Overview Academy information, sign up process, and class completion Academy classes
The Gaian Academy is a national research university located on Deepview Island, an inland island and part of the Ponkapoag Lake Archipelago, located at the center of Ponkapoag Lake. Deepview Island's size is approx. 30 sq. miles.
In total, the student body numbers 14,254 as of 27 AO. Of those students: 7,876 are undergraduates and 6,378 are post-graduates. The number of academic staff is 4,010. The average age is 22 for students and 34 for faculty.
Deepview Island is almost entirely flat and slightly above the water level. Aside from paved walkways leading between Academy buildings, it's covered in flood-protective hybrid grass synthesized in a lab and bioluminescent trees that provide the majority of outdoors campus lighting. The golden beaches are surrounded by multiple shoals as a natural barrier and a warning that the water quickly becomes very deep. Various smaller islands can be found throughout the massive lake, many of them inhabited by tight-knit communities consisting of several villages.
Over the past year, its weather has gone from mild to tumultuous as a result of Cold Snap induced climate change. There are frequent rain showers, common thunderstorms, and the island is at-risk for flooding. As a result, Academy walkways are accompanied by drainage sluices to mitigate buildup from rain. In terms of temperature, it tends to be warm for most of the year, despite the common storm fronts.
Fauna and Flora
Aquatic Blot - What's more scholastic than a school of fish? An academy of fish! Native to the archipelago are fish possessing rudimentary telepathy that have developed a kind of hive-mind. The exact mechanism for aquatic blot formation has yet to be uncovered. Researchers are currently searching for what they call "headmaster fish," hypothetical creatures responsible for starting the aquatic blots, but are unsure whether that's the case or if there's an undiscovered psychic event causing the phenomenon. Composition of aquablots varies seasonally. Whereas Spring might dense flocks of flying fish, Summer can have impenetrable walls of minnows, Autumn could make for a terrifying mass of eels, and Winter with a possibility of giant catfish.
Battle Blobs - They look like clumps of red jelly and are stored in the gym. Battle blobs have to be activated by faculty in the Dept of Phys Ed, and they deactivate if removed from the gym. Were one to be removed from the Academy grounds, it would immediately evaporate and disappear. They're not technically alive, but they look like it when they transform. Battle blobs shapeshift into intelligent opponents for sparring purposes as long as the relevant battle data is chipped into them. Battle blobs are not technologically sophisticated enough for instruction in anatomy and biology. They can regenerate from a gram to full functionality in two days. Debate rages about what will happen if an AI ever takes over the battle blobs; the doomsday scenario is typically referred to as Red Goo.
Everlumens - Dwarf conifers altered from the Great Pine Barrens to emit a soft light. Everlumens produce glowcones, sweet fruit-like seeds used as toppings on desert or flavoring for drinks. When eaten directly, people glow like the everlumens for a few hours. The Academy has patented a lotion called Treediance that uses glowcone extract to improve skin appearance.
Hypnocone Snails - Discovered after a group of students found one on the beach. After gazing into its cone, they experienced such hyper focus that they wouldn't stop counting grains of sand until the morning after. In addition to being used in ADHD medication, eating cooked snails produces a mild but pleasant high. Eating them raw creates an intensely nightmarish hallucinogenic trip.
Lash-tailed Water Basilisk - Lurking in the shoals, these dark iguana-like lizards are thin and fast-swimming. They're camouflaged such that swimmers have difficulty seeing them underwater and even in the shoals, particularly when its raining. Unlike their stony-gaze cousins, these basilisks have no eye abilities. Instead, their venom breaks down fish scales into a toxic slurry that's great for their diet. Students bitten by basilisks often require skin grafts, assuming their claws or whip-like prehensile tail didn't take a limb.
Lavaweed - Difficult to grab and grow deep-water algae found near hydrothermal vents. Lavaweed has red-shifting cyanobacteria that absorbs infrared light. Whereas pourgrass might be used for plant and water elemental applications, lavaweed has cross-elemental potential for linking earth, fire and water. These weeds are volatile when removed from the water and are toxic to ingest or otherwise consume.
Pourgrass - Alternatively poregrass. It was developed to create a network of roots that modify Deep Island's soil. After a semester of growth, flooding was cut down by nearly half. Pourgrass is bright green on a sunny day and has a bluish hue when submerged.
Thieving Frigatebird - Kleptomaniac black-and-white birds that have run other birds off of Deepview Island by constantly stealing from them. Now they steal from students. Lost student ID? Frigatebird has it. They're also known for their bright blue gular sacs. When fully inflated, these sacs grant them invisibility. While seemingly counter-productive for mating purposes, observation suggests female frigatebirds care more about how many stolen items there are than how big the males' sacs are.
Undergraduates must demonstrate equivalent competency to someone who has graduated from Terrenus compulsory school and be at least 16 years of age, known as the Age of Reason, which is the legal age of adulthood.
Competency is determined by an entrance exam; it is proctored, but not timed. There are three components: a battery of standardized tests for critical reasoning in reading, mathematics, and the natural sciences; an entrance essay that functions as a statement of intent; and a spellcasting test.
The spellcasting test changes every semester. It consists of providing instructions to the current crop of students to see if they can successfully cast whatever spell was chosen for that semester. Collaboration is permitted, as is modification of the instructions to improve the spell. The spellcasting test score is weighted, meaning it is considered more important than other categories of the entrance exam. It is also the sole determination of whether a freshman is immediately placed in the Honors College, and it helps with acquiring merit-based scholarships for cost of living and residency; for those reasons, transfer and exchange students are encouraged to participate even if they completed an equivalent test at another school. There are no retakes after passing.
Exceptions apply. Any student can be sponsored into the Academy by a master, who is a tenured professor, under academic probation until they reach a point in their tutelage where they can pass the entrance exam. Students under 16 years old are considered emancipated from their parents, and the sponsoring master is considered their legal guardian. Due to the legal responsibilities involved, age waivers are uncommon.
