View Full Version : Help! Rethinking My World Premise

2007-07-03, 05:12 PM

If you have looked at my Shattered World thread, then undoubtedly you have read my world premise which is as follows:


Oramis was once a solid world like any other. A millennium ago, a war sprang up between two formidable mages (who also happened to be twin brothers but of differing ethical beliefs). This war raged on for many days, but neither mage could seem to get the upper hand. The final blow of this Wizard War was so potent that neither mage was able to contain it, and the world was shattered like a glass ball into a thousand pieces.

Since both mages were far more powerful than the Wizards’ Guild could handle, it was powerless to stop the war. Luckily, however, the Guild (some of whom were diviners) was able to foresee this disaster months before it actually happened and was prepared. Though unable to completely prevent this event - now referred to as the Shattering - they were able at least to save the world from total destruction. After determining how the world would be shattered, the Guild devised magical devices - called shard-keys - and placed one of them on each piece of land which would someday become a shard. These devices maintain each shard's gravity, atmosphere, climate, and stability. If a shard-key were ever to be removed from the shard it was designed to protect, that shard would lose all of these things and would pose a hazard to other shards as it spun out of control. All of these shards were suspended inside a large envelope of air and set to floating within it in random, ever-shifting patterns.

Millions of people died in the ensuing chaos which followed the War’s conclusion. Common people, blaming mages for the destruction and death, hunted down and slew many wizards. Much knowledge of magic was lost. Modern mages have yet to duplicate many of the marvels that have been accredited to those ancient wizards - including the magic which created shard-keys! Even today, after one thousand years, mages are still feared, shunned, and - in many places - actively hunted, despite the fact that they were instrumental in saving the world from total destruction. Undaunted they have continued to be of great service to man, creating the windriggers which provide transportation from shard to shard.

I have received alot of criticism on this, both here and at other sites where I am seeking advice. As a result I am ready to rethink my premise, and would love to get your help in this.

- Most everyone agrees that they don't like the entire twins/wizard war idea behind the Shattering.
- Some want to know how common people were able to bring down mages powerful enough to shatter a world.
- Some want to know details behind the shard keys...how did they become intelligent?
- Some want to know how priests and deities tie into all of this.

Well, I don't have answers. I do know the folowing details which I want to work into my premise somehow.

- Long ago there was a race called the Dragon Lords who came from "somewhere else" (no one knows exactly where) who ruled the world for thousands of years, then disappeared. They were ulta-powerful mages. Elves and dragons are somehow tied to them.
- I love the concept of ley lines and standing stones and monoliths and would like to work them in somehow.
- Priests helped the common folk in supressing mages.

Here are some of my thoughts on the matter.

Perhaps the Dragon Lords came here for a purpose...something to do with magic. Maybe the magic here was wild and untamed and they set down a system of ley lines to help regulate the flow. Haven't yet decided if the Dragon Lords were called that because they actually were dragons. Or perhaps they were ancestors of elves who rode dragons. Or perhaps elves were the race the Dragon Lords chose to teach to maintain the ley line system after they left.

Anyway, maybe something interfered with the ley line system and this magical back lash caused the Shattering.

Perhaps the gods, angered by the devastation, had their priests begin the persecution of mages.

Where did the Dragon Lords go? Did they move on to another world which needed their help? Are they coming back? Or did they sacrifice themselves becoming the Shard Keys which now hod the world together?

Well, what are your thoughts on all of this? Better than the Wizard War premise? Advice? I'd love to hear your thoughts...

2007-07-03, 06:15 PM
Perhaps the ancient mages relied upon the leylines to heighten their magicks, but, when the world shattered, it shattered along the lattice of magic, seperating the shards between distinct areas that once bordered the leylines. That would partially explain why wizards are less powerful, and bring up some good plot questions. Such as, where did all of the magic go? Or, are there still some leylines present in the world?

Maybe the dragon lords were thrust out of this dimension as a result of the excess magic that partially destroyed the world, and they are just bidding their time until they can come back? That might just be Lovecraft talking.

Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
2007-07-03, 06:21 PM
I have an idea. maybe the dragon lords, when thrust into the other dimension, actually came back already, but where so changed by that dimension that they were unrecognizable. They set up all the monoliths and such as portals, and "magic gas stations" for refueling of magic.

2007-07-03, 06:23 PM
Insofar as the "how did commoners take down wizards" angle. The answer is numbers, once your up close it doesnt matter how powerful he is a mob of commoners deals like 5d8 bludgeoning a round or something, the guy is going down.

