Veloci-Rapture reacted to supernal 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.”
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.
Veloci-Rapture reacted to supernal for a article, Ignatz
City Manager: Odette Albright
Ignatz is a a religious Mecca for Gaianists, located in a valley between an unnamed mountain range and the Blue Hills. Ignatz has a population of approximately 6.3 million as of 24 AO. Due to the concentration of the Gaian faith, the constant prayers and blessings, nearly every square inch of Ignatz is holy land; the waters that flow through the city, feeding people and animals and plants, is blessed.
If you're looking for an adventure, check out the Ignatz Quests
A minor explosion in the middle of Ignatz, at the funeral for a dead hero, has the city on high alert for terrorist activity.
Ignatz is a swell of curves rising out of a valley. Plains of lush grass consume the vision in all directions; the eye grabs onto the occasional lazy smokestack of a faraway village but finds little of note save for the mountain range in the north-east.
Until the eye reaches Ignatz. The closer to that glorious city, the more life flourishes in manifold permutations. For the sight there are violent explosions of wild flowers in random patches; for the scent the exotic perfumes of Mother Nature braid the air. The Gaians have learned to work wonders and it shows in the jungle of life framing their city.
The Blue Hills and Ponkapoag Lake, which are south-west and east respectively, are within questing distance but comfortably out of sight.
Unknown quantities of small tributaries feed from Coconino Marsh and collect at Ignatz's southern end in a grandiose reflection pool. The water's location and angle makes the sunsets pretty most of the time, but stunning and a lucrative tourist attraction near the beginning and end of spring. Quadruple rainbows are a common occurrence during these times.
Below is a list of nearby locations and their approximate distances
North: ~400 miles to Coconino Marsh North-East: ~70 miles to an unnamed and unclaimed mountain range with Langley Keep at its easternmost point. East: ~320 miles to one leg of the Ponkapoag River, which stems directly from the Ponkapoag Lake found ~200 miles East. South-East: ~600 miles to Tia. The distance is staggering on foot, manageable on horse, pleasant by Lightning Rail and near instantaneous by Warp Gate. South: ~700 miles to the Moonwood. South-West: ~800 miles to the Blue Hills. West: ~800 miles to Coconino Creek. Follow the creek North for 20-30 miles and you land near Dougton. North-West: ~300 miles to Coconino Marsh. Cityscape
As a natural consequence of the disproportionate number of holy artifacts and temples, the crowning point of which is the First Temple of Odin Haze, Ignatz is blanketed by a sense of peace.
Ignatz's status as a Mecca aids in its natural appeal to practitioners of the Gaian faith, newcomers will notice a high incidence of civilians dressed in the attire of the clergy. Architecture in Ignatz makes a great deal of use of supporting pillars and the magnanimous Masonic Arch is employed in residential sectors. Features like heated floors, indoor plumbing, sonic dampening or amplification are results of ingenious civil engineering rather than dependence on magic or magi-tech.
Roads and Highways: Paved roads with ample sidewalks and dedicated bicycle lanes. Pedestrian rights are paramount in the laws that govern ground traffic. Lightning Rail: Offline. Warp Gate: Offline. Cars and Cabs: Steampowered imports from Tia. Most private vehicles as well as fee-cabs operate on four spherical wheels capable of all-terrain travel. Fuel sources for inner city travel are usually desalinated water. For travel outside of the city limits cars with long-term solabernite cells are required. Climate
In addition to being built with advanced biomimicry principles in mind, Ignatz and a few miles of land on all sides of it are geomantically cultivated.
With rare exception the weather in Ignatz is decidedly pleasant. The springs inspire creativity, the summers kindle love, the autumns calm the spirit and the winters are Elysium glazed with snow.
Flora and Fauna
Like all of Terrenus, Ignatz shares a lot of flora and fauna with our world. The below are just a few of the notable exceptions.
Rock Fireflies (Insect): These cave-dwelling insects give off a light that stimulates accelerated biological healing in mammals at a rate of 3.5 times the norm. They are collected and grown in Gaian Temples in environments conducive to a stable ecosystem.
