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New Terra [Update 6/8/11]

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hylandpad:
New Terra

This is the setting of my novel which I have been working on for several years now. It somehow never leaves the drawing board, but since we are nearing the summer, and I find that I have more time on my hands I want to get cracking on at least the first couple chapters. What I have here is an almanac of things I want to share with you all and see how well received it is, if that's alright.

Also, I realize the grammar is a little rough, alot of these are from my notes which I sometimes type in the middle of the night. You will have to pardon my less than perfect grammar, which will be ironed out at a later date.

I would like to light heartedly mention that this is all my own original work, belonging to me and me alone. I have zero qualms about it being used in friendly roleplay,  nor do I have any problems with modifying any ideas/concepts which you find particularly interesting. But please do not steal or sell my intellectual property under any circumstance. (and it this is covered under the Poor Man's Patent) I don't mean to sound abrasive or overly protective, but I realize in this day and age, information is easier than ever to steal, and I am simply guarding something I hold very close to my heart.
-Patrick Hyland, 4/30/11

[Update 1] 5/4/11: Removed themes section in favor of Cultural Detail. Started detailing world Regions, starting with Greatland. Also added an unfinished,rough timeline. Also added some information about the Feudal Structure and the ranks of the Ark. Finally added some additional technological tidbits.

[Update 2] 5/9/11: Added some cultural tidbits on some of the Greatland people.

[Update 3] 5/11/11: Broke up the text blobs into separate posts to make things easier on the eyes.

[Update 4] 5/17/11: Started adding a section on magic! Go to my latest post to see it!

[Update 5] 5/20/11: Added some awesome Flora.

[Update 6] 5/26/11: Finished the Magic Section

[Update 7] 6/3/11: Started working on Warrior Orders, made some changes to Flora and Fauna, Added more Ethereal Phenomena, Working on physical descriptions for New Terran Races, Added some Cultures, began working on Subs for main site =]

[Update 8] 6/8/11: Language section! Started detailing Archeoc, my very own Conlang with a Conscript! Take a look!

Table of Contents
Post #1 - Species Outline, World Specs and Terrain
Reply #2 - Flora and Fauna
Reply #3 - Resources and Technology
Reply #4 - Regional Information
Reply #5 - Abbreviated Timeline
Reply #6 - Institutions
Reply #7 - Religions
Reply #8 - Warrior orders
Reply #13 - Magic


WELCOME TO NEW TERRA

It is a world where Magic and Technology freely mingle, where kings and politiques play out their conniving games across massive kingdoms and principalities, where Knights lead soldiers into battle in suits of augmented power armor, carrying weapons that can only be described as devastating. Aliens from fallen empires, crashed motherships, and decimated elder races mingle with genetically re-engineering humans, all of which struggle for supremacy against one another, the dangers of an alien world, and the perils of the Ether. The name of every game is intrigue and persuasion, whether it be by a silver tongue or a steel sword, both of which are always in demand. Be you peasant or soldier, merchant or prince, king or noble, the world is filled with dangers legion in number and unimaginable in magnitude.
And things are about to get worse - the shadows of a new world order are beginning to cast themselves over Greatland. It is foretold by an archaic prophecy that the suns of New Terra will be eclipsed by a cloud of war so thick, that mankind will sink into a new age of darkness. But the Kings are oblivious to the oncoming age of strife; too occupied with their petty squabbles, border wars and conquests. The nobility is enraptured with fighting and the Wizards have their noses too far in their books to even be aware of such things. If not the kings, nobles or wizards, who will see the dangers for what they really are, lest they be mistaken for a simple passing storm? It will take an unlikely team of mismatched miscreants, mutants, mercenaries and mistresses to recognize the plot. But will our unlikely heroes be a shimmering beacon of hope, or will they simply be snuffed out by the encroaching darkness?   

You have heard it all before. Plot to destroy or erase the order of the world. No one wants to help. It will take a group of unlikely heroes to stop the impending doom. But I hope you haven't heard it like this.

This is New Terra.

It is a world fundamentally rooted in reality. It's a plausible place with a fantasty-scifi twist. Humanity was long ago (or in the not-so-distant future for us) destroyed by an Alien Empire, only to be resurrected decades later and transplanted on a strange new world, filled with dangerous new threats. With a little help from their progenitors, human civilizations was re-established, flourished, fell into a dark age, and is now slowly but surely on it's way back up. But it would seem that humanity is going to have to leap another hurdle, and the race starts in Greatland, a continent well known for it's shady dealings, politicking kings, warring states, and highly varied peoples.

The setting takes advantage of the best parts of sci-fi and fantasy, in a world where both magic, and high technology flourishes, albeit unevenly. Knights wade to battle in suits of powered armor; machinations made of metal and synthetic muscle, while Wizards tap into the Ethereal Plane to garner enough power to cast spells that have devastating and terrible potency.

And humanity is not alone; races such as the Kandolari, Elysians, and Tor live side by side with them. Distrust, skepticism, and outright hostility is abound. This is only multiplied by the ever present threat of the monsterous flora and fauna that inhabits New Terra.

So welcome to New Terra. Find a sword or an Archenbusse. If you can't find one of the two, find a rock and hide under it.

Brief Racial Overview

reHumans - Come in many shapes and sizes, but are all of the same genetic stock (being reborn from the human DNA that was recovered from the planet earth after it was cracked open by the Tor Empire.) More than anything else they are divided by linguistic barriers. The groups are, for simplicity's sake, greatly abridged;
Greatlanders (Caspernians, Teutons, Midalians, Valyks, Ienpokans, Islanders, Sigurds, Acarids)
Saharians (Alut, Subsahor, Rajput, Alimur-Ien)
Orientalii (Imperials, Tonga, Hyak-Yor, Tarokyan, Enu)

Elysians - Mechanical constructs surviving from a former race that was destroyed by the Tor Empire previous to humanity's transplantation to New Terra. Found mostly on Sahar, which is believed to be the homeland of the "Derro'Kar" the creators of the "Eleskios" (Elysians.) The Elysians have managed to find a relatively safe nook in Alut and Rajput society, the scattered pockets of them in Greatland and Orientalis finding it much more difficult to live peaceably.

The Kandolari - unfortunate survivors of a great home world ship that crash landed onto New Terra, the Kandolari are a break off branch of a great world fleet of hyper advanced, star faring people. The Kandolari, using the broken remnants of their crashed ship want nothing more than to be rescued by their comrades who are now light years away, and they remain stranded on this back water planet and have to deal with the seemingly barbarous inhabitants. They have found a place in Orientalii society, choosing the least of all evils, finding Imperial society to be most palatable out of the multitude of choices given. They have been at least warmly welcomed in, thanks to their general disdain of "magic" and their aptitude for natural science, mathematics and philosophy. They still treat humans as little more than overdeveloped apes, sharing only a portion of their great knowledge that they so jealously hoard.

Tor - The Tor remaining on New Terra were left to be advisers to the ruling class; to ensure that Humanity was operating correctly, behaving, and was not on the way to wiping itself out before it had a fair chance at restarting. In this task, the Tor failed miserably. reHumanity, it would seem, was just as hell bent on killing each other as Humanity was before their brief unification, and ultimate destruction. Still, Tor can be found as court advisers, scholars, professors, engineers and other high ranking officials. Even in these positions, Tor are somewhat scorned - reHumanity sees themselves as unduly indebted to the Tor; a debt which they cannot pay off and which breeds contempt.  Still, the Tor are the few membersof human society who can hope to study and reverse-engineer the age old Xenotech and Archeotech blueprints. This alone makes the Tor a valuable asset - and warrants their continued, comfortable and unhindered existence.

Worlds Specs:
Mega Earth (Greatland is roughly the size of Pangea, with Orientalis being slightly smaller, and Sahar being about the size of North and Central America.) Twin suns, four moons (one even has pretty rings- ooooooh) and is located somewhere within the Perseus arm of the Via Lactea (Milky Way Galaxy)

Terrain:
3 Continents - Greatland, Orientalis, Sahar (largest to smallest, with respect to their order) 

Scrasamax:
Read it, now digesting. Will read again and produce useful commentary shortly

hylandpad:
NATURAL PHENOMENA

FAUNA

Equiux
“Big, this one is. Strong, fast and smart to boot. It may start telling YOU how to plow properly instead of the other way around.”
-Anonymous
not at all dissimilar to the horses of Old Terra, the Equiux is the primary mode of transportation for the majority of people on New Terra. The Equiux stands slightly taller than the average Old Terra horse, perhaps by an entire head. They have cloven hoofs, and larger eyes, with a fur that is notably more shaggy and thick, almost resembling that of a mountain goat. They are fairly easy to domesticate, even tempered animals, with a friendly disposition to humans who rewards them and treat them well. That being said, they are also trainable to make for war animals. Certain breeds of the Equiux are more suited to this than others, war equiux standing even taller and even more muscular than the average Equiux. While the Equiux no longer serves as a mount for Knights on Greatland (Knights have not ridden on horseback since the advent of Powered Armor – they are simply too heavy) the warrior castes of Alutremur and the Orient still use the beasts excessively and to deadly effect. While the Equiux no longer are used exclusively by knights (cavalry contingents are still widely used, just not by the nobility) they still carry the air of nobility, and represent the military elite. The symbol for “Knight” in New Terran literature still is the mounted Knight on the back of a fearsome Equiux steed.