I don't mind the idea of the shattering, I had a similar premise for one of my campaigns though that was the avatar's of two gods destroying each other rather than wizards. If you really want to give it a kick in the pants make the two mages possessed by the spirits of the last two dragon lords, hence the indominable power.

2007-07-03, 08:39 PM
The "twin brother wizards have a war and destroy the world" was the start of the Magic, the Gathering story/plot/thing, so it might be that they find it a bit too cliche.

I don't see anything about the two warring wizards getting killed by commoners, I see a line stating that many wizards were killed by commoners. Most wizards are just going to be a few levels, and we all know that wizards are weakest at low levels. I don't see a problem there.

As for tying things together, how about this: the "Dragon Lords" were actually powerful casters of some sort from another plane, and when they saw the state of the world, decided to aid it. When the wizards of the plane tried to make the shardkeys, they would have failed if the dragon lords hadn't sacrificed themselves to power the shardkeys, granting them sentience in the process. There origins are simply that they are the old immortal elflords that rules the world at it's beginning, coming from a different plane to seed it with life. Eventually they faded away until they were needed again.

Okay, so that sucked, but whatever. Someone else can make something out of it.

2007-07-03, 08:52 PM
I always wanted to make a grand kind of creature, like a "Dragon Lord", but actually have it turn out to be something that didn't fill up to the tales told of it. So, instead of having huge Dragons, you could have Dragon Lords that are the size of Pseudodragons. Since they would be ultra-mages, size doesn't matter for them anyways. Dragons would've, of course, been in awe of the magical power of the Dragon Lords. Or! There would've been some kind of special "Dragon-ness" ability that the Dragon Lords were really good at. Something more important to a Dragon somehow than being big and scary... Yeah. Just a neat idea.

Warring twin brother wizards doesn't sound that interesting, make it so one of them was actually a demonic copy made by an item like "mirror of opposition". Or not, that's just what I'd do.

Another problem is: how did the wizard's guild make such powerful magic when they couldn't stop the "brothers". Well, say the guild somehow summoned one of the Dragon Lords to help them in return for something or other. Like, once every 1000 years, the Dragon Lords said they would return to take claim over something incredibly valuable to them... But what would these Dragon Lords be doing? They might be fighting against someone or other.

Maybe they would be checking on other Dragons? Maybe they want dragon eggs so they can make more Dragon Lords by stunting the egg's growth? But then the guild would've had to give something extremely valuable to the dragons... Or they could've just argued that the dragons would be destroyed too. Still, there could be something to honor the dragons. There could be monoliths of great magical power presented to the dragons to compensate for the loss of some of their children.

With the "common people" bringing down the mages, I would suggest that the people aren't so common. Make up some story about how such-and-such child gets blessed by some priests at such time under a couple of moons with some rare herbal tea or something. Or just say that the wizards were weak after all their fighting. It wouldn't be extremely rare for an artifact specially suited for the death of wizards to come along either, but it would have to be something more interesting than a sword, that's already been done before (Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past's Master Sword). "Dragonstones", coming in pairs of three (one for mind, body, and spirit) with interesting magical abilities would be okay.

I don't know. I want to write stories now.

Psionic Dog
2007-07-03, 09:06 PM
The idea of a shattered realm sound cool: its effectively a series of demi-plane-like regions on a single plane connected loosely by arial trade, yes? So if you have a perfect setting, created in part by two supper epic rivals killing each other, go for it. I personally like the concept, so I can't help you make others like it too without knowing why they disliked the concept in the first place.
Also, the idea of commoners hunting and killing the mages works too if common folk = mundane people. It easy to see all the epic arcane casters dying in the war or sacrificing themselves to make the shard keys, with angry Fighters, Rogues, Monks, and Rangers persecuting the the remainder. You could even give the mage-killers dragon mounts, but then people may ask how enough arcanic magic survived to create their famed achievements.

Now, about the Dragon Lords: They bound the world with ley lines and monolith anchors, which allowed them to channel magic to unimaginable levels and were the source of their fabled powers. With time, the DLs converted themselves into elemental based entities of pure force and magic, and left the material plane for the outer planes so that there new forms would stabilize and make them true outsiders, and thus gain both immortality and the ability to harness the universe without the cumbersome monoliths and lines they left behind.

Meanwhile the twins discovered the abandoned artifacts, and began a war of control for them. They were able to tap part of the DLs old power for destructive ends, but in the end there crude control and warring will stressed the lines too much, causing them to snap, shattering the world in the process. The lines are gone but a few of the monoliths remain, causing/allowing <inert custom plot devise>.

