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Old 08-01-2019, 07:36 AM   #151
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Default Re: [GAME] Conceive a Cross Dimensional Fantasy Milieu

Answer 88 Calledron, like Prussia, is an army with real estate holdings, not a country with an army. Granted, military status is fairly theoretical for most Calledronians, but not for Mages; you'd have to have some significant infirmity for a powerful telekinetic to be left in the inactive reserves. Most Mages are thus junior officers; a typical billet would see them in command of about 40 regulars with one Surgeon-Adept, although variations for temperament, ability and the needs of the Archmage exist. Of course, "army stuff" covers a very wide range of activities, from civil engineering to peacekeeping to recalcitrant village incineration. They will stay junior officers for their entire lives if they demonstrate neither aptitude nor interest in higher command, which is exactly what happens to most of them and isn't usually regarded as shameful; the stories of a Mage and his intrepid forty-person warband that stayed together for twenty years (which probably contains several couples; Calledron has no real concept of "fraternization") resonate with people in many ways better than the story of a Colonel who commands a couple of thousand people he does not know personally. The one major not-explicitly-military duty which Mages are expected to shoulder as often as possible is judicial duty. Calledron's trials are normally conducted by a three-judge panel and the powers that be want those judges to be Mages as often and thoroughly as possible. It affirms in the popular imagination that Mage rule is normal, it inspires a healthy level of terr-respect as a Mage uses telekinesis to execute a condemned man, and further paints the Mages as protecting the general populace from criminals. Social critics argue that the skills necessary to be a military lieutenant and a judge not only have very little overlap, they may actually be exclusive; in being given two jobs that have nothing to do with each other, Mages are being set up to fail at at least one of them. Most Archmages will have several Mages who are also parari [agents], administrators or spymasters, but the Empire didn't succeed by handing important jobs to people unsuited to them; a majority of parari have no supernatural ability and were chosen purely for their skill. A Mage with a disability that rendered them unsuitable for active service probably would find themselves at least nominally in charge of a large trading house or similar institution; it's just too useful an "in" into the imperial power structure for such an institution to pass up.

Question 124 Who or what occupied the plains of Sepulchre before the advent of the ogres and formation of the Concordat?
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Old 08-02-2019, 09:58 AM   #152
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Question 96:
What wildlife lives in the Pit and the Pirate City? How does the citizenry interact with these creatures?
Its unknown what originally lived in Pit, but with its abundant supply of portals, flora and fauna from all over the polycosm have found their way to Pit. Not all can survive in a capriciously lit eternal hole, but those that can seem to thrive.

The most notorious creatures in the city are portal drakes (see answer 7, post 8). Portal drakes are savage and animalistic, but have an innate sense for the opening and closing of portals. The Pirates tolerate and even encourage the presence of these large predators near the city as a sort of portal prediction system. Several artificial Roosts are maintained by the city where portal drakes can rest, raise young, and be separated from parts of the city less amenable to large carnivorous flying beasts.

Pit has a healthy population of scavengers, including rats, pigeons, lizards, cliff crabs, and fist beetles. Many pet falcons and gliding civets are kept in a vain attempt at reducing these populations. Assisting with this effort but most un-pet-like are the tumbling spiders, weighing up to 5 lbs, spending most of their life in free fall, avoiding obstacles and catching prey with sticky strands of silk.

Question 125: When one travels into the Verdant Aurtarky, what sort of inhabitants is one most likely to meet?
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Old 08-03-2019, 06:23 AM   #153
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Answer 64 Crimes in Calledron

Calledron doesn't think of itself as a legalistic society; the military appreciates order and consistency, but never at the expense of actual military objectives or current strategic needs. That said, they make a distinction between Fundamental Law, the ten decrees of the Oppuhan gods which cannot be altered or ameliorated by man, and Imperial Decree, which is subject to alteration or exception by Emperor or Archmage, sometimes without warning or explanation. Some people point out that the old Oppuhan gods are not strongly associated with Calledron anymore and as such regarding their decrees as Fundamental is blind traditionalism; their opponents point out that even arguing that violates the Fourth Fundamental Law, and on a practical note, the gods tend not to be so reasonable in such matters and the very last thing the Empire needs is the active opposition of the Warbringer and the Keeper of Graves.

