EGGWARE.XYZ: Worldbuilding June 2019 – Work

As most labor on Xarcadia is automated, there is very little “work” that is left to be done. Most essential work is left to magicians, who in turn enchant objects to carry the tasks out automatically. This gives the average Xarcadian a tremendous amount of free time, allowing them to work on more creative endeavors. Aside from doing it simply for pleasure, a Xarcadian looking to scrounge up a few extra Coins might turn to selling artistic works for their day job.

Fiction is one of the most common ways a Xarcadian might part with their money. Authors of popular novel series can live comfortably off of their work and develop a substantial fan base as well. Painters and other artists could be convinced to part with their original paintings for a price. Musicians will gladly agree to perform in almost any venue if the price is right.

One of the few kinds of labor that has not been fully automated is the process of trade between zones. Managing and directing these trade caravans is a difficult business: although the wagons are automated, they still require guards and drivers to ensure the cargo safely makes it to its intended destination. The enterprising young warrior would do well to join up with a caravan guard to train their skills.

The trading conglomerates express some of the greatest powers across all of Xarcadian. Noble families, claiming to descent from the original founders of Cosmopolis, rule these conglomerates and express a great deal of influence across large stretches of land. Thanks to the strong unionist mindset of Xarcadians, these conglomerates can be prevented from expressing too much power over the world, but their impact is undeniable.

EGGWARE.XYZ: Worldbuilding June 2019 – Fun

Almost all labor on Xarcadia is automated, giving the common person a great deal of free time to enjoy themselves. Consequently, a much larger number of Xarcadians are trained in the arts compared to people on Earth. A majority of people would have some passing familiarity with a musical instrument and would very likely know how to play more than one. Drawing is a similarly popular pastime; the demand for painting supplies is constantly high.

The acting arts are tremendously popular and virtually every community will set aside time to perform plays. Playwrights are the Xarcadian ultra-star class; a particularly well known author of plays will have their name spoken across the entire world. Joining up with a touring vaudeville revue are a great way for a young and eager Xarcadian to see the world and meet new people.

Musicians are similarly cherished. What could be described as “folk music” is the most popular genre of Xarcadian song; one person, one instrument, and one story to be told plucks the Xarcadian heartstrings in a certain way. Larger ensembles are reserved for group dancing events.  No festival is complete without an enormous group dance, with dozens of people jumping and stomping the earth in unison to the most thumping folk-dance music you could ever hope to hear.

A recent invention is a magical means of transmitting images and sounds across displays, allowing for the broadcast of plays and music across all of Xarcadia. These “teloramas”, as they are known, are common enchanted mirrors housed within special receiver frames. A few ambitious theatre studios in Cosmopolis have begun producing media just for the telorama, the medium allowing for serialized dramas that would not be possible on the stage.

Another popular broadcast for the telorama are live sports. Kick-ball is the most widely watched sport: ostensibly about getting a ball from one side of the field to another only through kicking, the matches tend to devolve into bloody riots between the two teams trying to hold possession of the ball. Also popular are the broadcast of boardgames. The Interzonal Pebbleboard Tournament is one of the most watched broadcasts across Xarcadia – and one of the most popular events for gambling upon.

EGGWARE.XYZ: Worldbuilding June 2019 – Arms & Armor

Xarcadian arms and armor are stuck in a strange place, technology-wise. With the ubiquity of magic the “technology level” is stuck firmly in an approximation of medieval Earth, but magic allows for things that are well beyond modern Earth abilities. Swords and plate armor are the weapons of choice for the Xarcadian interested in self-defence, but the wide variety of enchantments allow for defensive potential well beyond a simple blade could provide. Enchantments to allow for long-range combat are unthinkable to not have on a weapon. Having a sword that cannot fire a beam of concentrated kinetic energy from its tip is like walking around with a gun and no bullets. From there, more advanced enchantments are possible: using the blade as a large wand to control individual elements such as fire or water is a popular choice. Enchanting household items for emergency self defense is a popular trend. A simple stick can be made into a wand easily – the same goes for a kitchen knife or even a lamp.

Some Xarcadians do not even need weapons or armor to be a fearsome threat. Magical martial arts ascend the body beyond what should be possible, sometimes in outlandish ways. A fist can be enchanted to be cloaked in flame, become impossibly heavy, or even stretch several feet to hit a distant opponent. Enchanting the skin to be impenetrable is a complicated process, but is far more reliable and lightweight than carrying heavy armor.

