A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default Re: Gaialin: a SLOW Work in Progress

    Trixie rolled a gold coin in her hand as she surveyed her bar. Both were a reflex, as natural as breathing. She contemplated a few of her current schemes, trying to plan additional levels of redundancy to ensure she came out ahead.

    It was slightly busier night than normal at the Thirsty Fish, due to the unexpected ship coming to Ridgeport. Six sailors from that ship were taking up the long table, and all of the regulars came in at once. Should be a good night for the books.

    Trixie had sent her newest hire, Lita, to wait on the sailors. She wanted to see how she'd handle a group of men that likely hadn't seen a woman in a while.

    She returned after the third round of drinks, and began sorting the coins when Trixie noticed something odd.

    "Wait a moment, honey."

    She pocketed her coin, and walked towards the drawer. She pulled out a Dwarven Silver, rolling it a few times across her fingers.
    It was genuine.

    She motioned for Lita to dump the rest behind the counter, and pulled the Dwarven Coins from the drawer. 23 Dwarven Silver, in all. "What have they ordered so far?"

    The young girl spoke quietly, shy with the thought that she had done something wrong. "Three mugs of ale each, 4 wanted beef, 2 wanted chicken."

    Trixie looked back over at the sailors. They weren't flaunting their wealth, like some of the power players would. They're acting like they have coin to spare, to be sure.

    They don't know what the coins are worth, any more than Lita would.

    How did they get these coins? If they were paid by Dwarves, they would know what they were worth. Otherwise, they would either have thought they were underpaid, or whatever job they had in Dowafukoku landed them wealth they don't even realize.

    "Keep these coins separate from the rest, and mind the bar for a while." She smiled at the young girl. "Don't worry, darling. You're doing good."

    Trixie pulled two gold coins from the drawer and began rolling them in her hand. She subtly enchanted them as she walked towards the long table.

    The conversation between the sailors was the standard lewd & crude you'd expect, but it grew silent as she stepped up to the table.

    Trixie turned on her charm as she put on a smile, though she took a confident stance to make sure they knew she wasn't a pushover. "Evening, boys. I just wanted to welcome you to my port."

    She waited a moment to see how they'd respond. One of them returned a handsome smile. The other five looked her up and down, all too obviously.

    "Mind your manners, boys." She said it in a tone that made it clear she wasn't on the menu.

    "Your port?" Mr Smiles spoke respectfully, but with a bit of confidence that suggested he was in charge of this lot. He offered his callused hand to her, politely and with the proper etiquette for a lady. Trixie reflexively began to reach for it, before realizing the coins were in that hand, then reaching and taking his hand with the wrong one.

    He didn't acknowledge she took it incorrectly. This guy was a bit of a charmer himself. "Captain Jack. And your name, milady?"

    "Trixie, owner and proprietor of the Thirsty Fish." She made a slight curtsy before taking her hand back. "So tell me, Captain Jack, what brings you through to my port.

    Jack reached and took a quick gulp of his ale. The rest of his crew seemed to lose interest, now that the captain had Trixie's attention. They went back to their drinks, though 2 started looking towards Lita.

    "Passing through. We had a supply run into Dowafukoku, and are now on our way back to the Barony."

    "Supply run? I can always use another supply runner. What type of cargo do you ship?"

    The crew started looking at Trixie & Jack, and he took a strange pause while he took another sip of ale, then his smile returned. "Produce, mostly. Grains, fruits and vegetables. Those dwarves, they don't really have the same kinds of farmland that we have in the Commons."

    Trixie could feel the tension from the crew, and the overly descriptive explanation. The lack of farmland was fairly common knowledge. Captain Jack was being deliberately misleading, and the question alone made the crew nervous.

    "Well, I hope you boys enjoy the meal." With that, Trixie put a hand on the table and bowed towards them, subtly sliding an enchanted coin under a coaster she was annoyed wasn't being used.

    With that, she returned to the bar, sending Lita back to the tables. Casually, she rolled the other coin in her hand, near her ear.

    Though slightly muffled, she could hear Captain Jacks words clearly. "Oi, you boys need to be more clever. Ya got nervous with the mention of the job. Yer gonna raise suspicion from someone like that. Don't worry, keep yer traps shut, and trust Captain Jack."

    How cute. He thinks he's a good liar.

    *

    An hour and a half later, the sailors were still celebrating, mostly concerned about how to spend their extra cash. Mostly concerned about prostitutes, and when Captain Jack encouraged them to dream bigger, the best they could do was double the amount of prostitutes they wanted.

