The Campaign Builders' Guild

Campaign Creation => Homebrews => Topic started by: Superfluous Crow on May 26, 2009, 05:48:51 PM



Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on May 26, 2009, 05:48:51 PM
(http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s98/mattlarkin_01/badges/bvbanner.jpg)  

Introduction
The World is dead. Nonsensical wars, odd pandemics, badly timed uprisings, lots of somewhat unnessecary scientific experimentation; they all played their part in the murder. But now a rebirth is in order.
The Renaissance has begun, and civilization is flourishing once again. Or at least as much as it ever did. Thus the old and tired World, from the snow and moss covered rocks of the frigid Boreal Mountains to the muddy swamplands and black rice fields of the South, once again echoes with the cries and screams emerging from the remaining cities of the world: those mad monuments to life and corruption the humans are so proud of.
But storms are brewing, both of the natural and the metaphorical kind, and while the stormclouds gather overhead, humans gather in secret to discuss war and betrayal like they have always done.
After all, no birth is easy.

The Revolution is Coming!
But it is not simply a rebirth. It is a remaking. The World Exhibition at the Sprawls displays the newest wonders for the world to see! The printing press, the clockwork tree, the perpetual engine and the voltaic vessel; all of these will help remake the world, if not into a better world than at least into a greater one.
And while the academics have their scientific revolutions, politicians and kings find they have their own battle to fight. There are cries for reform in the streets and radicals are scheming to make old things come to an end while the merchant princes have their own plans for earning money and power. New powers are challenging the old, and grudges are being rekindled while daggers are sharpened.

Nature's Wrath
The World is a harsh and terrible place in many ways. Of course it does possess a certain primal and majestic beauty. That awe-inspiring sense of being in the vicinity of something so vast and so ancient.
But that shouldn't make you any less careful.
But if you for some reason aren't afraid of the weather, which ranges from the relative mildness of a cloudy sky and light rainfall to the absolute horror of being in the a middle of full-fledged Leviathanic lightning storm while on a tiny fishing vessel, or the many dangerous contagions, from the parasitic influence of the Lungtree to the nefarious dominion of the Madness, you should at least fear the creatures that hide in that pesky ubiquitous fog. Remember, not all of Life's creations are as pretty (or small) as man, and only a fraction of them are as mild-mannered.
Really, it's a wonder we aren't dead already.

People of the North

Humans - the broken survivors
The human paradox lies in the fact that while they value individuality above pretty much everything else, they continue  to be herd animals; only ever truly comfortable when living together. Going against common sense, this complex relationship between interdependence and personal ambition proved to be an extremely potent combination, with the humans always seeking to push their civilization to new heights. And this is what separates the humans from other sentient beings.
All other sentient beings that inhabit Northern Kherennem have through the ages always been secondary in size and importance to the humans. Even through the worst disasters the many millions of humans continue to mingle, work, prosper, and, most importantly, survive. Although they have a history for believing in the supernatural and the divine, humans are in truth extremely rational creatures, always in search of the truth and purpose behind it all. It is not known whether this search for truth is caused by an inborn curiosity, or is simply another aspect of their racial ambition as they attempt to uncover the ultimate answers before anyone else.

Humans make up the majority of the world's sentient population and as such it is their frame of reference all civilizations and races are compared to. The humans of Kherennem are physically similar to the humans of our world and, like in our world, are far too culturally diverse to be described as a single group.

Gargoyles (under revision)
(see page 3)

Never a numerous race, Gargoyles lived on the fringes of the world,  always staying in the shadow of the humans and their cities. But they have long been tired of staying in the shadows and are therefore remaking themselves as their peers; the humans.

Physical description:
To describe the Gargoyle, you first need to understand the difference between a pure and a bred Gargoyle. Most Gargoyles have sought fervently to change their forms into that of the human for the last couple of generations, and most are therefore bred to be or become humans. Pure Gargoyles are therefore a rare sight, living secluded lives in swamps and mountains.
The Pure Gargoyle is taller than an average man, although not vastly so. Their limbs are sinious and strong, and their skin is black with white markings. Their heads are bestial, with elongated jaws. They have no cheeks which leaves a clear sight of their numerous sharp and saliva-glistening fangs. They have eight eyes; black and lustrous. The males have two horns while the females have none. Both have dark gray plumage down the back of their neck to the pair of great feathered wings on their back. They carry themselves with a certain somewhat reptilian and somewhat humanoid gait. Their skin takes on a bark-like texture in places, giving them a layer of protection.
Bred Gargoyles are deformed creatures who through generations have suffered experimental procedures in the search for a human likeness. Their non-human features have been twisted in an attempt to make them go away. Their skin shifts nauseously between the oily black and bark-like of the Gargoyle and the pink skin of a human. Their faces are distorted with visible gums lined with misplaced-looking human teeth, and occasional hanging skin; the byproduct of fake cheeks. They have between 5 and 9 eyes scattered about their head in a random pattern, shifting eerily between the black orbs of their own kin and the bright irises of their idols. Their wings have long since grown vestigial; most are only born with a bit of protruding bone near each shoulder blade or a single featherless wing-limb. The horns and plumage have likewise been mostly removed leaving coarse and stringy "hair" in its place.      
Most bred Gargoyles receive surgery to remove the worst of the derformations; all but two of their eyes are sewn shut, wigs are constructed, and the face is repaired with grafted skin; either from the Gargoyle or from some other source. Most color their skin file down the bark-like protrusions every day. The lucky ones can actually pass for human.  

Mindset:
Gargoyles are controlled by two things: their inferiority complex and their need to be in control. Although physically and mentally powerful, Gargoyles are too few to sustain cities or civilizations of their own and have slowly grown envious of humans after having watched their growth and development. This has slowly led them to believe that humans are a step above them; the evolutionary step they need to take if they wish to survive. Gargoyles are therefore continously wracked by a desire for self-improvement, be it through training or self-mutilation. They are trying to become human and integrate themselves into their society while preserving their family ties and their lineage. So they changed themselves, and after their children turned sterile, only their strange birth-vats could continue the race until they were entirely human.  
Gargoyles have little subconscious, and are completely in control of most processes; be they mental or physical. This has many effects, amongst others the famous ability to stand absolutely still like a statue, not moving a muscle. This is the reason that the ugly little statues in Khiere are named Gargoyles. They can pump their bodies full of adrenaline with a thought, turn off any of their senses, block pain, or slow their heart until it barely moves. The only thing they can't control are their human mutations. They had little in the way of emotions before, but can now experience feelings like love and sorrow, and they have no control over these feelings. They might even have less control than their human "brethren", since the feelings are utterly alien to the strange mind they work in.    

Culture
Gargoyles are more intelligent than their looks would suggest, and their eyries are littered with papyrus-scrolls and metallic tools. Those who still live in the free often reside in ancient re-decorated ruins. They are warrior-hunters by nature, and their stories tell of great fighters who fought off other eyries and protected the young. Females and males are equals in their society. Human contact has never been frequent, but it goes back a long time. Some historians even suggest that the wingeds angels seen in many myths and stories might have been anthropomorph Gargoyles who helped ancient human civilizations.    


Moshrayah - the blind artists
The enigmatic moshrayahs were rarely seen in the Old World, secluded as they were in their underground enclaves, with the only signs of their existence being the mesmering and alien musical compositions that occasionally surfaced into human culture.
In the New World, though, some moshrayah have ventured forth into the world and have even settled down in human cities.

Physical description:
Moshrayah are still met with, if not distrust, some apprehension as their appearance is truly alien, even to the much tested minds of the humans. Their most eerie feature is their complete lack of eyes, even though their slightly elongated skull is basically similar to that of man. Instead of eyes, there is just taut-stretched hairless light-brown mottled skin, much like the skin that covers the rest of their bony and gaunt frame. The elongated head is extended forward, instead of upward, by a scrawny and bony neck and the only features, except for the bare taut skin where the eyes should have been, is a slightly gaping lipless mouth filled with jagged white and yellowish fangs and a long tapered tongue, two slit-like nostrils and a series of almost invisible ducts on the side of their head. Their skulls are devoid of hair like the rest of their body.
Their physical build and posture is also subtly offputting in some way. They are very tall, most of them standing at least 2 meters tall, even though they always walk slightly hunched over in a peculiar way. Their limbs are longer than human proportions would dictate, their legs reversely jointed and three-toed, and their nailless fingers are slim and possess an extra joint each.

Gender & Reproduction
They are born from eggs, often part of a brood, that are disgorged by fertile females and then fertilised by males who can extrude a sort of mucus from their mouth that they use to cover the eggs in, which may or may not lead to the fertilisation of said egg and the birth of a child. The children are all technically female when born, but around a quarter of the population acquire the large red markings that mark them as males as well as the ability to produce the fertilising mucus. The location of the spots is unique to each individual, and although the eyeless moshrayah can't see the red spots they give off a distinct scent that marks the individual as male. Males are generally slightly more fit, but it isn't known whether it's because they are males or if they are males because they are strong. After 16-17 years, a rare few of the females will at random transform into ramakesh, disgorgers, who are the fertile egg-producing women who also take care of the upbringing of the children. It is considered an honor to become ramakesh, although as always there are those who don't accept their destiny. The average lifespan of a moshrayah is around 80 years, with males and ramakesh having slightly lesser lifespans compared to the infertile females.

Senses:
The moshrayah see the world in a completely different way, although see is hardly the right word to use. They depend on a series of senses quite unlike sight; even unlike many of the senses we know as humans. They possess keen hearing and smell, a couple of levels above what humans are capable of. A set of ear-ducts are specially designed to pick up on the ultrasonic screams their second throat continously emits which provides them with an effective, if slightly indistinct, echolocation that allows them to navigate around most large obstructions. An organ in the front of their skull, speculated to contain some kind of bio-metallic composition, gives them the ability to perceive magnetic north and, more importantly, electrical fields: an ability that allows them to sense organic life in all it's aspects. Finally they have a sense which can only be compared to the supernatural sense of the Empaths: moshrayah can feel, read, and interpret the Effluvium and the psychic emanations it consists of. Their sense of the Effluvium is suspected to be a good deal greater than what even the best human empath can achieve.

Society:
Moshrayah live in underground enclaves. These are rarely of any considerable size, with a population of 1000 individuals at most, although there are rumors of them having a major city somewhere deep underground. Each enclave has one or more ramakesh and at least one male. Although there is no family structure as such, since most moshrayah are brothers or sisters, moshrayah choose to gather in small families nonetheless, often living with those who share their views and principles. Moshrayah can join, break up with, or rejoin Families as they wish with no social stigma. Intimate relationships do happen on occasion, but as there is no physical aspect of the relationship, intimate relationships are purely spiritual and is a personal choice with no real effect on the community. Each Enclave is governed by a group of Elders who take care of any community decisions. Enclaves exist in a network connected by natural caverns and tunnels and all enclaves are aware of each other and typically communicate frequently by way of runners. Moshrayah are hunter-gatherers, living off the many underground predators and rodents as well as the occasional root-fruits and mushrooms they can find. They are keen to try new tastes and enjoy spices and other exotic additions to their meals. They mostly eat meat though (although they refuse to eat the flesh of sentient beings). They don't technically require that much food though, and can go starving for weeks without pain or detriment.

Life:
Moshrayah usually go through 3 distinct phases: child, adult, and elder. Moshrayah are considered children until age 16 and develop their faculties in much the same way as human children. They are taken care of by the enclave's ramakesh along with a few males who help her. When they reach age 6, the elders start teaching them and at age 12 they can join a Family. Adulthood focuses on two things: Duty and Seeking. Duty is the practical role of the moshrayah in the enclave. He can choose the role himself or the elders can choose for him. Each Duty has a certain quota or requirement that the moshrayah must fulfill, but how and when is up to themself. Seeking is the artistic pursuit undertaken by almost everyone in an enclave, and it is not uncommon for the few who refuse to be forced to do some kind of artistic work in their spare time. Through their entire adulthood Seeking continues and the individual develops his skills. At age 60 his work as an artist is considered done, and they often hold some kind of party where they review his life-time works. After that, almost all of his time is taken up by the duties he has as an Elder of the Enclave: making decisions for the community and teaching the children.

Mindset:
Aesthetics is the most highly valued virtue and ideal in moshrayah culture. It is a universal aspect of their culture and deeply ingrained in their racial consciousness; so much in fact that it is omnipresent in even distant enclaves. The main difference between enclaves is therefore not whether they value beauty or not, but what they consider to be beautiful. Some focus on making eerily beautiful music, some on making sculptures whose shapes seem to twist the mind, a few even seek beauty in smells and scents by crafting incense and perfumes. And in addition to this, there are of course many other less obvious artistic pursuits such as cooking, sewing, writing, philosophising, and even mathematics. The most esoteric of their arts, though, is their mind-art, where objects and sculptures are infused with emotion by the artist so that they transcend the physical realm in some degree. Normal humans looking at such works don't sense the true beauty that the moshrayah and empaths can perceive, but always feel slightly overwhelmed by the works even if they can't quite put their finger on the reason for this emotional surge. As might be suspected from the above, Moshrayah are extremely emotional creatures; driven by impulse and intuition rather than pure logic. They are by no means simple creatures though: they are clever and cunning, but just don't have that innate logical approach to everything the humans possess. They focus on what is rather than why it is. They do possess a slight racial laziness in that they would rather spend their time pursuing art than doing the chores of everyday life, and in general greatly value pleasure over hardship, and it is this thirst for luxury that has led to most of their technological progress. As impulsive creatures, the typical kindness and hospitality of the moshrayah can quickly turn to anger if insulted or slighted, and although they do not approve of violence as such, anger is known to occasionally overwhelm their self-restraint and throw them into a violent fit. They are generally peaceful though, and try to avoid harming others, but have no qualms about it if it's the only way. They are not as such bothered by a conscience, but instead believe in principles of conduct. A few turn to violence and combat for beauty, but most conservative moshrayah frown up this. The underground realms are dangerous though, and most moshrayah know how to defend themselves.

Cities and technology
Enclaves are beautiful even though they are almost colorless to the human eye. Every single building carved into the cavern wall, or built from bricks and rocks on the carvern floor, seems to have a certain pleasing quality to the eye. The air is full of pleasant incense smoke, and only rarely is the enclave devoid of their beautiful music. Although they have no requirement for light they do require heat and have warming braziers both in the streets and inside the houses. Although the alternative methods of reproduction mean clothing isn't needed to observe common decency they are often worn to complement the heat of the braziers, often in the form of thick robes of earthern colors to the human eye. Exquisite perfumes and mind-art jewellery is also sometimes worn by those who can acquire them. Most trade is done on an item-to-item basis, often using the Elders as intermediaries when trading between enclaves, with the resources of the enclave being distributed between the Families on basis of need. Occasionally, special complementary silver disks are given away by the elders for example if there is one family that gets less food than the others. The silver disk serves as a universally accepted trading good in the moshrayah communities. It is something of an honor to possess many silver disks, but most spend them on art or perfume nonetheless. Moshrayah are great metalworkers and renowned smiths, but are incapable of making very intricate machinery like gearwork and locks because of their indistinct echolocation. Their recent increase in contact with human civilization has led them to acquire more or less the same level of technology.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on May 26, 2009, 05:49:15 PM
Northern Kherennem


(http://../../e107_files/public/1243377520_406_FT0_kherennemreal.jpg)
(Thanks to Lath for the great map)

Motassu
In the desert lies the City of Delights, an utopia that rises out of the dismal sands on a pillar of rock. Here there is water and food, as well as everything you could ever need. But is it too good to be true?

Lay of the Land
Matassu lies in the middle of the Makaean Desert and is the only major oasis if you seek to cross the desert. The city is located on a large rocky plateau, and is thus protected from the sand, and the plateau serves as the size of large basin and a lush oasis of palm trees. Of course, some of the trees had to be cut down to make room for the city, but much of it still survives as lush and well-tended gardens and parks. To optimize the use of space, some of the city has been built out onto the basin or into the cliff faces of the rock that lies under the plateau.

Trade and Sustenance
The "government" itself acquires most of their money from the toll that every one who comes to the city must pay. Residents on the other hand often work in the service industry, providing various services to travellers and other residents. The upper middle class often work as merchants, organizing caravans out of the desert. There is also a decent population of artists and other creative minds. The oasis as well as the desert animals provide a small fraction of the food, while trade for food brings in the rest.  

Government
The short story is that there is no government. To be a bit more specific, the city is ruled by the merchant elite and its law is composed of 3 rules: 1) You must not kill a living and thinking creature. 2) You may not control that which belongs to another, and 3) you must keep your word. The last rule is extremely important as it is the basis of all agreements; uttering the phrase "I swear by the 3rd that'¦", followed by a statement is a binding agreement. Lawwriters are professionals who specialize in writing loophole-proof promises and are often hired for more important deals. If anyone breaks the laws they are shunned although they can sometimes remove the shunning if they pay some fine to the wronged person. but if they are real unlucky they are "removed". No one is quite sure what happens, but lawbreakers (or undesirable elements such as narcotic wrec ks) sometimes just disappear. It is said that this is the work of the Spectators, the anonymous and near-mythical enforcers of the Laws who lurk unseen in the crowds. Anyone could be a Spectator, and this uncertainty often keeps people from crime. The Spectators are suspected to be either brainwashed criminals or indoctrinated kidnappings, and are part of an institution started by the Precursors themselves. They have no lives and know no people. They are but shadows of real persons and live to watch. That is, if they actually exist. Another important controlling factor is gossiping. Everything gets out at some point, and if it doesn't reach a Spectator directly, it will quite likely eventually reach a Gossiplord who can sell the gossip on to any individual. Maintenance and toll is controlled by the children of the Precursors, the lords of the city. They also make sure that everybody knows the three laws upon entering, in case they didn't notice .    