Sand Lion
“Aghamemnon  is more than a mount - he is my guard, my companion and above all, my friend.”
-Adonis ex Allejandria, of the Sultan’s Immortal Order
Sand lions, not truly mammals at all, are actually lizards. They have a furry hide and a feline snout curiously lacking a big wet nose. They sport a thick mane and slitted eyes, as well as a gaping wide maw of razor sharp teeth, some of which are the size of short swords. They weight about the same as a true adult lion might, but the fact remains that they are hatched from eggs and they need several hours of basking time every day to keep their blood warm. Sand lions are incredibly intelligent, so much so that they are widely believed to be able to understand human thoughts by a rudimentary form of psionics. As such, they are valuable allies, and if caught early on in life, fantastically domesticated animals. They begin life as an egg which hatches into a small, fur-less creature of vibrantly bright color, ranging from bright fuchsia to a deep sapphire blue or forest green. Eventually, after a few weeks, Gold, brown, or white hair emerges from beneath the tender scales, and grows rapidly. The growth cycle from then on is highly accelerated, reaching full adult size in a little over a year. They are believed to be hermaphroditic, with no visible reproductive organs and laying eggs every couple years without the coupling of a mate. These creatures, equipped with knife like claws and a crushing jaw make a fearsome mount, and the Immortals of Alutremur ride them into battle exclusively.

Xarxeri
"I saw it, by the God. It grabbed Nasir by the shoulders and tore him in half, like a piece of parchment... Nasir... poor Nasir."
Raja Cyrus melBhaka
Xarxeri are quite possibly the most menacing of the horrid menagerie of perils that await any who venture into the many jungle regions of southern Sahar. They are hulking behemoths, eight to ten feet in size, with cords of muscles as thick as small wine casks lining their four arms and barrel chests. They are roughly apelike in their features, shaggy dark fur (or on occasion, stark white) with black skin. Their eyes are blood red, and males have pronounced tusks that jut out several inches from their lips. They are omnivorous, eating the fruits that fall on the ground, and whatever prey lands in their hands. They do not, however, eat dead meat. They are rarely alone, as a single, over-sized male leads a harem of females. Occasionally male offspring will venture out to find a harem of their own, or even rarer, establish a "gang" of all males. This tendency to form a gang is believed to have a sexual component, and gangs are highly irregular in their tendency to manifest. They are highly territorial and aggressive. Encounters between two males are always to the death, and the creatures do not seem to have a grasp on the concept of retreat. No matter the odds, the males always fight, even if there is no hope of victory. That being said, a battle against a Xarxeri is fearsome to simply look upon, as all four muscular arms can swing at high speeds and deliver crushing blows, ones that could easily pulverize an unarmored man into little more than a bloody pulp. In most cases, it has been found that running is the most effective option, since male Xarxeri will rarely stray far from the harem.

Landshark
“I’d wrestle an entire pack of sharks under a hundred feet of water before I would even contemplate getting in the way of a lone landshark with an army at my back.”
-Anonymous
Found mostly around the coast, Landsharks are amphibious creatures which have the bullet shaped body of a shark, and four stubby appendages that end in clawed webbed feet. They are highly unintelligent, aggressive and have zero regard for their own well being. Commonly thought that the brain of the creature is located somewhere within it's bowels, stopping one in the middle of it's rampage can be a tiring event, and a potentially deadly one. One the land, it's speed is substantial and, if one has never experienced an encounter with one, outright shocking. Though it may look like an unwieldy walker, it can speed along at running speeds like that of a bear. When in a bloodlust, it will charge the nearest alone target, or the smallest group. Multiple arbalest wounds, gunshot wounds and melee wounds later, the creature might die, or turn tail and flee when it realizes itself having no chance of getting a meal. The animal seems highly damage resistant, if not impervious to pain. It's legs are the only bony structures in it's body, the rest of the skeletal system being made of flexible cartilage – making it even more resistant to blunt force trauma. This is exaggerated by how fast it's wounds seal, and only a wound of the most critical damage will fell the beast (Such as cutting off it's head. No easy feat.) The regenerative properties of landsharks are an interest of most natural scientists, and those regenerative properties are multiplied when it submerges itself in salt water. There have been accounts of landshark corpses being carried off by the tide days after death, and then magically, then reanimating when it is far out to sea.

Stirge
"Ugh. Stirges. As if my day couldn't get any worse."
-Maximil Gold, former Captain of the Gold Company
A Stirge is little more than an irritant for most people. They are small birds, about the size of an average sparrow, with a fuzzy body and no discernible eyes. It has a long syringe-like beak tipped in a slight barb, slightly curved and two fleshy, bat-like wings which it can flap at phenomenal speeds. Using it's rapidly beating wings, it can seemingly hover in one place as might a bee or fly. It's beak is tipped with a mild irritant which causes blurred vision, or in heavy doses, paralysis, though a lone stirge rarely is able to inflict enough damage to paralyze an enemy. The issue however is when a swarm of Stirges happens upon a person or persons. Two or three hundred stirges make a swarm, and swarms are highly territorial. Usually found in bogs or marshlands, a Stirge territory can be several acres large, and traveling across any part of it is liable to upset the swarm. Stirges communicate with high-pitched squeals, which is presumably also some sort of echo-location. Their method of attack is fairly simple, and brutally effective; they fling themselves like darts at their targets, their beaks sticking into their prey and lodging there, hoping to poison their aggressor enough to send him into paralytic shock. Once their target falls, the tip of the beak breaks off, and the stirge is free, at which time the swarm continues patrolling around their territory. The beak regrows in several days. The victim is now hapless and helpless to defend itself, and waits the unfortunate coup. The stirges, however, do not do the killing. After their targets have succumbed to paralysis, they usually meet an untimely end by drowning in bog-moss, swamp waters, or at the jaws of some creature. If the paralysis is severe, it might halt the lungs from functioning leading to death by asphyxiation.

Skutaceph Lizard
"...head so thick, it would dull a sharp sword."
-Liber Monstrum
Skutaceph Lizards are undesirable for a number of reasons, the first of which being the very nature of the beast. It is a particularly aggressive creature, usually brown or grey in coloration, with a knobby hide of tough, leathery scales. It has two powerful rear legs which can propel the beast at upwards of twenty miles an hour, and two small front mounted arms that are equipped with four bony claws perfectly adept at tearing flesh in close quarters. It's also equipped with a gaping hole smack in the center of it's face which opens wide to reveal rings of teeth that extend downwards into the creature's gullet. But these would all be trivial compared to the two things that make the Skutaceph lizard truly terrifying; one is it's ability to deploy an umbrella of bony appendages from the upper neck to form an impressive "Shield" from which the creature gets it's name. The bony shield protects the most vulnerable area on it's body from attack; it's soft neck. To add to this, the creature has an already incredibly thick skull, which reportedly rebounds most slashing or stabbing weapons that aren't of the highest quality. Perhaps it's most fearsome attribute however, is it's ability to project highly acidic digestive enzyme from it's gullet onto a potential target. This enzyme burns straight through light armors literally in seconds and slowly eats it's way through tougher armors such as carapace plates or shields. One Skutaceph lizard is not a particularly dangerous threat, considering that solitary members tend to retreat when faced with just one enemy. However, Skutacephs travel in "tribes" of fifty to a hundred members, and have been known to rampage through small hamlets hoping to score several kill which they can drag off and consume. Such attacks are sophisticated and seemingly coordinated by series of high pitched screeches and whoops emitted from two organs at the top of the back (which also seem to be a vulnerable area) and suggests that the creatures have some sort of method of communication and are at least somewhat intelligent.