Transfer students who attended a university accredited by the Terrenus government and have credits that demonstrate equivalent competency can waive the entrance exam.
The student exchange program operates under the sponsorship policy. Only students from the continental interior are allowed to participate with few exceptions. In accordance with Terrenus’ isolationist foreign policy, overseas staff and faculty are barred from entry unless they have already renounced their foreign citizenship; provide proof of residency for 2 years in Terrenus; and have obtained Terrenus citizenship, are in the process of obtaining it, or intend on utilizing Gaian Academy programs for obtaining their citizenship. Any exchange student from outside the continental interior who breaks the code of conduct is not only expelled, but deported from Terrenus.
Everyone on campus requires an Academy ID (AID). The AID appears to be a blank smart card, however, it's keyed to the aurametrics and biometrics of the person to which it's assigned. Photographic and biographical information only populate when the AID is in the hands of its registered user. The AID is only valid when enough aurametric and biometric data to sustain life is present, both to prevent AID spoofing and to alert medical services when life signs are failing. This smartcard is required to access any of the Academy's facilities. AID can be linked to most pieces of magitech by attaching a microscanner.
Code of Conduct
Staff and students are required to sign a contractual agreement to abide by the Academy’s code of conduct. The contract is magically binding and enforceable by security staff. Although this is not an exhaustive list, the most important rules are:
1. Comply with all Terrenus laws, regulations, and contractual obligations.
2. Do not disclose any private, confidential, or proprietary information. Research requires signing a non-disclosure agreement and employment has a non-compete clause.
3. Third-party financial interests, including any solicitation by unapproved vendors on Deepview Island, is strictly prohibited.
4. School resources can only be used for purposes on behalf of the school.
5. Everyone has the right to a supportive and positive academic environment. Personal abuse and destruction of property are not tolerated. Weapons are not permitted on campus except by authorized military personnel.
6. No falsification of documents or records is permitted.
7. Students are expected to comply with immediate directives issued by identified Academy faculty.
Every student is educated on these expectations at a mandatory orientation after enrollment.
Violation of any clause within the code of conduct is met with academic suspension for the semester, however, any violence is grounds for expulsion and, in extreme cases, imprisonment. Security staff is trained to de-escalate situations before invoking the contract’s magic.
Cost of Attendance
Students who demonstrate competency as per the admissions policy attend the Gaian Academy tuition-free.
Lecturers and masters who act as sponsors determine their own costs for their classrooms or tutoring services. The Academy will pay for students who have already been admitted, but those who are seeking to develop the remedial knowledge and skills necessary to attend must pay lecturer and master fees, or convince them to waive those fees.
Students who do not graduate from their program of study are given 6-8 weeks’ notice that they must attend a hearing with appropriate faculty to determine their future. If there is no reason to forgive the lack of timely graduation, the education is treated as a delinquent loan that must be repaid. If the student does not attend the hearing, it will occur in absentia. If a payment plan is not imminent, an arrest warrant is placed on the student.
Cost of living and residency is not factored into tuition, but merit-based scholarships are offered by the Academy, faculty, alumni, and private institutions across Terrenus. Due to Terrenus high quality of life, need-based aid is uncommon, but the government has recently given educational grants to families affected by insurgencies in Blairville, Patia, and Biazo Isle. However, the majority of low-income grants for relocation are granted to students from Last Chance. In addition, the Ponkapoag Lake Region has several small towns and villages with employment opportunities.
Federal Work Study and Independent Study
Federal work study offers temporary employment to students for 10-15 hours a week at a living wage. The type of work study is determined by the deans of their departments; employment and supervision is the responsibility of that department’s faculty. Some examples:
1. Become a part of security staff or bounty hunt delinquent students.
2. Maintain and repair the Academy’s apotropaic enchantments.
3. Monitor the environmental and weather control systems.
4. Participate in agricultural activities.
5. Help at the student wellness center.
Work study for a semester counts towards credit of the equivalent class, but the student must submit reports on their work to faculty to demonstrate their learning. Participating in agricultural activities might count towards engineering or alchemy credits depending on the work, whereas being involved with environmental and weather control might provide credit in elementalism-related coursework.
Each semester of completed work study counts towards the 2 year requirement of federal service to obtain Terrenus citizenship. In its short 4 years of existence, the Gaian Academy has produced some of the youngest citizens in the country.
Independent study is an alternative to traditional classroom learning. A student must submit a proposal to the dean of their program’s department, convince faculty that the study is of interest to the Academy or the government of Terrenus, negotiate an appropriate merit-based stipend if applicable, and demonstrate significant academic achievement throughout the semester. An example of independent study would be onsite research into exorcising the Haunted Glen. It also counts towards Terrenus citizenship.
For both work study and independent study, there is a one job limit per student. A student may only use one form of study for one class’s worth of credit per semester. No double dipping.
Staff and Student Residence
73% of students live in the campus residence halls, and 82% of faculty live in campus staff lodging. The rest pursue housing in Ponkapoag Lake Region towns or commute.
There are over 12 residence halls along the east shore of Deepview Island with a variety of room styles available. Every student is provided with a bed, desk, and basic school supplies. Adjustable indoor lighting is provided by radiant rune-stones; style of fixture depends on residence hall. Outdoor lighting is provided campus-wide by bioluminescent plants, the everlumens. There is no curfew and no pets are allowed. Every student floor is overseen by a floor manager who reports to a hall manager. Faculty lodging has no such management system.
Amenities in all residence halls include a ground floor student lounge, dining hall and retail cafe, wireless holo-array access on CAN, self-service laundry, central air, aerogel insulation, vending machines on every floor, and beach access. Each diner has specialized food stations that cater to a variety of diets, and some operate bars. The Gaian Academy is not a dry campus.
Positions, Hierarchy, and Leadership
Students are able to run for student government positions in GAS, the Gaian Academy Senate, which is responsible for representing the student body’s interests. A certain number of seats proportional to current year admission rates and graduating class year are reserved to ensure equal representation.
