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supernal

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  1. Superlike!
    supernal got a reaction from 500bees for a article, Valucre's Laws of Magic   
    For a little disclaimer on how these were codified, you can visit the original laws of magic thread.
    Laws of Magic
    Law of Chaos: Even with proper observance of the Laws, magic is chaotic and dangerous by nature. Spells can go awry. Spell Permanency is a new and specialized field that can only guarantee longevity to within an acceptable margin. The longer a spell goes on the higher the chance it will go awry.
    Law of Methods: Methods for manipulation of magic so far include written words and symbols (including glyphs and runic formulas), spoken words and rhymes, color theory, music theory, hand symbols and gestures, esoteric components, and direct energy manipulation. These are all considered means by which a caster can negotiate arcane intent.
    Law of Equivalent Exchange: All magic carries comes with a cost. This is usually seen as the consumption of material spell components but can also be seen as physical damage (bruises, cuts, disfigurement, etc), intangibles (sanity, memories, emotions, and in particular secrets), accelerated aging, and in extreme cases even death. Casting magic in a group mitigates this effect.
    Law of Arcane Inertia: With rare exception, spells that are cast will remain cast as long as conditions supports their existence. A fireball will burn out with lack of fuel but will not randomly disappear. A curse will remain until its neutralized (or its respective energy source runs out). Contrast against Law of Chaos.
    Law of Parallel Symbolism: "Like produces like" or "an effect resembles its cause". It is easier to produce a fire effect from a spell focus related to the base element (coal, a phoenix feather, etc) than an unrelated or neutral component (earth) or diametrically opposed component (water or ice).
    Law of Contagion: Objects in contact become entangled and the contact persists over distance but attenuates with time. This law is commonly applied in voodoo, allowing a magician to perform spells on an item and produce an effect on a person or place. Contagion is affected by tangible variables like how many people contacted the item, for how long, and whether the item is part of the target (hair, skin, blood provide a stronger link than clothing). Intangible factors like sentimental attachment and emotional trauma are also a factor. Contagion links can also be semantic or metaphorical.
    Law of Rule: Magic is regulated by layers of genius loci (other terms include tutelary deity and daimon), explaining regional differences in arcane practice and efficacy. 
  2. Think
    supernal got a reaction from 500bees for a article, Guide to Canonization   
    What is the canon?
    The canon is the body of Valucre's lore. The end result of years of effort and collective, creative contribution from board leaders and site members. It is a living, breathing document that is constantly added to, updated and patched.
    As a disclaimer, in any threads goal or task oriented threads with an eye towards canonization (artifact threads, quest threads, etc), users that stop posting without warning should expect to have their characters minimally controlled in the interest of the overall story. 
    What is canonization?
    Canonization is how we approve and integrate relevant activities from players into the Valucre canon.
    Writing to influence canon is encouraged by Valucre's administration but isn't a requirement for most threads. It should not be thought of as an impediment to plots and characters that you want to write. It's merely an organizational tool board leaders use to maintain some degree of consistency in a game where improvisation and revision are standard tools in the kit. Many members can, and have, had a great deal of rich storyline and character development in threads spanning over a year or longer without seeking approval for canonization. Canonization should only be submitted if you are effecting a change to established lore.
    What are the requirements?
    Posts in the thread should be no less than 80 words for the purposes of influencing the canon. To canonize your thread, a canon post should be a summary of the events the thread contains which includes the below sections, and then send a private message to the appropriate board leader for their explicit review:
    A full summary: A full summary (1-3 paragraphs) must include all important details. Transparency is required here as anything not included is not considered approved. It may not seem fair but this is the most efficient way to handle a forum of this size, activity and still offer the level of creative freedom we do. A minor summary: A minor summary (2-5 sentences) should be included in the Summary as well as this is what will be included in the lore article.  Consequences and Opportunities:  Itemized list of the aftermath of your thread as well as at least one opportunity so  everyone who contributes gives others a chance to contribute as well. It is both allowed and becoming more common to do a Checkpoint post which canonizes relevant detail until that point and even the final conclusion of the thread while still allowing roleplay to happen after the fact.
    Example of final canon post: Dragons are forever
    Example of checkpoint canon post: What's up with Last Chance?
    What if I don't submit a canon request or it isn't approved?
    If you don't submit a canon request, then your thread is not considered canonized. Not every thread requires canonization to begin with, so this process does not apply for every potential action that a character can take.
    If your request is rejected, it means the same as not submitting a request to begin with. A board leader may reject your request outright, reject parts of your request and approve others, or approve your request on the condition that certain parts of the thread be modified.
    Why this whole process?
    The idea behind the canon process ties closely into user agency and the ability of players to protect works that they spent some amount of time creating. It allows them to decide what changes and how. It isn't about saying your content isn't valid unless rubber stamped, but about being able to track and organize substantial change to shared assets by hundreds of people over many, many years.
    In the past some members have felt a bit helpless in terms of impacting the lore, failing to realize that canonization isn't necessary to have a grand storyline.
    We've automated the process as much as possible to avoid unnecessary wait time. It allows board leaders to strike the balance between the freedom of the members to impact the setting and the ability of the creator of those settings to be able to shape the impact to some degree.
    And to roleplay themselves. Who wants to spend all of their time reading and none of it writing? Not me. Who wants a project they spent a year writing up and working on to be destroyed by the passing fancy of a member that spends a week on the forum and then vanishes? Same answer.
    Examples of actions that you can canonize:
    Completing a quest, which is the most common method of canonization. When completing quests, you must still generate an an RP opportunity for other members. Assassination of a canonically significant figure, which would require board leader approval and likely canon defense. Destroying, rebuilding or renovating an established business or organization. Amassing an army, making preparations for war, or other large-scale actions that would reasonably draw attention and likely canon defense.  Examples of actions that you don't need to canonize:
    Most slice of life type threads Assassination of an important figure in a personal plot (i.e. your character's mother where the mother is not a governor, etc) Your character's death (unless your character is an important figure). Destroying a ready-made (NPC made and destroyed at players discretion) town or village. Reasons why your request might be rejected:
    You exceeded Mild Powers rules. You introduced something incongruous to the local lore. The means does not justify the ends, i.e. the amount of effort undertaken does not justify your desired results. Using copy-written content (Sonic the Hedgehog, Goku, etc). Examples of roleplay opportunities: 
    Add a bounty for your player if they destroyed property or killed people Rebuild something that was destroyed / destroy something that was created Follow up on new information (names of people, cults, organizations, etc)  Who do I submit my canon request to?
    The board leaders of the appropriate section as listed in the world landing page.
  3. Superlike!
    supernal got a reaction from L E V I A T H A N for a article, Great Pine Barrens   
    This picture is open-source and labelled for reuse