Culture
Motassic culture is anarchistic, hedonistic and creative. There are next to no laws, and the motassi are accustomed to indulging their every desire. Brothels, taverns, casinos, and theatres are spread across the city, and people use all of them frequently and openly. Motassi are in no way modest, and can strike some people as being a little too direct and rude. Generally, though, they are a pleasant people and don't mind sharing their experiences and interests with others. Of course, they lack a bit in the field of ethics and might trick people if they find they have something to gain from it. Motassic culture is also a melting pot for ideas and fads, and every day faiths and ideologies rise while others die, and artists make a fortune in a week and are forgotten in the next. The motassi are fickle and unpredictable.    
The Architecture of Motassu is varied and odd. It is a combination of old styles and new eccentric ideas, and there seems to be few similarities between the styles of neighbouring buildings. The only similarity is that most of it is flamboyant in some way or another. Fountains, plazas, small parks, and provocative statues are also common.

Religions and holidays
Precursor Eschatology, the belief that the world is about to end, was the religion the city was built on, and many still hold to its principles of enjoying life while it lasts. That said, most jump from religion to religion as they blossom and wither in the city. A few practice more steady beliefs, although there haven't been built any permanent religious temples in the city yet. New Year is the most important festival, as people celebrate that the world still exists. Eclipses likewise have much religious importance, as they are symbols of change and revolution. Other than that, Matassi are quick to come up with festivals at a whim.    

History
As the world slowly fell apart and suffered disaster after disaster, a group of people decided that the world was about to end and that they might as well make the best of the time they had left. This group was known as the Precursors of Finality. Stocking up on booze, drugs,and whatever else they could scavenge, they set out in search of a place where they could wait for the end of the world in peace. Somehow they stumbled their way into the Makaean Desert, and after wandering for 40 days they arrived at a giant oasis on the top of a small rock plateau. Here they had everything they needed, and so they settled down, celebrating and waiting. Soon they found that caravans passed through, and although they first settled for trading, they soon decided to make them pay a toll for the use of their oasis. The place was far too sheltered for any nation to attempt to reclaim it; that the Precursors had managed it with such a large group was practically a miracle. As their wealth grew they started building a town, and soon some of the travelling merchants even settled down with them. As contact between nations across the desert became more frequent, more caravans came through and more toll was collected, and the city grew exponentially and was left pretty much alone.  

Whisperlands
In the farthest north, just before the glaciers of the polar north, lies a slice of cold and unforgiving land of tundra and pine. A dangerous place where the weather is just as terrifying as the monsters, few choose to go there of their own accord. Yet humanity spread to even these undesirable reaches, and contrary to what one would think civilization eventually flourished. The land is now dotted by the 7 walled and silent cities of the Whispermen, connected by sturdy causeways raised above the barbarity of the land that only a few dare to tread.

Lay of the land
The 7 cities are the most important features of the otherwise deserted land; Amrha, Morog, Eqoq, Rararan, Urtanoq, Shugwol and Olam are all decent sized cities made solidly out of granite. Some of the cities are built over Hurtan ruins, and the general architecture seeks to imitate the sturdy and near-perfect style of the hurtans. They are all circular in design, and are approached by one or two causeways leading directly in an almost unbroken line to the next city. Although all cities are walled off by stone walls, they are not necessarily especially big. Amrha is the most southern city and is the only city that is completely open to outsiders. As such, it is also a major trading hub and harbor

Trade and Sustenance
Back in the old days when the Whispermen were but tribal nomads, they could live off herding and hunting/gathering. A few still herd caribous through the tundra, until it is time to take them back to the city so they can be slaugthered. Most food, though, comes from the mighty bulkwhales. These whales are large enough to feed entire households for weeks, and with the cold and some salt the meat can stay preserved for a long time. The whispermen cities that are fartherst to the north have little food by themselves, so the cities share their food so there is always enough for everyone. Bulkwhales also yield another valuable thing beyond food; elder ambergris. Only produced in the bulkwhales, this ambergris has many valuable properties. Like common ambergris it is often used in perfumes, but it can also be refined into a very valuable golden honey-like liquid known as Ambrosia which is sometimes called "the Perfect Spice". Ambergris/ambrosia is also a common panacea.
 
Culture
The Whispermen are deeply religious, and one can hardly blame them; the amount of punishment they take from the environment undoubtedly requires an explanation that logic and science will have trouble giving. Their faith claims that the evil of the world is the work of kaches: divine predators which feed on human misery and despair and devour souls and fly around on the cold gales that blow in from the pole and the sea. They are to all extents evil, immortal and merciless, and as such survival for the whispermen is all about not attracting their attention. This is seen in all aspects of their life and culture; colors are muted and dark, temperance and modesty are the greatest virtues, and the streets and markets are silent except for the eponymous whisper. Daily rituals are made to protect the Whisperman every part of the day. the round and warded temples are gathering places both for religious, social, and administrative events.
Architecture focuses on the circle, a shape thought to have apotropaic qualities and many of the major buildings, as well as the cities themselves, are round. Of course, common buildings are not likely to be round as it is a difficult design, but they often feature arches or circular decorations. The numbers three and six are also often seen featured in some way on buildings. Although images are thought to be too flashy for safety, writing is featured prominently. Sometimes it is used for decoration, while street names and directions are also often carved into walls and streets. Geometric patterns are also often used for decoration.  
       
History
The Whispermen supposedly began their existence as groups of nomads wandering the southern reaches of their continent, although it is of course difficult to know for sure exactly how they lived as little written material survives. The tribes of the primeval whispermen were violent and warred constantly, fighting for the limited resources of their land. Eventually mining and metallurgy were discovered and applied to war, and the violence escalated. Then came the arrival of the near-mythical Qurakh, the first Witch-king and prophet of the Hexfaith, who told them of the Kaches and the horrors these beings made them commit and united them in battle against this common enemy. The few tribes who didn't unite under his banner were destroyed as they were said to be in league with the dreaded demons. The nomads slowly started to settle down in peace, at first living in improvised tent cities while later constructing stone buildings. Civilization began to flourish under the rule of Qurakh. The environment was still unrelentingly cruel, but with people working together in union it became bearable. As it was quickly discovered that small settlements were vulnerable, the settlements slowly organised themselves into three major settlements: Morog, Amrha, and Rararan. Further advances were made: Universal laws were created to protect humans from each other, and temples were created to protect humans against evil. The civilization expanded, founding new cities, and eventually came into contact with the polar Hurtans. The first engagements were of a violent nature, and the Hurtan Conflict continued with a series of small skirmishes over the next years until diplomatic relations were established with the strange creatures. As the population grew, new sources of food and resources became necessary to sustain the population and the Whispermen set out in their boats in search of fish and food and found the lands of Kherennem in an event known as the Crossing. Here they were quick to seek peace, and although there was some tension they succeeded with a minimum of conflict. This influx of trade and knowledge resulted in a new golden age, which in turn resulted in the creation of 6 new cities. At some point though, the mountain cities of Akh and Hokmoq stopped communications, and it was discovered that the cities had been destroyed by some force. The Whispermen sent their army to war in the dreadful mountains, together with the Hurtans who had also lost people and settlements there, but few survived, and those who did were left mentally scarred by whatever happened up there in the cold heights. The Witch-king ordered the retreat, and declared the mountains cursed. Visitors and historians came to know this conflict as the Never-spoken War as all Whispermen and Hurtans refuse to talk about it. In the later years, they helped greatly in the Corsair Wars, using their sturdy converted whaling ships but otherwise observe rather isolationist policies.  


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on May 26, 2009, 05:49:40 PM
Religions

 The Cult of Hallowed Flesh
The Cult of Hallowed Flesh believes that all flesh are divine works of transcendent art made by the Creator; the divine artist-god that made the world, the creatures that inhabit it, and, lastly, the humans. Flesh is naturally beautiful in all incarnations to them, but sentient creatures are especially beautiful because they possess the Creative Spark. This spark is created by the divine and is itself divine as it grants the greatest of the Creator's works the power to emulate their gods and use the power of creation.  

Principles

The Cult takes a deistic stance as to the actions of their god; he created everything, but his art was perfect and would continue its beautiful existence by itself without him interfering.
The cultist is asked to consider the beauty around him as well as to create something himself. What he creates is up to himself and they greatly enforce independence and the use of the singular power of creativity they claim they have been granted. Respect for the work of others is mandatory; be they animals or humans. Because even though animals do not possess the Spark their spawn are still considered to be their creation. As such, it is forbidden to eat the flesh of animals and all practitioners of the religion are vegetarians (as plants are not considered to be "alive"). Combat to the death is also considered a taboo, although martial arts are strangely respected as they are, in a way, considered to be "art" when not actively used in combat.

Foundation and structure
The Cult is relatively new, and although it was inspired by some pagan religions it didn't in fact develop from one. The foundation of the religion is a series of letters sent by an unnamed religious artist describing a divine vision sent to him outlining the main tenets and ideas of the religion. The letters are all adressed to someone called Harikem. Who this person was or what he represented is still unknown, and the same goes for the identity of the author.  These letters, of which there are 11, are collectively known as the Letters of Vision, and the author is referred to as the Visionary.
Clergy are organized around small monasteries where the monks live simple lives in the pursuit of aesthetic rather than spiritual perfection. The monks have few actual duties in the religious community; they prepare the bodies of the dead for the burial ritual and often serve as orphanages for lost children. In the rest of the time they sing beautiful praises to the Creator, nature, and humanity and help copy books or create new pieces of art. They live lives of personal poverty, indulging in few luxuries so they can best pursue their chosen path without unnecessary distraction. Celibacy is not a requirement though, and sex is almost considered an artform by itself and the monks perform something akin to tantric sex (the monks are pretty famed for their skill). The cult has even made a sort of religious guide to it, a work which has been banned by many nations.  

Practice

Although the religion has grown somewhat prominent in the world, it's still uncommon to be born into it. Rather, people happen about it in books and by participating in artistic social circles. As such, most people are middle or high class and well-educated and have entered the cult as a choice rather than through indoctrination. As the religion is deistic, prayers are not common practice, although monasteries do sing hymns. Mostly, practice of the religion just involves accepting the mythology and gazing upon the beauty of the world. Some people also use more rigorous and spiritual Aesthetic Meditations where they dwell on the beauty of a specific item. Practitioners are known as flesh hallowers, or just hallowers.  

Rituals

Birth: as a religious cult focused on creation, birth is an event of huge importance. The child is usually hidden away by the parents for the first few days, and a party is then thrown for the child where the family and the friends of the parents come to see the child who is customarily dressed up in make-up and a small colorful robe. It's customary to praise the parents of the beauty of the child at these events.
Coming of age: There are no coming of age rituals in the Cult as such, as they do not believe in stages of life as such; all of life is equal. Sometimes, though, if a child follows an artistic path in life, a small party is thrown after the creation of his first personal piece of art. If it is a physical piece of art, like a picture or a sculpture, it's often on display at the party.
Death and burial: Death is seen as the deterioration of art and is therefore feared. They do not believe in an afterlife. The Spark of Creation is reborn in a new body, and the body reverts to the components from which it was created. The identity of the person is irretrievably lost. The components of a human body are considered intrinsically human, and as such are sought to be reverted to the human state. This concept involves a highly ritualized cannibalising of dead family members where the body is salted and brought to the nearest monastery where it is prepared by the monks and then eaten by the family. The dead body is divided into three types of components; the hallowed components which are eaten (e.g. organs and muscle), the identity-holding pieces which are burnt (e.g. heart, brain, fingers and eyes) and the practical, non-aesthetic, pieces (e.g. stomach and bone) which are removed without further ado.

Adherents

Most who follow this religion are artists. Some were artists before they entered the cult, and some became it later. But there are many exceptions; all who see beauty in their work or in the world around them can feel drawn to the religion. The enigmatic Moshrayah of the underground, whose entire culture focuses on the dedication to arts, often follow this religion, although only those living on the surface have free enough access to edible plants survive, as ordinary moshrayah diets consist of mostly meat (the underground isn't exactly rich on nutritious plant-life). Members of the Order of the Rose are also often members.

Sects
Even though it's a somewhat small religion, sects are prominent in a religion with so loose a dogma.
Hallowers of the Canvas Incarnate: These believe that life is not art in itself but rather a medium which you can mold into real art. They use tattoos and piercings, as well as other acts of self-modification and -mutilation, to modify themselves into human artwork.  
Hallowers of the New Dawn: This small sect doesn't focus on material creations but rather on the making and birth of children. The New Dawn followers are avid users of the previously mentioned blacklisted manual and typically sire a lot of children. Some more fanatic members of the sect attempt to pick their partners so as to create what they consider "optimal" children, practising their own personal variant of eugenics.

Thaumaturgies

Resonance technology
Reality is only apparent through interactions. We can only see when our eyes interact with light, we can only hear when our ears interact with air, we can only feel when our skin interacts with matter. So everything that exists to us is a result of interaction. So isn't it only natural to assume that what we interact with is also, in itself, the result of an interaction?  
These are some of the thoughts behind resonance science, also sometimes known as reality manipulation and "resonancing". It's the science of intrinsic fields, invisible fields that describe an objects physical abilities. Reality is thus the interaction between at least two intrinsic fields: various object fields and the world field. Whenever they interact a physical event takes place. So whenever you see an object fall, or the light reflect off a mirror it's due to two intrinsic fields interacting and determining a suitable effect in accordance with their individual qualities.

Describing the fields
Intrinsic fields are described with three values: Strata, Dimension and Cadence. These are roughly synonymous with the 3 dimensions of another plane of existence overlapping our own.
Strata is the least specific of the three values and simply describes the overall type of matter that the intrinsic field belongs to. Here the value 1 describes a vacuum, and every prime number from thereon describes a specific type of matter such as metal, rock, flesh and so on. Non-primes describes combinations of these; objects of mixed matter often have cumulative fields.
Dimension describes a specific trait of the intrinsic field: the gravity, heat capacity, electromagnetic ability, viscosity, reflectivity, and so on. Each of these traits have a specific value on the Ockham Scale which can vary from strata to strata.    
The last value, Cadence, describes the relative strength of the individual dimension. So each dimension has a cadence value, that describes its power. For normal reality, this value is set to an arbitrary value of zero. This leads to the concept of zero-level physics as another name for standard physics, which is the opposite of non-zero physics; physics where reality has been modified. Cadence can take both positive and negative values depending on whether the field has been weakened or strengthened.
A common allegory for how cadence works is that the two cadences are each pulling one of two ropes that are tied together. If they both pull equally hard the knot stays in a location that we will call "normal". If the object field has a higher cadence and pulls harder the knot will be displaced, resulting in a modified reality and vice versa for a lower cadence.    

Manipulating Reality
The secret to manipulating the laws of nature wasn't discovered until the Algathion Codex  gave the first perplexing clues to the existence of Resonance science and intrinsic fields. The secret lies in so-called transplanar vibrational radiation, where vibrations can expand from our plane into the intrinsic plane; the intrinsic fields seem to have some similarity to waves and vibrational resonance fields can thus change them through constructive and destructive interference. Of course, most materials only yield very little transplanar vibrational radiation so to put this theory into effect special materials are needed.  
When a device produces a sufficient amount of transplanar vibrational radiation it generates what is known as a resonance field. This field possesses a specific polarity, and whenever it interacts with an intrinsic field possessing the same strata and dimension as the resonance is keyed to, it either increases or decreases the cadence (depending on the polarity).  

Echo rod
The classical resonance device, the echo rod looks like the bastard child of a tuning fork and a black mace. It is about the length of a mace, has a handle at the end, and a tube made of reinforced fulgurite (that is, petrified lightning, which has some peculiar and useful qualities). The tube is hollowed out, and filled with a mess of strings made out of various metals. On the side of the rod are fastened two claw-like metal protrusions somewhat similar to the ends of a long sharpened tuning fork. At the core of the metal network lies a small greenish glassy bead made of esherium, a material that is known to vibrate almost only on the intrinsic level, often giving off the appearance of standing still if struck even though it is vibrating. The Echo rod is designed to amplify these extraplanar vibrations and generate a resonance field between the two prongs. You can often hear the amplification of its nonplanar vibrations as well, as a high-pitched hum, leading some people so say that it sings. To control the rod, small knobs and slides are often attached to the side of the rod, allowing the user to change strata and dimension and perhaps even flux (a measure for how quickly the cadence rises or falls). Other rods are more simple though, and might be fixed for one or more specific purposes. Multi-purpose after rods do after all have a higher chance of being calibrated wrongly for any specific task.

The skillful application of resonance fields
Changing the rules are more difficult than just waving a charged rod around though. Changing a field requires a skilled touch. A major danger is non-congruence. The resonance field can only change part of the intrinsic field, spreading out in ripples, and if a part of an entire field starts to differ too much from the rest of the field it will approach what is called the Unreality Limit and simply disintegrate (one of the reasons resonance fields are rarely used on men for constructive purposes). To make the ripples spread more evenly, several kata are taught which can direct the ripples in a more orderly and evenly balanced way.

Limitations and rules
Other than the Unreality Limit, there are a few other rules. The Law of Simulacrum states that only copies can ever be made, in the sense that while you could make lead behave exactly like gold it would never become gold; it is only gold in the light of your modified ruleset. The Law of Extremes dictate that no cadences are unlimited in scope. The Divine Principle states that life cannot be created (even though people keep searching for the strata/dimension of life itself).  

Effects
Gravity: By manipulating gravity you can make an object lighter or heavier.
Heat Capacity: By manipulating heat capacity you can make things heat up or cool down.
Boiling/freezing point: Essentially allows you to change what phase a material is in.
Viscosity: Can make air seem like syrup or water like air or anything in between or near that.
Electromagnetic: You can change crystal structure, causing things to become brittle or soft instead of hard and malleable (or vice versa) or you could make materials magnetic or electrically conductive.
Reflectivity: You can make things change color, turn them into mirrors or make them transparent.

Duration and molding
Changes made to intrinsic fields only last so long, and will revert to something close to their natural state over time. A small, unnoticable, difference is often there though, and if you repeat the process extensively, maybe a few hundred times or more, you can slowly lift the cadence step by step until it reaches a new permanent value. Materials that have been treated in this way are extremely expensive and are known as cantillated materials.  

Changing the world
Nearly all resonance technology focuses on changing the intrinsic fields of objects. The World Field is simply too massive to directly affect. This isn't entirely true though, as the application of enough energy can tear large holes in the fabric of reality. This is most often accomplished by dropping logic bombs which promptly strip the surrounding area of a few specific traits (such as gravity).