Faculty are divided between the Academy administration and the academic staff. Since the bureaucracy is large by necessity of managing the student body, the following is not an exhaustive list of faculty, but an overview of the most notable positions in descending order:
Chancellor - The figurehead of the Gaian Academy, appointed by the regent from a pool of cardinals put forward by the Temple of Gaia.
Provost - Represents Terrenus' governmental interests in the Academy. Appointed by a general from the ranks of colonels from the Terrenus Army.
Board of Trustees - Elected officials consisting of Gaian Academy masters and alumni.
Headmaster - Appointed by majority Trustee vote and unanimous agreement by the Chancellor and Provost.
Departmental Deans - Heads of the various departments that run the Academy's programs of study.
Faculty Senate - In charge of representing the faculty and having a voice in policies that affect employees of the Academy.
Masters - Distinguished professors who are capable of sponsoring students.
Professors - Tenured teachers that are hired full-time, primarily for their research.
Assistant Professors - Consisting of post-graduate students who either help teach lower and mid-level subjects or work as lab assistants.
Lecturers - Adjunct teachers or guest lecturers who run temporary seminars.
Only GAS has access to anyone above the Headmaster through a process of petitioning.
The Gaian Academy is divided into several departments with their own buildings and various programs of study. Each department is headed by a dean. Students may elect employees of their department to the faculty senate. Below is a list of departments and some examples of topics students are able to study, purely for the sake of inspiration:
Dept of Natural Science - Mana mechanics, elemental phase theory, psychometry and retrocognition, arcanospheric climatology, alchemical botany, aberrant biology and cryptozoology, spirit conjuration.
Dept of Engineering - Magitech development, materials enchanting, ley line architecture, natural resource extraction, transportation systems, sanitation and waste disposal, computational casting and spell informatics.
Dept of Medicine - Psychic surgery and mindsculpting, exorcism, biomedical alchemy, geomantic healing, metagenetic therapy, preventative apotropaics, diagnostic divination, organic nanomedicine.
Dept of Physical Education - Adventuring and wilderness survival, dungeoneering, martial arts and self-defense, officer training, somatic spellcasting, physiognomy, metaphysical therapy.
Dept of Social Science - International diplomacy, incantation and rune linguistics, cultural assimilation of Unnaturals, socioeconomic impact of recent disasters and policies, effects of cutting-edge magic on jurisprudence, demography and bestiary studies, interdisciplinary approaches to improving and providing social services.
Places of Interest
Academy Keep - Functions as the Student Services building and houses the Academy's warp gate. After the World Fair, it's been prettied up to the point where it resembles a gaudy Temple of Gaia, which is its secondary function. After the Academy was rebuilt, many of the fortifications were deconstructed. The school's geothermal and ley-line power grids are maintained in the keep's underground.
Botanical Garden - Primarily indoors, the botanical garden spans several greenhouses that feature basic plants for herbology to advanced alchemical reagents. It's the most colorful place on campus and a popular chill spot for picnics.
CAN - Campus area network and the Academy's server system. Augmented and virtual reality are currently experimental technologies in development. At the moment, the only campus-wide augmented reality feature enabled is leaving digital notes that can be divined or read using most magitech.
HMS Expulsion - The Academy used to have its own ship before it was destroyed in the undead attack. Several enterprising students lashed the remains together with various pontoons, buoys, and other flotation devices lost in the attack or to the various floods. At least three containers deep, the raft-like amalgamation is home to one of the Ponkapoag Lake's biggest gangs, Maelstrom.
Hologlobe Cafe - Bistro attached to an extensive multi-floor library that features large interactive holographic globes at every table. Here, students can browse the Academy's secure CAN on larger devices while eating or studying.
Flooded Catacombs - Buried dead from the island's ancient past were used in an undead assault on the Academy over a year ago. The catacombs from which they rose have since been flooded. They're marked by a perpetually clean, white obelisk that was erected as a memorial. Acting as a lightning rod for prayer, the flooded catacombs are full of holy water that feeds consecrations into the lake.
Gymnasium - Part of the Dept of Physical Education, the gym has all the expected equipment for conditioning, endurance and strength training. The floor space is reserved by hour or day for various activities that utilize some of its more specialized areas, such as the sparring rings—the only place on campus where violence is permitted. Although the entire school is magic proofed, the gym is extra fool proofed for reckless meatheads.
Leaf Green Dive - The Academy's bar, dance floor, karaoke parlor, and only specific party spot. It's run by a bunch of social science alumni who claim to be providing a social service to the island—by containing all the rabble. Its namesake is from students getting chloroplastered. A drink invented by the owner in her elective alchemy final can turn people green. They call it Leaf Green because you'll leave green.
Liar Studio - A studio donated from the World Fair, incorporated into one of the post-graduate reisdence halls that uses the new LIES (Luminous Illusion Entertain System) technology. It features illusion-based animated shows, some of them created by students who are eager to get involved in the industry.
Mana Collider - The Dept of Natural Sciences has a piece of technology that slams enchanted particles and microspells together in various media to see what happens. Conspiracy theorists say that the mana collider will open a warp gate-like rift and usher in the end of days.
Mindswitch Game Room - Medicine majors created a room in their residence hall where occupants can switch minds and bodies. Ever tried a bluffing game with someone else's face and voice? Or how about twister while switching to a new body every round? The mind switch disengages at will or upon leaving the room.
Transit Station - Due to various risks and upkeep costs, the lightning rail and bridge projects were abandoned. The transit station is on the west coast and harbors ACV hover-ferries constructed from leftover train cars that will take students across the Ponkapaoag Lake Region. Transit station employees are trained life guards and can cast exposure protection, haste and underwater breathing spells on students upon request.
War Tree - An attempt to genetically reproduce the sanctuary-creating trees of the Peaceful Woods. It had the opposite effect. The War Tree inspires aggression, and as such has been transplanted to a remote location on a tiny islet offshore. Students often use the excuse, "But the war tree made me." to get away with brawls that happen in its proximity. It's been brought up in bio-ethics committees nation-wide as an example of GMOs gone wrong and Terrenus' incomplete understanding of metagenes.
