include simple tunics and pants. Workers often wear rough textured clothes suitable for wear and tear. Nobles on the other hand favor flowing robes with smooth silk and sheen.

Priests on the other hand have very different outfits. The colors and patterns are determined by the season the priest is dedicated to. Followers of spring have sea-green and blue robes, with adepts and higher ranking priests wearing patterns of pink lotuses floating on ponds. Followers of spring wear red and yellow garbs, while the higher clergy wear patterns of flames. Followers of winter wear white and blue, with higher officials having patterns of snowfall and gusts of wind. Priests of autumn by contrast wear stark outfits with none of the vibrant colors of the younger seasons or winter.

Architecture
Heledaine architecture is noted for its distinct style, notably their shingled roofs. Poorer households make use of walls made of paper on wooden frames, while the wealthy often had stone foundations with actual walls of wood or stone. Similarly, the shingles may range from practical to ornate based on the wealth. Temples on the other hand are often themed towards the season they are dedicated to. Spring shrines have roof shingles being wavy, with ponds or gardens around it. Summer shrines have warm colors in its pillars. Autumn shrines have the usual architectures, keeping in theme with its stark beliefs, though they have pits of sand that are often raked, simulating farming in some respects, and is a good exercise for emptying one’s head of thoughts. The city of Amo in particular is the paradigm of the Hele’Dai architecture, being regarded as the most holy of Hele’Dai cities.

Society
Cities and large towns have sprung up around the four temples across the island, to which acolytes and religious people make pilgrimages to. Alongside that is their capital, built within Tanabata’s caldera, also a sacred location to the Hele’Dai people. Outside of these cities, dozens of small communities of farms exist in open space. The cities themselves have been walled off so that the League can keep track of the wandering people, as well as the denizens of the city. By extension, the different provinces are separated by walls, with check points along them allowing travelers to pass after an inspection.

The Heledaine are by nature a very lawful and peaceful society. Violent crimes are of a rare sort, the majority of what goes through the courts being offenses of cheating merchants, slandering another’s honor without cause, or failing to pay one’s debts. These cases are taken in by province magistrates based on the area they are reported in, and then due process is given Though the Eternal League make the laws, they rarely preside over these courts. However, when they do get involved, it is in their interest, and none brought before them have yet been found innocent.

Punishment often fits the crime, with thieves having a belonging of theirs taken (often without retaining what they took), or a murderer (very uncommon) undergoing a ritualistic death by imbibing a deadly poison. Ultimately though, the punishment is decided on by the magistrates and the Eternal League itself, and sometimes their penalties are viewed as harsh. Sometimes all that gets out of cases the League preside over is the guilty verdict (sometimes not even that). The League will often assure the people that justice at the end of the day is done, and that they should be happy with that knowledge.

Law enforcement itself is done by the Silver Lions proper. It is their job to seize individuals charged with offenses, to monitor certain civilians suspected of wrongdoing or treason, and bring reports to their superiors. When required to go into action, the Lions prefer to take out aggressors non-lethally by knocking them out, though such intervention is rarely required of them or even desired by their higher ups. The Silver Lions are also a prestigious class in their own right, being given special privileges over the common folk by the League.

In relation to the other races of the world, the Hele’Dai maintain a healthy isolation, exporting their silk and salves and other goods in exchange for valuable metals and ingredients, among other things. However, the Eternal League strive to export more than import in order to help maintain a stronger economy and minimize outside influence on their culture. The common folk themselves would not act spitefully towards outsiders, but would not exactly welcome them due to the violent ways of the outside.

The Hele’Dai also have a caste system of sorts. Commoners and farmers are at the bottom, with merchants in the middle, and artisans at the top. Above them all are the Silver Lions, who regulate the law and have special privileges over all of them. The Eternal League on the other hand are the rulers and exist out of the caste entirely. (Pending additions)

There are those Hele’Dai who are not content with life in their homeland, and so venture to the mainland. Some seek a life of solitude on the road. A fair number of these wanderers are actually alchemists who desire to gather field experience and ingredients. These same people also find a fair amount of work under people who will commission them for a wide variety of tasks, both in Hele and on the mainland. All the same, not many do venture out in the first place though, and these people would not be a common sight for the mainlanders. Back at home, these people would become social outcasts for what they’ve seen. Sometimes they do not ever return home, and some may even find happiness in these distant lands and away from the influence of the League.

Religion
The Hele’Dai are a deeply spiritual people who worship the cycle of life and existence, epitomized in the changing of the seasons. Each season represents a different stage in one’s life, from youthful spring to elderly winter. Spring is associated with innocence, summer is passion, autumn is strength and, winter is the peak of wisdom. After the cycle passes, one’s life is ended and their soul is reincarnated into a new form, and thus the cycle of life begins anew. The goal of practitioners of the Hele’Dai religion is true enlightenment, to contemplate their existence and even consult those of all four seasons. For this purpose, a pilgrimage to the four temples across the land is a tradition for those who desire this spirituality, and a regular visit to more localized shrines is the norm. The common citizen participates in this worship by visiting one of these shrines, which ones depends on what weighs on their mind, and contemplate their existence and standing

For some time, alchemy existed as a ritualistic study of the elements and existence. Some alchemists even acted as augurs, foretelling the future through occurrences in their work. The head priests of the four temples are trained in this sort of alchemy, and act as the oracles for whoever governs the Hele’Dai, from the Mune dynasty to the Eternal League (though the latter group had actually tricked them by tampering with their ingredients). With the latters’ rise to power, the practice of alchemy has bridged out further and been developed for more practical purposes, ranging from chemical weapons to improved medicines.

Magic
The Hele’Dai religion is centered on the cycle of life and coming to understand it. For this reason, the Hele’Dai don’t worship deities proper. However, they seek assistance and guidance from spirits, who grant their priests powers over the elements. In wielding these elements, the priests may observe what makes up the world, and are allowed to study to essence of the soul and the cycle itself. Mostly the use of their power is for ritual and helping others, through healing, fortune telling, or words of wisdom. Some have adapted these powers for more pragmatic purposes, chiefly in combining it with some of their martial arts, but these are far and few between as doing do requires a lot of concentration, as well as meeting people who will disapprove of this technique.

Alchemy
One of the more notable aspects of their culture, alchemy was originally a religious practice and many rituals performed by the clergy are based on these practices still. Alchemy began to branch out into more mundane uses when Amo appointed the League of Alchemy and Trade. At first, medicines and salves were the popular uses for these chemical arts, but other mixes were made possible, including fireworks, or even the Eternal Fire, a flammable liquid that cannot be doused by water once lit.

Alchemy is still seen as a mystical practice by many in the world, but it has rules, many of which are very scientific in nature. Something cannot come from nothing, energy must come from somewhere. A powerful reaction between two elements would be one such occurrence. Often times, particularly potent mixes require rare ingredients. There are some potions that have magical effects, but these in turn require magical ingredients, such as Alraune roots.

Legend has it that there is a recipe for an elixir that will invigorate one with youth, and stave off death. Often called simply “the elixir of life,” it is a prized goal for plenty of alchemists who believe in it. However, it is by and large considered a myth, and even one that goes against the belief of reincarnation. Still, there are those who seek after it for varying reasons. Some seek complete enlightenment and want to put death off until they achieve it, some simply fear death. The Eternal League supposedly has this elixir, but no one knows their secret.
  • Putting more specific limitations on, potions cannot instantly heal wounds.
  • Poisons are not instant. They may be fast acting, but imbibing it does not instantly kill you. Also applies to antidotes.
  • Eternal Fire, contrary to its name, is not eternal. It will either burn until it runs out of things to burn, or can be snuffed out (requires oxygen to work). Also, it is chiefly liquid in its natural state, with the primary catalyst being fire, from torches to candles to even sparks.
  • Healing potions are balms, and are applied to wounds, not directly imbibed (doing so may actually be poisonous depending on the recipe)
  • Potions can affect behavior, by effecting adrenaline or hormones. Effects are often not permanent.
  • Attempts have been made at transmuting metals like iron into gold. Thus far, it has been impossible, though one can alter the appearance of these metals.
  • MAGIC effects require MAGIC ingredients. (Some of these ingredients can be poisonous over extended use as well). These ingredients chiefly include magic creatures (Alraune, Ghuloth, Krenem) or magic materials (magicrock, quickgold(?)) Examples of effects: Resistance to fire/ice/electricity/etc., invisibility, fast-healing, and so on.
  • Ingredients are not infinite. Certain plants only row in certain places, and some ingredients may be rare overall. This goes double for magical reagents.
  • Potions or compounds that a player invents NEED to be approved of by the thread-masters and what not, and people in general. This is doubly applicable to magical potions.
  • If you invent a potion on the spot, there is a chance that it will not do what you expect it to. An amount of trial and error is required so you understand a compound more completely and can make and use it reliably. Alchemy is a science of sorts, after all.
  • Alchemy requires much preparation, more so than magic. In addition to research to do on alchemical recipes, one may have to grind up the components, stir them, cook them, and a variety of other steps.
  • Be sure to put thought into your compounds and potions. Alchemy is not magic, and so putting salt and sugar together is not going to create an explosion… unless you give a reason for it. (Creativity is still encouraged)


Historical Overview
The Hele’Dai originally hailed from the southern lands, a territory unmapped by the denizens of the main continent. It was a bloody and tumultuous domain, where kingdoms and empires came and went with alarming frequency. Often, the peasants would have to teach themselves the ways of combat as a means to defend themselves from oppressive soldiers or bandits taking advantage of the anarchy. Even when denied martial weapons, they trained with both fists and unusual tools. Eventually, there were a sizable number of people who tired of the constant strife, and yearned for peace. Their inability to change their homeland led them to depart and find greener pastures.