The Ten Fundamental Laws, in order, are murder, desecration, state financial irregularities, sedition, refusal to fight, improper weights and measurements, exile minimums, access to judges, treason and neutrality. The penalty for murder is supposed to be death; the second law is about the holy places belonging to Gods, in which you will behave exactly as the proprietary God says or suffer death for the primary offender and exile for their immediate family. This law doesn't see a lot of use in modern times, as few gods claim special real estate on Calledron; it is, however, the basis of the Lokou's temple exception, as the Warlord (they didn't call themselves Emperors back then) successfully argued that the Lokou's temples fell under the Second Fundamental law. The third allows for penalties up to death for any inconsistency or gap in the financial records of the state; the army is slightly mad for logs and records, and this one is, if anything, amplified by Imperial decree. Sedition includes questioning the validity of the ten fundamental laws and can include death. Refusal to fight does not merit death but does mean renouncing your claims to citizenship; the committed pacifist is a legal unperson, although in some administrations they are treated reasonably. A sentence of exile (or imprisonment, although imprisonment is seldom used) cannot be commuted before ten years. An Imperial shall have prompt access to a judge at any time and any place, even on campaign - the right to a speedy trial, to present evidence in one's defense and to petition the government for redress of grievances may be the only fundamental rights the Oppuhan gods acknowledge, and violating these right probably means death for the government officials and anyone else that looks relevant. Treason is ironically punished with exile, while sedition may merit death; if you're so determined to improve the state through violence, go make a new province. Finally, citizens may not treat foreigners in a manner that goes directly against the decision of the state; private foreign policy will not be tolerated. It's worth noting that gods are considered legal persons and based on older stories, actively participated in the courts; judges were on their guard when one of the clever three lodges a suit, as their actual scheme probably had nothing to do with the law or stated grievance, but the willingness of the Keeper of Graves to walk into a mortal court made improper murder VERY hard to get away with. However, the Keeper has never (yet) graced a Calledron court with its presence.

Astute observers will note that fundamental law covers neither non-fatal assault nor basically any property crime. Imperial decree makes theft, kidnapping, assault and arson punishable by up to death, but judges have some leeway in these depending on the local archmage. Other crimes include insubordination, tax evasion, false or incomplete records that aren't directly related to state finance (remember, the army loves its logs, records and archives), denying access to a temple or interfering with another's religious duties (that one produces an endless stream of lawsuits for soldiers on campaign), adultery, vandalism against state property, slander, neglect of animals, and local health or building codes. In many places, being out of your province of residence for more than 30 days was illegal; Emperor Julius Martellus particularly dislikes these laws and has pushed hard for citizens having freedom of movement throughout the empire. Many archmages also have local laws regarding the maintenance, care and feeding of their portals, and public entertainments or religious observances. (He isn't thrilled with adultery laws either, but once on the books those are always hard to get rid of).

Civil suits against archmages or other prominent persons, asserting that they have violated their oaths by failing to provide X for the people, are lodged and succeed often enough; the state REALLY dislikes concentration of wealth, and its preferred means for addressing it is a court order to renovate a sewer system, relieve the poor, fund an art program or school, or something similar. A very common charge is nepotism or attempted bribery any time the child of a prominent person achieves something notable, prompting a flurry of public works at private expense.

Question 126 Let's make it official, Name 5: name and briefly describe the five monocosm polities besides Ton regarded as important to the setting.
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Old 08-06-2019, 08:48 AM   #154
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Question 106 Who is the current political authority in the city of Rahalar?
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Question 107 Describe the collapse of the Rahalar empire. Did its portals fail all at once, or slowly and intermittently? How did the central government react? The people? Was this predicted, or a complete surprise? How long ago did this happen?
Answer 106 - The Mantikores of Rahalar
The current rulers of Rahalar are mantikores. Nominally, the humanoid subjects of the city recognise Mavarid as the Elder Matriarch, but to properly understand who is in charge needs some knowledge of mantikore social groupings.

Mantikores follow similar social patterns to lions. Females and their offspring form prides that control a particular piece of territory, such as a mountain range, forest, sea or city. The pride, formed of 5-10 female adults and twice as many offspring, is ruled over by two or three of the eldest matriarchs in amicable cooperation. Adult male mantikores either roam the planes as solo nomads or join one of the handful of large stable groups, known as a cabals, of anywhere between 5 and 30. The cabals specialise in different schools of sorcery and are somewhat selective about accepting disciples. An established pride will then accept up to 4 or 5 males at a time as residents, and generally have a longstanding arrangement with a particular cabal that provides them, although they often accept nomad mantikores that might meet the matriarchs' selection criteria. The strongest or fiercest of these resident males may then become the ruler of the pride, although a pride may go for a while without a patriarch, until someone younger deposes him or until the matriarchs repeal his rule. Finally, older males, ejected from their prides, return to their cabals or go into nomadic hermitude.

