No Goblins Allowed

[Dossier] Thamirelk [Plane]
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Author:  Huey Nomure [ Fri Jun 24, 2016 9:51 am ]
Post subject:  [Dossier] Thamirelk [Plane]

:passion: Work in progress :passion:

:diamond: Public and open for collaboration
The development of Atharak, Latsho and a potential fifth continent are basically up for grabs.

Thamirelk is a plane with an incredible racial diversity and wild variations in ambient mana; according to the theories of some planeswalker of old, these irregularities may be the results of the merging of three or more ancient planes. Thamirelk is a massive spherical plane with a single sun and a moon, and it presents four major known continents: Ikarist, Latsho, Kwassati and Jhat.

Ikarist is the theater of countless schemes and power plays: its nations are locked in a dance of shifting alliances, and many magical creatures influence the major players of the mortal populace. This equatorial continent is isolated from the rest of the plane by the Everstorm, an ancient and massive spell attributed to a legendary figure.

Latsho and Jhat are connected by an expanse drenched in wild, dangerous magic, where powerful relics and ancient secrets are buried under an ever-changing landscape; people from both continents brave these wastelands, albeit for very different reasons. Latsho is ruled by demon lords, who constantly seek new power to gain the upper hand in countless internal conflicts; in Jhat, each reckless explorer is moved by a different reason: from curiosity to greed, from glory-seeking to visionary projects. These two continents are located south of Ikarist.

Kwassati is locked in a bloody cycle of conquests and insurrections. The Augustor Empire is secretly aiming to stop this cycle through genocide, expanding under the lead of an ambitious emperor who has been emboldened by a prophecy that describes him as the future ruler of the whole Thamirelk; many nations observe warily the progress of the imperial armies, but their lack of unity might spell their ultimate end. Kwassati is a massive continent whose extremities reach into both polar oceans, being larger on its northern half.

The depths of the vast northern ocean host Atharak, a merfolk realm who swore never to be involved in the "superficial" conflicts after they lost many lives and their very gods to an ancient war.

The southern polar ocean has a vast landmass at its center, mirrored by an ice expanse in the northern pole; in addition to the difficulties related to the deadly cold, both locations seem to be protected by a fleet of undead (in the case of the southern pole) or constructs made of metal and ice (in the case of the northern pole), making them legendary places where priceless treasures might be buried.

Ancient History: the Tale of the Three
From “Lore and Legends of Thamirelk”, by the Storyteller

Author:  Huey Nomure [ Fri Jun 24, 2016 10:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [Dossier] Thamirelk [Plane]

Ikarist, the Circular Continent
Ikarist is the continent of intrigue. Every faction is far less united than it seems, and its game of shifting alliances has been described as "a board game with too many players and too few rules". Ikaristan lands are very rich in mana; the resident mages are more powerful than average, and many magical creatures can only be seen in this continent. Some objects and locations can even spontaneously become magical through the belief of its users/inhabitants.

The Twin Gods
The cult of the Twin Gods is the most common in Ikarist; the names of the couple are Lios and Kere.
Lios :wu: is the god of sunlight, clarity, wisdom, loyalty and peace. Symbols: wheat, mirror, fire, scroll, agricultural tools as sickle and thresh, scale. Protector of farmers, scribes, entertainers, scholars, diplomats, judges and “hot craftsmanship” (craftsmen that require fire as smiths and bakers).
Kere :br: is the goddess of moonlight, courage, instinct, cunning and martial prowess. Symbols: bow, spear, shield, net, compass, horn. Protector of warriors, guards, hunters, fishermen, brewers, travelers, artists and “cold craftsmanship” (as masons and furriers).
A devout to the Twin Gods is known as a diark (plural: diarks).