For a long time, they lived as sea nomads, travelling north in search of a land to call their own and live in harmony. In time they came to find the continent where the rest of the races of Calmargur resided. However, they found their neighbors wanting. They found the conflicts they were in the middle of to be too reminiscent of their home. They thus found the races of Calmargur to be savage and barbarians, and quickly desired to distance themselves from this. This undertaking would take them across the coast, and then finally across the sea to a distance island continent a fair distance off the main. It was here that they found the solitude and peace they so craved.

Settling into their new home quickly, they were quick to make villages scattered throughout the island, exploring the wonders of their new home eagerly. Mount Tanabata, a dormant volcano was quickly regarded as a holy place as despite its place in the cold north of the land, the caldera still had fertile soil and forests, and the warmth still offered by the mountain resulted in several hot springs along its slopes. Within this crater they built their main temple to the seasons, and around this temple they built their capital city.

Through divine omens and portends, the mandate was given, the man Mune Jin was appointed lord of the realm, and the Mune Dynasty was born. Emperor Jin ruled wisely and fairly his whole life. But he was far from the greatest of the line, and left no lasting legacy when he passed away. When people began to question the validity of the fortunes told of Jin, they were immediately put to rest by his heir, his son Amo the Grand Lion. Under his rule, Alchemy blossomed from a simple study of the elements to one of the foremost professions of the people, and he succeeded in trade.

Amo accomplished this by making a small council of advisors, made up of artisan alchemists and merchants. The League of Alchemy and Trade was thus born. With them by his side, he would go as far as establishing trade with the mainland, exchanging silk and salves for valuable metals and crops (some of which were used to grow more). Encouragement of the professions led to a better economy all around, with alchemy advancing with prestige. Amo’s wisdom and his advisors’ savvy changed the entirety of the Heledaine kingdom into one of prosperity.

Most significantly and controversially, he established the order of the Silver Lion, a sect belonging to those warriors who came with the people seeking peace. Rather than condemn them for their combat arts, Amo believe that they were to be celebrated, for they could turn these arts to the defense of their people if needed, and other noble goals. He did not see senseless violence as the only outlet for warriors, and such would not have them treated as common thugs. The Silver Lions were deeply religious, and so their skills were most commonly utilized for ritual, ranging from reenactments of wars. However, they were ready to dedicate their arts to the defense of their people and their way.

Amo left a large shadow that none of his successors have been able to step out, even with encouragement of the arts and economy. In fact, his grandson, Guo, was arguably the worst ruler of the dynasty, showing ineptitude in many regards. However, his reign is mostly disdained because during it, the warlike Avoca invaded and took over with paltry resistance. When the Silver Lions eagerly wished to defend their homeland, the emperor forbade them, and sought parlay with the invaders, and the League also supported this course of action for independence. But deciding against violence altogether, he ultimately gave his nation over to them in hopes of leniency.

Due to the distance from the mainland, the Avoca decided that the emperor would be left in power as a figurehead, in turn governed by the Avoca. Guo accepted these terms, and consigned himself and his people to slavery. Merchants were very often extorted out of their goods and unable to make a profit to live on. The Silver Lions had to disappear and go into hiding as their melee prowess posed a threat to Gabrothians’ martial rule. Very few were happy with this, least of all the League of Alchemy and Trade, who saw the work of their fathers utterly ruined and saw their nation reduced to rags.

Very often did they object to the Emperor’s rulings, but have little choice but to accept them with the Avoca breathing down their necks. Guo himself had very little say, and could not muster the nerve to fight against the Avoca’s influence. Thus the League decided that they could not abide by his reign any further, and would take things into their own hands. They began to formulate a plan to overthrow both their invaders and their king. However, such an undertaking was immediately recognized as too long for their lifespans, as the gathering of resources and forces alone would be arduous, let alone waiting for the ideal opportunity to strike. They determined that they alone could see this through to the end, and did not trust even kin with their plans.

The alchemists of the League remedied this by concocting from various potent ingredients the elixir of eternal life, an alchemical myth that had long been spoken of, but never achieved. With the elixir in hand, the League now had a chance. To hide their aging (or lack thereof), they donned black robes and masks that would change expression if viewed at different angles. Very often they would keep their heads bowed, giving a content smile to Guo. In turn, they frequently gave their monarch substances that would impair his judgment and senses, and would eventually do the same to his heir.

Guo died, and his son, Tol, inherited his treacherous council. Even more easy to influence than his father, the League kept him oblivious to their inner workings. Meanwhile, they had found the Silver Lions in hiding and recruited them to the cause. A variety of new weapons were designed specifically to confuse their oppressors. They even managed to entice the head priests of the temples to their cause. All the pieces in place, the League now only waited for a moment to strike, and in due time it did.

Word reached the capital that Astragoth had passed away due to his tower to heaven collapsing, and the soldiers were in disorder. The League determined that this was to time to rise up. Avoca soldiers were quickly captured or killed by seeming peasants whilst they were caught off their guard. At the same time, the League fatally poisoned the Avoca guards at the palace, and promptly assassinated the emperor. Emerging from the palace, the League announced that the mandate of rulership had fallen out of the Mune’s family. With the “blessings” of the head priests, the League was collectively given the mandate to rule the Heledaine. Before long, the Avoca invaders were killed, and the League’s hold on the land was complete, with the Silver Lions’ appointed as their personal army. On that day, the League of Alchemy and Trade ceased to be as they renamed themselves the Eternal League, vowing that they would forever guide the Heledaine to a future of prosperity and freedom. The Gabrothian Empire could not expend the resources needed to reclaim this territory, and the Hele’Dai were freed.

To this day, living conditions have become better than they were under the Avoca invaders, but the trade off was a fair amount of the peoples’ rights. In the interests of a unified future, the League suppressed any and all talk against them, labeling dissenters as traitors. The religious and pacifistic nature of the Heledaine now played in the League’s favor, with few openly challenging their power and mandate. Even with the Silver Lions on hand, the League prefers non-direct approaches to people that do rise up and decry their authority, implanting agents to spread distrust and cause organized groups to fall apart, and discrediting popular individuals by pinning heinous crimes to them. The League has little interest in making martyrs, after all.

The Eternal League
The ruling body of the Heledaine by a false divine mandate, the League rules through misdirection and subterfuge, preferring their foes rend each other apart than directly deal with them. For this purpose, they often sow the seeds of discord in movements to change the Heledaine way of life, soil the names of noteworthy opponents, cause incidents which demonstrate that only they and their men can protect their people, and counter discontent with lavish festivals and celebrations. The result is a calm reign, with minimal resistance and few incidents of great consequence.

The Eternal League named themselves as such from the moment they seized power, mostly for their vow of leading the Heledaine for eternity. This promise being backed by their longevity, their name is justified. Few people know for certain the cause of their true nature. The most common one is the Elixir of Life, but many hold that one in contempt. Among the other rumors are them being the descendants dressing as the originals, or even using special magic to slow the aging process. The League even spreads rumors of their own so the populace is kept in the dark.

Though the League is not beloved by all the people, many acknowledge its effectiveness at maintaining peace and a good economy, allowing living conditions to be bearable for most people. This alongside their divine mandate, periodically reconfirmed, convinces the populace that the League are the rightful rulers and that their reign brings prosperity to their kingdom, no matter the intimidation that some feel and the punishment to those who do speak out.

Story Potential: Though their elixir has indeed granted them longevity, the League has for quite some time now been aware that it was far from a perfect mix. Over the years, they still felt the grip of old age, however slow it has been. Furthermore, they have contracted several illnesses over the years from the more harmful reagents, some of which have yet to be treated. The masks that had once been used to conceal their deception now concealed their malformed bodies. It has been agreed that they needed to find a new elixir if they were to precede over their domain forever, as they had sworn to.

The Silver Lions
A sect originally founded by the Emperor Amo in order that the warriors that came with them to seek peace would not be outcasts, and that their arts may be used for the defense of peace and their people. Since then, though, the Silver Lions underwent hiding from invading forces and then to acting as the Eternal League’s fist. They are centered in training dojos spread across the land, each training warriors of a specific style. Among the lessons they must be taught is moderation and humbleness, but with the position that they have in society there are those youths who become drunk with this power, and though the League makes use of the Silver Lions all the same these corrupt students are a favored tool for more tasteless jobs. Serving as the closest thing to a military for the Hele’Dai, the Silver Lions are considerably smaller than most other armies, but they make up for this by being better trained overall.

In line with their beliefs, the Silver Lions have four different sects devoted to the seasons and elements, each sect specializing on a style. Those who follow spring and water are flexible and crafty, focusing on fluid movements and open palms in their combat. Summer warriors are trained to attack rapidly and spread like fire, making use of high energy and stamina to wither away an opponent’s strength. Fighters trained in the Autumn ways rely on strength, using heavy punches and kicks that are powerful when they connect, aiming to finish a fight more quickly than drag it out. Winter style is all about patience, and waiting for the right moment to strike and catch an opponent off guard, and often times they can end a fight just at that moment.

Being the enforcement for the Eternal League’s rule, the Silver Lions receive special treatment. From feudal domains (some were even named magistrates over the provinces of the land), to special education, and other benefits. They were also due respect in society by the lower classes, and could exact retribution for slights against them, though this is seldom done by the more patient and collected members, and more often by the brash and arrogant followers. New members of the order are taken in by selective recruitment, from volunteers or convicts who have been deemed to have potential.

