Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Sat Jul 04, 2015 1:02 pm

The Free Republic of Katangha is a state on Cordillera, the Western Hemisphere.

Straddling the tropical coast of the Great Ocean, Katangha has a long and storied history. The regional kingdoms were conquered by the First Emperor of Dai Xich some 2200 years ago. Katangha was a commandery of Dai Xich for hundreds of years; broke away in the 6th century; was reconquered in the 9th; subjugated by the navies of Great Ninmah in the 14th century, fought over by Ninkhursag and Dai Xich in the 15th; revolted against Dai Xich again in the 18th century and ultimately gained independence it has maintained since.

Current day Katangha is a plucky and proudly democratic federal republic. It is a regional power that is militarily dwarfed by much larger powers in its neighborhood. Perhaps because it traditionally faces powerful neighbors however Katangha greatly values discretion and thoughtful initiative, and it is renowed for possessing exceptionally trained and skilled commanders and diplomats.

It needs this significant diplomatic 'soft power' to mediate the constant leapfrogging conflicts of the Impact Archipelago, settle squabbles over mineral and trade rights with San Doradan corporations and to fend off claims by Dai Xich, whose Red Emperor formally still considers Katangha one of his twenty-eight mansions. Its resources are also greatly stretched by its humanitarian effort to relieve the Long Emergency on Iram, directly to its south. These efforts however have also brought it significant international recognition and prestige. As a result whenever a conflict in the Great Ocean flares up one of the first questions on everybody's lips will inevitably be "where is the President of Katangha?"
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Sat Jul 04, 2015 11:19 pm

Fahrettin Khayr Vaejah (c. 1078 - 1146) was an 11th/12th century admiral and naval explorer from the Sultanate of Dar Qimr. He is commonly considered one of the greatest explorers and admirals in history. Among his many accomplishments is that he organized and commanded the first documented expedition to circumnavigate the world.

His father was Mazan, one of multiple ethnic groups native to the Sultanate's northern coasts, and his mother was a Daedalean renegade from Nikon who had converted to the Izady faith. They were moderately wealthy traders in Mabrouka and purchased a boat to trade their products. Khayr and his younger sister helped their parents with their business.

Khayr became an accomplished sailor and eventually obtained his own ship. Then, while returning from a trading expedition in Ezzah, his parents' ship was attacked by the House of the Wolf, the Canhastyry military order from Caiseal. The boat was captured, Khayr's father was killed in the fight and his sister was taken as prisoner and detained in the Wolf castle at Cae Gwaun for nearly three years. Upon learning the location of his sister, Khayr went to Caiseal and managed to help Chandra escape.

Impressing Umran II, the prince-governor of Mabrouka upon his return, Khayr was given 18 ships and a privateer's commission. He was charged with fighting the Canhastyry raiders who were wreaking havoc on the coasts of the Sultanate.

Khayr proved singularly succesful at this, his attempts to rebuff the seaborne raiders eventually culminating in an attack by two hundred vessels from the Sultanate on Cae Gwaun. This was the first ever naval attack from Dar Qimr on Caiseal, and it burned a significant part of the city and large numbers of ships at anchor. The assault came as a massive shock to the Canhastyry; afterward Khayr came to be known as Magh Vae, a kind of incarnation of godly wrath and displeasure. For this great success he earned the title of Pasha of Mabrouka.

In 1116 the Canhastyry corsair threat was significantly reduced. However there was a new Sultan on the throne and Umran II had been on the wrong side of the seccession struggle. Suddenly bereft of a patron, in political disrepute and a potential military and political threat, Khayr was called before the court of the new Sultana Firasah. The Sultana however owed a favor to his sister and when Chandra interceded on her brother's behalf Khayr was not simply executed but given what was thought to be an impossible task: the circumnavigation of the world. He was given five ships and 270 men and on 10 August of 1116 departed the westerly port of Firoza.

The expedition succesfully passed the Bab-el-Mandeb and the Eye of Storms shortly after, passed Iram without losing any men to disease (which at the time was itself was considered a great blessing) and reached Halcyon in Katangha in January of 1117. This was not by any means the first expedition from Dar Qimr to reach the western coast of Dai Xich, but it was still remarkable enough that the arrival of the tiny flotilla under the 'the great barbarian champion Fai Qin' was noted down and recorded in the Vault of Heaven and Earth, the great library of the Red Emperors said to contain all knowledge under the stars.

After being feted by the court of the Red Emperor the expedition waited for favorable winds and then departed west for a grueling quest through the labyrintine and treacherous currents, reefs and islets of the Impact Archipelago. Beset by disease, mutiny, starvation, hostile native kingdoms, terrifying weather and lethal ship-crushing deep-sea monsters the flotilla was gradually whittled down on a three-year voyage through the seemingly never-ending chain of islands.

