Setting.   Posted by Storyteller.Group: 0
 GM, 1 post
Mon 21 Jun 2021
at 17:00
Aether.  The energy of the astral planes that flows into the physical, fueling all magic in the world of Arca.  Some believe it is created by the gods on their astral thrones.  Others say it is the wellspring of their strength, and that it existed before anything else.  No matter its origin, aether is the lifeblood of all things magical.  It gives the spirits of the terrestrial and astral world their power.  It allows the dead to cross over and counsel the living.  It gives fire to the dragons, and strength to many of the races of the terrestrial sphere.

But humanity is not tied to the aether.  The birthplace of the human race, Cinnaria, is a continent nearly devoid of aether.  Cut off from the rest of Arca by wide oceans and great wind-swept plains, Cinnaria lacks the aether that all other lands possess.  Only the most rudimentary spells function in this land, and at great difficulty.  Here, the spirits do not tend the land, and the dead do not speak.  The races that depend on magic to live avoid it completely, and only a few of the other races keep contact through trade.

So throughout recorded history, Cinnaria was left to its own devices.  Despite the lack of magic, the land is lush and fertile, and humanity retained its great drive and ingenuity.  Kingdoms rose through hard work and cooperation.  In time, industry brought humanity to a place even the greatest magics could not create.  Steam engines power trains and ships, and armies of hundreds of thousands of men march with musket and cannon.  No other nation could match the might and development of the human continent, and so they hid from its eyes.   Life outside the continent was of little interest to the Cinnarians, and for many humans, magic and its creations were the stuff of myth and superstition.

All of that changed on the day of the battle of Weldin Hollow, the unexpected climax of the War of the Five crowns, a continent-wide clash between all five lands.  The main forces of all five nations met in battle near the Rumethynian city of Valvaste.  Here the largest land battle in history was waged, and something even more world shattering occurred.

In the midst of the blood and screams, the gunshots and cannon fire, a rumbling sound of a roaring earthquake could be heard, like the earth screaming out in pain.  The ground beneath the armies and the city cracked open in an eruption of fire and aether, killing thousands of soldiers in each army instantly.  Thousands more died as the shockwaves rolled out of the center of the battlefield.  Still more, tens of thousands, died in Valvaste as the ground was torn asunder in the city proper, buildings and whole neighborhoods swallowed in the upheaval.

Out of the roiling chaos of the city, a pale form rose like a sword blade aimed at the heavens.  A bone white tower, massive in scale and construction, erupted out of the earth and broke free, climbing into the sky.  When the dust and upheaval settled, the tower floated above the few remained rooftops of the city, held up by aether flowing forth like rushing wind currents.

The cataclysmic events that began in Valvaste spread across the continent.  Across all of Cinnaria, ancient glens and sites suddenly burst to life, pouring aether forth into the land.  Many more across the continent died as the magical energies of Cinnaria awakened, sowing chaos and destruction.  It took weeks for the land to settle, and when it had, millions in the five kingdoms were dead, and the land was nearly unrecognizable.

Now the five kingdoms of Cinnaria faced an unexpected and terrible situation.  Cinnaria, the land of industry and mankind, now flowed with more aether than had ever been witnessed in Arca.  Spirits now appeared in all five kingdoms, and the dead began to speak to the living.  Nothing had prepared the people of Cinnaria for anything like this, and nothing they could create through toil and ingenuity could deal with it.

So, for the first time, the people of Cinnaria were forced to turn outward.  The monarchs of the five kingdoms, brought to peace by this great calamity, sent out a call for aid across the oceans and steppes, to reach the kingdoms and peoples that may actually be able to help.  Magic seemed to be both the cause of this disaster and its solution, and Cinnaria was now in desperate need of anyone who might be able to discern what has occurred and prevent any future disasters that may threaten the world of Arca.

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:59, Mon 21 June.

 GM, 2 posts
Mon 21 Jun 2021
at 17:01
All forms of magic in Arca have their roots in aether.  Aether is the energy that makes up the astral planes and flows into the material world.  It permeates many lifeforms, gives energy to allow the dead to manifest across the veil of death, and is the lifeblood of spirits and other magical beings.

Magic manifests in many forms across Arca.  There are those that harness the aether with spoken spells and incantations, others use magical artifacts or prepared items to manipulate the energy.  Some use the aether to speak to and command spirits, or the harness the powers of the dead.  The uses and methods of magic are as varied as the peoples of Arca.

