Discussion in 'Make It So' started by Exohedron, Sep 11, 2015.

  1. OnnaStik

    OnnaStik Relatively nice for a bloodthirsty mercenary

    Question 1: Is the lobster-god physically present? How about other deities?
    Question 2: Exactly how inconvenient is it for the dwarven royal couple to get it on?
    • Like x 1
  2. swirlingflight

    swirlingflight inane analysis and story spinning is my passion

    Feathered serpents are penpals
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  3. Wiwaxia

    Wiwaxia problematic taxon

    1. yes and no? Bahamut and the other god-king types are definitely all physically present. For other deities (at least in the first age) my thinking is generally that they start out small and very physical, and then as their follower base grows and as it covers more land, they get farther away vertically, as if they were at the top or bottom of a sphere whose diameter encompasses all their followers, and get less immediately tangible, and more subject to doctrinal debate, although they are still "physically" "real" in some sense. like the Titans definitely have a hall where they do their pantheon stuff, and lacking any convenient mountains it just keeps going higher and higher into the sky as the giants expand, but if you were to look out at the sky from the sky-dwarf city, you wouldn't see any sort of floating hall. lots of Schrodinger's cat quasi-reality stuff, both because i like it and because fuck it, first age.
    2. fairly. it probably has to be scheduled well in advance. actually, it's probably a periodic, somewhat ritualized thing, like they meet up and fuck on every new moon or whatever. may also be a major civic event. they can communicate fairly easily, though, because the viewing capabilities of the Deepest Throne mean you can send light messages (like morse code, but with some other form of encoding, presumably) up and down the dwarven cities to and from it
    • Like x 1
  4. Wiwaxia

    Wiwaxia problematic taxon

    end of the First Age. Something happens.
    Most of the histories of the First Age were taken down by early elven historians talking to dwarves, librarians, and the occasional dragon, but none were super willing to talk about the details of the end of the First Age, other than that it was pretty fucking apocalyptic. The dwarves have since lost or clammed up about any histories they may have had of the period, and any surviving dragons are asleep somewhere hard to find (and waking them up is a bad idea even if they're likely to be friendly -- bringing a little piece of unadulterated First Age out into the Third Age is gonna go... poorly). The librarians could theoretically have kept a strain of history snakes of the period hidden, but according to the elvish histories, any attempt to breed a history snake of the end of the First Age winds up horrifically diseased and deformed, and potentially outright impossible to read.

    What is known is the effects:
    - most notably and bafflingly, Echidna and many of her children and allies were destroyed or vanished inexplicably
    - those of Echidna's great beasts that did not vanish were sundered into lesser animals (owlbears into owls and bears, chimaeras into lions, goats, and fire-drakes, etc.)
    - similarly, by the time the elves arrived, the wilderness was often hostile and uncaring, but not actively hateful inimical to all civilized life (more Mononoke Hime than... whatever the First Age was)
    - the kuo-toa, the sky-dwarves, and the seventh people vanished outright
    - the giants went from a flourishing civilization of organized city-states to a scattered people who often as not fly into murderous rages at the sight of another giant
    - the geography of the continent the elves found was irreconcilable with the descriptions of first age geography, despite the best efforts of imaginative elven cartographers
    - the Low King was killed, and the dwarves had split into seven houses, each ruled by a separate line of his descendants
    - from reports from the dragons, at some point early in the events of the end of the First Age, Bahamut's king-consort the Orichalcum went mad and destroyed the city they had built together, forcing Bahamut to kill him, after which Bahamut disappeared
    • Like x 2
  5. Wiwaxia

    Wiwaxia problematic taxon

    The Second Age, as you may have guessed, is ELF TIME. It's very tolkienian, with a bit of drowtales backstory and demonology tossed in for flavor.
    The Elves come over the ocean from the East some unspecified time after the end of the First Age and find this continent with a bunch of dwarves and dragons and librarians holed up around the edges, and lots and lots of glorious unclaimed land in the middle and go hog fucking wild.

    I don't have a lot sorted out for the specifics of the families and lineages and dramas of the elves and the kingdoms they establish, and I want to leave all that somewhat open for possible Second Age players to build by playing, but suffice to say it's some Feanorian bullshit.

    I do know that the elven kingdoms tend to focus on a specific craft or two as a point of pride, trade, and general cultural touchstone. At least by the end of the Second Age, there's a city of glassworking elves on the southwestern coast (who are pretty important during the end of the Second Age).