By the time Khayr's men reached the easternmost edge of the Daedalean Empire he had only two leaky ships and just under a hundred men left. The commander of the Golden Navy that intercepted his worn-down ships at first refused to believe who they were and where they had come from. Once word spread to Daedalopolis however the flotilla was received in the imperial capital where the admiral and his men were dignified with a parade, a rare honor for foreigners in the empire.

The last leg of the journey was somewhat familiar territory again for sailors from Dar Qimr, from the Empire to San Dorado, onward to Tshkumkara and then a leap across the Central Sea to Ezzah, sinking a pair of Canhastyry ships on the way. By the time they arrived in the easterly port city five years and four months had passed since their departure, and traders from San Dorado had already reported the fact that admiral Fahrettin was coming. Sixty-nine of the original 270 men were still alive.

The Sultana recognized the monumental achievement by awarding Khayr the lordship of much of the northern coast of Dar Qimr and giving him the honorary name Fajruddin Fajr, meaning so much as The First Dawn, in recognition of the easterly direction his flotilla had sailed off in.

Khayr retired in Mabrouka in 1145, leaving his son Fahrettin Emran Pasha as his successor. He dictated his memoirs, consisting of seven hand-written volumes. The great admiral died a year later in his seaside palace and was buried in a mausoleum on the shore. Mabrouka today is the largest naval base of the Sultanate and the seamen of Dar Qimr salute the mausoleum of Fahrettin Khayr Pasha with a cannon shot every time they leave for naval operations and battles.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Mon Jul 13, 2015 5:58 pm

The Three Jewels of the World is a term for the world's three greatest, most remarkable cities. The term was first used in the 10th century by the Canhastyry scholar Alsandair of Rhiainfell. Alsandair travelled extensively around the Central Sea, accompanying traders from Cae Gwaun and writing about his travels. Many of his writings are preserved in the Hundred Halls of Thought, now part of the Imperial School of Haut Istrenval. Today many cities in the world - like San Dorado, Sadrakarta or Kirat - rival the Three Jewels in terms of population, land area or GDP, but none can claim the history of the Three Jewels.


Daedalopolis 'The Queen of Cities', 'the City of Law' and the capital of the Daedalean Empire. Built on six hills overlooking the Daikarian Gulf and the White Sea beyond, Daedalopolis is widely regarded as one of the oldest cities in the world with ruins found under its oldest parts dating back to approximately 14,000 years ago. It is a city of columns, friezes and grand boulevards rising in unison toward the Basileion, the highest hilltop dominated by the marble walls of the imperial palace. The fortifications defending the city were breached only once, when the Kagarians infamously plundered Daedalopolis in the 14th century.

Dakinh The emerald city of the red emperors is the 4th largest city in the world today, but it has been prominent since the 3rd century when the Claret Empress declared it the capital of Dakinh. She wrote the Poem of Spring here and according to myth ascendeded to heaven from the hilltop overlooking the Jade Spring Lake. The shadowy, perfumed mezzanines and galleries of Dakinh for centuries were a nearly mythical place on Transkagaria, owing no doubt to its relative remoteness and the reclusiveness of the red emperors. Dakinh is also where the Vault of Heaven and Earth, the cultural complex comprising royal palaces, pagoda's, mausoleums, temples and libraries is located.

Sitarah The city of winds and trees is the economic, cultural, and historical heart of the Sultanate of Dar Qimr. It is much older than the Sultanate however, preceding the Izady faith of the Sultans by many thousands of years. Once it was the seat of the Old Kingdom of Khaset-Hedj and thrived as a regional centre for commerce, trade, and religion. After the Old Kingdom was overthrown the city declined and by the year zero the city was nearly abandoned, until its valley was resettled by the Izady in the 5th century. Some of the oldest temples in the city are in fact repurposed ruins of old abandoned holy places, where the sacred pictographic script of Khaset-Hedj can still be seen.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Fri Jul 17, 2015 2:45 pm

San Dorado City Hall is located in Concord Green at the south-western end of the Miracle Mile on Lower Yronwood, San Dorado City. It is the third building of the name. When it was first built in the first decade of the 17th century the current City Hall was strictly symmetrical, three wings wrapped around a large enclosed courtyard. In 1706 it was expanded with a fourth pavilion capped with a ribbed and hemispherical dome giving it its current, palatial form.

San Dorado City Hall is the headquarters of the joint stock Community of the Companies of San Dorado. Businesses and residents with shares in the Community are entitled to sit 'under the dome' in the historic Chamber of the Board of Councilmen, and vote in its elections that for example appoint the Mayor of San Dorado. With all major corporations and most of the city's ultra-rich represented on its Board the Community is the closest thing San Dorado has to an official government, and consequently 'City Hall' has become something of a shorthand for San Dorado as a singular entity.

