Arcturia - general synopsis
The Lay of the Land on Arcturia
- Heroic Details
- What’s my base of operation?: at first it will be the military camp outside the warzone. Later the party can set up shop, as it were, in their old hometown, in the newly peaceful and whole nation’s Mazar region. And still later, with all the traveling that will be necessary, base of operations will most likely move onto a boat or maybe even an airship.
- Do I look different from everyone else?: We’ll talk about that on an individual basis before we get started.
- How do I make a living?: You are in the Army of the Knights Equitable of His Royal Highness King Fredrick Gilles Orin; this army has few conscripts, almost everyone is a volunteer, even some non-felons from prison are on the front lines, however desertion is still punishable in the harshest way, even for clerics, and especially for former inmates.
- Have I been doing this long?: Probably only a year or two, I imagine you’re all fairly young people… you have seen some shit.
- Are we at war or at peace?: (the Mazar Empire, ruled by “his grace by the divine, the great” Emperor Galvin Mazar II vs. the Kingdom of Orin, ruled by His Royal Highness King Fredrick Gilles Orin) “Hell yeah we’re at war! Those marzi scum aught to know better that to try to declare sovereignty from the Kingdom of Orin! What’s odd about it though is that they are accusing our nation of the same…”
- What am I doing with these other guys?: They are your brothers in arms, your squad-mates. Are you related, by blood or other ties than those of the battlefield? You tell me…
- How are lives affected by the arcane?: Schools of magic are not as common as churches, but they are around, and while they are still relatively new to the limelight they receive these days, nearly all prejudice concerning such has passed. Orin has four such academies, one in each Upex, Ipex, Orn and Nabbage. The Ipex Acadamy of Cosmic Arts is considered the most prestigious of these schools in either Mazar or Orin. There are of course scouts and small workshops of magic in most provinces, but these may consist of nothing more than some lone sorcerer or enchantress who attends community gatherings scouting for magical aptitude and hosting any wielders who pass through.
- How are lives affected by the divine?: The divine makes up a large portion of the power in this realm, because part of the war effort is meant to solidify peoples’ faith in the church. There is at least one church in almost every community, be it city town or village. The basis for all churches is the Planar church, headed by His Grace Primate Julio Ferdinand. To accomidate the many divergent beliefs of each plane high temples provide separate services, some in secret, for devotees of nearly every deity from each plane. Generally, the people worship a deity of an aligned plane, pay tribute to an inner plane, and address the transitive planes as avenues to the afterlife in whichever aligned plane they worship.
- Who or What is trying to kill me?: the Imperial Mazarian Troops, that’s who. Aside from adversaries in war, the land has its fair share of monsters and wild beasts.
- Where can I sell this loot?: The commissary officers on the front lines have been instructed to make reasonable offers for any items brought back by troops, including-but-not-limited-to enemy provisions and equipment. (Most trading buying begging bartering and or stealing will be roleplayed)
- The Mundane Nitty-Gritty
- Who’s in charge here?: you answer to Sargent Gunter, who answers to Captain Eliot, who answers to Lieutenant Fennigan, who answers directly to the young Frontline General Hawkins, commander in chief of the Mazar offensive. He answers to Commander Orfus Arthurio, who answers directly to His Royal Highness.
- Who has the largest army?: Orin’s army is bigger, as is the nation itself, Mazar’s army is more of a war machine than Orin, as is the nation itself. They’ve always been better in war than Orin, the only thing really keeping them at bay is the sheer number of brave men and women on the Uverhead front.
- Who has the most money and power?: King Orin is commander of the military, and his citizens love him. This has been made especially evident by the number of citizens who have rallied to him at his call. And, as king, his wealth is rivaled only by that of the head of the church, and the Primate does not himself own those funds anyway. The most powerful fighters in the world are many and various, though, in the Orin army, Jackie the Bear is considered the strongest. And finally, among the gifted, the currently-believed-to-be-greatest magicker is none other than Blain Scathaine, Hazard I (First Hazard) and President of Ipex Academy of Cosmic Arts. At a close second is Hazard himself, the tutor of the royal family and official presenter of awards to all Hazards.