Touched by the Sun, kissed by the Moon
Ikaristans present a “solar dimorphism”: individuals born during the day are called diurnal and present skin (or scales, or fur) significantly darker than their nocturnal counterparts; most lowlanders also tend to be awake during the same time of the day of their birth, hence the names. This marked difference is one of the reasons of the large diffusion of the cult of the Twin Gods, especially among the humans, who are particulatly affected by this phenomenon; more skeptical scholars related this phenomenon to the great amounts of wild Ikaristan mana.
Due to the Law of the Twins, an ancient religious code respected by the lowland nations to various degrees, diurnal men and nocturnal women are defined ‘aligned’ and have more rights; this creates such a disparity that many wealthy families in diark kingdoms made a tradition of disowning unaligned newborns. According to the old law only aligned individuals can marry, and the status of the spouse(s) depends heavily on their alignment: another aligned is treated as an equal, while the terms of the union between an aligned and an unaligned are uneven to the point that the unaligned is considered little more than an official concubine. Polygamy is only allowed to the aligned, but some of them are known to “share” their unaligned spouses. Unions between unaligned are not recognized by these religious laws.

The humans of the lowlands present the strongest variations between diurnals and nocturnals, resembling the traits of the Twin Gods. Diurnal humans are also called suntouched: they have dark skin, hair ranging from red to brown to black, a short and lithe build and an observant and peaceful nature. Nocturnal humans are also called moontouched: they have very pale skin, hair ranging from blonde to silvery to azure, a tall and bulky build and a spirited and determined nature.
Suntouched usually have at least one color in common with Lios, as every moontouched is B and/or R.
The rare babies born during dawn or dusk are called untouched or crepuscular and have very varied features; they are considered to have been denied recognition by the gods and thus usually have no chance to marry, have children or generally being anything but property. Crepuscular babies born from wealthy families are usually killed or entrusted to a servant then sold to the highest bidder, and linking them to their biological family is taboo. Crepusculars are not known to be born in any other race.
Every region of the continent has human inhabitants.

Ikarist can be approximatively represented by a series of concentric rings. This continent is separated from the rest of the plane by the Everstorm, a circle of sea eternally cursed with a fiery tempest and chaotic streams that make sailing impossible. The Everstorm is visible at the horizon from every point of the Ikaristan coast, with the Shielded Sea within its circle. The center of the continent is a huge plateau abundant with water and life called Blessed Highland by its inhabitants and Traitor Upland by everyone else; most major rivers of the outer lands have origin from its awe-inspiring waterfalls. The Outer Lands near the cost have an arid climate due to the strong winds from the Everstorm, with the population mostly concentrated near rivers and their deltas, while the Inner Lands are savannas; the two lands are separated by a mountain chain, which is called Iron Ring due to its rich metal veins.

Blessed Highland
Population: aven, nacatl, merfolk
The ‘highfolk’ believe the center of Ikarist always has been the sanctuary of Arikai, the goddess of water and life, that raised the home of Her faithful when an army of heathens tried to conquer it; the believers of the Twin Gods claim Arikai was a powerful archmage that enslaved the surrounding populations and then created the upland to escape from the righteous revolutions of the victims of her abject rule.
In the middle of the lake at the very center of the continent, the high priest of Arikai, elected and advised by the Sacred Conclave, leads the Blessed from the Coral Cathedral; the Cathedral takes its name from its lower submerged half, where merfolk with golden scales gather the news from all the land through messengers.
The Water Maze, a thick web of lakes and rivers, courses through the highlands as veins in an organism. Every day the streams of the rivers flow with a different pattern; it is said that in the ever changing pattern of the Maze the true faithful can see the future, so each morning the map of streams coursing through the whole land is drawn for the Conclave to decipher. The water springs from the bottom of different lakes each day, and flows to the lowlands through seven rivers, one for each priest that made the ultimate sacrifice to bring the Goddess’ will into reality. The borders of the plateau mostly consist of thick pluvial forests, while the center comprises plains and cultivated fields.