The Community, and by extension City Hall, exists primarily to maintain a semblance of order in the city. It does this by farming out contracts for utilities, public safety, roads and so on (primarily to its own members), but it also and perhaps more importantly is instrumental in resolving turf wars, conflicts of interests and financial disputes between the city's most powerful corporations. Informal compacts and secret societies with the same goal have existed in the city since at least the 9th century. The first official predecessor to the Community was the Great Council of San Dorado formed by the city's patrician families in the in the mid-12th century. The Great Council morphed into the joint-stock Community in 1527, and first City Hall was purchased six years later.

City Hall is notably separate from the Mayor's Office, which is located at 13 Grange Park on Manor Rock, and much older than the Community.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Fri Jul 17, 2015 2:53 pm

Hmmm... the strange exotic societies populating this world reminds me of Dune for some reason, maybe just because I'm reading it. I am wondering if the more post-apocalyptic regions, or those suffering just extreme breakdowns, or even generally speaking even... if more advanced forms of scientific knowledge, the capacity of innovation and invention and the theories needed for these, could have become esoteric arts jealously horded by orders, from scholarly to monastic, growing increasingly more eccentric while being intertwined in the power structures that need them to survive, and that they need as... "hosts" for their continuity?

How are inter-national communications anyway? If the setting is really crapsack, long-range telecommunications might be hard to do because decades or even centuries ago, bygone powers could have taken their nuclear skirmishes into space, messing up the ionosphere? Or some satellite war could have enshrouded orbit with a flurry of shrapnel, ala Gravity?

Maybe nations with space-tech use things like space-planes and space capsules so sparingly, due to the impassable orbital shrapnel storms, so it has to be under super-special and desperate circumstances that San Dorado would deploy a Silver Streak or Silver Shrike orbital bomber to nuke some existential threat halfway across the globe? Risking something that the military-industrial complex might be hard pressed to reproduce or repair in this day and age?
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Fri Jul 17, 2015 6:10 pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:- science
To be honest I'm still at the stage where I'm filling in the world with faiths and a broad-strokes history and states that hopefully aren't entirely offensive one-dimensional pastiches so it's difficult to give a precise answer to this, as it's likely to be subject to a lot of change.

Having said that, scientific progress is certainly much less even, much less democratic and almost universally much more centrally controlled. There are also a number of institutes in the world that are as much hermetic as they are scientific. There's a local 'flavour' too, for example in San Dorado progress is mainly top-secret corporate R&D; Sigmaringa has the esoteric School of Night; and in broken-down places like Iram (the nuked island) progress is likely the providence of survivalist engineers and self-thinking machines in deep bunkers.

Generally speaking I think it's safe to say that scientific knowledge is shared much less in this world, and needless to say whoever controls the progression of knowledge also shapes its priorities.

(I'm thinking there's a few nations where science is much more free, specifically under the red emperors, but they are exceptions.)
- international communications
Right now I'd like to say that the standard for international communications is still telex machines and telephones. With perhaps a few 'red lines' between rival empires and a handful of small international digital networks.

I haven't decided on whether there should be a 'League of Nations' of some kind yet.
- spaaace
I really like the idea that space is super-hazardous for some reason, and that orbital infrastructure as a result is fairly rare and expensive. Perhaps through a combination of solar storms, meteor showers and the occasional weaponized space conflict. Maybe there was never a treaty regarding satellite overflight so everyone reserves the right to shoot down whatever passes overhead with tactical nuclear weapons?
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:06 pm

Those space hazards, particularly solar storms and flares and meteors, might have caused dirtside instabilities too. Heatwaves could cause drought and famines or even just higher food prices. I remember reading about how a climate change algorithm predicted rising food prices in the equatorial regions and the resulting social discord, it pretty much foresaw Arab Spring.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Sun Jul 19, 2015 5:49 pm

In terms of weather instability the 9th century on this world saw the end of a minor ice age. As a result of favorably changing weather and a thawing climate population boomed on Caiseal (the home island of Teyrnon-Canhastyr) and in Kagaria, which in turn lead to migrations and raids, causing major trouble for Dar Qimr and ending that empire's expansion, and outright ending the golden age of the Daedalean Empire. Dai Xich saw similar troubles, with droughts and famines and civil wars that lead to large areas splintering away from central authority. As a result the 10th-15th centuries were pretty much this world's dark ages.