Leoporidae Terricus (Animal): Otherwise known as 'the Terran hare'. Ignatz's serene atmosphere and cultured surroundings make an ideal breeding ground for these precocious hares that like to randomly heal the passerby that gives them a snack.
Fire-Burst (Fruit): This bright crimson, flame-shaped fruit is a class M limited resource in Ignatz. This classification prevents the selling of this commodity or the making of any profit off it but allows citizens (actual members of the registered body of Terrenus) and civilians (non-citizen residents) to brave the trees's intelligent defense (by smashing limbs and whip-like vines) to take their fruit. Ingestion of the fruit produces a temporary pyrokinetic ability in the eater.
Below is pictured an unripe fire-burst.
Gaian philosophical principles and its prevalent in Ignatz has made for a happy, friendly and generally courteous local that will fight to the last tooth and nail for what they truly believe in. Odette's love for all things scholarly and her emphasis on educational and social reform has also contributed to a rise in scientific and magical literacy.
The locals are kind and clever.
However there is a subsect of local life that embodies curious wedding of good-natured Gaianism and academic zeal. The 'sacred trickster'. A social variation most prevalent in the very young and the very old that takes delight in teasing and testing their contemporaries. This usually manifests by way of word games, logical fallacies, and pranks that lead to life lessons.
Ignatz's economy is strong and stable. As the concentration of Gaianism, Odette's reform, and the presence of the First Temple all make for both a massive lure and a refinery for earth-benders, Ignatz's main export is skilled geomancers. Some of the finest civil engineers and architects, artisans of metalworking and crystal-shaping, go to and come from Ignatz.
Ignatz also excels in the field of Botany, second only to Dougton in terms of food production, farming techniques, plant breeding and mutagenesis.
Companies, institutions and locations
First Temple: This was the very first temple built under Odin Haze's new regime and the only one built by the Saint-King's own hands. All temples throughout Terrenus are modeled after this one, but the First Temple is notable for having every inch of its real estate, from the foundation of the temple to the window frames, considered consecrated ground. The Storage Movement: T.S.M is Odette's personal attempt at digitizing all art and literature and uploading them to crystal arrays and making them available to the public at low-cost or free of charge. Odette's Public Library: Once a small private library, Odette took residence in a secluded casita in the back while working on historical renovations. When Odette settled into her stride as an influential politician Odette bought the library and real estate, renovated it, expanded the building and filled it with books. 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. Public Labs: Laboratory equipment and materials are provided at cost to people who are not able to otherwise access on their own Government
City Manager: Odette Albright. 20,000 local police: Made up completely of locals to balance the federal presence and enforce a self-governing city. Local police specialize in earth-bending and biokinesis. 20,000 military: Elemental knights, rangers, and recon officers make up the majority but not the total of this number. These numbers do no account for Sleepers or Splinter Cells. 3,000 paladins: Militarized members of the clergy that have vowed to protect Ignatz and its churches. Paladins specialize in earth-bending and offensive holy magic. Education
Thanks to Odette's reforms and active hand in the development of educational institutions, literacy and scientific and arcane comprehension are at an all time high. Ignatzian education focuses primarily on botany, geomancy, and pneumatology.