The shattering also sent a faint ripple through the multiverse, alerting the DLs. A few selflessly risked their potential immorality to return and assist with the world's rebuilding and are quietly helping the surviving wizards however they can. The other DLs are patiently waiting until their immorality is secure and their powers return, effectively becoming minor divine entities.

There. You have my take on the shattering, the wizard hunt, and the Dragon Lord fate. Use what you will.

2007-07-04, 09:25 PM
Wow! A lot of good ideas here! Anybody else have any for me?

2007-07-04, 10:58 PM
The twins could be Dragon Lords corrupted by the chance of controling some major artifact that existed in the world, the same artifact was used secretly to form the "shard keys". After a thousand years in deep hibernation they are awakening to once again fight for the item and every time a piece is recovered a piece of the broken world is completely destroyed.
You can make each of them awake in a diferent shard, so there's no chance for a great conflict for now.

mabriss lethe
2007-07-05, 12:53 AM
"Dragon Lord" sounds a little too much like the super scary amoral, immortal god-like beings who ruled Midkimia in Ramond E. Fiest's Riftwar (and other) novels. Don't ge me wrong, I thin once you break away from some of the cliches, (The brothers bit.) this'll be a really fun world to play. Breaking those cliches are what separates average fantasy from the true masters.

I learned a lot from reading Orson Scott Card's Elements of Fiction Writing books. One is on character and viewpoint and another deals strictly with speculative fiction. If you have the time and $$ I can't urge you enough to go out and buy them. They're about $13 apiece last I checked and worth their weight in gold.

2007-07-05, 09:16 AM

How's about:

Elder god creates 2 types of creatures, Immortals and Dragons. He tells them that the first to discover the secret power in the universe will reign supreme over it. Immortals find it first, and become the supreme power in the land. The original Dragons (The Dragon Lords) are banished to 1 insignificant planet.

The planet that they are sent to is full of god-worshippers, all the more to rub the Immortals' victory in the Dragons' faces. The Dragon Lords share the secret of Arcane magic with their choosen race, the elves. The Elves then set to creating the ancient magical devices of the land, monoliths, lay lines, power stones, etc.

Eventually Arcane magic reigns supreme on the world, ousting priests as the ruling caste. The priests are pretty upset about this. They over-inflate one of the Wizard guild's ego, and over time corrupt that guild into power-hungry wizards. Those wizards go to war with a guild of wizards dedicated to peace and responsible magic use. Both guilds are nearly destroyed, but the good guild utlimately wins.

The priests then turn the common people on Wizards in general, and both the good and evil wizards are hunted down and destroyed (with the priests help). When the Dragon Lords realize what is occuring, they come out of their hiding places and attack the priests directly. The Immortals respond by attacking the Dragon Lords.

The Dragon Lords that never surrendered return at this climatic event, and in a great war between Dragon Lords and Immortals, the world is under great stress. The top priests, realizing that their deeds could cause the end of the world, make a pact with the top wizards (the few that still live). Combining their powers together, they coat the planet internally in a sort of glue made up of the corpses of dead Dragon Lords and dead Immortals.

The Immortals, knowing that they are going to lose the battle, try to destroy the planet and take everyone down with them. The planet fractures into countless pieces, but is lightly held together by the glue. The priest and wizard coalition travel to spots where the glue is weakening and reinforce it with special keys made up of pieces of the planet imbued with their own life energy.

An indeterminable number of Immortals and Dragon Lords survive (how ever many the plot requires), but both hide from one another.

Fast forward 1,000 years.

Everyone knows that Wizards destroyed the world. Priests were barely able to save the world, and as such are looked at very fondly by the common folk. Wizards are non-existant in the eyes of the common person. But to the knowledgable, they still exist. There are those that would seek to learn the powers of a wizard. They travel to a few rare spots in the shattered world where telepathic communication with a Dragon Lord is possible.

Some of the Dragon Lords teach those persons how to use arcane magic to benefit the world, and task them in trying to change the perception of the world. Others, still furious at the Immortals, teach followers arcane magic and task them with seeking out and destroying priests.

How will the Immortals respond?

Maybe something like that?

Tiki Snakes
2007-07-05, 10:54 AM
If you wanted to leave in *some* of the wizard side of things, it would make a lot more sense if rather than merely 'epic level' wizards, they were powerfull wizards who were ascending, or had recently ascended?

Ie, they'd got themselves some divine rank. I don't see the twins idea as being particularly central to anything, so how about we lose that. Rather, then, you have two rival wizards, attaining divine rank, and somehow bringing about a 'calamity'.