I don't think it ever got quite that unstable again, but sure weather patterns could fluctuate quite wildly. Hence the coasts of Lothal ravaged by multi-year storms and super aggressive jungles full of hyper-virulent diseases in the Impact Archipelago (some of these diseases may indeed have come from spaaaace themselves!)

But now for something different:

The School of Night, situated on the northern coast of the Kingdom of Sigmaringa, is officially called the Ytre Skei Academy College of Theophany. The academy was first established as a Daedalean monastery in the 9th century dedicated primarily to the study of the auroral lights, electric currents and chasmata in the polar region.

The nickname 'School of Night' was coined because of the academy's location in the far north. In the two months of winter from late November to late January the Ytre Skei region of Sigmaringa experiences polar nights where the sun is always below the horizon and there is only a bluish twilight for a couple of hours around noon. In addition the weather in the region is terrible for much of the year, with fog and snowstorms rolling in from the jagged arctic peaks with frightening regularity.

After the Sigmaringan Schism of 1240 the remote monastery came under direct control of the Sigmaringan crown. Over a course of years the Sigmaringan kings replaced instruction in Graic with the native Ald Edh, and expanded Ytre Skei into the largest academy for esoteric traditions on Transkagaria. This infuriated the Daedalean emperors whose position is that they as lawgivers and incarnations of the God-Word should have sole supervision of all "rejected knowledge".

Due to its remoteness the College of Teophany has developed a unique philosophical tradition. It claims to work toward a single, true understanding of the fundamental nature of the world by blending such diverse fields as philosophy, chemognosticism, mesoscopic physics, hierotopy, fractional world theory, eschatology and exclusion theory. Daedalean propaganda paints the academy mostly as 'occult' or 'pagan', rendering the moniker 'School of Night' in more sinister overtones.

The isolationist kingdom has been traditionally hesitant to admit foreigners to the School of Night, although exceptions are occasionally made. Somewhat uniquely the Academy College regularly hosts a handful of exchange students from Ashcroft University in scholarships sponsored by AxumFinans, one of San Dorado's 'gang of seven'. Upon graduation these students tend to disappear into an enigmatic network of experimental finance subsidiaries with names like Z-H Prognostic Answers or the Thiel Foundation.

Ytre Skei is the last stop of the 'Polarbanen', the arctic railway arcing from the capital Svarsvik through the north of Sigmaringa.

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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Sun Sep 06, 2015 9:26 pm

One of the main deities worshipped on Teyrnon Canhastyr is Ancamma, the Drowned God, who is the father of the battle-goddess Morrighain.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Sun Sep 13, 2015 4:31 pm

The Nazhindri faith the faith of Akka. It is an ancient religious system of esoteric teachings that includes a wide corpus of texts, practices, theological positions and organizations. Nazhindri cosmology principally concerns itself with three unchanging, eternal, and mysterious godheads and their relationships with a multitude of lesser empyrean beings and the mortal and finite universe.

Nazhindrism was founded as a sect in the 4th century BC* on the teachings of Shalmaneser Armari. Persecuted as a heretic, Shalmaneser was forced to flee Old Assam and made his way to Akka, where his teachings spread until in 346 BC the royal house converted and became the new core of the Nazhindrist priesthood.

Shalmaneser is considered an awakened prophet by his followers. According to his Creation Hymn at the core of the universe are three entities. These are often rendered as gods, although the Hymn is actually more fluid in its description and arguably the three are better understood as manifestations of particular universal forces.

Ur-Koma is chaos, the Babel of the Marrow, the prime mover full of seething expectation and instinctual creative drives. She is an egotist force shunning unpleasure in favor of blind destruction and transformation. Her eternal counterpart is Yu Sher, He Who Saw The Deep, who forever seeks to indulge Ur-Koma. He conceals her primordial chaos, molds it into lasting substance and limits the grief it brings. Yu Sher is a force of denial, fantasy, repression, substitution and regression.
Under a storm-laden sky Yu Sher and Ur-Koma quarrel bitterly, and we are the words.
According to Nazhindrist teaching the eternal struggle between these fundamental forces has shaped the universe from the tiniest subatomic particles to the greatest galaxies, and gave rise to the third godhead: Tyche, Firstborn, who simultaneously embodies and rejects her begetters. She is guilt and perfection, dissent and rebellion, right and wrong, wicked and wakeful, conscience from the hollow, the blind mistress of arbitrary violence, unmeaning reverses and uneasy change. Tyche is simultaneously venerated for precipitous fortune and reviled for a fickle harlot. The San Doradan belief in Tyche Chancebringer is an occultist syncretic adaptation of Nazhindri tradition.