    The Great Pine Barrens are the largest wooded area in Terrenus and take up a large amount of the continent in general. Due in part to its size, and in part to the odd collection of people and energies inside of its tree covered paths, the Pine Barrens are home to a diverse selection of races. The animal life here is savage and exotic, some of them shockingly large and powerful while others nearly imperceptibly small yet equally as dangerous. It is a melting pot of creatures and creation alike and thanks either to natural adaptation or man-made intervention, the creatures of the Barrens are dangerous.   Though most of the Desecrator legions had been wiped out in the Crusades a little over twenty years ago, there are a few families that live on in the Barrens. Those who lack the talent or patience to blend in with the masses, or who do not favor gaining political sway, or who have not taken refuge among the criminals of Last Chance, choose to reside here.   There are rumors, scant and hard to find even when looking for them, that Zengi the witch-king has made his return and resides in the place he made his home six-hundred years ago: the witch's cave, near the southernmost leg of Timber Creek. In his day and age Zengi was a powerful and influential force of negative intent. He is blamed for the tidal wave that damaged Casper six hundred years ago, the sabotage of the Noble houses, the propagator of the invasion in the Hidden Valley, and recently undeniable evidence has surfaced that Zengi also brought into being the terrible plague that swept through the lands in that era. Given his necromantic proclivities it is feared that Zengi has only grown stronger after death.   Zengi isn't the only celebrity to call the Great Pines Barren a home. A thousand years ago Herbie was a simple potato farmer born and raised in Terrenus to simple parents who had a knack for magical systems and arcane typology. Before long other great minds gravitated towards his own and Herbie made friends with the revolutionary geniuses, the Scudders' brothers. Together they laid the groundwork for modern magical theory, invented the field of arcane telemetry (which is the basis for contemporary arcane cryptography), put magi-tek on its feet and contributed vastly to runic architecture. Less than a year after meeting the genius centaur twins Herbie abandoned the city life in his search for God-Truth and wound up in the Pine Barrens, where Herbie made a Bed for himself.   Herbie is lauded for such acts as helping to overthrow the tyrannical King Levas and toppling the monarchy, of convincing the King of Fairies not to 'cleanse' the human race off the face of the earth, who found the necropolis hidden in the Forbidding Hills, who fashioned the Terrenus' first Sanctuary spell based on the Peaceful Woods, and who some allege was directly responsible for Zengi 's death.   Canon   The wild hunt: Miss Blonde with the help of a hired crew tracked and hunted down three legendary creatures in order to harvest their valuable resources and sell them. However Miss Blonde also stole the beasts spirits and used the energy to make a powerful magic item in order to sell. Developing a Gambit: Three political alliances are formed throughout the course of this thread. One between the Giants of No Man's Land and the orc tribe in the Great Pine Barrens. One between the orcs of NML and GPB. And finally, and perhaps most significantly, one between the orc tribe and witch sisterhood of No Man's Land and their Giant neighbors. In July 2013, the water sprite will be a fully mature water elemental that can be captured or befriended and summoned. The Hunt For Supplies - Ch. 2: Cross and Keanue go to the Barrens to mine solabernite. They are attacked by a giant beetle with the mineral crusting its shell. The battle causes the solabernite to detonate, causing an explosion that sets fire to the area. Cross summons a water sprite which douses the fires. Having gathered all the solabernite they needed, the two take off to Black Ridge to mine Nth before going their separate ways. No Man's Land
    No Man's Land is a curious patch of earth stretching from the base of a nearby mountain two miles to the east and 15 miles to the north, following along the mountain's natural border for the whole upper half. Passerby's report a feeling of general unease. Extensive investigations have revealed nothing suspicious in particular, home to the usual range of Terran beasts though a handful of scientists have remarked that intelligent, self-aware creatures seemed to keep their distance.
    To the sight, No Man's Land is perfectly described by its given name. it is a wasteland, one of utter desolation with fixed boundaries, the waste neatly delineated by a thin line separating the waste from the verdure of the adjacent forest. This border has never been known to either shrink or grow. Nothing is wrong with the scene, no sense of foreboding or danger hangs in the air, but the utter lack of anything alive has a depressing effect on the conscious mind and hikers are urged along to the mountain, where the interminable silence finally ends, to continue their journey across Terrenus.
    No Man's Land was named by the great sage Herbie hundreds of years ago when the Scudders' Brothers ostracized themselves from civilization and left Herbie's genius mind distraught with idleness. The land is so called because it is where Herbie performed the vast majority of his later experiments, and he asserts that it is not a land 'upon which mortal men are meant to dwell. It is indeed and foremost a playground of the gods of ideas and nature, whose expression is not meant to, and cannot, be tamed and restrained'. No Man's Land is, quite literally, a land for no man.
    Recent advancements have brought with them finer tools for the measurement of natural forces. This applies as much to the technological concept as to the spiritual. Saint Odin Haze, upon passing through No Man's Land for the first time, returned to Ignatz a few months later with schematics on new telemetry devices. These devices record astonishing amounts of energy that operate at the 'white level' frequency, facilitating the natural processes of healing, creative thought, ingenuity, and empathy.
    The Saint has gone on record as remarking that some who report unease in passing through No Man's Land are the source of their own discomfort. They see waste and ruin, and so afflict themselves with the negative connotations those thoughts attract. Those truly in tune with their surroundings might find themselves moved to tears at the grand display of life to be found there. Saint Odin Haze, calling to the mind of the general public that Herbie was a notorious trickster, regards No Man's Land as Herbie's greatest practical joke.
    Locations
    Mt. Ariadne: Home to the Sisterhood of Witches Canon
    Dragons are forever: Alexandria of the Sisterhood of Witches infiltrates a newly established dragon's hive in No Man's Land. With the help of orcs and the collective, she manages to take over the nest and commandeer 30 Rider Dragons to be used for the witches' developing stable. All the while, she protects the land from a nasty spider infestation in making.   A once snowy morning: A man in black with gold eyes (Faustus) claims a teenage frost giant as his special project. He augments the giant's intelligence and teaches the young giant how to best the alpha of his tribe in single combat, taking his place. Working through his champion, Faustus makes the giants more intelligent; his "son" becomes their king and he their high priest. Life Can Be A Witch: The Sisterhood of Witches, after finding their magic going haywire in No Man's Land, stumbles across and puts a stop to an orc horde burning witches alive in a bon fire. After defusing the source of the arcane conflict the SoW claim No Man's Land, the orcs and their fortress for their own. Herbie's Bed
    Herbie's Bed is a cross-section of land comprising a little under one-tenth of the total surface area of the Great Pine Barrens. It is comprised primarily of shale and breccia with interspersed pockets of rhyolite. At the very peak of Herbie's Bed an observer is given an uninterrupted view of the Great Pine Barrens, stretching for miles in every direction but south, flooding the eye with the lush greens of vegetation for 220 degrees. The remaining 80 degrees are completely occupied by a breath-taking view of the Southern Sea, looking like cascading sheets of gold at sunrise and a blazing pool of cerise fire at sunset.
    This vast dichotomy of nature has inspired awe and has been the direct source of inspiration for some of Terrenus's greatest painters and scientists.
    The savvy Terrenus cartographer notes a certain curiosity in the fact that Herbie, arguably one of Terrenus's greatest magician, scientist and overall force for good, made his home in direct proximity and competition with the abode of the sinister Zengi, arguably one of Terrenus's most malignant and driven forces of evil. Some Druidic mystics have noticed an odd corruption at the exact point where the boundaries of Herbie's Bed meets the boundaries of the Witch's Cave, but are as yet unable to determine a cause.
    Herbie the Sage is talked about rarely save in the most advanced scientific and occult circles. To some he is known as a mystic of extraordinary power and knowledge; to others he is known as one of Terrenus's most famous scientists, pioneering the field of magical theory in an age of base superstition.
    Herbie has had a direct hand in the development of various well-known places across the face of Terrenus. The ones most widely recognized are:
    Herbie's Notable Accomplishments
    No Man's Land
    A long strip of rocky terrain extending through the south-eastern part of the Great Pine Barrens. It is a place that seems afflicted by the most perverse desolation but which those sensitive enough will vow is a place rich with life and energy. Odin Haze has called No Man's Land Herbie's greatest practical joke.
    The Hidden Valley
    The Hidden Valley is the only place in Terrenus, and arguably the whole of the Valucre world, that is completely hidden away from all forms of divination or scrying. The effects guard solely against the arcane, so telescopes and the like can see the Hidden Valley but have a hard time penetrating its thick canopy. Herbie is rumored to be the source of this anti-divination.
    Moonwood
    This area is affected by an odd effect that causes the gravity to mimic that of the moon. Although this effect is generated by the magic of the elves that live in the Moonwood, and not through the hands of our mystical Sage, Herbie nonetheless has history in Moonwood. Herbie managed to bring peace to Moonwood just as the King of Fairies was about to unleash his deadly army to sweep the lands of the wicked King Levas.
    The Forbidden Hills
    Launching the very first arcano-analytic investigation into the Forbidden Hills, Herbie was able to discover why the site was such a great well of unease for the general populous. He came to discover that the Forbidden Hills was the site of many a massacre and dark rituals, and was a forgotten necropolis.
    Peaceful Woods
    There are two rumors regarding the Peaceful Wood. That it was either created by a race of nearly extinct shamans, that it was one of Herbie's greatest creations or, the holistic approach, that Herbie himself was one of the shamans that made the Peaceful Wood what it is.
    The narrator has taken the time to expound on a few of Herbie's most infamous, past achievements for the sole purpose of emphasizing the importance of this piece of Terrenus land in particular. The appropriately titled slice of land known as Herbie's Bed was indeed Herbie's home, and home as well to a number of priceless artifacts of untold power.
    Canon
    Diamonds are a witch's best friend: The Sisterhood of Witches travel in search of an ancient dragon. Much of the thread is spent finding and facing the trials of the fierce dragon and cold mountain. Two witches are incapacitated and three orcs are killed, but the remaining prevail in capturing the dragon [barely] alive, along with its valuable egg. Under the efforts of Clementine and Alexandria, the dragon is now belongs to Luna and her coven. Witch's Cave
    Canon
    Life Sucks: Richter Grievous finds that his quest for the Artifact of Immortality has led him to the Witch's Cave. Grievous's life is threatened, his sanity challenge, and his mortality brought to bear but he manages to fell all foes, including the Elder Vampire who has made the artifact his personal boon. Richter claims the artifact for himself. The Haunting: After countless years spent in search for Zengi, Alexander (a student of the necromantic arts) acquires information that leads him to the Witch's Caver. After days more of searching, they come face to face. Alex proposes a merger. For reasons that remain unknown to anyone but Zengi itself, Zengi agrees to the deal. In catastrophic union the two become one. The Witch King returns. Peaceful Woods
    The Peaceful Woods border the Great Pine Barrens' south-eastern flank and fringes a small mountain range. As its name suggests, it is peaceful. No, no. Peace truly reigns supreme in the woods. Nothing can come to harm in the Peaceful Woods. Nothing. There is no might in the world that can injure anyone or anything within its bounds. When the Desolator covered the world in darkness, the Peaceful Woods and its inhabitants alone remained unaffected.
    Ever since its discovery, it has been a popular training ground for newbie Terran soldiers. They can strike each other with spells and swords, but nothing happens. Nothing is cut, and nothing is bruised, neither wood nor flesh is burned. The Peaceful Woods defy the circle of life as mankind knows it. Nothing is ever seen eating anything else except sap excreted by the ancient sequoias that make up the woods. It is thought that the sap from its trees is distantly related to the sap in the forests outside of Biazo, but since the trees cannot be dissected, and stealing the sap from animals that use it as sustenance counts as a malicious act that causes harm, it cannot be taken except for eating and quenching thirst.
    It is known from folk stories passed from old tribes to traveling bards to history books that the Peaceful Woods predates written history. The sanctuary is thought to have been forged by many clans of shamans working in tandem, the only two still known by name being the Coconino and the Shawnee; the latter tribe still exists, but they have secluded themselves on the Shawnee Glacier. Nobody really knows what happened to the Coconino.
    Surprisingly few people live in the Peaceful Woods. The only permanent residents are few and far between, and they enjoy their seclusion. But there is a friendly bunch of talking red foxes, bright eyed and bushy tailed, that lope around guiding travelers and spinning unbelievable tales for anyone who will listen. Perhaps they might know something of the Peaceful Wood's past. Of course, when people leave the Peaceful Woods, if they follow the foxes’ advice they tend to get into some kind of trouble.
    Since the existence of Unnaturals is harmful in and of itself, they cannot enter the Peaceful Woods. They literally bounce off. This property is highly coveted by the Gaians, but they have been unable to replicate it; their sanctuary spells are feeble in comparison. Notably, the Peaceful Wood shrinks by approximately one-fifth of the distance the Shawnee Glacier recedes every year, making the reproduction of its tranquility a top priority.
    It is heavily rumored that the Peaceful Wood is the way it is due to Herbie the Sage creating the first ever Sanctuary spell on this land.
  4. Like
    supernal got a reaction from chibixxgurotears for a article, Flow and Fiero in Freeform PBP Roleplay   
    FRAMEWORK
    To be short (ignore the word count), flow is a psychological state of heightened focus and engagement. Fiero is pride that follows a sense of accomplishment, usually in the context of overcoming some barrier. Below is an attempt to articulate a general framework for a roleplayer to get the most out of the game of roleplay, specifically 1) on a text-based, turn-based platform 2) in a freeform environment. Real-time platforms demand a different frequency and duration of engagement, and systemized environments have their own built-in productivity markers, usually some kind of leveling up, some kind of economy, some kind of avatar customization.
    This framework will be the least useful for people who have already roleplayed continuously. These people are already achieving their own versions of success as they manage to remain engaged for years at a time. It will be the most useful for new players who want to achieve deep levels of engagement and for inconsistent players who want to remain engaged for longer periods of time. And for both types of players to manage their investment in the game against the parts of their life that aren't a game.
    I'll start by defining things not to do as a way to start outline what you should. 1) Don't start at too high a level, or else the story for the character is near its end and you are committing to a short term engagement. 2) Don't do too much at once or you'll get stressed, fatigued, and burned out.
    FLOW
    This is the state you want to achieve when you're actively writing your post or working on a series of posts over X amount of time. To achieve flow, here are some suggestions on short term tactics or best practices:
    1. Time constraints. Decide on an amount of time per day that you're willing to spend on this game. I recommend 30 minutes a day, or session, as you may go a day or a few days between posts. If you're only posting a few times a day, you may be using your daily time to read other people's posts and think about or draft your reply. This keeps you immersed and makes the actual post easier to finish in your time slot.
    2. Word maximums. The minimum for canon content is 80 words. The national average is about 40 WPM. If you spend 10 minutes writing your post and 10 minutes editing it, you should be able to clear the minimum and then some without feeling like you're being rushed (making a few assumptions, naturally the timeline will change depending on your unique circumstances).
    3. Notes. It's a pretty common event that you can read a post in situations you aren't able to write one, reading takes a lot less effort, but as or after you read, jotting down a few instant reactions or movements or snippets of dialogue immediately get you started and frame your reply in your mind. Even if you don't get to sit down and do your post for a few days after you read it, you have a starting point that enables you to jump in immediately.
    4. Music. For inspiration, this can be almost anything. For focus, I recommend video game music as it's specifically designed to add to the immersion without drawing too much of your attention. "Lo-fi", "cafe music" and "easy listening" also fit this category. Some recent studies have suggested listening to the same song (regardless of type) on repeat will also boost focus.
    5. Familiarity and confidence with the setting. If you set aside 30 minutes a day but only end up posting every few days and are able to make your replies pretty quickly, you can use your extra time for familiarizing yourself with the lore and with your partner or even diving deeper on your character. You can start a roleplay in an area just knowing that you're in a prison, but as you read more about the area around the prison, you as a player get more information that you can use for your character's short term goals and long term development. This isn't about the lore itself being some masterful and inspiring work, so much as your mind being an engine of creativity all by itself. Familiarity with the information will give you the confidence you need to tap into the lore effectively and start coming up with your own stuff that's both unique but relevant.
    FIERO
    This is the sense of pride in your accomplishments that come with the completion of plot lines, whether they're relatively quick and isolated events lasting only a few weeks, or chains of events spanning months or years. To achieve fiero here are some suggestions on long term strategies or best practices:
    CHARACTER DESIGN FOR MAXIMUM EFFORT
    For simplicity's sake I'll be using US high school grades just because it's something I'm familiar with and can reference easily. This isn't prescriptive. The fact there are 4 levels and under / upper classes is incidental. The overall idea can be abstracted into more or less steps or other terms.
    For maximum fiero your character should be an underclassman, a freshman or a sophomore. This doesn't mean they should be totally incompetent. They should be effective enough to execute on the steps that will lead to achieving their long term goals, but the more capable they start, the closer to the goal they are, the shorter the run, the more shallow the fiero.
    There's nothing wrong with starting a character at the senior level. There are many narratives that call for characters at different levels of development, and it isn't uncommon for players to have multiple characters at multiple stages of growth. That isn't an issue at all. But as a new player or someone coming back to the game after a while away, see the first two things in the overview: don't start at too high a level, don't do too much at once.
    In terms of being able to execute on the steps that lead to their goals, in a freeform environment, this can take many different forms. What you want to keep in mind here is that you're able to determine your level of engagement by the goals you set, and the steps you consider to get to that goal, in the same way you can change difficulty levels in a video game. The more easily and quickly the goal is accomplished, the shorter and more shallow your engagement.
    Here's an example: my freshman character is a "beggar", and his goal is "become rich".
    Say I want a short term engagement of a few weeks. The fact that he has limited capacity means there's only a few ways he can achieve immediate satisfaction of his goal. Likely he'll mug someone or steal something. He gets rich and he does it quick.
    If I want something medium and more like a few months, I can take the two examples above and add conditions. Instead of a back alley mugging of any random character, I plan a heist to steal something valuable, a painting, jewels, rare materials, etc. Now my freshman character has to learn skills, make connections, get information, and plan the heist before he does it.
    I can move the goal posts. If I just want to do a heist because that's what would be immediately satisfying, I can make a character that's a junior or senior, who already has the needed skills and information, a team and a spot to hit. The story begins and ends with the heist and the timeline is dictated mostly by the number of people involved.
    If I want a long term engagement of many months or even a year? The story starts with a beggar in his environment, who wants to leave it behind by getting wealthy, who learns to pick locks (or learns a trade or joins the military) and starts committing petty crime (or professionally questing or volunteering for high value missions) on the lookout for the big break, who stumbles upon that big break (you get the picture by now) and on it goes.
    If I want to do the opposite and make it take longer, demand more involvement, in short be a tougher obstacle, then I can do a "fun failure". Rather than an unbroken string of successes, my character fails at one or more of those steps, and now I have to approach the problem of progress from a different angle, something that I wasn't expecting when I first started. That can be very fun.
    This multi-stage, multi-event manner of approaching the character's goal keeps me immersed and engaged for a long time. There's always something to do. When you want a quick run, you start at or near a high level of efficacy because the story is in the event, not in the character. When you want to do something epic not just in intensity but in scale, this is reversed, and the story isn't about how the heist is pulled off, but about how your character goes from beggar to master thief, with the highest level of satisfaction coming from the journey itself, and not just arriving at the destination.
    TIMING YOUR PROGRESS
    I would define the optimal level of play as one where I can engage casually, where I could have something to do every single day if I wanted, but that I'd still be able to make progress on even if I only did something every few days, and that after a certain amount of time I would end up with a fairly weighty list of accomplishments. I want to call this a full Satisfaction Unit and I would estimate it takes about 1 year to complete (currently I’m timing it at 12-15 months of “casual engagement”) 
    Roleplay is one of my favorite games. I'm normally juggling multiple characters, and perhaps even multiple storylines for some of them. This is not a casual level of play, and not what I would recommend to someone new to the game or coming back to it after a while.
    As an experiment I informally tracked the progress of one specific character of mine as he ranked through the military. His name is Cadmium: https://www.valucre.com/topic/30985-cadmium-metireal/
    Cadmium's brother I started as a major because I needed a major for an event. Cadmium I started as a private because I wanted to see how long it would take me to get there at a casual level of engagement. Here I define casual as a post every few days, spending no more than 30 minutes a posts (see FLOW items 1 and 2). I can type fast and am pretty comfortable with the setting from experience, so I set a personal baseline of 120 and usually averaged higher, but again, just keeping things casual.
    When I wanted something faster paced I looked for people who could post more often; when I wanted something slower, I looked for people who were fine posting less often. I used a solo thread whenever I felt a little antsy and just wanted something to do with the character without waiting on anyone else or having them wait on me, and otherwise just kept pace with the threads I was in.
    It took from September 2017 to December 2018, about 15 months, to go from private to major. Cadmium now has an established track record in the lore, doing things like improving diplomatic relations, clearing toll-taking bugbears from a bridge near a major town, and made friends among fellow soldiers at a promotion celebration. He's in a (very) casual thread right now with one of those people working on a secret project. Everything he's doing now and will do in the future enabled by the stuff that came before.
    As an organization the military has a specific ranking system, but there are ways to move the goal posts for myself here too. You can be concerned rather than casual. I could have placed my character in multiple threads and posted multiple times a day, and do in a few months what otherwise took a year and that's totally fine. The fact you can adjust the level of effort is a major part of the appeal the game for me. But I find that such a high octane pace is satisfying only in the immediate term of the frenzy and that it leads to burnout much more often.
    Once your character is senior you can continue to use them, as in the example above. You can send them to college, to continue the analogy, and when they can no longer level "up" they can level "sideways" and enable the progress of other players, which is often at the level of engagement you'll see organizations and board leaders operate. You can start the cycle of freshman to senior with as many characters as you want, or even with the same character in a repeating cycle of loss and redemption, engaging at higher and lower levels of play as your availability and your interests change.
  5. Superlike!
    supernal got a reaction from Bard for a article, Making Your Mark   
    Back to Topics
    Estimated reading time: ~3 minutes

     You and the Canon
    The canon is the body of Valucre's lore, the end result of years of collective effort and creative contribution from board leaders and members. The canon is different from general roleplay on the site, which is any activity or story that anyone wants to tell for any reason, and comes without expectation or requirement. When you want to change something that impacts many people, this changes.
    As a game world, Valucre has a mild powers ceiling and is made of multiple territories, each managed by a board leader who creates artifacts, quests, events, and approves canon activity. Because the canon is what makes the world what it is, the ability to change it offers to players opportunities immortalize their characters in Valucre's history. This is an enormous potential and so, unsurprisingly, comes with a few requirements. 
    Enter the canonization guide, the process by which a thread or group of threads is reviewed, approved, and integrated into the canon. The guide will give more details and examples but, to paraphrase, what is basically required is that you respect the lore you're changing, summarize the events at the end of the thread, and submit this to a board leader, who either updates their lore accordingly or provides reason for rejection, which usually just requires minor modification to more accurately portray the lore. 
    Writing to influence the canon is encouraged, that is Valucre's history, but this should not be confused as a requirement for most threads or play on the site. The canon process is not a roadblock to the plots and ideas you want to explore, but a quality assurance and organizational measure when those plots and ideas affect things on a large scale. Many, many players have years of quality roleplay without worrying about the canon process, either because there was never a need or because the content always exists and can be submitted for canon at a future date.
    Building your legacy as an individual player
    There's no perfect formula that you can follow and end the effort a star. But there are some simple things that you can do, which I'll simplify and itemize for your convenience, which if done well and with an eye towards collaborating with your fellow members, will see your efforts remembered in Valucre's lore. 
    Complete a quest and seek to make a single, significant change in the lore. Claim an artifact in one of the areas which interest you for long-term engagement. Connect something in your quest to an effort with your artifact to create a new event or impact and invite other players to help or oppose you. Canonize after every step and your character will be written into Valucre's history and isn't likely to be easily forgotten.
     Worldbuilding, lore, and virtual spaces - legacy as a maker
    Making a change to an existing space through the actions of your character or characters is one way to change the world but not the only one. By using our lore templates and either posting them in user Lore, or submitting them to board leaders for integration into their lore, you can create plants, creatures, and materials to add to the lore that other members can then use in their roleplay. 
    What about if you want to take things even further, and take up the mantle of responsibility?  There is no concrete, formal, or individualized process that a member can take which ends with them becoming a board leader, but the ability to create and manage your own virtual space exists on Valucre in spades.
    Historically a member will create a piece of lore that they want to see used by the site at large and submit it to a board leader for inclusion in their lore. Templates are useful to standardize information but not the only way to get something approved. Another avenue a player can take is to increase public awareness by using it to change and influence canon - "it" can be members of a species, citizens of a kingdom, a certain kind of material; the possibilities are many. Legacy can look like an update to a map or a list of creatures, and it can also look like something dozens of members use or engage with on their own.
      Back to Topics
  6. Like
    supernal got a reaction from Bleuisblank for a article, Mild Powers   
    General
    Valucre is a mild powers forum.
    We allow the use of powers, abilities, magic, etc. but limit their ceiling to keep the site relatively balanced. Wiggle room for outsized impact exists but is almost always for the sake of collective story, not aggrandizing a single character. A new member who joins Valucre with a balanced character and sees someone cleaving mountains in half might feel pressured to beef up their character in response, but as combat is always optional, this isn't required. As a site Valucre seeks to emphasize character development over ability or power development. If you would like a loose framework to follow along with check out Flow and Fiero in Freeform Roleplay.
    As a free-form site, we don't manage rank or stat based systems for development. Instead we ask members exercise prudence and emphasize narrative when choosing abilities to navigate the fantasy setting of Valucre. Given the wide scale our below mild powers examples establish, we care more about regulating the end result or consequences of powers than their origins or types. Our Character Creation Guide can give you some direction if you find yourself at a loss and want suggestions as to what we think makes for effective character creation.
    As mentioned earlier combat is always optional and requires both declaration and consent. As long as it is stated and agreed upon by both players, any system can be used to resolve an in-character conflict. Examples include collaboration (staff recommended), coin flips, dice systems, and so on. If players agree to combat but can't agree on a system, the default is the Mostly Orchestrated Battle System. Alternatives include the Terrenus Dice System, among any of the various homebrew systems that you can find or create. 
    When in doubt, following the philosophies outlined in Roleplay Etiquette will steer you in the right direction.
    Mild Powers - history and examples
    In its historical context mild powers was "somewhere in between" the poles of Realistic Melee and Power Characters. The former allowed only realistic characters, abilities, weaponry, and the latter allowed concepts which tend to be more about power gaming than telling a story. There's a lot of room on the spectrum between those two poles and so it should come as no surprise if what you consider mild, or even just plain serviceable, varies from what someone else does. When in doubt talk with your partners and come to a consensus on what makes something interesting vs what deflates all tension.
    The below is not an exhaustive list, just examples:
    Examples of forbidden abilities
    Excessive temporal manipulation ("Haste" is often Mild; time travel often isn't) Large scale reality manipulation (at a small scale this is just a different flavor of "magic") Creation of black holes or other celestial / astronomical bodies or phenomena Attacks that manifest instantly or otherwise don't allow a character to react to them Indestructible weapons, armors, unstoppable magic, infinite or impervious items, etc Examples of generally disallowed abilities (can be used for NPCs or collaborative story purposes)
    Soul stealing or manipulation (some writers don't believe in, or make use of, souls in their writing but for others it can be a pivotal aspect hence the "allowed for story purposes" designation) Manifesting an attack inside of another person ("blood bending" is an example of where you want to make sure the player is fine with it) Automatic mind-control (vs attempted) Teleportation and other "instantaneous" abilities or actions "Magical scanning" or otherwise being able to meta-game knowledge about another user Examples of allowed abilities
    Enhanced senses Augmented physical and mental abilities Psionics (telekinesis, telepathy, pyromantic, etc, all dependent on the scale) Magic (spells, runes, hexes, voodoo, etc) Amplitude
    For storyline purposes, large scale attacks are allowed within reason. World- or continent-destroying attacks will essentially always be disallowed; city-busting is sometimes feasible depending on the effort and activity leading up to this as well as obtained permission and coordinating of plot; and the destruction of a building or buildings is usually considered the upper limit of a character or group of characters.
    Someone inevitably fixes on the fact that "building" is a generic term and fail to realize that the term is kept generic on purpose. A single story home and an apartment high rise are both buildings, but are clearly not equivalent in size. In general the takeaway is that as a player you should be prepared to put in a considerable amount of work to destroy depending on what went into making the item. Contributors can work for years building up conceptual sand-castles and don't want to see them destroyed in a turn or two even if they are open to conflict.
    Abilities are judged primarily on their destructive or constructive potential, or the scale on which they apply, as opposed to their complexity. Stopping a boulder mid-flight and pushing it away is less complex than turning it to sand but both work on a similar scale and essentially accomplish the same thing.
    Creator: supernal
    Editors: traxien cion, supernal
  7. Like
    supernal got a reaction from Bleuisblank for a article, Making Your Mark   
    Back to Topics
    Estimated reading time: ~3 minutes