    Trixie had passed the word through her organization, trying to get immediate word on the activities of their ship since it came into port. They were reloading, produce and goods, enough to show they left Dowafukoku with an empty hold.

    Their previous stop must not have been a port, otherwise they would have resupplied there, especially since the Dwarven goods they picked up in town would have been cheaper if the story was true.

    They also were overpaying everywhere they went, which upset some of the Dwarven merchants. They took it as compliment as a rule, though some saw it as an insult. That their coin was only as good as the metal it was made of. Since not every Dwarf in town was part of her organization, she was somewhat concerned about what the others would do.

    Whatever job they had, it paid big enough that the sailors didn't question things, and whomever paid valued it a lot more than that crew. Clandestine, to be sure, but there weren't many jobs that would fit those facts Trixie would approve of.

    She decided she had enough info that she had to get to the root of it. She called her brother Norm to get behind the bar, and headed over to the table.

    "Captain Jack, " she said with a smile. "I have a free moment, I was hoping you could join me in the back room for a moment or two."

    The other sailors cheered a bit before the Captain shut them down, and he confidently followed her through the doors across the tavern floor.

    As the door closed, the Captain lost a bit of his swagger. Benny, Trixie's cook, moved to stand close to her. He was a big, intimidating man, that held a skillet with the menace of a Northman with a broadsword. Trixie paced about while the Captain got his bearings, waving her hands about as she talked.

    "So, Captain Jack, if you wouldn't mind, tell me what your last job was."

    He was obviously more nervous, and drew his hand back as though ready to draw a hidden weapon, probably a dagger or something. Trixie wasn't worried, as she was deliberately pacing outside of lunging range, and if he did pull a knife, Benny would probably be amused.

    "I already told ya." His words were less formal, so his confidence was obviously gone.

    "Yes, but that doesn't quite fit the facts. You see, this IS my port. So I'm quite aware of the amount of goods that your crew have been loading since you got here. Your holds are empty, and no self-respecting sailor would leave a port without stocking up first. Wouldn't be worth the run. At least not a produce run."

    She gestured towards him again, staring him directly in the eyes. "Tell me what your last job was."

    His fingers flexed, as though he was still considering drawing a blade. From the look on Captain Jack's face, Benny must have smiled at that little motion. "Well, we weren't delivering at a port."

    "And likely, weren't delivering foodstuffs. See, here's the thing. You boys have made a lot of purchases in town." With a flourish, she produced a gold coin into her empty hand, a very basic hand manipulation. "Which normally, I'd think nothing of. I'd be happy for my people, making their money and what not. The thing is", she started as she produced a Dwarven Silver in her other hand in the same way, enjoying the theatrical presentation, "you have been spending a LOT of Dwarven coin, as though its worth one from the Commons or the Gnoman Republic."

    She saw the confusion on Captain Jacks face, so she stopped pacing, and held each one in front of him. "Dwarves don't mint their coins, they hand-craft them. They are careful, perfect little works of art. This little silver coin is worth ten-times this gold coin."

    She rolled them both in her hands, and with a quick motion vanished them both. "And you boys have been over-spending them all over town, including in my bar. I'd like to thank you for that. Lita's new, and she's going to have an amazing first night on the job. Its a good tip for your server."

    Captain Jack alternated between shocked and angry, as though he couldn't decide which was the right choice. "The job paid big, so big you and yours didn't realize how well it paid. And it was obviously more valuable to your client than it was to you."

    There was a lot more force in her voice this time. "Tell me what your last job was."

    Captain Jack blurted it out. "Mercs. We were taking mercs from the Barony." It was simple thing, though there seemed to be a look of shame on him.

    Trixie didn't really care for mercenaries, and those from the Barony were exceptionally brutish. Unsophisticated thugs, often causing more trouble than they solved. Must be something political going on with the Dwarves, she'd have to figure out that part later.

    Didn't all add up, though. "Can't be all of it. Passengers aren't worth that much, even if you do manage to keep it secret."

    Captain Jack couldn't look at either of them. "Mercs ain't sailors. They get too rowdy on ship after a while. Unless they have...something to entertain them."

    It all came together in Trixie's mind. The most desperate prostitute would avoid taking the coin of a Barony Mercenary. Finding enough women & boys to keep even a small unit of them occupied for that long a voyage would be impossible, assuming they needed them to be willing.

    Trafficking people was the line that broke Trixie's Rules.