The center of Nazhindrism remains to this day Tirthankar, the capital of the island kingdom Akka, better known simply as Temple Cliff. Here the Sibilants maintain two great temples hewn out of the rocky heights overlooking the holy lake. One is dedicated to Ur-Koma, the other to Yu Sher; a great artificial ford of red bricks reaches across the lake and connects the two temples, allowing processions one way or another depending on the day, the hour and the positions of the planets. The edges of the lake are lined with palaces and smaller temples dedicated to innumerable lesser angels and heavenly beings, each of whom has a specific philosophical purpose in the working of the cosmos.

However much the temple-masters of Tirthankar are considered enlightened scholars, Nazhindrist theological thought is nevertheless highly diverse and has no central doctrinal authority. There are multiple denominations across the world: some are ascetic and monastic whereas others are outwardly oriented; some are sombre whereas others are joyful; some venerate Shalmaneser as a lesser deity whereas many do not; indeed Nazhindrist beliefs have inspired saints and terrorists alike. Great philosophical debates rage between different denominations, but they are still bound by shared cosmological concepts, recognizable rituals, poetry and exalted texts.

Nazhindrism is one of the largest religions in the world, and its temples can consequently be found the globe over. Missionaries have frequently faced persecution, and while Dar Qimr and Dai Xich today grudgingly tolerate Nazhindrist cults as long as they keep a low profile, the religion is still outlawed in the Daedalean Empire, Kagaria and Ninkhursag.


* BC in this world stands for 'Before the City', and relates to the dedication of the first Basileion in Daedalopolis. The grand palace is considered the seal that fully realized the city, and its completion symbolizes the moment that Daedaleans stopped thinking of themselves as a city-state and began to consider themselves an empire.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:57 am

Updated world map (click for full screen):

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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:55 pm

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Haut Istrenval is the capital and most populous city of the Serene Empire der Ligne Teyrnon Canhastyr. A minor and insignificant coastal settlement in its early history, the city gained significance only when Thyra Canhastyr fortified the promontory behind the small southern hamlet in 1251. Canhastyr was ascendant at the time but the other kingdoms of Caiseal were aligning against its belligerent queen, who decided it prudent to have an unassailable redoubt at hand.

When the War of the Last Kings finally did break out in 1265 Ashcreagh Hall in Haut Istrenval was the largest, most modern and most formidable castle in Thyra's domain. The town was walled in during the early years and resisted multiple sieges during the 92 year long war. It became the de facto capital after the Catastrophe of 1337 when the Freyrs burned down the ancestral Canhastyri stronghold at Meirion Yrth and Queen Elisiv was assasinated by her brother Vjalmir. After five years of setbacks and misfortune Emryn Canhastyr cut down her uncle and avenged her mother on the inner court of Ashcreagh Hall, and fifteen years later the castle was where she was crowned Her Serene Imperial Majesty Emryn Canhastyr I, first queen and empress of the unified isle.

Although it was now the capital of the newfound empire for the next three centuries the castle and the city remained two distinct entities. The ever-expanding citadel Ashcreagh Hall developed into a true capital in governmental terms whilst the city grew to be the islands largest city and principal commercial centre.

Still the city was relatively compact when the age of Canhastyri mercantilist imperialism began in the mid-15th century. Colonialist exploitation of instabilities on Transkagaria and in Dar Qimr and newly established trade links with Yaxiya and San Dorado led to a strong outburst of commercial activity. In the centuries to follow Haut Istrenval grew rich on imperial plunder. The history of the city can be traced by grandiose monuments erected with pillaged gold. Its number of inhabitants exploded from 100.000 in 1447 to a million and a half in 1800, making Haut Istrenval the largest city in the world. The Imperial Exchange was founded, and monopoly trading companies with the remote Impact Archipelago were established. In the early 19th century Haut Istrenval became the principal Central Sea port, leading directly into a series of bitter and violent trade wars with rival merchants from San Dorado.

The hardships and fortunes of Haut Istrenval have always been tied tightly to Canhastyri overseas conquests and defeats, and the last century has been no different. In the last century great wars and imperialist reversals have scarred the city, be it in the shape of once-grand palaces now visibly ill-maintained or remaining bomb damage pockmarcks from great bombardments. It is frequently said that Haut Istrenval is much diminished from its erstwhile imperial glory, certainly compared to longtime rival San Dorado which has long overtaken it as the largest and most prosperous city in the world.

But diminished or no, Haut Istrenval is still a formidable city in its own right, a focus of culture and civilization, an economic powerhouse home to numerous museums, galleries, libraries, monuments, stadiums and vast landmarks, the beating heart of a world-spanning empire. The White and Silver still flies from every dome and spire. Proud imperial warships still anchor off its coast. And above the city still towers Ashcreagh Hall, the residence and principal workplace of the Queen-Empress, its light a beacon and a challenge visible from far at sea.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Mon Sep 28, 2015 10:54 pm

Another world map update; Vedican continent now fully filled in. Also the continent is now home to two very large inland seas.

