Autor Thema: [Die Welt] Geondia  (Gelesen 1326 mal)

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Lilja von Rottmulde

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[Die Welt] Geondia
« am: 06.06.2015, 15:36:27 »
The World

Out there, on the distant verges of imagination, there is a world, somewhat like ours – but not quite. People, so much like us, inhabit it. Just as we do, they feel joy and sadness, love and hatred. They have dreams and ambitions. They survive, build, invent and explore, but they also clash with each other. Their cultures and traditions would remind us of our own, yet there is one thing we are so very familiar with that is alien to most of them.
The sky.
Geondia's people know plains and woods, beasts and birds, even clouds, wind and rain – but they have no sun or stars to gaze at. The overwhelming majority of Geondia's denizens live and die in enormous caverns. Often, these underground pockets are so vast they can easily harbor a sprawling city or even several towns with fields, rivers and spots of wilderness between them. From the cavern floor below one can barely see the stalactite-dotted ceiling - not because of darkness, but because of milky, luminescent clouds that coalesce in the distant heights. Their soft glow is bright enough to fill the caverns underneath with daylight or at least dusky twilight.
Since there are no sun, moon or stars to tell whether it is day or night, tracking time or telling days apart can be somewhat complicated. The nature of those glowing clouds varies from cavern to cavern. Realms basked in eternal light do exist, but they are not the sole ones. In some caverns, illumination fluctuates more or less regularily, while others are dimly lit or completely dark. Not all caverns are vast enough to allow clouds to congregate, and in all the innumerous tunnels, burrows and holes connecting them waits only impenetrable blackness.
In the largest, truly colossal caverns even weather phenomena may occur. In the vicinity of significant bodies of water, fog and dizzling rain are not unusual. Winds, fueled by warm tectonic rifts, sweep through the labyrinthine network of tunnels. Harsh weather and zones of extreme climate are rare nevertheless.
As lighting conditions differ from region to region, it is the world's magnetism that plays crucial role in the establishment of circadiane rhythms. Many species of Geondia's flora and fauna and even the sapient Cath and Mykoi are able to perceive the subtle oscillations of the world's magnetic field in some way. Other sentient beings construct sophisticated devices to emulate such abilities or simply rely on watching magnetically sensitive creatures.
Of course, somewhere far above there is a surface, open to the vast universe beyond Geondia. Everyone has heard tales of intrepid explorers who ventured that far, and in the modern age, more and more expeditions into Borderless Realms are mounted every year. However, no species or culture possesses any historical records whatsoever of people dwelling on the surface. The Borderless Realms are stuff of myths and legends – or a research topic for the most advanced civilizations, but they remain distant and alien to any and all.

Technology Level

Although Geondia is home to numerous tribal and feudal societies, the most advanced civilizations have left their windmills-and-knighthood days far behind them. Electric power fuels the progress of the mightiest nations, and slowly but steadily, science triumphs over superstition. Those nations' technological advancement level roughtly resembles that of our world's industrialized countries in the early 20th century. You might not find a telephone in every house, but if you are ill, a motor-powered carriage will bring you to a clean and efficient hospital. Every morning, a newspaper full of optimistic columns about the latest cultural and scientific events will await you, leaving you wondering where your next train or one of those new-fangled flying barges should take you.
In rural communities, draft animals and handiwork still play a great role. Some backwater societies may not even know self-propelled carriages, clockwork devices or fancy hats – or willingly ignore their existence. Beyond territories alredy charted, unexplored realms lay, and who knows, if other civilizations call them their home?

Magic and Mysticism

There always have been people claiming they could work magic, and many more people who believed them. They weren't all wrong – miraculous things do happen in Geondia. Here and there, beings from different species learn to shape reality with sheer willpower, at least to an extent. Some of them adhere to shamanic traditions, others follow mystical philosophies and teachings, consider themselves blessed by transcendent powers or simply put mind over matter. In the enlightened modern era, scientists try hard to explain even the most paradoxical phenomena. Among advanced nations, the educated zeitgeist leaves little room for esoterical mumblings. Away from big cities, however, ancient witch lore thrives, tangled with myths and old customs.