The direct manipulation of aether is a specific and rare form of magic known as true sorcery.  Sorcery involves directly altering the flow of aether and wielding it as a tool.  Sorcery also involves reaching through the veil of the aether to the astral planes of the gods, demons, and other outsiders.  This is the only common use of sorcery, and it is fraught with danger and complex ritual.
 GM, 3 posts
Mon 21 Jun 2021
at 17:02
Osland-  A Coastal kingdom with a powerful navy and an extensive merchant empire.  Middle aged Queen Tabitha continues to reign while she mourns the loss of her only son, Crown Prince Robern.

Carland- The second largest kingdom in Cinnaria known for its rolling pastures, vineyards, and thriving artistic culture.  With the loss of King Riaan, his brother Nadal has taken the throne, leaving the king's widow Feldania alone and childless.

Hessenia- A kingdom of dark forests and a strong, militaristic culture, Hessenia's central location has put it at odds with all four of its neighbors.  King Gustavus was killed in the cataclysm of Weldin Hollow, leaving his young son Gerrick on the throne.  Gerrick's mother, Clotila, and his uncle Duke Leodegar act as regents.

Stovorok- The eastern most and largest kingdom of Cinnaria, Stovorok's land is split between jagged mountains and wind-swept steppes.  its hardy people are now ruled by Queen Theda, the pregnant widow of King Vodorik.

Rumethynia- Set along the warm, sunny southern sea, Rumythenia is known as a somewhat decadent kingdom of merchants and artists, and was quite literally trampled on during the war of the Five Crowns.  King Mizar, the only male Royal in Cinnaria to remain on the throne throughout the war and its aftermath, seeks to turn this situation to his advantage, despite the army of Rumethynia still being dwarfed by its four neighbors.
 GM, 4 posts
Mon 21 Jun 2021
at 17:03
Supernatural Creatures

Dragons, Trolls, Giants, etc- supernatural creatures of all kinds exist across the lands of Arca.  Some hide in seclusion, others rule over lesser beings, and still others act as guardians and advisors to mortals of all kinds.
Avariety of creatures could exist in Arca, depending on the backgrounds and needs of the player characters.  There are limits, however, so the existence and knowledge of various beings will be up to the GM and talked through with the players as characters are created and the game progresses.

Outsiders- Through the veil of the aether lies the astral planes, realms of magic and will.  Some are closely tied to the material realm, while others are so distant that the existence of Arca may not even be known.
The most well-known of the denizens of the Astral plane are the “gods,” or the “Celestial gods.”  These beings of immense power are viewed with wonder and fear in the lands of Arca, and many serve as lords, judges, and terrors of mortal lands.  Many claim the gods created the astral realms, and others claim they are a product of the astral intermingling with the material.  Whatever the case, the gods run the gamut of benevolent guardians to nihilistic conquerors.

Devils and Demons- A term used by many to define the more destructive beings that exist in the astral plane, demons are beings who live for destruction, while devils live for conquest.  Neither seem to care too greatly for the lives of mortal beings, except when they interfere with their plans, or if the mortal may be a useful tool.  They do not seek to tempt or corrupt mortal lives, though there are plenty of other outsiders and spirits who may seek these goals.  Demons and devils are beings of carnage and war, and overwhelmingly focus on their own astral battles.

The spirits of Arca are beings of aether akin to outsiders.   Aether gives them both form and will, and without it their very existence is threatened.  For this reason, spirits tend to be most common in areas of higher magical power and shun areas without it.

These spirits can be as humble as the spirit of an old woodsman’s cottage in a glen or a babbling brook in the mountains, to a spirit that embodies a grand city or mighty river.  Each spirit manifests around a subject that gives it purpose and viewpoint.  While there may be hundreds of animal spirits in a grand forest, there might only be one great spirit that embodies the forest as a whole.

These spirits usually work to protect their charges, or to see them grow in influence.  The spirit of a highland waterfall might aggressively keep any trespassers away, while the spirit of a wide lake might work with surrounding communities to make the lake an indispensable part of their lives.  Each spirits is unique, though there are broad categories for those who seek to classify them.  They are also known as “little gods” or “terrestrial gods” by some civilizations.

The dead- like spirits, these are beings of magic that can alternate between physical and spiritual form.  No mage or scholar has ever definitely proven if ghosts are truly the shades of those who have died, or if they are some sort of spiritual memory of the being.  Either way, the dead sometimes remain tied to the mortal world, and can interact with the living.  Some cultures revere the dead and their spirits and afford them high honor. Others fear the dead greatly or refuse to acknowledge they exist.

This message had punctuation tweaked by the GM at 17:03, Mon 21 June.