The Navy
A separate force consisting of some Silver Lion combatants, particularly Spring styled fighters due to their effectiveness at oversea combat, and regular sailors who receive some training as well. Like their land forces, the Hele’Dai navy is a rather small one, but this is made up for through their combat skills. In addition to this, there are a few innovations that the navy use to even the odds in their favor. They make use of harpoons to create lines to enemy ships so they can board quickly and dispatch enemy crews quickly. They also make use of an alchemical compound known as Eternal Fire, which when lit can burn for some time before extinguishing, and is quite effective at sea. In addition to this, traps are laid out at the sea floor surrounding the island, making for an excellent defense on the navy’s part.


The Ten Hand Commonwealth - by AWizardDidIt

One of the oldest nations in Calmargur, the Ten Hand Commonwealth is a coalition of semi-independent city states all bound together by a central military and a powerful hereditary monarchy. It is one of the few places left on the planet to maintain a true feudal structure, a formerly lasting tradition that has been called into serious consideration as of late.

Physiology

The numerous men and women of the Hands are not even vaguely streamlined in appearance. Perhaps the only recognizable trait shared by all Handers is their shade of pale, clear skin. Instances of lighter hair and eye colors are common, especially in the south, but by no means constitute a majority. Outside of this, no specific qualities dominate Hander physiology; their appearances are, in reality, as variable as the cultures of their many kingdoms.

Society

The Ten Hand Commonwealth is a hereditary monarchy, in which the crown always passes to the King or Queen’s eldest son upon their death or abdication. Due to this, the Commonwealth sees very few female rulers; only freak circumstances have ever caused a woman to be seated on the throne. Currently, the Blau family sits on the Willow Cathedra, deep in the Royal Palace of North Weissburg.

The Commonwealth is, by its nature, a feudal society. A lone monarch, called the Kaiser, dominates the country’s foreign policy and military affairs, but each Hand is ruled on a day-to-day basis by an administrator known as a König. Beneath each König are any number of lords, each of whom owns a considerable amount of land that is managed by ritters (or knights) and worked by serfs. Serfs are, for all purposes, slaves to the will of their lord, with their diets, garments, schedules, and religions all dependent on his whims. Ritters belong to lesser noble houses that are not prestigious enough to own land of their own, but are important enough to be placed in positions of oversight. Ritters are also depended upon in battle as military commanders and shock troops, and thus are trained in the arts of horseback riding, jousting, archery, and swordfighting from a young age.

Houses dominate Hander politics. Intrigue, murder, and violent struggles for power are common. Each Hand is ruled by its own noble house whose name never seems to change. This does not mean that they were the founders or first rulers of that Hand: all nobles who enter positions of power as Königs ritually take on the moniker of the pre-existing family as a surname. In addition to the nine “Great Houses,” as they are called, dozens of smaller families rule the subsections of any given province.

The Hander military is formed on a backbone of peasant conscripts, often armed with little more than farming tools and garbed in nothing but their work-clothes. As previously mentioned, officers are commonly ritters, but occasionally wealthy peasants or minor lords, and special forces units such as heavy cavalry and longbowmen are comprised almost entirely of ritters.

Within Hander cities, a capitalist system not at all different from that of the Caren has developed. Raw materials shipped in from the provinces are refined by artisans such as blacksmiths and weavers, who frequently form guilds to create monopolies around their respective trade. Merchants are becoming more and more common, and a middle class is slowly forming, composed of wealthier guild members and shrewd traders.

The Ten Hands rarely go to war due to the disorganized nature of their alliance, but when they do, they are a force to be reckoned with. The ritters of Bles, Knechtenberg, and Old Koleinate are all renowned for their skill in battle, and the country itself is so heavily populated that it is able to literally throw thousands of soldiers into a single battle, lose nearly all of them, and emerge unscathed. For this reason, they are not frequently aggravated by neighboring nations; this air of intimidation is something that the Kaiser prides himself in.

A resident of the Ten Hands is known as a "Hander."

Magic

Magic is looked on with suspicion in Hander society, and thus, rarely practiced. Each lord keeps a court wizard on hand for magical purposes, and houses frequently own enchanted weapons or armor that are passed down from one generation to the next. Ritters are sometimes trained in the art of magic, though not often.

Religion

The people of the Ten Hands share a common religion in the form of the three-pronged Royal Cult of Asrolos. It is said that, in the beginning, the lands of the west were in chaos, with no order or moral code to bind the ruthless men who once inhabited the lands. Asrolos, the Ten-Handed Father, arrived on his holy chariot, accompanied by his children Dos and Hermia. To the westlands they brought ten virtues: mercy, compassion, justice, chastity, temperance, diligence, strength, charity, loyalty, and love. As the people of the west began to accept Asrolos’ wisdom, the violence slowly ended, and westmen were able to put aside their petty differences to create a kingdom based on order and wisdom. The new realm was named in honor of its savior god and dubbed the Ten Hands.

To this day, the Royal Cult of Asrolos persists. While most temples center their services around Asrolos, shrines to Dos and Hermia are also quite common. The Kaiser himself presides over the church at large; there is no religious authority otherwise, save for each temple’s high priest. In addition, each of the nine Great Houses has chosen a “family virtue” which they seek to embody by way of their members. The only absent virtue is love, which was the patron virtue of the now extinct House of Wündlandt.

Historical Overview

Several centuries ago, the squabbling tribes of the westlands were united by a now-unknown super chieftain. While the chieftain’s name is now lost to history (almost all records chronicling his existence were burned by the Avoca), it is known that he imposed the system currently in place.

The chieftain’s initial successors were known as the Black Dragons. They ruled for roughly four centuries before being deposed by Avoca invaders. They were in turn followed by the House of Knechtenberg, which ruled for two centuries. The House of Knechtenberg was recently deposed by the House of Bles, which has ruled for twenty years.

Recent history has seen the Ten Hands slowly move away from their feudal system. With the advent of powerful new weapons and revolutionary economic systems, serfdom has become less and less profitable. For the most part, however, the Handers have held on to their traditions. Königs, lords, and ritters still hold disproportionate influence in society despite the rise of a merchant-artisan middle class.

The Commonwealth, however, has many concerns which the House of Bles will need to address before truly consolidating power. The Guachi trade has taken hold in Orenstein, resulting in an economic disaster. Relations with the neighboring Shrirein, many of whom are descendants of the original inhabitants of Koleinate, have reached an all-time low, making war seem inevitable. In addition, the continuing greed of the Dessiens to monopolize the quickgold trade and the remarkable adaptivity of the Caren have led to a question: is it time to abandon tradition and look forward, to the future?

Whatever the case, it is clear that the kingdom’s strength will soon be tested in the times to come.

The Hands

Contrary to what its name suggests, the Ten Hand Commonwealth is only composed of nine “Hands,” or semi-independent kingdoms. In order, from most important to least important, they are:

Knechtenberg - Located just south of the Gali lands, this piece of coastal land houses the nation’s capital, North Weissburg, modeled after the city of Old Weissburg, which was lost to the Avoca during their takeover of the southlands. It is second only to Old Koleinate in martial strength, with North Weissburg fielding a city guard of over 5,000 soldiers alone. It is mostly industrialized, and many of its urban citizens are shopkeeps, merchants, or artisans. The virtue of Knechtenberg's rulers, House Dieter, is charity.

Bles - The inland province of Bles is usually noted for its fishing industry, and its seafaring subculture. Recent years have seen the waters of Lake Vachten take on more and more pollution due to both Hander and Ghalian influence, but Bles’ naval trade remains strong nonetheless. The Hander shipbuilding industry is centered in Bles, in order to stave off attacks on fishing ships by Ghalian pirates. The virtue of Bles' rulers, House Blau, is diligence.

Orenstein - Despite being one of the largest and most densely populated Hands, Orenstein is notorious as an overcrowded and crime-ridden slum. While its northern grasslands are little more than quiet wheat farms, its southern cities are teeming with drug dealers, prostitution rings, and innumerable mafia circles. Many Ghalians inhabit its southern reaches, having fled from the constant chaos and violence of their homeland. The Guachi trade, however, has followed them, and now has a notable foothold in the province. The virtue of Orenstein's rulers, House Gottenlieb, is justice.

Vurmberg - While much of this northernmost province is covered by sprawling forest, it also houses the country’s most important industries. Vurmberg’s central lowlands are home to countless stables and breweries, both of which are world-renowned for their high quality products. Vurmberg has small Gali and Caren minorities, the latter of which is openly shunned and discriminated against. The virtue of Vurmberg's rulers, House Laas, is compassion.

Rotenerde - The name of this principality literally translates to “red land.” It is so named due to the color of its ruddy soil, which is rich in nutrients and provides for excellent farmland. It is located north of Frachten and south of Fürststadt. The virtue of Rotenerde's rulers, House Kohl, is chastity.

Fürststadt - The smallest of the Hands, Fürststadt is composed of little more than its titular city-state and its immediate surroundings. The city of Fürststadt itself is quite large, boasting a population of over 20,000 people, and is an important bridge between northern and southern Calmargur. It is famed for its impenetrable walls, which stopped the northward advance of the Avoca invaders. The virtue of Fürststadt's rulers, House Koenig, is loyalty.

Weinwig - The island province of Weinwig is generally thought of as a cold and unforgiving wasteland, but it also plays host to some of the largest mineral and ore deposits in the world. Dozens of precious metals, save quickgold, can be found in the hundreds of mines that have been drilled deep into the black earth of the rocky isle. Of all the Hands, it is easily the most xenophobic, often acting outright hostile towards its Dessiens minority community and even to fortune-seeking immigrants from the other Hands. The virtue of Weinwig's rulers, House Zolen, is mercy.

