Archive for the ‘World Building’ Category

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A to Z – Outlanders in the Sea of Stars

19 April, 2018

Many WorldsOutlanders, in this case people and beings from other worlds, are rare in the Sea of Stars, the Empress has constructed wards and barriers to keep out beings from outside, primarily from the higher and lower planes, but this effects dimensional and world travelers as well.  Which the Empress considers a benefit, such people are likely to be destabilizing elements on the world she rules and there are enough of those already.

However, as knowledge of her existence has leaked in garbled form into other worlds, due to no effort of her own, where she is sometime viewed as a savoir of oppressed dragonkin such as kobolds.  She will occasionally pluck such beings across the barrier and bring them to the Sea of Stars where they may start a new life.  Using such powerful magic has unexpected side efforts however, with other things being dragged in the wake of the chosen beings or odd magical energies being released.

The barrier is designed to keep beings out and it is easy to pass through when leaving the Sea of Stars should someone master the magics involved to do so.  The Empress has no problem with people leaving her realm as long as they do not steal from it, that might invite retribution, but any mortal from the Sea of Stars who leave are indelibly marked in their aura and the Empress will know if they return.  A large number of people fleeing her realm would also attract her attention which is likely not what such people would want.

Notes: The idea of kobolds being “saved” by the Empress and other people getting dragged through into the wake, I used as a framing mechanism for a introductory D&D I have been GMing.

Image “Kleine Welten VI (Small Worlds VI)” by Vasily Kandinsky (French (born Russia), Moscow 1866–1944 Neuilly-sur-Seine) via The Metropolitan Museum of Art is licensed under CC0 1.0

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A to Z – Nobility and Draconic Houses

18 April, 2018

NoblesWhen the dragons defeated the gods, naturally they wanted to take their spoils.  In most cases, the Empress convinced them that ruling over the other being in the Sea of Stars was the most efficient way to gain wealth and power.  A few ignored her and just pillaged their assigned lands, but they soon saw the errors of their ways and imported new people to farm and manage their lands and resources, except for a clawful of holdouts who rule over savage areas devoid of civilization and usually avoided by all others.

While dragons, in general, prefer the trapping of power to its responsibilities most just took over the local power structures and either replaced the highest power or placed themselves above them liking such titles as High Queen, Supreme Ruler, Most High and such, anything that elevated them over those they ruled.  Thus most dragons receive a constant revenue from taxes and tribute without having to go through all the effort of actively extorting it from their subject, leaving that to the nobility whom serves them.  The Draconic Houses emerge from such an arrangement, serving as the bureaucracy and enforcers of the dragons, making sure that proper taxes are paid, approving major projects and negotiating with other houses for trade deals and favors.  Over time the noble houses over seen by the Draconic Houses have often intermarried spreading draconic bloodlines wider throughout the lands.

Dragons understand the concept of nobility and an aristocracy, after all the idea of being born to rule is a core aspect of the philosophy of Dominae, but the day to day tasks are far too dull and petty for most dragons to enjoy so they leave them to their most honored servants, the nobles.  Dragon have greater tasks, at least according to them they do.

Notes: Aspects of this has been touched upon in the discussion of Knights and Knightly Orders in the Sea of Stars.

Image “Miniature showing Dripetua riding sidesaddle on a white horse . . .” by Boccaccio, Giovanni (1313-1375) is licensed under CC0 1.0

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Tuesday Magic Item / A to Z – Mercenary Contract

17 April, 2018

ContractVoddick cleaned his knife and stared at the contract.  “I hate signing these contracts.”

“There are not my favorite but at least you know what you are signing up for,” said Gollaon.  “They are very explicit.”

“True,” Voddick nodded.  “That is a small comfort.”

“Agreed.”

Mercenary Contract

Originally created by the god known as the Prince of Mercenaries for use by his followers.  These contracts are made of durable material, vellum, leather, thick paper, though even wood or sheets of metal have been used.  They are inactive until freely signed in blood both by the employer and the employed.

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A to Z – Love and Such in the Sea of Stars

16 April, 2018

Love!?Of course, love exists in the Sea of Stars, though there are no longer any deities that embody or promote the concept.  Among most cultures, love is how it always has been, which includes a nearly infinite number of combinations, rules, taboos and dangers.

The elves, however, have embraced the love of loss, they have developed entire genres of poetry and romances addressing the loss of the wholeness of the world, their gods (suitably allegorized), their near immortality, their place in the cycle of things, their lack.  Almost all of the elven cultures are woven through with loss and nostalgia to a greater or lesser extent.