In the spirit of the whole Baldur's Gate1 (i assume Forgotten Realms premise) of the "Time of Troubles" or so, and a lot of the lore i've picked up from that, I'd suggest that perhaps these two wizards had achieved divine rank by somehow slaying an existing deity. (the god of magic, perhaps?)

Such an unprecedented event, perhaps rocked the very foundations of the world. When the other members of the pantheon turn on the two newly ascended godlings, themselves locked in battle over the powers and portfolio of the fallen god, (either by direct godly intervention or by throwing their worshipers against the two Wizards) they are also slain. (Moments, days, months, years after the initial God-slaying?)

This second event, and the subsequent release of vast amounts of unclaimed divine power shatters the planet.

I kind of like the idea of a massive Holy War/three way war. The combined might of the established Gods followers waging almost a war of attrition on the two Wizard-Demigods who are simultainious waging war on each other. (A Fearsome Necromancer and his Army of the Dead, and some kind of Monster summoning counterpart?) Massive armies of faithful, ordinary people, led by the high clergy (Powerful clerics and paladins eventually taking down the godlings?).

I like the idea of the world shattering along the ley lines, and the monoliths as artifacts that empowered and defined the magical field. Clearly, ancient wizards were both powerful AND power-hungry. (the magical field being channeled as it was being half of the reason that the two rival wizards were able to slay the old god of (Murder, Magic, Bunny-Rabbits?) in the first place. 'meddling in that which we do not understand', and all that.

I'd say clearly that the main problem was that both the original God-who-was-slain, and the two Wizards, were killed on the Material plane, rather than in their own realms, or another plane of existence. Combined with the ley-lines system, it was simply too much strain on the earth.

shard keys, and the guild, however? Hmm. I'm not sure at all how they would fit in. here's a suggestion; Rather than the guild itself being responsible for the Shard Keys, they were instead crafted by either; 'The Dragon Lords', or one of the Gods themselves, (Think Hephaestus, Greek god of the Forge and so on). They are, after-all, incredibly powerful artifacts. Also, the 'divine' origin would allow for them to have been prepared in time to actually save the world, without anyone having 'foreseen the calamity' too specifically, because gods operate outside of the norm.
(Ie, the Artificer God learns of the impending doom, days before-hand. Spends an Age crafting the mighty artifacts in his realm, and deploys them throughout the world *before* the calamity. Essentially, he took several centuries to make them, but managed to do so in the space of several days, in actual time.)

Dragon Lords? Hmm. I'm, not sure what I would do with them. Personally, I am unlikely to personally use anything of the sort, but mostly because i'm not the most Pro-Dragon of people. (I like them as big predatory lizards, or strongly Smaug styled, rather than good-vs-evil superbeings)
I'd suggest Extra-planar draconic looking or otherwise un-pretty/alien seeming Dragon-tamers/riders, (probably not good aligned, ideally. Powerful but not a Utopian or 'Creator' species.)
Or have the 'Dragon Lords' be the dragon's as described in the Monster Manuals, and have any existing dragons of the day as little more than fire-breathing reptilian predators. Mean, powerful, wily in their own way, but very much dumb-beasts.

Elves of course would have been the slave labour of either type of Dragon-Lord. ;)

2007-07-05, 10:42 PM
I quite like this idea, it's similar to an alternate dimension traveled to by the main character in one of my favorite fantasy novels, Secret of the Sixth Magic by Lyndon Hardy. It's also similar to a setting I created a long time ago, but haven't really done anything with.

The brother's war thing is a bit cliched. As mentioned before, it's prominant in the M:tG storyline and I'm sure it's been used elsewhere. On the other tentacle, twins, either working with or against each seem to be one of those archetypes that show up time and time again in mythology. Perhaps some changes could be made to make it less similar to other such stories. Changing the genders or class or both of one or both of the twins could give it a fresh feel. I'm thinking Cleric vs Druid or something along those lines may get a better reception. (Better yet, make them triplets...)

As for how the Wizard's Guild had the power to create the Shard Keys, but not to stop the war or prevent the Shattering, it's actually pretty simple. You've already stated that the guild wasn't powerful enough to take on either combatant. Through thier divinations, they learned that the world would be shattered, and that they couldn't prevent it.

If they acted against either twin, they would be easily destroyed. However, the twins are so involved in their war that it's really all they have time to do. Assuming that making Shard Keys is the sort of thing that's done quietly in labs, the twins don't care. They're too busy fighting each othere to care what the guild does, so long as it doesn't effect the war. So they simply went about thier business, ignored by both sides as irrelevant.

I like the idea that the elves where chosen by the dragon lords to be caretakers of the leylines. They are a logical choice. They have an affinity for magic and long lifespans, exactly the qualities needed for the task. I don't much care for the idea that they'd be used as slave labor. If the dragon lords are all they're rumored to be, they don't need slave labor.