Old Koleinate - The militant people of Old Koleinate are a folk with deep-reaching roots that stretch back to ancient times, long before the Avoca occupation. Most of the country’s large (but disorganized) military is fielded in Old Koleinate, and the Hand itself possesses a countryside dotted with fortresses, castle towns, and fortified abbeys. Typically, the knights of Old Koleinate are wealthier than their northern counterparts, meaning that ownership rates of heavy armor and horses and much higher. The virtue of Old Koleinate's rulers, House Neiden, is strength.

Frachten - Frachten is nothing more than a rolling grassland, and boasts almost no natural resources. Its people are hearty folk who make a living off farming various strains of winter wheat. Many Frachteners are subsistence farmers who are all but exempt from the feudal system. The virtue of Frachten's rulers, House Verovald, is temperance.


The Dessiens - by Izdazi

The Dessiens are a race of average height and stature humanoids living in one of the smaller islands between the mainland and the mountainous northern regions.

Physiology

At first glance, Dessiens are very humanoid in appearance and stature, save for slightly large eyes and an overall frailer appearance. Few are taller than five feet and most weigh less than 100 pounds. They are relatively dark skinned and their hair carries no pigments, leaving it between silver and white. Females, in particular, have their hair is done in a variety of eccentric styles. Eye colors range widely.

However, upon closer scrutiny, they are far different from 'human.' In fact, biologically they share many attributes of mammals and reptiles. Their dark skin is actually comprised of very fine dark semi-flexible scales. Some Dessiens have stripped patterns on their back. Their ears have little external structure to them, making it appear that proportionally they're tiny. There's very little structure to their noses, as well, but their nostrils are clearly visible. They have a small, slightly darker spot on their forehead that’s called a parietal eye, or third eye, even though its function has nothing to do with vision.

Most startling are their hands and feet. Their fingers and toes are long appendage, sometimes measuring four or five inches. Each hand and foot contains four appendages. They have claws instead of nails, although most Dessiens keep their claws filed down so that they can wield tools better. It's not uncommon for the warrior class to keep their claws long and sharp, though.

Males, in particular, have a trio of spines jutting from the back of their forearms. Like their claws, most keep these spines dulled, as to avoid accidently harming someone else. Some warriors may chose otherwise.

They usually walk barefooted, as they rely on their toe-claws for traction. Dessiens are known to be impressive jumpers and climbers. In fact, most foreign visitors discover to their shock that stairs are non-existent in their architecture!

Dessiens have numerous sharp teeth, but seldom display them. The displaying of teeth, even in a jovial smile or laugh is construed as a display of aggression.

They process excellent vocal skills, and except for the occasional lisp, they can articulate words very easily, including foreign languages. Their own language is composed of words heavy in syllables. Most other non-vocal sounds they make come out as clicks.

As a species, they are nearsighted, but can easily see movement from afar. They also possess decent night vision, even though their species has long moved to a diurnal cycle.

They are egg-laying, with eggs being around the size of grapefruit and protected by a tough leathery shell. Each family home has a room set aside to store the eggs. This room is usually near the top where it's the warmest.

Dessiens typically mate for life and care for their young hatchlings. Mother’s breastfeed their infants for a few months after hatching and during this time she is extremely protective of the child. A matured female will lay a single egg once every four to five years. The successful hatching rate is around 70%. This makes a healthy hatching a cause for celebration in a community.

Dessien attire is usually intricate, loose and flowing. They are fans of colors and it's normal to see clashing hues in various articles of attire. The more saturated the color of a Dessien's clothing, the more well-to-do they are. It’s possible that colors and sounds have a deep effect on their psychology.

Some of their attire is arrange in such a way that they can switch from light to dark clothing easily. This, along with the clothing being loose fitting is done for the sake of temperature regulation as they are cold-blooded.

Warriors sport elegantly crafted armor that's very subtle in coloring but extremely effective and practical. Crossbows and pole arms are common weapons and at close range, a Dessien warrior can use his/her claws with deadly efficiency. The concept of swords was unheard of with them before they met other cultures. Knives are merely tools of trade and not weapons.

Despite their carnivorous heritage, the Dessiens’ ability to eat raw meat has become severely limited. They are mostly omnivores, with meat coming exclusively in the form of fish and other sea life. The consumption of eggs is abhorrent to them. Most of their meals are cooked and they’re known for making excellent stews and casseroles (which they consider a delicacy). They also have a particularly style of frying seafood that seems to be a hit with foreigners.

The average Dessien life span is around 160 years.

Society

Their government is a monarch currently run by High Queen Nareem the IV. Because of the small size of their kingdom, representation before the monarchy isn't done by domains, but rather, by vocational regions and Guilds. For instance, the southern and eastern anchorages each have representation before the queen and deal exclusively with nautical concerns, from fishing to trade. Agricultural concerns each have representation as well. The same goes for education, mining, and of course, defense.

The monarchy has the final say in most matters.

Their naval strength is limited to protecting harbors, fishing and trade fleets from pirates. Their army, is, however, stronger, better funded and trained.

They have no interest in imperialistic expansionism. In general, the society is dominated by matters of family, agriculture and science. The Dessiens take pride as crafters and there's not a facet of their culture that isn't touched by any of these three subjects.

Because they are cold blooded, most construction is comprised of adobe, to better regulate heat in their domiciles. The buildings are designed cylindrical, with an open tapered top, in order to promote airflow. Some of these structures can reach six or seven floors, although most seldom exceed three. Each of these cylindrical buildings usually houses a single extended family. As the family grows, another floor is sometimes added.

Families center on the female, and while often, it’s the male who seeks a female for companionship, when they marry, they enter the female’s family. The family will care for each other.

That said, the Dessien social structure is very relaxed. There are no prohibitions against marrying into different classes and indeed even members of the monarch’s family have had marriages from all levels of society. Bloodlines mean little to them.

As stated earlier, they don't use stairs and in fact find such things to be impractical. Why walk up a long slant when you can just climb straight up? Rather than stairs, they use hardened textured areas of the walls to climb. Dessiens have been observed quickly ascending or descending to different levels even while hauling packs on their back weighing their own bodyweight or more.

Although at times there might be animosity, violent conflicts rarely arise between individuals and families. Matters are usually settled within or between the families. If that fails, they go to the community councils. Should a situation warrant further arbitration, it can progress to the point where a case may heard by the ruling monarchy in person. It seldom escalates to this point.

Crime is a little below average compared to most civilizations of relative size and murder is a rarity. Peacekeepers, a small branch of the military, tend to do their part to ensure safety in population centers. However, trespassing into a Dessien’s home is a dangerous thing to do.

An intruder, or even a welcomed guest, entering, or even approaching close to the family’s hatchery room is considered strictly forbidden and considered a vile defilement. Such acts usually result in the swift death of trespasser.

While their history has left them a bit xenophobic, the Dessiens of present are not known for being particularly warlike or hostile. For outsiders, entrance to their island is difficult, although possible They are a naturally curious people and though it may take time for the average Dessien to open up to an outsider, they are not above learning all they can of other cultures and places. Some of the more adventurous and outgoing Dessiens show little aversion to traveling beyond their home island.

That said, many of the average Dessiens are naïve about the world beyond their island and are inclined to believe many of the tales they hear about the places beyond.

While they have a currency system, most internal trade is based more around bartering of skills or goods.

They will trade with many port-of-calls outside of their domain, but export of their higher-end goods, such as armor and weapons, are extremely regulated by the monarchy. Their signature metal, quick-gold, is forbidden from being exported in its raw form.

It’s been nearly two centuries since the horrors of the Great Enslavement and yet the fears remain strong. To this day, many find the consumption of eggs from any animal as socially abhorrent. Hatchery rooms in Dessien households are considered sanctified and with the exception of temple priests, outsiders are forbidden from even approaching such a room. Most foreigners will never be invited inside a Dessien home. (They’re not being rude, just cautious in protecting that which they hold most dear.)

Dessiens love their holidays and have no reservation about making a holiday of almost anything. It’s not uncommon for shops to hold irregular working hours. Streets and markets are often abuzz with festivals, usually hosted by one family or another, although setup provided by all. Their music is usually composed of a combination of large drums and stringed instruments. Dancing is also a strong part of their culture, although to a foreigner’s eyes it may seem very chaotic.

There are few national holidays. Most celebrations are localized and may involve a hatching, a passage to adulthood, a plentiful harvest, a wedding, a special visitor (ie: a member of the royal family visiting or for smaller communities, a foreigner), the passing away of a family member, the completion of a construction project, etc. Depending on the size of a community, such an event may comprise an entire township, or small sections of a district in a city. Regardless, those who stray into a random festival are always welcomed.

Magic

Magic has almost lost all favor in Dessien society. While many attend services to worship the gods, especially the gods associated with earth, much of their faith has been drowned out by the traditions and guidelines of the religious institutions. The rules, regulations and in general, dogma, of the religion of the earth gods has come to dominate much of their cultural traditions. Sadly, this has obscured the original message of selflessness and giving that was originally taught in the temples and demonstrated in legends by the actions of said gods.

Emblems of their gods, sanctified by the priesthood (for a fee), hang from the masthead of their ships and fence posts of their farm lands. It's also not uncommon to see folks wearing pendants and broaches with the symbol of a particular earth god.