     You and the Canon
    The canon is the body of Valucre's lore, the end result of years of collective effort and creative contribution from board leaders and members. The canon is different from general roleplay on the site, which is any activity or story that anyone wants to tell for any reason, and comes without expectation or requirement. When you want to change something that impacts many people, this changes.
    As a game world, Valucre has a mild powers ceiling and is made of multiple territories, each managed by a board leader who creates artifacts, quests, events, and approves canon activity. Because the canon is what makes the world what it is, the ability to change it offers to players opportunities immortalize their characters in Valucre's history. This is an enormous potential and so, unsurprisingly, comes with a few requirements. 
    Enter the canonization guide, the process by which a thread or group of threads is reviewed, approved, and integrated into the canon. The guide will give more details and examples but, to paraphrase, what is basically required is that you respect the lore you're changing, summarize the events at the end of the thread, and submit this to a board leader, who either updates their lore accordingly or provides reason for rejection, which usually just requires minor modification to more accurately portray the lore. 
    Writing to influence the canon is encouraged, that is Valucre's history, but this should not be confused as a requirement for most threads or play on the site. The canon process is not a roadblock to the plots and ideas you want to explore, but a quality assurance and organizational measure when those plots and ideas affect things on a large scale. Many, many players have years of quality roleplay without worrying about the canon process, either because there was never a need or because the content always exists and can be submitted for canon at a future date.
    Building your legacy as an individual player
    There's no perfect formula that you can follow and end the effort a star. But there are some simple things that you can do, which I'll simplify and itemize for your convenience, which if done well and with an eye towards collaborating with your fellow members, will see your efforts remembered in Valucre's lore. 
    Complete a quest and seek to make a single, significant change in the lore. Claim an artifact in one of the areas which interest you for long-term engagement. Connect something in your quest to an effort with your artifact to create a new event or impact and invite other players to help or oppose you. Canonize after every step and your character will be written into Valucre's history and isn't likely to be easily forgotten.
     Worldbuilding, lore, and virtual spaces - legacy as a maker
    Making a change to an existing space through the actions of your character or characters is one way to change the world but not the only one. By using our lore templates and either posting them in user Lore, or submitting them to board leaders for integration into their lore, you can create plants, creatures, and materials to add to the lore that other members can then use in their roleplay. 
    What about if you want to take things even further, and take up the mantle of responsibility?  There is no concrete, formal, or individualized process that a member can take which ends with them becoming a board leader, but the ability to create and manage your own virtual space exists on Valucre in spades.
    Historically a member will create a piece of lore that they want to see used by the site at large and submit it to a board leader for inclusion in their lore. Templates are useful to standardize information but not the only way to get something approved. Another avenue a player can take is to increase public awareness by using it to change and influence canon - "it" can be members of a species, citizens of a kingdom, a certain kind of material; the possibilities are many. Legacy can look like an update to a map or a list of creatures, and it can also look like something dozens of members use or engage with on their own.
      Back to Topics
  8. Like
    supernal got a reaction from amenities for a article, Hills of Lost Hearts   
    This picture is open-source and labelled for reuse
    The story of the Hills of Lost Hearts begins and ends 250 years ago. Two families feud and two star-crossed lovers, compelled to break away from a vendetta started hundreds of years before their time, find solace in each other's arms. Their tryst is short-lived but burned with such intensity so as to rival the sun. They could not part for more than a day without each being wracked by forlorn sobbing and distress.
    Upon discovering this fragile, sacred love between son and daughter, the heads of each family kindled the flames of vengeance and swore to chum the waters until blood frothed the very seas. A massacre broke out between the families, each side suffering irreparable loss, both in sheer numbers and in personal anguish as fathers were made to bury sons and wives made to bury husbands.
    During the turmoil, the two lovers managed to escape. South away from Biazo, traveling on horseback across the Chering Strait, and then on foot the rest of the way to the then unnamed hillocks North of Marlboro Keep. They rode without rest, eager to distance themselves from the death and iniquity their family members subjected each other to mindlessly and without mercy.
    They embrace, wholly within one another physically and spiritually, for the first time as the full moon rose on that fateful night. A cousin from the male's family followed them there and killed them both outright; the man for betraying his lineage, the girl out of sheer principle.
    And so it was that on the night of their greatest passion, the lives of two great lovers was snuffed out.
    ~~~~~~~~~~
    It is said that the earth-mother Gaia mourned the loss of two of Her greatest vessels of love, and moved the earth itself in eulogy, transforming a once insignificant field of hillocks and knolls into an impressive range of rolling hills now known as the Hills of Lost Hearts. The death of the two lovers has caused a curious effect on the Hills.
    Here, hearts are vulnerable. Even the stoic are easily infatuated, swayed, influenced and scorned. Love is strong here, indiscriminate of race, of gender, of species. During the full moon when the stars are bright it is particularly dangerous, with the Hills exerting enough influence to cast a spell the likes that could throw two enemies on the verge of mutually assured destruction into the throes of romantic passion.
    Beings incapable of love are immolated, and should take extra care on this patch of land between Biazo and Marlboro Keep.
    Canon
    Hey, Listen!: Dhizzandra and Ashton find an abandoned laboratory in the mountains near Patia. The lab is filled with death, overrun with undead, and saturated with magical fog, all of which are subjected to the immense magic canceling powers of unknown crystals. Too caught up in surviving and escaping, the pair are never able to fully explore the lab of ascertain its purpose. They are, however, able to successful lock the undead up inside a massive room of unknown purpose, before finally escaping. Stampeteheim Town: Recent migrants of a sunken island from the Tellus Mater region have settled into the land north-west of the Hills of Lost Hearts and established a settlement. A number of the proclaimed Highlander immigrants have joined the Terran Military, with others becoming successful hunters and farmers, and recently the settlement has been ratified as a Terran municipality. Stampeteheim is populated by ~7k denizens.
  9. Like
    supernal got a reaction from Ryūji for a article, Character Creation Guide   
    A introduction to character creation in roleplay
    I've said this before and it's worth repeating: character sheets are completely optional. If you want to post a sheet anyway you can do so in User Lore. We have character sheet templates available there for public use.
    To get your day to day roleplay fix here on Valucre, all you need is a character in mind and the ability to play them with some consistency, unless inconsistency is a part of their character (see: mental instability and unreliable narrators).
    Still, sheets are useful for keeping track of information. This is especially true if you have many characters, and is also useful for conveying information to your partners  you may not feel like repeating every time you start a new thread (if I have to describe this *******'s eyes one more time, I swear!).
    The consequent sections are in no particular order. Experiment with doing the last part first or starting in the middle, and you'll be surprised at what jumps out at you. You also don't need to write a paper for each section. Just put some thought into each section for your character, then you can keep that in mind or fill out a character sheet if you please.
    I'll occasionally refer to "breaking" your "character image". Take this to essentially mean challenging the suspension of disbelief that we as writers adopt in a fantasy roleplay environment.
    A character's physical appearance - what to convey
    I tend not to get hung up on names for my roleplay characters because I believe in the "a rose by any other name" quote, but that's just me. If your RP character originates in Valucre (which is optional) it'll definitely make your character a more concrete addition to fit into the place that he or she originates from, and some authors get a kick out of having their character names be indicative of their personality or fate.
    Some basics to think about are what other characters see about your character upon first sight. Eye, hair and skin color. Scars, tattoos, piercings. What characteristics make sense for the location of your roleplay? Think about the multiple dimensions that hygiene adds to appearance. Your character has black hair – is the hair smooth? Shiny? Silky? Greasy? Stringy? Are their teeth straight? Yellow? Fake? What do they smell like? What do they sound like?
    What's your character's build? Look up images of people that have the same basic height and weight of your character so you can get an idea of their silhouette and stature. If you play a character that is large and imposing, indicating an inappropriate height and weight will break your character image.
    Think about attire. This is influenced by position, profession and personality. A blacksmith won't always be walking down the street with their apron and a hammer on their back. An assassin can be dressed in anything from beggar's clothes to a noble's surcoat. A warrior might walk with a limp to hide the clank of armor underneath his cloak. Any of these characters might make it a point to keep a daisy in their lapel.
    You may also revisit Physical Appearance after thinking about Personality and History, as they individually and together have an influence on Appearance. A mousy bookworm isn't likely to be tanned and muscular, and a belligerent orphan in an abusive institution is likely to have scars or missing teeth.
    Personality in roleplay - traits and motivations
    There are hundreds of lists and dozens of books written on personality types and character traits. For the sake of simplicity we'll go with the five personality traits that most modern psychologists accept as being the basis for all other personality traits.
    OCEAN, or Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism. The (modified) explanation for OCEAN provided below is an excerpt from a Wikipedia Article:
    Openness to experience: (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious). Appreciation for art, unusual ideas, and variety of experience. Openness is described as the extent to which a person is imaginative or independent, and depicts a personal preference for a variety of activities over a strict routine.
    Conscientiousness: (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless). A tendency to be organized and dependable, show self-discipline, act dutifully, aim for achievement, and prefer planned rather than spontaneous behavior.
    Extraversion: (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved). Energy, positive emotions, surgency, assertiveness, sociability and the tendency to seek stimulation in the company of others, and talkativeness.
    Agreeableness: (friendly/compassionate vs. analytical/detached). A tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others. It is also a measure of one's trusting and helpful nature, and whether a person is generally well tempered or not.
    Neuroticism: (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident). The tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily, such as anger, anxiety, depression, and vulnerability. Neuroticism also refers to the degree of emotional stability and impulse control.
    Note that these categories are not meant to compete with one another, that each category represents a spectrum on which a character can land, and that being at the extreme of either end is unbalanced (which can make for very interesting characters, but don't try to "score high" in each category either).
    Consider how your roleplay character fulfills each category and where on the range they fall.
    Extraversion can range from "I'm the life of the party" to "I'm quiet around strangers". Agreeableness can range from" I have a soft heart" to "I'm not interested in other people's problems".
    Some basics of personality to think about are fears, prejudices, morals and motivations. All of these paint and influence personality, but motivations are the traits that tend to be most obvious to other characters.
    Sample Motivations
    Achievement and Acquisition: A desire to overcome obstacles, to acquire recognition or fame, or to just be the best. Adventure: To explore everything, discovery mysteries, blaze new trails. Chaos: To disrupt social order, sew confusion, destroy buildings and extinguish life. Education: To gain knowledge or information, to train under prestigious teachers or be a teacher themselves. Nobility: For a higher purpose, order, religion, etc. Peace: To bring harmony to the world and protect the helpless. Recreation: To have fun and enjoy life. Power: To gain material wealth and land, to accrue power, to control others. Character history
    I've seen Character Histories that were a few sentences long, and others that were a separate thread and multiple posts long. There's a lot you could choose to say about a character in this section and how much to include is, as always, a matter of personal preference.
    I suggest including only what is relevant to your character's current roleplay. Regardless of age, your character's childhood can be very crucial to your character's personality and motivations and their current story. But if your character's current story is about avenging their lover's death, their childhood is very likely of no consequence at all.
    What shaped your character's personality or outlook of the world? What history/profession/interest explains your character's abilities, attire, and equipment? Have they met any influential people or participated in historically important events? Why is your character where they are now, doing what they're doing?
    Abilities and equipment in roleplay - find the balance and play the game
    Unless closely tied into Personality and History, I suggest making Abilities and Equipment the last section you focus on. It's a common trend among RPers to see a cool weapon or power on a video game or show/anime. I'm here to say, don't fall for the trap! Valucre is about you being free to write whatever moves you and inspiration comes from all angles, but in my experience these types of "shake and bake" characters are not very fulfilling and tend to evaporate quickly.
    You want things about your roleplay character to make sense, and if they don't, to be able to explain why that is. Abilities and powers should be relevant to your character's history. A mermaid that can talk to fish and manipulate water makes more sense than a mermaid that periodically breathes fire – the latter doesn't have to be impossible but the idea is a non sequitur, it does not "follow", and if you can't explain why your aquatic creature is capable (or cursed? compelled?), you break your character's image.
    In terms of cost, weight, and amount, is your character's equipment sensible?? How much growth are you allowing your character, and whether a little or a lot, is it this deliberate? How much of your character's abilities and equipment is created in the narrative (the sheet, the background), and how much is received through actual content written on the site and interaction with the community?
  10. Like
    supernal reacted to -Lilium- for a article, Khaznah   
    the Shattered Realm.
     
    What once used to be a large portion of Faejarhé named the Pijesak Peninsula is now a crumbled assortment of continental pieces and an array of islands named Khaznah. By its inhabitants this broken peninsula, also referred to as Okmaru [oak-ma-rue; coral desert], is a land believed to be forsaken by the gods who created it.
     

    [ WIP ]
    Map by @Meraxa.
     
     
              | GEOGRAPHY & CLIMATE |
         
       Portrait of an Ocean.
    Rock and sway, as do the ocean waves. Froth and weeds clash against a taciturn shoreline. 
    The circumference of the land is not approximated and ranges from sandy beaches, to rocky cliff sides, to tropical flora that bend at the trunk to hang protectively over the tides. Outside of tiny hermits creeping along the ground and trees, there is very little life within view.
    To turn a back on these grounds would only give a pair of eyes the perfect portrait of a tumultuous and vastly empty ocean. Any land out there made invisible by distance and the giant waves crashing against the surf trapped by a coral reef. 
    The land against the waters makes no sound outside of nature's normality. And birds fly high above with no obvious intent to land. It is peaceful and calm here under the delicate rays of the sun. [think Great Barrie Reef/Coral Sea for comparison, surrounding and interwoven throughout the isles and islands of Khaznah.]
     
    | LANDMARKS & MONUMENTS |   Pijesak Peninsula | Pijesak Peninsula is the historical name for the once whole piece of continent now referred to as Khaznah or Okmaru.
     
    Ketakutan Archipelago |
    Ketakutan Archipelago is made up of a multitude of tiny isles to islands between the the large masses of what is left of the peninsula. Though the water is relatively shallow it house a great deal of life. Consisting of natural coral reef barriers, vegetation, and an abundance of fish and underwater mammals.
    On these islands, and even what is left of the mainland portion of Khaznah, is a bustling trade route. In it's history, the Empire of Igoria built and thrived in its ability to bring trade with Lagrimosa. These meaningful tradesman, to this day have continued on with generational tradition even without an Empire to oversee them. Though the goods now traded are incredibly out-of-date with the rest of the world, there is nothing finer crafted than the handmade electrical conduits, ocean born jewelry, and 'mermaid' silk in all the lands of Faejarhé. 
    Aeiryola | The largest, northern most island, closest to Okmaru and Khaznah's mainland. Well known home of Lizardfolk tribes, though there are many other beings that too thrive and live along it's jungle like forestry. 
    Avalon Archipelago | A small group of islands collectively in the southwestern cup of Aeiryola. The main island of Camelot is known as a unique epicenter of magical activity. It's array of biomes dictated and divided by creatures known as Beeflies; every elemental hive having and thriving in a habitat created by the magic they themselves carry in order to ensure their survival as well as that they may prosper.
    Avra | The second, most eastern, and smallest of the three large continental chunks is Avra. Home of the Babel Corporation, Fantas'Menagerie, and the Khaznah Conservatory.
    Thane | The last and second biggest of the largest three pieces of what was once Pijesack Peninsula.
    Horn of Dique | Port Tauranga | At the tip of the Horn of Dique {the tip of the southern most large island] is a well established unregulated port of commerce. All manner of ships are able to dock for a multitude of reasons. Being that Port Tauranga is located on the tip of Faejarhé believed to be nearest Lagrimosa one might surmise the contents being transported [snuck] across its borders as potentially felonious in nature. New technologies seem to flow in while some of Faejarhé's natural wonders flow out.
    It is also believed to be an underground port used exclusively by Babel Corporation and its Conservatory to ship as well as receive research and technology from all over the world. When they arrived in Khaznah, Babel helped broaden the port to facilitate new trade between Faejarhé and the rest of Valucre.  
    Port Tauranga is also very well known for its sporty annual fishing competitions where big winners get big prizes, and losers get the hook! Peoples from all over Faejarhé come to participate in the festival every year in the hopes of claiming the grand prize as well as continental bragging rights for their unique catch.
       
     | Unique PEOPLES of KHAZNAH | Yatari |
    Also referred widely too as 'Storm Chasers', are nomadic tribes with deserted villages freckling the multiple islands of Khaznah, that can be stumbled upon accidentally by travelers. They are very well known to chase Lightning Storms in order to harvest Conduit Glass for trade and sale to towns and cities throughout the Khaznah Region. Like many of the more major areas of Faejarhé their people consist of varying races. More often than not those who choose to be lost and take on the helm of Wanderer, Nomad, and or Traveler.
    Being that they spend most of their time away from their homes, always on the move, they do not resemble a functional society. However this can be dispelled when travelling among them. They speak in broken and mashed dialects of Faejarhé as well as refer to a few higher among them an outsider may consider as a council.
    One thing that stands out about the Yatari people, is the technology used to traverse the water, reef, and sands. Although simple in design, these skiff boats are easily pulled or blown along water and land in order to carry them and their belongings to whatever destination they so choose
     
    Kirali |
    Kirali history is as unknown as their current customs and traditions. These enigmatic Lizardfolk of Khaznah tend to stay away from the affairs of outsiders, only trading with the Yatari during the spring and summer seasons. Their enclosed society is both a blessing and a curse, where they remain mostly protected from the politics of Faejarhé but lack societal protection from other outside forces.
    The Kirali are widely known for their ability to breed P’ek’i, large domestic birds used both for riding and carrying goods. These creatures are as durable as they are quick, having little to no issue running through the coral reef in the waters of Khaznah.
     