Ley lines are a nice addition. I also like the idea that they defined the points at which the world shattered. However, to keep some ley lines around, cracks could have only appeared at some ley lines. Perhaps the one's that where feeding the most energy to the twins when the shattering occured, or perhaps leylines that where no longer maintained. Actually, a combination of the two could work pretty well.

I see it being something like this: During the final battle before the shattering, some sort of feedback loop was created in the leyline system. Perhaps one twin had researched a defensive spell that automatically drew enough power from the ley lines to stop any spell thrown at it. Suddenly impervious to harm, the tide of the battle had shifted. Unable to penetrate this unknown new defense, the other twin has a similar idea and creates an offensive spell that automaticly powers up to bypass any sheild. Once the attack spell is cast at the defense spell, power draw quickly goes to infinity.

As the amount of power being draw steadily increased, the dweomers of the ley lines where overloaded. Ley lines that where improperly maintained or where simply channeling more power than they where designed for began to fail. Some simply ceased functioning, others failed catastophicly, causeing earthquakes that created great fisures along the line. In either event, they ceased to transmit power, causeing the load on other lines to increase. This quickly snowballed into a total leyline system failure and caused the shattering.

As for the point of the ley lines and why the dragon lords came and then left, it can all be tied nicely together. Suppose that by creating a properly aligned system of leylines on a planet, they can tap into the magical energy of that planet from anywhere in the multiverse. By setting up ley lines on many planets, they can draw on massive magical energies. So, to increase their power, they've done this on many planets.

However, a ley line system needs to be maintained. So, on each occupied planet they discover, they appoint caretakers to ensure the system continues to work. They do this by teaching the caretakers to tap the magical energies transfered by the ley lines for their own use. Thus, they willingly maintain the system to ensure thier own continued use of it. They maintain efficency by only allowing a small portion of the energy to be tapped by the locals. The majority is shunted off to the dragon lords. However, the locals don't know this or the true reason for the system.

Once they've got a ley line system set up and the caretakers appointed, they leave. They are either off to discover more worlds to tap into, or to do whatever it is they do with all the magical energy they're building up. If a ley line system starts to produce less output than expected, they may send a group out to investigate, but the backlog really long, so they might return, but there's no telling when.

As for monoliths, or megaliths, or other such structures, I see there being three basic types. The first are those that establish and maintain the lines themselves. Without them, the system dosn't exist. Second are those that draw energy from the line they're on. Third are the ones that shunt energy off to the dragon lords. These last ones are really rare, I'd suggest one per major land mass. Thier true function is unknown to the locals, but they are trained to maintain them and they are designed such that if they fail, all ley lines that connect to them (which is all the lines on that continent) cease to function. This keeps the locals interested in keeping them working.

When the dragon lords establish a ley line system, they build many of the first type and tie all the lines into the third type. Then they build a few of the second type to impress the local population. The locals build more of the second type to perform whatever functions they desire. They also build more of the first type to expand, maintain, and reconfigure the system. They also maintain the third type.

When the world shattered, not all ley lines failed, only most of them. Some shards still have ley lines on them, and new ones could theoretically be constructed (if the elves still know how). Some may have survived the shattering undamaged and still be working. Others may have failed, but not catastrophicly, so they could be repaired. Now that the world is shattered, the monoliths that relay the energy to the dragon lords are not connected to the system, so even if they fail, they can't shut down the ley lines. Of course, a small planet fragment doesn't produce a much magical energy, but with the dragon lords no longer siphoning the majority of it off, there is still a fair amount to be had by those shards lucky enough to have working ley lines.

As for how the Shard Keys became intellegent, I have an idea. It relies on the Gaia Hypothosis. This is the idea that planets (especially those with life) are living, possibly sentient, creatures. When the planet was shattered, this being was split into many lesser beings. Normally, the destruction of the planet would be fatal to the gaia being. However, the way the keys truely work is by providing a sort of life support for the fragments of gaia that remain.

At first, because they are tiny fragments of the original being, the shard gaias are not very intellegent, sort of like newborn babies. However, as time passes, they mature and develop. So while it appears that the Shard Keys are intellegent, it's actually the shards themselves that are intellegent. Each shard could be have it's own independant personality and they could be more active than the (usually distant and non interacting) gaia of a full size planet. Due to their unique relationship with the Shard Keys, it's impossible to really seperate the life force from the artifact, so basically the keys are intellegent.