MEGAFAUNA

Leviathan
"Quiet boy! Never utter that name on a ship... we don't want one of the bloody things to hear you."
-Zuudi Sailor
A leviathan is a twisted abomination of nature, a cross somewhere between a massive sperm whale and a kraken. It's body is a long cylinder, ending in a squarish head and a maw that's nearly as wide as a battleship is long. The beast has a gunmetal coloration, four eyes (two on each side of it's block-shaped head) and two massive, muscular fines on the sides of it's body and a powerful caudal fin capable of smashing all but the hardiest ships into splinters. What makes the beast truly fearsome is it's four to eight massive tentacles that protrude from the middle and lower parts of it's spine. They are prehensile, and lined with writhing muscle. Two, dubbed the "arms" are spotted with suction-cup-like apparatus which it can use to grasp onto sheer surfaces, such as the sides of a boat. The other fins are very good at manipulation, picking up objects as small as a dog with striking dexterity and ease, despite their massive size. They are highly aggressive, hyper territorial and all around bad tempered. They aren't too bright though, and often times manage to beach or impale themselves on rocky crags or beaches stalking after passenger ships. Leviathans may follow potential prey for hours or even days to catch it unawares, but it's strikes are vicious and long lasting, since they have a curious way of "playing" with their food. They throw them around, smash them into the water, bite tiny limbs off and so on. When they aren't stalking ships, they go after the Giant Sea turtle schools that ride the warm ocean currents, which are their primary prey.

Roc
"That...is a big nest."
"And THAT is a big bird!"
"Run!"
-The Brothers Gremm
Rocs are colossal birds of prey, vaguely eagle-like in appearance, with some distinct differences. The males are usually a vivid, shimmering snow-white and their torso can be twenty five feet across, and approach a hundred feet long. They have an ivory beak of enamel, and two large, sensitive black eyes. Females, slightly smaller, are a woodsy brown, but in all other respects, look like males.  Like all "Dire" animals, they are not only incredibly strong, but also incredibly intelligent and aware. They have a wingspan of well over two hundred feet, and a fully grown adult can pick up prey as large as an equiux in each talon and carry it off easily.  Gusts of wind created by a fly-over by a Roc have been known to tear houses from the ground, and flatten wooden barns or granaries. They generally hunt the overgrown mountain boars that roam the hills and valleys of Val Torens, but do on occasion near human lands to carry off a farm animal or two. Though humans, sheep or pigs tend to be a little small for their appetites, Rocs have been known to carry off a handful if the pickings are particularly scarce. The Valykians say that seeing a Roc is a rare and benevolent omen; though any shepherd living around the mountains will see them fairly regularly, flying high in the clouds above.

FLORA

Hemoflora (Bloodpetal or Vampire Flower)
"Ugh...They call them Vampire flowers... Gives me the creeps."
-Eryk Jgarlson, of the Gold Company
Hemoflora, belonging to a species of plants known as Necroherba, is both curiously beautiful but terribly disgusting at the same time. Hemoflora, sprouts over the beaten, destroyed landscapes of massive field engagements, where hundreds have died, usually a week or so after the battle. Since Greatlanders in particular have no true concept of funeral rights, and leave their dead on the field to rot, this plant is particularly common across Greatland. It has a thick, thorny stalk, and a lush white or red flower, and stands just a little shorter than the average sunflower. Like a sunflower, it's head turns to face the suns as they pass overhead. However, the flower, after it's luscious red coloring has few redeemable attributes. Firstly, it stinks of decay. Instead of covering up the pungent odor of hundreds of dead bodies, the fields of hemoflora seem to amplify it. The reason for this is what gives Necroherba it's name; they prey off of the decaying flesh of fallen animals. Hemoflora in particular, thrives on blood - old blood or new blood matters little. The plant seed starts it's life once the progenitor plant runs out of blood - usually this results in droves and droves of these flowers systematically dying. The seeds are shot into the air, and with luck, landing in the feathers of crows, vultures or other scavengers lingering nearby. The seed lies dormant until it senses blood, usually when the scavenger birds touch down to feast on corpses. The flowers take root somewhere near the bodies, growing rapidly, inserting roots into open wounds or slowly wedging into soft tissue. The flower sprouts nearly clear, and as it matures it becomes and opaque white. However, as the flower begins to leech the remaining blood into it's system, the millions of tiny capillaries on the petals of the flowers fill with blood and are exposed to the warmth of the sun, turning the flower a brilliant red. Once the hosts are drained, the seeds are ejected and the process starts over again. Needless to say, the cycle is rapid and as vile smelling as a field of Hemoflora is, it's still a sight to behold.

Frenzyflower
"There's nothing like it. Everything becomes clearer, sounds become more distinct. The fear... it just melts away. Once you dose, you can't fight without it."
- Sir Eddin Brune, of the Stormguard
Frenzyflower has sapphire blue petals, a bright green stalk and smells sweeter than honey. It grows only in warm, tropical climates and only in the most perfect soil. Needless to say, those who grow Frenzyflower guard it with the utmost vigilance - and not just because they will win any awards for being beautiful horticulture. The true redeeming quality of Frenzyflower is it's potency as a combat stimulant. When the petals are crushed, heated and distilled into a liquid syrup, it can be absorbed into the blood, usually by an adhesive patch placed over a muscular region, or in some cases where it needs to be especially potent, a spinal injection. Once "Dosed" the user experiences what can only be defined as a combat high - complete mastery and awareness of the immediate battlefield. Fear seems to disappear, only to be replaced with an amazing cognizance. While it does manage to help clear the mind so that one can focus just on the battle, it does have some adverse long and short term effects. Short term effects are usually a crash after the combat is over, which can range from incessant screaming for no reason, to depression, to exhaustion, and/or a physical crash (the drug allows a person to operate under circumstances that would normally incapacitate a person, such as heat stroke, or dehydration.) Long term effects are numerous, number one being impotence, as many long term users are well aware (sometimes called "Frenzy Eunuchs".) Other long term effects are epilepsy, and even brain damage, should one ignore physiological problems that occur while under the influence of the drug.

Death Willow
"The old maids talk of a tree that grabs you while you walk the forest at night, strings you up like a spiders prey, and drains away your very soul."
-Eryk Jgarlson, of the Gold Company
Death Willows resemble very old, barren weeping willow trees, perfect for sitting down next to, reading a book, and taking a nice,long nap. They belong to the family of plants know as Necroherba, and are a carnivorous plant. They do not, as the myths might suggest, eat live prey, but rather, they prefer aged corpses which they slowly drain of all their nutrients. They are still however, quite murderous. It's roots  produce an earthy fungus that looks very similar to an apple in shape, size and consistency, tied to the root by several sticky sinews that break easily when picked up. The apple-like-fungus that the root produces is highly toxic, and is usually strong enough to kill a full grown man or woman, and easily venomous enough to kill a child. It does do one kindness, of lulling the victim to a final sleep filled with happy dreams before the heart stops beating. Once the body has sat for either a few days or a few weeks, the prehensile vines of the tree lift up the corpse, wrap around it so that it looks like some over-sized human cocoon, and sprout needle-like thorns that act as pumps. These thorns suck the nutrients from the corpse until there is nothing left but a dried out husk. The husk is dropped, the tree uproots itself slightly, and brushes the husk beneath it, where it will presumably never be found. Rumor has it, that these trees have the ability to slowly relocate should food become scarce in one area. It is also known that the tree will use it's dendrites to either defend itself from woodsmen, or attempt to strangle prey that seems to be small enough. The dendrites are strong enough to snap a small child's neck, though not strong enough to resist a sharp knife or strong arm from tearing it asunder.

ABBERATIONS

Scarhopper
"One second it was in front of us, the next it was behind us! Grabbed Joachim, bit him - he screamed, and then he disappeared. Dunno where he went... scariest moment of my life. We left a day later... sent a bird to the Arbiters... we weren't equipped to deal with s**t like that."
-Sergeant Hanson of the Vetterlund Militia
Scarhoppers were, at one time, normal fauna, probably related to Skutaceph lizards. However, when a giant Ethereal rift burst open in their homeland, the lizards were exposed to massive amounts of Ethereal corruption, which twisted and changed them; gave them terrifying abilities. They resembled a skutaceph lizard - bipedal, with two small arms, an enlarged head and a gaping maw. They have no discernible eyes or nose, and their coloration is normally a discomforting aqua blue-green. Lacing the natural armor of it's one time cousin the Scarhopper lizard would seem, with it's ridiculous coloration, to be bait to any would be predator. But, it can do something no ordinary creature can do. Seemingly at a whim, it can simply blink out of vision, only to appear meters from it's foe, or steps behind it's target. Whats more, is that it can do this wherever or whenever it wants, and rapidly too, providing it can see it's destination. It can also take small or medium sized prey with it, providing it's touching what it wants to "Blink" away with. In it's wake, it leaves "Scars;" temporary rifts in the fabric of space time - not to be confused with voids or rifts, which lead to the Ethereal plane. The scars close moments after use, but a crafty mage or trained arbiter can, with the right training, hop through these scars to effectively chase the creature. Though one never knows where a scarhopper might run to, possibly right into the maw of danger.