People of Interest
Buskers - After the World Fair, a few street performers from the Blairville gypsy market stayed behind to ply their trade. Now there's various competing student performers lead by rival gypsies that travel across the archipelago spreading amusement.
Campus Security - Consisting of students studying at the Depts of Physical Education and Social Services as well as professional security. Student security focuses on arbitration and de-escalation; they are not permitted to engage in fights, but they reliably end the vast majority of campus disputes. Professional security forces and rapid response teams can deploy a variety of non-lethal countermeasures in addition to negotiators to resolve the most serious student incidences. The most common measure is the invocation of the student signed contract of conduct, which compels surrender.
Dungeoneers - A student activities group that travels Terrenus to create or improve dungeons rather than adventure through them. One of their graduating projects was to create lairs for frost giants in the Great Pine Barrens during the Cold Snap. They've been criticized for providing homes to a pest, but those critics can hardly argue against the fact that the frost giants lately prefer napping in their dungeons than attacking villages.
Maelstrom - Displaced adolescent gang-bangers from Last Chance that have brought the defunct drug trade with them. Although most recreational drugs are legal in Terrenus, Maelstrom undercuts the legitimate sale of taxable narcotics, lifts pharmaceuticals from the Dept of Medicine, and on the down low sells some of the most dangerous and unattainable milspec combat stims on the grey market. They have taken over the HMS Expulsion.
Ranger Squads - An eclectic combination of rangers from the Terrenus Army specializing in aquatic, urban, and wilderness settings can often be found patrolling the campus perimeter or in the Academy Keep. They are skilled in all modes of ranged combat, including the use of bows, crossbows, dart launchers, and rifles, and are well known for their high-level charm and holding spells. Not technically part of campus security, the rangers are often called to deal with animal control, but their main purpose is to defend Terrenus' national security interests on campus.
REAP - Regeneration and Environmental Action Project. After the failure of HERB (Historical and Ecological Research Bureau) to fix the island, REAP formed from the first batch of Academy alumni with the goal to restore Deepview Island to a habitable condition. Their plan was successful. Now plants can grow and animals no longer avoid the island.
Virseq Acrologistics - The only megacorp that runs in the Ponkapoag Lake Region. It has its own island several miles north from the Academy for its corporate headquarters—looks like a fancy resort for the ultrarich. They have near complete control over the flow of goods in the region. Students are instructed to be wary because Virseq are known patent trolls. Virseq corpmages specialize in mass transportation spells, and their guards are some of the best in the business.
War Fox - Local mythology tells that the War Fox was born from a fruit of the War Tree. It's not a fruit-bearing tree, but nobody has a better explanation. Not unlike the foxes of the Peaceful Wood, this singular vixen appeared after the War Tree's transplant. Ponkapoag Lake hunters have reportedly killed the War Fox three dozen times, but no body has ever been found, and she always reappears. Unsurprisingly, War Fox sightings are often bad omens, and students are instructed never to follow her.
White Prism - On the surface, White Prism is a religious organization that appeals to the local flavor of Gaian sensibilities, which aren't always orthodox. Its name was inspired by the memorial obelisk above the flooded catacombs. The underbelly of White Prism contains elements from religious intolerance to hate crimes fueled by outdated sanctimony. They're responsible for the hazing ritual called warbaiting, where new students are lured to the War Tree and duped into fighting.
In 20 AO, the Ponkapoag Lake Region signed the RUG (Regency United Governance) bill, creating a political district from previously disorganized communities. Upon approval, the newly elected regent earmarked funds to join NUT (National Universities of Terrenus) for the purpose of establishing federally funded higher education opportunities.
After a couple of years of organization, Odin, the King of Terrenus, personally traveled the country with a group of teachers. They ran guest lectures for promising young minds as part of the King's annual religious pilgrimage and inspections for military establishments. After accumulating a large following, he directed them to the newly minted Gaian Academy in 23 AO. Taking advantage of the notoriety and involvement of Odin's cabinet, the regency attracted several top researchers to establish themselves away from the grind against the status quo in the megacities.
Despite earning a reputation as an elite university, attendance fell after a series of catastrophic events. During its rise, several headmasters were hired and fired due to failures of management. In 25 AO, an insane student conspired with Unnaturals to lead an undead attack on the Academy. Deepview Island was blighted and reduced to rubble, although the majority of students and faculty escaped unharmed. Although it slowly began recovering as of early 26 AO, an environmental disaster called the Cold Snap caused violent nation-wide climate change. Incursions by frost giants in the regency made travel conditions even more dangerous.
Had it not been for the World Fair in Q4 26 AO, a massive event showcasing the latest and greatest in Terran inventions, the Academy might have gone under. Instead, the influx of tourism funds caused rapid growth and investment opportunities. Rumor has it that the government contract for the World Fair was subject to an intense bidding war; the scales were tipped by the estate funds of a deceased Peacekeeper who used to be a teacher and the avarice of Virseq Acrologistics, which became a monopoly soon after.
It's now 27 AO and the Gaian Academy has produced its first batch of promising alumni and is ready to raise the next generation of geniuses (that's you, beautiful).
Only one way to learn: Adjunct professor Donovan Cutler is hosting an Adventuring clinic. Two interested parties, one a student from the Gaian Academy and one an inhabitant of Terrenus, join the clinic and are taken to an underground temple to reclaim a jade key, navigating traps and defeating creatures on the way.
Gestalt: A student named Cassandra collects a strange assortment of items then travels to the flooded catacombs with a friend in the middle of a stormy night. Here, she murders the friend, breaks the catacomb obelisk, and creates a monster with the power of a compressed hurricane. With this monster, who she names Novaculi, Cassandra destroys the residence buildings, the Academy Keep's Warp Gate, and damages a good portion of the transit station, before escaping to Ponkapoag's shore.