Inner Lands
Population: centaur, leonin, minotaur

Iron Ring
Latmes and the Glimmerpeaks
Sun’s Eye and Moon’s Talon are the only two Ikaristan mountains with peaks perpetually covered in snow; they are found in the southernmost point of the Iron Ring. There is no record about the little valley between the two close mountains being uninhabited; at first two citadels clung on the side of the two peaks, then the conversion of nearby lands made them grow to the point now there is a single city occupying the entire valley, Latmes, the two Sacred Citadels being accessible only during the day or the night according to their patron god. It is said the cathedrals of Latmes have access to a system of galleries hosting secret relics and two orders of spies and assassins, but it’s no topic for polite conversation. The two Divine Voices, the highest diark authorities, are elected by the Gleaming Conclave and the Caliginous Chorus, two councils composed of seven Archbishops each, and have great political power: many tribes of the Inner Lands follow the Law of the Twins to the letter and many rulers in the Outer Lands are crowned by diark bishops.

Outer Lands
The kingdoms take name from the river that courses through that land; they are presented in clockwise order, starting from the north.

Shakeya: loxodon, minotaur, vedalken
[WIP, Indian aesthetic]

Arekos: aven (owl), minotaur, satyr
[WIP, Ancient Greece aesthetic]

Kuztaloat: ainok, feathered snakefolk, nacatl
[WIP, pre-Columbian]

Thamad-Katel: ainok (jackal), aven (ibis, hawk), viashino (crocodile)
These rivers are the southernmost ones, between the Hammat and the Kuztaloat; the Thamad is the eastern one.
Due to the vicinity of the two deltas and the presence of the Glimmerpeaks, the two civilizations united in a single empire under the authority of the Twin Gods many centuries ago; the two Thamad-Katel pharaohs have the sacred duty to smite the infidels and the heretics but due to their intolerance they are in constant conflict with their neighbor kingdoms, while they have a strong alliance with the Inner Lands tribes.
The two monarchs come from the Thamades and the Kateles, respectively aven and ainok families (X-es means ‘of the X’). Both the Twin Gods must be represented so each pharaoh can rule over the domain of the divinity; a Divine Voice can act as a ‘balancing regent’ if both the pharaohs are aligned to the same God or a family can’t provide an adult aligned heir to the thrones.

Hammat: lammasu (extinct), nacatl, ratfolk, selkie
The Hammat has the biggest inland delt in the Outer Lands.
If the Thamad-Katel accounts are to be believed, the lammasu once ruled over a prosperous kingdom with justice and respect to the Twin Gods before the Mudroha plague killed each one of them; the nezumi are suspected to have conjured this plague with magic. Since then the ziggurats built by the lammasu have been occupied by the other races, and the delta transformed the fertile plains in loamy marshes with the aid of the selkie. The realm lost any semblance of unity, but its terrain made it nearly impregnable for the pharaohs of Thamad-Katel.
Now the ziggurats host powerful congregations of mages in everlasting research for power, and the cult of the Twin Gods has been mostly replaced by a blind devotion to the local archmage.

Ravalfi: aven (gull), ratfolk, viashino
[WIP, maritime republics]

Demons and Patrons

Ikarist is home to six kinds of powerful magical beings that influence the politics of the continent since its birth. Five of them, called collectively patrons, are said to have been created by the Twin Gods and/or Arikai to protect the populace from the demons.

The origin of the demons is a topic of debate: some say that some of the refugees that served Askamad during the ancient war carried within them some of his demonic cohorts, while others argue that the populace's sins allowed the demons to breach Arikai's wards.
Ikaristan demons are not necessarily tied to black mana: the abundance of mana in some locations can influence the very essence of the younger demons. Regardless of their alignment, every demon is able to award individuals with great boons for an adequate price; they are bound to their words, so many of them are cunning manipulators.
The demonic powers are greatly enhanced by the bond of their pacts, so demons are not necessarily powerful enemies in combat. Demons become stronger as they consume souls, but older demons tend to act as political masterminds rather than short-sighted devourers of souls, since they have learned to respect the patrons' power.
Sometimes, ancient demons turn corrupted souls into demons; the young demon keeps the original soul's main traits, but is completely transformed in the process. The demonspawn act as the older demon's servants at first, but as they grow in power they plot to escape their master's influence, while their creator manipulates them to make the young demons their unwitting pawns.