ETHEREAL PHENOMENA

Fetishes (Animus Minoris Neutralis)
"A skull? That's where this specter has been hiding all along? Some skull? Well lets crush it and be over with it."
-Last words of Sir Breccan Moore
A fetish is an ethereal spirit of some power that lives within a mundane object, taking shape of the object at the time of it's first occupancy.  Usually, the object has to be inanimate, or dead. Fetishes often house themselves within a body of a freshly dead corpse; usually one who has died remotely or far away from civilization. The Fetish assumes the immediate visage of the body and all the wounds or physical characteristics of the figure, and stays that way indefinitely, remaining a perfect picture of the body long after the body rots away. All that is required for the fetish to stay in the material plane is some part of the body, be it a bone or a tooth to remain in tact. When the last of the remains is found and shattered, the fetish loses it's tie to the corporeal realm, and is sucked back through the closest ethereal rift. While in the corporeal realm, the fetish may do a number of things. Ethereal spirits are notoriously unpredictable, and highly varied. They are as likely to be malevolent as they are to be benevolent. That is to say, a spirit who assumed the body of a girl murdered by bandits might guide more unwary travelers into the hands of the bandits simply for sick pleasure, or might try and use it's frightening, ghostly visage to scare travelers away from the bandit's road. While tethered to it's "Totem" a fetish can interact with the corporeal world with some limitations; it can manipulate inanimate objects, but cannot touch or directly cause harm to animate beings. A fetish touch may cause one to feel cold, or if one is especially sensitive to ether, perhaps even sick, but that is at worst. It can, however, with limitless strength, pick up trees or boulders and heave it at a person, or set a vicious trap for a victim. It also has the ability to manipulate ether, should there be enough in the surrounding area, and even cast spells. Considering the fact that fetishes are prevalent in the periphery of rift zones, this is a highly probable scenario.

Strange (Ourgos Archpotentas Sinistra)
"They say just looking at a Strange makes a man lose his sanity."
-Arbiter Delios of the Circle
Sometimes, for reasons unknown, an incomplete demigod is exposed to the material plane by floating through a rift. While the gestation cycle of Ethereal Beings is unknown, it is assumed that these fetal demigods can simply develop outside of the "Body" of the parent while in the ethereal plane, just as any human child would develop within the confines of the womb. However, when these fetal gods are brought either, on purpose (as an abortion, so to speak) or by accident, to the material plane, their bodies warp and distort. They are most often likened to massive, skeletal figures, wrapped in leaking, opaque goo. They lack any developed eyes or mouths, their hands are twisted and gnarled, and their bodies dis proportioned and unevenly stretched by massive clumps of musculature. Their head is enlarged and slightly elongated, and it hovers above the ground usually curled into a floating fetal position when not actively pursuing something, giving the Strange the image of some sick, twisted stillborn.  This twisted being is known as a Strange. Stranges are anathema to the demigods of the Ether, and are not allowed to enter back through the rift, being mercilessly hunted down if, or when, they do transgress back into their homeland. This rejection makes them not only physically twisted, but mentally unstable. They have no place and no parents. What they do wield is the power of the gods, which makes them fierce opponents. They have a particular disdain for humans, whom they will actively pursue on sight. They tend to "play" with human prey, experimenting with them, often times tearing them apart limb by limb just to see what they will do. They wield frightening power and are able to sling potent spells expertly and rapidly , in a manner that would strike dead the most powerful wizard at the tip of a long, wide brimmed hat. Luckily, a Strange, is usually only found near the origin of a massive ethereal rift, where it can suck it's power directly from the Ether. Rifts large enough to channel this divine power must be massive in size, and thankfully, such large rifts are rare, and where they exist, they tend to be isolated. Even so, the very mention of a Strange can send a shiver down the spine of fully grown men, hundreds upon hundreds of leagues away.

Echo (Animus Minoris Maleval)
"The Echo - a common poltergeist gone angry."
-Arbiter Handbook
Echos are a more severe manifestation of the troublesome Charm phenomenon; commonly known as poltergeists. While Charms simply tend to cause general mischief without risk of serious bodily injury, Echos are hell-bent, so to speak, on making sure someone gets hurt. Being malevolent Ethereal spirits, they are prone to serious emotional provocation. They usually manifest themselves by climbing through the rift temporarily torn open by a spell, usually a powerful one. Once free, they need to ties to the ether, but do not possess extreme powers, other than being invisible, inaudible and mostly undetectable. That being said, those qualities make an Echo fearsome enough. They are able to manifest a semicorporeal form - being physically present, and subject to physical harm - but not physical death. There have been accusations of unprovoked rapes, murders and beatings by mysterious, invisible entities. They tend to stalk targets around a specific area, usually in down trodden parts of cities, small rural villages or in places with little to no contact with wizards. Without the intervention of the Arbiters, Echos may rampage and terrorize the locals unhindered. Once found however, disposing of an Echo is fairly easy; tearing a temporary rift open will suck the spirit back to the ethereal plane (killing Ethereal entities is physically impossible on the material plane) where it will be forced to stay until another rift of sufficient size opens nearby.

Prophet (Archanimus Symbiotis Majorit Neutralis)
"And in the middle of the battlefield, he ripped open the sky and reigned down fire from the heavens. The earth was scorched and castle walls melted beneath the inferno."
Every so often, Ethereal spirits take an interest in the affairs of mortals on the material plane. Usually, they target one mortal, but they may also take interest in a political party, social group or other conglomeration of people. They find their way into the material plane, usually by manifesting a rift of their own volition, and occupy the body of a target, usually an individual the spirit finds likable, amiable and generally agreeing with it's point of view. This target is usually unharmed in the process. The spirit attaches itself to the soul of the target, which serves as a mobile tether to the Ethereal plane (souls are in fact what tethers every human to the "heavens.") This spirit, known as a prophet lies dormant, or at least quiet, in the host, simply listening and observing. The host is usually young, as the spirit wants a hale body to work with. Eventually, the host will start to gain immense powers, starting usually with the ability to cast simple spells seemingly from thin air. Eventually, these spells become more and more potent and the host becomes a Sorcerer, or a wizard who can cast spells without the need for a Nexus or an Ethereal Rift. At the heart of any Sorcerer is the prophet, who feeds him his power. Sorcerer and Prophet are consciously aware of each other, sharing thoughts, emotions and an intellect, and forming a strong bond over time, eventually resulting in the permanent bond of Sorcerer and Prophet. Thus, the Sorcerer speaks with the voice of the Prophet and the prophet need not speak. The Prophet will, from time to time, take over the host and speak with it's own voice. At times like this, the host's mind becomes dormant, his skin cracks and glows like prismatic magma.  It is important to note however, that often times Sorcerers come into contact with Prophets of conflicting interests. It is on the Material plane that the battles of Prophets play out. Entire nations, alliances and armies have gathered around groups of powerful Prophets and their Sorcerers. Sorcerers with likeminded prophets often times form enclaves, and sorcerers can also be found in the Circle. Sorcerers are highly sought after in all kingdoms, by all nobles and all manners of people.

Puzzle (Animus Minoris Neutralis)
"Did that statue....just ask me a riddle?"
-Martella Aurelias
Puzzles are spirits that are usually accidentally released from the matrix of a Nexus. They are most commonly found outside prominent mage circles or in the mage quarters of big cities. They are fairly harmless minor versions of a more severe phenomena known as Sphynx. They tend to inhabit inanimate statues, but they will go so far as to inhabit trees or small animals. They speak always in rhyme and usually will stop any passerbys to tell them a riddle. They offer them a reward for a correct answer. Unlike the Sphynx abberation, there is no penalty for a wrong or skipped answer. Still, answering a puzzle can be a boon, because they tend to overhear all manners of gossip, secrets and local news. They tend to barter information, and a successful answer will often yield interesting tidbits of knowledge. A refusal to answer or a wrong answer will usually evoke a disappointed reaction, or maybe an outright disdainful one depending on the personality of the individual spirit.

