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Author Topic: Polaris  (Read 1463 times)

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Offline Kassil

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Polaris
« on: October 26, 2005, 05:38:55 AM »
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Polaris came about one day after reading the Manual of the Planes for D&D 3e and chatting about the weird design of alignment with a friend. We postulated a world where Chaos and Order are the main polarities, as opposed to Good and Evil the way a lot o fantasy setting are, without going the no-polarity route that's becoming increasingly popular.

The result is a world that, at some point in the past - possibly from a collision between alternate worlds - literally has two poles: one of Order, where things are rigidly controlled, the landscape itself has precise patterns, and even the weather is regular like clockwork, and one of Chaos, where the ground is fluid, creatures and magic flow freely into new forms, a clear sky can give way to a shrieking hurricane in a heartbeat, and even the ground shifts and changes constantly.

Good and evil still exist, but in this setting, with these polarities and the force they exert on the world, good and evil are forced to work together in an attempt to either make their pole dominant across the world or to try to restore some kind of balance. As it is, the intense polarity spawns world-changing maelstroms that roar across the landscape, transforming it towards whichever pole spawned that particular storm. War constantly erupts, and all the folk who were neutral in the philosophical conflict are caught in the middle - somewhere between refugees, nomads, and scavengers forced to eke out a living from the wreckage of the wars.

Further details to come, but everything pretty much revolves around the abnormal polarity.
"I grab the sword!"
"Mmkay, you're dead."
"What!?"
"You just grabbed the sword of the god you were just personally responsible for banishing from the world for the next ten thousand years. You just got zapped by around a billion volts of Angry Divine Power. You're dead."

Offline Bloodredblade

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Polaris
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2005, 06:24:09 AM »
Good and evil working together hand in claw... Hmm. I shall think on this for a while. I also like the idea that half of the world would be precise and half insane... but what about the grey line between the two? Would it be like earth or would it be an empty space? Can humans cross over from one side to another, and if so what about creatures of lower sentience? What is each side's ledgends and folklore? And does being on the opposing side to long have an effect on you?

Sorry for asking so many questions, your idea intrigues me. Plus I got in here before any of the important people, a first for me.
I hold all the cards but the joker;and he mocks me so.

Offline Kassil

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Polaris
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2005, 12:35:25 PM »
Go ahead and ask questions, they'll help me iron this idea out.

On the 'neutral zone': it does exist, has people there, and by now, after a few centuries of warface, it largely resembles a postapocalyptic area, although towards the 'boundaries' - which, incidentally, is where the Maelstroms spawn from - it get less ravaged and you can even find some surviving towns and villages of neutrality. It tends towards a more low/middle fantasy setting in these towns, as opposed to the 'Magical Mad Max' feel of the war zones or the highly magical areas of the regions that are actually polarized.

Humans, along with any other lifeform, can freely move around, provided they can avoid the armies and survive the laws of whichever pole they're in. Most will tend towards finding a region they like, just like anyone else - for example, I know that I'd most likely wind up in the chaos zone, while a good friend of mine would likely drift towards the Order zone. Animals will tend to be wherever they can find food and shelter reliably, although over the years the ones living in the polarities have become altered by it - so in the Order zone you get near-identical wolves using precise tactics to hunt, while in the chaos zone you get wolves who wildly differ in size, sometimes winding up deformed in strange ways, who tend to hunt prey in a mass snarling ball of fur and fangs. In the middle, where the right areas remain amid the war, you have Grade-A Normal Wolves.

I'll work on the legends and folklore later, as I get to go all kinds of strange places today.

And being on the side that's opposed to your nature will gradually begin to change you - although a few odd instances do exist, usually where a Maelstrom went 'the wrong way' and changed the terrain inside a pole zone to echo the opposite side. Werlon Hill in the Order zone is a good example - a freak Maelstrom roared across it some years ago, and now it's become a fortress several leagues inside the Order zone for chaotic sorts.
"I grab the sword!"
"Mmkay, you're dead."
"What!?"
"You just grabbed the sword of the god you were just personally responsible for banishing from the world for the next ten thousand years. You just got zapped by around a billion volts of Angry Divine Power. You're dead."

Offline Kassil

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Polaris
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2005, 01:55:11 AM »
On the mythos:

Each side basically worships the same collection of gods in religious terms, just altered to mirror the particular influence of the poles. The original gods of law and of chaos - basically the Judge God and the Trickster God - have effectively become merged. As 'holy' magic does not draw on the gods for power (instead drawing on a basic 'power source' akin but not identical to the source of more arcane magic), they're more figureheads and potentially unresponsive as the gods we deal with on Earth. Some atheists even exist, cheerily defying the gods, although these souls generally tend to be either open blasphemers on the side of Chaos or simple rationalists on the side of Order.