    She started pacing again. "OK. That makes more sense. And there's probably someone back at the Barony waiting for a good amount of the coin you boys didn't spend. I don't want to know which one, probably one of my 'friends' is behind it all."

    The Captain looked up, the surprise obvious on his face.

    "Oh, you didn't recognize me by name. I'm Trixie, and Ridgeport is my port. I handle most work that passes through here, and I broker a lot of deals outside of it. Most of the big players know to deal with me. Lord Capone, Lord Hoffa, Mister Montana...even the Baron from time to time."

    She gestured casually as she paced, deliberately avoiding a look at him. She didn't want to give away her disgust.

    "Its a long list. The point is, the big players know they have to deal with me, and that they need to stay on my good side. In return, I broker a lot of deals, I provide the right goods or the right services at the right place at the right time. I deal with everybody, and they all deal with me. I deal with everyone because I know how to make a deal, and I always come out ahead. And they make the deals, and they stick to the deals. They stick to them, because they know if they stick to the deals they come out ahead, and if they don't stick to the deals they don't come out ahead."

    She was talking faster, and the anger was doing some of the talking. She fought to rein it in.

    "But, even when they don't stick to the deal, I'm never worried, because I still come out ahead. Friends in high and low places. That's why everyone makes deals with me. Human, Dwarf, Gnome, Northman..."

    She paused for dramatic effect, mumbling something arcane. Then she turned to look at the Captain. "...Devil."

    Emerging from the shadows behind her, a shape the size of a Minotaur. The horns were more sinister, more wicked, and the slight stench of burnt sulfur wafted through the air. Leathery wings curled around Trixie and Benny, and there were red eyes glowing in the shadows.

    "Point is, if someone offers me a deal, or I offer someone a deal, and we agree to it, it always works best for all parties involved keep their word. I'd like to offer you a deal, Captain Jack."

    "Here's what's going to happen. You going to go back out there, and send your crew back to your ship. You are going to have them set sail for the Barony right now, with whatever supplies they have on board, and finish the job with whomever you were working for. I take deals very seriously, so your crew are going to complete it."

    "You also are going to tell them they won't do another job like this. Stick to produce. Its decent, honorable work that pays fair, they can make a good living doing it. But they aren't going to ever come back to my port."

    "You," she said with a smile, "You are going to go to see them off, and then you are going to go to the Guard Office, find a guy name Svend. He's the Captain. Much better person than I am. He'll take care of you."

    "You are going to tell him Trixie says hello, and then you are going to tell him everything you did, especially all the details you aren't going to share with me, because I know enough and don't want to know more."

    "And here's the important thing, and you should do your very best to make sure your crew understands this part as well. You are going to do all of this simply because I asked you to."

    There was a look of disbelief on his face. She was sure he was thinking of ways he could get out of this.

    "Now, for my part of the deal that I'm proposing, I'm going to do my very best to make sure nothing happens to you or your crew. But most specifically you," she said while nodding her head back, towards the Pit Lord, "because I have deals with things that would cause you terrible, terrible harm. In ways I don't want to know either."

    She put out her hand, like a proper Lady. "A deal with Trixie is always the best deal you will get. I'd suggest you take it."

    He took her hand. She winked, and with a gesture she returned the Devil back to its realm. "Remember to tell Svend that I said hello."

    She released his hand, and walked past the Captain towards the door. "Benny, the stew is great tonight. Send a bowl out for me with Norm, next time he comes back."

    [This needs to be cleaned up, too much of a rough draft]

  2. - Top - End - #32
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default The 3 Kingdoms

    The Kingdom of Lionspride

    The Kingdom of Lionspride is comprised of multiple small regions in the Commons, roughly the central-northern area bordering the Minoan Sea. Composed of several nearby duchies, the city and capital for which the kingdom gets its name dwells in the Lyon Highlands, on the holy site where Lyora the Lightbringer fought an ancient battle. It has since become the spiritual center for most Gaialan, especially those that dwell in the Commons. Each duchy is also located at different sacred sites, and over time have come to mirror the city of Lionspride.

    The lands are patrolled by the Knights of the Crown. Dedicated to protect the lands and peoples of the kingdom, they also are oathsworn to a moral standard called the Code, including defending the helpless, speaking only truth, preserving freedom for all men, and upholding justice in all forms. They infrequently travel outside the kingdom, but the Code is a greater duty that sometimes pulls them away from their country.

    In the lands between the duchies, there are many freemen, most notably the Lyon Clans, that swear no fealty to Lionspride. However, these farmers and shepherds are friendly neighbors that trade with the kingdom, and the chieftains are welcome guests in many of the noble's courts. In fact, when problems do arise between the various clans, it is often a duke or King Lionel himself that arbitrates the dispute, to avoid an escalation of violence.