    Elves' long lives and low populations also have a couple interesting societal implications, although the extent of them is obviously going to vary a lot between kingdoms -- first of all, it means that all elven politics is basically familial. There's maybe three or four families of elves that make the original crossing to colonize the continent we care about. Secondly it means that social stratification is fairly shallow, even in the more hierarchical kingdoms, because that random elven prostitute in the street is still like the king's third cousin, and only like 853rd in line for the throne (and it's not like having all those elves die abruptly doesn't happen, because...)

    At some point someone figures out how to summon demons.
    Demonology interluded (ganked wholesale from drowtales, with some additions):
    demons are intangible creatures native to another plane (the only other plane because fuck planes cosmology with a rake) which is basically full of demons and undifferentiated demonstuff called nether. Nether and demons eat magic, meaning that the most powerful conventional wizard is more or less helpless against them without other skills. Spells can't hurt them, shields and wards can't stop them, and they can just eat your magic until you up and die. nether summoning is a school of not-quite-magic that can be used to summon and manipulate demons and undifferentiated nether, but it must be learned independent of other kinds of magic, and even then, demons are immune to attacks using nether and only very rare and hard-to-control types of demons can actually eat other demons.

    As if that wasn't bad enough, these intangible demons can also enter magic-bearing creatures and possess them. Possession is irreversible, and full possession essentially kills the host creature and allows the demon to warp its form. There's a wide variety of demons, but the ones summoned for war (aka most of the ones summoned) tend to turn their hosts into ravenous monsters with lots of spikes and teeth and voracious, insatiable hunger. or maybe a horrific blob monster trying to absorb all flesh in its path. if you're lucky. if you're not lucky, it's full-on balrog time. there are some chill demons that like barely eat anyone, but they are not the ones you're likely to be dealing with, really. if the possessed body is killed, the intangible demon springs out maybe a bit weakened but not seriously hurt, and can then proceed to possess someone else.
    however, there is also a possibility to get possessed by a weakened or unlucky demon that doesn't succeed in taking full control. in that case, the demon goes dormant as what's called a "seed" and the host creature is more-or-less fine, for now. this process, generally called "tainting," also irreversible and also has the side effect of converting the host's magic aura to nether, rendering them immune to nether, demons trying to eat their magic, and other demons trying to possess them, immunization-style. as such, it's often done preemptively with an intentionally weakened demon and unweakened host, as protection against demons. unfortunately, demonic seeds are not quite as safe as vaccination, in that if the host is ever too weak to contain their seed, it will complete its possession as above, and then probably go on a murderous rampage. tainting is also immediately obvious -- it causes red eyes and also, you know, the whole nether aura thing. in some areas, this may put anyone tainted under suspicion as a possible nether summoner, if accidental or prophylactic tainting isn't widespread

    demons are summoned into this world by nether gates, which can either be continually held open by the summoner, or "stuck" open by use of a crystal around the gate and carved magic patterns around the crystal. the second kind of gate, critically, will remain open and spitting out demons until actively closed.
    as mentioned above, demons are essentially unkillable, except sometimes by starvation of magic and nether (they may just encyst themselves in bodies or inanimate objects, though). the only effective way to combat demons is by killing any possessed bodies, using modified nether summoning to capture intangible demons and trap them in sealing stones (usually glass or quartz, sometimes hollow lead bottles), then opening a gate and flushing the intangible demons back into the netherworld they came from. each sealing stone can only hold so much before it will overload and explode and dump all those formerly trapped demons, too. and if a gate has been stuck open, you will need to fight your way through demons to it, close it, and then mop up all the demons it's let through.

    you may be beginning to see how the second age ended.
    • Like x 1
  6. Wiwaxia

    Wiwaxia problematic taxon

    okay, gonna go slep, i think, but i should be able to type up some things tomorrow or the day after on the seven houses of the dwarves through the second and third ages and on the end of the second age

    questions are always welcome, too. also, do people want me to continue dong this in this thread or ask for it to be moved to its own thread?
  7. winterykite

    winterykite Non-newtonian genderfluid

    Either way I'm interested! Also I'm guessing the First Age also ended due to a demon infestation, just one that wasn't contained that well, what with there only being one alternate plane and a lot of unkillable or hard-to-kill things suddenly being outright gone. Something that seeped into everything.
    Or it was the Lobster God who went Cthulhu.
  8. OnnaStik

    OnnaStik Relatively nice for a bloodthirsty mercenary

    Very sad about the kuo-toa D:
    • Like x 1
  9. OnnaStik

    OnnaStik Relatively nice for a bloodthirsty mercenary

    I've had a setting percolating in my head for a while, though no idea what to do with it, that basically runs with the threefold elemental/cosmology system of earth, sea, and sky. The sentient species are divided accordingly: a harpy-variant, a mermaid-variant, and humans-with-a-bit-of-dwarfiness-in-some-cultures.