A patron can bless an individual as their Champion, leaving her glowing emblem on their skin; each patron can only choose a single champion at a time, and a creature can't be the champion of two or more patrons. As long as the patron approves of the champion's behavior they will both benefit from the union: the patron can advise, aid and protect someone who shares her vision of the world, while the champion will be granted some of the patron's magic as their souls become closer and closer. When the champion dies, their soul will merge with the patron's, making the patron stronger; patrons closely guard this secret, but older demons are well aware of this phenomenon and seem to be amused by it.
If a champion betrays their values, the patron can turn the blessing into the Mark of the Pariah. The emblem becomes an itching scar that constantly oozes a foul, thick liquid; in addition to the obvious discomfort, the mark prevents any other patron from choosing a pariah as a champion, and blemishes the soul to the point it become worthless to demons. Bestowing this curse also hurts the patron proportionately to the depth of the bond between the two, so scorned patrons often give champions the possibility of redemption.

Angels :w:
Sphinxes :u:
Harpies :b:
Furies :r:
Dryads :g:

Author:  Huey Nomure [ Fri Jun 24, 2016 10:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [Dossier] Thamirelk [Plane]

The Ruined Lands
[Latsho, Jhat, Wastelands]

The people in Jhat are adaptive above anything else: the northern seas is tormented by the echoes of the Ikaristan Everstorm; the southern coast is dangerously close to the pole, so any ship wandering in that direction has to withstand the polar cold in conjunction with the threat of the undead patrols; the cities near the Wastelands manage the influx of relics and magical knowledge, their mages seeking ways to adapt anachronistic magic and technology to mundane uses, and act as a lookout when a particularly hungry or disoriented monster wanders off the Wastelands. When the airships from the Kwassatian Southern Archipelago boarded the eastern coast, offering perfectly serviceable technology and new perspectives to understand the dangerous relics of the Wastelands, it's easy to understand why Jhat greeted those visitors with open arms.

The Hellbent
Jhatic population as a whole has mixed feelings about the Hellbent, the explorers of the Wastelands: on one hand, their finds have greatly improved the quality of life of the general populace and are a key part of the very fruitful commercial relationship with the Kwassatian artificers; on the other, the brutal lifestyle of the Hellbent makes sure that few of them can be considered "normal" by most civilized standards, and the studies on magical radiations have still to confirm the safety of being around a recently returned Hellbent. And that's before the monstrous mutations come into play.
Everything in the Wastelands is contaminated by wild magic, even air: the longer living creatures are exposed to it, the higher the chances of suffering some kind of mutation. Some mutations are pretty harmless (like changing the color of hair, eyes or patches of skin), but some can be life-changing (humans can become cold-blooded, for example) or outright lethal (like cancer). Having Hellbent blood in one's veins is a mixed blessing in this regard: the children of Hellbent parents are guaranteed to have congenital mutations, but are highly resistant to the harmful effects of the radiations and their body can "heal" from most mutations in time.
Aspirant Hellbent extensively tattoo their face before their first expedition; there are no hard rules about the type of tattoo, but they tend to be quite flashy, as Hellbent can be harshly punished if they conceal their identity. Some experienced Hellbent add details to their tattoos to mark their accomplishments.
Hellbent miscellanea

The Wastelands
No mundane creature is able to make the Wastelands their home, mostly because of the dangerous and unpredictable storms of wild magic that affect many aspects of the landscape:
-Lighting: the sky over the Wastelands is erratic in nature; near civilization people can notice slightly unnatural sky shades (as light green during dawns) and spectacular auroras, while in the deep Wastelands the day-night cycle has no meaning and the sky can acquire any combination of colors: Hellbent believe that a clear, natural-looking sky can only precede or follow a particularly violent magic storm.
-Weather: in the Wastelands it can literally rain upwards. All kind of fluids and fluid-like substances can be involved in weather phenomenons, from violently purple, citrus-smelling oil to sand-fine red mana crystals. Learning to avoid the most violent forms of weather is essential to reach old age as a Hellbent.
-Creatures: the magical radiations can produce all manners of mutations in living creatures. Some magic storms can even create new life forms, from ethereal wisps to titanic three-headed dinosaurs. Due to the utter lack of food sources, the vast majority of the biological creatures born this way die of hunger or thirst.
-Geography: hills and bodies of "water" are moved by the storms like dunes in a desert, and even mountains rise and fall at relatively breakneck speed. Caves and underground structures are somehow protected by most magic storms, though some literally travel around the Wastelands, their entrances opening on new locations every fortnight or so.