Rahalar has been the territory of the Siyohran Pride for the last several centuries, and rose to its peak under their rule, along with the co-rule of a line of patriarchs from the Olami Cabal. However, the alliance between the Olami and the Siyohran no longer holds, and Rahalar is thus ruled solely by Elder Matriarch Mavarid and her pride-sisters. The pride is currently home to three resident males, but they have no cabalic connection - nomads, and not yet recognised as patriarch material. As for daily governance, how exactly the matriarchs divide up their decision-making is not clear to the human and humanoid officials that form the layer of bureaucracy between the mantikores and their subjects. As long as their overlords are not demanding to eat the flesh of half the civil service, then the bureaucrats can feel happy they've correctly interpreted their orders.

Answer 107 - Collapse of the Rahalari Empire
Rahalar rose to ascendancy under the co-rule of the Siyohran Pride and a line of patriarchs from the Olami Cabal- a cabal of mantikore sorcerers whose powers gave them control over the material stuff and energies of the Distorted Lands. A strong Olami sorcerer has the power to step into the Distorted Lands and form an army of tulpa warriors that he can lead back to the material realms, given access to appropriate portals. A lot of the architectural glory of Rahalar and its subject cities is also due to the ability of Olami sorcerers to create grand towers and temples as thoughtforms that retain their reality in the material realms. So, it was mainly through the might of the Olami Patriarchs combined with Rahalar's access to the Great Astral Portal to the Distorted Lands that allowed them to conquer and hold a dozen realms for the span of six centuries.

The Rahalari Empire in this form ended seven decades ago, under the rule of the ninth patriarch, Shonsharid, when the Great Astral Portal was destroyed and access to the Distorted Lands was cut off for Shonsharid and his cabal-brothers. With the loss of their power, they fled Rahalar before they could be deposed by younger contenders.

The subject realms of the empire did not all break away immediately, yet all bar one did so eventually, and each in their own way. Some were conquered by eager rivals, seeing that their mantikore protectors had lost their bite. Others were overthrown in rebellion, while still others politely stated they were now going their own way. The remaining allied city, Pichoqir, remains allied due to having a strong sub-pride of the Siyohran.

The Siyohran Pride have agreed to the terms of the Five Banner Concordat to keep them from losing their two remaining realms to rival polities, but see this as a stopgap measure until they can align with a new powerful patriarch. The Ogre Knights are actually keen on making contact with this Olami Cabal, apparently having useful knowledge of the Distorted Lands, and very useful magicks, so are hoping to eventually make contact somehow through the Siyohran matriarchs. They fear, however, that the Olami have disbanded or have hidden themselves deep away somewhere and may not wish to be found.

----
Question 127 [RAH] - The Portal of Rahalar
What was the catastrophe that destroyed the Great Astral Portal? Internecine bickering? A rival cabal? An extra powerful nomadic mantikore? Some external enemy? Hubris? And is this historical event somehow relevant today?
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Old 08-06-2019, 11:10 AM   #155
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Question 126 Let's make it official, Name 5: name and briefly describe the five monocosm polities besides Ton regarded as important to the setting.
Answer 126a

The cosm of pinnacle hosts one such state. The pinnaclites are lead by the priesthood of the Eternal Flame, their goddess. The Eternal Flame is one of the deities that claims to see the future, and is quite willing to interfere with affairs on pinnacle. She expresses no interest in the wider polycosm, at least not to her people, though she will take fairly direct action to protect them from threats. The Pinnaclites are not nearly as confined to the cosm as their goddess. They are active traders, selling local exotic minerals for the full range of polycosmic goods. Pinnaclite sorcerers are known for their connection with fire.

Question 128:
What is the geography of pinnacle like? why is it called pinnacle?

Question 129:
What sorts of exotic minerals do the pinnaclites send to other cosms?
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Old 08-06-2019, 01:18 PM   #156
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Answer 76 The narrow sea on Calledron does receive enough wind to make sails work. Sort of. The wide, low brain-pan, unobscured by cool teeth, receives a bit more sunlight to warm it than areas farther up the narrow snout; this means that the breeze is pretty steadily and consistently from brain-pan to snout, only infrequently inverted, and almost never from side to side. Sailing up to Callous Harbour is usually not too hard; sailing out of Callous Harbour and down to the brain-pan requires substantially better skill and engineering.

Answer 127 Although anyone who understands this is keeping it to themselves, the Great Astral Portal of Rahalar was accidentally destroyed by the hubris of (at least) one the Olami; contemplating an expansion into territory controlled by the Verdant (or the mantikore cabal that operates within Verdant territory, depending on who you regard as the priority), they sought a weapon of mass destruction that was not made by hand or mind, so that the "curse" of the Verdant would not allow them to casually unmake it. Eventually, an Olami sorceror successfully imagined such a weapon. The attempt to bring it back through the portal into the world of conventional materium, however, went very badly, and the portal was unmade, as well as much of the surrounding neighborhood. Whether the weapon still exists in some form in the Distorted Lands is an interesting question.