Most menacing of all are the Keys. Every Key is a powerful magical artifact in its own right, and can be easily used for combat. Even the weakest Keys are capable of producing incredible magic; a very low-level key that is only enchanted with a single fire spell would put its user on par with some of the most competent pyromancers in the world. More powerful Keys are able of even greater magic; the most powerful ones allow the user to cast virtually any spell unaided. The greatest Keys of all are rumoured to give their holders the ability to re-write the laws of magic itself. If such Keys were ever found by the wrong people, it would spell doom for Xarcadia.

EGGWARE.XYZ – Worldbuilding June 2019: War

Without coherent nation-states, Xarcadia has no war. There has been no international conflict since the founding of Cosmopolis, and it is highly unlikely that one will ever foster in the meantime.

This is not to say that Xarcadia does not have conflicts at all. Gods, being some of the most powerful beings on Xarcadia, are also the ones most likely to abuse their power. Gods normally understand that only through peaceful cooperation can they truly flourish and gain the most belief. Sometimes, however, a god who feels they have not gotten the appropriate amount of devotion will take to terrorizing the people in order to inspire fear. Those who resort to such measures are a threat to the ecosystem of divinity as a whole – though fear does promote short-term belief, in the long run it creates an environment of resentment that, in time, could erase the belief in gods as a whole.

When a god oversteps the unspoken boundaries of the divine, other gods will soon mobilize against them. This benefits the “good” goods in a variety of ways: aside from protecting the common Xarcadians and stabilizing the relationship of mortals to gods, the heroes who have vanquished an evil god will earn much goodwill from the god’s freed subjects and therefore much new devotion. Very rarely will these conflicts pass into what could be defined as “war”. It only takes a few high-powered gods to defeat a young upstart before serious trouble can begin. If an evil god were to overcome the others and rise to dominance, the great zone gods would be forced to intervene with potentially disastrous results.

Among mortals, the constant quest to find new Keys is the greatest cause of strife. Keys are incredibly powerful magical artifacts with a unique purpose: the ability to open and close portals. These make them possibly the most valuable items on all of Xarcadia, and a good number of people make their living questing to find these ancient and mysterious artifacts. While most keys simply create new portals to previously unexplored areas, some are enchanted with greater powers of magicraft. Key-holders become overwhelmingly powerful wizards instantaneously, capable of casting the most powerful spells with no effort.

The holders of Keys, like gods, are prone to abusing their power. Most Keyhunters turn over their discoveries shortly after finding them, in hopes that they can be used by the community for the common good. Those who do not share will hoard their Keys jealousy, looking to increase their personal power for their own ends. It is almost without fail that these Key-hoarders will move to a distant corner of the zone and begin to plot a way to “take over” the zone, weather out of a misguided sense of leadership or pure greed. When these mighty Keyholders become too much of a nuisance, militias are raised with the assistance of powerful gods to end the threat quickly.

EGGWARE.XYZ: Worldbuilding June 2019 – Fashion

The divide between the rural zones and Cosmopolis is most evident in the choices of clothing. Rural Xarcadians wear clothes for practical purposes, if at all. What is worn is there to protect their bodies, be it from the sun or marauding beasts. In hotter zones it is acceptable to wear almost nothing except what is minimum for modesty. In the most extremely sunny zones, shady clothing is essential – long, thin, flowing robes and enormously brimmed hats are the standard. Colder zones require more coverage, typically heavy woolen coats and thick leather boots. Armor is a frequent addition to clothing in all climate zones – both for fashion statements and practical self-defense from beasts.

In Cosmopolis, the exact opposite is true. Fashion is a way of life and those who adhere to it go to extremes to create the most provocative and bizarre clothing possible. Clashing colors, impossible silhouettes, and exotic materials are a better way to blend in than plain, unassuming clothes. Like many other things on Xarcadia, the use of magic allows for incredible styles beyond what is normally possible. Fur can be styled into preposterously tall curls, clothing can be rendered partially translucent only in certain colors of light, even the proportions of the body itself can be altered to better suit someone’s fashion mood… These are things that would be considered conservative, even dull by Cosmopolian haute couture standards. Yes, even transmogrifying the body is an essential part of Cosmopolian style – it can be assumed that as a Cosmopolian you’ve altered your body at least once, if just for fun.

Where outer districts of Cosmopolis meet the rural zones, even stranger styles emerge – fashion remarkably similar to modern Earth style. Blue denim pants, buttoned-up shirts, even baseball caps… It’s considered and outlandish and surreal by the standards of both rural Xarcadians and Cosmopolians to wear clothing that is neither functional nor dramatic. These “suburban” Xarcadians just wear what is both comfortable and unique.