The Silent Plain and the broken sky
The wild magic becomes more and more dangerous closer to the conjunction between Latsho and Jhat, but at the center of a particularly volatile area lies the Silent Plain, a land that still carries the wounds and craters of some ancient conflict. In the Silent Plain there is no resident life form, and in its central area the silence is absolute; the only movements that can be seen from there are the frequent magical storms and the mind-boggling sky.
No two descriptions of the patch of sky above the Plain conform to each other, some of them describing it with confusing, synesthetic or outright contradictory terms. While most Hellbent agree that many of the accounts are fake, due to length and difficulty of such an expedition, no one is able to explain satisfactorily the wild divergence of descriptions.

Author notes: Due to the nature of the Wastelands, exploring their surface resembles a procedurally generated rogue-like game, with a giant portal to the Eternities at its center.

Author:  Huey Nomure [ Fri Jun 24, 2016 10:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [Dossier] Thamirelk [Plane]

[Reserved post: the forgotten realms - Atharak and the Poles]

Author:  Huey Nomure [ Fri Jun 24, 2016 10:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [Dossier] Thamirelk [Plane]

The history of the northern Kwassati is littered with the rise and fall of many ambitious warlords; historical accounts describe the damage done by the Ice Age brought by the vedalken, cautionary tales speak of an old vampiric plot to rule all the living things through the dreaded Bloodcrown, and ancient legends remember the terrifying vision of whole forests rising to go to war. The continent has enjoyed a relative peace since the Draconic Horde collapsed five centuries ago, but now the newborn Augustor Empire threatens to drag the whole Kwassati back to war.

Aurelios plains
the Augustor Empire

The Worldspine is a mountain chain that snakes through the whole Kwassati, from the Frostring Sea to the most southern reaches of the Clockwork Archipelago. Its northern half is also called Burnspine due to its abundance of volcanic activity, and has been the domain of the feared dragons until the fall of the Draconic Horde; now the Burnspine is the home of an alliance of Viashino tribes. A civilization of isolationist goblins inhabits the bowels of the Worldspine range after they escaped from the draconic slavery; they are referred to as Deep Goblins by foreign people.

Burnspine: the viashino tribes

Underground: the Deep Goblin clans

Frostring Sea
This sea takes its name from the high density of atolls generated from a type of magical coral-like organism. The atolls are the homeland of the vedalken, a resourceful population who commands an undefeated fleet. The high sea has a fair number of titanic dwellers, source of food, death and legends for the vedalken.
anikapu, the vedalken realm

Landheart Forest

Warning: this section contains slavery, non-consensual breeding and descriptions of gruesome rituals.
The marshes are the uncontested territory of the vampires; the sky over the swamps is often clouded, sheltering them from the worst effects of the sunlight. In addition to this natural protection, the vampires have developed the magic to block external light from entering entire castles. The Bonespire is the grandest of these havens, a titanic tower whose structure seems made of countless skeletons of different creatures fused together.
the vampiric nation

Kalatch (Desert)

Clockwork Arcipelago

Author:  chinkeeyong [ Fri Jun 24, 2016 11:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Dossier] Thamirelk [Plane]

I'm getting something of an information overload here. Details are all well and good, but what's really important about this plane? What makes me care about this plane? I think the sun/moon dichotomy is way more interesting than the fact that this plane is a sphere with four continents. Focus on that in the beginning.

Author:  Huey Nomure [ Sat Jun 25, 2016 2:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Dossier] Thamirelk [Plane]

The solar dimorphism is an Ikaristan phenomenon, so putting it into the first post seems inappropriate to me.