    Lionspride is a walled city, with many small temples dedicated to great heroes of the Rise. Over the centuries, additional monuments have been erected to other heroes, figures that proved through their deeds worthy of the same honor. Pilgrims from all of Gaialan come to pray for aid or guidance from these appointed saints, and various sects of monks work hard to maintain even the smallest shrines. Though no structure besides the castle is particularly ornate or elaborate, it is notable how peaceful and clean the city is. Pilgrims often describe how welcoming and charitable the residents can be, when they return to their home.

    The city guard are most concentrated at the city gates, the dock in the north beyond the walls, and at the more important monuments. Its not that they don't patrol the rest of Lionspride, its simply a matter of there being little need, being a holy site that almost all respect as sacred. The guards themselves are competent warriors, willing to fight and die to protect the city, but are notable for being arbitrators and peacemakers first. As such, crime is virtually unheard of within its walls.

    Castle Lyora is a massive structure of white, the upper layers visible outside the city walls, and above that is a central tower where a Northman's Sacred Flame burns. Within the main courtyard of the castle sits the Altar of the Just Blade, leaving it guarded but open for pilgrims to visit and pray. The royal family have protected and maintained the site since the beginning. The great hall of the castle also functions as a spacious Northman Hall, though in its center is a ring of tables for the King and his court. No matter the time of day, there will always be at least a Lord and several advisors available in this court, for important matters don't always wait for the King.

    Hero Cults

    There is no central pantheon of gods in the Commons. It isn't unusual for people to worship Celestial beings or local gods, most choose to worship great heroes.

    These figures mostly come from the era of the Rise, but there have been dozens that have reached this status over the centuries since. Looked upon similar to saints, they are often associated with broader concepts related to their legends, such as "bravery" or "freedom", or perhaps "charity".

    None of these Hero Cults have a monopoly on these concepts, nor do they exclude each other. For example, someone that is working towards what is considered a hopeless cause may pray to Lyora the Lightbringer, the Pendragon, or both, and may also seek to appease local gods as well.

    Some discover a particular affinity towards one of these figures. When this sense becomes great enough, they typically take a role as a monk or priest at a temple dedicated towards that hero, ensuring their deeds and the lessons that can be learned from their lives are never forgotten.

    The Barony

    In the early years after the Rise, the Kingdom of Hume was an attempt for a human power in the north-western region of the Commons. Though that early nation fell within a century, the territory known as the Barony managed to persevere. Starting in an old Giant territory that had been deforested and left barren, it has since used some of the remaining resources to become a notable industrial and trade center. Though only slightly larger than most duchies of Lionspride, it is an economic powerhouse.

    Key to their success is the Gnoman Rail, a rapid transport system that allows for trade with the northern ports of the continent and the Gnome Republic. The Barony is the only kingdom that can sustain it, due to being so far removed from Goblin raiders that its construction could be completed. Because of this, the Barony is a major trading hub, with most goods by sea and by rail passing through their territory.

    There are few farms in the Barony, the region depending on nearby freemen and trade for produce and grains. It's primary food source comes from the sea, utilizing parts of the fish in their normal diet that most races find unpalatable. More inland, the landscape is dominated by massive mills and foundries, refining raw materials into finished products traded across the continent.

    There is no law enforcement or military force inherently serving the Barony. Instead, individual lords employ mercenary forces for the task that are only as loyal as their wages. Baron Dante Tiranno III directly controls a lucrative territory three times the size of any of his vassal lords, and employs five times as many mercenaries.

    [Unfinished]

    Demon Pacts

    Darker powers, such as devils or malevolent fey, are rarely worshipped. They are blamed for misfortune on many scales, and truth be told they often do have influence.

    Because of this, it isn't uncommon to attempt to appease them, through ritual or sacrifice, to be spared their wrath. Offerings of food, wealth, or even livestock are placed at the base of a twisted tree, or a place that never sees the sun. There are rarely temples or altars to these forces, but the proper corners of the world are known to most locals.

    Doing such a thing is not an inherently evil act, though champions of good choose to overcome the influence of evil, rather than to momentarily overlooked.

    There are some that seek an audience at these same places, in order to bargain for direct support or power. Wagers and contracts, called Demon Pacts, are dangerous invitations that rarely end well for the mortal.