Image

Directly south of San Dorado is the Grace of the Palmaran Coast, six county-princedoms that were Canhastyri crusader states in the 11th century but have long since become independent (or rather, heavily dependent on San Doradan favours). They are:

I Caldora,
II Ravane,
III Falcaras,
IV Montante,
V Falcaras Transmarinare,
VI Dal Salona

The technical supreme authority on the Palmaran Coast is Alisa I, Hereditary Grand Princess of the Principality of Palmara, Countess of Montante, Suzerain of the Coast, Marquise of Wircrowe. The latter title still carries weight on Teyrnon-Canhastyr: technically the Grand Princess is a noble of the Serene Empire. Conversely, the rulers of the other counties generally go their own way, caring only very little for the authority of the countess indeed.

The Palmaran Coast is very mountainous and spawns multiple rivers, the most significant of which may be the Slate which feeds San Dorado.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Tue Oct 06, 2015 2:38 pm

Black Flowers (fleurs de guerre, cadaver poppies, Papaver Apsinthos, sable souls, wormweed, Azhar-Sūd) is a type of poisonous flowering plant. Infamous for their dangerous inklike petals and torpor-inducing odour, Black Flowers were first recorded to appear in the aftermath of the Battle of Kalyvia-Gol in 1813.

Even amidst the destruction brought by the War of the Eight Saints Kalyvia-Gol stands out as one of the bloodiest battles of early-modern warfare. In the narrow passes through the Taor Heights the Great Horde of Kagaria repeatedly clashed with a larger Daedalean and Zrankaian army led by Emperor Marcian and Grand Comites Ioanthe. All accounts describe the battle as unutterably apocalyptic. Harried by terrible weather both sides over the course of weeks mounted repeated fanatical infantry and cavalry charges into narrow choke points defended by concentrated artillery. The battle ended in a draw as winter set in, but not before racking up an estimated 800,000 casualties and losses.

During the battle accounts on both side record the transformation of bare war-ravaged land into fields of strange ebon flowers, growing around the bodies of fallen soldiers. "The Black Flowers of Kalyvia-Gol" records one Zrankaian lieutenant, "appear naturally in conditions of disturbed earth rich in ammonium nitrate and decaying corpses". He goes on to describe the poisonous effects the flowers appear to have on soldiers who disturb the fields, blistering skin, numbing senses and inducing mind-altering episodes that include sleeplessness, panic, paranoia, alien thoughts and hallucinations.

According to at least one Kagarian chronicle the Black Flowers first appeared where a "great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky into a mountain of ice. Around the pit of the falling star the black flowers appeared and the melting waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter." In more recent years Kagarian propaganda has used this account to paint the Black Flowers as a Daedalean artillery dispersed biological agent. This seems exceedingly unlikely however as the commanders of the Immaculate League at the time expressed their surprise and apprehension at the appearance of the "wormweeds". Ioanthe, the Grand Comites of Zrankai, in a gloomy letter to her brother at home wondered if one Black Flower sprouted for every dead soul in the high passes.

Despite repeated attempts to root them out the Black Flowers spread out from Kalyvia-Gol over the course of the 19th century, appearing first on the Sarakan peninsula, the Impact Archipelago and later even on Dar Qimr. Much like their first recorded appearance Black Flowers frequently bloom in high death toll warzones. They represent one of the main dangers of a modern battlefield comparable to, if more insidious than, unexploded ordinance.

Today Kalyvia-Gol is a designated "zone of alienation" in the middle of the DMZ between Kagaria and the Daedalean Empire. The area remains heavily contaminated and is evacuated of people.

Nazhindrist belief links the Black Flowers to the legendary Pits of Corruption sealed many thousands of years ago by Seder Ohr the Before-First, but now disturbed by acts of unholy war.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Tue Oct 06, 2015 4:22 pm

"Nazhindrist belief links the Black Flowers to the legendary Pits of Corruption sealed many thousands of years ago by Seder Ohr the Before-First, but now disturbed by acts of unholy war."

Yes. That's more like it. Maybe there will even be legends of mystics who can resurrect fabled flesh golems from their ice tombs beneath the earth! :D
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Sat Oct 10, 2015 8:34 pm

The eastern coast of Dar Qimr around the Whittlesea is home to a series of (semi-)independent kingdoms. Those on the northern shore of the sea (Wa Xoo, Wene Khoe, Wene Mfengu, Wa Karroo, Khwane) are beholden to the Sultan in many respects.

