The World

Forum for discussing the Heroic tabletop game

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The World

Postby Groovy » Mar 11 2015, 21:38

This thread is dedicated to discussions of the game world - from considerations of how the universe works down to the terrain that can be found on the surface of the world where the game takes place.

The outcome of these design efforts should be a fictional world that is sufficiently fleshed out in terms of what it looks like and how it works to provide clear guidelines and impose constraints on both faction design and the writing of the lore.

I have already posted some information at http://aia-world.wikia.com. It's probably a good place to start.

I will post more guidelines regarding the kind of world that I was looking to create as I find the time...

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Postby Groovy » Mar 11 2015, 22:52

These pictures capture the feel of the world that I'm looking for.

http://www.mensxp.com/special-features/ ... hless.html
http://www.buzzfeed.com/ariellecalderon ... wlPEZLKE4g
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/minube/th ... 05744.html
http://www.boredpanda.com/amazing-places/
http://all-that-is-interesting.com/surreal-places
http://www.oddee.com/item_96656.aspx
http://www.technocrazed.com/the-dazzlin ... -the-ocean
EDIT: Or just punch in "most surreal places on earth" on a Google images search.

Of course, the world cannot consist entirely of such places; they need to be rare in order to be exceptional. But I'd like it to be far more than just valleys, forests and mountains that are typically shown in movies.
Last edited by Anonymous on Mar 12 2015, 15:01, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Groovy » Mar 12 2015, 5:53

I see I had already posted the world overview in the Lore thread. Ah, well...

I guess we can still use the Lore thread for the discussion of finer details of the lore rather than the world design.

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Postby Panda Tar » Mar 12 2015, 13:12

Do you want me to clean up this thread then?
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Postby Groovy » Mar 12 2015, 13:57

It's the Lore thread that needs cleaning up. It's currently a bit of a miscellaneous thread. Perhaps just extract the world-building posts and move them here? We can get to the rest when we start working on the lore.

Edited:

The Big Picture

Image

• The universe is a single gigantic organism. There are no planets, stars, galaxies, etc floating through space. It is a single continuous substance of varying composition, density, curvature, and level of differentiation from its environment
• It can exhibit markedly different qualities (laws of physics) in different regions
• The substance is conscious, perceptive and intelligent. It has memory. In its simplest form, it is pure emotion. More complex arrangements provide some level of shielding from emotions
• As a living organism, the universe evolves. It changes shape over time, as well as what appears to be physical laws (on the cosmic time scale)
• It also evolves in response to the mindsets and actions of its inhabitants. Their influence on the world is largely unconscious, except for highly advanced wizards, who have sufficient knowledge to steer its evolution consciously
• It has built-in mechanisms for keeping itself in balance. There are structures in the physical landscape whose function is to cycle water, filter air, distribute heat, etc
• These structures can break down, either naturally or due to tampering by creatures, causing the world’s systems to go out of balance and resulting in natural disasters
• It is integrated with the creatures that dwell in it. They are just different parts of the same underlying substance

The Substance from which the World Is Made

It is organised hierarchically – there are three levels of intelligence and perception layered on top of each other. The layers are ordinarily unaware of each other. Each layer is fully functional in its own right.

The layers are:
• Emotion – the lowest, simplest layer that is universally shared. It is the prime motivator behind everything that unfolds – from subatomic motion to people’s actions to cosmic events. It can be overridden by other layers to various degrees
• Sensation – the middle layer that provides basic shielding from raw emotions. It consists of many sub-layers – localised centres of consciousness that have developed hive-like mentality. These sub-layers are shared by matter/energy with common properties – air/water/earth/fire, cells in a body, colonies of microorganisms with a common function (digestion), etc
• Intellect – the highest, most complex layer that, if resolutely applied, can override all of the others. It requires a particular, complex configuration of matter/energy in order to exist. Only creatures have it. It doesn’t extend beyond the local physical form

Structural Integrity

• The primary forces are “like attracts like” and its converse. They enable large conglomerations of like substances to form – seas, continents, sky – and differentiate themselves from other nearby structures. They are not really forces, but actions of the world that vary with the level of awareness (at high awareness, the forces don’t really apply)
• Rotation is not present on a large scale (unlike celestial bodies from the modern cosmology)
• In the absence of rotation, the world’s cyclic nature arises from periodic discharging of various landscape objects, particularly mountains’ hearts and vents

What Can Be Seen in the Sky?

