Thanks, and its not done yet.
Notes: the cosmological information in the OP has indeed gone walkabout to make room for more necrotheism. I will repose it in a linked hub thread though most of it can be found though the page.
These immortal beings occupy an exalted position in necrotheistic society. Over the centuries they gradually retire from the hurlyburly of daily life and the cut and thrust of mainstream politics.
The council of grey lords is the circle of the liches. They are the repositors of history and arcane learning, councilors to the senate and the lanstrad, finally and most importantly they are the supreme judiciary.
In their role as the judiciary they:
Act as governmental oversight, investigating corruption and vetting senators and governmental appointments.
Rule on the constitutionality of laws and decrees.
Act as the final court of appeal.
Appoint judges, councilors and inquisitors.
One of the curious things about Necrotheistic liches is their treatment of phylacteries. These are usually built into an undead construct, which acts as its guardian.
Crime and punishment
The civil system
The judiciary relies on the inquisitorial system. The judge acts to appoint three inquisitors; living, unliving and living dead. The judge determiners guilt and decides punishment.
In the shires crime is investigated and prosecuted by a noble appointed serif. The local lord or his or her representative acts as judge. Justice is all about maintaining order; as such collective responsibility and collective punishment is the order of the day.
Most interpersonal disputes are sorted out with violent brawls in the case of the peasantry or honor duels in the case of the nobility. These can escalate into self perpetuating feuds. Local authorities only intervene when it either damages or threatens their interests or spirals out of all control.
The penal system
The civil penal system is about providing the victim restitution (either in the form of satisfaction or as compensation) or making a public example of the convict. It has a very high conviction rate, usually leaves the victim and the public feeling that justice has been served and allows people to feel safe to walk the streets; that the innocent might be punished or the guilty might go free is neither here nor there.
The range of penalties include:
-Court orders (typically cease and desists)
-Public chastisements (censure, humiliation or corporal punishments)
-Fines (often in the form of compensation)
-Enslavement (Limited term, life or perpetual)
The death sentence varies situationally. It is usually carried out by public stoning on humans, decapitation on vampires and burning on other forms of undead.
This venerable institution is not the monolithic establishment its name implies, instead it is a grass roots collective operating out of a number of local chapter houses.
The guild maintains libraries and offers a variety of services including legal advice, magical consultation, boarding houses, work contracts, wholesale magical surpluses as well as collective representation. The guild is the main point of contact between the authorities and the magical community.
The convention is to name cities after virtues, qualities or ideals. The first city was called Enlightenment (AKA enlightened provenience), the old capitol Majesty, Serenity was the mages guild headquarters and Endeavor the chief port.
Now Endeavor is under twenty foot of water, there is a perfectly circular and deep lake where Serenity used to be, majesty is a blackened ruin and Enlightenment is lost without a trace.
Modern cities have names of a more martial aspect. Defiance, Fortitude, Resolution, Endurance and Beauty (a hold over from the old days).
Necrotheistic cities tend to follow a circular street layout of wide orbital and radial thoroughfares and a network of much narrower side streets and alleys. The civic center is always an open plaza or park surrounded by administrative and civic buildings. This hosts the main and slave markets almost every day.
Rather that rearing walls they favor stone or timber faced ramparts. Built for indestructibility rather than insurmountability, these are formidable obstacles by any measure.
Beyond the walls grow large and largely lawless slums of dark winding alleys and abutting low buildings.
One of the defining features of their buildings are their unusual pyramids. These are wide circular stepped mounds. They have homes, shops and businesses carved into their sides from the base on up every level. Atop sits a small domed building.
Another feature dominating the skyline are the thin towers that almost seem to defy the ground.
And now the generic cosmology stuff I removed from the OP for space for this lot
The Concentric circle cosmos
This cosmos is dominated by the prime axis and the great wheal.
The Prime Axis
There are 3 major spheres, three major over plains of the of the prime axis. These are the positive energy plain, the negative energy plain and between these the fulcrum. Interconnecting these are the essential elemental axis; three pillars that are embedded in both the positive and negative planes as well as thrust through though the center of the wilds spheres. Laying between and around these spheres is the swirling elemental maelstrom.
The great duality
Some call them the font and the well, eternal light and the ultimate dark, the annihilator and the devourer. The energy exchange between positive and negative planes is one of the prime underpinnings of the cosmos. Without this there would be nothing but a great dark empty void.
the pillars of the world
These three axis are the essential elemental vectors. Without them reality would collapse and there would be no higher elements.
These are composed of the six essential elements. 3 negative and three positive forming three opposing pairs, these are:
+ <---> -
Mass <---> Void
Light <---> Dark
Heat <---> Cold
The elemental maelstrom
This large region lies between the positive and negative plains. It is a swirling maelstrom of elemental plains driven by the vast currents of conducting energy.