The Order
Only one group knows how to use the echo rods. The Orchestra educates skillful young men in the art of resonancing and physics, teaching them to understand strata and dimensions and master the katas of the rod. When fully educated they become Resonists, reality-bending engineers and scholars. Only a limited number of echo rods have ever been constructed or found, and thus the Order remains extremely small with only a few hundred members. They are extremely wealthy, but do not possess any inherent power other than what they can buy.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on May 26, 2009, 05:49:53 PM
(reserved3)


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Elemental_Elf on May 26, 2009, 06:11:33 PM
You certainly paint a scary picture of a sad world...

I definitely like your vision of Magic, very different from the standard lot we typically see. You mentioned Choirs are few but powerful... How powerful are they? Do they rule any of the micro-states?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Loch Belthadd on May 26, 2009, 06:28:31 PM
What is the Effluvium?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on May 26, 2009, 06:36:57 PM
A metaphysical concept. It is the medium through which thoughts move. Like a liquid where thoughts are ripples. It's just the theory behind mind reading like people used to believe that light moved through aether.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: LD on May 26, 2009, 06:51:04 PM
"Quicksilvermen walk the streets"

...Looking forward to see how they turn out!


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Elemental_Elf on May 26, 2009, 07:24:20 PM

Crow

Near this renegade city lies the Harvest Confederacy, a collection of still-bountiful farms who sell their foodstuffs to most of the world. The veritable breadbasket of the world, the place would be easy and profitable prey for bandits if it wasn't for the Lynchmen; bounty hunters and wandering swordsmen who judge and punish in service of the Confederacy.


Who appoints the Lynchmen? Does the government of the  Harvest Confederacy not wish to enforce its own laws, or does it lack the means to do so? Who lynches the Lynchmen?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Matt Larkin (author) on May 26, 2009, 07:36:31 PM
Like what I see so far, Crow. But is this a reboot of your earlier Broken Verge work? Do you plan to update your wiki-setting?

Quote

The City of Delights has few laws and rises like a utopian paradise out of the searing desert dunes.

Not sure I'd call a place without law utopian.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on May 26, 2009, 07:48:47 PM

Phoenix


Like what I see so far, Crow. But is this a reboot of your earlier Broken Verge work? Do you plan to update your wiki-setting?

Quote

The City of Delights has few laws and rises like a utopian paradise out of the searing desert dunes.

Oh, you definitely haven't read the thread about Motassu i put up then :D


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on May 27, 2009, 10:30:19 AM
Some questions to you all:
1) Anything amiss?
2) Anything that seems a bit bland or cliche? (beneath my self-set standards :P)
3) Anything particularly interesting? Something you want me to expand upon sooner rather than later?
4) Any ideas or comments? Do you like it or dislike it?
5) Do i need more cities? (or less perhaps)
6) Some good ways to ruin the Empire of the Hidden Throne?

P.S. should it be "on" or "of" in the headings?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: LD on May 27, 2009, 11:46:06 AM
I think I need to see more to really comment.

You have ideas there, but not much concrete.

I think this setting would benefit from a "storyteller's" layout, similar to that of Nifflas, the librarian setting.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on May 27, 2009, 11:53:05 AM
Well, yeah, i have more, this was just meant to help people get an idea of the setting. I'll find some of the already written stuff and post it here as well. I have stuff on Motassu, the Moshrayah and resonance (the science of the Choirs).


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Matt Larkin (author) on May 27, 2009, 02:11:28 PM
It'd be nice to see this consolidated into one big thread, yeah. Or even better, both a thread and an update to the wiki. I remember reading that back in September, when I was making CBGeopardy, and thinking it was interesting.

What you don't want is a jumbled mixed of half-updated stuff there, so that people have no idea what's still accurate.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Elemental_Elf on May 27, 2009, 02:20:40 PM

Cataclysmic Crow


Some questions to you all:
1) Anything amiss? [Not really :)
2) Anything that seems a bit bland or cliche? (beneath my self-set standards :P)[The whole settings seems to be out of the kiddie pool, as it were. :)
3) Anything particularly interesting? Something you want me to expand upon sooner rather than later? [I would like to hear more about the Confederacy and the Lynchmen, as well as this southern empire that's been in the midst of a civil war.
4) Any ideas or comments? Do you like it or dislike it? [More please? :)
5) Do i need more cities? (or less perhaps) [More is not exactly a bad thing, your call.

P.S. should it be "on" or "of" in the headings?  [On



Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on May 27, 2009, 03:51:19 PM
"The whole settings seems to be out of the kiddie pool, as it were."
I hate to admit it, but I'm not sure i get what you're saying here?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on May 27, 2009, 03:56:59 PM

Phoenix


It'd be nice to see this consolidated into one big thread, yeah. Or even better, both a thread and an update to the wiki. I remember reading that back in September, when I was making CBGeopardy, and thinking it was interesting.

What you don't want is a jumbled mixed of half-updated stuff there, so that people have no idea what's still accurate.

This is the most current info, and all that should be considered canon for now. My plan is to gather all the information here. And yes, i'll update the wiki at some point.
(btw, have you just read the Illuminatus! trilogy? (considering your title) One strange series...)  


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Elemental_Elf on May 27, 2009, 04:00:25 PM

Cataclysmic Crow


"The whole settings seems to be out of the kiddie pool, as it were."
I hate to admit it, but I'm not sure i get what you're saying here?


The kiddie pool being anything bland or cliche :)

Meaning, your setting hardly feels cliche, at least at this point in the design process.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on May 27, 2009, 04:22:31 PM
ahh, thanks ^^
and now i'll go back to pretending i'm fluent in English.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on May 28, 2009, 03:30:47 PM
edited the first post to include some actual material. Although it is mostly reused from previous threads. But still. I'll add more when i find it. (yes; find)


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on May 28, 2009, 03:41:33 PM
@EE: for some reason i never saw your first post...
Thank you for the praise. :)
Choirs can't exactly level houses with a thought, but their powers can change reality forever and I, as setting maker, therefore have to keep them in check or the world would change drastically; for one, they could with time create indestructible materials. I'm currently envisioning them as a very tight-knit and wealthy group that hires their services to those who can afford it. Alternatively i could make them members of specific state, giving that state a significant edge.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Matt Larkin (author) on May 28, 2009, 04:14:08 PM

Cataclysmic Crow


This is the most current info, and all that should be considered canon for now. My plan is to gather all the information here. And yes, i'll update the wiki at some point.
(btw, have you just read the Illuminatus! trilogy? (considering your title) One strange series...)  

No. The title is a joke from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immanentize_the_eschaton, applied to my setting: Eschaton.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on May 28, 2009, 04:24:40 PM
yeah, the series i mentioned is under Popular Culture in that article. It's just not a sentence you find often, so i found it likely that you had read the book as they mention it often in that one :p


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: SilvercatMoonpaw on May 28, 2009, 05:50:38 PM

Cataclysmic Crow

A pre-apocalyptic world

I'm not sure I understand what this means.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on May 28, 2009, 05:54:49 PM
Neither do I :p
The idea is that many people are convinced that the End is near, and that this is the last time before the apocalypse. Of course, most settings are pre-apocalyptic so it's sort of a joke as well.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Matt Larkin (author) on May 28, 2009, 05:57:38 PM
Oh, well in that case, Eschaton fits right in.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on May 28, 2009, 06:40:26 PM
yeah, i was sorta frightened when i saw your campaign but then i realized you were going in quite a different direction. :)
enjoy the Gargoyles; one of my favorite races. Although I'm not sure i have nailed their looks yet. Any ideas on how to make them nastier would be much appreciated. The limbs seem to be oddly unaccounted for.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Matt Larkin (author) on May 28, 2009, 07:30:17 PM

Cataclysmic Crow


yeah, i was sorta frightened when i saw your campaign but then i realized you were going in quite a different direction. :)

Er, yeah. I meant pre-apocalyptic was in line with Eschaton, which is really in regards to the Tinkering thread. To be honest, I had forgotten it was your subtitle, even after reading most of the first post.

And yeah, I'd say our take on dying world syndrome is pretty different.

Speaking of which:

Quote

enjoy the Gargoyles; one of my favorite races. Although I'm not sure i have nailed their looks yet. Any ideas on how to make them nastier would be much appreciated. The limbs seem to be oddly unaccounted for.

It took me a minute to realize you meant you updated an earlier post. You might consider posting new material at the end, then editing into the beginning once you've gotten feedback (so anyone following isn't constantly re-reading to see what's new).

Description looks pretty good to me, if sometimes worded a little oddly. Adding a break between paragraphs can make it easier to read, too.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on May 29, 2009, 05:11:07 AM
Well, the updates are pretty stand-alone. So i upgrade it with a new country, or a new race, etc. So they should be possible to find? Most other setting threads seem to get by fine with posting into the main thread? But i can post it twice if you reckon it helps.
Anywhere, there are details on two countries, 1 thaumaturgy, 1 faith and 3-ish races. Some of it never posted. So help on individual parts would be desirable.
What sentences did you feel were oddly worded?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Llum on May 29, 2009, 07:24:01 PM
Just a couple questions.

How are Gargoyle eyes arranged around their heads?

Secondly, who started creating Bred Gargoyles? Was it the Gargoyles themselves? or some outside influence?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on May 29, 2009, 09:12:17 PM
For Pures the eyes are arrange symmetrically on the front and side of their head. Somewhat like a spiders eyes. On the Bred, the eyes are randomly arranged on the head, with some opening up on the top of the scalp,  or on the back of the head. Most are still somewhere in the front though, allowing them to retain a somewhat human appareance if they seal the other eyes shut.
And i thought it was pretty obvious they did it themselves? They are pretty intelligent, especially since they have control of their entire consciousness and most of their subconsciousness. They have places to breed in some of the ghosttowns or ancient ruins.    


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: LordVreeg on June 04, 2009, 05:25:31 PM
So I also am interested in the gargoyles, especially as you bothered to go into their intrinsic psychology and personality underpinnings.

Is magic something they use as well?  They seem well suited to it's uses.

DO they have a differnt take on religion?  I would imagine some level of a faith-based repsonse to their evolutionary bias.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on June 06, 2009, 05:22:47 AM
Sorry i didn't answer immediately, but needed some time to think.
Magic works a bit differently in my setting, so no, they wouldn't typically use it. They can't afford echo rods or the training and most of the inborn gifts like empathy and marutism are solely available to humans. They do excel at the preternatural mental meta-disciplines like Tychoestimology (calculating probabilities in combat) and Obliviation (Hiding information in the subconscious to increase memory). Actually, the last discipline pretty much comes naturally to them as they have complete control of their memory. I also had a thought about some of them becoming gland mages (WIP name); since they have perfect control of their glands, hormones and the like they could consciously pump their systems full of adrenaline in combat to increase their power. I have to think a bit about the actual limitations of their body control though before i'll make any final decisions.

Hmm, as to the religion, i actually imagine they would be rather atheistic. Of course, they would know of their old gods, but either they would claim them to be simple myths or believe that they had forsaken them. Their control freak trait combined with their scientific knowledge means that they are probably extremely pragmatic as well as having difficulty believing something else controls them.  
Many might adapt human gods in their further attempts at masquerade.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on June 10, 2009, 10:03:36 AM
I have tried to rewrite my introduction and themes to make it more interesting and eye catching:


The World was once a pristine, beautiful and complete machine; Predictable and harmonous. But years pass, and history plays cruel tricks, and it has been through most of the things fate, coincidence, and civilized stupidity combined could throw at it, and has the scars to show from most of them; even those events no one remembers anymore. The World hasn't been one unified whole for a long, long time. It is a now but a motley amalgam, a combination of dualisms, conflicts and idiosyncrasies. Warped by nature and nurture, plague and genocide, war and disaster, and the Free Will of sentient life above everything else, it is now an entity of terrifying unpredictability and uncountable possibilities. The machine has been broken beyond repair, and a single question coalesces out of the chaos: has it simply been hammered into a new shape or is the breaking a stepping stone to destruction?

Over the Verge Lies the Unknown
Human existence has reached a point of revolution in history, a shift in paradigm that will be reflected for decades to come and remembered for many centuries. If there is anyone left to remember it, of course. This is an exciting point in time, where scientific limits previously thought insurmountable are conquered, where the leaders of the future world are chosen, and where the heroes of this age will prove themselves. It is a time of action, where arguments are made with words as often as bloody blades. Mysteries will be resolved, secrets will be brought into the light, and the hidden world will emerge into the light.  

The Paradox of Life and Matter
Civilization and Nature are anathema to each other and yet live together in a system approaching symbiosis. Civilization is built from wood and stone, and men would never be born without the flesh of animals or the aid of fire and metal, while Nature prospers and evolves around cities, with animals living off men as pets or pests and plants being planted by the civilized as often as they are burnt. They constantly vye for supremacy, and they constantly keep each other in check, never straying further from the status quo than the other part can rise again and reset the balance. Nature is harsh in this world, with rain and thunder being as common as a clouded sky, but humans are more than up to the task of defending their lives from this impersonal threat.  

The Vibrancy of Desperate Minds
The gift of Free Will is the greatest advantage of the higher races, and perhaps the only birthright anyone can ever truly lay claim to. Choices make us who we are. Do we pick faith or science? Dreams or duty? Love or work? Law or crime? Only rarely do we get to choose both, and our choices will eventually coalesce into something greater: an ideology. A collection of ideas that could be called religion, worldview or philosophy depending on its components. Sometimes many have the same philosophy, creating periods of peace and order. Other times ideologies clash and blood is spilt to prove a simple, and often inconsequential or even nonsensical, point. This day and age is obviously one of the latter. People realize that civilization is tearing itself apart, and probably taking much of the World itself with it,  and millions cry out their ideas for redemption or reason. The result is a tangled web of unrealized lies, half-truths, and dreams where the individual has to fight to get heard.

Everything Changes and Nothing is Forever      
Panta Rhei means everything flows; an universal truth few realize. For change is an inevitable part of life and existence. Those who cling to their decade-old identity often forget that their 16-year old self had little in common with the 60-year old counterpart, and that memories are forgotten and created with uncanny frequency leaving a broken chain between past and present. Even the indestructible will change, as purpose and meaning isn't determined so much by intrinsic qualities as the beholder. After the Fall of Man, the unbroken blade will just be another piece of random debris for animals to avoid. Empires will fall and be rebuilt, and during their journeys men will die and be reborn. This is the nature of existence.

The question is: did it work? I honestly think this is some of the best i have written in a while, and not nearly as stale as the previous. I hope you agree.
it seems more evocative as well, giving a better mental image of the setting. I might add a bit more to it, but i was in a hurry near the end of the writing process so i wanted to get it up before i had to leave :)


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Eladris on June 11, 2009, 01:02:49 PM
There is less indication in the new version that Nature is any different from what we experience on Earth; the old Nature was painted as a sentient force.  Otherwise, it looks like a solid improvement on the original.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: LordVreeg on June 11, 2009, 01:51:50 PM
I'm having a lot of problems with the second and third lines.  There are some nice elements used, but the order and use does not work for me.
I like the uncertainty.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on June 11, 2009, 05:31:16 PM
The order of the headings?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: LordVreeg on June 11, 2009, 06:50:02 PM
no.  the second and third line of the openning para.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on June 11, 2009, 06:58:48 PM
ah, thought you were making two separate points. I'll try and fix it.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on June 11, 2009, 07:05:31 PM
"The World was once a pristine, beautiful and complete machine; Predictable and harmonous. But years pass, history plays cruel tricks, and fate, coincidence, and civilized stupidity together have slowly been breaking it apart and remaking it. It is now but a motley amalgam: a combination of dualisms, conflicts and idiosyncrasies."
Better?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on June 18, 2009, 06:49:49 PM
I still need to do some more work, but here is the philosophy and cosmology behind demons and chair summoning. It is obviously based on Plato's Forms. I hope it is somewhat clear; hard to describe the images and ideas in your mind perfectly.

Transcendent Thought Philosophy
Transcendent Thought Philosophy is an old philosophy concerning the nature of things. Ancient texts from as far back as somewhere in the Indeterminate Age made the first speculations about the nature of Ideals and Abstracts. The basic theories state that every defined class of object, concept, or creature, e.g. chair, dog, honesty, etc., corresponds to a single abstract idea; an idea that perfectly describes the class of objects. The chair is the classical example, employed both by teachers and those who first proposed the ideas. There are many types of chairs: chairs with backs, chairs with three legs, polstered chairs, unpolstered chairs, and so on. But they are still all chairs. So when we call something a chair, it is because it corresponds to the elements of the All-chair, the idea that encompasses everything a chair can be; and this is the Abstract of a chair.

Traits of an Abstract
The abstracts exist outside space and time, but they do in fact exist, as confirmed in the now outlawed thoughtform experiments. Their existence is alien to our minds, but scientists have long sought to combine our existence with theirs. Finally the process known as Reification was discovered, where thoughts are focused and directed through malleable material to create a thoughtform; an object embodying the Abstract to a certain degree. Only a few Abstracts can be summoned like this though, as the research of one Olimander Platones showed. He was the first to experiment with Reification and attempted to call in the shape of the All-chair from a powerful aetherical light source he had acquired. His assistants found him next day partly disintegrated at the sight of this ideal object. It was later discovered that concepts that are objectively defined, objects mostly, achieve an ideal state that can hardly be expressed in this world and twist the world before finally breaking down. These Abstracts are known as Ideals. things that are subjectively defined on the other hand, most concepts for example, are known as Vagaries. These Abstracts are of a more fluid nature. Justice for example is a Vagary, since what one man might consider to be just might be considered crime by another, and as such you can't define everything Justice is. It's an everchanging thing molded by the individual mind.