I also like the idea that the dragon lords look like a psudodragon (or even a fairy dragon). It has a nice little ironic twist to it. And if you keep this little detail from the players, if the dragon lords do send someone to investigate the ley line failure, the PCs will have know idea who they're really dealing with.

2007-07-06, 11:39 AM
Long ago, the earth was one world.

Great Empires dominated the world, using magic long since lost. In their pride, they held that their magic was greater than the Gods themselves, and they turned their backs on the Gods, withdrawing themselves from the God's protection.

Thus the Dragon Lords came. They destroyed the Empires of Humanity, and the world entered a Dark age. They brought with them slaves -- Dragons, Goblins, Elves, Orcs, Dwarves and Gnomes -- and enslaved humanity.

Humans returned to the worship of the Gods, who took pity of Humanity -- and together, allied with the Elves, Gnomes and Dwarves, Humanity fought back against the Dragon Lords.

Defeated by the power of the Gods and the Great Alliance, the Dragon Lords shattered the world rather than surrender it. Only the Shrines of the Gods prevented the shattering from being complete.


Note that not all of the above is true. That is what the Priests tell each other, and the populance, what happened.

That creates a reason why the Dragons, Goblins and Orcs are considered evil -- they didn't take part in the Alliance.

The Dragon Lords themselves can be whatever you want -- humanoid is sort of fun, because then humans can pick up the tools of the Dragon Lords. Good old ancient artifacts of evil.

Various magical devices at the ley-line nodes do keep the shards stable, and prevent them from shattering more -- not all are the shrines of the Gods, dispite what the priests claim.

Magic was heavily crushed during the Dragon Lords reign, and it's use surpressed in many areas since -- priests consider the use of magic to be tempting the Gods to turn their backs on humanity again. The only legitimate magic is priestly magic.

Transport between shards occurs on Ley-line riders -- you fly along a ley line between shards. There are many ways to ride Ley-lines, from spiritual, to floating, to using Ley-line boats.

Ley-lines vary in breadth, so a smaller craft can take different Ley-lines than a larger craft. Major trade routes follow either large Ley-lines, or dense networks of smaller Ley-lines, or (rarely) two nearby shards and very strong rope.

2007-07-09, 05:08 PM
Wow! You guys have all given me some great ideas! I've got a lot of decisions to make now. Thank you so much! Anybody else have anything to add?

2007-07-13, 09:42 PM
Anybody? Come on, tell me what you think!!!

2007-07-14, 08:24 AM
Have you made any changes from the suggestions?

2007-07-14, 03:18 PM
I think the "Priests" are too ill-defined for my tastes. For one thing, priests are the spiritual leadership of the people. And the "spiritual" just happens to be whatever an individual holds to be most sacred and relevant to his lifestyle.

And people vary quite a bit. Even clergy that belongs to same religion have disagreements on policy. A number of sects can get spawned simply because the splinter members think *their* version of the religion is better. Basically, they customize the religion to better fulfill their lifestyle needs.

In short, I think you're missing a good source of conflict here. When the world shatters, new social problems will be created. New social problems = more religious conflict. Suddenly, the old traditions just aren't good enough, and you need to have invent new ones. If a pantheon is an active element in your campaign, then the gods will certainly be scrambling like court-ministers to secure their survival in the new world order.

I also dislike the monolithic position that *all* priests take against wizards. As I've said, every group is likely to have dissenters that disagree with the orthodoxy's bashing of wizards. Other religions may not even care that wizards were the cause of the cataclysm.

I can think of a number of ideas off the top-of-my-head:
-Disease, refugee problems, food-scarcity and conflict has created at least one religion that is extremely authoritarian and dogmatic. Their creed is that security, strong centralization takes precedence over personal freedom. A religious power center in city is likely to create a xenophobic populace. They distrust people who are different, dangerous-sounding ideas and radical new religious inventions. This religions is politically active. Probably a lawful religion. Possibly lawful evil, a militant lawful neutral or a mix of both attitudes (with much additional squabbling). These guys hate wizards. The only magic that matters is *their* magic. These guys represent the desperate attempt to hold onto the "good old times" and the desire to screen out their hostile reality.

-"Religion B" shares the same cultural genealogy and shares symbols with religion A, but disagrees with their totalitarian stance and have since splintered away to create their own sect. They may put more emphasis on asceticism, individual self-sufficiency and discipline -- for example. This is sect is not an active political power, but they've adapted survival skills in the more hostile regions of their brave new world and are a unique culture in their own right. They view the world's destruction as a lesson to learn from and decide that there are many transient distractions in life (i.e. the search for political power, material possessions, etc). They believe they need to be adaptable and can only grow stronger by hardship. Most likely lawful neutral. (a possible LN vs. LN conflict)

-An evil religion. I'm thinking these guys are Nietzsche wanna-bees? In a brave new world: eat the other guy before he eats you. Go ahead and tamper with forces beyond mortal comprehension -- if you fail and are consumed by them, it's only because you were weak. Lawful and chaotic could just be different means to the same end.

