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[Atheus] General Notations/Ideas

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On the subject of sea travel.

There are three main groups that use the sea in Atheus. Raiders, merchants, fishermen, and the navy. We will examined each in turn.

First, the merchants (Side Note: there are no passenger ships. Travelers who want to go by sea rent some extra space aboard a merchant ship, and provide their own food and shelter). Depending on where you need to go, travel by sea may be faster or cheaper than travel by land. Especially if you'd need to cross several borders- importation of foreign goods is taxed. Therefore, the merchants may flock to the sea. But because of the shape of the continent, there are no major islands for them to go to. Therefore, there is simply no point in putting in the time and money to discover the technology to allow ships to sail deep in the ocean. So, merchant shipping hugs the land.

This in turn effects both the fishing ships and the navy. We will examine the fishing industry before the navy. Because the people with money (the merchants) aren't spending that money on deep sea sailing, fishing ships also hug the shore. And besides, the coastline of Atheus does not facilitate fishing. The most common area with fish are the northwestern islands. Naturally, only the barbarian tribes of that area can access that resource. Thus, the small number of fisherman are confined to the coastline, and cannot go into deep water and get whales, porpoises, etc.

The navies of the humans, too, are affected by the merchant's failure to invent devices for deep sea exploration. Though the human countries could pour money into that research, there are far more pressing matters for them. The navies tend to be pathetic, especially compared to the various navies of Earth. The ships use old tech, face budget issues (most military spending goes into the army), and lack of recruits. Because of the shape of the continent, naval battles have almost never featured into any wars. Except for one ancient one (that predates the banishment of the non-human races), where one tiny city-state built a fleet in secret and used it to conquer another city, the only naval battles are between the navy (though almost always on the northern section of the human portion of Atheus) and the Raiders.

It is the Raiders who actually use naval technology. Based in the northwestern islands and on the coast near there, they Raiders evolved from fishermen. As the story goes, Gertyl the Red, a dwarf of a tribe that was highly dependent on fishing, was captain of a small fishing ship (Athean dwarves are ambivalent towards water, as are every other race). One year, there wasn't much fish to catch, and so Gertyl stuck on the grand idea of sailing his ship down south and taking the humans. He was very successful, and so the Raiding was born.

Raiders depend on quick, surgical strikes on area that have the maximum amount of resources and the minimum amount of protection. There ships reflect this, and the Raiders have, through their own research, made ships that can quickly disembark onto shoreline (though this is unimportant, as you can just anchor a mile or two away from the attack spot), and can quick embark onto the open sea, preferably before the cavalry come. Though the Raiders themselves have not yet found methods of deep sea travel, they bear the greatest chance of discovering it. Some tribes are trying to improve their Raiding speed, while others may try to escape outside the navy's reach and into deep waters- thus giving them an unmolested trip home.

On the subject of religion and cults.

On a more personal note, yes, I'm going to have to pick one of the following religions to turn into a full fledged sub. And two, since I plan to pledge to the Divine Synod, I'll expand another of these religions there. I plan to stick around with Atheus for a while.

Okay then. Onward to religion. First, we are going to discuss the Barbarian religions. The Barbarians are typically polytheistic. Each tribe worships a particular god, who has a pair of things the god is the lord of. For example, a tribe of goblins may worship Elthiyanos, God of Storms and Spears. That tribe would have monuments towards Elthiyanos, and so on and so forth. Typically, a tribe's god reflects the tribe's culture in some way. The goblins worshiping Elthiyanos may prefer using spears in combat, or will use their racial abilities to make magic weapons that use storm-like magic as an ability. Multiple tribes can and will worship the same god, and some gods of different tribes can be god of the same thing. With the Elthiyanos example, say that a tribe of orcs lives nearby, and worships Grathka, God of Storms and Fear.

This hodgepodge of religions and different god worshipping does not lead to animosity, except in the second example, of two tribes worshipping gods that are god of the same thing. The goblins worshiping Elthiyanos and the orcs worshiping Grathka are probably going to get into a Holy War between the two sides, and will only end when one side converts to the other (or the two gods are merged into one god, that is lord of Storms, Spears, and Fear, but the Kill-Them-Until-They-Agree-With-Us is far, far more common).

The humans, on the other hand, have two main religions. The first is Trianarianism. This is the one I'll probably expand into a sub (NOTE: I just expanded this one. Link: Trianarianism.) The basic tenets is that there are three main deities/ways of life. These three are Ambition, Altruism, and Honor. You pick a Way when you become 18 years of age. Switching Ways is allowed, but highly frowned upon, and may lead to being exiled or shamed out of whatever town or city you were living in.

The second religion of the humans is called Lunae. It is the middle ground betwen the human's Trinarianism and the barbarian's polytheism. It features a total of eight gods, each representing a phase of the moon and a characteristic of that phase. The eight would be new moon, waxing crescent, waxing half moon, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, waning half moon, and waning crescent. The moon a person is born under is believed to determine the type of person you are.

These three religions don't stay on their side of the border. You can see Trinarianistic barbarians, and polytheistic humans. However, Lunae is more common to be worshiped by all the races than the others.