Practical Applications
While binding and exploiting the powers of an Ideal is virtually impossible, science has managed to bind small Vagaries for a limited amount of time in a watery solution. Vagaries typically bound are Manners, White Lies, Noises in the Dark, and Ambiguity; small, vague, and easy to control. The reifications seem to have some supernatural qualities, able to circumvent the laws of nature to a small degree, and some seem to exhibit signs of outside influence or sentience. This science has been outlawed now though, and no honorable scientists delve into the matters.
The knowledge on how to sustain Vagaries was known well before science made it official though, only then it was known as Demonology; an occult discipline describing how to summon and control otherworldly beings. Demonologists have long had access to refined methods that allow them to make a self-sustaining and semi-sentient Vagary known as a demon; a powerful supernatural creature which they either exploit or control.    

Demonology
Demonology is a surprisingly old craft, founded by way of ancient manuscripts of unknown origin. Most demonologists are loners, considering themselves to be the sole keepers of this dread, often inherited, secret. Only the Kasheelien Order, the secretive order of monks based somewhere in the Viridian Mountains, have any organized knowledge on the subject, and they only wield it so no one else has to, attempting to protect the secrets of demonology (they are rumored to somehow be behind the ban on thoughtform science). It should be noted that they consider demons to be quite evil though. Most demonologists don't depend on modern equipment like the scientists though, and instead use mind-altering drugs to provide a mental energy field fuelling the imagination and reification, and often spike their solutions with blood, giving the demon added life. They also use symbols to focus their thoughts (often circles), and isolate themselves to avoid distractions. Demons are either bound to the service of a demonologist through contracts or by exploiting the natural nature of the bound Vagary, or the demon is forced into a binding; often to the skin of the demonologist himself. This grafting can give the demonologist control over some of the more arcane powers of the demon.  


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on June 20, 2009, 08:22:29 PM
This short story is meant to show off the Choir and their powers, as well as the relationship between them and their organization. There have been made some changes; I'm probably going with a gaunlet instead of a rod (unless i hear any criticism) and the Order has been renamed the Orchestra

Choir of Devils


Alyan Kerachi stood in front of the cracked and dirty mirror of his hotel room, staring at his own reflection. It was a cheap hotel, catering to the more unsavory clientel that wasn't allowed anywhere near the more decent establishments, and Alyan had been somewhat surprised to find a mirror in his room, even if it only barely barely qualified as such anymore. And although he had chosen the hotel because it was close to unknown, he was glad that it had a mirror so he could take a final look at himself. He had never considered himself particularly narcissistic, but had always enjoyed gazing at his own visage and noticing the small, sometimes nearly imperceptible, differences that made him aware of the passage of time. It was an awareness he felt sometimes eluded him after the many years spent secluded in the Academy of the Orchestra. It was hardly the only thing his training at lost him though, a fact he was reminded of whenever he looked at his right hand. Atrophied and deformed, it was a pitiful sight, but it was also the hallmark of an experienced Choir. And other than the Echo Gauntlet lying on the table in front of the mirror it was the only thing that reminded him of the nature of his trade.  
Of course, he reminded himself, most Choirs would see him as a traitor, a rogue, since he had fled the Orchestra to escape his debt to them and seek his own fortune. He realized the folly of that decision many years ago, but there was no way back now and he had until now managed to avoid death at the hands of their hired assassins and had lived a relatively comfortable life. But they might be on to him again very soon if everything went according to plan. Plans that involved murder had a tendency to cause a stir after all.    
He strapped on the heavy gauntlet, his only weapon, along with the complex framework it had to be worn with and covered the entire set of complex machinery with a thick dark coat. Then he stepped out in the drizzling rain to meet his enemy.          
Although his reputation as an alchemical conman with a skill for procuring fake gold might have been a problem in more respectable circles, it was a useful reputation in the criminal elements he now dealt with. It was only sad that his latest partnership was but a ruse so he could get close to the man he hated; Khierian crime boss Okram Boros. A slavetrader and passionate collector of antiques, Boros and his thugs had killed the woman he loved after her small antiquity store had refused to sell a specific antiquity to him. This was a year ago, and his hatred and anger had only increased since then. And now he had finally had a meeting arranged with his unknowing victim. He was just glad that his profession was sufficiently secretive so that none of the guards who searched him suspected anything was wrong when he came in wearing a heavy gauntlet and were discouraged from further searching by letting out a slight comment about his suspicions about possibly having been infected with the Weirdplague.
And a short while after he was in the audience room. An actual audience room. Okram obviously had some issues with modesty. The guards didn't look like something belonging in a royal court though; they looked like ordinary thugs only with a few more scars and assorted bits of metal stuck to their thick leather jerkins. Okram Boros, self-proclaimed Crime King, was sitting in an ornate wooden chair on a small dias at the far end of the room. He was well-nourished, to say the least, and dressed a good deal better than his minions. Alyan felt his anger rising as he noticed the man was wearing the medaillion Boros had previously stolen from his lover, but managed to keep his calm.
"Ah, Mr. Kerachi. I'm glad you're finally here. Let's get down to business immediately shall we?" greeted the crimeboss while he got up and spread out his arms in a friendly manner.
"Sadly, Mr. Boros, I haven't come here for a different business than the one i led you to believe i was here for," Alyan answered calmly but with a hint of hostility he could not quite hide, swinging open the right side of his coat to reveal a flat piece of polished steel strapped to his belt. The guards shifted and drew their swords halfway out of their sheaths, unsure as to whether they should perceive the unveiling of what appeared to be a scabbard for a very unwieldy dagger worn by a crippled man as a threat.  
Boros sighed and sat down, "well, you can hardly be an assassin considering that you have no weapon and appear to have a rather sickly pallor. But I'll take no chances. Guards, dispose of this man. Goodbye, Mr. Kerachi."
Although a shorter conversation than Alyan had expected, the conclusion had been inevitable and he smiled contently as he turned to face the guards.
The guards were now coming menacingly forward with drawn swords; pitted yet perfectly lethal pieces of practical weaponry. Alyans weapon was hardly practical, but it did have something to offer in flexibility. He flicked his left wrist, activating the spring-loaded mechanism that extended the Key Grip into his left palm, and struck his palm three times against the metal plate on his belt with a specific rhythm he thought adequate for the situation. The gauntlet started humming and although nearly inaudible it was a pervasive sound, and even Okram, standing 5 meters away, seemed alarmed and quickly grabbed a crossbow that had been lying next to his chair. Alyan calmly waited for the guards to make a move, and couldn't stop himself from humming along to the ethereal song of his gauntlet; a song of Steel and Form.  
The first thug let out a warcry and charged with his sword raised above his head, but Alyan interposed his charged Echo Gauntlet between himself and the predictable strike, and with his left hand he manipulated the Key Grip, altering the pitch of the hum ever so slightly. The blade came crashing down towards his hand with lethal speed, but it never connected. Instead, the part of the steel blade about to strike the open palm started wobbling and small drops of steel seemed to drop off from the formerly solid blade, leaving a puddle of metallic liquid along with the still solid tip of the blade. The thug, thrown off balance by this very unexpected turn of events, stumbled forward and Alyan tripped him and crushed the shocked man's windpipe with his perfectly mundane boot. The other guard was upon him by then, although the sudden demise of his comrade left his sword swing a somewhat half-hearted and easily dodged affair. As Alyan dodged beneath the blade, he struck the metal plate once again, and could hear a song of Air now. As he got up he shoved the hand towards the face of the the staggered man, and could see of his face instantly contorted as he realized there was no air to breath. His sword clanged on the stone tiles as it fell from his unclenched hand, and he stumbled backwards and fell to the floor, clawing desperately at the air and his throat. Alyan followed him callously, holding the hand in front of his gasping mouth as he let the life-giving air fall heavily to the floor. He dropped to one knee and waited for the scarred man to go limp. A crossbow bolt thudded into the limp body, reminding Alyan once again of his purpose with this visit. Boros was already aiming another bolt at him, but with his Key grip he changed the song once again, and the air around his hand fell to the earth and shattered as ice. The bolt thudded harmlessly into one such frozen block of air and fell harmlessly to the ground. Alyan quickly tapped a complex rhythm at the metal plate until the hum grew to an almost intolerable pitch, and pulled at a small switch which made several springloaded mirrors flip out of the Gauntlet. He took care to hold the gauntlet at arm's reach, as he could positively feel reality warp around it. He clenched his fist and suddenly the hum collapsed into a single loud noise and the reality warp was slung across the room and into the body of the defenseless crimeboss. He wasn't flung back, but the effect was immediately visible and just as dramatic as his blood started to vaporize in front of Alyan's eyes. He screamed and screamed as the water in his eyes disappeared into the air as steam, but Alyan didn't care. This was what he had come for after all. He just stood watching. Even when the dessicated body had been lying dead on the ground for a while, he simply stood staring into the air, half a smile on his face. His mind still echoed with Boros' screams, so he didn't notice the high-pitched and quickly silenced screams of the guards outside nor the soft but deliberate sounds of footsteps approaching. Even when an arrow went through his chest with a dull thud he barely noticed it, and he fell senselessly to the ground. As his vision dimmed the assassin crossed the room to him and wrenched his prized and now silent weapon from his hand, leaving only the twisted stump where the faceless man placed an iron medaillion engraved with a set of concentric circles; the mark of the Orchestra. And even though that was the last thing he would ever see, Alyan regretted nothing.          



Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: LordVreeg on June 21, 2009, 12:59:05 PM

Cataclysmic Crow


"The World was once a pristine, beautiful and complete machine; Predictable and harmonous. But years pass, history plays cruel tricks, and fate, coincidence, and civilized stupidity together have slowly been breaking it apart and remaking it. It is now but a motley amalgam: a combination of dualisms, conflicts and idiosyncrasies."
Better?

Much, much better.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: LordVreeg on June 21, 2009, 01:51:21 PM
You use the term 'well-nourished' twice in 2 para's describing Mr. Okram Boros.  
Alyan's comment about not being their for business seems forced.  Perhaps, "Sadly, Mr. Boros, the business I have come for today involves completing a transaction you made years ago."
The response to Alyan's initial action is also far out of keeping in a man with bodyguards, especially in a world with some magic.  
Last line also rushed.  IS there another Assassin in the room?  Is this someone the choir/orchestra hired?  If so, that needs to be just a little clearer.
I like the plot and the action part is clear.  It does illustrate the gauntlet well, though I think a rod and gauntlet system might be better (not necessary, but better when used in conjuntion..maybe there are only a limited amount of rods out there...)





Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Wensleydale on June 25, 2009, 09:14:35 AM
The first thing I noticed when this thread loaded was the map and pretty layout. It makes me drool. I wish I had a map that nice.

Anyway, on to the setting. What language is 'Panta Rhei'? Is it part of some divine philosophy or some religion that is common everywhere?

'Choir' makes me think of singing. Is singing involved in their magic as well as just rhythm?

How do the Whispermen survive on only meat? Is that possible? Wouldn't you get scurvy and other similar diseases?

I'd like to hear more about the Simulacra. If they're half as interesting as your hints have made them out to be, they'll be fascinating.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on June 26, 2009, 01:19:55 AM
@Vreeg, sorry it took me so long to post, but didn't notice the reply because it was a double post :) made some changes, hope they help. Magic is not well-known and they tend to keep to specific circles of society, only rarely dealing with men like Okram, and so i find it reasonable that he didn't know of the gauntlet. But please do object to this if you find any errors in my argumentation :)
@Wensleydale
for the map, you could always ask Lath. He is quite a brilliant mapmaker, and flexible as well (it went through some iterations before we arrived at this final design). I must admit the layout past introduction/theme seems a bit cluttered to me. Not quite sure how to fix it.
Panta Rhei is actually greek as far as i'm aware; uttered by the greek philosopher Heraclites (the guy with the two rivers). I might have to come up with a corresponding in-game language at some point. Probably something from the ancient times.
Choirs don't use their voice, but their Echo Gauntlets/rods often change pitch and rhythm etc. when they change one of the three resonance traits. So there is some musicality to it.
The Whispermen do observe an advanced hunter/gatherer society, but i'll have to think of how exactly they manage... Of course, Inuits seem to do pretty fine without? Does anybody know where they get their vital vitamines from?
Most people have asked for the Simulacra, so i'll try and do a write-up of that when i have time in a week or so.  


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Wensleydale on June 26, 2009, 04:45:08 AM

Quote

Panta Rhei is actually greek as far as i'm aware; uttered by the greek philosopher Heraclites (the guy with the two rivers). I might have to come up with a corresponding in-game language at some point. Probably something from the ancient times.


Ahh, I thought you'd done what I did in several settings and just included some mystic gobbledegook in the first post. :P

Apparently, the Inuit traditionally gathered local plants, such as grasses and tubers.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on June 27, 2009, 04:35:48 AM
Hehe, i can imagine a whole culinary tradition based solely on grass, fish and ambrosia ^^


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on June 28, 2009, 06:29:19 PM
A new and (hopefully) more engaging vivid write-up of thoughtform science. It beautifully details how sciences come to exist: people believe something wrong, stumble over something else by accident and have their breakthroughs come to them in a dream :D

Thoughtforms and the story of Olivander
During his tragically short life Olivander Platones had but one dream: to harness the power of the mind. When he was a child he was immensely fascinated by the spoon-and-mind-bending tricks performed by the circus magicians who occasionally came to his town during fairs , and gradually this fascination was developed into a full-fledged belief by his young and naïve mind. Refusing to acknowledge the common consensus that telekinesis and mindreading are but fanciful illusions with no roots in reality, the adult Olivander chose to become a psychologist specializing in the more obscure and frowned upon areas of this already weakly developed subject. He started in 941.
Achieving no results with any standard testing, he grew frustrated and in his desperate search for results he decided to attempt to amplify the mind somehow. Going through several miserably ineffective and obscure designs, he finally created the Platonic Engine, a design he to his death claimed had come to him in a dream. Testing this complicated piece of headgear on an encased and purified mass of water he sat for hours concentrating achieving no results. Only when he was about to give up and go to lunch did something happen; the water swirled, smashed against the glass and broke, and a small mass of it started climbing away. A minute of frantic stomping stopped the renegade water from escaping. Olivander had no idea what had just happened, but he had achieved results. Trying to repeat the same experiment (now with reinforced glass), he discovered that he achieved no results no matter how hard he concentrated if he wasn't hungry and thinking about food. His idea of a delicious lunch or dinner had somehow manifested itself in water. He had no idea why his lunch seemed to be alive though.
Doing some further testing, he discovered that he could make the water manifest by concentrating on specific abstract ideas. Locking himself in his study for days letting no one in, he delved deeper and deeper into this amazing discovery and produced a Platonic Engine of immense strength. The next day a colleague broke down the door to his study when he didn't answer him and found a mysterious contraption  as well as the body of young Olivander. His head had seemingly exploded, and the walls were covered in excessive amounts of blood and cerebral fluids as well as several mysterious burn marks. This event became known as the All-chair Experiment when it was discovered that Platones had tried to manifest the abstract idea of a chair. As a result, chairs are often the subject of (bad) jokes in philosophical and psychological circles and have become the most common example of Ideals. Ideals was a term developed by the scientists who came after poor Olivander to describe a stable Abstract; an idea everybody can agree upon, like whether something counts as a chair. Ideals are often objects. The Abstracts known as Vagaries on the other hand were more'¦ fluid. Ideas that are so ambigious that no one can agree on them; like the idea of a perfect lunch. While Vagaries can be fitted somewhat easily into a material form, Ideals are simply too perfect to fit into our flawed world without some serious issues. Thoughtform science became immensely popular in the following decade, but was eventually outlawed all across the north due to the unpredictable lives of manifested Vagaries.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Steerpike on June 29, 2009, 02:42:02 AM
Very Crisis-y!  I like it.

For the names - I get that the Platonic Engine is named after Platones, but did you realize that the word "Platonic" is also the adjectival form of Plato, the philosopher?  If this is intentional, cool (the idea of Ideals works very, very well with Plato); if not, you might consider changing the word.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on June 29, 2009, 04:11:30 AM
I'm quite aware that it refers to Plato :)
It's pretty much the reason Olivander has the surname that he has.
One of the design principles of this setting was to take philosophical concepts and flawed scientific theories and then twist the hell out of them. This is the twisted version of Plato's Theory of Forms and they make up the demons of my setting. So do not attempt to eat the Demon of Delicious Lunch; it will fuck you up and mess with your brain.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 18, 2009, 11:29:11 AM
While my current location prevents me from browsing the forum at a leisurely pace, I'm perfectly able to write so that i did. This is the much-asked-for writeup of the Simulacra - also known as the Quicksilvermen. (By the way, should the name of a race start with a capital letter?)
So, what do you want to hear about next?  

 Simulacra - the Silver Shadows
Simulacra (sing: simulacrum) are unlike any other race - in fact, they are quite unlike anything the world has ever seen. Also known as quicksilvermen and mirrormen, they as rare as they are alien, Only a few hundred exist in every city and even fewer live beyond; they are drawn to humans like moths to a flame although they don't have much in common beyond the shape of the shadow they cast. Their minds might be considered similar as well, but their thoughts and ideas are as fleeting as the Simulacra themselves, moving from thought to thought with a pace even the most absent-minded human can hardly match.

Their Silvery Flesh
Their anatomy is the greatest mystery of them all, largely as they seem to have none. Their entire body is composed of the same material: a substance not unlike a mirror-like mercury. They have no organs, neither heart, lungs, nor brain, and their faces are blank slates with no discernible features. In fact, they lack features to such a degree that individual Simulacra are completely alike unless you actually bother to talk to them.  
Their bodies are sculpted to appear like an athletic human of average height (they are all equally tall), with a clearly human head if you forego the obvious lack of ears, nose and hair. Their feets and hands both have five digits, but lack nails. Movement is not as such restricted by joints, often adding an uncanny fluid quality to their movements, but most Simulacra seem to restrict their movements subconsciously to those they observe while walking amongst humans.
 
Upon death, their bodies collapse into a puddle of their strange flesh and will start boiling away until there is nothing left. It is theorised that their bodies are not of a solid nature and contain several  cavities but it has been hard to verify this. They do need sustenance to survive, living off the same foodstuffs as other living creatures. They care less about accidental ingestion of bones, eyes and other things not thoroughly enjoyed by all members of humanity, and absorb their food through their face leaving nothing behind. They produce no excrement as far as anyone is aware. Although not capable of taste, they do have an uncanny preference for still-living foods. Some are also very particular about what texture and consistency their meals should have. Something that also bears mentioning is that the mirrormen have no gender (their bodies are androgynous with no visible gender characteristics) and do not reproduce in any known way.

