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Old 06-17-2019, 09:27 AM   #61
ericthered
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Default Re: [GAME] Conceive a Cross Dimensional Fantasy Milieu

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Question 54 What do the Hanging City of Ton's counterculture or underworld look like? What happens to Ton residents who are unwilling or unable to compete in academic alchemy? If this is a university run horribly amok, where are the townies?

Answer 54:


The Hanging City is as industrial as it is scholarly , and there is no shortage of dangerous and unpleasant jobs for the recklessly ambitious or desperate, nor of wealth to attract such individuals to their fates. Indeed, the city kills workers faster than such a population could birth them, even if the high prices for space and water, toxic fumes, and unscrupulous slavers didn't discourage families.

Most of the workers of Ton are second sons, outcast criminals, and others seeking their fortune. After five years or so, many will have left with their fortune, or have fallen victim to some grisly fate in the city.

The workers of Ton are an industrious but ruthless lot, wielding an abundance of grit and a tendency to vice. They often group together by origin into rough but fierce bands of fellows for companionship and protection.

Below the free laborers of Ton are the slaves. Most are indented as fuel for rituals, subjects for experimentation, or as laborers in tasks that will kill them within weeks. They are hardly allowed to form societies, and the city buys (and kidnaps) a constant stream of them.

The wealthy class of alchemists does not force its less-capable sons and daughters into this desperate stew. While Alchemist is the highest and proper calling for such a scion, many other jobs are available, many away from the city. The most visible such job is merchant: Ton requires goods from all over the polycosm, and while alchemists must occasionally seek new reagents themselves, most ingredients are bought and sold freely. Ton's wealth is reliant on selling its products, and the merchants are a vital part of its economies, even if they are less favored sons than the alchemists.

Question 55: What do Lokou Temples look like on the outside? How large are they, and how many of them are there? how many of those are in the capital?

Quote:
Answer 33 the Lokou, the human nation that occupied the area near the snout cleft that the newcomers decided to build their city in. They represent somewhere around 10% to 12% of the current population. They maintain a significant separation from the mainstream in residence, with clearly defined boundaries to Lokou neighborhoods. Imperial authorities are not permitted inside their temples in any circumstances. Even those Lokou who have accepted imperial gods do not speak of the Lokou religion.
So the capital is largely formed of imperials, with the largest minority only being 12% of the population--and that population is local, not there because its the capital.

Even those going imperial don't talk about their religion? that's intense. I wonder what's strong enough to maintain such silence. I like the Lokou. Intriguing, but not overwhelming.
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Old 06-18-2019, 01:50 AM   #62
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So the capital is largely formed of imperials, with the largest minority only being 12% of the population--and that population is local, not there because its the capital.
I imagine the Empire on Fragment as a collection of tribes to a great extent; there may very well be 20 tribes with 2% representation in the capital, and the Lokou, leaving the place 48% Imperial. A commanding plurality but not a majority. It's just that most of the tribes are small, in part because they adapt to imperial ways less easily than the Lokou.

Also, Ton is a substantially darker place than I initially envisioned.

Answer 38 The Mother of Mother Plains takes an extremely dim view of irrevocably broken and twisted relationships. This means, counterintuitively to some, that stranger-murder provokes no reaction from her whatsoever, and most military and police actions are stranger-murder. Violence against someone you know, even if it's as limited a relationship as "neighbor" or "ex-lover", probably merits punishment. Her customary punishment is to let nothing grown or produced on Mother Plains nourish the offender; they must swiftly find a way off Mother Plains or starve to death no matter how much they eat. In the most extreme cases - murder of a lover, parent or child, sometimes sibling - she heaves up one of her earth elemental copies of the offender; naturally, it attempts lethal violence against its most intimate relationship, the original of which it is a copy. After they've gone without food for three days or so. Mother rarely acknowledges how humans arrange their inanimate objects, so property crime seldom comes to her attention. Of course, some caution against thinking Mother is genuinely unaware of such things; she may simply not care. And there are always rare cases of people committing murder and going unpunished by Mother. Perhaps this indicates limits to her perception and awareness, perhaps she makes exceptions to her own rules for favorites. "Mere" assault may lead to a few days of hunger before she relents, as a sort of warning.