    Tiorani |
    Also known to the world as 'pirates', are the people of Khaznah who've managed to master travel in and around the treacherous reefs growing throughout its salty waterways. Over decades they have taken to the water and claimed it as their own.
    The most infamous Tiorani of Khaznah to emerge in the last decade, and accordingly one of the most feared, is the one known as Intan. Sticking almost entirely to the shallow waters of western Khaznah, Intan and her small crew prey upon any and all that cross their path, whether it is a small fisher's boat, or a large trading hulk. Most suspect Intan herself is tied to the old nobility, whether actively or formerly holding such a title, with more than enough fortune to last a lifetime; though she claims plunder from her victims, it is not the motive for her assaults, which seems more drawn from adventurous - if not outright malicious - fantasy. That is to say, she raids ships because she wants to raid them in and of itself, not towards a practical end, unlike most pirates. The particular problem is that Intan and her motley band are damned good enough to get away with this, successfully assailing most prey, and always escaping those they do not; Intan herself is regarded as one of the top swordmasters of the realm, whether speaking of Khaznah specifically or Faejarhé as a whole. Her choice of weapon is a dashing rapier, with which she handily penetrates her foes' defenses, while either parrying or deftly dodging attempts at retaliation. She is the origin of the local phrase 'a stroke of Intan luck', meaning to be afflicted by some misfortune for which the afflicted had no real warning.
    This is not to say that others do not exist, for there are many still yet to be marked as notable to the history of Khaznah. Whether biding their time, or taking the long route before rising.
     
     
     
     | Unique FLORA & FAUNA & MATERIALS of KHAZNAH |     P’ek’i | P'ek'i birds [spoken 'pecky' or 'pecky birds'], are large ostrich like creatures bred in the lands of Khaznah not only by the Kirali, but also by Yatari and other folk. Being that these creatures are very intelligent and gentle, they are prized among the people.
    P'ek'i are amazing runners so are used as one of the main ways to travel across Khaznah, due to their speed and agility. Their ability to remember certain routes as well as being able to navigate the shallow waters of the coral beds without injury makes them invaluable assets to to the Yatari who are always on the move. [think Chocobo]
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
        | H I S T O R Y | | Condensed Canon of Khaznah | | these events are from oldest to most recent. |   Nature versus Nurture Work in progress...
     
       
     
    This lore was written and edited/updated by -Lilium-, Meraxa, & Metty.
    Formatting & Tabling variations used are credited to Csl & vielle.
  11. Superlike!
    supernal got a reaction from amenities for a article, Faux-ton Transportation System   
    Created by: amenities
    Developed by: supernal
    General Information
    The faux-ton (hereafter FT) is a piece of transportation technology created by Tia and debuted in the Terrenus World Fair on 26AO. The faux-ton is a converter which transmutes matter into coherent electromagnetic waves on one end, and which is converted into matter at the other end by use of a suitable formula. Depending on the formula used there are risks involved which could leave one with anything as minor as a cold to a severe condition such as transposed limbs.
    Empire use of this technology is based Tia's FT principles but the hardware is first-party and the formula used is military-grade and encrypted for confidentiality.
    The purpose of the FT was to provide a less expensive and more flexible option to the lightning rails, which are limited by their tracks whereas the FT can be quickly deployed by use of unconnected posts, and the warp gates, which require a tremendous amount of energy to provide instant travel where the FT can use a fraction of the energy cost to provide fast travel.
    The FT is limited by line of sight but can achieve speeds upwards of 27 MPS (or 100,000 MPH).
    In light of the lightning rails and warp gates both going offline due to the seismic shifts in the Wastelands and Shawnee genius loci, the FT has become a competitive standard for industrial fast transportation. 
    Improvement: Empire iterated on the FT system by adding small webs of devices comparable to weather balloons capable of bouncing signals, to support relays to distributed FT posts without the need for heavy infrastructure changes.
    Features
    Redundancy – Although only one pylon at either end is the minimum requirement to establish a connection, Faux-Ton hubs are usually built with a four-pylon configuration. The first three provide a larger virtual pipe, meaning more materials can be transported at once, and also redundancy, so that the loss of a pylon does not result in a truncated connection. Should one of the three pylons fail the fourth "swaps in", and an alert is sent to technicians to address the faulty pylon.
    Validation – Once line-of-sight is established, FT send a 'keep-alive' pulse between the two ends periodically. This lets technicians monitor for clear passage and will send an alert if the keep-alive pulse is obstructed for more than a set amount of time, usually measured in milliseconds
    Confirmation – In the event of emergency a technician can send a 'confirmation pulse' down the line-of-sight, which is a high powered laser that drills a hole millimeters wide to allow for the quick passage of a transportation beam. This is done as a last resort and obstructions will usually be investigated prior to sending out a confirmation pulse.
    Dali Variant
    Due to the influence exerted by the loci native to Ursa Madeum, House Dali has taken the FT model and engineered a version of it compatible with their unique techno-magical ecosystem. Below are the fundamental changes to the underlying architecture:
    The object-body is still broken down into discrete units but in this case it is sent 'over the ether' rather than converted into photons The method by which the object is scattered is via an applied chaos field derived from modified ercaniron A Teletype brain is used as the central processing unit. The primary node is housed in Dali estate and a secondary node is housed in Andelusia. This is what manages the individual units and accurately recombines them on the other side Additional brains can be added to the network (Class A quests) which can increase redundancy or capacity, but not both, although functions can be switched to support one feature over the other depending on need Locations
    Public hubs Tia, Terrenus Aspyn, Biazo, Terrenus MOGAH museum, Qrill, Misral, Ursa Madeum Andelusia, Corinth, Ursa Madeum (CSL approved) Private hubs Floracle, Casper, Terrenus Dali vineyard (near Aspyn), Biazo, Terrenus Dali estate, Corinth, Ursa Madeum
  12. Superlike!
    supernal got a reaction from Vesper for a article, Gaianism: The Clergy   
    The below information is deprecated and has been replaced by the Gaian Church information thread.
    Abilities are recursive, with new abilities building on old ones. Progress up the ranks is linear.
    Level One
    There are hundreds of thousands at this level. 
    Apprentice
    Initiates of the Gaian faith. The apprentice has just begun their journey to learn about a religion of love and justice.
    Heal [minor]: Heal minor cuts, scrapes and bruises.  Purify food and drink: Cleanse food and drink of regular poisons and impurities.  Light: Make an object glow with regular light for half an hour.  Holy Mist: Generate a pearl white mist that surrounds the apprentice for 15 feet. Unnaturals moving in the mist are slowed and weakened. Detect Unholy: Can detect an unholy presence within a range of 300 feet.   
    Level Two
    There are tens of thousands at this level. 
    Priest
    Priests are taught more about the healing arts and begin to learn about necromancy in the study of life and spiritual phenomenon. 
    Heal [medium]: Capable of healing deep cuts and repairing broken bounds.  Bless Item: Capable of blessing an item with holy light to cause additional damage to unnaturals. Shield of Faith: Capable of creating a shield or bulwark out of divine magic. As sturdy as any physical shield, it also moves independently.  Speak with Dead: Capable of communing with the recently dead. At this stage messages are often cryptic and incomplete.    Find the Path: Capable of finding their way back to any point they've visited before.  Cure Disease [minor]: Capable of curing acute, mundane diseases.  Oracle
    From the pool of apprentices, those with special talent in the field of divination are taught to prophecy and scry. They are often used by local police to track criminals and report details on crimes, though never on future-crimes as the future is never certain and not the domain of earthly law.
    Prophecy: Capable of telling the future with varying degrees of accuracy.  Remote Viewing: Capable of seeing real-time events. The distance depends on the skill of the particular Oracle.  Empathy: Capable of reading emotions.  Discern Intent [minor]: Capable of discerning when they are being told the truth or a lie. At this stage, can only tell if the subject believes it. Later stages or combinations of divination forms can probe deeper.  Level Three
    There are thousands at this level. 
    Diocese
    Commences specific training to deal with the unnatural and undead, able to turn them away with the intensity of their aura and bless chunks of land.
    Heal [major]: Capable of healing organ failure and massive trauma.  Bless Land: Capable of blessing housing structures and meters of land. Repulsion: Capable of amping the intensity of their holy aura to physically repel evil and unnatural beings. Spiritual Weapon: Capable of summoning a weapon formed of divine energy. Razor sharp and autonomous. Remove Hexes: Capable of removing hexes like sleep, paralysis, confusion and charm.  Discern Intent [major]: Capable of discerning not just whether they are being lied to, but motivation behind the statement.  Cure Disease [major]: Capable of curing mundane, chronic diseases as well as supernatural diseases no longer than five days affected.  Paladin
    A righteous knight of Gaia. Their divine and holy powers focus more on the offensive and aggressive than on the defensive and palliative.
    Holy Weapon: Can wield any mundane weapon with divine blessing and deal extra damage on the evil and unnatural. Crown of Courage: Aura bolsters strength and courage in nearby allies. Scar Evil: Causes damage on evil and unnatural creatures that cannot be repaired. Discern Intent [major]: Capable of discerning not just whether they are being lied to, but motivation behind the statement.  Level Four
    There are hundreds at this level. 
    Inquisitor
    Inquisitors are clergy members assigned to investigate heresy and crimes against the moral core of the nation. They act outside of the law in persecuting criminals when on an official Inquisition and are specially trained in information extraction and advanced interrogation. Inquisitors often employ Candles and Zones of Truth in their questioning. 
    Zone of Truth: 20 foot radius. Creatures within this zone can't speak any deliberate and intentional lies. Creatures are aware of this effect on them and may avoid answering questions. Clever creatures can mislead via wordplay.  Inflict Wounds: Using necromantic energy, Inquisitors can turn any physical contact with any part of their body into organic damage.  
    Archbishop
    Archbishops have three main concerns. The first is to spread the word of Gaia by way of doing righteous deeds and defeating evil. The second is the refinement of the divine not only in clergy members but in citizens so that they are better able to defend themselves and others against the Unnatural menace, a school of thought advanced most fervently by Twizzen of the Biazo Abbey. The third is the extermination of unnaturals with extreme prejudice. 
    Heal [critical]: capable of healing fatal wounds as long as the subject is alive when being healed.  Exorcise: Capable of breaking possessions and the forcible passing of specters and phantasms.  Holy Aura: Constant aura that will cause pain and discomfort to the undead.  Tongues: Speak and understand any sentient language.  Dictum: Capable of giving commands to the weak willed and uncertain.  Find the Path: Capable of finding their way to any point in the physical world. Level Five
    There are only a few dozens at this level.
    Cardinal
    The highest rank of the Gaian religion and advanced necromancers.
    Resurrection: Can bring the recently dead back to life. Can only be done twice. Discern Intent [critical]: Capable of discerning not just veracity and motivation of a statement, but of reading the spirit of a person to discern secrets, hopes, and fears. 
  13. Superlike!
    supernal got a reaction from The Alexandrian for a article, Mild Powers   
    General
    Valucre is a mild powers forum.
    We allow the use of powers, abilities, magic, etc. but limit their ceiling to keep the site relatively balanced. Wiggle room for outsized impact exists but is almost always for the sake of collective story, not aggrandizing a single character. A new member who joins Valucre with a balanced character and sees someone cleaving mountains in half might feel pressured to beef up their character in response, but as combat is always optional, this isn't required. As a site Valucre seeks to emphasize character development over ability or power development. If you would like a loose framework to follow along with check out Flow and Fiero in Freeform Roleplay.
    As a free-form site, we don't manage rank or stat based systems for development. Instead we ask members exercise prudence and emphasize narrative when choosing abilities to navigate the fantasy setting of Valucre. Given the wide scale our below mild powers examples establish, we care more about regulating the end result or consequences of powers than their origins or types. Our Character Creation Guide can give you some direction if you find yourself at a loss and want suggestions as to what we think makes for effective character creation.
    As mentioned earlier combat is always optional and requires both declaration and consent. As long as it is stated and agreed upon by both players, any system can be used to resolve an in-character conflict. Examples include collaboration (staff recommended), coin flips, dice systems, and so on. If players agree to combat but can't agree on a system, the default is the Mostly Orchestrated Battle System. Alternatives include the Terrenus Dice System, among any of the various homebrew systems that you can find or create. 
    When in doubt, following the philosophies outlined in Roleplay Etiquette will steer you in the right direction.
    Mild Powers - history and examples
    In its historical context mild powers was "somewhere in between" the poles of Realistic Melee and Power Characters. The former allowed only realistic characters, abilities, weaponry, and the latter allowed concepts which tend to be more about power gaming than telling a story. There's a lot of room on the spectrum between those two poles and so it should come as no surprise if what you consider mild, or even just plain serviceable, varies from what someone else does. When in doubt talk with your partners and come to a consensus on what makes something interesting vs what deflates all tension.
    The below is not an exhaustive list, just examples:
    Examples of forbidden abilities
    Excessive temporal manipulation ("Haste" is often Mild; time travel often isn't) Large scale reality manipulation (at a small scale this is just a different flavor of "magic") Creation of black holes or other celestial / astronomical bodies or phenomena Attacks that manifest instantly or otherwise don't allow a character to react to them Indestructible weapons, armors, unstoppable magic, infinite or impervious items, etc Examples of generally disallowed abilities (can be used for NPCs or collaborative story purposes)
    Soul stealing or manipulation (some writers don't believe in, or make use of, souls in their writing but for others it can be a pivotal aspect hence the "allowed for story purposes" designation) Manifesting an attack inside of another person ("blood bending" is an example of where you want to make sure the player is fine with it) Automatic mind-control (vs attempted) Teleportation and other "instantaneous" abilities or actions "Magical scanning" or otherwise being able to meta-game knowledge about another user Examples of allowed abilities
    Enhanced senses Augmented physical and mental abilities Psionics (telekinesis, telepathy, pyromantic, etc, all dependent on the scale) Magic (spells, runes, hexes, voodoo, etc) Amplitude
    For storyline purposes, large scale attacks are allowed within reason. World- or continent-destroying attacks will essentially always be disallowed; city-busting is sometimes feasible depending on the effort and activity leading up to this as well as obtained permission and coordinating of plot; and the destruction of a building or buildings is usually considered the upper limit of a character or group of characters.
    Someone inevitably fixes on the fact that "building" is a generic term and fail to realize that the term is kept generic on purpose. A single story home and an apartment high rise are both buildings, but are clearly not equivalent in size. In general the takeaway is that as a player you should be prepared to put in a considerable amount of work to destroy depending on what went into making the item. Contributors can work for years building up conceptual sand-castles and don't want to see them destroyed in a turn or two even if they are open to conflict.
    Abilities are judged primarily on their destructive or constructive potential, or the scale on which they apply, as opposed to their complexity. Stopping a boulder mid-flight and pushing it away is less complex than turning it to sand but both work on a similar scale and essentially accomplish the same thing.
    Creator: supernal
    Editors: traxien cion, supernal
  14. Superlike!
    supernal got a reaction from L E V I A T H A N for a article, Enrele   
    ENRELE
    The below information is a living document and subject to change. It is incomplete information about an alien biology and one that is particularly subject to change due to an ability to edit its own genes
    Type » Animal: Insect (Alien Parasite) Temperament » Aggressive (Creatures that tend to attack rather than flee, whether for food, to defend a territory within a certain radius. They will usually break pursuit when too threatened.) Sapience » Other Size » 4-8 feet Weight » 10-20 lbs Location » Dougton; Ponkapoag Lake; Various cities throughout Terrenus Environment » Aquatic; Host bodies Organization » Hive-mind; Fractured hive-mind Special Abilities » Chemical manufacturer; internal telepathy; guided micro-evolution by editing own genes Drop Items » Paralytic producing gland (1-60%); Hypnagogic producing gland (61-79%) Intact Enrele body (80-99%) These terrifying creatures originated from interstellar space and were transmitted to Terrenus in the core of a meteor that struck and deepened Ponkapoag Lake centuries ago. The Enrele had taken primary residence within the second strata of the Ponkapoag Lake crater, bearing a resemblance to seaweed with large pods and air-bladders. One curious scientist put an ad out in the classifieds and, having gathered interested parties, made his way to Ponkapoag Lake to find survey bottom.
    A hatched Enrele looks vaguely like a jellyfish with a few key differences. The stingers are hollow and secret a combination of a paralytic and a hypnagogic agent, the combination of which places the prey into a state where they drift between consciousness and unconsciousness.
    Tendrils that can interface with the central and peripheral nervous systems extend from these hollow stingers and hooks at the end to ensure a solid grip. This makes the Enrele capable taking over the host system bodies. The body-snatcher will ride its host physically, often times settling itself across the band of the host's back, just beneath where the neck meets the torso. They operate as individual organisms when inside of separate hosts but are really fragments of a hivemind, requiring that constituents find ways to upload information to the master brain in order to add knowledge to the collective conscious.
    The creature can also use its host's reproductive organs for its own reproduction cycle. When reproducing, the host secretes clusters of gooey, writhing pustules that often infect the nearest biological system (using the human reproduction system and delivery of spermatazoon onto ovum, the results are devastating).
    SPECIATION
    Information on Daloth
     