Public Safety I: Donovan and Marian, among other students in Professor Volturn's Public Safety class, are tasked with gathering information on the nearby Spire. Their journey to intel proves to be a trying one that takes them through violent protestors, an attack on public transportation, a riot at a hospital, an exploding corpse, a criminal hamlet aboard a flotilla, and finally the Spire itself. The students can't bring the Spire down but find the message, the key to its destruction, and pass it on.
Carpe Florem: This is the transitional thread which saw the necessity to expand the Academy from a structure with some outlying fields, to now cover the entirety of Deepview Island. Thousands of students died, were reanimated by foul necromancy, and subsequently placed into stasis, pending a cure for the Unnatural disease forced on them. Virtually all assailants were laid to waist by modified Gladius missile strike and the remainder were sniped from the shore by Terran soldiers or crushed by a sweeper team of GL-17RX golems.
Due to the events in Ruin has come to Ashville, this is no longer a playable city location (no longer on map or with tag in the Cities board) but can still be played in as a ruins. The below information is archival
Ashville is a popular and well known city within the land of Terrenus. Boasting a strong capitalistic economy with bold innovations in industry and technology, Ashville has moved front and center as an economic powerhouse within Terrenus.
Ashville has a population of approximately 5 million as of 24 AO.
If you're looking for an adventure, check out the Ashville Quests
Regent (is): Lady Sinne Estern Regent (was): Lord Greg Arious
Ashville sits with one side resting comfortably alongside a massive lake, with a shore very similar to a beach, though if one squints hard enough, they can sometimes see its end. The rest of the city resides in the middle of a large temperate zone, with foothills eventually giving way into the coastline of Eastern Terrenus, and the sound continuing in a rise and fall of elevation. The lands beyond are mostly wooded, with roads carved out to allow easy travelers for merchants ferrying goods from Last Chance or other locales. The highest elevation for the surrounding areas goes little more than a kilometer above sea level, making even the highest places easy to manage when traveling on foot. These areas do gather more snowpack in the winter and provide the water source that feeds into the lake during the late spring via creeks and ground water.
Below is a list of nearby locations and their approximate distances
North: ~1200 miles to Dark Forest
North-East: ~200 miles to the ocean.
East: ~40 miles to the ocean.
South-East: ~600 miles to Last Chance. On foot, it would take you a about three weeks to walk, about 12 days by horse, while a ride on the Lightning Rail would get you there swiftly and comfortably or use of a Warp Gate gets you there in the blink of an eye.
South: ~870 miles to the ocean.
South-West: ~500 miles to the Peaceful Woods.
West: ~1120 miles to the Great Pine Barrens.
North-West: ~600 miles to the Forgotten Wood.
The majority of Ashville is an aristocratic society of old money creating new money, thus the city is quite an impressive array of updated buildings, clean streets, and post-modern styling. The buildings often undergo renovations and boast all the modern technologies and magitech. Streets are lit by lamps that operate during the hours of darkness and flicker out as the sun rises back into the sky. An underground sewage system removes plumbing wastes as well as rainwater and garbage that find its way down to the underground channels whisking away old water.
Though the majority of the population is considerably wealthy, there are those who struggle financially, but even they are well cared after. They are kept inside clean and well-furnished homeless shelters that not only give them a place to stay, but provide meaningful activities for those between places to contribute to society and gain valuable experience while they sort out of their financial matters. These measures prevent homeless from living on the streets as vagrants, thus keeping Ashville’s streets clean and pristine, preserving the image others know them by.
Ashville is literally covered in major streets and road ways, the city a busy and bustling place with both foot traffic, horse drawn carts, as well as the occasional strange vehicle powered by magitech, sometimes an expensive oddity and other times a prototype out for a test run. Asvhille has rails going all over the city, as well as rails leading to Last Chance, Tia, and Palgard. Ashville has several competing companies offering use of Warp Gates, each claiming theirs is the safest way to travel. Warp Gates take you to any major city in Terrenus, as well as the Gaian academy. There several competing companies that offer taxi services via a wagon drawn by two horses. All promise to be the fastest in Ashville, all boasting to have “the lowest rates”. In reality, their rates vary and the best is often determined by who has the best sale. Some citizens employ strange types of magitech designed to draw them around the city. In some cases, these are personal devices of high value, while others are technologies in development and out for testing.
The typical weather of Ashville is pleasant and mild, with warm but rarely hot summers, even-tempered autumns with intermittent rain and rich colors, cool and crisp winters that break away into a wet early spring that becomes dryer and sunnier as it approaches the summer. Ashville has no droughts recorded in any recent history, and the snowfall has not exceeded a foot at a time during the time records have been kept. Snow typically arrives after January, lasting from just days at a time to several weeks, sometimes falling only once in a winter, or as much as a half dozen times.
Flora and Fauna
Most of the flora and fauna of Ashville is that of which you can expect to find in the majority of Terrenus, excepting those rare creatures or foliage with very specific environments in which they thrive. There are a few examples of living things typically only found surrounding or within a few hundred miles of the city proper.
Fire-Wisp Butterfly (Insect): These rare butterflies are truly a site worth seeing should one be in the area during late spring through early fall. The butterflies wings are iridescent reds and oranges with pale blue fringes, their every wing beat giving the appearances of tufts of fire flowing through the sky. Their caterpillars too are quite interesting, though they are easy to miss, if one does not know what they are looking for. Their caterpillars resemble bright crimson centipedes with orange legs and black spines, looking very much like the young counterparts of their venomous neighbors—only these are truly harmless.
Yellow Jacket Skunk (Animal): Much smaller than the conventional skunk, these are so aptly named because their coloring looks very similar to a yellow jacket hornet. They only grow to about half the size of a regular skunk, but other animals know better than to interfere with their day-to-day affairs. The musk of these skunks consists of a yellowy mucus laced with low concentrations of thioacetone with other thiols- of note, thioacetone is the worst smelling chemical known to science. Though it only contains about 1 part per thousand, it is enough to make this little creature’s musk more than a hundred times the potency of a traditional skunk. Fortunately, the creature rarely uses its musk because other creatures have adapted to giving it plenty of room. Even still, the few times a year that it does resort to using its musk, residents of Ashville report smelling something like “rotten eggs, feces, and smelly feet stuffed into a bloating corpse left out during a heat wave”. The smell fades within a couple of days. One could just say that this yellow jacket has one heck of a “sting”.