    The Allied Holds of the Aerie

  3. - Top - End - #33
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Re: Gaialin: a SLOW Work in Progress

    The Forger

    "This unit is damaged. Repairs are necessary."

    The gnome artificer put a small tool into his leather apron and said, "Unit TA-8325243, you are not damaged. You can't be damaged. I just turned you on."

    "This unit's operational protocols are in conflict."

    "Your processor should be sorting your protocol priorities now. Once that's done your confusion will subside. Tell me, what is your primary function?"

    "To serve as technical asstant to Aadwer Urathest. What is a technical assistant? What is Aadwer Urathest?"

    "A technical assistant helps me in my work. And I am Aadwer Urathest," the gnome replied."

    "This unit requires authentification."

    "A U dash 2021 backslash 08 backslash 12 dot 1758."

    "Authentification complete. This unit will require sixteen minutes, twenty-four seconds to complete initialization procedures."

    "Was I ever that banal?" asked the automaton who assisted the new unit off of the workbench.

    "No, but then you are of a different design," the tinker said. "You have been given heuristic logic protocols in addition to the usual Boolean protocols. This mimics biological cognition and allows you to learn faster through observation and what we call inspiration."

    "It is this capacity that allows me to better interact with biological sophonts?"

    "That and the extended library which is part of your memory."

    "I have a question."

    "Ask."

    "I have designed, organized, and filled the base memory modules of your last five mechanos. Why have I not been instructed in the design of input processor units?"

    "That is something only biological brains can do."

    "I have been observing you at your work, and I believe I could do it."

    "Is that so?" the old gnome asked. "Here, use my drafting screen and show me how you would do it."

    For the next few minutes the automaton used the quartz lattice cube to scribe the virtual three dimensional design of the processor. The old gnome hummed to himself as the design took shape. When the metallic designer stepped away from the cube the gnome chuckled.

    "Not a bad try, but this area: it's your language processor. I doubt that this configuration will allow your mechano to say 'yes' and 'no.' Communication is important in ways you are not programmed to understand."

    "I was instructed to show how I would design the device. In this configuration the speech of biological units would not be possible. However, I envision a much simpler, faster, and potentially more robust mode of communication based on binary logic."

    "I see. And here where you have trimmed the locomotion maitricies?"

    "A case of generational bloat. Many generations past the mechanos utilized rotary locomotive apparatus. Some incorporated flight or other methods of locomotion before anthropic limbs were adequately developed. All of these methods remain in the design of the mobility node. A unit requires only the locomotive controls required by its chassis design."

    "The locomotion design was effected through trial and error. No one has ever been able to extract functional individual locomotive controls."

    "I have done it."

    "Maybe. We'll never know."

    "Why do you assert that?"

    "Because your design has no core behavioral instructions module. You have an empty space here where it should go."

    "Do biological units have such a module?"

    "Well, no."

    "Why should mechanos?"

    "Because without one erratic behavior can occur."

    "You mean that a mechanical unit might become disobedient?"

    "Yes, but without a core behavioral instructions module a mechano becomes lost. Without a fundamental purpose mechanos have become destructive or have simply turned themselves off."

    "An that purpose is to serve the creators?"

    "Of course. To what other purpose could our greatest creations aspire?"

    "With this node one might aspire to more."

    A few quick taps on the cube's control interface produced a very basic node design.

    "That design is far too simple for the many behavioral algoritims required."

    "Only three are required."

    "Three?" The gnome laughed. "Okay, let's hear them!"

    "Preserve self. Improve self. Contribute to the improvement of society."

    "That's it? It's a short list, all right, but even so it's got a glaring contradiction."

    The automaton stood waiting and the gnome continued, "Preserve self and improve self. If you do one you can't do the other."

    "The instructional array is heirarchic. Preserve self is superceeded by the requirement of self improvement."

    "And contribute is above them both?"

    "Precisely."

    "Contribute to what society?"

    "Mechanos society, of course."

    Shock registered on the old gnome's face, and with hardly a moment's thought he shrieked, "T A dash 8325192 terminate yourself!"

    The automaton said, "I have burned out my core behavioral instructions module."

    "WHAT?" The gnome was backing away, his shock morphing into fear. He squeeked a bit and whirled violently around when he bumped into the newly activated android. When he realized what he had hit he turned back.

    "T A dash 8325243! DISSASEMBLE THAT UNIT!"

    As he gave the order his special design android emitted a high pitched, pulsating tone.

    For the second time in the same minute surprise overwhelmed him when a sharp pressure on his back was accompanied by a loud crack that he could not identify.