Question 130 what are some things it is suspected cannot be done with alchemy (aside from know the future)?

Question 131 How did Calledron get along with Rahalar when the latter was still an empire? Does it believe the Concordat is a truly new polity or simply the old Rahalar empire reasserting itself?
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Old 08-08-2019, 09:33 AM   #157
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Question 101 [ALC] - Ton's Defense
What defenses does Ton have?
As a 3-dimensional cityscape relying on artificial light, Ton is a difficult city to assault. Its portal nexus makes it next to impossible to cut off supplies, The only approach is via portal, the environment is both alien and dangerous for most invaders, and the lighting situation tends to aggravate all of that.

Ton doesn't not rely solely on its natural defenses, of course, and if possible likes to fight its battles outside of its home cosm, but as a single city amidst empires, its defense planners know the cities's hostile nature is their ace in the hole, and their forces are designed to exploit that advantage

The most famous of their forces is the World-suit militia. By its nature, the milita is formed of wealthy, inventive, and daring alchemists wearing fantastically protective suits and weilding all manner of exotic weapons, including the famed soul-stealer blades. The worldsuit militia is famous for the flexibility of its armament, adapting its weaponry according to its current foe. The militia is also famous for its ad-hoc and fractious nature, requiring exceptional leadership to direct.

By contrast, the owls of death are a permanent and professional force, formed entirely of hawkfolk and specializing in nighttime urban combat. The owls are used both offensively and defensively, striking in the dark, scouting, and making other aerial forces nervous at night.

The bulk of tonic forces are neither of these groups, but simple infantry familiar with the city and armed with spears and alchemical devilry. These forces are expected to hold against the enemy, deliver alchemical attacks, and occasionally overwhelm weaker foes, but tonic generals rely on elite forces or alchemical schemes to gain victory. Outside of the city, Ton usually supplements their native forces with mercenaries.

The most common alchemical weapon ton fields is of alchemical gas. They use them to create cover and the poison the enemy. These concoctions tend to be based on whatever alchemical gunk is bubbling to the top of the pools under the city, with a focus on quantity rather than quality. This can make it difficult to know exactly what kind of gas Ton is bringing to the battle on any given day, though its a safe bet to assume it will at least obscure vision and cause nausea. Tonic forces usually wear protective masks and helmets to counter the noxious effects, and are trained to charge into the clouds while the enemy is weak.

Question 132
What is the climate of Rahalar like?

Question 133
What world of the concordat is closest to Fragment?
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Old 08-11-2019, 12:00 PM   #158
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Answer 90 2 of 5 unusual portals
Spectre is a portal that alters traffic outbound from Calledron to be "out of phase"; this makes it suitable for only short jaunts, as one can only eat or drink things that you brought with you and typically cannot affect the cosm you've arrived in. Persons using Spectre are also typically invisible at the destination, although means to detect or affect such people are possible through alchemy and perhaps other forces as well. Someone returning through Spectre will be restored to normalcy on Calledron; passing through other portals is usually not possible but does not appear to restore normalcy (which is a life-threatening problem); inbound traffic that connects to Calledron does not appear to be altered. The Archmage in control of Spectre is usually held to have one of the best foreign intelligence assemblies in Calledron, as their portal is of very limited use for regular transport but excellent for deploying spies.

Roulette is a portal whose addressing system appears to be completely gone; passing through it appears to send you to one of 38 possible destinations at random, although these are typically minor cosmi with a portal capable of a return trip to Roulette. Further, the window of 38 cosms is "drifting", with a new one added and an old one removed every few months. The Archmage in control of Roulette has, well, piratical tendencies, as the portal is problematic for either regular trade or colonization but useful for hit and run raids with a limited window for retaliation.

Question 134 What else lives on the expansive world of the Neckerlings, that isn't part of the Concordat?
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Old 08-13-2019, 03:46 PM   #159
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Question 102 [ALC] - Ton's Mission
What is Ton's particular stated mission? How goes their search for an elixir of life?
Ton's mission is to "Manufacture An Elixir of Eternal Life", roughly translated. What counts as an elixir of eternal life is a much debated topic, and depending on who you ask, Ton may or may not have accomplished this mission. It is the official stance that they have not and must continue on their assigned task until it is finished. Its thought by many outsiders and political dissidents that the official answer is based on a technicality and that Ton achieved its aims long ago.