The elemental planes themselves are caused by the various conflicts and combinations of the essential planes. These planes are unstable, they collide, combine and transmute into new more complex elements. This is the gradual process of evolution that combined with accretion eventually created the prime material planes at the eye of the storm.
The great wheel
This is a disk of stable planes ejected from the maelstrom. They drift serenely in orbit around the cosmos. It is the home of the god and their divine hosts as well as the fiend legions.
The golden havens
Above, below and intermingled with the great wheel lie the celestial halls. These otherworldly planes are the physical embodiments of the gods power, its life force.
Within its heaven a god is all seeing and wields its maximum power. It may have one or more avatar within its celestial hall, whilst killing one or more of them will harm the god to kill it with violence you must kill that very plane itself.
The souls of dead worshipers -particularly the souls of more exalted individuals- can end up here, otherwise those post mortal celebrants are located on one of the one or more planes that a god claims for their eternal reward
The dark heavens
These are the bodies of dead gods. Sometimes they are occupied by fiends, sometimes they are claimed by other gods (who value them as neutral meeting points). There faded halls may be the haunt of the sad remnants of their former inhabitants, they may be abandoned or beset with other things.
The plains of Fulcrum
This is the prime setting for the concentric circles setting. Fulcrum is comprised of the realms and the wilds spread across five concentric planar spheres.
"lands lie beyond the hills we know"
The wilds have a fully plastic and fluid geography. The horizon acts as a kind of black box, you do not know what may or may not lie beyond it until you are over it. Paradoxically it is unlikely to be the same vista the next time you past (making it near impossible for you to pass the same horizon twice without divine assistance). Add to that the fact that distance and duration are entirely subjective it make mapping literally impossible; wild atlases are a Cartesian nightmare that require both mystic sight and near insanity to appreciate.
The wilds are known as the natural home of the fae as well as a host of exotic flora and fauna not found in more mundane regions. These include a host of mega fauna such as migratory dragons, tarrasque, ettin, collosi and adult titans.
Wilderlands are the frontiers, they are the middle state between realms and the wilds. More pliant than plastic the wilderlands are difficult to navigate for the uninitiated. One of the more unstable elements of the wilderlands are the ruins relics and monuments of ancient lost realms. These are fully capable of wandering around the landscape or dispersing into the aetherspace for centuries at a time.
Wilderlands are host to isolated villages, small (usually) independent frontier towns as well as more nomadic tribes. Wilderlands are the favored haunts of Kiamera manbeast tribes as well as other beings both more human and less.
To put it flippantly these are the places where mortals [not fae] live. A realm is geographically pretty stable and home to at least one a nation of people who define themselves as one.
Realms follow the fichers and to a (certain extent) the revers mass ficher principle. The land and nature of a realm is affected by its ruler and the people are shaped by land. For example a realm with an insane king will be subject to greater levels of random or unpredictable events. A hard and harsh realm will shape its people into a hard and hash people.
Naturally occurring realms may be as small as city or as large as a kingdom. Smaller realms do exist but they require divine or magical assistance to be sustained or come into existence at that size. They are normally fringed by a band of wilderland though they may abut other realms or even wilds.
Realms that overextend have difficulties holding themselves together. Realms that collapse often disintegrate into craton linked sub-realms, revert back to wilderland or even to wildspace.
A craton is a shared semi-stable region of three or more realms, often containing a considerable amount of wilderland. One of the defining characteristics of a craton is that its realms define themselves as of that region. Examples of cratons include multi-realm empires such as Xui'Sha or realms with a shared culture such as the lands of the former necrotheistic empire.
A special case is the bi-realm. These are formed of two realms that define themselves in relationship to each other, they usualy have an adversarial or antagonistic relationship though symbiotic realms are not uncommon. Bi-realms are highly stable and can endure for millenia. Bi-realms most often
emerge from the brake up of larger cratons and form the core of emergent cratons.
This sphere starts at the base of the high clouds and extends upwards from there. It is warmer, thicker, richer and far deeper than atmosphere of that height as any real right to be.
The aethosphere plays host to the tops of the tallest mountains, flying fortresses, levitating mountains, cloudscapes, skyscraping towers and bable trees. Indigenous fauna include air whales, gas floaters, dragons, harpies, furies and other winged humanoids.
By the very nature of the plane advanced magitec is an absolute esential to day to day existence. One would imagine that this would leed to the domination of magoracies, this is not the case. The wizards and artificers of this sphere have a tendency to be aligned with one or more of the various competing inter-realm magical industrial combines. Actual leadership of the realms is dominated by the noble clans; be it in duchies, principalities or the oligarchic republics (although having said that these clans have a far higher instance than average of potential sorcerers).
One of the most distinctive phenomena of the aethosphere are the skyships. These craft use magic to levitate and propel them through the air. They are often used by merchants and explorers as well as sky pirates and the various aerial navies. The sight of two fleets of airships hammering seven shaded of snot out of each other is one of the most awe inspiring things in the world and as strong a reminder as can be not to cross mages. Skyships cannot fly bellow the clouds, the ability of the magic keeping them alofts to resist the pull of the earth become progressively weaker the lower they go until it becomes too much and the ship "flounders".