Myths and Religion

In Geondia, faiths centered on all-powerful entities are quite rare. The majority of Geondia's denizens revere local spirits with limited areas of influences attributed to them. These spirits are believed to inhabit or represent certain sites such as forests, rivers, lakes or volcanic fissures. Myths, legends and fairy-tales featuring those spirits vary from area to area and from culture to culture, as do rites and edifices meant to honor them. In Faellund, for example, rural folk decorate their homes' doors and outer walls with beautiful wreaths made of field flowers to gain the fabled Moth Queen's favor. In the Shkhi Empire, small stone arches engraved with minor spirits' names and blessings dot the landscape here and there.
Myths about the world's creation do exist in Geondian folklore, however, they tend to be very symbolic, often portraying Geondia as an eternal womb giving birth to her innumerous children. As for prophecies foretelling Geondia's end, one won't find any except in the most primitive and remotely dwelling tribes' folklore. 
« Letzte Änderung: 11.06.2015, 13:19:58 von Lilja von Rottmulde »
I loathe to breathe, I loathe to feel,
I loathe to know that what I hate's still real,
I'm tired of waking up into the same old shape,
I yearn to end it, but there's no escape...

Lilja von Rottmulde

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[Die Welt] Geondia
« Antwort #1 am: 06.06.2015, 15:40:04 »
Sentient Species

Humans

We all know what humans are like, don't we? In the world of Geondia, naked primates with opposable thumbs are much like those we see when looking in the mirror. Humans can be nice and mean, curious and impassionate, talkative and taciturn, civilized and savage – and anything inbetween. Human cultures range from illiterate nomadic tribes to sovereign, advanced city-states to mighty nations encompassing multiple vast caverns. Their complexion may vary from pallid porcellain to darkest brown, and you can find specimen as tall as 7 feet or as short as 4 feet – but usually it's the average of those numbers.

Cath

To some people, Cath are just handsome types with furry tails and ears. To others, they are an utter mystery. In appearance, Cath largely resemble humans – with aforementioned tails and ears. Their facial features possess a feline touch: vertical pupils, pronounced philtrum, pointy canines. Whiskers are more common among Cath than facial hair in traditional sense. Their bodies, however, are often more hirsute than humans'. Instead of nails, Cath have small, slender claws – not much of a weapon, but very useful for climbing or picking things.
Cath are magnetically sensitive, and their attunement to places they call home is almost mystical. A Cath might find it harder to actually get lost than to find their way home. Most Cath display at least some amount of natural curiosity, however, they tend to get along well with other people. Their influence in majors historical events of every age is undeniable.
While several Cath-dominated areas and settlements do exists, the vast majority of them are cosmopolitan. Still, Cath do not just adopt foreign cultures – they shape and influence their development as well. In many regions, one can't tell for sure if a tradition or art style has human or Cath origins. Cath are even able to mate with humans, although such unions are rarely fertile. If they are, however, the child born is always Cath, for reasons yet unknown.

Skaly

The puny, reptilian Skaly are probably the most undererstimated species in Geondia. Many folks regard them as primitive and have difficult time to take a „lizardface“, as they are commonly derised, seriously. Skaly do usually live in archaic hunter-gatherer tribes, contributing to the widespread cliché, but they are not as blunt and dim-witted as they are often portrayed.
In fact, Skaly are gifted with keen and ingenious minds, being able to grasp concepts and ideas other species need years to study. Ironically, their own original cultures do not promote boundless creativity or technological advancement but rather emphasize clan and family bonds as well as isolation. Those Skaly who reject this lifestyle often become scholars, inventors or technicians – unfortunately, they also have to deal with prejudices their non-Skaly colleagues do not have to face.
Physically, Skaly are bipedal reptiles with big lizardlike heads sporting large, leathery ears. An average Skaly stands about only 4 feet tall. Their scale and eye colors vary from tribe to tribe and range from dusky ocre to olive green to dark grey or even black, and they possess four-fingered hands and three-toed feet.
When you see a tuxedo-wearing Skaly, don't be mean to them!

Mykoi

Sometimes – at least in Geondia – sentient creatures do not have to be animals. Mykoi are a species of sapient fungi, capable of cognition, communication and locomotion. Despite their humanoid shapes, their anatomy and physiology differ greatly from other intelligent, bipedal beings'. Unlike common, modularily growing fungi, Mykoi do possess vital organs, yet most of their body tissue is redundant and able to regrow, making them durable and extending their life spans up to several hundred years.
Mykoi do not breathe – they are fermenters. Some Mykoi are actually lichen with myriads of tiny green algae dwelling under their skin. Any single speciment can only be fertile for a span of a few months every four or five decades. Because of this, wandering Mykoi strive to return to their communities once they feel spore buds sprouting atop their enlarged, sensitive cranioids. Out of countless thousands of fertile spores produced by an individuum, only a handful grow into Mykoi. All the other spores become colorful but tiny molds and mushrooms devoid of self-conciousness.
An individual Mykos views itself and all other beings, fungi or not, as a part of a grand whole, where everyone and everything is interconnected. Other species might be familiar with the concept of the Collective Unconscious – Mykoi have been the ones to introduce it to them generations ago. This idea of an endless pool containing every experience ever made and every perspective ever perceived by a living being defines the core of Mykoi' tranquil and patient mentality.