     
  15. Superlike!
    supernal got a reaction from L E V I A T H A N for a article, Rider Dragon   
    Picture licensed under CC BY 2.0
    RIDER DRAGON
    Type » Reptile: Avian
    Temperament » Aggressive — Creatures that tend to attack rather than flee, whether for food, to defend a territory within a certain radius. They will usually break pursuit when too threatened.
    Sapience » Constructed
    Size » 12-20 feet
    Weight » 1200-1800 lbs
    Environment » Caves; mountains; forests
    Organization » Packs
    Special Abilities » Empathic link; flight; breath weapon (fire, acid, lightning)
    Rider dragons are used as intelligent mounts and beasts of burden for the clearing of fields, the trapping and hunting of animals, mail amd item delivery, and combat. Rider dragons have animal cunning and are capable of learning complex tasks, but are unlike other dragon species in that they do not contain true sapience. A rider dragon makes for a true companion but is not to be confused with the species of dragon capable of learned magic and civilization. 
    Rider dragons have to be bonded with their rider in order to be tamed. The empathic link formed with a bond allows for the communication of familiar ideas, such as fear, doubt, trust, anger, joy, and so on, but not complex or detailed messages. A larger rider dragon can be fitted with a saddle that can comfortably accommodate four to five people.
  16. Superlike!
    supernal got a reaction from Jotnotes for a article, Brevity Rules or Low Drag RP   
    Originally from I challenge you to brevity
    Players can adjust any aspect of the brevity rules to suit their roleplay but below are the standard
    48 hour turnaround time If a thread goes 2 days without a post, a post must be made by someone/anyone and it must advance the story ~300 word maximum Even if you have time to write more, keep it to 300-350. The more you write, especially if there are multiple partners in a thread, the more your partners have to read in order to make their own posts Always forward! Every post must add or change something, or advance the story in some way 
  17. Superlike!
    supernal got a reaction from Purple Eagle for a article, Mild Powers   
    General
    Valucre is a mild powers forum.
    We allow the use of powers, abilities, magic, etc. but limit their ceiling to keep the site relatively balanced. Wiggle room for outsized impact exists but is almost always for the sake of collective story, not aggrandizing a single character. A new member who joins Valucre with a balanced character and sees someone cleaving mountains in half might feel pressured to beef up their character in response, but as combat is always optional, this isn't required. As a site Valucre seeks to emphasize character development over ability or power development. If you would like a loose framework to follow along with check out Flow and Fiero in Freeform Roleplay.
    As a free-form site, we don't manage rank or stat based systems for development. Instead we ask members exercise prudence and emphasize narrative when choosing abilities to navigate the fantasy setting of Valucre. Given the wide scale our below mild powers examples establish, we care more about regulating the end result or consequences of powers than their origins or types. Our Character Creation Guide can give you some direction if you find yourself at a loss and want suggestions as to what we think makes for effective character creation.
    As mentioned earlier combat is always optional and requires both declaration and consent. As long as it is stated and agreed upon by both players, any system can be used to resolve an in-character conflict. Examples include collaboration (staff recommended), coin flips, dice systems, and so on. If players agree to combat but can't agree on a system, the default is the Mostly Orchestrated Battle System. Alternatives include the Terrenus Dice System, among any of the various homebrew systems that you can find or create. 
    When in doubt, following the philosophies outlined in Roleplay Etiquette will steer you in the right direction.
    Mild Powers - history and examples
    In its historical context mild powers was "somewhere in between" the poles of Realistic Melee and Power Characters. The former allowed only realistic characters, abilities, weaponry, and the latter allowed concepts which tend to be more about power gaming than telling a story. There's a lot of room on the spectrum between those two poles and so it should come as no surprise if what you consider mild, or even just plain serviceable, varies from what someone else does. When in doubt talk with your partners and come to a consensus on what makes something interesting vs what deflates all tension.
    The below is not an exhaustive list, just examples:
    Examples of forbidden abilities
    Excessive temporal manipulation ("Haste" is often Mild; time travel often isn't) Large scale reality manipulation (at a small scale this is just a different flavor of "magic") Creation of black holes or other celestial / astronomical bodies or phenomena Attacks that manifest instantly or otherwise don't allow a character to react to them Indestructible weapons, armors, unstoppable magic, infinite or impervious items, etc Examples of generally disallowed abilities (can be used for NPCs or collaborative story purposes)
    Soul stealing or manipulation (some writers don't believe in, or make use of, souls in their writing but for others it can be a pivotal aspect hence the "allowed for story purposes" designation) Manifesting an attack inside of another person ("blood bending" is an example of where you want to make sure the player is fine with it) Automatic mind-control (vs attempted) Teleportation and other "instantaneous" abilities or actions "Magical scanning" or otherwise being able to meta-game knowledge about another user Examples of allowed abilities
    Enhanced senses Augmented physical and mental abilities Psionics (telekinesis, telepathy, pyromantic, etc, all dependent on the scale) Magic (spells, runes, hexes, voodoo, etc) Amplitude
    For storyline purposes, large scale attacks are allowed within reason. World- or continent-destroying attacks will essentially always be disallowed; city-busting is sometimes feasible depending on the effort and activity leading up to this as well as obtained permission and coordinating of plot; and the destruction of a building or buildings is usually considered the upper limit of a character or group of characters.
    Someone inevitably fixes on the fact that "building" is a generic term and fail to realize that the term is kept generic on purpose. A single story home and an apartment high rise are both buildings, but are clearly not equivalent in size. In general the takeaway is that as a player you should be prepared to put in a considerable amount of work to destroy depending on what went into making the item. Contributors can work for years building up conceptual sand-castles and don't want to see them destroyed in a turn or two even if they are open to conflict.
    Abilities are judged primarily on their destructive or constructive potential, or the scale on which they apply, as opposed to their complexity. Stopping a boulder mid-flight and pushing it away is less complex than turning it to sand but both work on a similar scale and essentially accomplish the same thing.
    Creator: supernal
    Editors: traxien cion, supernal
  18. Thanks
    supernal got a reaction from chibixxgurotears for a article, New Member Guide   
    WELCOME, TRAVELER . . . 
     
     
    to the promised land - of roleplay!
    Valucre is a forum roleplay site. The fact that we have no central plot and don't separate our member base into silos of experience makes us a little different than your average roleplay site. We take things a step further by providing a unique and persistent global setting. A full planet capable of supporting most themes and ideas, with dozens of plots all happening at once, some large and encompassing, others small and intimate. 
    There's so much to do and see on Valucre you could spend hours for days on end going through guides, sheets, and lore. But don't worry. No one expects you to catch up on over a decade of history just to jump in and start creating with us. 
    Think of Valucre's body of work less like a guidebook you have to read just to make sense of where you are, and more like an encyclopedia or a reference guide that you can look to when you want to add immersive details to your post, such as the political climate of one area or the visuals of another. 
    Below are a number of tiles which cover different topics. You can visit the page by just clicking on the tile that you want to learn about. Give our guide 15 minutes of your attention and you'll be starting on a strong foundation. 
    If you have any questions about the site at all, ask the Outreach team!

      
      

