Outside the Walls:

The University may be a very important bit of the world but it is just one bit. Beyond the walls of this fine institution lie cities and kingdoms and a whole world of possibility.

The University lies on the outskirts of a city state that itself lies in the centre of a sprawling mass of squabbling kingdoms and dukedoms. It is most simply known as The City. The lands surrounding The City and The University all vie for their favour alternating threats and bribes to get the upper hand but together the University and the city hold their own and threats are not taken lightly nor bribes accepted without question.

The University has a good working relationship with the City. The University provides magical wonders, defences against mystical yet dangerous creatures and young graduates happy to go out and work miracles of magic in the lands.

The City in return provides food and supplies for the University, a workforce to fill the less magically inclined jobs that need doing and the savvy knowledge that comes from years of not having your head in the academic clouds that keeps the kingdoms squabbling and stops them joining forces too often. The City is led by a Tyrant but the title is in name only and the current Tyrant is fairly well respected by his people.

The Kingdoms and Dukedoms are characterised by their diversity. Some are tyrannical, some are egalitarian. Some are poor and others are rich. Some famous some so obscure even their residents have hardly heard of them. Each has its own set of destined hero’s and fabled magical swords and artefacts scattered about. The lands of the world vary too – from desperately cold to very warm. Some are coastal and others landlocked. Mountains and plains are all featured. One thing in common is that no matter where you come from, or who you are, if you’re talented enough or lucky enough you stand a chance of gaining a place at The University.

Magical creatures:

There is one other common intelligent race in the land and they can broadly be divided into two groups. Collectively they are the people of the earth. The first are large hulking figures, made out of rock and usually referred to as Trolls. The second are smaller and more lithe creatures closer to child size and it is commonly believed that they are formed out of clay; they are usually referred to as goblins. The Trolls and Goblins are as civilised and intelligent as you or I and get on with their neighbours as well or as badly as anyone else. Neither race seems to have any aptitude for magic however (extensive research suggests they just aren’t capable of interacting with whatever it is magic is made of) and as such there are no Troll or Goblin students at the University. However as an equal opportunities employer, the University employs a number of people of the earth for other duties around the place.

Other than the humanoid inhabitants of the world there are a number of other more magical and outlandish creatures you can expect to see roaming around. Things such as dragons, wyverns, gryphons, sphinxes and other mythical creatures all populate the Land. They do exist, they can be tracked down but they are rare, hidden and usually grumpy if you do manage to find them.

Other Nations

The world is a big place. If you want to come up with a brief background for a nation or city that your character came from, then feel free to send it in with your character description. However, we include a few samples here.

Tosat, Gateway to Rista

Over a narrow sea from the nearest port to The City lies Tosat, a thriving mercantile metropolis through which enormous quantities of goods from the continent of Rista, of which it is the main port. Rista is rather poorer than our own continent, but one would not believe it from looking at the gleaming sea walls and towers of Tosat. Theoretically a democracy, the governance of Tosat nonetheless lies primarily with a few old, powerful and exceptionally magically potent families, who between them control a frightening quantity of wealth, and life in the upper districts of the city is obscenely luxurious.

For those born in the lower districts however, life in Tosat is miserable and fraught. Dockers and warehouse workers are always needed, but wages are poor, and housing squalid. The legal system operates entirely at the whim of those with money, and any attempt at unionisation tends to be quickly stamped out. Tosat also enforces an unusual and archaic law regarding “rogue” magical talents born among the poor - such children are forcibly “adopted” by members of the nobility, in an attempt to ensure that such abilities stay within a select elite.

Pyria, The Land of Distilled Thought

High in the mountains mistily visible from the City lies the Duchy of Pyria, quiet and serene within its pine forests. Life is slow and sedate in Pyria; the reclusive Duke prefering to spend his time in his observatory at the top of the mountain, leaving his privy councillor to manage the Duchy's small populace to the best of his abilities. The land would be almost unremarkable, were it not for the whispering that occasionally threads through the trees, like a distracted internal monologue in search of a mind. The great windmills of Pyria pass this whispering mist through collecting ducts, alchemical apparatus and finally into blue-glowing jars of distilled thought, the rarity that gives this nation its name. This is then sold at the base of the mountains to those wishing to construct golems, magic mirrors, and many other strange devices.

A side industry has sprung up from this, using very similar apparatus to make some of the finest whiskey around. Pyrian whiskey retains the slight blue hue of the land's mists, and its mellow flavor can soothe the most anxious mind. These two industries have largely supported Pyria in recent decades, but the lack of any clear leadership in the country has left its populace aimless and dissatisfied with the traditional ways of life. More than ever, people are emigrating to the City in search of a more exciting life.