Minion (Animus Symbiotis Minoris Servus)
"Oh Qwarog? Don't mind him. He hasn't really mastered how to walk yet - falls down quite a bit. The poor thing isn't accustomed to having a corporeal body. Raising a Homunculus is truly a tedious endeavor. It's almost like raising a child... though a child at least instinctively knows when to eat and s**t. Try explaining that to something that never had a metabolism before."
-Goemus Tallhat, Wizard of the Circle
Minions are Ethereal spirits bonded to some sort of constructed body by Convocation. Usually, this body is made of something natural; clay for example. The body is usually very complex in it's structure. To function it needs to have certain mechanical elements that will properly imitate a true living organism; things like lungs, a circulatory system and even a brain need to be created from gene cultures and inserted into the Minion's shell. Usually musculature and nerves are created from Kellerhadrin plants, and a very small Altera crystal functions as a heart (Minions normally need to be heated by the fire, or bask in the sun to be functional.) The skeletal parts are usually forged from galvanized metals. When all the elements come together, it forms the body and all it's systems. The body can take many shapes and sizes, from the smallest "Haemunculus" to the largest "Archgolem"; the possibilities are endless (though the larger and more complex the body, the harder it is to A) find a cooperative spirit and B) bond the spirit to the body.) Once that has been done, the spirit is summoned and, if it is willing to enter the Material plane, it is bonded to the body. The spirit effectively animates the body, jump starting the heart upon it's entrance into the body. The spirit and body now effectively are tied together, and nominally the Minion is subject to it's master's will (as any convoked spirit is.) There are all sorts of uses for a minion; as a guardian, as an aide, as a spy or as a menial household helper. There have been, however, reports of mutinous Minions; wily spirits who have been bonded to a body and rebelled against there masters. While a Minion is obedient as a general rule, they are still Ethereal spirits at heart, and prone to logic that may not make sense in the minds of men. Thus they must always be carefully watched.

Phage(Cruxus Majorit Sinistra)
"Something terrible happened here... terrible enough to warrant the attention of a Phage."
-Garibaldo, Tutor of Augustus
The site of particularly heinous crimes, gruesome battles, and horrible deaths often time attract a phage. They tend to inhabit the bones of the dead, being strong enough to fully reanimate themselves within the skeleton and walk around amongst the living. Phages often find a simple garment to cover themselves, usually a black sheet, and for extra effect arm themselves with the crudest, most horrific looking weapons - scythes, in particular are a favorite. The Phage has, due to it's deathlike appearance, earned itself the nickname of "The Reaper" for where it goes, only death can follow. It chooses to hunt at night, and needs only to touch bone to skin to leave a target stone cold dead. It is truly impossible to kill a phage, even in it's physical form. It feels no pain, can magically mend any damage, and it shrugs off most magical attacks with the greatest of ease. As with most Ethereal phenomenon, it has no brain, so Psionics proves to be yet another dead end. Only truly powerful magics can be used to destroy the phage's physical body, and send it's spirit back to the ether. Not only is a powerful spell necessary, but a Phage requires a large rift to be torn open - which can open the material plane to a host of new troubles. There is, however, an alternative. Phages are a type of Spirit that is bonded to the Material Plane by a strong deathwish for vengeance - also known as a Cruxus, or Curse. The body of the Phage is usually made up of the remains of a victim of a crime, or the collected remains of many victims of tragic deaths. Bringing the Phage the blood of the murderers (usually some of the descendants blood) can spirit away the phage, leaving only the inanimate bones behind. This can prove to be difficult, as phages often appear years, decades or generations after the initial crime, and finding the blood of the perpetrator or his relatives can be a hassle, especially when the quantities need to be...significant.

Prism (Animus Minoris Benevolenta)
"Martella...why are you glowing?"
-Karl Hagardson of the Gold Company

Paramour (Archanimus Symbiotis Majorit Emisarius)
"An Eidolar... why here?"
-Avowed Renault of St. Archambaud's Monastery



[Under Construction]

hylandpad:
Altera Crystals
“The Altera crystal, in the years following the plague has filled in the technological need for renewable power. It isn’t simply a fuel anymore; it’s an economic necessity.”
- Jax the Chronicler
Altera exists as a mineral across the entire world of New Terra. It's non-toxic, and is not detrimental to soil. The mineral is, however, not only conductive, but also electric. When heated, the mineral generates a trace electrical current. This is evident in many plants, which uses this current to flex the muscular fibers in the stem of the plant to follow the sun, as it warms the ground and heats up the crystal particles. On a much larger scale, Altera crystals, when heated, give off exponential amounts of energy, enough to easily power entire cords of synthetic musculature, such as is found in armored exoskeletons, as well as having other civic uses. The heat source usually comes from a plasma radiator or reactor, which is a substantial investment in itself, being of the most complex sort of Archeotech. The crystal degrades slowly over time, and considering that veins of Altera crystals are rare, and deep within the earth and hard to mine, it is exorbitantly expensive, and not suitable or affordable by those who don't have access to steady income. Thus, it is highly elitist in it's uses, and largely, an alternative, rather than a primary, source of mass energy.

Stygian Gas
“DON’T OPEN THAT PHIAL!”
-Anonymous
This gas found on New Terra is remarkable for a number of reasons. Not only is the gas a highly poisonous neurotoxin, but it also can be heated and ionized to create a relatively solid plasma, less prone to blooming than other plasmas. Thus, it has both battlefield and political implications – because it is critical in the creation of plasma for plasma radiators, and within weapons such as Plasma Lances.

Alitol
“I never knew sludge could be worth so much.”
-Lord Markhus, one of the Black Barons
Alitol, plentiful and up until recently, quite useless, was considered a bane to find on one's land, good for only one thing; causing poor soil quality. However, with the advent of the engine, Lords with access to Alitol have become not only more powerful, but highly sought by those who lack the resource.

Engadium
“d**n Engadium bolts... straight through the breast plate.”
-Anonymous
Engadium is a fairly common metal, found in many mountains across all of New Terra. It is very soft, and not suitable for armor plates or for most weapons. However, it is useful when used to coat arrowheads, bolt or bullet tips. Engadium is incredibly low friction, which means it penetrates most objects much more easily than a regular arrowhead would. Often times, high quality carapace armor has an uppermost layer of Engadium coating, which is said to be able to deflect point-blank Archebusse rounds. While numerous battlefield accolades do indeed hint that Engadium coating might have saved their lives against a stray arrow, bolt or bullet, it has not been proven; though it does add an attractive decorative shine to the armor.

Geotherm Plants
“ I have seen a city of steam and fire, that stretches down to the core of the world, where the forges glow night and day.”
-Father Nahmides, Pontifex of Cog
The most massive fabrication centers are those placed on natural geysers and fissures where geothermal gasses are released. The entire economy of the planet would undoubtedly be upturned without these massive production centers. Staffed by priests of Cog exclusively, these giant plants exist only for one reason; to ensure that plasma production, the very heart of all technology across Greatland (and much of New Terra) continues. The Priests owe allegiance to no one, and these plants act as personal monasteries, where they nominally pay a tax to a local lord, but also own serfs and act as liege lords to the knights living in there desmne. The plasma, produced at the plants, is stored in radiators, which are then shipped off to clients who need the products, or to other temples of Cog where they will be further worked into other pieces of equipment. These giant plants are built in a order to be functional, but also as venerated cathedrals, creating a unique architectural style that is uniquely found only within the priesthood of Cog.

Powered Armor
“Give me ten knights in powered plate and mail over a hundred men in carapace armor any day.”
-Caspernian Saying (quality trumps quantity)
An exoskeletal suit powered by a plasma radiator and an Altera crystal. It combines the protective capabilities of mithrilized steel, the raw power produced by synthetic muscle, and the combat technology of ancient Tor battlesuits. The suit interfaces with the wearer's nervous system, making the wearer acutely aware of the battlefield surrounding him, amplifying sight, sound, smell and hearing. While the suits boost strength and constitution, it requires a special suit to integrate the wearer with the neuroplugs of the suit. Also, the suit requires that excess heat created by the plasma radiator and the respirating muscle is regularly vented. Failure to vent will boost the acidity level in the synth muscles, which can cause rupturing and suit failure. These suits of armor are highly valuable, and are often passed down from father to son in hereditary seigneural families. In most kingdoms across Greatland, a permit or proof of nobility is required to even possess one or request the production of one to be built anew.  They are highly valuable and meticulously maintained and decorated, particularly by the Priesthood of Cog, which specializes in Archeotech, Xenotech and electrical maintenance, and the Guild of Smiths, which ensures that the metallic components are kept in working order.