    Currently trying to come up with at least a naming-language for at least one harpy culture. How the fuck do I phonology at birdsong, though.
    • Like x 1
  10. Starcrossedsky

    Starcrossedsky Burn and Refine

    Meanwhile I am puttering at a dragon race that worships the stars, believing themselves to be the children of said stars (in contrast to humans who are earth-children). (There may be a variety of in-between races collectively called cloud children, I am still mulling over this one.) Dragons have magic, humans don't, and dragon stuff in general has themes of sevens - seven disciplines of magic (which I'm still trying to beat out), seven elements, seven general kinds of dragon, etc.

    Since they do consider themselves to basically be stars symbolically? There is a faction called Novas that... basically because the sun will eventually expand and immolate the earth, they believe they have the right to do that to other races. Those of you remembering my comment about the draconic alt-right in OOCQ, yep, it's these guys, and they're treated about the same as the alt right is, ie for some reason they're treated as a legitimate policy platform even though their policy is KILL EVERYTHING THAT ISN'T A DRAGON, WE ARE THE END TIMES MADE LIVING, etcetc.

    Current plot idea being nurtured has to do with a prophecy that the chosen one will be born during a solar eclipse... And since the dragons have, you know, modern ability to predict total solar eclipses, there's this just. Swarm of dragon parents having all their nests in the line of this eclipse hoping that one of their children will Be The One. Needless to say, there wind up being quite a few dragon children born under said eclipse, which makes the issue of who exactly the chosen one is supposed to be very muddy indeed.
    • Like x 3
  11. Starcrossedsky

    Starcrossedsky Burn and Refine

    Okay continuing to try and hash out dragons For the seven varieties I'm thinking:

    Furry Dragons (possibly two varieties, a super furry and a regular furry kind)
    Feathery dragons
    Sea dragons
    Legless dragons of some variety
    Probably two kinds of scale dragons, one very serpentine and one not so much

    Anyone else got suggestions? For world-building reasons, wingless/non-flying dragons are not a Thing, but otherwise go wild.
  12. Wiwaxia

    Wiwaxia problematic taxon

    Polychaete dragons? Nudibranch dragons cf. Glaucus atlanticus?
    • Like x 2
  13. Starcrossedsky

    Starcrossedsky Burn and Refine

    tbh snail dragons in general were under consideration but also: Wax I need things that the average person will be able to imagine in written text without getting a dictionary.
  14. Wiwaxia

    Wiwaxia problematic taxon

    Just describe them and let people think you came up with this alien-ass bullshit on your own?
  15. Starcrossedsky

    Starcrossedsky Burn and Refine

    and where am I supposed to stick wings on these things Wax -

    oh I could do insect dragons, duh.
  16. Wiwaxia

    Wiwaxia problematic taxon

    Glaucus basically has wings if you don't care about areodynamics, polychaetes can just replace the chetae with wings.
  17. Starcrossedsky

    Starcrossedsky Burn and Refine

    I will keep the slugs under consideration. I am not giving you worm dragons, go make your own.

    (also ftr: hybrid dragons are possible, specifically through the use of one or more partners making use of shapeshifting magic. This is also how the cloud children happened. Gender and presentation in general are not a huge issue for the same reason - yeah you can't really change your true form, but no one ever has to see you in it if you don't want them to.)
  18. OnnaStik

    OnnaStik Relatively nice for a bloodthirsty mercenary

  19. Starcrossedsky

    Starcrossedsky Burn and Refine

    hydras are not dragons no but I think I've got it

    I will probably be back in a day or two with rambling about a magic system though.
  20. Wiwaxia

    Wiwaxia problematic taxon

    Okay, it's "tomorrow" and I am here to talk about the End of the Second Age and the Houses of the Dwarves through the Second Age up to the "present" a few hundred years into the Third Age.

