This is really great, I kept asking questions about the history, the war and technology as I went and kept getting answers. This really well done (I have never played Bioshock) and has a lot of great ideas in it. This could be used as an Alien world, an alternate reality or just adapted for society in which everyone is told the surface is poisoned by the oppressive oligarchy. Yet this deserves more.
1) Visuals I would wager most readers picture a somewhat Victorian or Edwardian aesthetic in the place. However, that is never discussed. We don't get a clear visual of the people in this place and I loathe to use preconceived notions in such a fantastical setting. I would also wager that at least 25% (by word count not by topic) of all steam punk fiction is dedicated to fashion, so that seems missing from this, and it could be a fun addition.
2) Culture We also get an incomplete picture of the culture and day to day life. There are a lot of strong hints at an oligarchy of rich hereditary industrialists and an oppressed and tormented but educated underclass subjected to strict social planning. I think a government and economics section could be interesting and expansive. But perhaps you don't want to state the social economic relationship specifically, and that is fine, and I get it. But some more hints would give us a better feel for this place. What kind of people do these dome dwellers chose to celebrate? What sort of media (as extrapolation of the stage play musicals) do they consume? Are there population control issues? Do they smoke? I feel like this piece and this world would be better benefited by a direct discussion of these items or few more hints and details. (I like the hints at culture myself)
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I debated about including information on the weaponization of Kalleum but I decided to leave it vague. It's something lost to their past and something they wish to put far behind them.
Basically, they found a way of launching it from a type of cannon and then having it explode over the enemy into a fine powder, along with some other compounds. It would ignite anything with fair amounts of water, such as animals and plants. After burning through the bodies it would disburse and drift into the air again (which was not intended.)
The problem was that it disbursed too well. In small amounts it would enter through any accessible membrane or opening and burn up whatever it touched. In these minute amounts it would still leave much of the corpse intact before finding its way out into the air again, acting more as a catalyst than something that would burn out.
It's possible that after another few hundred years it will eventually end up in an inert state.Go to Comment
It is a more primitive age. Bronze is the height of metallurgy. In the civilized nations, the City State reigns supreme; though much of the world still belongs to the clans of the North and East. The gods are not distant beings removed from the affairs of man; rather, they are the genius locii, spirits tied to the land who often become highly involved in men's lives. Beasts of all kinds clog the wilderness and the seas, making life difficult for travelers and merchants.
The known world is made up of the island-dwelling Helioans in the Middle Sea, the Gyptians of the Southern deserts, the Chelonians of the Southeast, the horse tribes of the East, and the numerous, savage tribes of the North. To the West lies naught but distant ocean and death.
The people give power to the gods by their belief and their worship. In turn, The gods breathe direct power into their priests. Meanwhile wizards wrest secrets from the elements via alchemical experimentation. Many of the best-known warriors have the blood of the gods running through their veins, giving them tremendous strength and vitality.
Spread across hundreds of islands ranging from tiny upthrust blades of rock to land wide enough to support agriculture and large cities, the Helioans are a blend of ideals and beliefs. Some have taken to mercantilism, buying and selling goods across all the known world. Others have taken to war, breeding soldiers of unmatched prowess. And still others are patrons of the arts, science, mathematics, and alchemy. Despite a common heritage and history, the Helioans are constantly at war with each other in one form or another. Many heroes are of Helioan stock, taken to the far corners of the world by their own undeniable urge to explore.
The patron gods of the City States are given fine places to live in these lands; they are giants who lounge within enormous temples of granite and marble, directing king and elected ruler alike in the affairs of state whilst sipping wines of the finest vintage and eating of the most tender of lamb.
Living along their fertile river, surrounded by endless desert on one side and ore rich mountains on the other, the Gyptians mostly war amongst themselves. Occasionally they organize enough to go on campaign against the Helioans or the Chelonians, but they rarely stay organized long enough to be successful.
Like the Helioans, the Gyptian gods are giants who live in temples, though these gods have the heads of beasts and their temples are made of stone. The line between priest and wizard can be a thin one here, for even though they receive some power from their gods, the priests perform rituals very much like those of a wizard. All magic taught is of this variety, meaning that those who wish to have power here must learn the ways of both the priest and the mage.
Built on top of an older civilization, the Chelonians occupy a number of ancient City States split along three different lines of treaties. They have inherited a knowledge of agriculture, allowing them to turn desert into farmland through an extensive irrigation system.
Chelonian cities are made of sun-fired bricks and center around the ziggurat, a temple wherein dwells their gods, their king-priests, and their scholars. Friendships and rivalries between Chelonian gods go much further back than those of the Helioans, driving much of their politics.
Schools of magic amongst the Chelonians revolve around the summoning and binding of demons. The power of the spell and the skill of the sorcerer are commensurate with the size and fearsomeness of the demon thus bound.
East and West ofthe Middle Sea are the lands of barbarians. Horse tribes run free across the grassy plains of the East while golden-haired barbarians wage constant war against each other in the cold North.
This is an excellent setting for exploration and combat. Numerous, ferocious beasts wander the land. Heroes can make names for themselves by bringing back proof of what they have killed and wizards are constantly looking for exotic ingredients to work with. Those with a strong arm or the blessing of the gods and in need of coin can always find work guarding caravans and merchant ships
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On a larger scale, war is common between the various City States and heroes are always welcome to join the ranks or compete as champions.