Carapace Armor
“So what? Maybe it lacks all the bells and whistles that their [the knight’s] fancy armor has. My armor has saved my hide more times than I can count. Sure, it’s chilly to wear in the winter, boiling in the summer, and yeah, it chafes a little after a day or two of marching, and maybe it gets heavy. But when you do what we do, you learn to eat, sleep and s**t in this tin suit -  pardon my language your highness.”
-Miles Secundi, Man at Arms of Prince Kastame
Most other protective gear on Greatland is fashioned from simple steel, or in cases of high quality, thin mithrilized plates. At the joints,  leather or scale is stitched to allow freedom of movement, and a long or medium length skirt of mail is used to protect the legs. While more affordable than pricy Powered Armor, Carapace Armor represents a substantial investment as well, made for the poorest nobility or even some well-to-do commoners who are either drafted into mercenary companies or who are members of a noble's bodyguard or men-at-arms. It will stop punishing sword slashes across the majority of the surface area of the body, but is vulnerable to piercing attacks at the joints. Powered weaponry, however, will cleave the armor clean in half still, and offers little protection against Archebusse volleys or even hails of frictionless arrow heads.

Plasma Lance
“Careful with that, Gods d**n it! That will burn through you head to toe and not stop till it hits the bloody core of New Terra.”
-Quillin Belti, The Gold Company
An advanced anti-armor weapon, the Plasma Lance is effective against both powered carapace armor and tanks. It is shaped like a tournament lance with a flared, conical hilt that quickly narrows down to the tip of the lance. At the tip a small Altera crystal is mounted. Before combat, the entire shaft of the weapon is heated in a fire, and heater coils inside the tube retain the heat for up to an hour after. The heated Altera Crystal at the front is also charged. Upon use, a canister of highly compressed Stygian Gas is loaded into the weapon. On firing, the compressed gas is rapidly heated, and launched through the narrowing tube, propelling it in a narrow stream. As it nears the end of the tube, the Altera crystal charges the gas, turning it into a deadly stream of plasma. The plasma stream can be projected up to twenty feet, and easily tears through all but the toughest, and thickest mithrilized armor plating.

Plasma Radiator
“Mind your fingers. That gets hot.”
-Anonymous
A marvelous feat of Archeotech studies, reverse engineered from original Tor models by the priesthood of Cog, the Plasma Radiator, in combination with the use of Altera Crystal, provides powerful, albeit limited, supplies of electricity to the modern world. The radiator is a series of complex tubes, valves and pumps which circulate superheated plasma. The plasma is circulated through finned apertures which collect and store the heat. At adequate temperature it is released in bursts to continually heat an Altera crystal to provide electricity to numerous things; suits of armor, a lord's manor, or the artillery targeting systems atop a castle. They can range in size from about the size of a lockbox, to the size of almost an entire room. Plasma radiators need regular refueling of Stygian Gas, the intervals depending on the size and heat draw from the crystals, as well as natural heat disappation. In order to more effectively store heat, Plasma Radiators have are equipped with numerous heat coils, which collect and store heat so that the radiator can shut off when the crystals are not actively drawing mass amounts of heat.

Force Blade
“It’s name is Anything. Why? It cuts through mithril along with anything else.”
-Mikul, The Gold Company
Force blades are bladed weapon which have heater elements embedded in the folds of the steel, which, when turned on, touch a network of Altera Crystals to electrify the blade. The electrical charge helps nullify the hardening treatment found in mithrilized steel, which in turn makes the blade cut through heavily armored opponents. Force weapons must be charged, usually by a apparatus located in the sheath which is powered by another power supply, usually by the plasma reactor in a suit of Powered Armor. In the case of massive weapons such as a two handed battle axe, a charging station may be required. It is noteworthy to add that because the heater elements are highly energy intensive (they heat up very rapidly) they drain much of the charge  in the capacitors a short time. The weapon, after the charge is activated and subsequently spent, reverts back to a state of an ordinary blade until it is recharged. Soldiers using these rare and valuable weapons, in turn, learn to maximize it's effectiveness in a fight by constantly ensuring that when out of use, the blade is kept in it's charging sheath, or keeping the weapon near an open flame.

Mithrilized Metals
“What does it take to make Mithril? That’s a bold question. Does the Wizard tell the peasant how to summon up a firestorm?”
Master Julian, Master Blacksmith of the Guild of Makers.
A process by which metal is hardened to a far greater degree than it normally would be. After metal is refined normally, such as iron into steel, the metal undergoes a secret process highly guarded by the Guild of Smiths which makes the metal highly resistant to all manners of blows. Though it is not formally known outside of the guild how such a process is done, it is fairly common knowledge that a strong enough electric current can carve through mithrilized metal as it would any other metal.

Vibrosteel
“Now here’s a rarity that hasn’t been seen in the Kingdoms for years and years! Yes, Vibrosteel - a marvel of the east. A simple dagger of vibrosteel will melt the thickest breastplate like a hot knife through butter!”
-The cries of a Merchant in the Aludan Noble District
Incredibly rare, difficult to smith, and without a doubt the most expensive piece of metal per tonne, Vibrosteel is also without a doubt the most amazing, and highly sought metal for weapon crafting. Those who craft with this precious metal are of the highest rank of Craftsmen, and such work doesn't come cheap – but the product yielded is unparalleled. The metal makes for an exquisite bladed weapon, but in particular makes for legendary swords. When it is drawn rapidly across another hard surface (usually the metal of a scabbard) the metal vibrates at a microsonic frequency. This sound, not unlike the rapping of a tuning fork, is not harmful to human ears – however, at this frequency, it nearly melts any metal it makes solid contact with, making it excellent at cutting through the thickest mithrilized armors with the ease of a hot knife through butter. While Vibrosteel is almost unheard of in Greatland, it is much more plentiful (as far as rarities go) on Alutremur and in Orientalis.

Archeotech
“Humanity, through it’s own failings has lost much.”
-Saying from the Biv
Technology that hails from the Classical Human Age is known as Archeotech. It represents the pinnacle of human technology before the fall into the Age of Night. The means of production for Archeotechnology is extremely limited in the modern era, and such expensive and important technology is meticulously maintained, lest it be irreparably damaged. Though the Age of Night spanned across all human lands in New Terra, it hit the denizens of Greatland hardest. While there was a distinct technological regression in Alutremur and Orientalis, it was not nearly on the scale of the loss of technology on Greatland. Because of this however, interest in Archeotech is most prevalent on Greatland, where such knowledge is worth far more than it is anywhere else. It is no coincidence that Greatlanders tend to be the cultural backwater in the eyes of the world, simply due to the fact that technology, due to it's expensive nature is kept from the common people.

Xenotech
“Only through careful, monitored, mutual cooperation with non-humans can humanity possibly achieve it’s highest excellence”
-Saying from the Biv
Unlike Archeotech, Xenotechnology is expensive across the entire world. Xenotechnology is the technology garnered from the various alien races that have been in contact with humanity. Whereas something like Plasma Power is of human engineering, and comparatively more accessible, things such as Pulse Carbines and Gravity-Null vehicles are incredibly rare and expensive world round. Xenotechnology in some cases, has been adapted into human use regularly, the most prevalent being the adaptation of ancient Tor Exoskeletal Armor (Which was not only unsuitable for the human physique, but also confusing to reverse engineer) into the current iteration of the Powered Armor used by the Knights of Greatland. While items that fall under the category of Xenotechnology are allegedly  supposed to be tracked and monitored by the Bureau of Xenotech (at least on Greatland) an entire Black Market exists in dealing with these items, illegally smuggling them to shady dealers and buyers who want to operate under the radar of the law.

Autorailers
"Alright men. Load up."
-Knight Captain Mercator Rax of the Caspernian Ducal Regiment
The Autorail system was the precursor, and spiritual progenitor of the modern battle tank. It represented a a step towards the management of fast transport for heavy infantry. The autorailer cars can number anywhere from five to fifty, and travel along steel lines, and are powered by oversized, superheavy plasma radiators. The autorail engine is a seventy foot long plasma radiator on wheels, usually immediately followed by a car with several tons of Altera crystal. Most of the heat from the plasma radiator is used to boil water, to create steam and turn a turbine. The rest of the energy is converted to electricity, to run the electronic components aboard. The steam energy is converted by means of a large transmission to high-torque rotary energy to turn the engine's wheels, which pulls the cars following. Over time, the cars gain speed, and can approach upwards a sustained sixty miles an hour over the course of about an hour. Autorails are used mostly for troop transports, and the freighting of highly valuable military materials and were traditionally owned by either the royalty or nobility (depending on the region.) But as the middle class grows, there is an increased number of small, private autorails becoming popularized in the periphery of growing cities. This means more effective freighting of luxury and mass goods from the cities and into the countrysides, promoting the growth of local markets and even small cities around autorail hubs. Lately, as plasma technology has become more efficient, and the autorail engines begin to have more torque power, military engineers (particularly in Teutonia) have found ways to mount large artillery on flat train cars, making the trains not only a simple armored transport, but into a mobile battle fortress.