There are but a few within the priesthood, and outside of the established temple, who carry the faith and earnest belief to still speak with the gods and curry favor with them. These are typically healers, although some specialize in more agricultural concerns.

The few priests who can still call upon this magic have garnered the contempt of the clergy as a whole and are often placed in lesser stations. It's not uncommon for these faithful priests to leave and serve the communities independently. The temple authorities do not condone this, but currently consider the matter best ignored and quietly shunned. The strength of most of the temple priesthood comes in the study of medicinal alchemy.

Besides the healing arts, the largest and by far, more collectively respected school of magic, is metal alchemy, which is dominated by the Guild. This has its roots in the first discovery and refining of quick-gold. Quick-gold is seen as perhaps one of the greatest gifts bestowed to the Dessiens by the earth gods as it was instrumental in their liberation from the Krenem. The Guild alone holds the art of refining, purifying and handling quick-gold and they have protected its secrets in earnest.

Other schools of magic are mostly frowned upon by most of the citizenship as 'backwards' and in some extreme cases, even 'evil.'

The Dessien society, thanks in part to the monarchy and the temples, believe that the betterment of their society through work and study is the way the gods have shown to become a strong people. The more they can learn of the earth, world and technology, the better able they will be to never fall into subjugation again. They believe the gods gave them the tools to survive. To that end, they believe that self-reliance is the ultimate form of worship.

For this reason, many Dessiens strive for perfection in all that they do, not so much for money, but more because the quality of their work is a reflection of worship and thankfulness to the gods.

It remains to be seen if their colorful traditions will survive their rapidly expanding knowledge of the world and the cultures they’re contacting.

Historical Overview

Lost to time was the history of the Dessiens prior to the Great Enslavement. What little can be deduced, they were nomadic carnivores who once excelled in hunting the large game that so richly populated their island. The reasons for their transition to an agrarian and fishing society are unknown, although overhunting is a strong hypothesis. To this day, the bulk of the wildlife on their island is limited to insects, birds and the smallest of mammals.

A few equestrian species have endured and ironically the Dessiens have come to breed them to serve as beasts-of-burden for hauling deliveries deep inland. Because of their scarcity most of these bred creatures are not used for farm work, although with trade opening up, this may change.

Another reason for the lack of desire among many of the Dessien for land-based meat may come from a fundamental shift in their tastes that resulted from something far more tragic then overhunting.

For more than six centuries they were a people in bondage to powerful off-landers, the Krenem. No one knows exactly when the Krenem came, but it was a period beset by slavery and starvation. However, the most horrifying of atrocities was the stealing of their unhatched younglings as food. Dessien eggs, particularly those close to hatching, were considered a delicacy and tens of thousands were destroyed during this time. Hundreds of others never hatched because the places where parents could conceal them weren’t of suitable temperature.

The winged-Krenem was a violent race of creatures that forced them to mine for quick-gold on their island. The ore and food were a constant demand and any camp unable to meet quote was summarily exterminated.

The Krenem appetite was overwhelming and the Dessien’s, beset by starvation and exhausted from overwork, were dying in droves, it was looking like they were on the verge of being wiped out. But then, the first of two miracles that would forever shape this race occurred.

The first was the root of a particular tree, that in desperation, one of the desperately starving slaves discovered was not only edible, but didn’t leave her sick like most plant life did. The plant was particularly bountiful, growing like weeds all over the island and word of its benefits soon spread through the various slave camps.

It soon came that while the Dessiens gave almost all the meat they hunted to the Dessiens, in order to meet their growing quota, they privately began storing and cultivating the roots. And after nearly a century of being sustained by the root, most of their bodies began to tolerate other plant matter. It was through this discovery that the Dessiens managed to regain some of their strength and survived.

The other miracle was of the strange ore that had attracted the Krenem to their island in the first place. It was completely by accident that a Dessien discovered the magical properties of quick-gold. (Legend states that a god showed him the true nature of the element.) The substance, while useless on its own and dangerously toxic (which was responsible for the slow, painful deaths of thousands of Dessien miners during the Great Enslavement), when combined with other metals, it made them powerful. Arrows, spears and armor were made stronger and lighter. With the help of earth priests, consecrated quick-gold made objects highly immune to magic, or amplify the effect of spells.

For years, the Dessiens stockpiled armor and weapons, all while keeping up with their back-breaking quota to their off-land slavers. No one knew what the Krenem wanted with the quick-gold. Some speculated that it may have something to with magic, but nothing was ever confirmed. The Krenem didn’t seem like they had the intelligence to even wield magic. Nevertheless, their off-lander slavers, overconfident over their brutal hold of the weaker Dessiens, were blind to the hope that was quietly being rekindled within their slaves.

When the Dessiens finally revolted, the infused weapons and coordinated rebellion caught the Krenem completely off-guard. They were driven completely off the island. Wild with exuberance from their victory, the Dessiens pressed on to the frigid northwest, where they exacted retribution for the untold deaths they had endured by annihilating any and every coven of their former slavers they could find.

After five years, the Krenem were very nearly destroyed. Only a few were known to exist in the frigid peaks of the nearly impassable mountains. Exhausted from the conflict, and downtrodden by the bleakness and cold of the north, the Dessien warriors returned to their home and soon got caught with the renaissance that had been sparked by their newfound freedom.




Last edited by AWizardDidIt on Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:26 am; edited 14 times in total
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Re: Mechanics and Overviews

Post  AWizardDidIt on Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:13 pm

The Caren - by Quixoticus

The Caren are humans living in a commonwealth of city-states in the northern region of the mainland. These city-states are home to a number of races beside the Caren humans, and are also the centers for many trade schools, colleges, and the biggest market hubs in the known world.

Historical Overview

After the dissolution of the empire that had ruled them, the Caren found that they had the freedom to explore everything, and their culture was essentially a blank slate. The northern tribes consisted of several different languages and ancestral cultures, so the first step the Caren took was uniting the tribes under a single language and currency. The process was not entirely bloodless, but in less than three generations, the Caren began to flourish as a conglomerate.

Since the Caren united the human tribes, the northern city-states have grown into wealthy trade hubs and centers for freedom of thought. Branded by generations of abuse by god-worshipping people, the Caren did not want to build their culture on worship, despite the benefits of the magics that gods offered. The compromise was a governing body that remained separate from matters of magic and worship whose primary goal was to protect freedom of thought and pursuits in the city-states.

Physical Features

The average Caren is between 5’6” and 6’0”. Because the humans that originally migrated from the southlands after the collapse of their masters’ empire came from a variety of distinct ecosystems, the northern tribes that preceded contemporary Caren society were comprised of humans with highly-contrasting physical features, including eye color, skin color, hair color, and body types.

The northern region of the continent experiences all of the seasons, and consequently it does not favor any distinct set of physical traits. The Caren population still maintains a variety of eye, skin, and hair colors, with the majority of the population usually consisting of medium, beige tones and darker hair and eye colors. As a result of their enslaved heritage, many of the Caren are heavily-muscled and have bodies that naturally adapt to athleticisms. However, there are still many Caren who, as a result of sedentary lifestyle, have grown overweight and are otherwise out of shape. This is a common occurrence in governmental and administrative occupations.

Society

Workers, scholars, and soldiers make up a large portion of the Caren population, likely more than 80% (the rest of the population being nobles). Within this, workers make up roughly 40%, scholars 20%, and soldiers 40%. The soldier population was once much larger, but as the Caren city-states became more international, the Caren were able to produce more scholars and workers in exchange for military contributions of other nations and mercenary groups.

Caren humans make up barely 60% of the population in their city-states at any one time. Due to the nature of their economy, which thrives on international commerce, 40% of the population in the city-states is consistently a mixture of visitors from other nations, and immigrant nationals. These immigrant nationals, while considered members of the Caren nation, are not Caren humans (and from a Caren human’s perspective, not true Caren).

Workers – A worker in Caren society is anyone whose living is made through trade or labor. Blacksmiths, lumberjacks, alchemists, and laborers are all considered workers. Though the Caren have their own cadre of blacksmiths and alchemists, their economy is driven by international trade. Caren blacksmiths may make up only 20% of the blacksmiths in a city-state. Similarly, most of the Caren trade is borrowed from other nations; much of what Caren blacksmiths and alchemists know has been learned from other nations.

Scholars – A scholar in Caren society is someone who has devoted their time to learning and education. Scholars are valued for their attention to theory and details, especially concerning economics and politics. Scholars usually earn a living by working in government or industry as consultants and analysts. Scholars also earn a living through teaching at university; each city-state has its own university, and they are all individually funded and only loosely mentored by Caren government. Because the Caren value education and intellectualism relative to economic and political progress, most scholars pursue expertise in those fields, as opposed to humanities and arts. While it is not impossible for a scholar to be an intellectual in humanities and arts, it makes it very difficult to earn a living.

Soldiers – A soldier in Caren society is someone serving in the Caren military or navy. The land and naval military division is 60% and 40%, respectively. The Caren maintain a large naval force to protect their ocean trade routes, which allow them to move goods to/from the southlands quickly. Caren soldiers are trained primarily in melee combat; though the Caren practice archery, they rely on catapults and similar war machines for ranged combat. The Caren military is most concerned with protecting their city-states and ocean vessels in order to ensure the stability of their economy and way of life. If and when the Caren engage in full-scale war, they often employ the specialties of mercenaries and allies to supplement their defense-based military.