The Invisible Mind
Just like their bodies seem to mimic the human body in many ways so does their mind seem to have many similarities to that of the average member of mankind. As said before they have no cognitive organs (or any other kind of organ for that matter), yet they seem perfectly capable of thinking although the arcane process that allows this is beyond the ken of today's anatomists and psychologists.
Their thought processes are pretty standard although they do have some of the same fluid characteristics that govern their bodily substance. They are swift to change their minds about pretty much anything and, barring a few basic principles integral to the identity, they are as quick to adopt an advanced ideology as they are to drop it again. Their mind often wanders, and many perceive them as absent-minded daydreamers. That being said, they do in fact not need to sleep and therefore can't dream (although some joke that they sleep most of the time anyway).
 
They are perfectly capable of emotion, and are often more prone to sudden mood changes than most humans, and it often shows as ripples spreading across their skin. Their voices are eerie to say the least, possessing an ethereal quality that makes it near impossible to place their point of origin as they do not seem to emit so much from a mouth or other orifice as from the entirety of the Simulacrum. It is also fairly monotonous, making their displays of emotion sound strangely inhuman.
They have a basic sense of hearing and touch, no real sense of smell or taste, and a sense of sight that deserves special mention. They have no eyes and do in fact seem to have no sense of sight at all, yet they seem to know perfectly well where everything is as long as it is somewhere within what would be the corresponding line of sight for a human. They do not perceive the item itself, but rather perceive what it is. So if they were watching a painting they would be able to inform you that it was a painting, but they would at no point be able to actually see the painting. If prompted they could tell you what the most common color on the painting was or any other similar fact like that, but they can't perceive the piece of art as anything beyond its definition; they perceive the idea of the painting, not the painting itself.
The Simulacra do not seem to operate with any sense of light, darkness, or shadows as these things are simply not visible to them. Explaining the concept to them would be somewhat like describing the color green to a blind man.

Bonding and Immateriality
While they are capable of holding their fluid bodies together under most circumstances through what must be assumed is sheer force of will, interacting with the solid world is another story entirely. Their near-fluid hands slip on most objects, walking is a definite challenge to their sense of balance, and buffering winds (not to mention the dreaded touch of rain) wears away at their exposed bodies. Also, their bodies are terribly weird, and peasants might not be all that understanding if one of the Simulacra showed up in their town square. So clothes are not just a comfortable aid for the quicksilvermen; they are a necessity.
 
When donning clothes, the Simulacrum does not so much wear it on top of his body as he makes the clothing a part of himself in a process known as the Bonding. Gloves lend the Simulacrum solid hands to touch and lift with, while boots yield stable footing, and jackets protect from the weather.  
Clothes also serve as the primary way to distinguish between different Simulacra as they build their outer identity around their clothes and, most importantly, their masks. Most Simulacra don masks at some point in their lives, both to hide their ancestry and to create a "face" for themselves by painting or otherwise marking the mask as their own.        
 
Origins of the Unborn
Where they come from is as big a mystery to us as it is to themselves. Individual Simulacra often describe their first memory as emerging from a particularly vivid daydream only to find themselves in a strange new world. This birth, the Emergence, sees the Simulacrum off with a basic knowledge of one or more languages along with a very basic understanding of the world. Psychologists often liken these emergent Simulacra to amnesiac patients. Gradually they will generate an identity for themselves and at some point when they have become very old it is theorised that they will forget themselves (the Oblivion), starting the process all over again. No one is quite sure how many years pass between each new Emergence.

Although they are hardy creatures, death by more violent means does occasionally happen. At this point their consciousness leaves the body, collapsing the non-viscous liquid into a small puddle at which point it evaporates. Simulacra believe that the silvery fluids end up in the ocean, at which point the thing they fear the most will happen: the Dissolution. For this very reason, Simulacra have a racial phobia of water and, to a lesser degree, large pools of other liquids. It should be noted that submerging them in water doesn't hurt them much more than strong winds, yet causes extreme panic and thus possibly makes them go into the Oblivion.  
How the odd creatures came to be is still unknown. Some believe they were engineered by thymic scientists. Others that they come from a world beyond our own. Demonologists tend to believe that they are spontaneously manifested Abstracts with some connection to creativity, while the superstitious who live by the sea gather them to be the living reflections of sailors who have washed ashore. It is quite possible we'll never know the truth.

Brotherhoods of Loners
Simulacra are fierce defenders of their individuality and personal freedom and are not prone to group together with other Simulacra as this would almost invariably lead to major disagreements considering that a single Simulacrum can hardly agree with himself. Even if they wanted to group together there is the problem with actually finding each other. That being said, there are a few groupings of Simulacra worth taking notice of, with the Escapists being the most important of them all.
The Escapists are a monastic order that believes in the Focus; the stillness of mind and absolute attention that so eludes the rest of their kin. To achieve this they expulse the inherent dynamic energy of their minds and settles it in their bodies instead, making their bodies everchanging and chaotic. Their philosophies center around how they are real while the rest of the world belongs to the Fiction and therefore can't hurt them.
Their bodies bends itself around physical objects to this end, and they eschew the use of clothes that their common kin put so much faith in. Watching the body of an Escapist wrap itself around the falling rain without ever touching it is a magnificent sight.          


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 18, 2009, 11:42:21 AM
Some very short entries i wrote:

Bestiary: Volume I

Angler Toad
Native to the swamps of Khiere, the large Angler Toads dwells beneath the murky waters extending but a single brown appendage above the surface. At night, the end of this bony appendage, a translucent flesh sac, glows with a soft yellow-white light. From a distance the light resembles a glowing mote of light, attracting prey of all sorts. When this happens the Angler Toad simply opens its oversized mouth and swallows the creature whole (or tears it apart if it's too large). Khierians quickly learned to avoid the mysterious swamplights, nicknamed Will o' Wisps, and thus limits the diet of the Angler Toad to dumb animals and ignorant travellers. The glowing stalk emerges from the front of their head, and their maws are notoriously tooth-filled and powerful. It is a somewhat dumb and lazy animal, and won't give chase in most cases, especially not when it has recently fed.

Teleophage
The most dreaded predator of the ruins of ancient Setch, this creature was probably spawned in a failed Aleatomancy experiment, although it is possibly that it is just a biproduct of the general destruction that befell the country. Teleophages are near-immaterial mistlike creatures who drift around until they encounter sentient prey at which point the touch of their misty tentacles will rob their prey of possible outcomes of the future. Since they prefer the taste of good outcomes, victims are often stuck with the bad ones, meaning that anyone touched by a Teleophage will be beset by what we would call very, very bad luck for up to a day. Suffice to say, few survive an encounter with a teleophage as they end their lives in tragic, if not entirely unexpected, accidents. Teleophages are accompanied by an area of low temperature  

I think the Teleophage might be one of my favorite creations.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: LordVreeg on July 18, 2009, 12:35:47 PM
The Teleophage is indeed a terror.  
Now, would a victim of teleophage need to have have magic of good fortune cast on them?  Will this open up more possibilities in their future?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Ghostman on July 18, 2009, 01:15:05 PM
The "sight" is by far the most interesting quality of a simulacrum. Very good thinking there! I also like the mystery of their births & deaths.

Your posts seem to suffer from the great wall of text syndrome. Some extra linebreaks between paragraphs would make them much easier to read.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Steerpike on July 18, 2009, 02:30:31 PM
One of your qicksilvermen and my glassmen should have a duel to settle who's the weirdest semi-solid elemental race.

Seriously, I love them, especially their very Platonic sight.  So, they can discern dimensions, right, just not light?  Like, if they were standing next to a long table, they'd have an idea about how long it was?  If so, how refined is this sense?  Could they perceive textures visually?

You do, by the way, use the word "terrible" tiwce in the third sentence of your "Bonding and Immateriality" section; just thought you should know.

Teleophages are great, almost like something from Dr. Who somehow.  I like the idea of it feeding on something as abstract as positive outcomes (such a strange idea... what would a teleophage make of a "blessing in disguise," I wonder? Sweet & sour?); gives them a sort of quantum vibe.  What they really remind me of is all those "demons" invented by 18th century philosophers to create analogies, particularly Maxwell's Demon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxwell%27s_Demon).  Good work... and I'm also curious about Vreeg's question.  Do "good outcomes" exist almost like a quantity, like luck, or are specific good outcomes along a deterministic future being devoured?  If so, can magic either "restore" those eaten outcomes, or could it create new ones?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 19, 2009, 02:54:52 PM
@Ghostman: I do dread the Wall of Text myself, so I'd hate for my own posts to suffer under that most horrible curse... Is it easier on the eyes now or should i add some text-free lines to separate the paragraphs even further? And glad you like the Simulacra (or parts of them anyway).
I also edited the "terrible" parts
@Vreeg: Aleatomancy/luck magic is still an idea in its infancy. My current idea is that Setch started experimenting with it after they lost a war against Throne and as always their experiments went horribly wrong. Now most of the population has died in unlikely accidents, and leaves a cursed country of bad luck. Using Aleatomancy to boost your own luck would be a good way to survive a Teleophage attack, but if you can manage to be extremely careful you might survive until the effect wears off.
Free Will is generally the rule in my setting, so everything comes down to choice. So each choice leads to a specific outcome, so they are in theory quantifiable. In theory. Teleophages manipulate luck and other strange unknown laws of the universe that makes it more likely for you to make a bad choice. (Think Oedipus, even though he knew his fate, and had free will, he could not avoid the eventual conclusion. Not to say that there is only one end in this case; an accident can take many shapes.)
I have always liked those philosophical demons. Especially LaPlace's Demon. Since i decided to implement demons i have sought a way to implement him. Hmm, maybe he could be the Abstract of Omniscience? Perhaps part of a small class of powerful Abstracts known as the Incomprenhensibles...
As for Maxwell's, I also have a magical item in the works called the Maximum Well that separates water into icy cold and boiling hot water.
Yes, I'm gradually moving my way through every philosophical concept : P
@Steerpike: I did expect this to be something up your alley, and i had already noticed the similarity to your glassmen to my great dismay as i commented on in your Xell thread. ^^
Anyway, praise from you concerning obscure creations such as these is high praise indeed so thank you very much.
Their Platonic sight (let's just call it that for now) doesn't handicap them, and they are capable of placing the "ideas" they see in space and time. They can't see textures, but they might know that a table has a specific named texture (e.g. smooth).


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Steerpike on July 19, 2009, 03:17:24 PM
Yeah I noticed the philosophical influences about when Plato started to seep into the world in a big way.  I love philosophy (not that I know a ton about it), so that's a good thing so far as I'm concerned.  And Laplace's demon is great... I assume you've read the excellent Dresden Codak (http://dresdencodak.com/2009/02/16/exorcising-laplaces-demon/) strip featuring the demon.

The Dune universe has a pretty interesting take on determinism.  Precogs can use causal determinism to see the future exactly like Laplce's demon can, but can't see past the choices of other precogs, which register as gaps or voids in the future.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Ghostman on July 19, 2009, 04:09:21 PM
The text seems more readable now, but I think empty lines between paragraphs works best for content viewed via a web browser.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 19, 2009, 05:45:52 PM
Yeah, I'm also but an amateur philosopher although i did have a bit of it in school for a year or so. Plenty of interesting ideas in there :)
And Dresden Codak is awesome. I love the Dungeons & Discourse episodes. I might actually have drawn some subconscious inspiration from them with the Empirimancers and my Aleatomancy...
From the Dune book i only read one (the big one), where the main character becomes what i assume is a precog and starts analyzing all possible paths. I have considered having something similar but I'm not sure whether they'll end up being included...
What do you think i should write about next?



Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 19, 2009, 05:49:19 PM
@Ghostman: added your spaces; would it be easier to read if I used more headings? So each paragraph would detail a couple of details only?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Ghostman on July 20, 2009, 04:58:28 AM
The spaces certainly help. I don't think there's any need for more headings.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 23, 2009, 07:45:55 AM
I have done something setting-horrible. As of now, the people dealing with resonance technology are no longer known as Choirs and are probably facing a remaking. These unhinted at preternatural singers are the new Choirs.
Since i know zero about music and singing i might need some aid on doing this properly. I could use the help of some of our resident musicians.
Anyway, i hope you enjoy them an revel in the unrealized power of sound. (seriously, you can do a scary amount of different things with it).

 the high Choirs
During the 600th century P.B., there was great prestige amongst the nobles of Ieshyn in being the patron (or owner) of a talented singer. The fad started with Empress Tenzi Ar Lek, who was said to have a singer who sung notes so high that they made glass shatter. Soon, nobles started ordering the slave houses to hold singing  auditions amongst the slaves, bidding ferociously on those with the best voices while simultaneously trying to keep their rivals out of the game through sabotage and other devious tactics. Musicians were hunted down and pressed into the service of the nobles, who even began elaborate breeding programs and started experimenting with drugs and risky surgical procedures in an attempt to outdo their competition. The Empress herself did not want to be outdone, and it all spiralled out of control and ended with the execution of 301 nobles and their families.
The breeding programs kept on going though, and the singers became more and more talented until they progressed into the field of the unnatural. Although they sung with the most beautiful voices the world had ever known, those who hired them thought them to be somewhat uncanny an eerie in how they transcended what was human. The singers were therefore soon discontinued, and were forced to act as choirs to less talented, but more human, singers. The High Choirs were soon found to have other uses though.

Applied Vocals
While the most talented singers before the time of the Choirs could break glass with their voice, the High Choirs were discovered to be able to set up vibrations in objects with their voices that could shatter steel and  splinter wood.
Their preternatural voice control allowed them to copy nearly any conceivable sound and perform extraordinarily well as ventriloquists, and both their ears and voices can hear and create sounds outside the spectrum of normal human hearing. Some of these infrasounds were even found to have strange effects on the human brain, creating feelings of nausea and worse.
Their screams can pierce eardrums and make humans pass out, and with training they can master destructive and constructive interference, amplifying or nullifying sounds. With ultrasonics blasts, they can even produce forceful blasts.

The Past and Present of the Gifted Singer
Following their creation and the discovery of their preternatural powers, all High Choirs were taken in by the empress as her personal slaves. A few returned to work as actual singers, but most were trained for another purpose entirely: war and death. Their unique powers allowed them to move without making a sound, break down anything that stood in their path, and incapacitate or debiliate any enemies that crossed their path. The Choirs soon became feared across the world, as the secret weapon of the southern empire which there was no counter against. The Choirs themselves realized this as well, and argued with the empress for their freedom. At first she refused. But when half of her palace guard was lying broken on the floor she finally agreed.

Many still work for one of the many factions of the Ieshynese civil war in a military capacity, but a lot chose to abandon a life of blood and servitude. Many even made their way to the north, where they take jobs as singers or any odd jobs where their skills are of some use.

The Strain
While the Choirs can obviously take incredibly intense levels of sound, they are still only human. When they attempt vocalizing very powerful sounds they suffer the Strain. They are never as prone to damage as those in their vicinity, but they can suffer dizziness, loss of hearing, burst blood vessels, and a temporary loss of voice (not surprisingly the worst fear of a Choir).

To survive the intense sounds they produce, many learn the Meditiation of the Earless, a technique that allows the ear to respond less to sounds. For the most powerful of sounds Choirs prefer to keep their hands free to cover their ears. This, combined with the fact that restrictive clothing and armor interfere with their chest movement and therefore their lungs and voice, make most Strain-weakened Choirs sitting ducks in dangerous situations.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 23, 2009, 10:41:14 AM
Made a new (and better) version of the Gargoyles. This one depends less on strange anachronistic equipment and leaves their past a bit more mysterious which i think i prefer. It makes them far more monstous if you have no idea what kind of monster they were.

Gargoyles
Things, no matter their size, die out when they are forced to live in the shadows of something greater; whether it is greater through numbers, size, or sheer strength. Even an oak can be killed by weeds and vines. For these reasons, the formerly monstrous Gargoyles (also known as halfmen and wierdskins) were not really content with a shadowy existence in the swamps and mountains of the North. But neither did they have the numbers nor the power to return to their former grandeur. So they were left with a single option: to become human themselves.

The Hidden Face
At first glance, the halfmen look human. Even at second glance they appear to be humans. Only if you really go close do you start seeing the differences. The small sewn up scars scattered about their skull were their vestigial eyes were put out and sewn shut. You start noticing how their four-fingered hands lack the stump where the fifth finger should have been, or that their five-fingered hands possess a stump where they should have been none. You start noticing how their skin seems strangely colored or near-transparent in hidden places, how the stumps of vestigial or deformed wings have been filed down or sawed off. You start noticing that the scars you formerly attributed to war or accident are clean and often strangely symmetrical.  Every weirdskin has different deformities, and there are a massive variety of them, but they all possess them. No one even knows anymore which defects are part of their ancestry and which are biproducts of their attempted metamorphosis. Gills, wings, eyes, missing fingers, translucent skin, vestigial limbs, bony outgrowths; anything is possible. Either they were once the most complete beings to grace the earth with the presence, or their metamorphosis has gone horribly wrong.      

The Leashed Mind
Humans are passionate and impulsive beings; the same can't be said of the Gargoyles. Everything they do, every little movement, is premeditated. A blink of the eye; a thought. A breath; a thought. A beat of the heart; a thought. Pain is optional, and so is life. A Gargoyle not masquerading as human is capable of standing perfectly still; no shaking, no nothing. Indeed, they are prone to standing with this eerie statuesque stillness. It's for this very reason that the grotesque and monstrous statues sometimes adorning buildings are called gargoyles, although few are aware of this.
For the Gargoyles there is only cause and effect; every sane action has a set of very concrete reasons in their mind. Of course, with the new amalgam of gargoyle and man, issues have come into existence. Not only does their human blood make them share the visage of their semi-brethren; their perfect calculating and controlled minds have been infected with impulses and formerly incomprehensible emotions. Some revel in the novel sensation. Others fear it. Most choose to suppress it, though, as far as they are capable.
The Gargoyles' control-freak traits ensure that they micromanage their own bodies; they only spend energy and mindpower on the parts of their body actually in use, retaining the others in a dormant state. After feeding they usually focus most of their energy on their digestive system, quickly digesting the nutrients and disposing of the waste products. They can even continue without sleep for prolonged periods of time by letting parts of their mind sleep while the rest remains awake (at some point they have to rest properly though).      