Command Orb/ Command Sphere
"The right arm of your suit is badly damaged. I'll reroute the power the the leg servos. You won't be able to lift the arm, but you'll at least be able to make a quick get away until we can get the armor to an Artificer. Let me just enter the command sequence."
Engineer Morgan Traut, Squire to Ser Eddin Brune
The command orb is the most reliable and widely used programming tool available across New Terra. The Cube itself looks like a circular "rubix cube" though with hundreds of cells as opposed to dozens. Iside the cube is a incredibly complex mechanism comprised of capacitors, intricate clockwork, and several potent enchantments. To "Command" whatever it is that needs to be programmed, the user simply presses down on the many "rune keys" that line the entire outside of the sphere, as well as twist the Sphere along two axises to line up the runes in the correct sequence. There are thousands upon thousands of possible sequences and combinations, and at least two hundred different runes on the Orb. Thus, mastering the programming of the Sphere can take years upon years. Once the Sphere has been programmed, it is linked to whatever it is to program by touching it to a special crater-shaped receptor known as the "command well" which streams the information to whatever processing unit the instrument uses. Once the information is stored in the instrument's capacitors, the Command Sphere can be removed, a Data Wipe sequence entered, and the Orb is ready to program whatever lies ahead. This device has in the past been used only by the priests of Cog, since they were the ones dealing with the majority of technology requiring programming. However, in the past several decades, the devices have seen increased uses among royal engineers and private individuals who are well learned in all sorts of vocations as programmable technology becomes more available. Common uses of the Sphere include: in Nexus' to write command routines to open up Matrix Gates for a controlled flow of Ether; in Powered Armor to write battle subroutines to automate some menial system functions; in Autorailers to automate where and when to stop.

Archbalest
"Skewered that whoreson to the mainmast, I did!"
-Sean McArny, Caspernian Marine
Archbalests are oversized Arbalests that fire two foot long, sharpened, metal tipped shafts across long distances. They are made primarily with wood and metal components, have no combustible ammunition, are more reliable than thumpers or stompers, with no overheating problems, but with nearly the same devastating power (albeit at the cost of range and accuracy.)They can usually be mounted on a strong, pivoting metal frame, and require only a single person to arm, fire and reload. They fire from a large metal bandolier that is fed into the side and ejects from the receiver when spent. The Archbalest uses it's own momentum to spring the bowstring back to loaded position and thus can fire bolts in rapid succession. These weapons are ideal for naval warfare, as the tips of specialized ammunition can be loaded with flammable or combustible materials. Some Archbalests are modified to fire two "netted" bolts or "grapeshot bolts" to tear down enemy masts. Alternatively, a chain or cable may be tethered to the bolt which can stop a ship from fleeing if enough bolts strike into the body of the ship. These are also makeshift boarding devices which marines can shimmy across.

hylandpad:
Greatland, Sahar and Orientalis are all very large, diverse places. Grouping all the populations on each continent would be doing a severe disservice to the varied cultures that live there. I have taken to liberty to break down each continent into broad regions and detail those regions before detailing the people that live there,

Greatland:

Midaly
"The rich lands of Midaly are responsible for the rise and sustenance of two of the most powerful Empires in all of history."
-Jax the Chronicler
The middle section of the continent, Midaly is a temperate mix of warm, green hills, flowing rivers, and ample timber. Though it is hilly, the Midalians lack mountains and their access to stone is restricted to the Spine of the World, which is at their easternmost border, and trading with the Teutonians. There are a number of tributaries and small rivers which serve as natural borders for the many kingdoms, as well as a pronounced delta at the southern end of the region, from which sprung the Old Midalian Empire. Midaly has warm winters and pleasant summers, as well as ample rainfall, making it the breadbasket of Greatland, the food producing center of the world. Midaly, having over a fifth of it's entire population on the coast of the Sea of Midaly, is run on the maritime trade of "Big Fishing" such as whaling, and leviathan hunting.

Teutonia
"Do you know what brings a tear to my eye, Damian? I have spent six months drinking that gods-awful Midalian wine, wenching those terribly flat Caspernian women, and fighting those pathetic Acarid mercenaries. Now time for a real drink, a real woman, and a real brawl. It's good to be back in the fatherland."
-Emperor Tychrion Hallenbrak IV
Teutonia is the mountainous peninsula just southwest of Midaly. The region is a mix  of deep valleys and high peaks. The people of Teutonia are hardy, accustomed to cold winters and cool summers. They are never wanting for stone, iron or timber, making Teutonia to one of the most resource filled places in the world. The mountains hold a number of natural hot springs, making it a perfect region for the Geotherm plants run by the Cog Priesthood. The edges of the peninsula facing westward are constantly berated by the punishing storms of the Wide Sea, while the eastern seaboard has to only deal with the warm, placid weather that floats over the Sea of Midaly.

Caspernia
"Ever majestic as the storm, Caspernia, may thee always provide."
-Ode to Caspernia, Geste of the Storm Kings
Caspernia, just north-west of Midaly, is filled with wet plains, dense forests, and cold shores. Caspernia, facing the Wide Sea, is much colder than Midaly, especially since it lacks the warm winds coming from the Sea of Midaly. It's summers, however, are pleasant, and it's winters are not as cold as Teutonian winters tend to be, albeit much more wet. Caspernia is roughly the same size as Teutonia and Midaly, though much less flat than Midaly, and significantly flatter than Teutonia. Wood is a plentiful resource, and rocky hills provide ample stone quarries, though no mountain ridges run through Caspernia, save for the single Guiuix mountain ridge that carves hundreds of miles into the mainland from the base of the Wide Sea.

Caern
"There are rarely few who would brave the cold, with no hope of finding anything at all. Fewer still are those who brave it, and return with a caravan filled with liquid gold."
-Gustra the Teuton
The Island off the north coast of Caspernia shares a very similar climate. Wet, cold, and slightly more unpleasant than Caspernia, the isle of Caern is not a place anyone would  actually live, provided they would have a choice. However, the Caern Channel is rich fishing ground year round, and all major trade routes to Caspernia, Midaly and Teutonia use the channel, making the Caern cities that skirt it, convenient stopping places for rich merchants.  Northern Caern, stretching nearly to the northern pole of the planet, has a climate that's downright close to arctic in temperature, making it an inhospitable wasteland tundra - but rich with Alitol.

Valykia
"Valykia? How could I forget Valykia? By the Father, my balls froze and fell off in Valykia."
-Fredrick the Fat, of The Gold Company.
The Valykian region is due east of the Spine of the World, north of the Valy-Ishael mountain range that separate the cold, mountain region from the arid plains of Acary. The mountainous pathways through both the Spine and the Valy-Ishael mountains, bordering warm regions, tend to be dry and bearable, albeit rocky and inhospitable in their formation. However, the Valykia region is nothing less than a walled in winter-wonderland. The mountains of the Spine and Valy-Ishael ranges shoot so high into the sky, warm air simply doesn't penetrate. On the cold side of the mountains, there is only the Chilskehavet, or the Frozen Sea to the north, which brings in only strong, cold winds. But the mountain trees are towering beasts, and the people are rugged. Metal, those brave enough to seek it out, is plentiful deep within the mountains, where the Chilstahl runs like tree sap.

Acary
"Beauty? What do you know of such things? My friend, you have not experienced beauty. Beauty is the sunset over a lush desert oasis, where a topless desert maiden, fair as the warm sea, feeds you olives from the sprig while the other rubs you down with the finest smelling oils from the most lush desert cacti flowers. Maybe, while another shampoos your hair with soaps from Ienpokos. My friend, until you have done that, do not speak of beauty."
-Nikos Koinenos
To the south of the Valy-Ishael mountains (lit. The Cold and Hot mountains) lie the arid plains to Acary. Towards the center of the region, an inhospitable desert wasteland. Civilization flourishes on the periphery of this rather small portion of the region, where there are numerous plainsland oasis, (oasi?) and well maintained roads from the days of the Ienpokan Empire. Maritime settlements, as with most coastal society, flourishes in the warm Sulid Sea which is rich in colorful, large fish. Acary doesn't have many forests, and wood is scarce, though metal can be mined from deep mountain veins. Acary does have an abundance of clay, found at the shore or around the oasi, which, along with mud brick, is the primary building material in the area.