However the states in the south (Ixam San, Amlathi and Umbuso) are separated from the Sultan's domains by the Hintsa Range, the Sourfield and the salt pans of Nxai, which cover an area larger than Vlasenica. They are far more independent.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Sat Oct 10, 2015 10:48 pm

The Sourfield is infamous for the heinous neuroworm parasites that dwell in its tidal flats.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Thu Nov 12, 2015 4:53 pm

In Dai Xich, it is illegal to reincarnate without first submitting a Reincarnation Application to the government.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Thu Nov 12, 2015 5:23 pm

That's cheating! :P

Maybe there is a necrological census or something, where necro-theologians perform a combination of religious rights and pathology+profiling to determine the validity of the person's reincarnation and its link to the past life? :D
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Fri Nov 13, 2015 12:58 pm

There's a section of the vast imperial bureaucracy that deals with pretty much exactly those things.

In Dai Xich theological thought both the earth and the heavens (being mirrors of each other) were in chaos before the coming of the Claret Empress. She established the civil service that is ultimately responsible for the proper functioning of the natural and spiritual world, and it is believed she runs its bureaucracies still.

So the current Red Emperor is technically middle management, in charge 'only' of the physical part of a bureaucracy that extends into the heavens. When he dies he is (like all government officials, which may in fact be everyone in Dai Xich) promoted to a position of celestial authority, the eminence of which obviously depends on how capably he managed his earthly domain. Crap emperors may end up celestial janitors :D.

The many layers, divisions, sections, societies and councils of the earthly and heavenly bureaucracies are written on the walls of 59 pagodas that are part of the Vault of Heaven and Earth in Dakinh, the capital of Dai Xich. The pagodas are arranged in a complex symbolic pattern, one leading to the next, climbing up through the park toward the red-brick Spring Pagoda on the hill overlooking Jade Spring Lake. This final pagoda, it is said, is built on the very place from which the Claret Empress ascended to heaven.

In Dai Xich myth when the armies of the Claret Empress subjugated Chanda-Li its prefect claimed to be a reincarnation of her grandfather, who had been a notoriously inimical and intemperate warlord. The prefect thus avoided his execution, but the Empress afterward ordained that from then on it would be illegal to reincarnate without a permit.

It is only very occasionally that such permits are granted.

Many people today think this is all quatsch and humbug, but certainly the auguries in the Vault of Heaven and Earth occasionally get feedback from somewhere. The Claret Empress is certainly preferable over some of the competing explanations.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Thu Nov 19, 2015 1:28 am

"As Khayr Vaejah's ships bridged the shores of the world, so too did they bridge the lands of the living and the dead."
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:33 pm

AxumFinans has nine main branch offices in San Dorado. Connecting their locations with straight lines on a city map will sketch the Eye of Tyche, an occult symbol purporting to connote calamity, odd chance and precipitous reversal. Within the symbol the financial syndicate's central neomansurist headquarters, the Axum Obelisk, is the iris. This is unlikely to be a coincidence considering that Axum's prime mover, Malachy De La Warr, is a known occultist, ceremonial magician, poet and painter.

All nine bank buildings were designed and built by the same man. Amancio Arnault came, much like De La Warr himself, to San Dorado from the south. In the architect's case it was from Dal Salona, the southernmost county of the Palmaran Coast and a Nazhindrist stronghold. Arnault was a gifted architect but also an effete libertine and a degenerate drug user, who claimed his increasingly quixotic and openly idolatrous designs were dictated to him by the disembodied voices of supernatural entities. He was eventually blacklisted when his occultist ravings became too much for even the county patricians to support.

Arnault subsequently moved to liberal San Dorado, whose avant garde was more receptive to his eccentricities. He attracted the attention of De La Warr, an up-and-coming banker. who soon paid him a significant sum to design and build his first office in Red Bud Court, a neighbourhood in San Dorado West. As the fortunes of newly founded AxumFinans soared so did Arnault's, who would go on to design all of the bank's other eight main offices, culminating in the stair-stepped Obelisk on 610 Miracle Mile, in the very heart of San Dorado.

All nine of Axum's main banks are marked by anomalous design. Arnault selected black brick to give his buildings a solid mass, whilst other parts of his facades are covered in ylaster, marble and black mirrors. All windows are relatively small and surrounded by decorative bluestone millwork. The architect used cold iron rivets and I-beams with concealed etchings coated in cadmium selenide, and behind his facades symbol marks are carved into the finely dressed walls. The ornamentation and sculptures of sphinxes and other mythological creatures are carried out in black bronze, orichalcum and gold instead of chrome. Axum's buildings are recognizably more squat and heavy than the rakish, art deco skyscrapers typical of their time, leaving a distinct brooding and baroque impression.