-A religion of the arcane. Wizards, like all scholarly types, love both what their knowledge can do for them and for its own sake. Some take this adoration a step further and worship magic. They may anthropomorphize magic in any number of different gods. Sorcerers may admire the creative force of magic. Secular wizards may hold their more religious peers in contempt on the accusation that they betray good professional conduct and the scientific method. Others may simply find a more conciliatory medium (which can either be a tacky "both are equal" attitude or a more thoughtful attitude). Other wizards may be especially desperate to prove that their lifestyle does not compete with or threaten existing religious institutions. (Why give them more reason to hate you?)

-Chaotic good power center. This can be represented in a number of CG religions, sects or political powers. A CG city could be a thriving, cosmopolitan center that serves as an economic hub and port. The citizens may pride themselves on being adaptable and industrious. Could serve as a contrast to cities that are controlled by "religion A." Of course, there's no reason that "religion A" couldn't also have equally prosperous cities, but there's nothing wrong about showing up its failures if you feel like making them the bad guys.

-How has the power of divine magic been effected? For that matter, how has arcane magic been effected by the world blowing up? Chances are, if divine magic is granted to mortal followers by gods, having the ley-lines blow up is probably not a good thing for gods. What have they been doing in the meantime? If the gods are not effected much, it's likely that they're just distant and mysterious figures who aren't likely to get themselves involved in mortal institutions of religion. I'd prefer the latter myself. I think it'd be more interesting if gods were distant and enigmatic figures. They grant power to a variety of sects, simply because they aren't too picky, or simply because they're dispassionate forces of nature personified by a sketchy personality or Platonian ideal. It makes mortals sort their messes out themselves by forcing them to invent an institution to comprehend these forces.

2007-07-18, 01:31 PM
On the twin thingy. Like I said in the other treat, after a 1000 years we can still remember people. But, there also is a lot of myth and crap around about those people. You could have multiple stories be around. Some say that the wizards were twins. Some say not, some say they were childhood friends. In the end. The only thing that is clear is that they knew each other quite well, the actual gender, race and connection is lost in time, or better said, the real story probably is out there, but knowing which one is the real one is impossible. (note that the huge quantity of magic flowing at that time makes any scrying to that era impossible.)

2007-07-19, 09:03 AM
The whole idea of floating world-hunks strikes me as very similar to Skies of Arcadia. One of the things I would recommend, along the same lines as Lurker, is have religions continuing to progress over the course of 1000 years. A gigantic cataclysm like this could quite literally send many of the planetoids back to the stone age, if they get cut off from certain services they needed (like farms). And 1000 years is, as Christianity has shown in its development, a long time for a system of beliefs to grow. Religions in their infancy, some believe (not saying I do, but the idea is not entirely without merit, and would apply well to a world like this), are a system of rules that help people survive (Ex. non-kosher food was often stuff that would go bad, if you ate it, you'd get sick and could die. There are many other little examples like that.). Maybe on isolated backwater planetoids, places that didn't get any (or much) travel or trade, have a religious system that built up around the fact that they're living on a hunk of floating rock. Maybe rites to the unknown gods that keep the rock floating. Maybe leaving the rock--even by so much as jumping in place--is an act of defiance to your god. Or, maybe, holding things up in the air when it seems they shouldn't would be like an act of devotion, a means of emulating your deity. Isolation is a great tool for cultural variety, one I would definitely recommend you tap.

Is there absolute grav in this floating world? Or is it just localized with an absoluted direction (no grav between planetoids), or is it localized with 'down' being to the center of each shard?

2007-08-04, 06:54 PM
Okay, here it is... a preliminary version of my new world premise. I know it still needs a LOT of of work, but I'd thougth I'd get your thoughts on it so far....


In the mist-shrouded ages of times gone by, Oramis was a different place. Myths and legends tell us that the world was whole and solid then, a sphere of unimaginable proportions. They say the world would turn its face away from the sun every day so that a great darkness called “night” would fall, dividing the days into alternating days and nights. In this darkness, or so the legends run, one could see lights in the sky - small lights called “stars” as well as a greater light the ancients called the “moon”. The followers of Selene say that this is true and that this moon and their Lady are one and the same. But if that is true, who supplies their powers now that the moon is gone?