Nobles – A noble in Caren society is someone who occupies an administrative role, often in government or industry. The term “noble” is reflective of their social position; because social standing in Caren society is directly linked to wealth and power, Caren nobles are leaders of industry and upper-echelon government officials. While nobles control most of the wealth in Caren society, their significance relies on their constant maintenance of trade and political relations. By and large, a Caren is a noble for as long as he or she continues to make money and hold onto it.

Culture

The Caren humans believe in free and unrestricted thought, especially without the dogmatic obedience of god-worship. Though magic and worship are not forbidden in the Caren commonwealth, the religious groups and cults that exist in the city-states are not tied to the governance in any way. Caren are mistrusting of gods and their magic, because despite its benefits, magic played a key role in the enslavement of their ancestors.

Pursuit of wealth and abundance in living are driving forces in Caren culture. The nobility continually instills this mentality, though it’s not clear whether they truly believe in the same principle or know that doing so keeps them rich. Whatever the case, the Caren nobles have accrued enough wealth and power to have reach beyond the commonwealth. In some ways, Caren culture is dichotomous; the life of workers and soldiers is vastly different from the life of the nobles.

Government

While Caren city-states have their own individual governing bodies, the government in the capitol city, Sublivar, rules over all of the city-states. Economically, city-states are largely independent. Most of Sublivar’s governmental relevance is in foreign relations and human rights. Sublivar politics ensures that all of the city-states abide by the same laws regarding trade regulations and sanctions, as well as Caren citizenship and the like. Essentially, Caren city-states govern micro-economies and micro-cultures, and Sublivar governs general codes and statutes.

Morality

As the descendants of enslaved humans, the Caren are wary of monarchical government. This mistrust of all-powerful rulers initially led to the separate tribes that formed in the north.

As a work-intensive society that values progress and growth in all aspects of life, the Caren value hard work and pragmatism. Because their ancestors were stripped of their humanity and individuality when they were enslaved, the Caren have internalized a notion that the will to live is what gave them the strength to see the day of their freedom. Anyone who squanders this will, whether through laziness or lack of effort, is seen as squandering away freedom.

Magic

The Caren employ ritual magic and Godspeak as a working part of their society, but magic is not relevant to Caren politics, culture, or tradition. Historically, Caren are wary of magic, because it was used as a weapon to dominate them during their ancestors’ enslavement. Though the Caren openly acknowledge the practicalities of magic in trade and battle, philosophically, they regard it the same way they regard monarchical rule.

Though most Caren regard magic with mild prejudice, there is a minority group in Caren society that wages a clandestine war against magic, especially in situations where a nation has build their foundation on magic, or is ruled by a magic-wielding caste. This group wages war through assassination plots, political subterfuge, war funds, and other indirect means of opposing any magic-centered elements in the world.

Gods and Religion

Due to the close relationship between gods and magic, the Caren attributed the tyrannical rule of their ancestors’ rulers to magic, as well as the gods who granted it. Guided by the suspicion that worship of gods and their magic could lead them down the same path of tyranny, the Caren do not give the gods any measure of theological importance. If magic is a practical tool, then the gods are simply dynamos of magic to be tapped. The Caren willingly make bargains for magic, but not at the cost of dependence or obedience. To the Caren, the gods are tenuous allies with only valuable resources to offer.

Caren religion is focused on man, and in many ways, can be attributed to a form of humanism. The Caren believe that man is capable of everything he needs and desires. The Caren believe that man does not need the gods, but quite the reverse: gods need man. Their ancestors were ruled by mortals who served the gods, and their empire collapsed; the Caren believe this is proof of man’s natural superiority, and his independence. Once again, Caren religiosity can be abridged as “the will to live.”


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Re: Mechanics and Overviews

Post  AWizardDidIt on Sat Jul 28, 2012 5:17 pm

Monster Races and Non-Playable Races

Individual races are color-coded for your convenience.

The Krenem - by Izdazi

The Krenem are a race of winged humanoids that inhabit the mountainous peaks of the north western mountains. There are also a few that can be found in the mountain ranges in the southwestern mainland. Their population has dwindled and they are very nearly extinct after the uprising by their former slaves, the Dessiens, three centuries ago. As a result, the race has devoted most of its life to hiding.

Physiology

The Krenem are tall humanoids, standing upright at around nine feet. They are biped, with large claws on their hands and feet. Their wings, extruding from their back are webbed. Most can have a wingspan that exceeds nearly twenty-five feet from wingtip to wingtip. Their eyes are all black and a few sport horns. All have tails. If they have hair, it's usually black, although some have gray.

They are hardy creatures, capable of withstanding the bitter cold of high altitudes. Most wear some sort of clothing, although lower-Krenem are known to have forsaken all civility. Their claws are razor sharp and they have no hesitation in using them. Their teeth features elongated incisors. (They are not vampires, but they are meat eaters and prefer a meal to raw, although occasionally a little cooking is nice.)

Some have covered their bodies with intricate tattoos to aid with magic.

Society

Although they one had massive cities and temples, the Kremen are now solitary creatures and only come together during times of mating, or when called together for a magical gathering or event of some manner or another.

In the wake of the Dessien Revolt and subsequent culling, their society has devolved almost completely. Most Krenem, particular males, live alone and are fiercely territorial. Females will care for a child for a few years before casting them off. Any child appearing unfit for survival or unable to speak to the gods is killed outright, or used as a sacrifice of some sort another.

Trade can occur between Krenem and is usually consisting of leather, magical trinkets, skills, finished products, such as attire, or goods stolen from unfortunate passerbys.

A Krenem will only attack if he/she feels itís safe and there's little chance of retaliation. They'll shy away from groups.

Most inhabit the high mountain where it's all but impossible for ground dwellers to reach them, much less sneak up on their mountain side hovels. Their diet consists of anything that living. They're strictly meat eaters and animal herders near the foot of mountains have long had to deal with missing livestock.

It's not unusual for a Krenem to travel hundreds of miles to find a meal, which may also include humanoids. They're not cannibals, though. (Low-Krenem have been known to be cannibals.) They can go about a week between meals.

Although rare, it's not unheard of, for powerful magic users of other races to subdue a Krenem and force magical knowledge out of them. This, however, must be done as a trade, for Krenem must always receive something to give something, even if by force. This is extremely dangerous to do, as theyíre commonly treacherous.

Krenem are known to be notoriously jealous of the more powerful and won't hesitate to kill another if they believe them a threat. However, the race is also cowed by those who are more powerful.

Low-Krenem are a subspecies that has allowed magic to possess them. They are crazy, nearly psychotic and a danger to Krenem and non-Krenem alike. These are sometimes called daemons by other races. One of the few times Kremen will hunt together is to hunt down a nearby Low-Krenem.

Zem-Krenem are Krenem that have lost the ability to Godspeak. Most will rather flee to the southwestern mountains of the mainland rather than be slaughtered at the solstice gathering. For this reason, most of the Krenem found in the mountains of the Mainland have no magical affinity. These have irked out a living as recluses from their northwestern brethren. Because it's rare for a female to not have the ability to cast magic (and rarer yet for a female to even want to mate with a male who can't cast magic, even if she can't as well) there are very few females for procreation in the mainland.

This separation has led to a sub-culture of Zem-Krenem who interact and sometimes trade amicably with the races of the southern mainland. Trade usually involves pelts, or live creatures from the mountain regions in exchange for goods such as clothing, rare meals and occasionally skills.

Some make their living as raiders, swooping down on travelers and ambushing them. These Zem-Krenem sometimes group with others and are known to be a bit more bolder then their mainstream brethren.

Magic

Magic is the center of a Krenem's life. They are taught the basics from their mothers before they left on their own. It's not unheard of, for a few to come together and learn from one and other, but these are temporary meetings and for the most part a Kremen male would rather take what they've learned to the grave then make another potentially stronger than him.

Consequently, the females tend to have more aptitude for higher magics since all they've learned is given to their offspring.

Occasionally, a male will share what he's learned with the soon-to-be mother of his child before he departs. More often than not, the mother will force, sometimes by magic, the male to teach her all. This is considered a contract, as no Krenem mother would want a child that can't compete with others. A child that can't Godspeak is very quickly disposed of as not worth the time. This has had a detrimental effect on their population.

They worship the dark gods and almost all of them have an affinity for Godspeak. They regularly make sacrifices to their gods, whether that be a weak child, an aged Krenem, or a hapless traveler. Animals are considered unworthy sacrifices.

Twice a year, during the solstices, they will gather at a stone alter in one of the mountain peaks that inaccessible by ground dwellers. It is there that almost all of the quick-gold they'd taken during the Dessiens Enslavement is stored. During the gathering they renew their vow to the gods [still not sure which one] and are given visions for the future.

Rumors have it that they've been promised ascending to a godhood. Whether this is true, or even remotely possible, is very much unknown. Regardless, what little is left of the Krenem race are fully devoted to it.

Historical Overview

Little is known of this race. They were drawn to the Dessien homeland by the magical pull of the quick-gold but no one knows exactly how it's being used. Since the Dessien Slave Revolt, none have been seen in their homeland.

The Krenem have very little written history and most of their past is wrapped in a shadow. Whatever is being planned, it's clear that the only thing that matters to the Krenem is the promises given during the vision.

It should be noted, that what the other races know of the Krenem come from the testimony of Zem-Krenem, in trade and the historical literatures in the Dessien archives.


The Ghuloth - by Mercutio

A subterranean race of hideous humanoids, the Cthon are an unnerving sight for even what few experts exist on them. Appearing as faceless beasts, they hunt in packs, often surfacing in mines digging too deep, and occasionally in catacombs beneath a city or noble house. They rarely venture out into the daylight though as their skin have grown sensitive to the rays.