A brief mention of cults should be put here. Cults, in both Atheus and real life, are not necessarily evil. They are simply new religious movements that are probably weird to the main religion in some way. For example, Christianity was a cult back when it first began. In Atheus, cults have and do start. They usually start in small, human villages- the barbarians are busy trying to survive to try and make up a new religion. Some of them are, yes, "evil," and do the whole Human and Animal Sacrifice to strange heathen demons with far too many tentacles (there needs to be someone for the PCs to kill), and some just think that everyone should get along and be nice to each other for a change.

On the subject of Soul Scaring Day

I should probably do a post on magic in Atheus. I bring that up because this post touches on one aspect of magic: Necromancy.

Though various false twists of logic that only society can, much of Atheus has decided that scaring the undead with Jack o' Lanterns and other such wards keeps those undead away. And from that logic, Soul Scaring Day was born. The holiday is one that's for the children, and in it, the parents let their kids craft away. They'll let the kids carve Jack o' Lanterns, and some wooden wards, and hang the old horseshoe on the door, and all of that stuff.

And what with all this pumpkin carving, there's usually a pumpkin pie contest for the adults to compete in and the kids to sample (and to help their parents with the competition through sabotage by stealing the neighbor's pie- Oh! Instant Plot: Where the H*** is my Pie?!? Turns outs ghosts took it).

And then, during the evening, with the house made safe from undead intrusions, its safe for the father to tell ghost stories to his kids.

And then to tuck them into bed when they fall asleep.

On the subject of magic.

Some of what I'm about to write will invalidate what I have written in my Atheus sub. My response as to why I'm about to invalidate it is this: that was more of a placeholder until I could create a reason for magic that was more in tune with my ideas for the setting. I'll go back and put and edit in there eventually.

Magic exists in a whole other dimension from the one in which Atheus lies, and yet is an integral part. I lack the vocabulary to adequately describe what is actually occurring. Magic flows through the very being and souls of the denizens of Atheus as a river. And where does it come from? It comes from the wizards. Select few living organisms (these organism including plants, animals, bateria, protists, and fungi in equal numbers) can act as a conduit, a spring (to continue the aquatic analogy from before) for that magic into the real world. And from those wizards, the magic flows into others.

As I described in my How Weapons Become Magic Weapons sub, which I made a part of the Atheus universe, a warrior's weapon can gain magic simply by doing great deeds. The mechanics of this act can be explained thus: using the aquatic analogy, the great deeds done by the warrior, and the extended use of that weapon create a depression in the land on which the magic/water flows. Water falls into it, and fills it, and thus is absorbed by the weapon and is able to give off magical powers. You could also think of it as the magic being attracted to the weapon through magnetism.

I also mentioned goblins being the only race that could craft magic weapons and magic tools without those weapons and tools being used. How is this done? The goblins have the inherent ability to somehow sense it, and have the magical equivalent of buckets to carry the water and dump it where it will. They have developed a process to enhance their natural ability to force the magic into the weapon. And thus the weapon gains magic.

Wizards themselves, as I said before, can be of any species. You are just as likely to have a human wizard as you are to have a rose wizard. "But what does it matter if a rose is a wizard?" a reader might ask. "It has no brain, it cannot cast spells." There are two types of magic used by wizards: sorceries and spells. Sorceries are wild magics, unbridled magics, the magics of someone or something that does not know how to control or contain the magic. Usually, the sorceries will aid the wizard in some way. And not necessarily anyone else. For the rose wizard, its sorceries might increase its growth rate drastically, so it absorbs much more sun, the better to photosynthesize with. For a wolf wizard, its sorceries might make its prey slower and more lethargic. And so on. Animal, plant, fungi, protist, and bacteria wizards can be very deadly. Thankfully, wizards of all species are exceedingly rare.

The second type of magic is spell magic. Humans, dwarves, and elves have long ago (back before the humans started being racist toward the other races and kicked them out of the eastern half of Atheus) invented spells. They are a structured magic, an organized magic. They have specific effects and draw backs, and are governed. It allows a wizard to know exactly what will happen when they release the magic. The main drawback of spells (with the drawback of sorcery being the randomness) is how exhausting it all is. Controlling the magic as it comes out burns energy. Holding it all in so only a controlled trickle can come forth burns your body's stores of energy.

Both types of magic never have much of a lasting effect. Though this is misleading. The effects of the magic will stay forever, but the magic itself disappears. Casting a fireball will cause burning and death. The burning and the death lasts forever (the scars won't disappear, the ashes won't revert into wood, and the bodies won't resurrect), but the fire will disappear. The more magic (and thus the more energy) used, the longer the effects of the spell can last, but there will be an end.

Next up: Spells and their Sub-classes! Including everyone's favorite, Necromancy!

I really like the idea that anything with a soul can be a wizard.  Rose wizard = double plus good.  You could event take another step in the Shinto direction, and say that everything has a soul and can therefore be a wizard.  Rock wizards and waterfall wizards.

I don't like the word "sourcery".


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