    So by the end of the Second Age, the elves have been around for maybe coming up on like a millenium of heroes and doomed nobility and disagreements that turn into bitter partings that turn into personal enmities that turn into family feuds that are basically indistinguishable from wars because as mentioned above all the elves are really fucking closely related and the dude ruling the next kingdom over is your brother.
    And since the introduction of demons and nether summoning, the continent has basically been in a massive arms race because now all their old spells are completely outmoded except maybe if they're protected by a phalanx of dedicated sealers and the dwarves are sitting on the sidelines (literally; all the dwarven kingdoms are established around the margins of the continent) going "uh. please don't. no, no really. stop. trust us."
    So nether summoning also opens up a singularly nasty possibility of guerilla warfare: sneak someone into or even just nearby an enemy city and open a nether gate, and let demons possess the unsuspecting and unprotected citizens and turn them into rampaging monsters tearing the city apart from the inside out. The End of the Second Age really kicks off in earnest when a number of elven nations in the center of the continent all do this to eachother in quick succession, including nasty shit like retaliatory attacks from nominal refugees. This completely wipes out infrastructure and society in the area, in addition to killing most of the populace, meaning there's nobody left to close the gates. All the wars and alliances and stalemates involving those nations also collapse, so there's a flood of political activity (read: opening more nether gates. but like, strategically), followed shortly by a flood of refugees fleeing the area, many of whom are turned away out of fear of them opening gates. Which some of the refugee contingents respond to by opening gates all around the cities that turned them away. And when these cities collapse from the gates, or from infrastructure breakdown and lack of trade, or from powerful demons rampaging from more affected areas, or from internal political shenanigans taking advantage of the instability, or from being conquered by opportunistic neighbors, they leave open a bunch of gates they were managing on their other fronts in other wars. Remember again that fixed nether gates continue letting out demons until actively closed.

    At this point, the king of the Black Dwarves marches South with his whole force, armed with quartz-encrusted weapons and hasty sealing training. This move costs the Black Dwarves their royal line and possibly as much as half of their population, but establishes an entrenched position against demons and nether summoning, and a safe haven for refugees to flee North (mostly moving into the abandoned halls of the Black Dwarves). The situation to the south continues to deteriorate rapidly until most of the continent is literally on fire (or flowers, or salt. for unknown reasons, the most powerful demons are always associated with one of the three) and full of both wandering and rampaging demons possessing bodies and enough free incorporeal demons to kill a First Age dragon by magic deprivation. (this happened. there are unclaimed hoards somewhere. take heed, Third Age adventurers) At this point, the Grey Dwarves also march South to add their strength to the Black Dwarves, and the remaining Northern Elven nations swear off offensive demon summoning and join their forces in what becomes the Northern Line of the Watch. The White Dwarves initially refuse to join and adopt a more isolationist position, which does not make them popular, to say the least.

    In the far south of the continent, there's a kingdom of elves specializing in glasswork, who develop a kind of murky green glass particularly suited to demon sealing, allowing them to protect themselves from the encroaching demon apocalypse. Word reaches them by way of the sea dwarves of the defensive line being formed in the north, and they respond by allying with the elves remaining in the south (although basically all the southern kingdoms have ceased to exist as political entities by this point) and the expansive mercantile empire of the brown dwarves streching across the south of the continent, and supplying these greenglass sealing stones, to form a parallel Southern Line.
    This is usually counted as the official start point of the Hundred Year Watch. With the lines entrenched, and communication possible by way of the sea dwarves up and down the western coast (all magic fades at sea, including the un-magic of demons and nether) the plan becomes to starve the demons out -- to defend against demonic incursion and wait until they have eaten all the ambient magic out of the center of the continent and either starved or gone to ground, and then march the lines towards the center of the continent, sealing every demon and every nether gate they find.
    As the name suggests, the Lines wait entrenched for about a hundred years, then begin to creep forward, completing their sweep of the continent in about another fifty, although countless dormant single demons were passed over unnoticed, and the dense forests of the southeastern coast could not be fully cleared. Sometime in the middle of this, the three main lineages of the goblins arrive from the East from the ancestral homeland of the elves (more on this when i talk about goblins in detail, probably) The two that land in the north are incorporated into the Northern Line of the Watch, while the third lands in the middle of the Eastern coast and isn't descovered until the Northern line reaches it on its march South. It goes poorly.

    The Lines continue to exist as formal organizations, although they are no longer anything like a defensive line, for another twenty to thirty years, dealing with demons emerging in the presence of returning magic and searching for missed nether gates, then disband as new peacetime cities and nations start to form.

    About another twenty years after that, humans show up from across the Western sea with absolutely no warning, and the Third Age begins in earnest.
    • Like x 4
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