'Outside' entities are known to exist, and those new to this world are occasionally shocked by the way it exists, but they tend to be pragmatic, working uneasily with their usual enemies against their new foes - some of whom were allies, in other worlds.

The folk in the middle have forsaken gods almost complete, turning to a more nature-oriented faith in the areas still undamaged by the wars, and turning to a general kind of atheistic anti-belief in the ravaged areas. To the nomads of the ravaged areas, the priests of the gods who allow this kind of suffering are favored targets for lengthy and terribly painful tortures if captured alive.
"I grab the sword!"
"Mmkay, you're dead."
"What!?"
"You just grabbed the sword of the god you were just personally responsible for banishing from the world for the next ten thousand years. You just got zapped by around a billion volts of Angry Divine Power. You're dead."

Offline Kassil

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Re: Polaris
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2005, 01:46:12 PM »
Origins of Polaris

Originally, the world known now as Polaris was a pair of mirror worlds, moving in perfect lockstep through the great void of the multiverse.

One of the worlds, Opteron, was a world massively aligned with the forces of Order - a lockstep world where chaotic things had no place. Living creatures went about their business in a precise and methodical fashion, and everything seemed to function according to some vast plan. The native population didn't praise the order, because the idea of chaos was effectively unknown. Even dust settling from the air would land as a uniform film across an object, and the moss really did always grow on the north side of a tree. In this world, the main battle was between good and evil, as in many others - those trying to promote the good of all, and those trying to benefit themselves, but all constrained within the rules.

The other world, Melys, was a world where chaos reigned supreme. Rivers were unpredictable, sometimes chewing through miles of landscape in a few hours and other time remaining perfectly still in their banks for years. New races of creatures were bor overnight of wild mutations, unpredictable surges in magical energy, and more in a bizarrely accelerated view of evolution in action. Rarely did cviizations amount to more than moderate city-states, unlike the world-girdling empires of Opteron, as the populace never felt a need to follow the rules of any but themselves, making only small anarchic democracies the most stable of governments. Where the battle between good and evil on Opteron was a thing of vast armies marching at each other, the battle was much more personal on Melys, with heroes and villains rising up and battling back and forth across the world in epic battles. Again, these were a people with little concept of Order, those few whoeven knew of the principle equating it with foulest evil as a means of taking away freedom.

What happened to change the balance is unknown, only that one day Melys lagged behind in the orbiting dance, or perhaps Opteron accelerated; either way, the two worlds collided, sending horrific storms - the first and mightiest of the Maelstroms - exploding into being, ripping across the weirdly mirrored landscape of the worlds and fusing them together in a band where neither Law nor Chaos held sway; the same storms shoved the excess energy away from the neutral zone, resulting in the creation of the poles - and at the center of the poles, the creation of the Cores, massive condensations of pure Order and pure Chaos.

Needless to say, each side regarded the other with undiguised horror, fear, and revulsion - here were things born of the darkness fever dreams of their respective worlds, nightmares made flesh across an unfathomable philosophical divide. Even the gods - each oddly mirrored the same as the landscape - could only regard their opposite numbers with shock and disgust. War - a clash between the vast, orderly armies of Opteron and the small, wildly erratic bands of Melys - broke out almost instantly, each side discovering that their combat was so alien in nature that neither could turn it to an advantage over the other. The armies of Order found themselves harried and confused by an enemy who seemed to appear from nowhere and melt away just as swiftly, while the warriors of Chaos felt as if they were trying to destroy implacable mountains with a child's toy shovel and pick.
"I grab the sword!"
"Mmkay, you're dead."
"What!?"
"You just grabbed the sword of the god you were just personally responsible for banishing from the world for the next ten thousand years. You just got zapped by around a billion volts of Angry Divine Power. You're dead."

Offline Bloodredblade

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Re: Polaris
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2005, 04:48:56 PM »
Wow...

So now i wonder, what of the survivors/descendants of the original people? how are they different in appearence and customs? Are there any people from either side who have joined forces with the other, like a double agent, or a romeo and juliet type of connection? How would these people be treated? How does the chaos side organize their raids if they are completely chaotic? Or is it a group of friends saying 'hey, let's kill those guys over there'? And what of the godly wars? Again, are any of them friends or on an unwilling truce? Are there any outposts of law in the chaos area, and vice versa? Where do the battles take place mostly, on the chaos side, the order side, or did they start in the middle and just not gain any lasting ground?

Sorry to question you so much, it just means you're giving me ideas.  ;D
I hold all the cards but the joker;and he mocks me so.