Whether you are wearing rural, urban, or suburban fashion, enchanting your clothing is a practical and easy way to keep comfortable and safe. Simple and common enchantments include temperature enchantments for staying warm or cool, levitation enchantments to keep the weight of a particularly heavy costume, and protective enchantments to keep the teeth and claws of angry beasts from rending you limb from limb. Having your own creative and unique enchantments for special effects is seen as a high prestige in Cosmopolis, even more so if they are your own design. Highly in vogue right now are heatless flames – and pity to those amateur fashion designers who forget to ensure the flame doesn’t actually burn things!

EGGWARE.XYZ: Worldbuilding June – Healthcare

Xarcadian healthcare is totally free and absolutely universal. Magic is a wonderful panacea for almost any illness; there is no unified “healthcare system”, as anybody with a talent for healing spells can function as a single-person trauma ward without much effort. Charms for closing small cuts are as common as you having bandages in your medicine cabinet. Incantations for more complicated remedies, like curing serious diseases and regrowing lost digits, can be found by visiting the town’s healer and learning the spell from them. Even if a whole limb were lost, a prosthetic could be enchanted to function identically to the original limb – perhaps even better, with enhanced strength and speed.

Even raising the dead is possible with magic, but it is something beyond the skills of most village healer magicians. It takes a complicated, lengthy, and physically strenuous ritual involving a phoenix tail feather, the body of the deceased which must not have decomposed, and the consent of the spirit.

For portable, quick healing, fruit can be enchanted with healing spells for medicine on the go. They aren’t as powerful as seeing a real healing magician, but for the adventurer that’s ‘all thumbs’ with magic, having a way to heal yourself after being gored by a monster is better than nothing. Unfortunately, these healing fruits have a tendency to decay over time, so they’re best eaten fresh – nothing is worse than trying to heal a laceration on your arm, only to end up sprouting a new limb from the wound!

Most serious are diseases of magical origin. They are not frequently life-threatening, but the side effects of intense magical exposure can lead to strange mutations that require long-term care. The afflicted can become covered with mysterious mushrooms; being turned completely into a large diamond; burning with a fire that does not hurt them; be unable to stop sneezing large soap bubbles, and so on. Because of the magical nature of these illnesses, normal magic healing cannot resolve them and may in fact make the situation worse. Only the careful application of anti-magical therapies can these symptoms resolve.

EGGWARE.XYZ: Worldbuilding June 2019 – Magic

Magic is the framework that makes Xarcadian life possible. Magic is soaked into the bones of the world and flows outward like a spring from every possible surface. Any Xarcadian can learn to wield this magic with time and effort; almost every Xarcadian knows at least one spell. Magic is studied as seriously as any science; really, on Xarcadia, magic is the word for science. Magic is the force that doesn’t just allow for the incredible manipulation of the world, but is the reason water flows downhill and lightning strikes from the sky.

Gods are the natural manifestation of this magical force into corporeal beings. When belief in a god grows, the magical energy accessible to that god grows as well. This is the reason gods must foster belief in order to survive: thought itself is a kind of magical energy, and the gods feed upon that energy like a plant absorbing sunlight. The gods take every step they can to maintain this magical relationship and their food supply.

Normal Xarcadians must study the rituals involved in magic carefully before they can learn to use magic, but Gods are capable of shifting the very fabric of the world with minimal effort. Consequently, the offspring of mortals and gods are powerful natural sorcerers in their own right. They aren’t capable of bending magic to their wills as their godly forebears are, but learn spells with an ease other mortals cannot.

The Magical University of Cosmopolis is the premiere magical research institute on Xarcadia and the source of many modern magical advancements. Aspiring magicians from all across the world make their pilgrimage to the Institute to learn at the most powerful magic-users of the day. The Institute’s magical laboratories labor day and night to discover the mysterious properties of the universe as Xarcadia knows it. These discoveries eventually filter down to the populace as new technology to the betterment of all.

EGGWARE.XYZ: Worldbuilding June 2019 – Technology

Technology and magic are inseparable on Xarcadia. Through the clever application of enchantments, Xarcadians have a wide variety of luxuries to take care of their daily needs. Very popular are “Servers”, magical machines that provide a variety of functions. These little robots are typically bronze spheres about the size of a human head that are filled with a variety of arms and tools to perform certain functions. Most homes have a Server equipped with tools for daily household care: preparing meals, cleaning rooms, serving hot drinks, and welcoming guests.