Question 56 Who, in the Calledron Empire, is permitted to use the Distorted Lands to reach the dead, and what purposes are considered legitimate? Does it matter who is reaching which dead? What about accidents or explorations of the realms of the dead? What does the Imperium think is the appropriate relations between living and dead, and who, if anyone, disagrees?
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Old 06-18-2019, 11:50 AM   #63
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Question 37 Who fought the Empire of Calledron to a standstill or even a Pyrrhic victory, and where? Over what?
35 years ago after some nasty conflict between harvesters the Calledron empire occupied the Granite forest and its supply of spice gems, bringing Law to the barren but rich cosm. They were surprised when several Chanovat states they'd evaluated as bitter enemies of each other formed "The Stone Etched Alliance" and sent an unexpectedly strong force to the Granite Forest. After a half-decade of battles and another half-decade of sieges, the conflict died down, with stable lines of forts dotting the landscape. The Stone-etched alliance has ended, and its members are back to squabbling with each other, but it appears the stone-etched states share very similar cultures and have a long history of banding together against outsiders.

Question 57:
How far is the river of Seasons from the imperial capital?

Question 58:
What are the spice gems of the granite forest useful for?

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I imagine the Empire on Fragment as a collection of tribes to a great extent; there may very well be 20 tribes with 2% representation in the capital, and the Lokou, leaving the place 48% Imperial. A commanding plurality but not a majority. It's just that most of the tribes are small, in part because they adapt to imperial ways less easily than the Lokou.
That would make sense as well. Its harder to detail, though I suspect that the various backwater tribes of Calledron are not a key part of the setting, even if playing a Lokou Divine-Blessed is something I can see a player wanting.

Quote:
Also, Ton is a substantially darker place than I initially envisioned.
Yeah, that did come out pretty dark. I actually want Ton to be an option for good-guy PC's to be based out of: World-suits sound awesome, they have more motive than most to be traveling the polycosm, and having a scientist in a world with wildly different physics is fun.

The slaves, sacrifice, and experimentation were pretty much already part of Ton. The dangerous work I tried to balance with making it worth it. Its like fishing for crab in the Bering strait: dangerous but lucrative, and you certainly don't bring your family.

I'm not sure how much of the potential conflict in this setting will be clashes within cultures or clashes between cultures.
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Old 06-18-2019, 02:14 PM   #64
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Answer 43 the six cosmi of the Calledron Empire:
1-Fragment
2-Eddy, as mentioned re: answer 32
3-Mother Plains. Given that the Imperial capital is built around the Mother Plains portal, and that the Empire relies on staple crops from MP, I think it's fair to call the MP one of the six cosmi of the Empire, even if this hasn't been explicitly stated before.

4 - Gnomon. Gnomon is a sphere with slightly wandering sun, moon and stars; nothing in this cosm is locked into a regular elliptical orbit, giving physicists crippling migraines. The planet, sun, stars and at least two other planetlike bodies drift about with something like Brownian motion (making the question of whether it is heliocentric or geocentric meaningless or unanswerable). The upshot of this is that days and seasons have no fixed length on Gnomon; the longest day and longest night on record were both about 500 hours long. The longest seasons were ten "years" long, although those are anomalies (and thankfully, a near-overnight transition between summer and winter or vice versa has never been recorded). Without the ability to rely on light, darkness and the seasons, local peoples never really developed agriculture, remaining hunter-gardeners not unlike Calledron itself. Probably why Calledron found it easy enough to colonize, they'd done this before. The advent of obelisks of Calledronite increase agricultural output enough to make it worth the risk and sustain a fixed population; the obelisks also help for navigation, since the stars are worthless. Geographically Gnomon is highly earthlike, although the irregular seasons preclude the development of old growth forests, leaving savannah, scrub and a bit of second-growth forest as the prevailing terrain types.

I have a couple more world ideas but wish to leave those slots for others for now; they work just as well as unaligned or even antagonist cosmi.

Question 59 aside from alchemy, magic works primarily through short term contracts with vastly powerful otherworldly agencies. Are any known agencies omniscient or close to it, particularly with regards to time? That is, is there any known power that can grant accurate knowledge of the future to a mage, or even arbitrary knowledge of the present or past? On what scale is divination possible?

Question 60 The Calledron Empire assumes 1 Portal = 1 Province = 1 Archmage, with exceptions to be discussed later. Is the Emperor the Archmage who controls the Mother Plains portal and the province with the capital in it, or is the Imperial throne over and above such things and there's a sort of Mother Plains/Home Countries/Lord Mayor of the Capital person who becomes first among equals regarding archmages?