The Visse, mostly, have a love of service and of those who are their social superiors, usually dragons, such is how they were made.  Their family lives tend to be ordered and hierarchical but not locking in love, though the strict hierarchies do lead to the occasional secret assignations and unrequited love.

Dragons are . . . not good with love.  They have great passions, driving passions, and they often acquire and collect things with an avarice that borders on love.  This sometimes extends to people but their love is usually possessive and can be cruel.  Almost all dragons are exceedingly self-centered but some try to learn more about mortal love, with mixed results at best.  But conventional wisdom says that it is best to avoid the eye of a dragon.

 

Notes: Love is a strange thing and dragons are strange, so naturally the two together are even stranger.

Image “Love” by Thomas Rowlandson (British, London 1757–1827 London), T. Smith (British, active London 1785–1800) via The Metropolitan Museum of Art is licensed under CC0 1.0

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A to Z – Knowledge and Knowing

15 April, 2018

Is this true?Among the scholars and philosophers of the Sea of Stars, epistemology, the philosophical discipline of understanding how we know and what we know, is much debated.  Many thought that the gods served to underpin reality, when the dragons slew the gods, some expected the world to just end, the Sundering seemed to confirm their fears . . . and then it stopped.  The world and all certainties about it were shattered.

With the Empress’ name magically written out of of the world and the lost of the names of the gods, certain foundations of knowledge seem to have been eroded.  Even the rising and setting of the Sun had ceased to have it old certainty, replaced with the rules of the Dragon Empress.  If she could be the cause of so much change, could it not all change again at her whim?  She even created a new type of people, the Visse!  Perhaps change was the new way of things?

Of course, such fears were unfounded as the Empress sought an understandable and predictable world as well, but still doubts remained, at least among the philosopher and thinkers.  For most people, the world, is stable and predictable, well as predictable as a world of magic and dragons can be.  It is only the classically educated who worry about the nature of reality.

Notes: K is a tricky letter.  Sorry to be behind, this should have been up on Friday but I was on the road all day and then back to work yesterday.  Hopefully the rest of the A to Z should stay to schedule.

Image “Miniature showing Erythraea . . .” by Boccaccio, Giovanni (1313-1375) is licensed under CC0 1.0,

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A to Z – Jesters and Humor

12 April, 2018

Harlequin?There is a long tradition of having court jesters, however, as a general rule, dragons are not the best with humor and are objectively terrible at accepting criticism even -or especially- in the form of parody and play.  The exception, as if often the case, is the Empress.  While she does not hold court regularly enough to have a court jester, she often brings players, clowns and jesters, acrobats and other performers with her when she visits other Draconic nobles.

The Empress lets fools and jesters lightly mock her, and often more seriously tease or even ridicule her hosts, as the performers are under her protection, the other draconic nobles may grumble, but they will not act obviously against her playthings.  The Empress realizes that criticism crouched in humor sometimes will penetrate where direct confrontation would not, she lets her jesters and clowns provide that critique if her words will not be heeded.  After all, there is nothing a tyrant fears more than the laughter of their subject directed at them.

The Empress does not mind the occasional comedic barb sent her way, accusations of laying multicolored or gold eggs, being portrayed as a lusty dragon/woman (her seven closest aides are all handsome male dragons after all), joke about the greed of dragons, and so on.  As long as her competence to rule is not questioned, she can take a few laughs at her expense.  After all, she remembers being roundly mocked, laughed at and dismissed when she first ventured to talk about a plan to overthrow the gods, that was painful and humiliating . . . but look who is laughing now.

Notes: Something for every, a comedy tonight!

Photo “Jester” by Michael Neel is licensed under CC BY 2.0.  (Yes, I know it is Harley Quinn, but that is the name the photographer gave to it.)

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Tuesday Magic Item / A to Z – Hell Lance

10 April, 2018

Knight with lance“Look, they are bringing up their elite.  The knights of the doomsday?” Voddick asked, not sure if he remembered the name correctly.

“Indeed, armed with weapons left over from the Gods War, forged in hell flames and other such fanciful nonsense,” said Gollaon.

“Does that indicate that they are not exceedingly dangerous?”

“Well, yes, but less so because of the weapons.  They were forged primarily to fight a divine foe that no longer exists, but they are still potent magic items.”

Hell Lance

These weapons are deliberately constructed to look cruel and vicious with hooks and barbs common motifs, made of black or red tinted steel with poles of dark wood reinforced with strips of metal and studs.  They are as much a tool of intimidation as a weapon of war.

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