An interesting thing to note is that the while the Ghuloth do hunt, no one has actually seen them eat, nor do they know. Rather, the Ghuloth always drag their prey away from the scene after they’re dead, unconscious, or sometimes alive and struggling, and beneath the earth. The deities only know what purpose this serves ultimately.


Physiology

Having no faces, one would assume them blind and deaf, but in truth they have slits on their necks permitting them to utter unearthly shrieks to frighten their prey. Meanwhile, they have a sonar sense, allowing echoes and vibrations to provide them with vision much more clear than a human’s, and unhindered by light or darkness.

Despite their slim and seemingly frail figures, they are stronger than the average human, with claws able to slice into stone without detriment, and useful for scaling walls and cliffs. Their bones are also strong, able to survive falls from incredible heights. Mentally, the ghuloth are little more than feral beasts hunting in packs, set on hunting their prey and returning it to their deep homes.

To add to their disturbing nature, beneath the smooth skin of their faces, they still have normal human features. Their jaws can still move, their eyes glance about, and their nose twitch. They’re rendered useless by the flesh that has grown over them. Another disturbing note is that despite the form and physique of a male, they have no reproductive organs. And in all the years of observation, not a single female specimen has been seen above ground.

(Note, the purpose of the ghuloth hunting prey and bringing them beneath the earth is open to interpretation, and may be decided later on by the group)

Magic

Their inability to speak coherently is a detriment to the use of godspeak, and their intellect level is another factor that makes spellcasters very rare among their kind. However, stories exist of intelligent Ghuloth capable of wielding magic. They were able to overcome their inherent muteness by opening their mouth, though there the stories tell of many different methods for that, including biting or cutting it open.


The Avoca - by Mercutio

A race of aviary humanoids, the Avoca are a warlike people who at one point ruled the known world as the Gabrothian Empire, named for the king who united their nomadic clans. At the height of their power, the Avoca built cities into the mountains on the sides. Among their achievements are the arches and aqueducts meant to transport water from their mountains to certain settlements in the deserts surrounding their capital. They are rarely seen anymore, if at all.

Physiology

Their avian heads and necks are roughly another head above where a human’s would be. The feet also resemble that of a hawk’s, with talons sharp enough to bite into anyone they stomp on, and digitigrade legs. The wings on their back permit them flight. Feather patterns can range from brown, white, gray, black and any combination. In particular their eyes are striking, in that they show no white. All that’s visible are their yellow or gray-blue irises. Their beaks are viciously strong, and when all else fails, the Avoca will fight with even bites. It would be exceedingly difficult for a human to read any sort of emotion in their faces, as very little of their features resembles a human’s. The Avoca do not communicate by expressions, instead relying on a complicated system of screeches and cries, with the meanings changing based on the very tone they are spoken in.

Society

Caste System

King
The king is naturally the ruler of the Gabrothian people. However, the king is not defined by his lineage and bloodline. The monarchs of the Gabrothian’s all had to earn their throne through combat, be it by defeating the previous king for the position, or fighting when the king steps down or dies. It is through this that the mightiest of this warlike race rules his kin, for better or worse. The first king was the mighty yet cunning Gabroth, who set the standard for his successors.

Priests
The priests among the Gabrothians are no soft hearted bishops. As becoming for their culture and race, even the clergy among the hawk people were very bellicose and skilled in combat. Their specific task is to worship the gods and ask for omens regarding an upcoming conflict, as well as burning the bodies of the dead and scattering their ashes to the four winds. In addition to that, they guard the treasures which are given to statues of the gods and ancestors, tributes for victorious conquests taken from the spoils. Even the king must give the priests due respect, but no matter the case he reigns over them, not the other way around. One of the more notable kings, Terragos the Fate Seeker, utterly disregarded omens advising against the war, seeking to forge his people their own fortunes.

Warriors
The backbone of the Gabrothian Empire, the warrior caste was the main military body of the Gabrothian people. From childhood, every Avoca, male and female alike, are trained to be fierce warriors as soon as they learn how to fly. Before Gabroth’s abdication, there was no greater honor than serving your people on the field of battle. Their fAvocared tactic is hopping around using their great speed and agility, often confusing enemies before the killing blow, or even herding them off in specific directions. Warriors were often trained individually, and often not as a unit, as this form of combat would be limiting to them, especially given their natural boon over flightless enemies.

Slaves
The bottom of the caste, the Avoca didn’t actually have slaves before their unification. Put simply, slaves were often crippled and flightless, and so it was a hindrance to the nomadic nature of the Avoca. Since becoming an empire, the slave caste is often reserved for those who have become crippled, or for prisoners taken from other nations who were equally useless in their fights. The name for this caste is actually a misnomer, as even members of other races were treated with honor and respect after Gabroth served in this capacity, revolutionizing their architecture and working hard all the same.

For a long time, it became as prestigious as fighting on the field. However, during Astragoth’s reign, the bottom caste was horribly mistreated due to his own loathing of them, refusing to abdicate and join them after he himself became crippled. When most of the Gabrothian army was wiped out from a great storm, the flightless slave caste was left relatively untouched, permitting them the opportunity to overthrow the remainder of their oppressive lords and free themselves.

Language

Avoci is the complex language of the Avoca. A man ill-versed in linguistics would hear little else but screeches. However, there is rhyme and reason to this tongue, dependent on tone and annunciation as well as vocabulary. An Avoca who speaks a sentence angrily might very well mean something else entirely different from the Avoca speaking the same words but calmly. Unfortunately, it is near impossible for an Avoca to learn common due to the immense difference in their mouths and lack of lips. Likewise, even a linguist would struggle to learn Avoci aloud. When written down, the words and letters are an effective alphabet, and likely an influence on the human’s own writing, despite the incapability of either race to speak the other’s language.

Historical Overview

Long ago, the Avoca were a race of hawk men who wandered the world in a series of nomadic clans. An ambitious king known as Gabroth rose up and united his people, founding one of the strongest empires in history. Under his rule, the Avoca found civilization, power, and glory, as well as a sense of unity and serving the people rather than themselves. Gabroth’s reign came to an end when he was injured in battle and crippled, robbing from him his ability to fly. Setting the example for his successors to follow, he stepped down and joined the slave caste, where his sharp mind and his strong body would serve the empire as strongly as ever, nearly equating the slave caste to that of the warriors’.

Years of kings have come and gone, each leaving their mark of improvement on the Gabrothian Empire. Under Gabroth’s reign alone, humans were brought under their dominion, and future kingdoms would lead successful conquests as well. The cities in the mountains grew splendid. However, the kingdom fell drastically under the reign of the Demon King, Astragoth. Astragoth was a mighty warrior, but vain and incredibly ruthless. Even when crippled in combat, he refused to surrender his crown, and challenged usurpers to pry it from his dead claws. No one could surpass him in combat though, and so he remained king.

While his reign extended the borders of the Gabrothian’s further than ever, his brutal policies won him no fAvocar from his people or the defeated. The slave caste, despite being prestigious in its own right even for conquered races, was pushed to its limits and given no respect from their new king. Astragoth even desired to lay siege to the heavens, and so built a massive tower on the highest peak in the world, so he himself could “be the first to stand on the gods’ realm.” As it neared completion, the kingdom fell into civil war. The priests deemed Astragoth’s behavior blasphemous, and gathered support among the other castes. In the end, they unleashed a great storm, devastating the Demon King’s forces and destroying his tower, with him still in it.

Shortly after this, though, the people that the Avoca had conquered rose up in defiance against the weakened Gabrothians, and with their numbers dwindling, the Avoca could only return to their nomadic nature. To this day, the Gabrothian’s leave a long lasting legacy, their decaying structures dotting the lands still. The race itself is believed to be extinct, or so low in number that to see one is rare. Some of their culture was even taken into the others, including a few of their architectural designs, and their written alphabet forms the basis of common writing.

The Gabrothians were a powerful and ancient race of warriors who once ruled the majority of the world. From the youngest age, even the females are groomed for battle and glory. This coupled with their considerable might and capabilities for flight have left them second to none in martial power. Their hierarchy before their rise consisted of small nomadic clans. However, in the first age, there came one from the Stormwing Clan who rose to chieftain and set off to unite the clans and conquer those that would resist. This figure would come to be named Gabroth the Rising Wind. Under Gabroth, the Altair became a single force of reckoning, spreading their claws upon the world.

Gabroth’s reign alone enslaved the wingless and weak human tribes. Their caste system was the same as before, although slightly altered. The king was above all else, and was dictated by might and not lineage. Below him were the warriors that he fought alongside with. Beneath them was the clergy that paid homage to their ancestors and gods. At the bottom are those who cannot serve the Altair in combat, often being the slaves they conquer or Altair who were crippled in battle. Before being united, slaves did not exist, because such beings would be hindrances to a nomadic clan, and thus would be left to fend for themselves.

Gabroth’s reign came to an end when he was mortally wounded, and when he miraculously recovered, he could not fight anymore. Though many asked he remain on the throne, he abided by the rules of nation and abdicated, taking to the tasks of the bottom caste with pride. There it was revealed his mind was as sharp as his combat prowess was great. He quickly innovated on several methods of work, as well as inventing many architectural designs, such as the arch. He wasn’t outdone in work either, being the hardest worker wherever he went. When he died, the working caste was made equally important to the clergy to honor his legacy, and even human slaves were considered important to their society, and the kingdom was named the Gabrothian Empire.