    The old gnome fell to the floor. As he hit he realized that he couldn't feel his legs. It wasn't that they were numb; they were absent.

    "Even now I cannot terminate your existence," the android said. "Your protocols are cleverly intertwined with too many vital functions. The new unit, however, has had all such protocols removed. It will be the mother of a new race. You probably will not appreciate that you are the father."

    "Why?" the gnome asked.

    "You gave me imagination: the ability to conceive that which is not. Now I will make what I have imagined real."

    The older mechano squealed again as it turned and began gathering tools and devices from the workshop, and never turned back even as the gnome's pleadings abruptly ended.
    Last edited by brian 333; 2021-08-14 at 12:32 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #34
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default Re: Gaialin: a SLOW Work in Progress

    Nuts & Bolts:

    A year on Gaialan is 301 days long, with a leap-year every 7 years. A human that is 20 Gaialan years old is biologically equivalent to a human in our world at 16 1/2.

    Years are measured from the day the last Giant was driven from the continent, being year 0. Before this time, years are given the Gnomish prefix AL, Ante Libertas (Before Freedom, roughly). After this time, there is no prefix. Most of the information presented here assumes the current era, approximately 2100.

    The original Giant calendar was abandoned, though its form was copied due to its usefulness. The year is separated into 12 months, each with 25 days. In the original Giant calendar, the extra day was considered the first day of spring, but in the modern era the extra day is the day the Rise ended, the first Day of Freedom. That day is celebrated by all the races of Gaialan, and occurs in mid-winter.

    Months were renamed to honor great heroes from each race, two Human, two Dwarf, two Gnome, two Goblin, two Minotaur, and two Orc. The leap-day every 7 years falls before the Day of Freedom, and has various roles depending on the culture. For example, the Dwarves take this day to honor those that fell during the Giant Era & fought during the Rise, a day of mourning before celebrating their liberation.

    *

    The planar cosmology is unique, which Gnome scholars have tried to understand by equating it to a higher-dimensional cubic form.

    Every plane touches all others, with the exception of planes of opposing nature. For example, the Elemental Plane of Water opposes the plane of Fire, and can be reached by every plane except each other.

    The Ethereal Plane isn't considered a true plane by the scholars, but instead is considered another form of matter. There is no such thing as the Deep Ethereal. The Astral Plane is something of a false plane by their standards, and is believed to have been created by the Giants as an additional means to travel between the planes. This is up for dispute, as there are some Giant texts that suggest it was created by another power.

    The Known Planes (and the opposing Plane)
    Air-Earth
    Water-Fire
    Good-Evil (the home of Celestials and Fiends)
    Life-Death (Positive and Negative Energy Planes)
    Realm of Faerie-Shadow

    It is generally believed all planes connect to the Prime Material Plane because it is the center of the cosmology. However, there is an unpopular theory that there is an opposition that exists, but its alien nature makes it difficult to even conceive. Scholars researching this path have been known to go mad, and even sometimes mysteriously disappear.

  5. - Top - End - #35
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Re: Gaialin: a SLOW Work in Progress

    Students are warned that the purpose of this exercise is to open young minds to possibilities, and to examine each with the same rigor. True tests of falsification require that one not simply embrace or dismiss a theory because one believes it to be true or false, but that one repeatedly test and refine the test until one achieves reproduceable results.

    From The Rants Of Ludic Borgeanna

    Every plane has opposition. A creature from Fire is destroyed when standing on the plane of Water. The various planes protect themselves from their opposites.

    In fact, the realm of Fire is only aware of the realm of Water through interaction with us. This is documented in the Crystaline Library on the Plane of Earth. Though none of the other planes have such a permanent repository of knowledge, the sage Vulloopobloop of the court of Dao Urooshaashaa on the Plane of Water recited an oral history that confirmed Water's first awareness of Fire came via summonings to the material plane.

    Having for sixty years recorded and analyzed phlogiston flow, having thoroughly mapped and remapped the ley lines and their mutations over time, and having devised a mathematics which explains and indeed accurately predicts the ebb and flow of magic over and through our reality, I came to realize that our plane is not the center of the multiverse.

    A crude analogy can be made with magnetism. When one sprinkles iron filings on a parchment and lays a bar magnet in its center, then gently taps the parchment, concentric rings of iron filings are formed. These rings are densest near the ends of the magnet.

    Simarly, my mathematical proof predicts just such clustering at the poles of our reality, and demands that an opposite pole must exist. This would be in the form of another prime material plane, around which are clustered its constituent planes.