Wolda Cyne: A Cardinal of the Gaian faith, and one of the highest ranking members of the clergy. Wolda trained directly under Odin in both geomancy and divine magic. Odette Albright: The city manager, representative of the king and ruler of all local law. Odette is responsible for The Storage Movement, an initiative meant to bring as much information as possible to as many people as possible using newly patented Crook technology. Odin Haze: No longer a resident though his home and the First Temple reside here. Odin Haze is the King of Terrenus and the Saint of Gaianism. Along with Eustace Monroe and Edward Brown, Odin Haze was one of the pioneers of the magi-tech revolution shortly after the Crusades. History
Again in Ignatz: A caster has lost control of a demonic entity that it has attempted to summon. Addison, Lia and Cal work together to banish it back to the world from which it came. The aftermath leaves several buildings severely damaged. However, the creature has been vanquished before it could cause further damage and destruction. A hero's eulogy: Anouk attended the funeral of her personal hero, Lieutenant Steel. After his grave was desecrated, Anouk chased down the culprit and found out that others were planning some sort of attack. She tracked down the remaining individuals and killed them all while defending the city. Ronda's Lot: Private Anouk Enouk was assigned to investigate a town that exhibited an unusual level of peace and kindness. She discovered that the residents were being controlled, and some were being possessed, by a mysterious entity calling itself “Kline”. She trapped the entity in a single host, and brought the host back to command for examination. The Ignatz Incident: Bomb throwing anarchists take out their violent impulses on the First Temple, causing some terror and loss of life. But their choice of target combined with poor or totally absent planning and tactical decision-making leads to them quickly being overwhelmed and captured. The search for knowledge: Part of Odette's Library spontaneously combust for unknown reasons and a supernatural fire burns through one of the wings. The motive and perpetrators remain a mystery. Derailing Ignatz: Two mercenaries (Grievous and Cross) are tipped off by an informant to a bounty making his way to Ignatz. Farkis managed to destroy the Warp Gate and inflict moderate damage to the Rail, but a warning sent prior to the violence saved lives. Result: Rail fixed autonomously Oct. 1 2014 and Gate Dec. 1 2014. Mask Hunt: A mysterious group of children infiltrate the First Temple under the guise of visiting orphans. With a plan and precision hinting at third-party involvement, the kids manage to steal the church's most holy artifact: the mask of Odin Haze. Paladins give chase. Half the kids escape and the other half are captured and imprisoned. DTH: A young detective and his younger apprentice investigate rumors of a corrupt adventurer's league. The two expose corruption at its highest levels and a number of iniquitous nobles and officials are sent to jail to await trial. An Eye for an Eye: Two adventurers investigate rumors of a massive Cyclops slumbering in the heart of the land. They kill it and steal the protective gem lodged in its eye. On falling, the Cyclops forms a massive ravine that branches out from its cave, also causing a minor earthquake. Past
Veloci-Rapture reacted to supernal for a article, Terran Human
Type » Animal: Biped
Temperament » Neutral to Aggressive. Tend not to attack unless directly provoked but outliers of the species will murder for economic incentive, out of desperation or psychosis.
Sapience » Complex. Constructs and preserves information outside of the self. High degree of organization and development of physical, mental, and social networks. Understanding of abstract concepts and creation of complex tools.
Size » Medium; 5-7 feet
Weight » 90-300 lbs
Habitat » Extremely adaptable. Have been seen living in mountain ranges, deserts, forests, and cities.
Location » Terrenus
Organization » Extremely adaptable. Major population centers range in the millions but instances can be observed of smaller chiefdoms and tribes with own culture, language, religion, magic, and scientific understanding.
Special Abilities » Enhanced physical attributes (compared to mundane mortal); innate magic (5% of the species capable of casting innately); external magic (learned through books, training, insight, etc).
Terrans are physically robust, comparable in physical ability to Olympic athletes and perhaps explaining why such a high percentage of the population is employed in high-risk physical labor (smithing, mining, dungeoneering, mercenary work, etc and so on). This is due to a diet whose food sources are maintained and augmented through magic, as well as to the physical demands of survival anywhere outside of the heavily constructed mega-cities.
The common language is Terric, with different dialects and pidgin languages in isolated pockets of the continent whose influence can be seen in the names of certain locations or historical events, such as Last Chance's native name of La Ultimate Opportunidad.
The life span is 100 for men and 110 for women. Unlike other hominid species, the disparity in physical strength between men and women is extant but borderline insignificant; women are more or less comparable to men in this regard. Most Terrans are Gaianist in religion, philosophy, or worldview, and this is salient in their implementation of biomimicry in their architecture and green engineering. Two-thirds of the population are citizens, which requires two years of military service in order to hold property and vote, and which establishes a basic minimum combat readiness for most men and women.
1: In short the average Terran citizen is strong, smart, and capable. They're not all perfect and if you need an NPC mook, you can use them for that but that type is the exception and not the standard.