Posts Tagged ‘writing’

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.

EGGWARE.XYZ: Worldbuilding June 2019 – Creatures

Xarcadia is home to a massive variety of animals. As every zone is a unique biome, they shelter fauna that is not often seen in any other zone.

One of the few animals that are inhabitants of every zone are the tutorioles. Wild tutorioles migrate across almost all of the world when following their complicated breeding routes, making them a familiar sight to any Xarcadian. Domesticated tutorioles are a popular animal to keep for both companionship and food. A tutoriole can be trained to repeat anything that it is told in a perfect imitation, making them useful for repeating information to others. Unfortunately they are astoundingly stupid and must be reminded constantly – before their taught phrase is corrupted into nonsense.

The fauna of each zone is considerably larger than most Earth animals. The Xarcadian equivalent to a cow can be up to the size of an elephant, and undersea animals can be even bigger. In defiance of the square-cube law, even insects can grow larger than the size of dogs. Most people in this world are still roughly the size of humans, making this discrepancy very prominent in daily life.

Every zone has an animal that is considered “iconic” to the zone’s lifestyle and attitudes. Viridian Valley is famous for its cattle that graze the grassy fields. Mountain zones are home to rock-eating goats who can climb ninety degree angles without effort. Gargantuan crabs scuttle across the beaches, looking for coconuts and offal. In Dust Hill, geckoes as big as cars lounge on the desert sand. Even the districts of Cosmopolis are home to rats the size of foxes scrounging through trash cans.

Aside from familiar animals both domestic and wild, more menacing beasts are an occurence in the less inhabited regions. Chimeras, magical mutants with random body parts from other animals, are a frequent encounter that take many forms: some are mindless, some are friendly and sentient, and a rare-but-feared few are terrifyingly dangerous and hostile. The more overt ‘enemies’ are known as the Shadows: their shapes are vague, ranging from amorphous to bestial, but they are all hostile. These shadows are entities made from wild, uncontrollable magic and cannot be tamed; the only way to reason with them is to defeat them in battle.

EGGWARE.XYZ: Worldbuilding June 2019 – Language

Xarcadia has been home to many languages in its time, but the Interzonal language is the common lingua franca. Interzonal is a semi-constructed language that was first designed sometime after the founding of Cosmopolis and is now the most widely-spoken language in the world. It is an extensive and complicated language that evolved from the pidgins first spoken shortly after the arrival of portals on Xarcadia; over time, the pidgins evolved into creoles and a council was established to guide the evolution of the language. Today Interzonal is spoken on some level by almost every person in the world.

Aside from speaking Interzonal, Xarcadians speak the native language of their zone as their mother tongue. Every zone has its own language which can vary wildly from each other. There are a few languages in common, such as the mutually intelligible Glacier Glades and Basaltic Summits languages, but for the most part each zone has its own unique grammar, vocabulary, and writing system.

What further complicates the language issue is the presence of thousands of dead, ancient languages. While the modern language map is a language for every zone and Interzonal, ancient Xarcadia was home to countless small languages that baffles historians to this day. The study of ancient Xarcadian history is a nightmare thanks to the overwhelming amount of untranslatable languages; decoding even a few fragments is a lucky break.

Strangely, many of these ancient scripts appear to have no direct connection to the modern languages. It is a struggle to find any form of coherent cross-zone etymology. It appears that the modern Xarcadian languages manifested on their own and pushed out all others.

With the rise of the Interzonal language, most regional languages have bent to accommodate innovations that were originally implemented in Interzonal. The writing system of Xarcadia is now based upon the system invented for Interzonal, as well as the tactile writing system for the blind. The Interzonal Sign Language, though convenient through sheer numbers, has massively crowded out zonal sign languages – some of which are on the verge of dying out. Some linguists worry that the influence of Interzonal will eventually lead to the loss of all other Xarcadian languages, resigning them to the same unintelligible history as the ancients.