     
  19. Like
    supernal got a reaction from chibixxgurotears for a article, Mild Powers   
    General
    Valucre is a mild powers forum.
    We allow the use of powers, abilities, magic, etc. but limit their ceiling to keep the site relatively balanced. Wiggle room for outsized impact exists but is almost always for the sake of collective story, not aggrandizing a single character. A new member who joins Valucre with a balanced character and sees someone cleaving mountains in half might feel pressured to beef up their character in response, but as combat is always optional, this isn't required. As a site Valucre seeks to emphasize character development over ability or power development. If you would like a loose framework to follow along with check out Flow and Fiero in Freeform Roleplay.
    As a free-form site, we don't manage rank or stat based systems for development. Instead we ask members exercise prudence and emphasize narrative when choosing abilities to navigate the fantasy setting of Valucre. Given the wide scale our below mild powers examples establish, we care more about regulating the end result or consequences of powers than their origins or types. Our Character Creation Guide can give you some direction if you find yourself at a loss and want suggestions as to what we think makes for effective character creation.
    As mentioned earlier combat is always optional and requires both declaration and consent. As long as it is stated and agreed upon by both players, any system can be used to resolve an in-character conflict. Examples include collaboration (staff recommended), coin flips, dice systems, and so on. If players agree to combat but can't agree on a system, the default is the Mostly Orchestrated Battle System. Alternatives include the Terrenus Dice System, among any of the various homebrew systems that you can find or create. 
    When in doubt, following the philosophies outlined in Roleplay Etiquette will steer you in the right direction.
    Mild Powers - history and examples
    In its historical context mild powers was "somewhere in between" the poles of Realistic Melee and Power Characters. The former allowed only realistic characters, abilities, weaponry, and the latter allowed concepts which tend to be more about power gaming than telling a story. There's a lot of room on the spectrum between those two poles and so it should come as no surprise if what you consider mild, or even just plain serviceable, varies from what someone else does. When in doubt talk with your partners and come to a consensus on what makes something interesting vs what deflates all tension.
    The below is not an exhaustive list, just examples:
    Examples of forbidden abilities
    Excessive temporal manipulation ("Haste" is often Mild; time travel often isn't) Large scale reality manipulation (at a small scale this is just a different flavor of "magic") Creation of black holes or other celestial / astronomical bodies or phenomena Attacks that manifest instantly or otherwise don't allow a character to react to them Indestructible weapons, armors, unstoppable magic, infinite or impervious items, etc Examples of generally disallowed abilities (can be used for NPCs or collaborative story purposes)
    Soul stealing or manipulation (some writers don't believe in, or make use of, souls in their writing but for others it can be a pivotal aspect hence the "allowed for story purposes" designation) Manifesting an attack inside of another person ("blood bending" is an example of where you want to make sure the player is fine with it) Automatic mind-control (vs attempted) Teleportation and other "instantaneous" abilities or actions "Magical scanning" or otherwise being able to meta-game knowledge about another user Examples of allowed abilities
    Enhanced senses Augmented physical and mental abilities Psionics (telekinesis, telepathy, pyromantic, etc, all dependent on the scale) Magic (spells, runes, hexes, voodoo, etc) Amplitude
    For storyline purposes, large scale attacks are allowed within reason. World- or continent-destroying attacks will essentially always be disallowed; city-busting is sometimes feasible depending on the effort and activity leading up to this as well as obtained permission and coordinating of plot; and the destruction of a building or buildings is usually considered the upper limit of a character or group of characters.
    Someone inevitably fixes on the fact that "building" is a generic term and fail to realize that the term is kept generic on purpose. A single story home and an apartment high rise are both buildings, but are clearly not equivalent in size. In general the takeaway is that as a player you should be prepared to put in a considerable amount of work to destroy depending on what went into making the item. Contributors can work for years building up conceptual sand-castles and don't want to see them destroyed in a turn or two even if they are open to conflict.
    Abilities are judged primarily on their destructive or constructive potential, or the scale on which they apply, as opposed to their complexity. Stopping a boulder mid-flight and pushing it away is less complex than turning it to sand but both work on a similar scale and essentially accomplish the same thing.
    Creator: supernal
    Editors: traxien cion, supernal
  20. Like
    supernal got a reaction from chibixxgurotears for a article, Character Creation Guide   
    A introduction to character creation in roleplay
    I've said this before and it's worth repeating: character sheets are completely optional. If you want to post a sheet anyway you can do so in User Lore. We have character sheet templates available there for public use.
    To get your day to day roleplay fix here on Valucre, all you need is a character in mind and the ability to play them with some consistency, unless inconsistency is a part of their character (see: mental instability and unreliable narrators).
    Still, sheets are useful for keeping track of information. This is especially true if you have many characters, and is also useful for conveying information to your partners  you may not feel like repeating every time you start a new thread (if I have to describe this *******'s eyes one more time, I swear!).
    The consequent sections are in no particular order. Experiment with doing the last part first or starting in the middle, and you'll be surprised at what jumps out at you. You also don't need to write a paper for each section. Just put some thought into each section for your character, then you can keep that in mind or fill out a character sheet if you please.
    I'll occasionally refer to "breaking" your "character image". Take this to essentially mean challenging the suspension of disbelief that we as writers adopt in a fantasy roleplay environment.
    A character's physical appearance - what to convey
    I tend not to get hung up on names for my roleplay characters because I believe in the "a rose by any other name" quote, but that's just me. If your RP character originates in Valucre (which is optional) it'll definitely make your character a more concrete addition to fit into the place that he or she originates from, and some authors get a kick out of having their character names be indicative of their personality or fate.
    Some basics to think about are what other characters see about your character upon first sight. Eye, hair and skin color. Scars, tattoos, piercings. What characteristics make sense for the location of your roleplay? Think about the multiple dimensions that hygiene adds to appearance. Your character has black hair – is the hair smooth? Shiny? Silky? Greasy? Stringy? Are their teeth straight? Yellow? Fake? What do they smell like? What do they sound like?
    What's your character's build? Look up images of people that have the same basic height and weight of your character so you can get an idea of their silhouette and stature. If you play a character that is large and imposing, indicating an inappropriate height and weight will break your character image.
    Think about attire. This is influenced by position, profession and personality. A blacksmith won't always be walking down the street with their apron and a hammer on their back. An assassin can be dressed in anything from beggar's clothes to a noble's surcoat. A warrior might walk with a limp to hide the clank of armor underneath his cloak. Any of these characters might make it a point to keep a daisy in their lapel.
    You may also revisit Physical Appearance after thinking about Personality and History, as they individually and together have an influence on Appearance. A mousy bookworm isn't likely to be tanned and muscular, and a belligerent orphan in an abusive institution is likely to have scars or missing teeth.
    Personality in roleplay - traits and motivations
    There are hundreds of lists and dozens of books written on personality types and character traits. For the sake of simplicity we'll go with the five personality traits that most modern psychologists accept as being the basis for all other personality traits.
    OCEAN, or Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism. The (modified) explanation for OCEAN provided below is an excerpt from a Wikipedia Article:
    Openness to experience: (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious). Appreciation for art, unusual ideas, and variety of experience. Openness is described as the extent to which a person is imaginative or independent, and depicts a personal preference for a variety of activities over a strict routine.
    Conscientiousness: (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless). A tendency to be organized and dependable, show self-discipline, act dutifully, aim for achievement, and prefer planned rather than spontaneous behavior.
    Extraversion: (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved). Energy, positive emotions, surgency, assertiveness, sociability and the tendency to seek stimulation in the company of others, and talkativeness.
    Agreeableness: (friendly/compassionate vs. analytical/detached). A tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others. It is also a measure of one's trusting and helpful nature, and whether a person is generally well tempered or not.
    Neuroticism: (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident). The tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily, such as anger, anxiety, depression, and vulnerability. Neuroticism also refers to the degree of emotional stability and impulse control.
    Note that these categories are not meant to compete with one another, that each category represents a spectrum on which a character can land, and that being at the extreme of either end is unbalanced (which can make for very interesting characters, but don't try to "score high" in each category either).
    Consider how your roleplay character fulfills each category and where on the range they fall.
    Extraversion can range from "I'm the life of the party" to "I'm quiet around strangers". Agreeableness can range from" I have a soft heart" to "I'm not interested in other people's problems".
    Some basics of personality to think about are fears, prejudices, morals and motivations. All of these paint and influence personality, but motivations are the traits that tend to be most obvious to other characters.
    Sample Motivations
    Achievement and Acquisition: A desire to overcome obstacles, to acquire recognition or fame, or to just be the best. Adventure: To explore everything, discovery mysteries, blaze new trails. Chaos: To disrupt social order, sew confusion, destroy buildings and extinguish life. Education: To gain knowledge or information, to train under prestigious teachers or be a teacher themselves. Nobility: For a higher purpose, order, religion, etc. Peace: To bring harmony to the world and protect the helpless. Recreation: To have fun and enjoy life. Power: To gain material wealth and land, to accrue power, to control others. Character history
    I've seen Character Histories that were a few sentences long, and others that were a separate thread and multiple posts long. There's a lot you could choose to say about a character in this section and how much to include is, as always, a matter of personal preference.
    I suggest including only what is relevant to your character's current roleplay. Regardless of age, your character's childhood can be very crucial to your character's personality and motivations and their current story. But if your character's current story is about avenging their lover's death, their childhood is very likely of no consequence at all.
    What shaped your character's personality or outlook of the world? What history/profession/interest explains your character's abilities, attire, and equipment? Have they met any influential people or participated in historically important events? Why is your character where they are now, doing what they're doing?
    Abilities and equipment in roleplay - find the balance and play the game
    Unless closely tied into Personality and History, I suggest making Abilities and Equipment the last section you focus on. It's a common trend among RPers to see a cool weapon or power on a video game or show/anime. I'm here to say, don't fall for the trap! Valucre is about you being free to write whatever moves you and inspiration comes from all angles, but in my experience these types of "shake and bake" characters are not very fulfilling and tend to evaporate quickly.
    You want things about your roleplay character to make sense, and if they don't, to be able to explain why that is. Abilities and powers should be relevant to your character's history. A mermaid that can talk to fish and manipulate water makes more sense than a mermaid that periodically breathes fire – the latter doesn't have to be impossible but the idea is a non sequitur, it does not "follow", and if you can't explain why your aquatic creature is capable (or cursed? compelled?), you break your character's image.
    In terms of cost, weight, and amount, is your character's equipment sensible?? How much growth are you allowing your character, and whether a little or a lot, is it this deliberate? How much of your character's abilities and equipment is created in the narrative (the sheet, the background), and how much is received through actual content written on the site and interaction with the community?
  21. Like
    supernal got a reaction from chibixxgurotears for a article, Roleplay FAQ   
    What is roleplaying? What is play-by-post roleplay?
    Roleplaying is the playing of a role. Funny, right?
    Play-by-Post roleplay, the term for roleplay on a forum, is a mutated form of round-robin writing. Threads take place in a location (in this continent, that kingdom, this forest or teahouse or armory) and players take turns writing and replying to one another as their characters. Or as other characters, usually called NPCs (Non-Player Characters; more on that later). Or as the setting itself. 
    Writing is the primary medium of our kind of roleplay. It isn't the only one, as people often incorporate music or a picture or an animation as part of their roleplay, but it's the largest and most accessible component of roleplay as it happens on a forum. This distinguishes play-by-post roleplay from table-top games like D&D and Warhammer, from video games like World of Warcraft and GuildWars, and from LARP, which is basically Improv Acting + Cosplay. 
    Collaboration is key for roleplay. If you want to control all aspects of a story, all characters, all plot arcs and turning points, you're better off writing short stories and novels.
    Roleplay is what you do when you want to co-create narratives. When you want to experience a story that is in constant flux and which provides endless opportunity for surprise because you're not the only person responsible for what happens.
    Where do I play?
    On the front page, everywhere from Lagrimosa to Cierno represents the virtual space of Valucre and our World page has the lore for those places. It doesn't matter where you start because your character can go anywhere in the world. Make a thread in the appropriately named forum (Lagrimosa for Lagrimosa, Faejarhe for Faejarhe, etc) and you'll have a place to make a story.  
    How do I play?
    Create a character. Choose a roleplay and learn the setting. Post. Create a character
    You can have the character in your head or you can make a sheet. Sheets are optional. Though optional, some members find sheets useful for tracking information, especially if they make multiple characters. If you do make a sheet, post it in User Lore.
    Characters must adhere to Mild Powers, a ruleset we have to bring balance to the fact that Valucre is a freeform fantasy setting and we want to allow our users a high degree of creative expression. Mild Powers threshold is determined by  actual post content, not character sheets.
    We have blank character templates for those that want to use them, as well as a completely optional Character Creation Guide for more detailed advice.
    When thinking about a character, here are some things to consider, whether in your head or on a sheet:
    Appearance: What they look like. Basics, things other characters would notice at a glance such as hair and eye color or visible scars, will give your partners relevant details without being repetitious. Skills/Abilities: Most useful for combat roleplay, like tournaments or adventures, and otherwise not necessary. A lot of roleplay is slice-of-life and this requires very little or no special abilities at all.  Occupation: Their job. Usually ties in with the above. History: Just enough to give your character substance, so it isn't as if they came out of nothing. Anything longer written pieces would be better placed in Creativity Showcase, where our members often display their poetry and prose. Choose a role play, know the setting
    Valucre's lore is immense. Many are tempted to read as much as they can, which is great. That's why it was written. But keep in mind that Valucre's lore is a work which has been added to over a decade by hundreds of members. Don't get scared off thinking you have to read the history of a continent to write in one of its forests or cities. Just read about that area to get started. 
    The lore is there to enhance your writing, not to get in the way of it.
    Post
    Now there's nothing left to do but post. The two fundamental things to keep in mind are:
    Have fun Put in some effort. Your writing doesn't need to be flawless and no one expects it to be, but people respond better and with more effort if they see their partner is putting in effort as well. 
    Roleplay Etiquette
    Formatting: Space out your paragraphs. Walls of text are difficult to read and fatiguing to the eye. If you use colored font keep in mind that some users are on Dark themes and others on Light, and it may not carry over well.
    Player primacy: In terms of the lore, a board leader has final say. In terms of the content of a thread, the creator of the thread (or character) is the ultimate authority. This means that, among other things, a player can decide on the magic, technology levels and abilities for their RP and have the final say regarding the fate of their own characters.
    Consequences: Actions have consequences. Characters don't exist in a vacuum and the setting isn't there just to prop up character exploits. If your character engages in criminal activity the setting will push back, and any characters who consistently evade IC consequences to an unreasonable extent may be breaking established canon (such as the ability of a police force to track down a serial killer). If so, IC responses  on the GM or setting level may follow.
    Make things happen: Keep in mind that you are one part of a narrative that is interacted with by many players. When you post don't just react to the things that have happened - make something happen. Add to the narrative, push the story forward, include something that gives other players a chance to react as well.
    Item creation and weighting: Users can create items or acquire them through roleplay. To balance the site's freeform potential against the lore's integrity, Valucre follows a hierarchy system. From top down, artifacts > canon items > readymade items. This means artifacts created by board leaders for their area will always be the strongest. Then items which a player creates  through canonized roleplay. Then items users can make on a whim for their sheets or character backgrounds. 
    NPCs: Try your best to be faithful to the source material in your portrayal of NPCs and always presume competence. If the NPCs of an area are known for being strong, then portray them as formidable. If they're known for being intelligent, try not to portray them as easily fooled. NPCs are there to serve various functions in your stories, but whether they win or lose, please be mindful of their intended role in the setting. If in doubt, reach out to the author!
    Magic: Magic is a common storytelling device used in fantasy of all types. Magic's appeal lies in its mystery, power, and costs. Please remember its use should follow the same rules of good storytelling and cooperation we advance and emphasize everywhere on Valucre -- rules including fairness, respect for other people's agency over their characters, appropriate scale, and consideration for the stories other writers are trying to tell. Magic with a cost, that is unpredictable, that solves one problem but creates another, are all good examples of magic use which increases rather than deflates tension. [also see: valucre's laws of magic]
    Post order: Replies should cycle through players in the order they join unless otherwise stated. This makes it easier to know who posts when to help manage expectations.
    Realism vs Verisimilitude: Verisimilitude is the believably of a work of fiction. Generic verisimilitude is the plausibility of a fictional work within the bounds of it own context. A character singing about their feelings all the time isn't very realistic, but inside of the fictional universe of a musical it makes perfect sense. Inside of a free-form fantasy universe, strict realism isn't as useful as verisimilitude.
    Reply time: 2 days before skipping is the standard. Many members take on multiple threads or request a faster or slower pace, and it's up to you to make clear your expectations to your partners. You can use PMs or the @ mention feature of the site to let people know it's their turn.
    Tags: Use the tag system to your advantage. Threads that are listed as Open get automatically added to a tag aggregate linked at the site footer and are openly advertised in Valucre's social media. Closed threads let people know your story isn't taking any newcomers.
    Villains: Antagonistic characters can be very fun to play and serve a purpose towards creating conflict and dramatic tension. However if your villain or antagonist is impossible to defeat then other players will grow frustrated and lose interest in trying to best them; that makes the story serve you rather than you serving the story. Defeating a villain doesn't have to be easy, or without a cost to the heroes, but should remain a distinct possibility.
    Gamesmanship: Don't look for loopholes in a game a player makes.
    Offers: An offer is action or dialogue that progresses the scene. Offers can be clear or open. Clear offers point in a certain direction, and open offers provide options. Be unambiguous when making offers. An offer is weak when it's superficial or vague. Like a game of "yes, and" and "yes, but" in improv, try to accept offers and build on them. Try to avoid blocking or denying offers and if you feel an offer is inappropriate, address it OOC instead of rejecting it IC.
    Valucre Role Play Glossary
    AFV: Away From Valucre. Used when announcing extended absences. Auto (AKA powergame): Taking control of another character or inflicting damage on another character without the owner's permission. Depends on degree and context. Writing someone out of the thread because they're inactive is generally accepted. Dictating another character's reactions is generally frowned upon. Ex: People are fine with an innocent handshake but not if it turns into a Judo flip. Canon: The body of Valucre's lore. The end result of years of effort and collective, creative contribution from the board leaders and all of the site members. Read the Canonization Guide for more information. Strict canon: The actual approved and reviewed canon which gets integrated into the site lore. Strict canon follows the canonization process.  Loose canon: The memories of collective events shared by players, and whose content or results are not confirmed by a board leader. Loose canon does not follow the canonization process (ex: Daily Weekly). Flexible time: Flexible time is the concept that your character can participate in multiple threads so long as you keep track of your character's subjective timeline. Threads can't happen in different locations at the "same time", but one thread could come before another, and you only need to keep track of which is "before" and which is "after" for your character. Godmodding: Creating a character, item, ability, etc with no weaknesses, flaws, or limits or that otherwise easily deflates narrative tension. IC: In Character. Mary Sue: Common literary term to mean a perfect character with no weakness aka a godmod character. Metagaming: Taking information you know as a player and unfairly applying it to in-character action despite a lack of grounds for your character to know that information. NPC: Non-Player Character - Any other character in the game world, such as a guard or a bartender. Some NPC's require special permissions to control. It is more acceptable for a player to NPC a bartender than it is to NPC a mayor. OOC: Out of Character. OP: Original poster PC: Player Character. A character controlled by a player. Readymade (AKA shake-n-bake): A story element (character, item, setting, etc) quickly put together for story purposes rather than taken from existing canon. A readymade village is not a legitimized piece of canon, hence has no map placement or sub-board, but players are free to create villages for plot purposes. Session Zero: A planning session where the gaming group collaboratively lays the groundwork for a new campaign T1: Interchangeable with "turn based combat". Collaborative: Choreographed to various degrees, from completely scripted to loosely plotted. This requires only that players decide between themselves how combat should go Competitive: Unscripted combat. Requires a third-party method (such as a judge, a scoring system, or dice) to settle differences
  22. Like
    supernal got a reaction from Purple Eagle for a article, Hell's Gate   
    Attribution: Artbreeder

    Themes: High Tech; Science Fantasy - Mild Powers
    City Manager: Matthius Brown
    In the original Terric, the city's name translates loosely into The Ward Against Inferno. It was only after the Oligarchic Republic fell in approx. 853 BG that the city was renamed to Hell's Gate.
    News
    A serial killer talks the streets of Hell's Gate, and seems to be targeting the members of a specific religious order known as the Order of Thorns.
    Young PeaceKeeper Michael enrolls into a combat surveillance program which sees him partnered with a "slice" of the Victory ASI (artificial super intelligence).
    Geography
    Terrain
    Hell's Gate straddles the line between the Wilds and the Wastelands. To the east lies a wedge of searing desert that's familiar to the locals but the northern stretch of the Wastelands has transformed into frozen tundra as a consequence of its loci losing the existential war it had been waging against the Shawnee glacier. To the south and west stretch hundreds of miles of savanna and to the southeast lies Limbo, a salvage yard with rife with scraps of transport and weapons technology and an organized shanty town with a market around biomedical operations.
    Cityscape
    Hell's Gate
    Stepping within the city limits of Hell's Gate, one feels the full weight of Terran brilliance bearing down from every angle. The architecture is unlike any other in the whole of Lagrimosa. The buildings reach to dizzying heights. 
    Tectonic faults have been patched up by Gaian Engineers, removing virtually any threat of earthquakes. The bases of the buildings are modeled after massive trees, with complex root systems reaching down into the earth and anchoring the buildings against powerful winds. The buildings themselves are truly massive. Several of these are 'micro-cities, internally self-sufficient and capable of being completely isolated from the rest of Terrenus with regards to energy, food, and waste disposal. For now the micro-cities are built with educational entertainment and leisure in mind.
    Social Temperature
    Note: Be mindful of the fact that the above thread was first posted years ago and the setting (conflicts, opportunities, etc), being in constant flux, have no doubt changed
    Climate
    Hell's Gate's ambient temperature was originally to the point that only Wasteland natives were capable of settling. A massive underground aquifer fed by various channels from a water source far west was the city's only source of water. In the flourish of knowledge and magi-technology since, Hell's Gate ambient temperature is at a more tropical and an artificial river running through its direct center is used for trade and washing but kept clean enough by internal purifiers to classify as potable.
    Flora and Fauna
    Elderberry: Elderberry is a fairly abundant plant used in a common form of Terran divination which uses tea leaves. One variant throwsthe leaves on the ground or in the air and predicts the future by how they scatter. The most common involves drinking a tea made of elderberry and navigating through cryptic and symbol-heavy delusions to decipher the threads of fate. It is dark brown or dark red and usually around 40 centimeters in length.

    Demographics
    Culture
    Eustace Monroe, esteemed civil engineer before becoming mayor of Hell's Gate, has been quoted as saying that "if I see Gaia in anything, I see her in nature. As much in the elegant mathematics of a flower as in the intrepid manner that all life. Even life-less forms seek to defy their chains. So as the storm rages and the lightning cracks, so as the waves swell and drown the lands, so as the fire blazes and consumes all, so as the mountains reach for the heavens I tell you that man is more audacious yet!"
    Economy
    Hell's Gate is the largest manufacturer throughout the nation of Lagrimosa. As a governmental entity Hell's Gate and an array of private entities inside of Hell's Gate constitute a singular royal warrant holder with Empire and maintains a monopsony business model with them. The first means that they are a preferred seller of goods to Empire and the second means that Empire is an almost exclusive buyer of Hell's Gate's highly engineered goods. This has been the case not only through the Haze era but for centuries, an arrangement that Empire more adopted and refined than cut out of whole cloth. Hell's Gate ranks among one of the wealthiest territories in the world.
    Companies, institutions and locations
    Club Tablillas:  An exotic nightclub, with an attached karaoke restaurant, located on the west side of Hell's Gate.  Here, every breath is an enchantment and every movement is an exhibition of power.  This Stygian expanse, illuminated solely by fantastical sources of light generated by the club's many patrons, bleeds ghostly shadows that amplify emotion, transforming it into a sensible force that shapes the environment in unpredictable ways. Monroe's Laboratory: The Monroe Lab is the converted mansion of the last lordship, and previous regent, of Hell's Gate. It is a castle, a veritable fortress, retrofitted with cutting edge technology to service chemical, biological, and engineering research. Glasmann Estate (G. Estate): A palatial, walled structure, rumored to predate the Slipstick River, serves as House Glasmann's ancestral home.  A testament to the prosperity, longevity, and traditionalism of the eccentric Glasmann family, artistry and craftsmanship adorn every shining facet of this ancient domicile. Limbo: Junkyard in HG's south-eastern quarter Monroe Foundation: The commercial arm of the Monroe dynasty. The Foundation now specializes in automating technologies, after being beaten out of the medical field by House Trasimene. The president is Eustace's younger sister, Henrietta. A master in engineering and software development, Henrietta piloted complex golem intelligence and has pioneered the first Artificial SuperIntelligence (ASI) housed in an organic matrix. Sky Docks: What commercial air traffic there is in Terrenus finds a major hub in Hell's Gate docks, the largest, most popular and most secure of the nation. There are three (five as of 26 AO) primary docks for enterprise vessels and a slew of smaller ones for private vessels. The Purple Axe Tavern and Inn: A purple axe cutting the moon into a crescent is burned into a wooden sign and onto the large double doors leading into the tavern. This is a generic tavern and inn. Players are free to come up with their own as well. The Slipstick River: Giorgio Slipstick (natural philosopher and civil engineer) designed the Slipstick River in the last year of his life. Despite Hell's Gate bordering the Wastelands, this magi-tek driven river remains cool and clean, constantly recycling and purifying itself. Government
    Local government
    Watchmen
    20,000 soldiers: Trained by the military and assigned from all across Terrenus. 20,000 Enforcers: The local police are a structured militia, for all intents and purposes. Since they are made up primarily of the citizens, as opposed to having been assigned by the military, the police are more likely to be corrupt. 12,000 Wastelands Border Patrol: Hell's Gate is their headquarters. Federal government