• The sky is the customary blue colour, with scattered white-grey clouds
• During the day, three distant lights illuminate the sky
• During the night, the same three lights can be seen, only substantially dimmer. Other features that can be seen are the largest and brightest objects from the surface of the exotic world that is situated on the other side of the sky. These include rivers of light, giant volcanic vents, crystal mountains, shooting stars, lightning valleys, flickering tornadoes, fogs of darkness, cyclones, spirals and other miscellaneous shapes
• Different epochs are triggered by changes in the night sky. The epoch during which most of the story takes place begins at the onset of a blood moon slowly transiting through the sky

Atmosphere-rejuvenating Mechanisms

• Some pressure vents within the surface periodically release large quantities of fine particles into the sky. There are many such vents across the world. They release different kinds of particles and at different times
• Rainbow vents get their name from releasing colourful particles that form rainbows. They are activated by water (rain)
• Aurora vents are rainbow vents that are situated on sea floors. They are continuously active, but their display is not bright enough to be visible during the day. At night, they produce the aurora effect
• Shimmering vents produce fireworks. They are activated by lengthy periods of drought coupled with intense heat
• Volcanoes sometimes also erupt, sending vast quantities of lava into the sky. It increases the brightness of the sky and turns it fiery red

Water-cycling Mechanisms

• The water cycle is the cyclic flow of water from the world’s depths to the surface, the sky, and back again
• The water cycle acts as the world’s immune system – it identifies toxins and nutrient shortages, carries this information to other parts of the world, and then brings back nutrients and anti-toxins with which to eliminate the problem
• The water cycle is kept going by the mountains. Each mountain contains a heart – a massive pump that periodically draws water from aquifers buried deep underground to feed spores and springs above it. They push water up to the surface, where it is released into rivers. Rivers distribute water across the surface, eventually flowing into lakes and seas. From there, gigantic geysers spray it into the sky, from which it returns via clouds as rain

Heat-balancing Mechanisms

• Heat is not created (as with stars), but merely channelled from one place to another
• Volcanoes channel heat from the world’s depths to the surface
• Mountains absorb heat from the surface and channel it to the depths
• Basically, on the surface, heat flows from volcanoes to mountains (analogously to a magnetic field), passing through the areas in between
• This heat flow is the main driving force behind climate

Inspiration for the Model

Magic is modelled after real-world technology. This is done to make it easier to convey messages about the dangers and drawbacks of technology, both environmental and lifestyle.

This means that magic has the following high-level properties:
• It is incredibly powerful and incredibly dangerous to use. Great care must be taken to avoid harmful side effects
• The magical power of a spell is drawn from the world. Excessive spellcasting can drain the world, causing it to wither and die (on the local scale)
• The target of a hostile spell is likely to undergo magic shock – the state of unresponsiveness of the underlying matter to further manipulation. Even master wizards who have been crippled by spells will remain crippled, no matter how knowledgeable they may be
• Depending on the spell, its effects may not be limited to its direct target, but can also have indirect effects on the surroundings – excessive heat or cold, earthquakes, storms, terrain changes, etc
• Magic that interferes with the world’s natural processes can cause it to fall out of balance, leading to natural disasters

Source of Magic

Magic amounts to non-ordinary (non-physical) manipulation of the substance from which the world is made. As such, it is woven into the very nature of existence. As long as the world exists, magic is possible. There can be no magic dead zones, magic cannot be drained out of the world, etc.

How Magic Is Produced

A wizard gets to wield magical power by recognising – through tapping into other layers of the substance from which the world is made – that who he is extends beyond the boundaries of his physical form. He as a person may be feeble, but he as a forest or an ocean holds tremendous power.

Of the three substance layers (emotion, sensation and intellect), sensation is where practically all the wizards tinker. The intellect layer is not shared across physical organisms, so it doesn’t enable the wizard to go beyond his physical form. The emotion layer is universally shared, but it doesn’t offer any protection from raw emotions; it can thus be a very dangerous place for a wizard to visit.

To access another layer, a wizard must first learn to let go of the intellect layer that he ordinarily lives in. This can be done in two ways:
• By shifting his attention to another layer
• By splitting his attention across layers, and thereby getting to know himself as a multidimensional being
The latter approach only becomes possible with practice. Over time, a wizard learns to tap into other layers without having to consciously steer his efforts. Simultaneously existing in multiple layers becomes normal for him.

How Magic Is Powered

Magic is powered by the energy that is contained in the environment. A wizard and his artefacts are also sources of energy (just like any other part of the environment), but not exceptional ones. What makes them exceptional is their ability to draw energy from the environment and use it to produce magical effects. In a word, they are transformers rather than batteries.