As any cab driver can tell you San Dorado is rife with stories, rumors and legends about the peculiar nature of the Axum buildings. Arnault died abruptly and unexpectedly shortly after the completion of the Obelisk, his body found in a private room at The Sanhedrin amidst copious amounts of money, drugs and - if the cabbies are to be believed - occult paraphernalia. Those same cabbies will no doubt tell you that mere days after the inauguration of the Obelisk San Dorado was hit by the worst storm in centuries, a storm that came in across the Sea of Akka and struck the Obelisk with lightning dozens of times.

De La Warr, they'll whisper, became the richest man on earth by selling his soul to unknowable entities. His banks are lodestones for supernatural activity, designed by his mad architect to channel the very essence of the city. Inside them are stairs that go up and never go down, and hidden rooms where rituals are performed in front of terrible idols. The foundation of the Obelisk, they'll say, rests on the ruins of an ancient temple more than a hundred meters below the streets of Lower Yronwood. Malachy De La Warr killed Arnault with his own hand, or perhaps he was forced to commit suicide, of De La Warr found a way to move a curse that was on him onto the unsuspecting architect. These and a thousand other ghost stories are there for any impressionable idiot to hear as his cabby rips him off... But perhaps, as they say, at the heart of every myth there is a core of truth.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Mon Dec 21, 2015 10:20 pm

The entirety of the Daedalean Empire serves the emperor in the abiding belief that he is the incarnation of the God-Word, a concept the empire propagates to be eternally and victoriously right. The imperial high aristocracy interchangeably wields temporal, legal and spiritual power at the behest of their despot; indeed the High Graic language makes no significant distinction between the three.

Simultaneously the empire is highly sectarian, riven with different strains of profound religiously and constitutionally faceted argument, the intricacies of which are labyrinthine to even dedicated outside observers, such as whether the emperor's divine and human aspects are co-equal and co-eternal, whether his two natures have one or two wills and whether divine nature comes to an emperor at conception, birth, on the assumption of the throne or is simply as eternal as the God-Word itself.

Imperial high society is so insular and steeped in the peculiarities of its alternatingly dynamic and immutable orthodoxy that the Daedalean grandeur looks with contempt upon simple mortals who refuse to isolate certain brain areas, who are continually the victims of doubt, and who do not see ahead beyond a vague desire to make the world a fit place for their direct descendants to live in. Time in the Basileion is not measured according to commonly accepted forms. The Empire's aristocracy thinks in centuries ordinarily, in generations fairly often, in years only under the pressure of unusual circumstances and in shorter periods never. There is no time limit, in the usually accepted sense, for the empire's political machinations.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Siege » Tue Jan 19, 2016 11:28 am

The laws of the Daedalean Empire are written in the hands of the emperor - literally. This ancient tradition has existed for over a thousand years and in that time it has had many forms.

In ancient times the emperor employed a 'cutter', a trusted man or woman with steady hands and a sharp knife whose task it was to reproduce any new law in shallow cuts on the emperor's hands. The practice was tied into the imperial cult; the emperor would subsequently show the masses congregated outside his palace his bloodied hands to drive home the fact that a new divine law had been enacted.

The office of scrivener has both spiritual and judicial elements, was naturally sensitive and often precarious. He or she could afford no error and had to be absolutely trustworthy, a difficult task at the best of times amidst the murky intrigues of the imperial court. Many scriveners were executed by their emperors for transgressions real or perceived, and some emperors met their ends at the hands of their cutter.

In early modern times the office evolved into that of the Makhaestos, one of the highest honorary ranks of the empire. The Makhaestos would no longer do the cutting himself but instead oversaw a few dozen lower medical functionaries who performed the work, which itself developed into a ceremony of several hours beginning with the cutting and ending with application of soothing oils and ingestion of wine and analgesics.

Several times through history have emperors tried to change the age-old procedure. For brief periods the laws were for example painted or tattooed instead of cut, but the devotional aspects of these changes to ingrained Daedalean concepts like the living law, the emperor bleeding for his people and the healing of the hands always disturbed the populace. The subsequent unrest and, frequently, regicide meant the older practice always returned.

Today the words of a new law are lasered into the palms of the emperor, with a subsequent small and shallow cut made to draw a ceremonial amount of blood. As a result, the hands of the Daedalean emperor, particularly long-sitting ones, are knotted by calluses and scar tissue.
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Re: Shear Anarchy / San Dorado [Worldbuilding Exercise]

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Tue Jan 19, 2016 6:25 pm

That is incredible and great. Though are ALL laws scarification'ed onto the person's hands or only the law s/he's drafted during her reign? Cause fitting an entire constitution on two palms.. man.
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