They also say that great sections of our world were covered in water. Vast “oceans” of water so great that one could not see the other side, and so deep that one could not see the bottom. Ships plied their trades on the surface of these oceans and great monstrous beasts filled their depths.

Then came the Dragon Lords. From whence did they come? What did they want? What was their purpose? No one seems to know for sure save, perhaps, the elves and dragons - and even they do not have the answers... or so they claim. For ages the Dragon Lords ruled, setting up stone circles and monoliths. Only they knew the purpose for them. Their servants, the elves and dragons, provided the labor, while the native peoples of our world - human, dwarf and twyll - could only watch in awe. Great magical powers the Dragon Lords had, and watching them we learned. We learned about building, about power, and ultimately, about magic. Through their servants, the elves, they began to teach our peoples the ways of magic, and our peoples learned well and true. Many of the people began to worship them, turning their backs on the True Gods. In return the Gods, in their jealousy and rage, turned their backs on us.

If only we had known what was coming....

Everything seemed peaceful according to the stories. Yes, the True Priests and the Followers of the Dragon Lords bickered and fought, but everything else, it seemed, was fine. Then one day the
True Priests began to cry, “The end is coming! The Tapestry unravels! Turn away from the false ones and return to the True Faith! Bring their blessings back upon us before it is too late!” But few heeded their warnings.

Then He came. He Who Has No Name. The Incomprehensible One. The Destroyer. The Unraveler. The people cried out to the Dragon Lords to save them, but they could not be found. They and their followers, the Mages, had vanished, deserting the peoples in their time of need. The True Priests gathered their strength and stood up to him, but ultimately it was no use. The Unraveller struck, and the world was shattered like a glass ball into ten thousand pieces. But the True Priests were able to rescue us. They cried out to the Gods “Save us!” And the Gods responded. They drove away the Nameless One, and created a sphere to keep the pieces of our world from drifting away.

Only after the world had shattered and the Nameless One defeated did the mages return saying that they had saved the world for us. The Guild (some of whom were diviners) claimed that it had been able to foresee this disaster months before it actually happened and was prepared. They said that - though unable to completely prevent this event now referred to as the Shattering - they were able at least to save the world from total destruction. After determining how the world would be shattered, the Guild - working feverishly - claimed it had devised magical devices called shard-keys and placed one of them on each piece of land which would someday become a shard. These devices maintain each shard's gravity, atmosphere, climate, and stability. If a shard-key were ever to be removed from the shard it was designed to protect, that shard would lose all of these things and would pose a hazard to other shards as it spun out of control. All of these shards were suspended inside a large envelope of air and set to floating within it in random, ever-shifting patterns.

Millions of people died in the ensuing chaos which followed the Shattering. Common people, blaming the cowardice of the mages for the destruction and death, hunted down and slew many wizards. Much knowledge of magic was lost. Modern mages have yet to duplicate many of the marvels that have been accredited to those ancient wizards - including the magic which created shard-keys!

For centuries mundanes - those who don't practice magic - persecuted those who do, blaming them for the catastrophe that was the Shattering, despite the fact that they were instrumental in saving the world from total destruction. However times and people change. As society began to rebound, people became more and more dependent on those who use magic for trade. There is now a grudging acceptance of mages in most places. However there are a few shards - even today - that still cling to the old beliefs, that remain suspicious of those who use magic and continue to support the witch hunters who help to "rid the world of those dangerous people."

RASAMA (the Royal Academy for the Study and Advancement of the Mystic Arts - also known as the Mages' Guild) was originally conceived as a means of controlling and monitoring mages in light of the general public's fear of them. All mages were required to register with the Guild, and those who did not were shunned and hunted down by witch hunters - betrayed by to them by their own brother mages. Today the registration of mages with the Guild continues, despite the general shift in attitudes and the changing views of most people. In many places a mage will not be hired for work unless he is a registered Guild member, and since the Guild still brands those who practice forbidden schools as rogue mages, often those who are not registered will be viewed with suspicion.

Undaunted by the prejudice and persecution they received in the past, however, mages have continued to be of great service to man - their greatest accomplishment being the creation of windriggers, flying ships which provide transportation from shard to shard.

2007-08-04, 07:56 PM
I have a slightly less epic idea that has to do with your ley-line-thingies.

If the shards are all parts of the planet that existed before, it could be possible that, for a time, a number of shards align, thus having one full ley line (allowing a great evil power to get some frightening power?) until the shards move out of alignment.

I really like the "Divine vs. Arcane" schism. In my world, I'm looking at the "Arcane vs Psionics" schism myself.