Energy can take many forms. Different forms are used for different spells. A side-effect of a spell can be to change the form of the energy that powered it (for example, from life energy to heat) in order to produce its effect.

The very act of drawing energy from the environment to power a spell has an unavoidable impact on the environment itself. It can become cold, dark, die or disintegrate, depending on the type and amount of energy that was taken out. A way to minimise the impact is to only take what is readily given. For example, take life energy from plants that are ready to die or already dying rather than indiscriminately from a whole tract of land. Take heat and light from a dessert during daytime, when it is readily available.

How Energy Is Drawn

Each type of energy has characteristic properties that wizards become accustomed to with practice. They learn to manipulate it by becoming one with the layer of the world that naturally manipulates it.

Forms of energy associated with simpler structures are easier to master. Water, for example, is very similar all over the world; it doesn’t really differentiate itself from others of its kind. This makes it equally easy for a wizard to draw energy from any body of water. Plants differentiate themselves from each other to a greater extent; a wizard used to working with certain plants won’t be as proficient with others. People and artefacts are very differentiated. Each one has a distinct signature and temperament that takes time to become familiar with. This makes it extremely difficult for wizards to draw energy from other wizards and their artefacts in the heat of battle.

Not all wizards are equally well versed with all forms of energy that can fuel their spells. A wizard who has lived his whole life in a forest might find himself unable to draw energy from a desert environment, for example. This makes terrain an important factor in wizard duels.

The Effects of Magic

The energy that powers a spell is discharged into its target, and possibly the surrounding area as well. Energy cannot be lost, only change form. It is absorbed by the environment, possibly causing damage (depending on the nature of the spell). This makes the energy available for further spell use.

Destructive spells have a tendency to traumatise their targets – render the underlying substance unable to organise itself and perform its customary functions (magic shock). It can take many years for it to recover, often longer than the lifetime of the creature affected by it. Magical manipulation cannot speed up this process.

What Magic Can Be Used for

Even though a wizard cannot directly access and control another person’s intellect, he can still influence the person by tapping into a lower shared layer. The extent of the influence depends on how well that person knows himself and is able to use his intellect to override the volition of the infiltrated shared layer(s). “A wizard can make you thirst, but he cannot make you drink.”

Because each layer of consciousness has its own perception, a wizard can have direct awareness of a wide variety of events all across the world. He can use this to monitor distant developments, spy on his enemies, and coordinate remote activities of his allies. He can also produce magical effects far away from his actual location. His activities can also be detected by other wizards who are near and perceptive enough.

There are natural processes that unfold and that cannot be done away with. Much of magic consists of understanding the functioning of a layer and doing what it takes to accommodate the natural processes that it influences when attempts at direct control prove impractical or fail.

For example, an earthquake can be understood as the world’s way of releasing tension, much as a human would sweat or scratch an itch. Trying to prevent earthquakes would be futile – tension would build until it became unbearable, at which point it would be released with extreme violence. A wiser approach is to understand the benefits of this natural process, and allow it to unfold at times, in ways and in places that minimise damage to the surroundings.

What Makes a Wizard

The degree of magical power and skill is a function of:
• The number of layers of the world’s substance that the wizard is able to access
• The number that he is able to access simultaneously
• The range at which he is able to access them
• The rate at which he is able to extract energy from them to power his spells
• The kinds of energy that he is able to manipulate

Wisdom is a matter of:
• Understanding the needs of the world and willingness to accommodate them – forego the use of magic when the world doesn’t need its problems to be waved away, or when using magic to solve them would have excessively destructive side effects
Last edited by Anonymous on Mar 14 2015, 10:05, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Panda Tar » Mar 12 2015, 14:09

Done, then. Lore has been banished and the meaningful content moved to your last post. ;)
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Postby Groovy » Mar 12 2015, 14:26

Thanks, Panda.

I'm not sure whether the magic info should be here or in the Magic thread, but we can keep it here for now.

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On the Necros

Postby Sandro400 » Mar 13 2015, 22:21

Ok, as you might have guessed, I'm Necrofan, and it was pretty predictable the first thing I'll do is think about Necromancers.

First of all, I find it quite strange that "only animals and plants have intellect", it's very counterintuitive, but I'm here to help, not break down already established.