Examples of military magitec include aetherial pulse jets, magistorm Gatlings, ark lightning projectors, S.G.R.S (spirit guided rocket systems), Golem auto loaders and bastion class sky knights. Examples of such tec on the surface are usually limited to badly damaged salvaged from crashed airships or as the "fallout" of aerial warfare.
This is the second sphere of fulcrum. Its residence believe that it is most important of the planes; it does for example have the largest number of realms and 7 out of the top ten largest stable realms, surprisingly it is (by volume) the smallest of the five spheres, it is also the least spherical. It Extends only a few hundred meters below ground and scant kilometers above sea level. The terrosphere covers only the large landmasses, inland seas and the oceans within sight of the coast. It is broken up into several large semi-stable continental clusters.
These are the shifting open oceans of fulcrum. It plays host to mysterious storm wracked islands, floating lands, icebergs, horrors from the deep, under sea civilizations (both living and lost) and nations under sail.
This is the sphere of stone. It stats below the frost line and proceeds down past the crush depth to the ferrosphere. It is a wild place of caves, grottos and vaults. It has its parched deserts and its underground rivers, lakes and seas. The vast cavern networks are constantly shifting and are not always mutually accessible, sometime forcing people to the surface to make progress.
N.B This is obviously an underdark stand in with the realms/wilds mechanics built in.
This is the innermost and most hostile sphere of fulcrum. It is composed of a infernal sea of extreme pressure liquid metal encased in solid rock. It is illuminated (if this can be said to be the right word) from its center by the convergence of the three essential pillars, the flux of positive and negative energy grants the ferrosphere its 36 hour "day"/"night" cycle.
Iffrites are the dominant power of the ferrosphere. Their civilization clings to the deep furrows and ridges of the edge of their world, heavily concentrated on the margins of the stone highlands and the deep basins filled with nickle cobalt oceans or along the antediluvian plains of vast liquid metal river systems.
Like all live in the ferrosphere they posses a silicon based biology with a complex system of metallic ichor and bio plasma. They live in fear of the terrors of the deep core; most particularly the dreaded iron drakes. Aside from certain elemental plains the Iffrite can not survive outside of the ferrosphere without extensive xenoforming. This transmutation allows them to endure the "extreme cold and low pressure" of the "lesser planes"; this is a permanent exile however as they would never survive the return home.
What is good and evil anyway?
I like the idea of the forces of good and evil being opposed by cultural and political differences, but not opposite.
So good uses positive energy and evil uses negative. These are opposed and cancel each other out. There is nothing inherently evil or good about them, they are merely tools.
The forces of good favor actions certain actions, they also approve of actions that favor themselves. In this they are no different than the forces of evil. Alignment is connected to morality by opposition and cultural convention only. Necromancy is evil because the forces of evil have a proprietary interest over it
Both sides wish to control the mortal world for their own ends, they both desire souls. All sides in their interminable war shamelessly commit and expect their followers to commit horrific acts against the other; they take pride in this and umbrage to those who object.
what are the gods like?
The gods in this setting tend to view mortals as vessels for their portfolios. So the goddess of motherhood would view all mortals as prospective or active parents. The idea of a man (or worse a woman) who didn't like or want children would be viewed as an aberration, one who couldn't have children as a sadly afflicted. If such a person came to her direct attention then it would irritate her no end and if left to her own devices she would probably set out to "correct" the situation until either she got her way or the unfortunate mortal brakes.
The gods view us as existing to serve, facilitate and worship them. Our happiness, our achievements and our sufferings our not a reflection of our efforts, ideals or failings but the result of their actions. They might help us because it gives them the satisfaction of our worship and the pride of a job well done; not because we need it. At best they might care about us in general in the same way you do about a pastime, they might care about a "special" mortal in the same way you do as a pet.
A god that is effectively an ascendant meme would be like this right from the get go. An ascendant mortal -particularly at first- would be much better than this, far more humane, but possibly in the worst sense of the word. Given time however they would become very distant from their mortal roots; the portfolio is always there in the back of their minds like a constant dull itch and they have got to learn a way to cope with it or it will drive them mad.
How would you describe the world of fulcrum?
Take one reasonably standard high fantasy RPG world.
Take sledgehammer to the fabric of time and space
Scatter the bite sized peaces of space time in a broth of elderich fae wilds
Bring to boil and allow to simmer
Season with insane troll logic to taste.
Got a lot of ideas from the landover series by terry brooks.
What is a craton anyway?
A craton or tectonic shield is a geological term for a large peace of ancient stable continental crust. Cratons include baltica and siberia. If you can think of a better colloquial name for this don't hesitate to say.