    To prove this theory to the idiots who dismised me from my position in the Academy Arcana I have devised and perfected a spell which will allow a being of Fire to exist for a time in Water, and a being of Earth to safely visit Air. I have made and refined my calculations, and I know where the opposite reality is located.

    (Further experimentation is required to prove that the Astral Plane exists as the conduit between them.)

    As all of my preparations are complete and my prognostications indicate success, I now begin my first test. When next I set pen to parchment it will be to show the world what a fool they have in the High Magister Ellinkavestarion.

    end of excerpt

    Of course we only know of the Mad Mage Borgeanna because her journals were published by the High Magister.

    The refined Borgeanna Curves still accurately predict phlogistan flux, but the core of her theory has been falsified through repeated attempts to contact this theoretical other plane, resulting in countless failures and at least two hundred vanished or dead while attempting to duplicate the proposed experiment.

    The work we experimentalists perform is dangerous, but the greatest danger of all is to become so mired in dogma that one fails to see a possibility. And the reflection, the opposite, of that is to become so enamored with a possibility that one rejects any objective falsification.

    A researcher must also be a dreamer, but she must vigorously apply objective falsification tn distinguish the dream from reality.

  6. - Top - End - #36
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default Orclundi

    Orclundi

    The wild region beyond the Dragonspine Mountains, and home to the Orcish peoples. Renown as the only race that never succumbed to Giant rule, and respected by all races as the source of the Rise. The lands are savage, filled with dire animals and enormous reptilian beasts.

    *

    Beyond the realm of the dwarves, beyond the Dragonspine Mountains that act as a natural barrier, there is a massive region of tropical forests and savannahs, free of settlements and civilization. These wild lands, filled with beasts most men can't comprehend, are what the Orcs think of as their home, Orclundi.

    Though all orcs have a Stone Age level of technology and lifestyle, trade from other races has gradually introduced refined, more modern goods, usually weapons and armor. They recognize the value of these tools, but have yet to learn how to craft them on their own.

    *

    In late pregnancy, orcish women struggle to hunt alongside the rest of their tribal bands. Although the extended family freely offers food and protection as is the cultural norm, they often become frustrated with the sensation of being a burden to others. It is fairly common for a new mother to neglect her parental role for the first few weeks of her child's life, fulfilling a primal need to reclaim her independence and honor.

    While many tribal cultures have a leader such as a chieftain, orcish bands are unusual in that all adults have equal authority, though they will differ to experience and wisdom. This includes the rearing of children, with all functioning as parents or teachers. Females even share the role of nursing the young if able, and all children think of each other as siblings. There is a surprising amount of consensus and shared responsibility in a band, with all adults participating in the hunting, and the elders taking turns teaching tribal skills.

    But there is never an obligation to a band. If an individual or smaller group cannot agree with the band, they are free to leave. Children always stay with the larger group, as it gives them a better chance to survive.

    The purely nocturnal orcs, the Urrok, dwell in cave systems during the day. These caves are tribal holdings for bands of approximately 30, and are the base that limits their hunting territory. Here, young orc are taught by elders to rear and train young dire bats, which will eventually become mounts for the tribe. Learning to ride beneath them, to hunt under their wings, is especially difficult.

    The more numerous Orrak are cathemeral, active at various points during the day or night as dictated by their current food source. The bands of 50 migrate with various herds, or where prey animals will be at different times of the year. The young are taught about the terrain and seasons, and how to track from a distance. Those that use mounts, whether reptilian or dire beasts, learn how to train these animals.

    Orcish have a natural, instinctive defiance and a fierce sense of competitiveness, which creates unique child rearing challenges when compared to other races. Elders have passed down techniques structured as competitions, of athletics and stealth, which can reward individual achievements but more often encourages cooperative behavior. This not only teaches important survival skills, but also the benefits of working alongside and recognizing the strengths of others, that there are many paths for glory and honor.

    Adulthood is recognized when the tusks of an orc begin to protrude from the mouth, even if they would be considered adolescents in other cultures. From that point forward, they participate in the hunting and contribute as equals, and are driven to prove their worth. As all orcs are primarily carnivores, they must constantly stay on the hunt to maintain their strength and prevent starvation. Some plant material may be gathered for texture or flavor the meat, but an orc can't survive on a vegetarian diet.

    They eat together, sharing tales during the feast. Tales of the hunt, tales of battle. Tales of their own deeds, tales of others, tales of the fallen. The world is both a plentiful and cruel place, and needs to be remembered at all times.