My take on the Necromancers.
They were relatively rare individuals - most of them were hermits, travelling the world. Nobody remembers who became the first one, there're different legends about it (but no debate, as Necros are not a thing commonly discussed). The most popular one tolds a story of a caretaker (former Wizard) named Nethos. He was a humble, but troubled man: all of his family died due to different reasons and he buried them himself as well as countless others. His village's graveyard was located in the forest, and after some time, he started noticing that plants around him started to wither. He became something akine to Vampire, sucking the life energy from every living things around him. First it were mere plants, but with more buried dead his powers started to grow and worked on other creatures as well. The villagers quickly understood what's going on, and prepared to burn the caretaker, only to realise that they can't even get close to him withour meeting death - such was Nethos' aura. Nethos himself was terrified by his curse and decided to commit suicide by jumping off the nearby cliffs, located to far from the graveyard. But death rejected him. The energies of the dead that he sucked out flowed through him and withered his flesh. With aghast eyes he awoke from his near decade slumber and rised as a Lich, the Undead Wizard. From that time on he tried to understood what unlock those powers within him, how he became a Lich and later he dedicated himself to helping others with similar curse.
But time passed, and now 9 powerful Necromancers united their powers to establish a foothold far to the south, in the region called Black Sands. There, they built a Necro academy and ressurected the Cursed Legion... to once and for all end the Crusades declared on them.

But off with those old myths and fireside tails. To become a Necromancer, a creature must witness a death. More death you witness, stronger you become, to the point that Necro power may work automatically. This person becomes an "accumulator"/"attractor" of sad feelings, grief etc and his abilities work on sansation level - controlling death energies.
Well, how controling. If Wizards act as "transformers", Necromancers act as "suckers". They suck the energy of living beings, but they cannot store it within themselves and - the most important part - they can't suck a part of energy. Either no energy at all, or they suck it dry and effectively kill the target. Also, most of the Necromancers can't effectively control those enrgies - they're present around them, accumulate and after some time start to flow through the Necro, turning him into an Undead. Becoming Undead unlocks fully the Intellect layer, and only then a Necromancer gains complete control over death energies. He now can turn off/on his aura, direct the energy to erode things, use it to animate higher forms of Undead. There's a drawback though - the Emotion layer is shut down for them.

Ofc the Necromancers trademark ability is the Necromancy. There're 2 ways of it.
The living Necromancers, acolytes or "cursed ones", must use the bloodcurdling rituals to animate the skeletons. The blood of the victims becomes a force that joints the skeleton parts together and keeps them from falling apart. To rise Zombies, they need to suck a living thing with all of its energy and left the corpse inside special formula. The body then rises again, animated by the desire to regain it's energy back. That's the reason why they eat mortals.
The Undead Necros master the death energy and can play with them. They no longer need ingredients to rise the dead, and they also learn the rituals the enable them to rise more than mere skeletons and zombies...

------------------------

That's just a draft, not very thougth out. Contains grammatical errors. I hope it doesn't conflict with the existing lore.
Waiting for opinions ^_^

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Re: On the Necros

Postby Groovy » Mar 14 2015, 10:04

Sandro400 wrote:First of all, I find it quite strange that "only animals and plants have intellect", it's very counterintuitive, but I'm here to help, not break down already established.

That text was written for the novel, not the game. The 'animals' group was intended to include people. I've now changed it to "only creatures have intellect" to avoid confusion, since the game has finer-grained categories and clearly distinguishes people (folk) from animals.

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Re: On the Necros

Postby Sandro400 » Mar 14 2015, 10:35

Groovy wrote:That text was written for the novel, not the game. The 'animals' group was intended to include people. I've now changed it to "only creatures have intellect" to avoid confusion, since the game has finer-grained categories and clearly distinguishes people (folk) from animals.


Thanks for clarifying this, it does lift the confusion. You know, from a certain point of view "folks" too are animals, but I won't start this debate, it's meaningless.
What's your opinion on Necro so far? Soon I'll try to post Undead types as well.

One thing to everybody: because that's the work I'm doing not for my project, I need opinions to know if I catched the drift or no. If I come up with terrible ideas (from yur point of view), you should tell me, for I'll take silence as "it's ok, yeah" and continue developing those terrible ideas ^_^

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Re: On the Necros

Postby Groovy » Mar 14 2015, 16:53

Sandro400 wrote:One thing to everybody: because that's the work I'm doing not for my project, I need opinions to know if I catched the drift or no. If I come up with terrible ideas (from yur point of view), you should tell me, for I'll take silence as "it's ok, yeah" and continue developing those terrible ideas ^_^

I'll provide feedback whenever I can. But please be merciful and allow for the possibility that I may not have had time yet... :S

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Re: On the Necros

Postby Sandro400 » Mar 14 2015, 17:04

Groovy wrote:I'll provide feedback whenever I can. But please be merciful and allow for the possibility that I may not have had time yet... :S


Thanks! But that line was intended for everybody to know (as I wrote) - Panda, WO, Galaad etc. More opinions, the better ^_^ It wasn't directed to you personally.