Halzud
"The cities are pretty, the land is grand and the sea as clear as a jewel. The food may be crude, the people oft rude, but to leave my sweet Halzud is cruel."
-Verse from Joliander's "Odye Halzudia"
Halzud lies to the south of Acary, several thousand miles away from the Teutonic peninsula. Halzud, about one and a half times the size of Teutonia, is only attached to the mainland by a land bridge a couple hundred miles wide, that floods for half the year. Halzud's climate is half tropical, half temperate (and indeed Halzud can be broken down into Hal or 'half' and Zud or 'south' - synonymous with "hot" or "tropical.") The Halzud people lead some of the easiest lives, exporting precious stones from their rich mines, in return for food stuffs from the regions surrounding them. Timber is also in excess towards the inland areas, but precious metal is still a primary import.

The Islands
"There could not be more of a difference between two people than a Clawman, and a Wingman. One, a prosperous craftsman, and the other, a virtuous farmer. The only things that keeps them from killing each other? A couple leagues of water between."
-Anonymous
This shattered archipelago was once whole, the home to an ancient and advanced civilization, cracked apart through events unknown. The Archipelago is divided into two sides, east and west, Claw and Wing respectively. The easternmost archipelago is rich in minerals and looks similar to the claw of a beast from the air. The Wing islands, rich in nothing more than arable land and harvest able forests, looks similar to the wing of a gull in it's curious shape. The archipelago lies several hundred miles west of Halzud, and just a couple hundred miles south of the south eastern coast of Midaly.

Ienpokos
"Civil? You speak to me about being civil, barbarian? While you were still nursing at the tits of the Tor, we were building Empires!"
-Prince Andronikos Hagios
The island of Ienpokos is a crescent shaped formation east of Acary. It's rich in many things; minerals and forests primarily, with somewhat rocky soil that makes growing slightly difficult. The Ienpokans have a a hot summer, and a very warm winter, which offsets the problem of lack of arable land slightly. The people of Ienpokos had the first real Empire, and expanded it at least half way through greatland, and were a great maritime civilization, thanks to their position in the warm waters of the Sulid sea, only a two years journey away from Sahar.

Peoples of Greatland

Midalians
"There are few people I find more repulsive than Midalians; no other group of humans have cried for so many decades about glory lost and done so little to remedy the problem. Well, except for the Ienpokans."
-Gallardo of Firans
The people inhabiting the Midaly region of Greatland tend to be the best benchmark for defining the "average" Greatlander in terms of height and weights. They stand roughly five and three quarter feet, have a bronzy skin tone (which gradually whitens as one moves away from the coast) and dark hair ranging from dirty blonde to auburn in coloration, often worn very short, with shaved or well barbered beards. Midalian language is a confusing mix of New Archeoc dialects, the offshoot of Imperial Archeoc, and the father language for many of the other languages of the surrounding areas. Midalians try desperately to cling to their old Imperial heritage, constantly obsessing about "the good old days" and always harkening back to the days of the mighty Midalian Empires. But the fact remains that they are now small fries, so to speak, fragmented into dozens of smaller kingdoms all claiming to be next in the inheritance of the Hegemony. So they remain highly  divided, and will remain so for all of  the foreseeable future.

Teutonians
"Whats to say about Teutonians? They got the Valyk in their blood. They are big, they drink too much, and prone to sudden and unprovoked bouts of ravenous behavior. Of course I like them! Lets invite more!"
-Kincaid II, King of the Sigurds
Teutonians are slightly larger than their Midalian counterparts, averaging an inch or two higher, with heights of over six foot fairly common. They have, on average a much whiter complexion, hair color gravitating towards blonde, strawberry or various shades of red, which they wear long, either braided, pony-tailed or down to their shoulders. They are considerably more well muscled than their Midalian counterparts as well, making them adept martial fighters, especially in the lines of nobility. Their strength does not go unnoticed in the lowest classes though, as the Teutonian working class make excellent laborers. The Teutonians, unlike mostly every other Greatland people, consider themselves all one people, working towards a common goal - at least in principle. That philosophy diminishes as one becomes a more powerful lord, and Teutonian lords tend to be some of the most powerful men on the continent. Thus, the reason for the establishment known as the Reichstadt, the council that holds it all the mixed aggressions, lies and threats in place. Teutonian language is a branch of Old Val, the mother of both Valyk and Reichzunge.

Ienpokans
"The Ienpokans cherish their culture, almost as much as their little boys."
-Severius Noverus
The Ienpokans are of the same stock as the Midalians, being of average height, with a slightly darker skin due to their position close to the equator. They generally wear their beards long, and hair cropped short, though this varies widely from region to region. They were the first real Imperial Power of Greatland. The Ienpokans, somewhat forgotten by the Tor, had been forced to survive off of technology alone, much of which was, quite literally alien to them. Long before the age of Empires, and only in the fledgling years of independent human civilization, did the Ienpokans create a complex society of inter-linking city states, the concept of citizenry and even the first vestiges of what might be commonly referred to as a democracy. Interestingly, their earliest years are plagued by violent and long civil wars between neighboring states, often for trivial reasons (over a woman perhaps, or over an ad-hominem attack on a diplomat for example.) Still, a wonderful dichotomy formed even within this early tumultuous period. Ienpokan culture was diverse, vibrant and in demand. Their mastery of alien technology, without the help of the Tor in manufacturing and instruction was unparalleled, and it was this advanced technology that they took and conquered nearly half of Greatland with. While the Empire ultimately failed, Ienpokos' fray into the mainland left it's mark, opening the floodgate to it's enlightened philosophy and culture. Until the rise of the Midalian state much later, Ienpokani was the language of academia and Ienpokan philosophy is still preeminently taught in schools across Greatland.

Acarids
"The Acarids believe themselves to be the evolutionary successor to the Ienpokan Empire. This, of course, has yet to be seen as Acary's boundaries have moved little in over seven hundred years."
-Jax the Chronicler
In the latter years of the Ienpokan Empire there was a last ditch effort at establishing a fully ethnically Ienpokan kingdom within Greatland. From Ienpokos, thousands of citizens (and their slaves) from every city state flooded onto the mainland, with the promises of becoming rich land owners. This dream, of course, quickly came to a close when the Empire, almost over night. All that remained were thousands of confused middle class citizens who were now stuck on foreign soil with no direction, no leaders, and no allies. So, in the fashions of the great Ienpokan city state Atensia, there was an election held to determine a worthy leader. Naturally, every citizen voted for a member from their city state, and nothing was accomplished. So, a letter was sent out to all the fledgling nations of Greatland, inviting members of their noble houses to run for king. After a healthy episode of drama, murder and plotting, it was a Caspernian noble who ascended to the throne as the first king of the Acarids, or "Forgotten People." Acary, with culture very similar to Ienpokos, also has a strange mix of Caspernian and Valykian culture intermingled (perhaps not so surprising) and to this day, a very very (VERY) distant branch of the Acarid royal family still shares blood with the Caspernian Storm Kings.

Caspernians
"Never trust a fully aged man who shaves off all the hair on his face."
-Teutonian proverb (Dont trust Caspernians)
Caspernians are similar in build to Teutons, though perhaps on average a little smaller, and slightly less fair (though physical distinction becomes near impossible close to the border of the two regions.) They often are referred to as "priestly" as it is common in male fashion to shave one's face completely head included. The richest may even wax their bald pate, giving them a shiny, reflective cranium. This custom is somewhat alien, and it's origin unknown, but it's hypothesized that it stems from the tendency of the early rehumans attempting to emulate the look of the Tor. Caspernians are, like Teutons, hard working people who have a somewhat less than perfect piece of land, but have adapted so well as to thrive on it. They are tremendously skilled builders, being among the first people to record building fortifications, and mount sieges in the earliest days of rehuman existence. They do have a tendency to be quite fractious though, and there is a tremendous amount of pride in one's own parcel of land, even at the most local levels. This stress, this natural desire to decentralize at the lowest level. The lords, likewise, are very careful that they maintain complete control over their parcels of land, and when possible, make efforts to establish their own dominions within Caspernian at the expense of other lords, or even the king. While both Teutonia and Caern also have a distinct feudal order, Caspernia's nobility is by far the most empowered, making the position of the current Storm Kings (kings of Caspernia) a seriously disadvantaged one, bordering on simply ceremonial.

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