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Old 12-18-2012, 04:26 AM   #9
Prince Charon
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Default Re: Five Earths, All in a Row

* The closer Earth in front of us is also lacking in artificial satellites, nor does it possess a debris ring like the Clockpunk Earth.

In the skies all over the world, various kinds of dragons can be seen, as well as other varieties of flying myths, as appropriate for their regions. There are a number of hot air balloons over India (and a few in nearby regions) and South America, along with flying carpets in parts of the Middle East

The surface looks mostly like Earth in the 6th century, with elements of Middle Earth, and to a lesser degree, 3.5-era Abier-Toril (races, species, and types of items, not specific individuals or places), though the economy looks mostly like what the various cultures on RL Earth actually had in the 6th century. There are the usual people, animals, and plants (along with many unusual ones), there are cities, towns, and villages about where you'd expect them to be (and a few where they probably shouldn't be, including a city apparently made of brass in the least-habitable part of the Arabian paeninsvla, and one with streets paved in gold in South America), and the geography/geology looks mostly the way archaeologists think it did in our timeline in the 6th century (except for several extra or expanded islands & paeninsvlae, a few new or missing mountains, and so forth). In Britain, there's a fairly large wasteland, in large parts of what are now the counties of Denbighshire, Flintshire, and Wrexham, and fairly small parts of Conwy, Gwynedd, Powys, Cheshire, and Shropshire. In certain deserts, Arabia and the Gobi in particular, a few necromancers have quite a lot of undead doing rather strange things. The general nerdity of OTL scientists will likely lead them to the links provided soon enough, though (which have been SFW each of the times I checked them, despite being archived from /tg/; pleasant surprise, that).

The observable point of divergence from our history was in 312 CE (1065 ab urbe condita), when Emperor Constantine was killed at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, having been struck by lightning. This didn't end Christianity, but it did keep it from dominating Europe, and throw off the Imperial succession. Oddly enough, some things still happened, such as the partitioning of the Roman Empire (already begun by Diocletian, in the Third Century CE), and the decline of the Western half. Said decline happened more slowly than in our timeline, and did less damage to Italia. By 500 CE/1253 AUC, the Western Empire had recovered somewhat, and Western Emperor Lucius Tiberius felt confident enough to order the wealthy British cities, victorious over their Teutonic invaders, to pay tribute to Rome. This was something the Britons had stopped doing when the Romans abandoned them in 421/1174 (around 410/1163, in OTL), and felt no reason to resume. Now, in 514/1267, the capital of the Western Roman Empire is Camulodunum, and the Emperor is the Romano-British warlord Ambrosius Aurelianus the Younger (or Ambrosius Aurelianus Romanorum), better known to his own people as Arthur, High King of the Britons. Of course, the Western Empire only controls Britannia, Armorica, Italia, and the cities in Gallia that happen to lie along the best route between Italia and Armorica (though Arthur is mostly allied with the other kingdoms in Gallia).

GURPS Fantasy Chapter 9 (Roma Arcana, pp 195-232) will be a little helpful, here. Arthur is sufficiently faithful to the Romano-British pantheon that all of Britannia, Armorica, and Italia are normal sanctity again, his Legions collectively have Higher Purpose, and so forth. Most of Gallia doesn't quite have the same benefits, though.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Roman Empire, with its capital at Olympia, is almost as large as in OTL 514 CE, despite having a bit of a civil war, between the three sons of the late Emperor Crassus. In the regions of Europe not controlled by parts of the Roman Empire, small nations, city-states, and wandering tribes are the order of the day, and North Africa isn't much better - although the Kingdom of the Vandals is fairly strong, surprisingly wealthy and fertile, and seems to have a good chance of uniting the region.

Outside of Europe and the Mediterranean region, things are going fairly close to our timeline... apart from the weird bits: Japan is culturally and technologically closer to the mid Heian era, except that they already have katana. There's a Pharaonate in Kush (what we would call Sudan), with springs and canals that did not exist in OTL, and a culture with great similarities to Ancient Egypt. The Iroquouis (or a very similar tribal alliance) are having an agricultural revolution, and appear to be mastering ironworking and positional numerology, though the rest of their technology appears to be in the early-to-mid Bronze Age, with an ideographic writing system. India has flying machines called 'vimana', most of which are held aloft by lenicular or spindle-shaped hot air balloons, and are propelled by great cloth-and-wood screws. (Think of the airscrew of da Vinci's helicopter. Turn it on its side, make the shaft longer, and mount another screw on the other end, so whenever you turn it, one screw blows air toward the gondola, and the other blows it away. Thus, you can go forward or backward, depending on which way you turn the airscrew. Steering is accomplished by a folding sail/rudder sticking out the bottom of the gondola, and/or other, smaller pairs of airscrews, perpendicular to the main shaft.)

Most of the strange new species are spirits of various types, embodied in whatever matter fits them. Trolls, for example, are a type of Earth elemental hostile to humans, and 'allergic' to direct sunlight, which can banish them from their stone bodies, and leave them unable to take new ones for years, or even centuries. Dragons are harder to codify, and there seem to be multiple types of spirits who use dragon bodies. Some appear to use fossils - or at lease, that's what's left behind when they're 'killed', occasionally along with crocodilian hide, a powerfully magical heart, or both. Others create their bodies gradually over time, from the food they eat, but all dragons (and most other spirits) start with ectoplasm: dust, smoke, vapor, and so forth, gathered and held in place psychokinetically. Spirits that only use ectoplasm, or pure PK (with or without a visual illusion), to simulate their bodies, are effectively immune to non-magical weapons: there's really nothing there to hit. A wide range of other monstrous spirits exist, mostly having started from local legends, and in some cases, wandering further afield. Some monsters, such as the European Owlbear, were created by bored or mad sorcerers, for purposes ranging from the reasonable to the inexplicable. Many of them, when 'killed', leave treasure behind, having taken into their bodies various items worn or carried by previous victims. Dragons vary in size from little lizards or snakes (which may be possessing the bodies of actual reptiles) to a bit larger than a 747 (which often lack physical bodies, at all).

Continued next post.
"The more corrupt a government, the more it legislates."
-- Tacitus

Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 10/18/2017: The timeline entry for May, 2014 has finally been posted!

Last edited by Prince Charon; 12-18-2012 at 04:50 AM.
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