Matrimony Trees: Though certainly not their technical scientific designation, locals often refer to these unusual trees as matrimony or wedding trees, as their pale green, almost white leaves appear to be the same lacy material that make up wedding gown vales. The trees themselves are slender and of medium height, peaking between 12 and 15 feet. Their leaves drape down and nearly touch the ground, giving the appearance of a wide canopy that young lovers often slip behind for romantic interludes during dates. Some residents even take their weddings to outside the city limits to take their vows beneath these trees. In the spring, their leaves release a hazy silver pollen that blows away in the wind.
Ashville’s benevolent and charitable regent sets the example for the rest of the successful and well-to-do population, encouraging others to act kindly and treat one and other with dignity and respect, the people of Ashville tend to be philanthropic and courteous. They aspire to represent fineness of character as well as good form, ensuring their actions match the polish the city itself prominently displays. Given its aptitude for business and innovation, people of Ashville tend to be hard workers with a high degree of curiosity and drive, always looking for that “next big thing” into technological advancement or business.
Those who do not work in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathmatics) sector tend to move into business, either as those operating businesses or those facilitating economic investments, running banks, or overseeing policy changes that best encourage the continued growth and stability of Ashville’s, and by extension Terrenus’, economy. Though these business men too can be kindly and chartable to those in need, do not mistake charity with pushovers—they are shrewd businessmen who love to haggle and never let anything go for much less than fair market price.
Ashville is Terrenus’ leading industrial site for technology, magitech, and other major industries of note, making Ashville a central figure in Terran economy. To ensure that great minds are drawn to their city, Ashville maintains a top notch education system with generous scholarships for those who are in need of financial assistance, especially for those pursuing work in STEM or economics. Ashville not only boasts the greatest wealth per capita in Terrenus, but also the greatest pooling of wealth in Terrenus proper. It is often said that no coin in circulation has not passed through the hands of an Ashville resident at least once in its lifetime.
Companies, institutions and locations
The Mill: The Mill is the large building in the middle of the picture. It is through the Mill that most of Terrenus's precious ores and minerals are processed and refined. The Mill itself is a heavily guarded and extremely secretive compound. No one is allowed inside the deeper parts of the massive construct without proper authorization. The Mill is where a character can find the highest variety, highest quality, and cheapest base materials. The mill itself is quite the spectacle and often draws tourists. They too run guided tours a couple days a week, following the government’s example of using proceeds raised to cover the costs of the program and then donating the rest to local charities.
Ashville First National Bank: This is the biggest bank in both Ashville and all of Terrenus, a site that not only sees the largest share of circulation passing through its vaults, but important documents, business bonds, and other valuables as well. Rumors say that this bank is more secure than even the capital residence of Ignatz (home of Odin Haze).
The Market: Not a traditional market, but more like the Wall-Street Market, where economists and brokers gather to trade value stocks in commodities, large companies, and even with national exports. Here deals are made and prices set, as well as guidelines for interest rates and control of the economy. This is the brain child of the Terran economy as a whole.
The Capital: The capital building itself is quite the site, where the Regent works with elected representatives to manage city regulations and ordinances, plans for development and infrastructure, as well as other matters concerning city welfare. Guided tours of the residence are given a couple of times a week during set hours, with residents and tourists paying a stiff price for a couple hour tour the residence- money raised is split between security and staffing costs for the program, and charities. The rest of the week, residents are welcome to reside outside the walls and take in the sites from a distance.
Parks and Recreation
Ashville boasts a number of parks for residents to enjoy, ranging in size from small areas with structures for child’s play to huge rangy parks with trails, creeks, and other sites designed to help the city dweller have a day away from the urban scene, so that they may reconnect with Gaia.
Regent: Lord Greg Arious.
20,000 local police: 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.
20,000 military: Personnel from all across Terrenus stationed in its borders.
15 Niveus agents: The Niveus are Ashville City's elite guards, serving directly beneath Jett Cr'Ysiander. Discernible from your average guard by their ivory armor and alabaster cloth, these warriors wield a wide variety of powerful magics in tandem with their impressive weapon-play. To maximize their efficiency in combat, the Niveus operate in units of three, though they often intervene in certain situations by themselves. Engaging these individuals, especially when they are together, is ill advised.
Ashville maintains its status by starting early with a rigorous and thoroughly vetted academic agenda that prepares young people for continued education beyond childhood, either within the city or at the Gaian academy. Students learn history, government, politics, mathematics, sciences, literacy and literature, and culture, such as religion, music, and the arts. Though Ashville will quickly tell you that as any good Terran city, they hold true to Gaianist ideals, but the city’s education system is largely secular and focused on actual facts rather than mystical ideas.
Post-secondary education focus areas include magic used in magitech development, technological studies, engineering, sciences, geology, industrial management, and business. Given the cultural pressures to be well-educated, only a small minority of residents (male or female) lack some form of post-secondary education (and degree) and those not finishing mandatory childhood education are all but unheard of.
Totinaco Awomps: Powerful head of an an established merchant family. Capable of finding and trading almost anything.
Jay Uhsoria: A foreign artist of established and growing fame. Jay's art is particularly popular in Weland.
Lord Greg Arious: The regent of Ashville. Aside from his official station, Greg Arious is also the largest independent landholder in Casper, as well as the patriarch of the richest family.
Ruin has come to Ashville: As a result of the Maw sweeping through and devouring Ashville, all that remains of the city are grayed cobblestone ruins, dusty glass and dirt. Wood, metal and all living material has been exhumed from the city. The area also appears to be significantly colder, and the environment looks grey and lifeless. The City of Ashville has been destroyed, with major loss of life, and even greater displacement of its citizens into Aspyn and Hyperion.