Question 61 We've seen that the Empire appears to have some far-flung outposts, such as near Praxis and the Granite Forest. Praxis was referred to as having an Archmage, implying it's a Province at least on paper; but how are Imperial outposts organized away from a portal? Who commands them, and who do they answer to?
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Old 06-19-2019, 09:10 AM   #65
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Default Re: [GAME] Conceive a Cross Dimensional Fantasy Milieu

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Question 50 To what degree is religion a public or private function in Calledron society? Does one advertise one's connection to a god, or exaggerate it? Are some more acceptable than others (formal government relations with gods)? Or is it rude to ask who a person's god is, or point out that you doubt their god is real? What instruction or guidance in such matters do children recieve?
Imperials usually advertise their religion affiliations with their dress and attire. Gods have colors and symbols, and these are meant to be displayed to the world. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, its considered a bit rude to ask who their God is without context, though asking for clarification on a confusing symbol is just fine.

Its always rude to tell someone their beliefs are wrong, and yet it happens all the time. Imperials do like to be polite, so such dialogue usually takes the form of subtle jabs.

Calledronians have a set of Gods they consider to be "Native" to them, and most religion is focused on these. Giving attention to other dieties is fairly common and not frowned upon though: The God of the Lokou receives a fair bit of attention, even if no one is quite sure how to worship him/her/it/they properly.

Question 62:
Can the Imperial Calledronians reach their Gods in the distorted lands? Do they worship the same dieties as their Oppuhan ancestors?
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Old 06-19-2019, 12:11 PM   #66
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Hmm.. that tomorrow is already a week ago. That's not like me at all...

First off, a couple of comments.

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Also, Ton is a substantially darker place than I initially envisioned.
Well, it was provided as the answer to the question of where alchemists are turning lifestone into soul-stealing blades, so...

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3-Mother Plains. Given that the Imperial capital is built around the Mother Plains portal, and that the Empire relies on staple crops from MP, I think it's fair to call the MP one of the six cosmi of the Empire, even if this hasn't been explicitly stated before.
I would say otherwise, as they have no permanent presence, civilisation or garrisons there. And while Calledron makes good use of it, aren't there other planets with portals onto the plane as well? In any case, having *more* realms is good, so there's no need to shortchange the count on which 5 are Imperial satrapies.
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Question 61 We've seen that the Empire appears to have some far-flung outposts, such as near Praxis and the Granite Forest. Praxis was referred to as having an Archmage, implying it's a Province at least on paper; but how are Imperial outposts organized away from a portal? Who commands them, and who do they answer to?
I think you acknowledge this, but just to be clear- the Archmage I mentioned was in charge of the portal to Praxis, said portal being two jumps from Calledron, with the Praxis portal being the third passage. I didn't go into whether the Archmage was actually in that Praxis ante-realm, or just have jurisdiction over that portal guardhouse from one realm away, but that could be settled in your question.
Quote:
I have a couple more world ideas but wish to leave those slots for others for now; they work just as well as unaligned or even antagonist cosmi.
We can certainly open a "describe some interesting realms" question, and worry about where they fit on a schematic of the network later.
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and having a scientist in a world with wildly different physics is fun.
I'm interested to see if we end up with the alchemists being purely empiricists, who are just very skilled at combining element X with essence Y from across the polycosm to create substance Z!Z, or if they use more enchantments and arcane rituals as well.
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:08 PM   #67
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Question 53
What kinds of clothing fibers are common in the empire? Which kinds are valued?
Answer 53- Clothing
Being at the centre of an intercosmic trading empire, clothing could be of any kind of fibre imaginable. There's the thick, ropey hair-like fibres sourced from the Moulting Caverns of Lest. Traders from the Impossible Sea bring hardy stagfish leather, supple sheets of prawnskin for bodysuits, and various textiles of woven loomweed. Fine couture apparel may be made from the sacred mistenfloss, gathered at midnight when the pealing of platinum bells cause gossamer strands to condense from the mists of the Wighten Moors. Speaking of gossamer, there's also rare dark gossam which is acquired from the unseen Klimteren tribes of the Klimter Forest in blind bargaining rituals. Trollhide is popular for light armours.

There's a myriad of substances from Ton, which most people refer to as alchemick silk, alchemick hemp, alchemick spider mail or whatever mundane substance it reminds them of, because the correct naming scheme used by the Alchemists is too impenetrable to remember. Formulon 82 of Maven's Opus 6 Vol I is a completely different substance to Formulon 82 of Norvun's Opus 6 Vol 1, and then Provostic Opus DXI-vi Formulon 651 may be a pleasantly coloured elastic fibre, while Formulon 652 (ibid) is a flavourless poison lethal to persons above a certain threshold of body fat.