Erudis & Eduni

Far from the city lies the twin cities of Erudis and Eduni, named for the rivers they straddle. The rivers run so close to each other the distinction between the cities is practically nonexistent. Though they are far from any other modern major city these two, according to legend, are the birthplace of sorcery. There is little more than legend to back up this claim but they are undoubtedly home to an amazing number and variety of ancient treasures. Buildings, artifacts, you name it one of the cities has one of the oldest in existence. Many a magician has made a pilgrimage to this site simply to pay homage to historical role it has played in shaping the world. Unfortunately the modern day Erudis & Eduni has long since been completely unstable. Few governments last long and those that do are often ones which shouldn't. This long standing civil unrest has been a terrible threat to the valuable relics and historical sites.

Fjäll Felson

This is a relatively small kingdom of two halves located in a high range of mostly inhospitable mountains to the north of The City. On the lower slopes of the mountains there are a number of small villages and towns. Mostly these people farm sheep on the mountain slopes and work and trade the metals that are mined from the mountains. Underneath the mountains however, within extensive cavern networks, dwell many of the people of the earth. The ruler of the kingdom - both above and below ground - is the Troll King and under him serve many clans of trolls and goblins below ground, while above the towns and villages swear allegiance to him as well.

The caverns of the mountains are extensive and have taken many centuries to excavate however not only has this provided the Troll King with an unrivalled spectacle of underground living but also allows the export of many metal ores and minerals that are mined from the mountains. These are often shipped above ground for smelting and trading with the surrounding lands although worked goods from the metals are crafted both above and below ground. This creates an unusual but profitable match between the people of the earth and humanity. Indeed, the craftsmen from all strata's of this land are renowned for their skills and have learnt much from moving in or out of the light.

The Troll King has something of a fascination with magic - whatever it is that makes the people of the earth unable to wield its power intrigues him. He is therefore keen for anyone who shows a sign of magical talent to be brought before him in his stone halls where it is said that in return for a personal oath of allegiance to him, he will provide money enough to send the talented youngster to The University to develop their magics and provide employment upon their return. For most this is too good an offer to refuse however there are always one or two who try and make it to The University un-sponsored so as not to have to return after their studies are complete.

The Cloud Lands of Aotea

The Cloud Lands of Aotea are found to the far west of The University and are entirely the fault of a former student of the magical institute. Around 300 years ago a graduate of The University came back home full of enthusiasm and ideas. It is unclear what they were trying to achieve with their experiments but the result was an enormous earthquake that shook the land for miles around. Following this event the ground continued to shift and move over the course of the next few weeks until it became apparent that the graduate had managed to make the surrounding country very slightly lighter than air. As it slowly began to rise measures were taken to ensure the land, fragmented into three islands, did not float away completely and great iron chains were constructed to anchor not only the floating land to the ground but also connect the islands to each other.

Despite the passage of time the land masses show no sign of descending back to earth and the people who live on them have adjusted to life several hundred feet up. Access to and from the islands is obtained via a basket winch system and there are a series of interconnecting rope bridges between the three island (although these are best avoided in strong winds). The predicament of the islands has led to a certain air of suspicion of magic amongst the locals and anyone showing talent is packed off the islands as soon as possible in case they somehow undo the floating magics and the islands come crashing back down to earth. If the person was well liked or had a rich family then maybe they'll have been given some gold and told to head to The University to tame their talents. If they were less popular they'll be given a packed lunch and told to go and fend for themselves. Either way the implication is that they will not be welcome back in case they cause more chaos amongst the clouds.

The Unfortunate Village of Drot

Some distance from The City lies the unfortunate village of Drot. It is located in what would otherwise be a prosperous area - good farmland and fair weather and not too distant from other large and more important places, indeed one of the main roads goes straight through the village - however the unfortunate village of Drot is located in the Centre of a great Dragon's hunting ground. Livestock get eaten and crops are burnt. Houses are regularly burnt to the ground and holding onto gold for too long is surprisingly difficult. However people rarely go missing which is a curiosity that most ignore in the face of the other disadvantages. The only building with any history to it is the solid stone Inn that sits on the roadside. Indeed the Inn is the main source of income for the unfortunate village of Drot since it doesn't seem to burn (It's said the landlady bought some serious magical protection some time in the past!) and serves exceedingly good beer.

Why anyone remains in the village is a mystery - perhaps they're hoping to one day slay the dragon and steal its gold from its hidden lair… or maybe they just really like the beer.

worlds/home.txt · Last modified: 2011/02/20 14:01 by james
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