Winter's embrace: Vaan conducted an investigation and encountered a few strange events. The young wizard went to a cabin with summoned beasts and, after a trying time, successfully apprehended a group of bandits. Where Vaan would've been awarded with coin, he instead traded his reward to ease the sanction placed on him against magitech research.
A Lost Boy, On A Man's Quest: Chaflin Demair ran into a wronged half-elven woman during his journey to solve his strange visions. Finding out that her village was taken over by bandits, determined to leave only if a selected champion won a gladiator tournament, Chaflin went to the village and registered, where he ran into Chivika Kabera. Together they fight through the first day, taking on three monstrous creatures. On the second day, against actual champions, Chivika is unable to be roused and Chaflin goes out to face the fighters alone. After a long day of fighting, Chaflin overcomes the final champion (a half-giant named Ulgoth) and wins the tournament, forcing the bandits to leave the village.
Sewer Diving: Monsters and creatures from the sewers have begun overrunning the streets and preying on hapless locals. Trace eliminated many of the more dangerous creatures infesting the sewers and found a mage doing 'research' on human familiars, kidnapping the townsfolk as test subjects. Trace killed the mage, plundered his workshop, and donated the mage's research notes to the Gaian Academy, taking for himself a notebook on stealth spells.
Credits: Acies ab Vesania & Supernal
Year 18,598 World Time | 598 World Time Abbreviated
Valucre is the story of your characters and how they interact with other characters in the world, whether those interactions are epic tales that span the globe or the intimate dramas of everyday life in a local town. What you decide to write, the actions you decide to take, can have as much or as little impact on your personal storyline and on the surrounding world as the effort you choose to put in. Knowledge about Valucre by its inhabitants should be taken as mythological rather than empirical. This means that what a people believe may not actually be accurate, and is subject to ongoing interpretation, debate and modification. There is no indisputable theory for how the universe came to be. Instead there are dominant and recessive theories, myths and worldviews which vary depending on where you are and who you ask.
Valucre is twice the radius of Earth and, like Earth, is made up mostly of water. For simplicity's sake, Valucre has similar seasons, weather, atmosphere, flora, fauna, etc. Valucre's creatures are also open by design, meaning that while nations may have their own bestiary index, their own unique creatures or versions of existing creatures, players are not limited to these and can create their own as long as they adhere to mild powers.
Despite a high level of scientific understanding among its people, the presence of magic has confounded efforts to get an accurate measure of the planet's age, and has complicated cartography and archaeology for eons. Different nations may keep different calendars for religious or cultural reasons but also keep track of a universal World Time. The universal calendar shared throughout the nations indicates that Valucre is in its 18,597th year World Time (WT). Colloquially this is referred to as 597 WTA (World Time Abbreviated, cutting off the millennia digits). For simplified timekeeping purposes, Valucre advances at a rate of 1:1 with the real world, usually in June.
Continents and territories tend to favor a major theme while also participating in the shared game space. This means that while one location on the planet can be high fantasy (like Orisia or Alterion), another can employ magitech and airships (like Terrenus and Genesaris), and another might favor futuristic scifi (like Renovatio). Because of the complex interplay between magic and technology it's difficult to say that one nation is more 'advanced' than another since different means can be employed to similar ends, though that doesn't stop different kingdoms from trying.
Keep in mind that these descriptions are not meant to isolate one setting from another and that your character can travel freely between each location, having to surpass obstacles magical and mundane. Also keep in mind that settings have a general theme but are not restricted to that theme. Considering these continents occupy the same world, expect to see some truly odd and wonderful sights. 'Fast travel' is a common plot device; you don't have to play out the travel between locations.
To learn more about a location click on the name, and if you have questions visit the Ask Me Anything (AMA) of the location.
The following is meant to be descriptive rather than prescriptive. This means that you can use it as a stylistic guide to your writing, rather than a rigid formula you have to follow to be accurate. Don't expect things like etymologies and expressions to perfectly match; don't expect to have to write in these languages
Unii sounds like Russian. Unii is a constructed trade language designed to bridge communications between people who do not share a native tongue. It is employed most commonly by entities with international dealings, such as trade, diplomacy and criminal enterprise.
Terrenus sounds like Spanish
Genesaris sounds like German
Renovatio sounds like Latin
Alterion sounds like Mandarin
Terrenus| AMA | Quests | Artifacts
Major themes: science fantasy - religion (Gaianism) - birthplace of magitech
Board Leader: supernal and desolate
Geographic standout feature: Deepest body of water; Ponkapoag lake
Genesaris| AMA | Quests
Major themes: high fantasy - modern elements - birthplace of airships
Board Leader: King
Geographic standout feature: Largest desert
Major themes: traditional fantasy - vampiric queen and population - local magic interferes with advanced technology
Board Leader: Pasion Pasiva and King
Renovatio lies between Genesaris and Terrenus and is made up of multiple territories.
Renovatio (kingdom) | AMA | Quests
Major themes: futuristic scifi - floating landmass 3.7 miles in the air - airship hub
Board Leader: Aleksei
Geographic standout feature: Largest volcano
Alterion| AMA | Quests | Artifacts
Major themes: sci-fi - dark horror - birthplace of combat alchemy - home to the Crystal, a being worshiped as a god
Board Leader: paradigm and Syncopy
Geographic standout feature: Largest canyon
The Vortex | announcement
This is a gateway into what is commonly referred to as "the infinities of the spirit world", a portal which leads to endless realities and dimensions and through which come travelers from far off worlds. It can deposit you anywhere on the planet, not just near itself.
Not a part of the canon world of Valucre. Alternative is where members can go to host roleplay that wouldn't fit in the world of Valucre. Roleplay that takes place on other planets, on modern-day earth, or that surpass the mild powers limitations of Valucre can be hosted here. Roleplay here must still abide by the code of conduct. As of the introduction of the vortex, characters can freely travel from Alternative to Valucre, and must adhere to the rules of the local realm.