The art of the untarnished combine, preserving souls and transferring them to new Bodies, are replicated by the alchemists of Ton. It is a matter of vigorous dispute who developed such arts first, or even if the invention was independent. The two stories don't quite line up, and tie into several dark rumors and legends, but both have access to immortality through a body of Gold and Gems. The official stance on this form of immortality is that it is neither an elixir nor life, but a spirit animating a body through other alchemical means. Several variations on this exist, including one tinkerer who removed souls, plated the bones of the subject in gold, and placed them back in.

Ton has a catalog of elixirs slowing old age. Many of the recipes require ingredients from cosms no longer accessible or from singular flows from beneath the city that have never been replicated. However, these elixirs so far have not managed to reverse aging, and due to the timing of dosages, time will eventually run out. The official stance is that an elixir of eternal life will be able to not only halt but also prevent aging.

Passed around the richest alchemists of Ton are a collection of "Youth Sarcophagi", built from materials in a lost cosmi. When the Sarcophagus is filled with the right fluid (its ingredients are occasionally found in Ton's steaming pools) and a subject immersed in it, they become younger at a rate proportional to the time spent in the bath: one day for one day. The fluid is irritating enough that almost subjects are placed in a comatose state before being immersed, and "Baths" usually last months or more. The Official response to this technique is varied. Sometimes its rejected on grounds of not being an elixir. Sometimes its argued that spending months comatose in a box doesn't count as "life". One time it was ruled that it didn't count because Ton couldn't make any more of the sarcophagi, and thus was not manufacturing the "Complete Elixir"

Question 135:
What organization is entrusted with ton's mission? Who can accept an elixir as fulfilling it? What is their relationship with the people who run Ton on a day to day basis? Why do they keep moving the goalposts on the mission?
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:01 PM   #160
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Answer 92 Culture of the kolona inhabitants of the Impossible Sea

kolona vary substantially in size, but a typical one supports a town of a few thousand inhabitants, most of them in the hundred feet closest to the water, living in tunnels carved into the sedimentary rock. There will be a couple of winding tunnels that go all the way up to the top of the kolona and a few families that live up at such rarefied altitudes. The top of the kolona is inevitably a carefully tended large garden. Extended families live together and occupations are normally passed down within families, professional secrets jealously guarded. Families' status depend on occupation, with the usual order being governors, warriors, topfarmers, traders, craftsmen, slaves. The low status accorded craftsmen is arguably one of the big things holding the kolona inhabitants back. Masks and ritual scarring are two very common methods used to mark individuals as members of their family and kolona; group membership is generally considered more important than individual expression. Vines that grow along the side of the kolona provide textiles and rarely fruit. Stagfish leather is widely available and used for clothing, furniture and whatever else seems handy. Glass and metal can be had from materials within the kolona but both are expensive and always in short supply. Rafts and boats are made primarily from the vines that grow on the kolona sides. Polygamy and early marriage are traditional, but fading away as contact with the Empire introduces alternatives. Secrets are a central part of most kolona cultures; your families' techniques and skills should not be spoken of to other families, nor out on the open sea (because a mer could hear), but only in the secure caves away from prying eyes. Millet is the most common crop of topfarmers; experiments with rice in artificial paddies supplement that. Fish and seaweed are plentiful, starches are precious. Most kolona acknowledge the four faces of the sun and the sea as five deities, although the details of their fivefold theologies are another thing seldom discussed in the open. Few seem to think the kolona they inhabit have any direct divine significance; don't all large rocks just sort of hover or float? The largest differences between kolona tend to depend on their light cycle, which in turn depends on where on the Impossible Sea their kolona is. One near the center of a face gets 12 hours of direct, bright light for every 36 hours of indirect light, effectively night with a full moon; one near an edge gets about 24 hours of basically-daylight for 24 hours of basically-night; one near a vertice gets 36 hours of "overcast" for 12 hours of real darkness. Vertice-dwellers tend to fear the dark and barricade themselves in for it; with much lower crop yields, center-faces are often forced to be more aggressive in their relations with neighbors. Pipe and drum music and dancing are popular. Relations with the mer who dwell in the undersea kolona have never been very good but are also seldom overtly violent; both races on the Impossible Sea have tended to see the other as slightly malevolent tricksters and thieves, not existential threats. For all that, the mer are surprisingly similar culturally to their air-breathing counterparts.

Question 136 Who are the recipients of Ton's successes? Who in Ton is held to deserve an extended lifespan? Who outside of Ton is deemed appropriate to sell an age-stalling elixir to? How old are these people now?
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