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Postby Panda Tar » Mar 14 2015, 17:48

We'll be taking our time to read and give feedbacks whenever possible. During weekend, I'm usually away from the online world.
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Postby Groovy » Mar 14 2015, 18:18

Here are some broad guidelines for the design of the Heroic world.

I would like it to be radically different from our universe, simply to stimulate creativity and original, out-of-the-box thinking. That said, it shouldn’t be wacky or absurd. Logic and consistency are important; it’s just that there’s no need to base it on the same or even similar physical laws.

Both the game and the novel in particular will introduce a large number of exotic creatures and locations through which to delve deeply into many topics that concern the human condition, much deeper than games like HoMM do.

The Heroic world must have both species and racial diversity. This is something that I think is sorely and inexplicably lacking from the fantasy genre.

The world must supply suitable natural homes for all the twelve factions that are currently in design. I will elaborate on these in a separate post.

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Postby Groovy » Mar 15 2015, 8:12

A core feature of the game is the flexibility of the faction unit lineup. The design distinguishes creatures from units (units are essentially trained creatures, for combat or other purposes). The same creatures can feature in multiple factions. For example, Giant creatures can be trained into Atlas and Geb units in the Homestead faction, Behemoth and Stone Giant units in the Barbarian faction, Mountain Giant and Titan units in the Alpine faction, and Gigantes and Zvoruna units in the Sylvan faction. This means that there can be no “land of the giants” where they all live. They need to be scattered throughout the land so that they can side with whatever faction they sympathise with.

In other words, factions are not delineated along species or racial lines, they are delineated by commonality of worldview. For example, the Sylvan faction is compatible with Lich creatures who are drawn to its “circle of life” and “rebirth” themes in preference to the traditional death avoidance theme of the Undead faction. As liches, they still ponder the same subject, they just have a different take on it.

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Postby Groovy » Mar 15 2015, 8:35

The purpose of the Heroic world is to enable the game and the accompanying novel to present a cosmology and a mythology that are radically different from what is currently popular in our culture. The main ideas that I’m trying to counter are:
  • An inanimate world filled with resources for us to exploit; it should be a living world. An example of what I’m getting at can be found in the movie Avatar, where the age-old idea of oneness with nature was expressed in a way that our culture can readily relate to
  • A world that is open to our manipulation; that manipulation should be approached responsibly because it can have dire consequences, even for a master magician. There is some similarity with Ursula le Guin’s world of Earthsea, but I’m planning to be much more specific about the things that go wrong and why (I find the general talk of ‘balance’ too nebulous to be useful)
  • That society should be structured hierarchically; I prefer a more flat and collaborative structure. I’d want the Heroic world to stay clear of medieval Europe in this area and not have any royals, nobles, generals, or hereditary or ruling positions of any kind
  • The idea that, in order to make a difference, one has to be in a position of power or work through the existing power structures. I’m hoping to create a world where faction power comes from the cooperation of all the faction creatures and does not disproportionately depend on top-level creatures or heroes
  • The idea that problems are solved by fighting and destroying one’s enemies (which are invariably portrayed as evil and more powerful); the bulk of our problems stem from our inability to coexist with one another and the world we live in.
I’ll add others as I think of them. Feel free to suggest other points that would improve the mythology of our culture.

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Postby Groovy » Mar 16 2015, 7:02

The Heroic world houses 12 factions. Originally I was aiming for a 4-4-4 (core-extended-exotic) split, but now I’m thinking more of a 7-5 (traditional-exotic) one. I wanted to make Underworld a non-exotic faction, but it just wouldn’t fit.

From the gameplay point of view, the main distinguishing feature of traditional factions is that players choose one of them to start the game with. They all develop along similar lines and need to be well balanced against each other.

From the lore point of view, traditional factions represent ordinary people living on the land. They manage their affairs, get along with neighbours, resolve disputes, and generally go about the business of daily living.