Magic and Technology
Valucre is a fantasy setting where magic and science have evolved separately but in parallel. This results in areas which vary drastically from one another. In a single nation you can have locations where people use coal and oil, other areas where they use steam and electricity - one area where magic is sacred and divine, and another where it is used for convenience, or doesn't exist at all.
You can read more about the laws of magic in its dedicated article. The laws are open by design to allow members to use any ability or system they please, as long as those things adhere to mild powers; actions that observe the laws are considered as having canonical backing. Board leaders may have local systems which will override or supplement the universal system. Like any system, the laws are a 'living document' and subject to change.
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What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark?
It would be like sleep without dreams.
- Werner Herzog
The South Sea
At 325.20 million square kilometers in area, the South Sea is the largest division of Valucre’s world ocean. Its reach easily spans over forty-six percent of the planet’s water surface and nearly one-third of the total surface area, making it larger than all of the world's land area combined, and touches more continents than any other ocean on the planet. It is the home of the two primary masses: Iselyr and Tellus Mater, which reside in the southwest and southeast of the of its boundaries, respectively.
Hugging the southern edges of Terrenus, the South Sea shallows into what is known as the Barnstable Coast. A mass of islets and barrier islands, numbering in the hundreds, pepper this dangerous, rocky shoreline all the way from east to west. These islands have become a sanctuary for pirates, desperate to escape the reach of the law. Furthermore, all of Terrenus's major rivers, such as those snaking from the bellies of Ponkapoag Lake and Coconino Marsh, empty themselves into this ocean.
However, the South Sea is most famous and studied for: the E’lvroe Abyss and Yuuja. Marine biologists with the necessary funds and equipment to best both the ocean and its volatile creatures also whisper of a highly advanced submarine culture dwelling in the murky depths, though there has been little evidence to support this claim. All official documentation has been kept under lock and key in the vaults of Ignatz, with very little offered to the general public.
Pirates, Sky and Sea
With the introduction of the Monroe Engine, the once sea-bound sailors, who were forced to wager their lives against terrible storms and hurricanes, and the ever-ravenous Yuuja, found reprieve in the skies. Powerful, wealthy merchants were able to lift both their ships and cargo into the clouds, and cross the treacherous oceans free of worry. However, such a wonderful thing did not remain so. Through black markets and sheer force, treasure-obsessed pirates and other thieving criminals managed to get their hands on this groundbreaking technology.
While many pirates lack the funds or skill to either purchase or steal such a device, there are those who have managed to acquire their own. Not only has this broadened their scope of possible victims, but likewise increase their chances of escape (as many standard policing ships still lack Monroe Cores).
The Yuuja are enormous, hybrid-like creatures, and one of the most infamous deviants of the South Sea (known for devastating entire clusters of ships at a time). Incredibly hostile and notably vicious, these creatures use their massive bodies, tentacles and scythe-like arms to shred apart their victims; they track through a combination of uncanny sound and scent, as their eyes are generally covered by an adjustable plate of thick, hardened scales during feeding (to prevent injury). Carnivorous by nature, they feed on anything smaller than themselves, with a particular taste for whale. At nearly forty meters in length, and weighing in at over three hundred tons, their naturally heavy-armored body makes these monsters difficult to kill for even the most armed and capable of Terrenus ships. It is believed that the Yuuja use the E'lvroe Abyss as their mating grounds.
Commander Athena Prothero wrote concerning the Yuuja:
Growing up as the daughter of a sailor in Casper, I heard stories of these things. But, I never believed the tales until my tenth year as an Admiral in the Terran Fleet. We ran across it, dead and broken along the Barnstable Coast, as we neared the port of Last Chance. Even with half of its corpse missing-- most likely torn away by one of its own savage kin --the damned thing was nearly half the length of our ship. The sole remaining scythe upon its underbelly could have sheared our vessel clean in twain, and with but one of its mangled tentacles could the creature have easily devoured my entire crew of two hundred men and women.
City of Tethys
Comfortably nuzzled along the ocean floor of the South Sea, the glory that is the City of Tethys is said to have evolved out of a growing conurbation of neighboring submarine cultures. Early records indicated the mega-city to be just under 6,300 kilometers (3,914.639 miles) long and 2,340 kilometers wide (1454.009 miles), and commanding a population numbering in the hundreds of thousands according to the most recent census data, which is several years old; how much of this has changed is unknown. They also suggested that, at least on a very general level, the majority of Tethys sustained itself via an intricately developed magical system that both reinforced the elaborate, ornate structures throughout the city. Later findings also proposed that this same magical system served as one of the city's primary energy sources, with the other most likely being natural volcanic activity occurring along the sea floor. Initial reports suggested a strong presence of advanced technology as well, though it's believed such a thing was simply used for transportation throughout the city.
Home to a plethora of aquatic lifeforms, ranging from merfolk to the more humanoid Syfae, Tethys is a cultural melting pot. Surprisingly, despite being a relatively new city, Tethys boasts an unnatural level of cohesion between its varying people. While not necessarily a utopia, as the city still suffers crime and injustice no different than any other, its considerably short history is devoid of any notable civil wars or periods of unrest. In spite of this, Tethys still faces a seemingly growing wall of challenges as the years progress.
With its northern tip located so closely to the E'lvroe Abyss (only fifty kilometers away), that region of the city is often subject of costly Yuuja attacks and has since been ruled as uninhabitable. This fluctuates with the seasons, with an average of twelve attacks per month when the beasts are in mating. Defensive resources have been pooled into the area to alleviate some of the pressure, but even then there is only so much they can do. The northern regions seem to be stuck in a perpetual cycle of reconstruction, which means other areas-- some of which are in desperate need of renovation --must be neglected indefinitely. Likewise, with the bulk of their military forces (which also serves as their police) being stationed at the northern borders, the crime rate in the central and southern divisions has raised dramatically.