- Who maintains law and order?: the sheriff answers to the knight of his province. Each town has at least 1 sheriff, usually 2 but sometimes more. They act as peacekeepers, captains of the guard, and judge whenever the lord knight is away from home. Depending on the size of the province, a sheriff may have a deputy or two, a bailiff, and will usually appoint a pair of jailers, and they can even deputize citizens or guardsmen to act as tax collectors. Whatever jobs they don’t delegate they generally do themselves. The sheriff is the authority of any town whose lord knight is absent for travel or business. Aside from inter-city forces, the Wayguard is meant to patrol the roads of the kingdom, however these duties are often neglected, because there is no real way to ensure that a squad will perform its duties and not take advantage of passers by themselves.
- How hard do the poor have it?: Any city has its beggars. Cripples and other enfeebled individuals with too much will to die but not enough skill to succeed are frequently among their numbers, as are those who society rejects as being unacceptable or even too different. Half-elves and -orcs make up the majority of this under-class, from which stems much of inter-city crime.
- How do people travel and how easy is it?: traveling on land? Can’t afford a horse? You WALK! Boats are on the waves, and some claim that in distant lands, airships called Derigibles travel the skies. Owning and maintaining a horse, or a ship, or hypothetically an airship, is quite expensive. For knights of the round, a pair of horses is provided, one to ride and one as a spare in the unhappy event that the first should die. These animals are taken care of by order of the king. There is no teleportation network set up, although the magic academies board of governors headed by Scathaine of IACA have begun eager talks regarding the initiation of such a thing.
- What are the best known landmarks?: The Red Rock is a tall natural pillar of rock that forces the Apex River to divide around the Moors toward Ipex and Upex. The Ruined Capitol was once the center of the two kingdoms which are now divided against each other. Ozark is the great prison island in the far southwestern sea. Skythorn is the tallest mountain in all of Arcturia, right in the middle of the Earthspine. Other widely known freatures of the land include the three islands in the Ov Gulf and the Five Precursor Lighthouses. (THIS SECTION IS GOING TO COME UNDER HEAVY REVISION SOON)
- Why is everyone celebrating?: Couriers who bring back news of victories are heroes all on their own, and often inspire celebration. There are seasonal festivals four times a year & there’s also the annual Festival of Fools, and the traveling Car-Na-Val and Grand Cirqe.
- What do people do for a good time?: There are a lot of festivals during the course of the year, and each is accompanied by games and performances. In times not marked for celebration, entertainment can be found in a bit of music if one owns an instrument, some reading if there’s a nearby library or bookseller, a game of cards, dice (one or another of which can be found in every household), or a drink at a local publican house, maybe even some late night companionship.
- Tomfoolery and pranks are not uncommon, but magical pranks are heavily frowned upon. Too much can go wrong. The car-na-val, cirqe and Foolfest are public and regular outlets for bufoonery and some of the most bizarre sights in creation can be found there.
- Scholastic Nit-pickery
- How did the world come to be?: In the beginning, Toriel was a formless mass of prime material floating in its own space and time. At the same time the outer planes were at vicious war with one another, each threatening the livelihood of all the others. It was at this point in prehistory that the three brothers of the True Neutral plane, Purgatory, called a parley with all of their neighbors and presented this end: that Toriel, the prime material, be imbued with shape, substance and life, and that each plane could touch it and influence it in small ways but none would control it directly. Meanwhile the inhabitants of Toriel would choose for themselves who they would worship and side with, and on their own behavior would rest the final battle of the planes. So the princes of each realm drew power together and cast it upon the mass of prime material, and it became Toriel, and life sprung up in it, and death, and air, water, earth, and fire were all present there.