These are the traditional factions:
  • Homestead (Castle, Human): centred on working the land in order to provide for one’s livelihood. It is predominantly agricultural. It favours lush, fertile locations that can easily be turned into productive farmland. It emphasises the importance of hard work and planning for the future as the cornerstone of one’s approach to living
  • Barbarian (Stronghold, Orc): a savage faction that mirrors the harshness of the rugged, predominantly desert environment in which it arose. Barbarians haven’t developed an elaborate, sophisticated culture and prefer interactions that are honest and to-the-point over both pretence and formality. They cope with the desert’s whims by Zen-like living in the moment
  • Alpine (Fortress, Dwarf): the industrial equivalent of the Homestead faction, Alpine turns hard work to digging and refining minerals, as well as constructing and operating machinery. It is the most technologically sophisticated faction
  • Sylvan (Treetop, Elf): the traditional forest faction, centred on the spirit of the woods. It is the polar opposite of the Homestead faction in that Sylvan sees livelihood as the gift of the forest rather than the result of one’s own hard work. It recognises the interconnectedness of all things and the cyclic rhythm of life
  • Reptilian (Bulwark, Naga): a faction whose identity derives from its predominantly reptilian composition. It values loyalty and tradition. It is the only faction that treats biological makeup as the deciding factor around which to create social groups
  • Frost (Glacier, Yeti): the snow and ice faction. It originates from an environment equally harsh to Barbarian deserts, but has a more positive view of it due to having found a way to be nurtured by it. The vast frozen expanse has taught the Frost creatures to cope with and even relish isolation and solitude
  • Marine (Bastion, Tortula): an archipelago faction that utilises all the available forms of travel. It lies at an intersection of land, underground, sea and sky, and is equally at home in all of these environments. It appreciates life in all its diverse forms. Its members are known for their curiosity and extensive travelling
Players cannot start the game with exotic factions. These can only be encountered on the map during play, if the map design allows for it. This is because the development of exotic factions deviates wildly from the traditional path and is not intended to be balanced.

Lore-wise, exotic factions don’t represent local people. They are outsiders. They either occupy more exotic local locations, or are from somewhere else entirely. Their main role in the novel is to portray my condensed version of the Hero’s Journey.

These are the exotic factions:
  • Underworld (Dungeon, Shade): the faction of nightmares. It represents the dark side of the player’s psyche, the side that has been repressed because it is unacceptable to his caregivers and the wider society. It plays as such – it is dangerous to the player and self-destructive – and it is up to the player to find a way to make it work. It revels in shadow work and embraces ambiguity and paradox
  • Undead (Necropolis, Lich): the faction that stares death in the face, and in the process uncovers what life is and what makes it worth living. Its leaders engage in all kinds of experiments to better understand life. It is home to all sorts of non-living creatures – undead, constructs and magical. It relies entirely on necromancy to grow its numbers. It distinguishes the real from the illusory, the important from the mundane
  • Oceanic (Coral, Crabster): the primordial faction that has existed since the dawn of time. Its home is the watery depths in the centre of the world, from which the world has sprung. It represents the world in its primal state – the abyss, the void in which nothing exists and in which everything is possible. It harbours the spark of creation. It is identified with maximum potential
  • Infernal (Pit, Demon): the faction whose members champion change and growth over all else. Demons are known as the most travelled and the most learned in the world. Solitary travellers, they have the reputation for being fiercely independent and are more than able to defend themselves in most situations. Their fiery glow is indicative of their willingness to change. They don’t have a fixed home, but move through the lands using natural and artificial portals. Masters of shapeshifting, they don’t openly mingle with other creatures, and are not welcome in most places
  • Celestial (Firmament, Spirit): the heavenly faction (in the true sense of the word) that embodies life lived at the level of ultimate feeling, knowing and being. Celestial creatures are not willing to harm anyone in any way, even when this results in their own demise. They have an extensive repertoire of spells and abilities with which to help others. Their home is the sky and beyond
Additional but outdated information on the factions can be found here.

I hope it is clear from the above descriptions that none of the factions can be considered evil. They are all to be understood and learned from. Each one presents a worthwhile aspect of human life. None is so unacceptable that it must be annihilated. I don’t know how clearly we can convey this with the game – it is a war game after all – but I’ll articulate it very clearly in the novel.

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Sleeping_Sun
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Postby Sleeping_Sun » Mar 16 2015, 22:56

Questions:
The universe is a single gigantic organism. There are no planets, stars, galaxies, etc floating through space. It is a single continuous substance of varying composition, density, curvature, and level of differentiation from its environment
If the universe is one giant thing how can we have individual races and special? Also if the universe is a living evolving organism, what is the relationship between it and the individual races, species? Do the species evolve as well or not? I'm asking because of the potential paradox...