Life of the Half-Monster
The Gargoyles live amongst the humans, having abandoned their own towns and lairs for mankind's cities and capitals. They mingle, rarely staying long enough for anyone to ask questions. Not that people do that often. If someone notices any of the small discrepancies, even if they take extreme care in covering them up, they are usually dismissed as wounds or the result of strange maladies. Only the most learned see the defects and recognize them for what they are; signs.    
Usually they keep together in small enclaves within the city, so they have their small moments of peace and security. They mostly breed with each other, but interbreeding with humans is both possible and encouraged as it preserves the bloodline while continuing the metamorphosis. Very open-minded (or perverted) human partners are let in on their secret, while those who are better off with the lie are kept in the dark. Any eventual children, born alive in fleshy translucent egg sacs, are disguised as well as possible from any unknowing human parents. But the Gargoyles are not beyond kidnapping, or even murder, if it preserves their blood and keeps their secret safe.
The creatures can live for many centuries before they finally die, and since they show fewer signs of aging they tend to move to a different city or neighbourhood whenever it becomes awkward with the general populace.
As far as religion and culture goes, they have none of their own anymore. Sure, they still tell stories of their past. But if they obey the tenets of a culture, it's the culture they live in, and if they pick a faith it is most definitely a human one. Even before they turned to their masquerade project they had few gods as their logical minds saw only folly and lies in such primitive beliefs.

The Alien Past
The Gargoyles lived in isolated communities. They were fairly advanced as their powerful minds allowed them to follow logical trains of thought to their conclusion. They were never especially creative though, and therefore some problems remained out of their reach as they never took the time to consider them. As human culture advanced they soon found that they lost control of areas that had previously been under their domain, and they saw that even if they had made significant advances the humans progressed quicker and into more fields of science and lore than they had ever considered. In short, the lords of the mountains and the swamps had found their superiors. They tried contacting them, but the monstrous creatures were kept at bay by the distrustful humans.

Finally, after becoming more and more isolated and seeing their homes and domains dwindle in size as the humans took the resources over, the Gargoyles started the Alter Movement. The Alters were the first to seek ways to become human. They cut and mutilated themselves, experimented with the blood and flesh of human captives, and did everything in their might to look human. The movement spread, the opposition crushed, and while the first disguises were horrible at best they slowly grew better and better until they could finally wander into a city without being faced by a pitchfork-and-torch-wielding mob of distressed humans. Since then, their histories and the history of the humans have been one and the same.

Gatherings of the Deformed
 Two groups deserve mentioning. The defenders of Gargoyles far and wide are known as Glandrevelers. These warriors have trained in controlling their adrenaline glands, dosing themselves with near-extreme amounts of the stuff throwing them into ferocious battle-rages where their reflexes, speed of thought, and physical strength are near unparalleled. Of course, their judgment and logic suffers somewhat during these hormone-enhanced trances.
The second group are the obligatory radicals, a loose group called the Singulars, made up of the Gargoyles who do not believe in the system of their fathers.  Eschewing the clothing and makeup of their fathers and mothers and scarring all parts clearly human, they return to the wild lands to carve out a niche for themselves. They are extremely antagonistic towards any and all humans, and live off the land. Luckily, there are quite few Singulars.      
 


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: O Senhor Leetz on July 23, 2009, 02:33:38 PM
ok. I like your new gargoyles better, but I'm not too keen on the name, I just think there are way to many connotations and subconscious preconceptions involved with the word. I like halfmen and wierdskins much much more.

I also feel like they would be extremely successful as merchants and economists because of their logical, calculating, and patient minds. they also seem to lack the impulsiveness to make bad business choices or to gamble or risk something. maybe their slowly monopolizing trade in human lands? not for the money but for acceptance?

I was thinking that they would also make excellent artificers of machinists, but they seem to lack the capability to do anything beyond imitate pre-made works.

overall, the new gargoyles (still not sold on the name) seem to mesh much better with your setting.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Steerpike on July 23, 2009, 02:39:00 PM
"The Hidden Face" made me shudder.  Me.  So creepy!


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 23, 2009, 03:01:02 PM
@Leetz: The idea was to take some of the preconceived concepts and change them. But i realize i might have changed the Gargoyles too much for the word to fit nicely anymore. I have myself been a bit apprehensive about using it lately; doesn't fit as neatly as it once did in my mind. I think I'll go with Halfmen instead then; just seems like a more derogatory term rather than something they'd use myself. So I'd like some input on that.
They are not incapable of creativity and invention, it just requries them to actually dedicate their mental energy to it. Which most of them probably see as a waste.  
While they would be good merchants, there are two issues: 1) monopoly on road trade requires numbers and proper organization. They have neither. 2) being a wealthy merchant exposes them to lots of people. They don't like being exposed. That's not to say that there aren't halfmen merchants. Maybe some of them have risen to the ranks of eccentric and isolationist merchant prince.  
@Steerpike: Wow. Just wow. That is just great praise coming from you. Any specific parts that were good? And hope you liked the rest of it as well. :)

Either you didn't feel like it, or perhaps you just didn't notice, but there was an update just before the gargoyles as well. One i would like some feedback on as well if you guys have the time for it. It's actually shorter even though it is new material...
Also, what name should the gargoyles take instead?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 23, 2009, 04:29:38 PM
I'm on a roll today!
This is my take on necromancers and death magic. This is also my way to draw Near-death experiences into my world in some tangible way. I feel like most phenomena deserve to find their way into RPGs. This is quite inspired by Geist by White Wolf made for WoD (surprise).
Anyway, hope you like them. There are no skeletons of zombies, but pretty of death.

 Deathtellers
Although some would claim that nearly dying is about as traumatic as an experience can get, the Deathtellers know better; it's what comes after that should be feared.
Only those who have witnessed death themselves, been on the very verge of crossing the border into oblivion, become Deathtellers. Not that there is any choice involved. Those who have seen the darkness beyond just come back different sometimes. Changed. They look at the old world, but it is not the old world that stares back.

Morbid Visuals
The Deathtellers see the world differently. Where we see life and light everywhere, they see death and disease walk amongst us. They see the dark miasma of tuberculosis lurk in the water of the rookery, the tinge of dementia clutching onto the balding heads of the old men. Every scar, every wound, stands out as if highlighted by some unholy flame within; even the wounds hidden from his sight call out to him, letting him know of their ghostly presence.
Deathtellers are accursed by the Flickers, ephemeral visions that come and go, showing him eerie hallucinations: healthy beings age 60 years in seconds in front of their eyes, turn into rotten or disease-ridden cadavers, or otherwise appear in a more decrepit stage. Buildings and objects (including foods) are also affected by this, turning into ruins or maggot-ridden scraps within the blink of an eye. The hallucinations are not total, blending the dead with the living in a disconcerting mess. Whether these visions are somehow connected to possible future deaths is still an unanswered question.      

Half-life
While notoriously unstable individuals, Deathtellers are often brought in by local law enforcement as they have two important powers when it comes to cadavers. One, they can determine the cause and time of death with eerie precision. Two, by gazing into the eyes of the dead man they can see the final thing he ever saw, captured there forever.  
Deathtellers, despite their profession, dislike being around the dead. They swear they sometimes hear them whisper, and touching a dead person, flesh to flesh, rattles them beyond belief as if they see death itself unveil before them.
Deathtellers do not remember the time spent on the brink of death, but they do dream about it. They can never remember the dreams, but they intuitively know what the nightmares were about when they wake up in the middle of the night, gasping in panic while bathed in cold sweat.

The Plagued Mind
The lives of Deathtellers are close to waking nightmares. Many despair. Being close to death makes you distance yourself from life, and Deathtellers find it difficult to make the connection sometimes; they feel like they walk the world between the living and the dead. Many fall into madness, indeed, if Deathtelling is not a madness already, but few kill themselves. Deathtellers fear returning to that dreadful place that gave them their "gift".
Some come to terms with it though. Sure, they are still paranoid and twitchy as hell. But they can function. The Flickers start merging with reality in their minds until it is as normal as waking in the morning. This obviously makes some of them a little dispassionate and cynical, but really, that's a small price to pay for your near-sanity. They are rather rare, so even though their skills are widely appreciated they are rarely present for all but the most high profile or mysterious of homicides.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: O Senhor Leetz on July 23, 2009, 07:01:24 PM

Cataclysmic Crow


@Leetz: The idea was to take some of the preconceived concepts and change them. But i realize i might have changed the Gargoyles too much for the word to fit nicely anymore. I have myself been a bit apprehensive about using it lately; doesn't fit as neatly as it once did in my mind. I think I'll go with Halfmen instead then; just seems like a more derogatory term rather than something they'd use myself. So I'd like some input on that.
They are not incapable of creativity and invention, it just requries them to actually dedicate their mental energy to it. Which most of them probably see as a waste.  
While they would be good merchants, there are two issues: 1) monopoly on road trade requires numbers and proper organization. They have neither. 2) being a wealthy merchant exposes them to lots of people. They don't like being exposed. That's not to say that there aren't halfmen merchants. Maybe some of them have risen to the ranks of eccentric and isolationist merchant prince.


well maybe they wouldn't man shops and be the face of a business, but secretly invest or manipulate behind the scenes? I'm just thinking that since they wish to be so human and to fit, maybe some see money as the way to acceptance. I'm also not quite understanding how they could want to be human so bad, but also be so shy and averse to interacting around humans - it just kinda seems to contradict itself a bit.

maybe I'm missing something?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 23, 2009, 07:05:55 PM
Well, it's not that they don't want interact with humans. They  just don't want the humans to notice that they are monsters. So when i say they keep to themselves, I just mean that they obviously have to be rather careful if they are individuals with lots of defects. Others, the more human ones, might be able to pass easily as a human most of the time.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: O Senhor Leetz on July 23, 2009, 07:14:38 PM
hmmm. ok ok, so they want to be human, but are a bit self-conscious and are afraid (probably rightfully) that they will be rejected?

i think having a mysterious merchant lord draped in cloaks and linens would be a great character. but yeah, I think I get them a little better.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 24, 2009, 04:34:17 AM
If i post more than one thing in a day, should i put it in the same post?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Tangential on July 26, 2009, 02:46:22 AM
Nah, spread it out.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 26, 2009, 03:42:41 AM
Hmm, i would like some comments on the High Choirs and Deathtellers if anyone is up for it.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: FREAKIN' AWESOME HORSE on July 26, 2009, 05:53:37 PM
Not much to say about the Choirs, but Deathtellers are awesome. I like the flavor, especially some elements such as Flickers which anyone dealing with necromancy in their right mind can't go without. I like how you've made them into detective sorts and also kept it so that death is taboo to them - very interesting opportunities are given here.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: O Senhor Leetz on July 26, 2009, 10:41:49 PM
the Deathtellers are awesome, I don't think you need much more on them.

the Choir's awesome as well, and is something that would fit great in the setting of the meandering Low Tech Science Fiction thread, which you need to post on. i'm serious.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Tangential on July 27, 2009, 12:18:48 AM
Deathtellers, much like Gargoyles seem to be darker then the setting they inhabit. Has it been a conscious choice to convey the 'characters' as darker then the 'scene'?

Do all those who have a near death experience become deathtelles? Have any deathtellers 'broken' their 'curse?'



Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 27, 2009, 07:16:14 AM
@Jaerc: The scene is not completely set in my mind yet, so it's a difficult question to answer right now. Ultimately, i want this setting to mix the dark, the amusing, and the absurd together to a whole. The gargoyles and the deathtellers certainly fall in the first category, but since they only make up pieces of an entire personality the other elements could easily be added.
Not all who have had first-hand experiences with death become Deathtellers and it's unknown why some become it and some do not. It's impossible to become normal again after having contracted the curse. Some do learn, in time, to dampen the Flickers and the nightmares and thus live a fairly ordinary life.

And I'm glad you like the Deathtellers and, to a lesser extent, the High Choirs :)
They are some of my newer ideas, and thus not mentioned in the intro, but I'm quite fond of them. Although you seem to find the High Choirs less interesting, i must say that i have discovered sound to be one of the more interesting and flexible "elements" you can let a fledgling magician gain control over.
If anyone knows some stuff about singing i would love some help implementing different types of voices as Choir "paths" (e.g. soprano, tenor, baritone etc.)


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Tangential on July 27, 2009, 02:04:10 PM
I must confess my feedback is tinged with an inability to grasp the tone and tech-level of the setting. I'll try to be more focused in the future.

Bards are my bread and butter. I'll have a long hard think about the Choirs about them and get back to you.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 28, 2009, 08:28:50 AM
Admittedly, even I, the setting creator, has trouble determining the tone.
Supposedly it is set in a period mirroring the renaissance or the industrial revolution; inventions and sciences abound.

On the other hand, I have a thing for the dystopian; but i do not want to make just another wasteland or dying world. I want the natural world to exist alongside the civilized, with a focus on the dark sides of nature and the primary visuals being mud, snow, moss and rock (mountains and swamps feature heavily in the North).

Civilization-wise I dislike the common nations/borders/intrigue set-up. But I'm not entirely sure what i want instead... Currently I'm going for something city-state like but I'm not sure how they interact. Especially Tatterdemalion and Underport seem a bit hard to connect. I'm having some progress on Union of Steel/Khiere interactions though (that is, the east).

The dystopian/apocalyptic elements would probably manifest primarily in the civilizations and nations. They are falling prey to human strife, contagions, crazed rulers, ideological movements and whatever. The countries are barely holding together, keeping themselves afloat with hopes of a brighter future just around the corner.  

My problem is that i have all these ideas and no way of combining them into one.
So currently i could use some help with how the fall of the Empire came about, how the nations are divided, controlled, and protected, and whether there is a specific style, tone, or theme i should keep particularly in mind.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 28, 2009, 08:56:10 AM
An attempt at writing a short and concise introduction implementing some of the elements i mentioned above. (yes, I'll probaby revamp the entire introduction once again... Might as well get it right)


"
 Broken Verge
The World is dead. Nonsensical wars, odd pandemics, badly timed uprisings, lots of somewhat unnessecary scientific experimentation; they all played their part in the murder. But now a rebirth is in order.
The Renaissance has begun, and civilization is flourishing once again. Or at least as much as it ever did.  Thus the old and tired World, from the snow and moss covered rocks of the frigid Boreal Mountains to the muddy swamplands and black rice fields of the South, once again echoes with the cries and screams emerging from the remaining cities of the world: those mad monuments to life and corruption the humans are so proud of.
But storms are brewing, both of the natural and the metaphorical kind, and while the stormclouds gather overhead, humans gather in secret to discuss war and betrayal like they have always done.
After all, no birth is easy.

The Revolution is Coming!
But it is not simply a rebirth. It is a remaking. The World Exhibition at the Sprawls displays the newest wonders for the world to see! The printing press, the clockwork tree, the perpetual engine and the voltaic vessel; all of these will help remake the world, if not into a better world than at least into a greater one.  
And while the academics have their scientific revolutions, politicians and kings find they have their own battle to fight. There are cries for reform in the streets and radicals are scheming to make old things come to an end while the merchant princes have their own plans for earning money and power. New powers are challenging the old, and grudges are being rekindled while daggers are sharpened.

Nature's Wrath
The World is a harsh and terrible place in many ways. Of course it does possess a certain primal and majestic beauty. That awe-inspiring sense of being in the vicinity of something so vast and so ancient.
But that shouldn't make you any less careful.
But if you for some reason aren't afraid of the weather, which ranges from the relative mildness of a cloudy sky and light rainfall to the absolute horror of being in the a middle of full-fledged Leviathanic lightning storm while on a tiny fishing vessel, or the many dangerous contagions, from the parasitic influence of the Lungtree to the nefarious dominion of the Madness, you should at least fear the creatures that hide in that pesky ubiquitous fog. Remember, not all of Life's creations are as pretty (or small) as man, and only a fraction of them are as mild-mannered.    
Really, it's a wonder we aren't dead already.
"

This doesn't focus so much on themes as the setting itself.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: O Senhor Leetz on July 28, 2009, 09:21:41 AM
ok, this is what I see at least - a semi-anachronistic/semi-steampunk/semi-candlepunk setting with a more modern mind-set as opposed to a medieval mind-set that focuses more on philosophy, weird sciences, and invention than on wizards and swords. am i close?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 28, 2009, 10:00:19 AM
well, they have swords, but yes, the other points were fairly correct. :)
Did the short introduction do anything for you? (or somebody else?)


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 28, 2009, 11:49:53 AM
I felt like doing some lists on minor things in the setting:

 Excerpt from the Pathological Codex (33rd edition)


(http://../../e107_files/public/1248799696_406_FT67468_arborealis.jpg)

Arborrealis
A horrible disease contracted by breathing in the small spores of the Lungtree, Arborealis also known as Sapblood, sees the human body become the incubator and fertiliser for a parasitic plant. When first settled in the lung, it starts drawing nutrients, air, and whatever else it needs from the blood and lung tissue. The patient starts suffering from extreme coughing fits as the individual spores connect themselves through an intricate weave of plantmatter and roots. Soon one of the lungs give out, and the plant starts growing at a faster pace, feeding on the tissue itself. Keeping its host alive enough to seek out new nutrients if possible, the plant soon extends thick vine-like structures. One of them typically pierces the soft flesh of the stomach area, while a second vine forces its way up the windpipe or out of the eyes. At this point the body typically gives out since it can't breathe, but as the vines unfold they become capable of absorbing oxygen themselves and as the plant has adapted the use of the blood network by now it is usually capable of keeping the host cells alive. The half-dead hosts are still partially conscious but rarely capable of meaningful communication or purposeful action. Gradually more and more of the body is taken over by plantmatter and at some point the body invariably collapses, rooting the plant in that location. While still up and walking, the near catatonic human hosts seek out pools of water and rich soil which they either submerge themselves in or dig themselves into. The half-trees are extremely aggressive though, and any disturbance usually sics the furious treeling on the perpetrator which involves plentiful of angry bashing with its almost-wooden arms and potential tearing of fleshy with any sufficiently pointy outgrowths. The trees never grow larger than their host. As they age the treelings grow impressive crowns of blood-red leaves and their skin becomes covered in a network of leafy branches and roots. When the eyes have given way to branches, the hosts start exuding a brown sap called Tear Sap. Tear Sap has many useful qualities and Sapblood victims are often restrained in order to harvest this valuable liquid. You only have to be careful that they down set down roots.  
Only known cure is to inhale a defoliator. This, of course, might provide problems of its own.