Magical transportation is the only way to travel long distances aside from using the portal network. Most transport is powered by non-sentient elementals, bound to a specific vehicle. Trains are run by fire elementals, burning without consuming themselves to boil water for a steam engine. Airships are a slower and more luxurious option, with wind elementals literally blowing the ships across the sky on magical currents of wind. For shorter travel, hoverbuses floating on wind elemental-powered air cushions make for a relaxing ride.

Magic-technology has extended into the range of daily labor as well. There is not a farm in Xarcadia that is not based upon the enchanted plow that tills, plants, and harvests the crop with minimal outside interaction. Cosmopolian factories only need a few workers at the most for complicated tasks; any simple assembly is done magically without even needing to lift a finger.

For long-distance communication, an enchanted mirror is a trivial way to keep in contact with your friends. With a few gestures, you can be talking to your friend in Sandblast Dunes from as far away as the heart of Cosmopolis. A few clever telemancers have even rigged together ways to share text, images, and recorded sound with each other; they call it the “notice board system” and only allow those who know the secret methods of telemancy to post on it.

EGGWARE.XYZ: Worldbuilding June 2019 – Food

Xarcadian cuisine is a strange thing, due to the broad variety of fauna and narrow selection of flora. Most Xarcadian dishes lean towards the meat-oriented side, and with good reason: Many Xarcadians are biologically hard-wired to consume meat as their primary source of nutrition. Tutoriole is a wildly popular protein that is eaten on every corner of Xarcadia. Every zone has its own prided way of preparing tutoriole: Viridian Valley stews it with fruit wine, Glacier Glades roasts it over an open fire, Sandblast Dunes dries the meat in the open sun to eat while traveling… The varieties are endless.

Cosmopolians do not have the luxury of the rural zones for easy access to fresh food, and their diet alternates between pre-packaged food and eating out at restaurants. While most zones have an individual cuisine style, Cosmopolis takes traditional eating habits and blends them together to create altogether new foods that would be unthinkable elsewhere. Magical eating is the fundamental basis of Cosmopolian cuisine and every restaurant, from lowly diners to the billion-star rated bistros, tries to infuse a little magic into their cooking. In vogue right now is self-feeding food, which is enchanted to lift itself into your mouth with no external aid.

Eating out is a good time, but most Cosmopolians survive on pre-packaged meals. Since the zone is so reliant on imported food from farming zones, most of the food that arrives to the tables of Cosmopolis has been processed, packaged, and distributed at a local food market by a trading conglomerate. The idea of paying for food is unthinkable on Xarcadia, and the trading companies serve to make no profit off of food distribution; it is a public serve organized by common people for the welfare of all. Though the food is packaged and processed, magical preservatives allow for food that will always be as fresh and healthy as the day it was picked.

EGGWARE.XYZ: Worldbuilding June 2019 – Plants

Unlike animals, plants on Xarcadia are very homogenous. There are only a few kinds of trees: a leafy, coconut-bearing palm; a conifer-bearing evergreen tree, and an apple-bearing deciduous tree. There is one kind of mushroom, which comes in a variety of colors and sizes – some so large they can be hollowed out and lived inside. In the jungles of Stormwater Pines, gargantuan “apple” trees grow as tall as skyscrapers while mobile carnivorous plants prowl the jungle floor.

Though all genetically the same plant, mutations provide the true variation in Xarcadian flora. Selective breeding has altered the familiar fruit tree into a massive variety, each one bearing fruits of different texture and flavor. The grassy plains of Viridian Valley were bred into a plant that could be milled into flour for bread. Of special importance are the mushrooms, which can be magically infused to create medicinal properties.

Natural plants have their own strange and magical properties. In the mountain zones, there is a substantial amount of argument over a certain variety of conifer that can change appearance depending on who is looking at it. Many people have strong feelings about which kind of tree is the “right” looking tree for the zone. Natural fruit-bearing trees can bear fruit with bizarre properties when eaten. The same tree can produce a fruit that heals external wounds and another that causes your hands to fall off. Eating of wild fruits requires careful knowledge of magical identification before it can be considered safe.

Even in more remote zones, like the deserts of Sandblast Dunes, there is only one kind of cactus that grows into all kinds of fantastic shapes and sizes. Some settlements in the zone are built out of a single, gargantuan cactus that has been hollowed out to accomodate a whole apartment complex. Living in the oversized fauna is a popular trend across all of Xarcadia; you’d be hard pressed to find a zone that is not drawn to hollowing out a massive native plant and moving in.