Substance from which the world is made, yet you are talking about the abstract, incorporeal notions of emotion, sensation and intellect.
How can something be made of abstract notions, yet be physical, since substance implies corporealness. Unless the universe itself is abstract... does that mean the biological property of universe is on some higher, more elevated level of spiritual biology/dream biology/etc. Oh, also, if elemental lack intellect that creatures have, does that mean that they are brainless/mindless?

Rotation is not present on a large scale
Why is there a need for rotation if everything (almost everything), or should I say universe is one?

The water cycle acts as the world’s immune system – it identifies toxins and nutrient shortages, carries this information to other parts of the world, and then brings back nutrients and anti-toxins with which to eliminate the problem
Does this mean a certain member of specie cannot be poisoned because of the purifying water cycle, since everything is one with the universe?

The structure of the world seems a bit contradictory. If there are volcanoes (it implies that there is a core, planetary core). If there is sky it means that earth is separated from space by this sky. Thus you have a planet, but there are no planets in your version of the universe. I need clarification.

Heat-balancing Mechanisms part
Does this mean that climate is the same everywhere? Everywhere is green or everywhere is dessert, etc.? Or, because it is working like a magnetic field, the poles are hotter than the equator? If this is the case, I like it, I might steal this idea one day for my book. xD :D

Magic is modelled after real-world technology. + The magical power of a spell is drawn from the world. Excessive spellcasting can drain the world, causing it to wither and die (on the local scale)
Umm... Can you please explain how or in what way the magic is modelled after technology? From what I see it is still magic magic, and not technology magic.

The target of a hostile spell is likely to undergo magic shock – the state of unresponsiveness of the underlying matter to further manipulation. Even master wizards who have been crippled by spells will remain crippled, no matter how knowledgeable they may be
Is this a little bit OP? Any hostile spell can do that or only the strongest hostile spells?

Magic amounts to non-ordinary (non-physical) manipulation of the substance from which the world is made. As such, it is woven into the very nature of existence. As long as the world exists, magic is possible.
Hmmm. The magic is technological manipulation of the world? Since the universe is a living organism, did it had a beginning and will it have an end? If the universe is living organism, what is the food/energy source for universe? if the universe had a beginning that means that magic at first didn't exist. So in a way if one manages to kill the universe, there is no magic, no nothing? But is it even possible to kill the universe?

Magic is powered by the energy that is contained in the environment.
Doesn't magic come from the environment? How can the environment/magic be the empowerment for itself?

Sorry for stupid questions... I'm just trying to sip the huge amount of info into this head of mine filled with too much info already...

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Groovy
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Postby Groovy » Mar 17 2015, 17:28

Thank you for the questions, Sleeping Sun. I hadn’t thought this through in a great deal of detail when I first wrote it, so there probably are some inconsistencies. Let me see if it adds up.

Sleeping_Sun wrote:Sorry for stupid questions... I'm just trying to sip the huge amount of info into this head of mine filled with too much info already...

I do get the feeling that you are taking our universe as the starting point, and trying to pull bits of the Heroic universe into it. This won’t work. They are based on different premises. I know it can be difficult to digest, so I’ll try to use analogies to illustrate the difference.

Sleeping_Sun wrote:If the universe is one giant thing how can we have individual races and special?

You can think of the Earth as one giant organism that is inhabited by creatures that are, at the same time, a part of the Earth and distinct organisms in their own right. Think of “individual” as “sufficiently distinguished from its environment” rather than “separate from the environment”.

Sleeping_Sun wrote:Also if the universe is a living evolving organism, what is the relationship between it and the individual races, species? Do the species evolve as well or not? I'm asking because of the potential paradox...

All parts of the universe evolve, but in different directions and at different rates. You can think of evolution on the cosmic scale as changing the laws of physics, contrasted with the familiar biological evolution of the species.

Sleeping_Sun wrote:
Substance from which the world is made, yet you are talking about the abstract, incorporeal notions of emotion, sensation and intellect.
How can something be made of abstract notions, yet be physical, since substance implies corporealness. Unless the universe itself is abstract... does that mean the biological property of universe is on some higher, more elevated level of spiritual biology/dream biology/etc.

Think of it this way: instead of taking dead matter as the foundation of the universe, which, when arranged into certain complex structures, gives rise to living creatures that can experience emotions, I’m taking emotions as the foundation of the universe, which, when arranged into certain complex structures, gives rise to creatures whose perspective is sufficiently detached from it to enable them to contemplate it from a distance.

It’s similar to panpsychism. I’m just substituting emotions for mind.