Mort

Mort are darkness dwellers. Their sensitive eyes make them shun bright light – and ruin their reputation among other species. The large avians with round faces are said to be untrustworthy, scheming and cold-blooded; superstitious folk believe them to be witches, child-thieves or demons alltogether. While some Mort surely live up to their reputation, most of them aren't nearly as vicious as they're portrayed. Unfortunately, their carnivorous hunter nature doesn't really help to improve their image.
In conversations with other species' members, Mort tend to be taciturn, using short phrases and curt gestures. Because their own languages are highly efficient, compressing multiple bits of information into short, well-articulated hoots, Mort have difficulties to get used to human or Cath „blather“. For all those reasons, they usually keep to themselves or their own kind.
Mort are rather tall, standing between 6 and 8 feet high. Thick, soft feathers cover their bodies entirely save for their beaks, fingers and lower legs. Black and dark brown are the most common colors of Mort plumage, however, light beige, dappled and even albino specimen do exist.

Koira

Intimidating. Loyal. Fiece. These are but a few words used to describe the canine Koira, and they reflect well the prejudices they have to bear with in Geondia. Although many Koira prefer jobs and careers that benefit from their powerful builds, a significant contingent pursues caring professions like nurses, teachers or child care workers. A Koira's instincts are just as well honed in social situations as they are in times of their pack's need.
Koira are usually taller than their human counterparts and covered in short, stiff fur (fur variations resembling Afghans or long-hair collies do exist, however). All of them possess pronounced canines and well-developed jaw muscles.
Koira tend to form their own settlements in the vicinity of human or Cath ones. In those places, strong community spirit guides and dominates everyday life. A Koira's defensive instincts often compel them to respond to minor violations of their „territory“ or putative insults with fierce aggression. The species' sharp senses – especially their acute hearing – are a well-known asset, too.

Androids

To speak of the sentient automatons as a distinct 'species' might be inaccurate, since they come in any imaginable size and shape and do not possess a common culture or society. Their body shapes give them different strengths and flaws, but all of them have in common their lack of social standing. Other sentient species tend to look down on these artificial beings. Although they are intellectually capable of understanding emotions, androids don't experience feelings like living beings do. On the plus side, their bodies are incredibly sturdy and almost impossible to destroy (exhaustion, lack of oxygen, sleep deprivation, fire, ice concern an android to a far lesser extent than they do living organisms). Even if they are badly damaged, androids can be repaired and function again (with some memory loss, maybe).

Tellians

Nobody knows where they come from, not even Tellians themselves (at least that's what they say). Tellians are small figures made of rock and minerals who can take any shape and eat and dig through any kind of mineral, metal or stone. The most common theory states that Tellians had once been magically summoned and outlived their original summoners. Nobody has ever seen them die by natural means or reproduce themselves.
Tellians are believed to be dumb; the truth is they are just slow since they normally have all the time they need to do what they want. It's not easy to arouse a Tellian's interest, but when they decide to work for you, they tend to be extremely loyal and will go to great lengths to be of assistance. The older Tellians become, the more difficult it gets to win their attention. Tellians are a seclusive species. They can eat anything but prefer gemstones as their main diet; precious metals are delicacies to them.

Ophidians

These amphibians resemble snakes with humanoid upper bodies. They can be as small as a human child or larger than a gorilla, depending on their function in their culture. Most Ophidians multiple pairs of arms. They live underwater and only surface to hunt, trade or collect resources. Ophidian society functions like a bee-hive: they have a queen and numerous specialized workers and soldiers. Only the queen lays eggs and commands the hole bunch, while the others do all the work and protect her and the hive. Newly hatched Ophidians do not belong to a specific caste - they have to be nurtured to develop their specialized features. Meat and fish makes them grow into human-sized soldiers (who tend to be more physically than mentally capable), a vegetarian diet turns them into workers. Similarily, this is also the way how a new queen is made when the old one feels near her end. Ophidians' poisonous bite can stop a land-dweller's ability to breath air, forcing them to inhale water to avoid suffocating.
Ophidians' large underwater hives have rather limited industrial capabilities, but their high intelligence enables them to employ magic and mechanics alike. Almost every hive controls its own underground sea or cavern and dwells far away from other cultures. Often, Ophidian hives wage war against each other, primarily about space and resources. Ophidians are never encountered alone, as they as they always work in groups.
« Letzte Änderung: 27.06.2015, 15:33:46 von Lilja von Rottmulde »
I loathe to breathe, I loathe to feel,
I loathe to know that what I hate's still real,
I'm tired of waking up into the same old shape,
I yearn to end it, but there's no escape...