    Education
    Hell's Gate education focuses primarily on engineering, magitechnology, and natural science.
    Notable Residents
    Armand Maray: Armand moved to Hell's Gate due to a lifelong passion for technology but employs ancient and esoteric methods in his occupation as artificer.  Cadmium Metireal: Major in the Empire's military. Eustace Monroe: Missing. Esteemed engineer and previous regent. Alongside Odin Haze and Edward Brown, Eustace was one of the pioneers of the magi-tech revolution that swept over Lagrimosa shortly after the Crusades.  Henrietta Monroe: Engineer, software developer, automation specialist, and current president of the Monroe Foundation. Henrietta is Eustace's younger sister. She has a skin disease which makes her look much older than she is, and in spite of her physical fitness. Trilith: Although not strictly speaking a resident of Hell's Gate, becoming the champion of the MOBS tournament has catapulted Trilith into the local spotlight. History
    Canon
    Club Tablillas - The Redeemer and The Heiress: Ilyana Sevryn and Caeceila Glasmann forge a momentous alliance with the ultimate goal of resolving several of the woes afflicting Hell's Gate, principally combating the local Enrele epidemic and agitating for more reasonable deployment of Artificial Intelligence within Hell's Gate or, failing that, sabotaging industrial applications of Artificial Intelligence within Hell's Gate. The long road home: A criminal trio travel to Hell’s Gate. After realizing they are low on funds, two adopt the guise of random women and manipulate a few men into purchasing a room. Rodan (one of the criminals) mutates a man into a rug, another into a copy of the innkeeper where they're staying (Nature's Repose) and telepathically manipulates the real owner into deliberately walking into a trap. As the dust settles after this bloody takeover, Lunara (another criminal) makes a local contact who helps smuggle Rodan to Weland while she travels with Agony (the third criminal) to Yh'mi. Desolation: A brutal serial killer known as the Apostate stalks the streets of Hell's Gate, targeting members of a select Gaian sect known as the Order of Thorns, as Detective Alexander Hawk races to stop him The cost of victory: Michael Commager's Oculus crystal is removed and repurposed to house a limited instance of the Victory ASI, developed in Hell's Gate. The purpose of this is two-fold: to gather data on field-test combat and investigation scenarios as navigated by a PeaceKeeper, and to observe Michael's mental and physical state after the combat in Last Chance. Chasing Damaged Threads: Caeceila Glasmann has captured three persons of interest from the Red Festival and delivered them to a Hell's Gate military outpost for advanced interrogation. Consider the roots: A Gaian priest and two apprentices (Yates, Mae, and Kai, in that order) are on task to explore an underground access tunnel discovered by a commercial construction crew; a common enough task for an order of geomancers. Underground they discover a murder, the town of Anchorage with its stone-people, and a volatile religion with an ominous creed. Emergence from Hell's Gate: A new crime family begins to rise in Hell's Gate eastern district. Their leader makes a simple offer: join, die, or disappear. I, Henrietta: A tour through the famed Monroe Foundation's automation facilities turns sideways. A little girl is kidnapped, at which point she's revealed to be the new artificial intelligence Henrietta has spent years creating. Noel, Invarti and Tancred give chase to the kidnappers, taking them through explosive filled runes, a high speed chase to a flight school, and the forceful grounding of an airship to keep the AI from leaving Terrenus First steps of a long journey: One exiled king's quest begins with a single step in Hell's Gate. Corruption in Hell's Gate: Investigating rumors about corruption in the police force in the run-down sectors of Hell's Gate, the police discover a mysterious group known as Bushido Blade, led by master thief Lexi Sterling. They are stopped but the motives behind their infiltration are still unclear.  Hunting for the broken hearts killer . . . wait, another?: A group has gathered in Hell's Gate to investigate a copycat of the Broken Hearts Killer. They find and arrest the suspect. Bad Times in Hell's Gate: An orc and a former assassin work together to protect the people of a tenement from three vicious gangs looking to exploit the location for their own desires. Using poison, the orc and assassin are able to turn the gangs against one another and succeed in saving the citizens from the gangs.  FIST - A deadly melody: Detective Hawk was sent to Hell's Gate to investigate the Broken Heart Murders, only to find that the murders were being carried out by multiple people. Further investigation dispelled the idea of a cult and Hawk uncovered a dangerous musical enchantment at the core of the mystery. Hawk gathered survivors of the Song to fight against the Infected and has requested a quarantine over part of the city where the disease is worst.  Truth of Bombing: A while ago a primary dock in the Hell's Gate airport was bombed. After the rebuild effort, Heina (Terrenus Military) and her colleague Alex began investigating the cause. They combat mercenaries dressed as fake soldiers and send collected information to Central.  Quarantine: During a quarantine, an unknown group of assailants make their way onto one of Hell's Gate's three primary airdocks by inciting a riot and using this as a diversion to sneak into the dock's power control center and blow it up from the inside. Hell is Within You: A star labelled "Ggatho" rises, and one of the resident astronomers brings with it ill tidings and has, in some manner, unleashed the White Death (Infected is afflicted with a lethal chill, skin turning white and gleaming, before becoming stiff and dying) upon the western quadrant of the city. To Kill A Mockingbird, Pt. 1: Unknown personnel infiltrate Dr. Monroe's manor in the wake of the Docking Station explosion. Research on pheromones as well as the student conducting the research has gone missing. This is the second kidnapping, including that of one Eustace Monroe, to happen on the manors ground within 48 hours. A sell sword selling his sword: For some time now rats have been a problem in certain parts of Hell's Gate, but recently the rats have gone from nuisance to legitimate threat as they have been seen swarming and attacking citizens. Elijah, retired Wastelands Border Patrol, found that the source of the rats mysterious aggression was some manner of mutant rat-man. Eijah then acted out his role as pest-control. Past
  23. Superlike!
    supernal got a reaction from Imogen of the Weald for a article, Brevity Rules or Low Drag RP   
    Originally from I challenge you to brevity
    Players can adjust any aspect of the brevity rules to suit their roleplay but below are the standard
    48 hour turnaround time If a thread goes 2 days without a post, a post must be made by someone/anyone and it must advance the story ~300 word maximum Even if you have time to write more, keep it to 300-350. The more you write, especially if there are multiple partners in a thread, the more your partners have to read in order to make their own posts Always forward! Every post must add or change something, or advance the story in some way 
  24. Thanks
    supernal got a reaction from Imogen of the Weald for a article, Lagrimosa Landing Page   
    Terran Calendar: The current year is 31 AO = 599 WTA. All new threads happen during the current year unless otherwise stated by the creator. 

    Setting elements cannot be ignored or manipulated
    City maps are guides and not authoritative sources
    ✪ = City | ✦ = Landmark | ✿ = Independent territory
    ✪ Casper (Primary sea port)
    ✪ Ignatz
    ✪ Blairville (Secondary sky port)
    ✪ Hell's Gate (Primary sky Port) | Langley Keep
    ✪ Martial Town
    ✪ Last Chance (Secondary sea port) ✦ Biazo Isle | Bi'le'ah | ✪ Aspyn
    ✦ Weland Gorge; Day River
    ✦ Scudder Forests
    ✦ Hills of Noddendody
    ✦ Blue Hills
    ✦ Moonwood ✦ Ponkapoag Lake | Gaian Academy; Haunted Glen
    ✦ Timber Creek
    ✦ Great Pine Barrens | No Man's Land; Witch's Cave; Herbie's Bed; Peaceful Woods
    ✦ Sidereal Lake | Zuhl Plateau
    ✦ Forgotten Wood
    ✦ Black Ridge
    ✦ Hidden Valley
    ✦ Dark Forest | The Cedars
    ✦ Forbidding Hills
    ✦ Shawnee Glacier
    ✦ The Wastelands | Badlands; High Desert; Dead Peaks
    ✦ Blaurg Mountain
    ✦ Coconino Marsh | Labyrinth Forest; Coconino Creek
    ✦ Hills of Lost Hearts ✦ Barnstable Coast
    ✦ Southern Sea
    ✿ Predator's Keep
    ✿ Amalia
    ✿ Yh'mi
    ✿ Eridianus | Taen | Ursa Madeum
    ✿ Absalom | Béhods
    ✿ Chesterfield | Aligoria
    ✿ Nesthome Announcements
    Newer information at the top; keep up with the latest in the Updates thread.
    Lightning Rail infrastructure between the major cities of the Terran Empire have been replaced with MagVac Train technology.
    Breaking news from the Symposium Against Doom - body snatchers and volatile loci
    (historical note) Due to the events of the Civil War - Phase 1, mass transportation across Lagrimosa was previously crippled for a period of and magical availability deeply concentrated in the Shawnee Wastelands for a period of 3 years. During Civil War - Phase 2, different factions established themselves in the greater Wilds and poised themselves for sovereignty. During Civil War - Phase 3, the factions fully transitioned to enclaves. Notable stewards of their greater regions are Chesterfield and Absalom.
    Geography
    Lagrimosa is approximately 18 million square miles (approximately 2x North American) with a citizen population of approximately 350,000,000 (three-hundred-fifty million) as of 28 AO.
    Climate
    The Wilds are perilous because they are home to tempestuous magic and dangerous creatures. A dense arcanosphere has resulted in large zones of unpredictable climate, terrain and random side effects on plant and animal life. It has also been noted to render gunpowder unreliable in greater Lagrimosa (meant to prompt creative alternatives to basic firearms).
    The tip of Ponkapoag Lake will be used as the central marker for description purposes. The area enveloping Ponkapoag Lake and Coconino Marsh is characterized by warm, dry summers which average 66°F with low precipitation and cool, wet winters which average 25°F and moderate precipitation. Evergreen and deciduous trees, fig, walnut and citrus trees, and bay rosemary herbs thrive in the area.
    Northward the weather increases sharply in temperature and vegetation becomes sparse as grasslands and forests turn into desert with average temperatures of 100°F and prolonged ry periods. The desert is expansive but is at its north-eastern section is abruptly interrupted by arctic tundra. In 28 AO the Shawnee genius loci overtook the Wastelands and froze the desert.
    Southward are warm summers and cool winters with a narrow annual temperature range. There is no dry season here. Precipitation ranges from moderate to heavy and the forests are temperate especially in the Great Pine Barrens. In the tropical climates of Amalia, Ursa Madeum and Biazo Isle, year round temperatures are consistently a humid 75°F and are dominated by rain, with periodic monsoons.
    Flora and Fauna
    Lagrimosa has readily recognizable plant and animal life: flowers, trees, dogs, horses, birds, crabs, salmon, etc. Unique instances of each have been gathered into the Terran Creature Codex, the Terran Herbology Index and Herbalism 202. Users aren't limited to present material and are encouraged to generate unique plant and animal life (in adherence to Mild Powers).
    Cities, Provinces, Territories
    The Terran Empire directly manages a handful of megacities (with numbers in flux due to geopolitical unrest) and numerous villages, towns, and enclaves around the nation. The cities are population dense and, thanks to magi-tech introduced with Odin Haze's sweeping regime, vary wildly in setting and tone. The land outside and between the cities is considered unorganized or unincorporated depending on overlap between existing societies.
    Lagrimosa's Wilds present a lethal barrier to travel and unchecked growth. Travel outside of mass transport or without a security detail is a gamble with life-threatening stakes.
    Of villages and towns for more detail.
    Culture
    Terrenus Quest Index
    Terrenus Artifact List
    A citizen who has served in the military, gone through public education, and lives within one of the megacities is literate, combat capable, and versed in magical theory and application (aware of phenomena such as ghosts, charms, telepathy; capable of using magic as a result of training and knowledge).
    A native from one of the towns or villages is likely to be literate but have a mythical, rather than empirical, understanding of magic passed to them through tradition, more intuition than logical. Although this makes country magicians more susceptible to charlatans and superstitions, and makes the reliably engineered results of magi-tech less accessible, the wisdom which comes from generational insight into specific frameworks produces younger magicians capable of wielding stronger, older magic.
    Terrans love art, food and dance but have a deep and special love of music, for millenia having considered it the universal language before the discovery of mathematics and then magic.
    Language
    Terric is the primary language of the Terran Empire. It is spoken in all megacities and most towns, though becomes rare in isolated villages and islands, where pidgin forms (Terril, Terrin, Terrie, etc) are usually the norm. Terric's primary dialects sounds like Spanish (users should treat this as a plot device and are not expected to learn how to write Spanish). Other dialects sound close to Romance-influenced language, such as Italian and French, but will also deviate into Germanic-influenced languages. 
    The rarest language in Lagrimosa is Oldspeak, which is practiced by less than 1% of the population. The language requires line of sight and has no verbal components, instead communicating complete ideas between speaker and receiver. 
    Magic
    The Terran federal government has published a white paper on the Terran laws of magic, an authoritative perspective on the laws, principles and terminology of magic as they apply in Lagrimosa.
    Religion
    Gaianism: Quick Reference Guide
    Bible of Gaia
    The Gaian Church
    Gaianism is Lagrimosa's largest religion, making up approximately 50% (down from 79% and then 70%) of the total population. Gaianists consider nature, the universe, reality, magic and mathematics to be mortally comprehensible expressions of an otherwise inconceivable form.
    Gaianism advocates peace and cooperation as effective strategies, not blind pacifism, leaving violence as a final but sometimes necessary solution. The notable exception of this rule are Unnatural, any creature of perverse necromancy such as: vampires, zombies, liches, and occasionally Outsiders. Gaians attack Unnaturals on principle unless the Unnatural has taken visible efforts to prove themselves benign.
    Cuisine
    As a whole the food produced by Empire trends towards the utilitarian. Three primary staples are high-yield disease resistant wheat varieties, a sub-species of rice engineered to biosynthesize beta-carotene, and a hardy cabbage variant which can grow in nearly any biome. This has led to a staggeringly robust ability for Empire to produce food for its citizens, making political inequality and the dangers of transporting food through the savage Wilds the primary drivers behind widespread hunger.
    In its parts, Empire's cuisine can be extravagant to the point of pedantry. Dougton, for example, produces over 100 varieties of cheeses, Casper's array of seafood dishes are second to none (with a special emphasis on snapper, octopus and squid, lobster, and salmon), and Ashville's long-standing traditions for pâtissiers remains alive even when the city is defunct, moving its pastry-making locus to Aspyn.
    With the vineyard in full production in Biazo Isle, Empire is also becoming known for its wines.
    Fashion
    Co-authoring credit to Csl
    Thanks primarily to a largely isolationist government much of Terran fashion has been insular, known to and satisfying the needs mostly of the continent's inhabitants. This trend has changed in the last few years as Dali Fashions, based out of Ursa Madeum, builds international recognition for itself but that is the rare exception - much of Terran fashion is tribal.
    The innate dangers presented by the Wilds has guided Terran design to favor pragmatics over aesthetics. Though these vary by culture or region, garments are made for durability, mobility, and protection from the elements. Enhancing clothing and gear is a common practice as well, with both magical and technological methods; more arcane locations like Blairville specialize in enchantments, while Hell’s Gate integrates magitech in adventurer gear.
    At a national level, one of the early and most persistent waves of vogue design are what is known as "dungeon couture", whose designs and specifications align themselves with the long-standing tradition of adventure economics through the continent's history. Lagrimosa, then Terrenus, has innovated and mass-produced fireproof cloaks and hoodies, suits with hand stitched invisibility runes for slinky thieves, autoswords, and hosts an annual convention of mages and engineers known as StabCon to discuss new enchantments, meta-materials, or machining techniques.
    Technology and Development
    Technology in Lagrimosa is highly advanced, arguably some of the most advanced on the planet. Although this fact not immediately grasped by foreigners accustomed to more conventional forms, the Terran Empire is the historical pioneer of magi-tech on Valucre, democratizing and automating a great deal of otherwise obscure and hidden knowledge. Lagrimosa has golems where another country might have robots, stone satellites powered by runes and divination lattices, telepathy-networks, and crystal-based tactile computing systems instead of console based computers one might find elsewhere.
    In this sense technology found in Lagrimosa tends to blur the line between the physical, the magical, and their intersections. As both a user's knowledge and the physical media are influential to functionality, technology must be more broadly defined; it can be something learned and understood rather than simply picked up and used. For this reason education, especially developmental and postgraduate education, is of vital importance to the government. The newest generations of children show an adept knowledge of magical theory, a strong grasp of complex mathematical concepts and explore unconventional modes of thought. Like with telecom availability (see below), technology and magi-tech is the most advanced in the cities and attenuates as one goes into towns and then villages, replaced by folkloric and mythical modes of thought and ritual magic.
    Author's note: "Lagrimosa uses magic to achieve modern results".
    Transportation
    Transportation varies between cities depending on magi-tech saturation and biomimicry levels. Below are national standards.
    Animal Propulsion
    Often used for inter-city travel, ridden alone or attached to a cabby. The maintenance and upkeep of living transport makes it a largely inefficient for inner city travel or at scale, but because a large percentage of a given city's population are transients (international foreigners, inter-city adventurers, non-natives that live elsewhere on the nation, etc), animal propulsion is still fairly common. A lot of infrastructure continues to supports this form of travel. Horses (ground), Imperial Drae (aerial) and Rider Dragons (aerial) are common mounts.
    Mechanical Propulsion
    Often used for inner city travel. Automatic wagons with steam-engines produced in Tia and Martial Town, and gyroscopic  spheres with stable cores produced by Gaian engineers in Hell's Gate are the most common examples. In densely packed city infrastructure, powered zip-lines are occasionally employed between buildings. Sea-ships and air-ships are common for travel around and between nations. Submarines, which Empire invented and introduced into the world as a counter to the Siren menace, are predominantly used to the military but are becoming more popular among wealthier merchants.
    Magical Propulsion
    Inter-city travel used to be served primarily via Rail and Gate, until consequences of the civil war combined with supernatural phenomena to cause catastrophic damage to both and bring them offline for several years. Tia's Faux-ton system is growing in popularity but has limited application until more pylons are deployed, found primarily in Biazo Isle. 
    Lightning Rails - used to be magnetically propelled trains capable of traveling several hundred miles an hour. Currently offline. Tracks are used by slower, simpler, privately owned carts and trolleys for now.
    Warp Gates - used to be stabilized portals and the only reliable method of teleportation in Lagrimosa. Currently offline. 
    Faux-ton System - Tia patented technology that converts matter to energy to achieve sub-luminal travel speeds. Currently online but limited in presence. 
    New - Rail services between Casper, Hell's Gate and Ignatz has been restored.
    New - Lightning Rail infrastructure between the major cities of the Terran Empire have been replaced with MagVac Train technology.
    Communications
    General Information
    Following the proliferation of Empire magi-tech in Lagrimosa, economic concerns shifted to prioritize three emerging markets: Energy, Information and Transportation.
    With the explosion of communication methods came the immediate concern over authentication (assurance of claimed identity), integrity (assurance data has not been altered), and confidentiality (assurance that none but specified parties can read a piece of data). In response Empire pioneered the fields of encryption, digital signatures and public capability to create spontaneous networks (imagine instant internet of variable size).
    Military technology and ciphers are known to be highly advanced, though private and public technology is catching up as corporations invest in the Information market. For example, military-grade communication systems use quantum entangled encryption to prevent interception by using the observer effect, making any interception obvious and rendering the data useless.
    OOC discussion about some of this technology
    Telecom Availability
    As with other gifts from Empire, sophisticated technology attenuates as one moves from the dense cities towards the smaller towns and villages.
    One notable technology which are widespread are twinned crystal relays which allow for easy, long-distance audio communication between any parties with properly tuned crystals and without the need for complicated training. These simple but effective radios have drastically reduced missing persons reports, increased cultural exchange and facilitated knowledge transfer.
    Villages: Tribes and villages use magical means to communicate where possible. Examples include telepathy, oneiromancy (dream-walking), divinatory practices with water, smoke and mirrors, and shamanistic practices like reading tea leaves and animal guts or bones. Where these means are not available, visual communications rely heavily on beacons, smoke signals, and flags and audio communications rely on coded drumbeats and whistles. 
    Towns: Towns use copper and nth wires run over natural ley-lines, piggy-backing on their natural radiation to power the communications. With this method towns are able to communicate with equivalents to telegraphs and telephones. With the advent of Tia's faux-ton relay system, towns are now able to communicate with line-of-sight-limited laser communications at millisecond speeds. 
    Cities: Communication systems in the megacities make full use of magical theory and the technological capabilities of the nation. Three-dimensional holographic arrays (holo-arrays for short) are used for information on politics, economics, weather, and criminal activity. These relay systems make use of the military satellites and are capable of radiation communication (radio and microwave).
    The World Fair introduced three new pieces of technology. The first is the LIES (Luminal Illusion Entertainment System), an immersive storytelling platform which is having a notable growth effect on the Entertainment sector. The second is the 'logical' Crook technology, which allows for spontaneous network creation. The third is the Faux-Ton, a materials transportation system invented by the Tia government which is faster than Rail but limited by line-of-sight. 
    In the years following the World Fair, a number of Ethereal Services have begun showing up in Lagrimosa economy.
    Government and Politics
    Odin Haze is recognized as Saint of Gaianism and King of the Terran Empire. Odin's rule is one of enlightened absolute monarchy. His administration embraces data and expertise as driving forces for national policy, Gaianist spirituality as the basis for social policy, and defers to local governments in most cases.
    The arts, sciences, education and social welfare flourish under Odin's regime, a near polar opposite to the dark ages of King Levas and Zengi; although this lines up with his moral compass it is also no coincidence a healthy and knowledgeable workforce generates large profits.
    The megacities are governed by managers who interpret federal law and administer local policy. Some are appointed, others elected, some rule by heritage, each in accordance with the distinct culture of its region; political states are a fluid in Empire. Each megacity also has a PeaceKeeper, a high-ranking military official to add balance, security, and division of labor for city governance.
    The Gaian Academy is a national university located on Deepview Island, an inland island and part of the Ponkapoag Lake archipelago. It is the premier education center in the nation, some argue even globally, and has also begun to establish itself as a competitive research facility.
    Law
    Author's note: I don't have a full legal system written out and likely never will because the complexity of that endeavor doesn't interest me. In terms of what's legal, reference real bodies of law for sensible basics. Imagine that things like theft, assault, perjury, slavery, and murder are illegal. Each city has a local police force to operate within its limits and the military employs federal investigators who are able to enforce law anywhere in the nation.