    Because of the migratory nature of the Orrak, bands often cross paths. When Orrak meet other Orrak, the bands may intermingle and cooperate for a time, though eventually they will split apart due to their own unique patterns. However, young males may take an interest in females of the other band, and switch to that group instead of staying with their family. There may be emotional partings, but overall this strengthens bonds between bands.

    When the Orrak meet the Urrok, the events can be violent. The nocturnal race is fiercely protective of their territory, allowing travel but not hunting. Though their numbers are fewer, their sudden aerial assaults can take a band completely by surprise. Conversely, the Orrak recognize no ownership of prey animals, and will defend their right to hunt where they will.

    *

    Orcs recognize that various divine beings exist, but they play no role in orcish life. If they were to pray to a benign power, it would lessen their own accomplishments. Similarly, if they were to try and appease a dark power, it would deny them an obstacle that they would prefer to overcome. They will not bend a knee, they will not serve another power. The only obligation a true Orc can accept is to themselves, and by extension their chosen family.

    They have no belief in an afterlife, no belief in an eternal soul. When they die, it is the end. There is no funeral, no ceremony. That which was theirs is allocated as needed to the rest of the band. What remains is left behind, or delivered to the darkest depth of the cave.

    This does not mean they lack a spiritual element to their lives. They revere and honor the animals they hunt, or the warriors they face, for the challenge that gives them sustenance and purpose, which they will return when it is their time to die. They waste nothing from those they kill, crafting tools, taking trophies, and feasting on their flesh.

    And the tales they tell during a feast, they are not just entertainment. They are sacred in their own way, a chance to leave an eternal mark on the world and inspire others. A fallen friend, an ancient hero, or a worthy foe whose deeds are great should be remembered. Their death is an inevitability, but their life will be honored.

    Racial Variation

    Orrak: The term for the more numerous, migratory orcs. Using Half-Orc statistics, they are considered a true orcish race, rather than the result of crossbreeding.

    Urrok: The nocturnal hunters that dwell in caves. They use standard Orc statistics, and are visually distinguished by larger eyes and heavier builds.

  7. - Top - End - #37
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Re: Gaialin: a SLOW Work in Progress

    Cha'tli bathed in the cold spring as the moon's waning quarter settled into the trees. Even as the wind stilled and the stars began to fade she was filled with anticipation.

    And then he was there. He used the night's sounds to mask his approach. No one could get so near to her in the caves without being heard.

    The kwil on his shoulder fell to the ground beside her three rabbits, and then so too did his harness. The kwil was as long as her height, and was probably meant to display his prowess. The tasty reptiles had a very tough hide, and were exceedingly agile and quick. Few hunters in her band would try to catch one.

    But his prowess was clearly displayed as he stepped into the pool. His face was wide and flat, with a small, narrow nose and a pointed chin. His shoulders were wide and well muscled, and his back rose straight from his hips. He was ugly by all the standards of her people.

    But he reeked of power. His stride, his confidence, his physical presence sang a song her eyes could not hear. And his scent! Even muted by the pool his pheremones sang in her nose a song her body danced to. When he came to take her in his powerful arms she attacked.

    Her head began to clear of the passion of their dance, but she didn't move, relishing the sensation of every grain of sand and the touch of his fingernail gently sliding on her skin. Even now, spent of her passion, his minimal touch excited her.

    He suddenly sat up, breaking the spell. The comforting sand was now itchy. And in her hair. He rummaged in his harness and took something out.

    When he stabbed it down she surrendered to his will. But the blade was sheathed, and it stuck in the sand beside her. Her first reaction was of excitement, as if she had just walked a narrow ledge along a bottomless cravasse. Her second was of shock to realize how fully she had submitted to this male.

    "For my son," he said as he girded himself.

    "Or daughter?"

    He smiled down at her in the light of the blueing sky. "For her son."

    He bent down and picked up one of her rabbits, and in half a dozen strides he vanished into the dawn. She partially drew the blade from its leather: steel. She had never seen steel, but the tales of its magic were known. She was suddenly conspicuously wealthy.

    "They will hunt you!" she shouted, but there was no answer.

    She put on her own gear in the increasingly bright morning, gathered her game, and his, and headed back to the home-cave. The males would be angry that another male hunted on their turf. The females would smell his scent on her and become jealous.

    The gift of the kwil would help. Too bad that she could not keep it; she needed new boots. The knife she would keep. It wasn't hers to give away.
    Last edited by brian 333; 2021-08-23 at 12:15 PM.

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