The "selling point" of the plane is its huge size that allows the conversation of many different themes. On top on the standard power schemes among nations, there is space for many plots within plots.
Planar level:
-how much of the Tale of the Three is true? Are Azev and Askamad still scheming against each other? What are their moves in their secret war?
-is Thamirelk really the union of many different planes? What caused the merging? Is it related to the presence of the Three?
Ikarist: the demons are basically a race of schemers constantly playing chess against the Patrons and each other, and the patrons don't act as a single faction either. An ancient dragon may also be a player in this overcrowded chessboard.

So Ikarist is mostly a setting for a complex tangle of power plays in a high fantasy setting; the wastelands of Latsho and Jhat are basically post-apocaliptic fantasy, with Latsho ruled by demons and Jhat hellbent on recovering the relics buried in the desertic lands with the help of the somewhat steampunk southern Kwassati. The northern part is home to a ruthless empire supposedly destined to rule over the whole continent, where ADAF takes place. The poles are considered cursed locations, since the conjunction of the deadly cold and the undead fleet (south) or the ice army (north) makes accessing the actual poles a legendary quest.

And... I really should say some of that in the introduction post, shouldn't I? :blush:

Author:  chinkeeyong [ Sat Jun 25, 2016 9:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Dossier] Thamirelk [Plane]

Yeah, the first post looks much better now.

Author:  Heartless Hidetsugu [ Sun Jun 26, 2016 10:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Dossier] Thamirelk [Plane]

I'm intrigued by the depth of diversity and look forward to your write-up on the cultures.

Author:  Huey Nomure [ Tue Jul 05, 2016 5:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: [Dossier] Thamirelk [Plane]

Now the Kwassati post has enough material to give a wider context to the Another Day, Another Fight storyline. (if you're interested, the first complete version of the latest chapter Corruption is currently waiting for comments)

Oblique nods

Author:  Huey Nomure [ Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [Dossier] Thamirelk [Plane]

Addendum 1: Burnspine Viashino

appearance and morphology

naming conventions

Warning: unsurprisingly, the next section contains multiple source of squick (mentions of incest and pedophilia in particular)
Gender, sexuality and reproduction

Classes and titles

leadership and justice

Appendix: Viashino nonverbal language

Author:  Mown [ Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [Dossier] Thamirelk [Plane]

The individual locations are interesting, but they feel very isolated. I would like to see them interact, not have one be surrounded by impassable terrain. I want a plane to feel cohesive in some way, even if continents have different cultures and species, but I don't really see any overarching elements.

Author:  Huey Nomure [ Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: [Dossier] Thamirelk [Plane]

Mown wrote:
The individual locations are interesting, but they feel very isolated. I would like to see them interact, not have one be surrounded by impassable terrain. I want a plane to feel cohesive in some way, even if continents have different cultures and species, but I don't really see any overarching elements.

I might have gone remarkably non-Dominian with Thamirelk, but there's not going to be any unifying theme or atmosphere. This plane's scale is similar to our world's, so distance and terrain are bound to be important factors. Its size also causes the cultural differences to be remarkable (compare 1600's Europe, Africa and Asia), leading the in-multiverse scholars to the hypothesis Thamirelk might be the result of the merging of multiple planes.

The arteficers and merchants of the Clockwork Arcipelago in Southern act as a bland glue, traveling all Kwassati and reaching Jhat with their airships. I could add a few more hints at potential plot hooks, like Atharak or one of the remaining Three resurfacing from the depth of history and legend, or the Everstorm losing power and allowing (difficult) access to Ikarist, or the development of long-range portal technology from ancient volumes buried in the Wastes. Thing is, Thamirelk itself is far from complete, and many of its cultures and locations are embryonic and/or narratively pristine: I want to design and play those "games" before introducing completely new expansions and rules of engagement.

That said, there are portions of the plane that are currently in very early stages of development and I have almost no use for (most notably Atharak and Latsho) and there's enough space on the plane for another continent to snuggle in and give Kwassati a more easily reached neighbor; coincidentally, I wouldn't mind having someone working on those parts for their own goals.

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