- What is the nature of the Gods?: Each plane has at least one god, usually two, occasionally three or more. They are powerful beings with control over their plane of existence, and influence over other powerful beings as well as Toriel and its people. Mundane and Endyn, the older two brothers, stand to judge the souls of the dead from Toriel. The third brother, Ordain the Name-giver, was given the charge of watching over Toriel itself. Due to his close proximity to the people of Toriel and in order to appease those who were not originally in favor of the truce, Ordain was forced to cut out his own tongue to “prevent him from influencing the folk of that realm” one way or another as far as choosing a god. Many believe that he is still living in the flesh upon the surface of Toriel, and the Dark and Light sides of the moon are generally taken to represent the other two brothers, Endyn and Mundane respectively.
- What is the source of magic?: People born with “the gift” are the source of their own powers, and the pieces of their spells come from the planes from which they draw power. These people have what is known as a spirit, along with the usual body and soul. This allows them to safely do what they do. The somatic component of a spell, as every novice magicker knows, draws linear portals onto planes whose powers are to be utilized in the spell they are casting. E.G. someone casting a fireball draw several lines with fire and perhaps one or two of air and earth, to give the ball shape and direction. The verbal component solidifies those portals and causes the corehence of the spell itself. Wall of fire and Fire Shield are similar enough to use the same components, the only difference is the uttering of a single syllable at the finish.
- What happens when you die?: The body begins decomposing, the spirit, if one was present, erupts from the soulless body with an effect that has been associated with a snapshot of the owner’s entire lifetime of spellcasting: E.G. if they spent most of their life casting fire magic the body might burst into flames. If it was a cleric or a mage who focused on healing magics everyone within a proximity might feel a wave of healing magic sweep over them. Between the death of the body and the eruption of the spirit, the soul departs on a journey through the Astral plane, or the Soulstream, to either Purgatory to be judged by Endyn, or to a place called the Crossroads, where they meet Mundane the Riddler, who determines their fate with a short conversation. Each of these two first receives notice from Ordain of their life’s works. Generally speaking, people without spirits go before Endyn, while those with go to Mundane. The three brothers are known as the Tribunal, or the Trinity, and that they are All One and Each is All.
- What cycles define the calendar?: The calendar is earth-like, as are the seasons. There are four seasons, each is made up of three months, each month is made up of six weeks of five days each: Sunday Monday Tuesday Thursday Friday. The months don’t have names, they are called as their relationship to the season they are in: High Summer, Late Summer, Early Autumn, Midautumn, Late Autumn, Early Winter, Deep Winter, Late Winter, Early Spring, Midspring, Late Spring, Early Summer, & back again. The new year is marked at the end of Late Winter and the beginning of Early Spring. So there are 30 days in each month and 360 days in a year. The seasonal festivals coincide with the middlemost days of the seasons.
- What do you see when you look at the sky?: Earth-like night sky. Differing constellations. The North Star for example is instead called Desna after the goddess of travel. Magnetic field exists and in fact…
- What constitutes cutting edge technology?: …the magnetic compass recently entered wide use, especially for ships and explorers. Alchemy constitutes the limits of chemistry. Metallurgy is fairly advanced, the smelting of heavy and hard metals like adamantium is known, if only to a few and most of them dwarfs. But there is abundant knowledge available if you look in the right places and ask the right questions.
# Where do monsters come from?: Their natural habitats I guess??? DON’ WORRY ’BOUT THAT, OK!
- Which is strongest: Gods, magic or nature?: Nature, but only in an ambiguous sense, because time is natural and in time all things will end or change, even the gods. In that way Nature has power over gods. Gods own the planes from which stem all magic, so gods trump magic. Magic is the tool the humanoids of Toriel use to manipulate their environment, or the Nature around them. So Magic is greater than nature. In this way the giant ro-cham-beau of the universe spins round.
- If I drop this off the balcony, what will happen?: Earth-like gravity and physics. Heartless bitches. Nothing to add.
- Culture Shock-stock
Orin is generally like King Arthur’s England circa 1000AD
Mazar is like Nazi Germany set in England circa 1000AD
Market will be roleplayed for the most part, because I’ll be instituting a new monetary system based on “coins” rather than “platinum-gold-silver-copper”.