The pre-imperial tribes of Calledron have three main sources for clothing, and these bear some currency amongst imperial residents too. Palmtree flax abraded with toothstone grit makes a durable, lustrous white fabric popular with labourers for work clothes. Likewise, beaten wheat stalks from Mother Plains is popular as a general purpose cloth across most levels of Calledron society. And for special occasions or fancier wear, various species of sallamundre from the toothtop mountains are bred or hunted for their feathers and iridescent tail plumes which may be woven into shoulder mantles, kilts and conical hats.

----
Question 63- Espionage
Does the Calledron Empire, or any groups within it, operate any kind of spy agencies?
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Old 06-20-2019, 11:59 AM   #68
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Question 48 What are some heinous crimes in the Calledron legal system, and what are some comparably minor crimes? What are typical punishments? How is guilt or innocence usually determined?
This is a surprisingly large question. I'm going to answer some of it and pass some of it on.

Answer 48:
Calledron does not maintain much in the way of prisons. Most punishment takes the form of fines, corporeal beating, or execution. Rich and powerful Calledronians are sometimes given the option of exile. When death is considered "too good" for the criminal, it is usually expanded upon by separating body parts as far as possible after death. The most famous method is by dropping the head off of the edge of Calledron, and burying the body in a different cosm.

While archmages are technically supreme in matters of judgement, most of the work is done by judges who work in sets of three. They will hear the case against an accused, and then decide what punishment they believe is merited and what the legal code requires. Judges often receive instructions about specific crimes and punishments from their archmage, but the core legal code is ancient.

passing on the rest of the question:

Question 64:
What are some heinous crimes in the Calledron legal system, and what are some comparably minor crimes?
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:12 PM   #69
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Hmm.. that tomorrow is already a week ago. That's not like me at all...
You're back! hurrah!

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I would say otherwise, as they have no permanent presence, civilisation or garrisons there. And while Calledron makes good use of it, aren't there other planets with portals onto the plane as well? In any case, having *more* realms is good, so there's no need to shortchange the count on which 5 are Imperial satrapies.
On the other hand, large numbers of people travel through the main portal every day and every night, and I don't think we've established that no-one spends the night there: they just have to sleep on the ground. I think it could be counted either way.

Quote:
I think you acknowledge this, but just to be clear- the Archmage I mentioned was in charge of the portal to Praxis, said portal being two jumps from Calledron, with the Praxis portal being the third passage. I didn't go into whether the Archmage was actually in that Praxis ante-realm, or just have jurisdiction over that portal guardhouse from one realm away, but that could be settled in your question.
The 1 province per portal statement is odd: I don't think we've actually established that. I don't think it will map to population numbers well either. I do think we have two conflicting statements about the portal network structure though: its both branching with few loops and it is easier to get to various places on Calledron via the portal network than by walking. That needs to be resolved. We should look at answer #18 when answering question #60.


Quote:
I'm interested to see if we end up with the alchemists being purely empiricists, who are just very skilled at combining element X with essence Y from across the polycosm to create substance Z!Z, or if they use more enchantments and arcane rituals as well.
I certainly have a vision of which answer I'd like, but we'll see! I'm very curious about what sort of magic system we end up with when considered as a whole. I'm counting three types of power source so far: Innate, Alchemical, and Divine. The interaction between all the different powers may be among the better parts of the setting.
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:47 PM   #70
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The 1 province per portal statement is odd: I don't think we've actually established that.
Just on this issue, I took that to mean only on Calledron. The twenty (?) something portals are controlled by twenty something Archmages on Calledron, with the added possibility that some provinces have no portals.

As a different way of dividing the basin, there are 32 teeth condensing a significant flow of moisture, hence presumably providing the Inland Sea with 32 large rivers. Provinces would most conveniently be demarcated as between those rivers, though there may be some left for governance by pre-imperial tribes, or some amalgamated into larger provinces, particularly near the snout. Meanwhile, others near the brain pan may also not be strongly claimed.

As for Archmages and provincial governance in other realms, that would probably depend on the realm. There may be one realm governor or many. The number of portals wouldn't necessarily enter into that calculation, unless there's a particular edict against Archmages having control of more than one.
Quote:
I'm counting three types of power source so far: Innate, Alchemical, and Divine. The interaction between all the different powers may be among the better parts of the setting.
Doesn't the access to summoning indicate a fourth, Academic Thaumalogical power source, i.e. regular Magery (whether spells, RPM or whatever)? Or are you including that in Innate?
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