[Picture for the following article seems to have been ripped out of the book, leaving a ragged edge]

The Blushing Fever
Thought to be a venereal disease because of its symptoms, this disease actually seems to appear at random with little or no precedent. Only beautiful women seem to suffer this disease though. When it first sets in it appears to be a common fever, the skin hot to the touch, excepting that the face seems to be flushed with blood, blushing continually. Soon ecstatic dreams follow, the patient trashing in her bed with a smile on her flesh. A few days after this symptome appears a schizophrenic incapability to discernb between dream and reality sets in. During the dream symptome phase, biological changes also set in. The body starts physically altering to take on a near-perfect female physical ideal with pure skin and enlarged features. If unrestrained the patient will at first compulsively seek out sexual partners through more traditional channels of seduction and will gradually degress to a more crazed and aggressive approach where any attempts at common seduction are hindered by the fact that speech is limited to meaningless babbling and guttural sounds.
These diseased succubi are embodiments of sex and desire and are sometimes fought over by high-class brothels, but the disease is hard on the system and the patients typically wear out over time, collapsing into a coma. If they wake up again they are typically cured of the disease. But most never wake up. It is also potentially dangerous to bed a sufferer of the Blushing Fever as they have little control over themselves and few, if any, principles of morale keeping them in check.  

 A Small List of Materials both Arcane and Mundane

Wisprock
A type of rock with a distinct greenish tinge, Wisprock is known for its strange quality: it combusts when oxygenated. Burning with a clear near-white flame, Wisprock can burn for up to a year before it wears out. Although extremely difficult, alloys with low amounts of wisprock have been made. These flaming blades are an imposing sight indeed, but become brittle as the Wisprock burns out and are typically significant danger to the wielder as wellas any potential enemy. Mining Wisprock is likewise both difficult and dangerous, but is often found in combination with other metals and rocktypes that act as a buffer.
 
Meatiron
An artificial material made by the thaumaturges of Khiere, this metal is an alloy of fine Union steel and flesh. With some invasive procedures in the outer layer of skin a user can be connected directly to whatever weapon is fashioned out of the stuff. The weapon is no longer wielded; it is an extension of the wielder. Using this propriosensory technology a wearer can feel the exact location of every inch of meatiron blade just as well as he knows where his arm is with eyes closed.

Cantillated materials
The Orchestra can use their craft to bend reality to their will, making any material they handle behave in ways that seem preternatural. They can make magnetic wood, soft iron, brittle lead and whatever else they want. While nothing is forever, not even folds in reality, the enchantments can hold for centuries or even millenia. Cantillated substances are unbelievably expensive though; it takes at least a year for a resonist to cantillate a single short blade properly.

 


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: O Senhor Leetz on July 28, 2009, 12:40:56 PM
for arborrealis, what came first, the idea or the picture? as the picture is fantastic.

meatiron sounds disgusting, and by disgusting, I mean awesome. Would this be more akin to Wolverine or to half-metal, half-flesh abominations? I take it that the cantillated materials are BV's equivalent to magic items? you mentioned changing a materials composition, but what else can the Orchestra do to something to make it useful? impart a burning sensation with a cut or something more flamboyant?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 28, 2009, 01:38:45 PM
Found the picture by random today, so the picture came last :)
Should also be noted that since I'm probably not going to have undead creatures, Sapblood infected are probably as close you'll come to the living dead if you don't count people possessed by Abstracts.
Meatiron is probably most often wolverine-ish unless you get really close, but of course, you could have alloys with different ratios. It's mostly the propriosensory quality you do it for.  
Cantillated are not so much magical items as they are magical materials. You can't so much enchant a magic item through resonance as you can alter the intrinsic qualities of the metal. So you can change atomic structure, heat conductivity, structural strength, color/reflectiveness, specific heat capacity, mass, or anything else like that.
So if you can find a way to make it flaming with those means you can do it :)
Perhaps if you light a fire in the bottom of the hilt, and let the blade have high heat conductivity, and then charge a liquid with strong magnetic powers so it clings to the sword, and then lowers its heat conductivity. So the candle in the bottom would quickly heat up the blade which would quickly turn the magnetic gas into a plasma aka fire.
But then again, making anything like this would take years of repetitive work.
(I'm actually a bit surprised i could come this close to a design for a flaming sword with resonance; I love when your rules surprise yourself ^^)


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Ghostman on July 28, 2009, 02:41:41 PM
The Lungtree is deliciously horrific, easily up to Steerpike levels of ghastliness.

Wisprock is interesting. Is it used as a (expensive due to rarity) replacement for firewood? It'd be quite useful to have a few rocks that can keep your fireplace warm through the whole of winter, especially in cold climes. Another possible use would be lamps: place some pieces of wisprock in a translucent (unflammable) container that can be sealed air-tight when needed.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 28, 2009, 03:00:03 PM
Uh, comparisons to Steerpike. Doesn't get much better around here when it comes to ghastliness ^^ thank you.
Wisprock has many practical uses. You just have to wrap it tightly in some wet leather when storing it. It is very practical for lighting fires obviously, as well as a practical light source. It could be used as in fireplaces, but you'd require some rather large rocks to gain the full benefit. I can easily imagine noble houses having wisprock fireplaces.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Steerpike on July 28, 2009, 09:05:42 PM
Arboreallis is very cool (reminds me of the Saffron Moss from Clockwork Jungle, one of my absolute all-time favorite inventions on these boards); I also love the meatiron.  So gross, so awesome.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: LD on July 29, 2009, 03:14:56 AM
I like the bit on the world exhibition. Will there be a crystal palace perchance?

Wisprock seems interesting.- A more logical explanation for a DnD thunderstone or magical firestarters perhaps. I can see a lot of subsidiary uses for the device.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 29, 2009, 04:04:36 AM
Ah, yes, I knew that it would be similar to the Saffron Moss in many ways, but i tried implementing enough quirks to make Arborrealis its own thing. Hope i succeeded in that :)
While the World Exhibition will be similar to the one in the crystal palace, I'm undecided as to whether an actual crystal palace will be involved. It doesn't really seem to fit the feel and tone as it is a bit too modern. Or what do you think? I was considering a building focussing on iron perhaps.
I like when my creations have subsidiary uses (especially if I haven't thought of them myself), so glad to hear that you find the wisprock useful.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: LD on July 29, 2009, 04:31:11 AM
What about some sort of structure made out of the fleshgrafting? A living structure on which plants dwell. It would symbolize what the denizens of the world see as life and progress while simultaneously bringing to players' minds both the grotesque and decay.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 29, 2009, 05:36:01 AM
I like the sort of hanging gardens feel you are hinting at :)
Although I'm not sure a building out of meatiron is useful in any way; plants wouldn't really be able to live off it.
Wiring your nerves up a living building would probably be sorta scary though.  


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: LD on July 30, 2009, 07:12:52 AM
You could always toss some dirt on top of the meatiron.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 30, 2009, 07:16:57 AM
But there is not much reason for the meatiron then, is there? :)
But there is probably some meatiron on display somewhere in the Exhibition.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: O Senhor Leetz on July 30, 2009, 07:00:22 PM
what about giant meatiron "walkers" as monsters? like early meatiron experiments gone awesome, errr wrong.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 31, 2009, 05:16:20 AM
I'm visualising a walker-like construct with a human in the middle. Originally he was in control of the meatiron construct, but the size of the thing overloaded his senses and he now rests drooling in his seat, staring at the world with blank and uncaring eyes while the construct carries out  his nonsensical orders. Or some such. Hmm, would require the ability to move parts of the construct. Which again would require muscles or some alternative to that. Meatiron springs? Or just loads of organic muscle tied to the ghastly construct.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Ghostman on July 31, 2009, 06:14:07 AM
So it's like the concept of power armor, or a small mech, given a twist?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 31, 2009, 06:52:47 AM
Well, I'm not sure, it was just based on what Leetz suggested :)
I'll think about it some more.
Could anyone look over the new introduction i posted on the previous page?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: LD on July 31, 2009, 09:09:05 AM
The introduction is well written- but what mysteries and ancient secrets are left to be revealed?

Perhaps a section on some of the mysteries could work.

...It may just be me... and it may just be that I have only read your setting in chunks (but read about 3/4ths of it), but the introduction does not seem to directly mesh with the setting's "feel".

It is a good introduction, but the world itself does not seem mysterious enough or broken enough to really warrant the introduction.

Certainly the world has strange things such as they Moayrash and the strange monks, but that is strange to US the reader; what is strange to the people of the world to discover?

But Note: Motassu does a very good job of conveying what I think is the feel you were going for- of a broken world, of a bit strangeness, of people struggling against the end.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 31, 2009, 12:39:56 PM
Hmm, i think you went to my old intro. I did a rewriting:

Broken Verge
The World is dead. Nonsensical wars, odd pandemics, badly timed uprisings, lots of somewhat unnessecary scientific experimentation; they all played their part in the murder. But now a rebirth is in order.
The Renaissance has begun, and civilization is flourishing once again. Or at least as much as it ever did. Thus the old and tired World, from the snow and moss covered rocks of the frigid Boreal Mountains to the muddy swamplands and black rice fields of the South, once again echoes with the cries and screams emerging from the remaining cities of the world: those mad monuments to life and corruption the humans are so proud of.
But storms are brewing, both of the natural and the metaphorical kind, and while the stormclouds gather overhead, humans gather in secret to discuss war and betrayal like they have always done.
After all, no birth is easy.

The Revolution is Coming!
But it is not simply a rebirth. It is a remaking. The World Exhibition at the Sprawls displays the newest wonders for the world to see! The printing press, the clockwork tree, the perpetual engine and the voltaic vessel; all of these will help remake the world, if not into a better world than at least into a greater one.
And while the academics have their scientific revolutions, politicians and kings find they have their own battle to fight. There are cries for reform in the streets and radicals are scheming to make old things come to an end while the merchant princes have their own plans for earning money and power. New powers are challenging the old, and grudges are being rekindled while daggers are sharpened.

Nature's Wrath
The World is a harsh and terrible place in many ways. Of course it does possess a certain primal and majestic beauty. That awe-inspiring sense of being in the vicinity of something so vast and so ancient.
But that shouldn't make you any less careful.
But if you for some reason aren't afraid of the weather, which ranges from the relative mildness of a cloudy sky and light rainfall to the absolute horror of being in the a middle of full-fledged Leviathanic lightning storm while on a tiny fishing vessel, or the many dangerous contagions, from the parasitic influence of the Lungtree to the nefarious dominion of the Madness, you should at least fear the creatures that hide in that pesky ubiquitous fog. Remember, not all of Life's creations are as pretty (or small) as man, and only a fraction of them are as mild-mannered.
Really, it's a wonder we aren't dead already.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 31, 2009, 12:58:11 PM
Another disease for you, my friends
 
Second Excerptfrom the Pathological Codex

Hulwen's Disease
A strange disease, Hulwen's Disease actually improves on the body instead of breaking it down. The only issue is that it eventually improves it too much. Hulwen's slowly and gradually makes the body immune to the things that can harm it. Plagues and contagions seem to avoid the diseased, and even if they do reach him they are quickly put down by the over-effective immune system. Eventually the body starts becoming immune to drugs and poisons as well, including alcohol, opiates and various other anaesthetics. The flesh itself gains powerful restorative properties, mending in days instead of weeks. After a while, typically a few years, sometimes more, Hulwen's enters its final stage. Over a period of a week or so the body starts becoming immune to itself. First emotions start draining out of the person, making him apathic and catatonic. Then the nerves start becoming immune to their own signals, which after a short while leads to complete shutdown of the nervous system. A third step is sometimes involved if the body if the body takes a long time dying where the body starts breaking down its own cells leaving a sort of pus-like materia around the body during autopsies.
How the disease spreads is unknown, but it spreads very slowly and only under the most auspicious of circumstances. The incubation period before the final stage of the disease sets in is, as noted, also actually of a partially beneficient nature.

The disease was named after King Hulwen the Unbreakable who ruled Setch during one of the great plagues; he walked unharmed amongst the sick and survived assassinations with nary a wound only to be found dead on his 30 year birthday.
 

Note: SDIA

Yes, effectively this is reverse AIDS


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Steerpike on July 31, 2009, 04:43:08 PM
I think Rasputin must have had a terminal case.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 31, 2009, 05:27:17 PM
Hehe, I wouldn't be surprised if he did.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on July 31, 2009, 06:11:51 PM
The Electrical Mummies and the Secrets of Power
The cities of the Remnant are powered by the energy coursing through their Voltaic rails, yet few dare ask where the power comes from. Nothing comes from nothing and thus everything can be traced back to its source; and the power rails lead straight to the electrical mummies. The dark secret (well, one of them) of the Remnant government, true power isn't drawn from some simple machine; only life can bring it into existence.
In this case they find their source in the Maruts; humans whose flame of life burns with an impressive, sometimes dangerous, glow; a glow which sometimes makes its way to the outside world. The government, of course, accentuates the fact that they are dangerous when they drag the children screaming from their parents. It is all for the greater good; to protect themselves and their fellow citizens from the dangers of the lightning children.

The kidnapped boys are promptly drugged into subconscious and linked up to various pieces of obscure machinery; wires, feeding tubes, more wires, other tubes and what else can be fitted onto their poor bodies and might prove useful. When these procedures are done they are put into a small iron chest; a veritable sarcophagus. Of course, most know it better as one of the wondrous Voltaic Receptacles.
Each Receptacle is overlooked by caretakers; no one not schooled in their secret are let near. They are fed a nutritious sludge through one tube, while two drugs are inserted via another tube: one induces a coma, while the other gives rise to anger, rage and wrath (which more than double the voltaic output!).
 The electrical mummies can live like that for years, possibly even longer than they would have lived if they hadn't been caged and mummified. Of course, what they do only barely qualifies as living.

Once in a while though the Receptacle breaks, and rising from the ashes and awakened from its slumber comes the electrical mummy. They are physically weak, their legs and arms atrophied, but they are powered by pure life and guided by even purer rage. Their touch can jolt the life out of a grown man, and they can sling bolts of lightning across rooms. They are extremely dangerous and extremely hostile to anyone and anything. If the mummy ever escapes its prison, it's best just to put it out of its misery.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: LD on July 31, 2009, 09:20:29 PM
Crow- okay, the introduction you posted just above here makes more sense thematically. When you said previous page I could not find the revised introduction on page 3 of this thread so I looked at the first post.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on August 01, 2009, 07:01:36 AM
Okay, I'm using the revised intro for now then


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: O Senhor Leetz on August 01, 2009, 08:37:35 AM
ok, I like the idea of the electrical mummies, but I have a few questions. do these "lightning children" (i like that name alot) exist in all lands, or only in the cities of the Remnant? if so why? are there a lot of these children? if so, I'm imagining the human power plants from the Matrix films, which would also be neat.

Have you thought about names besides electrical mummies? I think, like "gargoyles", "mummies" carry too much connotations with them and is hard for people to re-imagine them. maybe something like volt-ghouls? arc-wights? animators? just a thought.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on August 02, 2009, 04:30:41 AM
They exist everywhere. It is a completely random human mutation. In other countries they are not hunted down as fervently, but if their powers are discovered they might face some distrust/fear or, at the very worst, a pitchfork-wielding mob. The Remnant also has bounty hunters on their tails even when outside their jurisdiction; of course their agenda is cloaked behind speeches about national and international security. Most commonly, though, Maruts die early on, their energies causing them to be consumed by spontaneous combustion. A few learn to control it, or at least avert openly displaying it and thus manage to remain fairly anonymous.
Not all of them are children, it should be said; they come in all types and ages.
And i really like Mummy. I completely understand your point with the gargoyles (I'm going to change their name at some point) but I can't see it being a case with the mummies, especially not with an adjective like electrical on them. The process of stuffing them inside Voltaic receptacles is meant to be a parallel to mummification and sarcophagi. I could possibly call them Voltaic Mummies instead, if that is better? Or some hyphenated version.
Anyway, ghoul is also heavily connotated. Wights might not be, but I don't like that word particularly for this.  


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on August 03, 2009, 06:18:34 AM
Festivals of Broken Verge
In accordance with the current theme of the Fortnight Club here are some of the possible festivals i can come up with. Of course we also have Motassu which is more or less one giant festival most of the time.

Night of the Masque
Held on the day during spring where night is as long as day (the first equilox of the year), the Night of the Masque takes place in the streets of Khiere. Exactly when or how this tradition originated is lost to time, but it is rumored that it is based on the myth of old king Hruma who walked the streets amongst the poor wearing a disguise. Or perhaps it's even older, with the customary masks being symbols of the spirits of the wood which are brought to life for this single evening. It is a carnival without peers, well except maybe in Motassu, where colorful banners are draped across the streets and musicians are found on every street corner. Only the sick, old and crippled are allowed to stay indoors on this night; everybody else takes to the street. Rich and poor alike wear one of two colored masks; one for women one for men. Jewelry is frowned upon on this night of disguises, where all layers of society mingle and eventually mix after the alcohol starts taking over. Noblewomen are bedded by blacksmiths while their husbands gamble with farmhands and wives sleep with strangers.There are only three rules: do not take off your mask, do not go indoors, and forgive what happens in the Night. It is customary to continue until dawn.  