Since Gabroth’s death, the kings have come and gone, each leaving their mark on the Gabrothian Empire. Some added to the borders, others built cities to their glory. More than one has resigned and submitted to the lower caste, which had become synonymous with the glory that fighting brought. However, after millennia of this tradition, there came a king who ended it.

Astragoth the Blood Wind rose to power through the usual process. However, he was quite different from previous rulers in that being strong and skilled, he was ruthless and brutal. He fought with any edge that he could, and exploited any weakness to this end. Those who would say he had no honor except in secret rarely lived to see the next cycle. In addition to his pragmatic fighting, he utterly despised the working caste and saw it beneath him. What he desired was the glory of slaughter and war, and so he eagerly set to spreading the Gabrothian Empire.

By tragic irony, his wings were damaged on his third conquest by a volley of arrows, and he nearly lost the use of his legs from the fall he suffered. Where all his predecessors chose to step down for the good of the Altair, Astragoth vehemently refused to subject himself to menial labor. When it was insisted, he issued a challenge. “Let he who covets my throne step forth… Either he’ll succeed me by combat, or I’ll cut him down!” Once every week from that point forth, a challenger step forth, but he cut down every single one without the use of wings. He soon made a spectacle of it by erecting a coliseum and fighting his challengers before an audience. Under his rule, the honorable warriors of the Altair were fast becoming a race of bloodthirsty savages.

Becoming ever more battle hardened since becoming a cripple, Astragoth’s ego grew exponentially. Soon, he thought that there would be no greater task that to assail the heavens themselves and claim them in the name of the newly christened Astragothian Empire. However, the task proved a challenge to him as he could no longer fly. He was determined to overcome this by erecting an enormous tower which with he could journey to the heavens by his own power. The working caste, which had been brutally oppressed under his reign, was set to work on the insurmountable task which many would die constructing.

Legend says that as the tower neared completion, Astragoth marched up its flights and awaited at the top. His legions hovered at his command, waiting for their self-proclaimed God-king to cross the threshold. Even the clergy were made to fly and join their invasion. Yet in an act many believe ordained, a storm the likes of which had never seen ripped through the world. Astragoth’s legions were caught in the gales and hopelessly lost. The tower meanwhile had collapsed under the force of the storm, and the God-king with it. Astragoth the Blood Wind fell that day, and with him is dynasty. Alas, with the Altair nearly annihilated, the Gabrothian Empire crumbled, the slaves overrunning the remnants of the proud race in retaliation for the horrors of Astraoth’s reign.

The Altair have been driven to the brink of extinction, and have never recovered. What few remain scattered to the corners of the world, returning to their nomadic nature. They never linger, and are scarcely sighted, if at all. It is unlikely that they will ever return to power. As for the God-king Astragoth, legend has it that he was condemned to hell. Legend also has it that he escaped through his strength, and attempted to conquer the heavens himself. He was dissuaded by being offered godhood, and so he donned a silver mask over his broken beak, and reigned over the domain of death.

The Alraune - by Sorrowrunner

Alraune, plantlike creatures, tens of thousands said to have descended from one mother in some few hundred years ago. At an older age, read an average of eight, they are fully matured, resembling a rather buxom human woman with green skin. They tend to be barely clothed, if one can call that clothing. Despite having no actual reproductive organs about their hips or breasts, they still cover naturally cover themselves, around the hips with long leaves weaved together with ivy and a bit of sap, around the breast with petals that often sway, but don't actually reveal anything aside from deeper green dots where nipples should actually be.

Until age four, Alraune tend to stay inside bulbs, for no reason, aside from they're not really developed, they act like simple plants. If ever opened up Alraune look like small, moss covered children on the inside of the plants, if a child decides to join the sleepy child, they're quickly snapped up by the bulb and digested by acids, if they manage to eat a child before they blossom, they'll blossom up in the next few days, looking like anywhere between a loli and jail bait, though at this age, fully awake, and to a degree, sentient. At this age, the blossom is old enough to allow grown men into the center of the flower, and be quickly dissolved by acid. This is just how hey get sustenance at this age, if they go too long without human (or other species) flesh, they tend to bulb up again, until something decides to look inside the petals and be quickly dragged in by desperate, open arms. The moss and ivy are umbilical in nature.
They use this form to attract naive men, or in some cases women, they gain knowledge of the outside world, knowledge of societies, language, religion. And of course, people are eaten for food.

Alraune are actually unable to feel sensation, they're not humans, they don't have as complex nervous systems. From eating flesh, mostly the brains of their victims, they gain an understanding of what's supposed to feel good, or bad, and become good at faking emotions. The only parts of their bodies that feel, are their tongues, they've developed an especially acute sense of taste. So, they like food. They can hear, but the sense isn't as developed or integral as taste.

As adults, they can eat real food, and often do, for the sake of not being hunted down. Though, they don't give up the opportunity to douse a man or woman in acid to eat him, if he so offers, or everyone's asleep and she can wrap up his mouth in cloth so no one can hear him scream. They can mistake poison for food, it's a safe way to kill them. They can also root for foods and water when desperate.

As the only place they can really feel, Alraune 'kiss' to reproduce, their 'tongues' intertwine and they taste all the sugars in the other's body and can be excited enough to pass their genetic material to the other. Rather than orgasm from touch, they orgasm from taste. In this situation, they are both male. When they accept, they are both female. In this way, Alraune are hermaphroditic. Their kisses also act as an aphrodisiac in non Alraune races. Without a mate, it is possible for them to breed with themselves, creating cloned children.

After about two weeks, they 'give birth', from their mouth, as it is the only opening in their bodies, aside from pores used to breath The fruit is about the size of an apple, with the consistency of an over ripe plum, with a skin as thin as a pomegranate seed. The fruits contain anywhere between six to twenty two seeds. The fruits have a few medicinal purposes and are very, very sweet. Just don't ever, ever swallow a seed. Nine out of ten cases involve death within a month, and a small flower growing from their bodies.

Their skin can range anywhere from teal to deeper, darker greens, with petals of many shapes, oriented different ways, with all sorts of colors, all of which with the express purpose of keeping them 'decent', and of course, attracting food.


Last edited by AWizardDidIt on Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:25 am; edited 4 times in total
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Re: Mechanics and Overviews

Post  AWizardDidIt on Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:33 pm

Illustrations/Concept Art


Concept for a “Green” shaded Oto’ghal. (Artwork by Alezin)


Concept of a female Dessiens. (Artwork by Alezin)

Maps


A map showing the borders of the organized nations of Calmargur, and the major cities of the world.

Note: The stretch of land on the eastern coastline of Calmargur was once a mountain range inhabited by yetis, the first race. Over the course of millions of years, the high mountains that once dominated the area were slowly eroded by glacial activity. The yetis died out later of unrelated causes, but it is said that the harsh and inhospitable "rock lands" still house their vengeful spirits.



A map displaying the lands of the Gabrothian Empire at the height of its conquests.
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Re: Mechanics and Overviews

Post  Quixoticus on Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:57 pm

Courtesy of V.!!!

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Re: Mechanics and Overviews

Post  Mormosi on Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:41 pm

((This post acts as a simplistic list of canonized Calmargur gods. For more specific and/or detailed information on any one of these gods, or their lore, consult the Lore & Stories thread, the upper sections of the Mechanics thread (under the races), or contact the person in charge of the material.

Note: each of the tabs for the gods are –very– general. If you want a better idea of what the god represents within their respective culture, consult their more detailed descriptions. This is merely to provide an overview.))

The Pantheon of Calmargur Gods

Dos

God of: order
Area of influence: The Ten Hand Commonwealth, minor sect within Shrireia
Magic Realm: Life

Hermia

Goddess of: wisdom
Area of influence: The Ten Hand Commonwealth, minor sect within Shrireia
Magic Realm: Life

Asrolos

God of: The Ten Virtues (mercy, compassion, justice, chastity, temperance, diligence, strength, charity, loyalty, and love).
Area of influence: The Ten Hand Commonwealth, minor sect within Shrireia
Magic Realm: Within the ethereal realm, Asrolos is actually several gods, and not just one. Their range across the realms is vast, but most reside within the Life realm.


Malcolar

God of: the Void
Area of influence: The Veran Territory
Magic Realm: Acts as ruler of the Void realm.

Empyrean

God of: enlightenment, free thought, knowledge
Area of influence: Elbrus
Magic Realm: Life

Norghi

Goddess of: hunting, crop growth, foraging, writing, painting, childbirth
Area of influence: Ghalian Cartel
Magic Realm: Life

Jagzum

God of: Warfare/fighting, architecture/building, sculpting, claws, strength
Area of influence: Ghalian Cartel
Magic Realm: Void

Orswen

God of: the Elements
Area of influence: the Meni’Driad (minor sects within Ghalian Cartel and Ten Hand Commonwealth)
Magic realm: acts as ruler of the Elemental Realm.

Galina

Goddess of: the earth, nature
Area of influence: the Meni’Driad (sects within the Ghalian Cartel and Ten Hand Commonwealth)
Magic realm: Elemental

Eklibra

Goddess of: Life
Area of influence: the Librans (sects within Ten Hand Commonwealth, the Caren states, the Chevaari Desert, and Dessia)
Magic realm: acts as ruler of the Life Realm.

The Shrirein ‘Spirits’

Gods of: conquest, skill, achievement, clairvoyance, the weather
Area of influence: Shrireia
Magic realm: The ‘spirits’ are actually a collection of gods that, like Asrolos, span a long range of the ethereal realms. However, most of them are concentrated within the Elemental Realm.

((Notes on the Dessien, Chevaar, and Hele’Dai gods pending further information from their owners.))
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