Sleeping_Sun wrote:Oh, also, if elemental lack intellect that creatures have, does that mean that they are brainless/mindless?

I’m not sure how we’ll design elementals. I suspect they will be organised at the sensation layer. This means that they will have a mind, but not similar to the kind of mind that people have.

Sleeping_Sun wrote:Why is there a need for rotation if everything (almost everything), or should I say universe is one?

That the universe is one doesn’t mean that it looks like a single giant sphere of uniform density. Your body is one, and yet parts of it flow and pulsate. A car engine is one, and it spins. That the universe is one just means that everything is interconnected.

Sleeping_Sun wrote:Does this mean a certain member of specie cannot be poisoned because of the purifying water cycle, since everything is one with the universe?

No, the water cycle works on the geological scale, both in space and in time. Think of it as bringing minerals so that a local rock formation can assume a different form, or bringing silt so that a local desert can evolve into a fertile valley. Also, taking away what people need to survive when they keep harming the land. It’s not unlike what we have on Earth, I’m just adding purposefulness to it.

Sleeping_Sun wrote:The structure of the world seems a bit contradictory. If there are volcanoes (it implies that there is a core, planetary core). If there is sky it means that earth is separated from space by this sky. Thus you have a planet, but there are no planets in your version of the universe. I need clarification.

Have a look at this enhanced version of the picture that illustrates the Heroic cosmology.
Image
Say that you live by the red dot. If you look down, you will see solid ground – the surface of your world. If you look up, you will see the sky and, if the distance is short enough, the surface of the land (green curve) on the other side of the sky. Yet it is all the same land. And there are no planets.

Sleeping_Sun wrote:Does this mean that climate is the same everywhere? Everywhere is green or everywhere is dessert, etc.? Or, because it is working like a magnetic field, the poles are hotter than the equator? If this is the case, I like it, I might steal this idea one day for my book. xD :D

The climate is definitely not the same everywhere. Also, there are no poles or the equator, since there is no planet. Or are you referring to the poles of a magnetic field? This could get really interesting since we’d have many of them, not just two.

So how does it work? That’s what the designer of the game world will tell us! cough… cough… Sandro… cough… :D

Seriously, I haven’t worked this out in detail yet. The high-level explanation has heat flowing from the interior of the land, through volcanoes, onto the surface and into the atmosphere, through mountains, and back into the interior. I’m not sure how other surface areas would be affected. All I can say for sure is that areas far away from both volcanoes and mountains would be frigid.

Sleeping_Sun wrote:Umm... Can you please explain how or in what way the magic is modelled after technology? From what I see it is still magic magic, and not technology magic.

With technology, we can produce effects quickly, we can produce them on a massive scale, but we cannot also produce them safely. There are side effects to our application of technology, many of them undesirable. We can apply more technology to counter them, but this is neither quick nor easy, and it has side effects of its own.

In the Heroic world, magic will exhibit this kind of behaviour. A wizard won’t just wave his hand and make everything right. Using magic will have a number of consequences. And he’ll have to live with them, and with himself for producing them.

You can think of it as a world where maintaining balance is important (as per countless fantasy tales), but which makes the idea of balance tangible to the reader/player.

Sleeping_Sun wrote:Is this a little bit OP? Any hostile spell can do that or only the strongest hostile spells?

What does OP stand for?

I’d say any hostile spell that has not been blocked or countered, but I’m not sure at this stage.

Sleeping_Sun wrote:Hmmm. The magic is technological manipulation of the world? Since the universe is a living organism, did it had a beginning and will it have an end? If the universe is living organism, what is the food/energy source for universe? if the universe had a beginning that means that magic at first didn't exist. So in a way if one manages to kill the universe, there is no magic, no nothing? But is it even possible to kill the universe?

The Heroic universe has always existed, and will probably always exist. The same for magic within it.

What could happen, at least in principle, is that it resets itself from time to time – returns to its primordial state of pure potential and springs forth again in a radically different form. I don’t know what would cause it to reset, though.

The universe doesn’t have an external food or energy source. It is not a biological organism, if that’s what you had in mind.

Sleeping_Sun wrote:Doesn't magic come from the environment? How can the environment/magic be the empowerment for itself?

Magic is the action, the process, the effect. It converts energy found in the environment into a different form. Much like lightning and many other natural phenomena.

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Panda Tar
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Postby Panda Tar » Mar 17 2015, 17:53

OP usually stands for Over Powered.
"There’s nothing to fear but fear itself and maybe some mild to moderate jellification of bones." Cave Johnson, Portal 2. :panda:


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