The Waiting Days
Practiced in most northern kingdoms, the Waiting Days are the five last days of the year. It is the time where you wait for the coming of the next year; where you wonder whether it'll ever come. As such this is a period of prayer, penitence, and temperance. These days are considered to be unlucky; a time for divine punishments to be delivered for the crimes and sins of the past year. Many stay indoors during this period, fasting and resting until the often extravagant party held on the First Day. These doors are part of no month and no cycle; they are just the Waiting Days. If mentioning a specific day is necessary they refer to the 1st Wait, the 2nd Wait and so.

All-Lights Eve
An old imperial tradition, it is still observed in the Remnant and the cities of the far north; even a few Union cities still take to it. It takes place on the Winter Solstice, when the night is longest. Here, it is customary to light every candle and every lantern. Some build their own lanterns, lining the streets and windows with creations of flame and colored paper. It is customary for families to get together on this day of light and sometimes even give each other presents, although many young people take to the lighted streets and taverns instead. The festivity was founded and started by the ancient emperor known as the Lightbringer who thought it as a symbol to how humanity and civilization would outshine even the darkest hours of the world.        

Ukuut-mal*
Taking place once every 4 years, on a day specified further by the Whisperling astronomers, this day is a day of freedom where the Evil sleeps. Living in constant fear and respect of the Evil, this day lifts the heavy chains of oppression from the shoulders of all whispermen for a single day. Naturally, the gray and silent streets erupt with celebrations, joyous noise, and even color! For this day alone the tailors have dyed scarfs and vests and other accessories and every family keeps a small store of these colorful  items if they can afford them at the bottom of a chest for this occassion alone. The priests even concoct a special brew for the day; Laloq - the White Blood, a spiced and fermented goat's milk. So from midnight to midnight the festival rages through the streets. People yell at each other and laugh loudly, drink themselves drunk on Laloq, and sing and play until the night is darkest. In these last years they have even taken to hire foreign musicians of great renown for large amounts of coin or gold.    

 *It should be noted that the Whispermen are of an extremely somber and modest nature. Their religion counts raised voices, music, and powerful colors as sins that attract the attention of the Evil. As such, Ukuut-mal is very different from their daily life.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on August 03, 2009, 08:15:35 AM
The Exhibition
A project commenced by the eccentric architect Lazlo Euribiyem the Exhibition is one of the most prominent buildings in the Sprawls. A monolithic edifice of steel, unparalleled in all of the known world, the building covers 5 separate wings and 5 floors as well as the main-hall which is covered by an immense stained-glass dome.
The sides of the building are constructed in tiers, each tier a small garden of exotic plants and trees which hang out over the walls as well as ornate bronze sculptures, making the building look like half plant half metal from afar.

The construction is labyrinthine with secret rooms, service corridors, hard-to-get-to exhibitions and randomly placed staircases. People are unsure why Lazlo chose a design like this; some speculate that the Exhibition was a model of life and what it could be and therefore should be equally chaotic and unpredictable.  

Clockwork Tree
The entry hall is the home of the clockwork tree; the symbol of the Exhibition. An immensely complex construction undertaken by Lazlo's associate, the clockwork engineer Kerem Mall, The tree is 10 meters tall and composed of gears, tubes, meatiron, and millions of intricately made mechanic leaf replicas few would  be able to discern from the real thing.
 A clocklike mechanism in the midst of the trunk tracks the cycle of the seasons; The leaves are alive in summer, turn red and yellow in autumn, turn colorless and crumble in winter and spring to life shining with a near inner light in spring (due to a soft voltaic light source in each leaf). The color change is controlled through dyes pumped through tubes and strings.

The tree has a root system which keeps it sustained in some way. Only Kerem knows how.  Mall constructed the tree largely out of meatiron so that if this near perfect mechanical replica of a lifeform became truly alive it would be able to sense its own existence. It was his personal quest to construct life, a quest he continued during the rest of his life; some even say that he was later succesful.
Other than being aesthetically pleasing, serving as a landmark, proving philosophical points, and tracking the seasons the tree has no inherent purpose.        

The Purpose
The Exhibition was meant to be the very epitome of what humans and inhumans could achieve; a monument to knowledge, arts, science, and progress. While its primary function is, as the name suggests, as an exhibition and museum of history, arts, and science it also serves as an important learning center.
In various rooms are found lecture halls and laboratories where students come every day to study under masters who spend most of their lives within the many walls of the great building. In the Catacomb is the second-largest library of the North, as well as the mythical tomb of Lazlo himself.

Inventors and artists who come to the Exhibition are free to set up shop in one of the five wings as soon as their work has been judged by one of the custodians; they are aware of differences in taste but do not tolerate neither scams or botch jobs. Only the main hall is under the direct control of the Arch-Custodian, although a tight leash is kept on a few important rooms in each of the wings. Accordingly, the five wings are mostly a mess of small stands and booths making the Exhibition a veritable market of ingenuity and creativity.
Those of little renown are forced to settle in the back of the wings, where they must hope for a better place to open up as booths move out or attract the attention of the Arch-Custodian so he'll give them a spot in the main hall.  


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: O Senhor Leetz on August 03, 2009, 02:24:04 PM
the festivals are interesting and are great fluff, I like things like that that really aren't essential to the setting, but add lots of depth and umph.

Exhibition = World Fair? I've been lazy the last few days between getting teeth yanked and being on some sweet painkillers, but where exactly is the Exhibition? and is there some key city within this setting?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on August 03, 2009, 02:36:23 PM
Sounds painful...
And yes, the Exhibition = world fair.
The Sprawls is the new name of Tatterdemalion. And key city/country... The Sprawls is the center of the new world and the Remnant is the center of the old world. The others play more secondary roles. The Whisperlands are the religious ones, the Confederacy provide food and a western-like atmosphere, the Union is a big player in mining and trading, Khiere are the old-fashioned and sinister. Setch is the war monument/wasteland. Motassu and Underport are yet to find their place in the world. The South is the "mystery land" and a possible antagonist.
The leaders of the Sprawls are not major players in national politics but serve as their city serves as the place where the corners of the world converge and meet.
Major national conflicts would include Remnant Reunificationists vs. other lands, the Union vs. Khiere, the North vs. the South, and, obviously, New vs. Old. And then we have the monsters on top. ^^  


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: O Senhor Leetz on August 03, 2009, 02:38:46 PM
hmmm monsters. gosh, I haven't even started on monsters in Arga yet...sigh, more work...

and thanks, that makes everything clearer.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on August 03, 2009, 03:04:14 PM
Anything else you could point out?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: O Senhor Leetz on August 03, 2009, 04:00:35 PM
well with the festivals and the exhibition there really isn't much to say, they're excellent fluff and go well with the settings vibe.

maybe start fleshing out some conflicts within the world? both political and philosophical?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on August 03, 2009, 04:14:08 PM
I'll consider doing something on the eastern nations and the Mud Wars, or perhaps a bit on the corsairs.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: LD on August 03, 2009, 10:47:59 PM

CC

The construction is labyrinthine with secret rooms, service corridors, hard-to-get-to exhibitions and randomly placed staircases. People are unsure why Lazlo chose a design like this; some speculate that the Exhibition was a model of life and what it could be and therefore should be equally chaotic and unpredictable.

So... Like pretty much every major convention center. :)


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: LD on August 04, 2009, 11:18:30 AM

Quote

A clocklike mechanism in the midst of the trunk tracks the cycle of the seasons; The leaves are alive in summer, turn red and yellow in autumn, turn colorless and crumble in winter and spring to life shining with a near inner light in spring (due to a soft voltaic light source in each leaf). The color change is controlled through dyes pumped through tubes and strings.


I like the tree. The writing describing the exhibition center also felt very appropriate- very flowing with a nice ethereal feeling.

The day of Ukuut-Mal is also very inventive- very thoughtful to give a somber race a special day when they can "act up" and it was very nice how you did it in such a respectful manner as well.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on August 05, 2009, 03:51:53 AM
Glad you like it LD :)
Thought you might like the Exhibition since you remarked on it before. Any changes you'd make as in respect to it being a parallel to the actual World Fair in the crystal palace?
And Ukuut-mal was probably also my favorite of the four. I have another festival idea for the Sprawls which i might post soon; a game of sorts.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: LD on August 05, 2009, 07:02:13 AM
Well, the actual exhibition changed location every few years to allow many countries to show off. But your exhibition works well as rooted in one space.

Perhaps in the history you could remark about an older world fair building design that burned down. (as did the crystal palace) and the current one was built on the ruins to be bigger, stronger, better, with more safety features?

Re: the Sprawls... An aztec bloodsport of some sort?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on August 07, 2009, 12:56:56 PM
Hmm, yeah, i know about the fire, but I'd rather have Lazlo's creation be something new and never-seen-before.

The Sprawls is merely the new name for Tatterdemalion. But I'm going to make a somewhat brutal yearly sporting event for them.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on September 01, 2009, 06:08:52 AM
I hope I don't offend any of our resident conlangers :D Anyway, this is the widely spread "Common" or "Basic" of my setting, although only half as useful (hopefully cooler and more memorable though).

 Gebrokken
The language of sailors and peddlers everywhere, Gebrokken is sometimes referred to as the universal language (although more often it is called the ugliest). A hodge podge of words from different languages made in such a way that it is recognizable to all from the North, Gebrokken is easy to learn and very uncomplicated making it perfect as a traveller's tongue; a language which everybody understands and can get by with.

Created by the well-known linguist (well, well-known within academic circles at least) Petrov Gebbe in an attempt to remove the language barriers and make the world a better place, he taught it far and wide in his travels only to see it completely devolved when he came full-circle. The word Gebrokken means "a whole consisting of parts", but in true Gebrokken tradition it has devolved to be a synonym for numerous other things: broken, in slices, and unpleasing being a few of them. Petrov abandoned his project, ashamed, and the language was left to spread and deteriorate by itself.  

Gebrokken is notorious for having next to no grammar; people often just state a few words and the other person is then largely supposed to guess the correct context heavily aided by the speaker's dramatic gesturing. Gebrokken is likewise famous for being the only language where "a third is pronounced, a third is gestured, and a third is omitted" (as a common saying goes) making the language something of an acquired taste. Being a merchant language it is also known to have over a 100 words for "magnificent" and "great" and only 1-3 describing a commodity as "bad"; it makes up for this by having more cursewords than verbs, most of these having lost their meaning long ago while somehow retaining their general offensiveness. The language is largely incomplete and doing a speech or a poem in it would be next to impossible since only matters of travel, trade, and getting drunk are easily conveyed with Gebrokken. Since writing in Gebrokken is almost impossible, an "alphabet" was concocted by its speakers to serve as its written counterpart; Sketches was the result. Sketches is actually a pretty extensive alphabet as it uses small universally known pictograms and signs to signify every action, object or place (although it is of course heavily generalised). As such it has signs for "fish", "stew", "coin", the numbers 1-10, "hotel", and "stay the fuck away or I will take your head off with a sharp implement". The signs are crude and simple, and can be combined to a certain degree to create menus and simple directions. Although it would be an obvious language for signposts it is somehow limited by the fact you can't spell out city names in it; signmakers usually just assume that travellers know what the city name looks like in normal lettering.        


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: O Senhor Leetz on September 02, 2009, 12:07:55 PM
the language thing is fantastic. I am a bit biased (i studied linguistics at school) but I may steal your Gebrokken. Creating languages is one thing, but making one that is believable with a rough lexicon and grammar system is great, I especially like the fact that there are 100 words for something good, but only a few ones for bad. In Arga I have a language not unlike Geb - a universal trade language, I called it Tradecant for lack of a better term.

I just decided I AM stealing this. sorry. :)

EDIT: the only thing I'd thinkg about is the fact that it is a constructed language, which really are next to impossible to implement - look at Esperanto. It would make more sense if it was a more naturally grown language, which was slowly hodge-podged together by travelling merchants and the like until it was basically accepted as a real language.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on September 02, 2009, 01:12:00 PM
Well, this is vastly easier than Esperanto I dare say. I get your point though... But I think I'll suffer the unlikeliness of it; I like it being a constructed language. :)
And if you're an (ex?-)linguist your appraisal just means so much more. Thank you. And yes, ideas should be used so please do "steal" it. If you ever publish i want a mention though :p


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: O Senhor Leetz on September 03, 2009, 08:02:30 PM
maybe this Petrov Gebbe merely made the language official, like he wrote it down and recorded it's basic rules instead of totally inventing it?

what other languages are there? I imagine you've thought of things beyond Human Language and Dwarf Language (or whatever, I'm sure you get what I'm saying)


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on September 04, 2009, 12:31:39 PM
Nothing to see here.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on September 04, 2009, 12:47:09 PM
There should probably be some kind of traditional imperial language. Maybe one that was taught to everybody, but rarely used in lieu of the cultural languages (like Russian in the old USSR). I was also considering a very arty and musical court language which was only allowed to be spoken by nobles (perhaps that could be the conlang?).
Then of course we have some of the old cultures with their own languages: Khiere of course has their own, although i reckon they have a lot of dialects. The Whisperlands have their own language of course. A language of hard vocals and strong consonants so it is audible at low volumes perhaps?
Setch probably has a dying language among its few survivors. The Immaculate Empire of the South of course has their own language; considering their size they probably have several.
The half-men language is probably already half-lost, the Simulacra don't have one, the Moshrayah probably have several very different dialects considering their relative isolation, yet rather similar culture. The Hurtans have a couple of regional languages.
Other than that there might be a few more.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: O Senhor Leetz on September 06, 2009, 09:35:19 AM
maybe the court language would be a remnant of an old invasion? like how French was used by England's ruling class after the Norman conquest.

maybe the in the Whisperslands the language is not spoken, but relayed with hand signals?

the half-man language could be unspeakable by humans, as we don't have the right vocal chords for it?

I also like the name of the Immaculate Empire of the South, except I think it needs just one more adjective to make it complete. Perhaps something like the Immaculate Empire of the Radiant South? Sublime South?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on September 06, 2009, 04:46:19 PM
There is a reason they are called the Whisperlands and not the Silencelands :P
And i must admit I like the whole creating a language-just-to-seem-better-than-ordinary-people element of the court language.
Seems reasonable that the half-men language would die out because its speakers have transformed to such a degree that they can't speak it anymore.
I'll consider the South thing. Might as well find something that plays on the fact that they are undergoing a civil war. Concordant?


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on September 08, 2009, 09:59:34 AM
Another disease I cooked up in my mind. Yes, I'll get some proper setting material done soon. :p

The Blanks
A psychological disease that affects the visual perception of the afflicted, a person with the Blanks suffer occasional local visual lapses. Objects and person simply don't appear in his field of vision even if they are physically present. This doesn't seem to be a coping mechanism; both threatening and harmless sights are blacked out from time to time. Physical contact with the object seems to make it blink into existence on most occasions. The consequences of the malady range from the harmless effects of bumping into strangers on the street as they suddenly blink into existence or not being able to see the z's in a text, to the more unhappy circumstances where weapons (or entire bloodthirsty assassins) become invisible. The affliction is extremely unpredictable in this way; sometimes it doesn't blank out anything, other times it blanks out a specific object constantly, and sometimes the objects blink in and out of the visual field seemingly at random. There is no known cure for the disease, although lobotomies have been known to help, as have certain medicaments.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: O Senhor Leetz on September 08, 2009, 10:11:49 AM
I like it.

however - don't thake this the wrong way - when I saw the Blanks, I immediately thought of a disease that leaves you sterile. sorry *pop bubble*


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on September 12, 2009, 06:40:52 AM
Hmm, I had forgotten about that... Anyway, I hope that it was mostly just a random association and not one everyone will make automatically; I'd hate to change that name since I don't have a backup for it.
Anyway, a piece of setting folklore for your enjoyment! My take on the Sandman.  

The Fool
A mythical figure said to be the lord of sleep and dreams, the figure of the fool is common to many cultures of the north. How he originated is unknown. Some claim he was devised by the eccentric poet Illfain and appeared for the first time in his poem Tears of Sleep. Others are certain that his existence much predated the release of that poem and that Illfain himself had been inspired by ancient folklore of north-western Throne. Some even claim that he was once a god of a long-dead culture; broken and twisted by the passage of time until he became what he is now.

The stories told of the Fool picture him as an emaciated man with a tired smile and bright blue hopeful eyes in stark contrast to his otherwise somber appearance. Traditionally he wears a monochrome jester's outfit of the purest black, seemingly swallowing light although some tales choose to garb him in more colorful clothes. He wears small bells of pure gold on his outfit shining like the stars on the night sky; numerous children's tales tell of how his dreams come to live seek to steal and deprieve him of his bells.

Many powers are attributed to the Fool, the arsenal greatly depending on the story, but there are some more grounded in tradition than others. The Fool always walks on walls and ceilings, or various non-floor elements of the room he happens to be in, balancing deftly on any surface. Indeed he seems to fear floors and the mundanity of it. As the lord of sleep he wears a single white silk glove on his right hand and if he touches anyone with that ungloved hand, they immediately fall into a dreaming sleep. He also intuitively knows all that men dream of and the secrets of the World of Dreams and sometimes his dreams come true (whether he wants them to or not). He also seems to be able to walk between shadows without passing the distance inbetween.

The stories tell that the Fool was once a man himself, but that he spent all his day daydreaming and therefore died of hunger. He was given a second chance, and the powers that be gave him 7 days to do an honest day's work. Being who he was this proved impossible as he fell asleep whenever he tried to do anything worthful. So when his time was up he was condemned to walk the earth forever as the Fool he was. Unsurprisingly, parents often use the Fool as an allegory to why their children should work hard and "working like a Fool" has become an expression synonymous to being lazy.


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Steerpike on September 18, 2009, 08:11:50 PM
[blockquote=Cataclysmic Crow]The kidnapped boys are promptly drugged into subconscious and linked up to various pieces of obscure machinery; wires, feeding tubes, more wires, other tubes and what else can be fitted onto their poor bodies and might prove useful.[/blockquote]Are Maruts only male?  Very creepy idea, btw...


Title: Broken Verge setting thread
Post by: Superfluous Crow on September 19, 2009, 07:23:36 AM
Hmm, no, the way I figured it they could be either gender. I can see the wording might be a bit misleading. I guess it just sounded better in my head when I wrote it.