    The Safeguard Act - Prohibits the use of unlicensed magic in specific cities.
    Each city has a congress made up of majority and minority leaders.
    The majority leader is the elected official of a city (usually but not always), and the minority leader is usually the one who lost the elections but still represents a significant portion of the electorate. The king decides on issues which affect everyone. If managers are in conflict about any change, the king is the final word and can supersede any motion. The king also appoints chief of staff for various departments, such as the head of the military, the bureau of science, internal investigations, as well as determines who makes up the supreme court out of nominees put forward by the congress. 
    In criminal investigations Empire's law enforcement makes use of various forms of divination, in particular retrocognition and psychometry. Each megacity has at least one maximum security prison to house the most dangerous local criminals, such as terrorists, political prisoners, the excessively violent or those with gang affiliations.
    With Empire penology skewing towards rehabilitation rather than punishment and treating most criminal offenses as mental health issues, the megacities also have a larger distribution of minimum security prisons for non-violent offenders. Minimum security prisons populate the city at the ratio of 1:15 compared to libraries, hospitals, and schools.
    Lagrimosa also has one super-max prison in the Dead Peaks. The Dead Peaks prison is the most secure level of custody in the nation, purpose-built towards providing long term, segregated housing for inmates classified as posing a threat to national health (a classification that designates one a danger to people or life rather than to information or infrastructure) or international security risks. Recently the Dead Peaks Prison has gone offline with the loci event that saw the Shawnee Glacier covering most of the Wasteland.
    Empire exercises capital punishment nationwide for criminals that pose an unmanageable threat or show no potential for reform.
    Military
    Terran Military (Overview and Information)
    The king is also its Commander-in-Chief, exercising total authority over the military. Edward Brown (5-star General and PeaceKeeper handler) is Odin's right hand man and adviser, the highest military authority other than the King himself. He is involved in the day-to-day responsibilities of maintaining the military, government, and nation.
    The complex that stores and relays information, innovates military technology and strategy, and is responsible for national security is known as Central. Despite its name Central is actually decentralized and distributed throughout the nation. Those few offices that are permanently stationed and open to the public are often underground. This level of confidentiality does not apply to local agencies found in the cities such as Immigration, Sanitation, Education, and law enforcement.
    The path to citizenship in Empire requires a 2 year service in the military (or ranking to Sergeant) and bestows the ability to vote for officials and own and pass down land.
    Foreign Relations
    Empire is an autarky (self-sufficient) and practices a modified form of isolationism, declining to enter into political alliances and international agreements. Where Empire deviates from traditional isolationism is in their support of free trade, travel, and certain, limited, trade agreements with other kingdoms and nations. Recently Empire has entered into the International Police Program and oversaw the program's first successful capture of an international fugitive.
    Because the task of increasing the nation's food security was a critical priority for the Haze regime, Empire focused its resources on agronomy and created several techniques and tools for high-yield farming. This has greatly increased Empire's ability to self-sustain without foreign aid even when its economy falters.
    You can read more about Empire's political relations in Terran Military - Allies and Enemies.
    Economy
    A large part of Empire's economy is archeology based (see: professional adventures), with adventurers or researchers or salvagers taking on the high-risk work of crawling dungeons for the high reward of prized cultural artifacts or items of mystical power and arcane origin. Although this has led to some legal conflicts regarding ownership of artifacts, these disputes are generally handled in the courts after the adventurer has been paid for his or her legal reclamation efforts. Some smaller economies pivot around this, specializing in crafted weaponry, armor, and healing potions. Others are known to offer tours through cleared levels of dungeons and vaults for tourists.
    Empire exports a great deal of utility (i.e. non-combat) magi-tech and magical and scientific knowledge to other countries, and supplements its national income with submarine exploration of natural resources throughout the large tracts of Valucre which are underwater.
    Empire's economic and market systems revolve around precious metals. Crystals and other minerals are valuable as spell components but are not fungible.
    Copper, silver, gold, and platinum are the most common precious metals traded and used for purchase. Value is determined by weight and type, not by design or origin, allowing travelers and immigrants from other countries to more easily integrate.
    1 oz of Tin = .25 USD 1 oz of Copper = 2 USD 1 oz of Silver = 10 USD 1 oz of Gold = 50 USD 1 oz of Platinum = 100 USD 1 oz of Rhodium = 500 USD. Each metal currency comes in fractions as well, such as half-ounce and quarter-ounce coins. These prices are not an accurate reflection of real world costs.
    You can read more about special metals and materials in the Terran Materials List.
    Terran population demographics
    Teran religion demographics
    History
    Condensed Terran Timeline
    Major Historical Periods
    These events are from most recent to oldest.
     
  25. Superlike!
    supernal got a reaction from L E V I A T H A N for a article, Gaianism: A Quick Reference Guide.   
    What is Gaianism?
    Gaianism is a cosmic religion that celebrates and recognizes Gaia as the Supreme Diety; creator and mother to all things. Although many pagan and tribal religions share close parallels to Terran Gaianism, there are differences that help tell them apart.
    The earth itself is a symbolic, rather than a literal, manifestation of Gaia, a physical metaphor for something that cannot otherwise be conceived by mortal minds and that is the source of all life, creative thought, and positive energy. Gaia is an unseen goddess in that she has no face or permanent humanoid incarnation but her presence is deeply and personally felt among her followers.
    Modern Gaianism under Odin Haze is centrally organized with an internal hierarchy among its clergymen, and a rigorous set of rituals, practices and scripture.
    Gaianism precepts revolve arond peace, love, compassion and altruism but not blind pacifism. Gaians are raised believing that good flowers through the action of good and through the prevention of evil and so often are spiritually compelled to take a stand or oppose an evil influence.
    Very few derivative versions of Gaianism propose a version of an underworld where sinners are eternally punished. Most versions with a Hell also have it that the sinner can eventually pay the balance of his sins and ascend to a purer state or that the Executioner, not bound by physical laws, is able to extract penance from the soul directly and thereby cleanse it.
    Modern Gaianism also believes that Gaia can be found through a secular life and perspective, even if the observer doesn't recognize her, if it is one of pure dedication and discipline.
    What is an Unnatural?
    An Unnatural is a being whose existence is a perversion of life. Beings commonly classified as Unnatural are: Lichs, vampires, zombies, poltergeists (but not ghosts or spirits*), aberrations, some constructs**, and Outsiders***.
    Through the very act of existence, Gaianists believe that Unnaturals physically cause Gaia harm and damage shared quality of life. Unnaturals are often killed on sight, unless the Unnatural is able to prove that they walk a righteous path.
    Revivals almost always result in zombies, save for chances of extreme and random fortune, while true resurrections result in a a palatable existence.
    *Poltergeists are lives lost in the throes of intense negative emotion or through grotesque circumstances. The result is a spirit that formed of anger and sorrow, that can express itself only in rage and violence. Poltergeists are treated as any Unnatural, and are purged, exorcised, or destroyed on sight.
    Ghosts or spirits, on the other hand, are the unfortunately trapped soul of a deceased being. These things are not 'evil' by classification. Some are fully cognizant while others are little more than segment's of a person's life, playing in an infinite loop. Gaianists help these poor spirits move on and ascend to their rightful place with Gaia.
    **This depends on the nature of the construct, its composition, and its intent upon creation. Golems, for example, are common in Terran society. Golemists make complex mechanical contrivances. Gaianists make simple workers out of earth or clay. Either way, it is a fairly common practice.
    ***Outsiders are a gray area. Though they may not be evil or undead, they are invaders of the plane and their presence can have a destabilizing effect. Outsiders are treated more fairly than Unnaturals so long as they are amenable to being Shunted if they are dangerous, and are good aligned.
    How do Gaianists control the earth and what do they call it?
    Among the ranks of those indoctrinated into the faith, the art of controlling the earth is known as "the discipline". It is a branch of knowledge; a system of rules of conduct and methods of practice. Outside of the faith, it is colloquially known as earth-bending or geomancy.
    First one "unchains the mind". This looses the hold of the ego on the Self, forcing the disciple to question who they really are and what truly informs and shapes their character. When the mind is unchained the disciple realizes the subtlety with which all things are connected and the Way is exposed to him.
    The second step is "growing closer". Here, the disciple learns the techniques and methods that bring his mind, body and soul into harmonious resonance with the earth's hum. This serves the dual purpose of synchronizing and stabilizing the rapidly maturing connection between the disciple and the world around him.
    The third step is "learning". Here, the disciple is versed in the numerous mental exercises, physical forms, and spiritual strengthening that first enables them to extend their will and influence into the surrounding nature. It is at this point that the disciple also learns their strengths and weaknesses. The peaks and pitfalls of their character determine not just the skill with which they can wield the earth, but their aptitude in phase-shifting and cross-discipline manipulation.
    The fourth and final step is "the awakening". At this point, the disciple is fully realized. The discipline is never "mastered" and so must always be studied, but it is at this point that the disciple is considered competent in their geomancy.
    It is important to underline that geomancy is a discipline which can be learned by anyone regardless of moral alignment.
    How do Gaianists view death and the after-life?
    Life is a manifestation of Gaia. Death is nothing more than a transformation of this essence, with the dying spirit ascending to a new state in the cosmological cycle. Birth and death are endless cycles of rebirth and renewal; death is not feared, but simply accepted. Those dying are returning to her grace. When this natural cycle of life and death is altered or infringed upon it weakens Gaia, which is why Gaianists are adamant against the continued existence of the Unnatural.
    Lower levels of Gaianistic heaven are seen as illusion-traps, where the ego is made complacent with luxury and convenience. The highest level of heaven is one of unification with Gaia and complete dissolution of ego as one's emotions and experiences merge with Gaia's infinite expression.
    Odin Haze is the only known being to have gone with Gaia upon death and return with his self-identity intact. Odin states that this was no special feat of his own and that it would not be so if Gaia did not will it.
    What is the Gaian view of Necromancy?
    The misconstrued view of Necromancy is as a dark art whose very nature is meant to twist and pervert the natural order of things. This is a false view that follows the art thanks only to sensationalism around a small number that have used powerful necromancy towards terrible ends. The most infamous of which is Zengi, the witch-king, and his legion of Desecrators.
    No magic is inherently good or evil and necromancy is no difference. It is the art of manipulating life and it is only the manner and degree to which this is done that determines whether it is evil or good.
    Useful talents of a good necromancer involve preparing bodies for last rites, communicating with and exorcising spirits, blessings, rebuking Unnaturals, and Resurrections
    --Side-Note C1: When interviewed, Disterl Norvomand had this to say about Necromancy:
    “Let me guess. Besides being skeletal and moody, I bet you think all necromancers are murderous fanatics eager to turn everyone they meet into a zombie slave.
    "Death has this horrible reputation with mortals. We treat it like some unnatural abomination that needs to be avoided. Death, natural death that is, should be embraced. True necromancy isn’t about zombies and blight and darkness. It is the study and respect of life and death.”
    Death rites
    Cremation is the primary avenue by which Gaians deal with their dead, both as a means to thwart attempts by twisted necromancers to interfere with natural processes, and because of the spiritual perspective that see matter and energy as indefinitely and recyclable. From cremation ashes, creating fertile soil to grow plants or even take a part of the ashes to make an heirloom gem stone are common practices. Beside cremation Gaians also practice blessed burials, where the bodies are washed in holy water, the coffins affixed with holy symbols and interred in consecrated ground. Some especially devout forego the after-life and have their souls anchored into golems to guard temples and protect the faithful.
    What is the symbol of Gaia?
    In Terrenus there are two common modern symbols for Mother Gaia. One is a grand and glorious World Tree which signifies the love of life and peace shared by all Gaianists while simultaneously expressing the stability, strength, and the expansive scope of their faith.
    The other is a circle with thorns. The circle symbolizes the never-ending cycle of life while the thorns represent the martial aspect of Gaianists.
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