Lilja von Rottmulde

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[Die Welt] Geondia
« Antwort #2 am: 06.06.2015, 23:57:56 »
Nations and Tribes

The Pelargon Commonwealth

The dominant power for the present day, the Pelargon Commonwealth is in fact a confederation of four quite different nations, encompassing over one hundred large caverns. Pelargia, Ilve and Trzim have been allies for many centuries; the rural Faelland, on the other hand, joined the Commonwealth only recently - Faellanders still have to get used to being Pelargon citizens.
Science and industry prosper in Pelargon's largest cities, governed by the democratic People's Council, in which every nation is represented by a number of elected Councilors. Cloudscrapers, automobiles and even air-barges are common sight in many cities and towns throughout Pelargon. Telegraph lines and railways connect Pelargon's numerous caverns, and almost every city or town boasts a university or a prestigious public school.
The Commonwealth's capital, however, is not it's most bustling metropolis, but a rather quiet town named Valaksen. Here, the People's Council meet in a refurbished, centuries-old palace. Valaksen is also home to several other state institutions such as the mint or army headquarters.
Humans and Cath constitute the vast majority of Pelargon's population. In many provinces, both species live closely together in a homogenous society. There are, however, a few towns, where one species is predominant. Ilve, in particular, encompasses several Cath communities – homely villages full or dreamy, baroque cottages. About two scores of Koira communities neighbor Pelargon's various cities and towns. Officialy, a handful of Mort caves belong to Trzim territory, although the reclusive avians keep to themselves and seldom draw attention to themselves.
About a dozen different languages are spoken in Pelargon. Most of the Commonwealth's citizens – even many Faellanders - understand and speak Pellan at least to a certain degree.

Languages: Pellan (Pelargia, lingua franca), Lower Pellan (rural southern Pellargia), Trzimsh (Trzim), Iloan, Ellensk (Ilve), Faell, Govor, Kista (Faelland), Us, Heth, Sik (Pelargon Mort), Wooth dialects (Koira)
Notable Ancient Languages: Old Pellan, Middle Ellensk

The Shkhi Empire

Pelargon's northwestern neighbor and the second largest nation in Geondia, the Shkhi Empire comprises several satrapies and numerous nomadic tribes. Large settlements are uncommon in the Shkhi Empire; the imperial capital of Ekha is the nation's only major city. The Emperor or Empress inherits his or her position and resides in the magnificient Magisterial Palace in Ekha's center; the real power in the Empire, however, is wielded by largely by its satraps and officials. For decades, the Empire's administration have deemed it wiser to cultivate friendly diplomatic relationships with the Commonwealth and to avoid open conflicts. Shkhi's current Emperor, Ivhal IV, is not content with his nation's tame tendencies, but even he understands the advantages of a healthy political and economical relationship with Geondia's most advanced and influential state.
As for now, the Empire is far from being an industrialized nation. Modern era's technical achievements slowly find their way to Shkhi, outside of Ekha, however, one will rarely find contraptions running on electricity or gas. Shkhi's nomads are as proud of their hot-blooded steeds as they are of their independency, and even town-dwelling folk are not eager to give up their traditions easily.
Most of the Emperor's subjects are humans. Cath and Koira are not as ubiquitous in Shkhi as they are in many other countries. A score or so of Skaly tribes view themselves as the Empire's vassals, paying their tribute to local satraps.
The Empire's territory encompasses several volcanic fissures and similar peculiar but dangerous landscapes. Some caverns are dotted with crumbled ruins of some ancient, long forgotten civilization. Local tribes avoid these sites, claiming them to be domains of immemorial spirits who do not wish to be disturbed.

Languages: Shkhi (Imperial language), Waugh, Nakhi, Sifti, various derivated dialects (human nomads), Zigzig, Skwish, Razkaz (Skaly nomads)
Notable Ancient Languages: Majanau

Luvia

Luvia is a notoriously neutral city-state once founded by Ilvan Cath and declared independent by Marquisa Piqette about 400 years ago. Ever since, Luvia has offered shelter to refugees of any kind and never shunned to learn from foreigners. Nowadays, Luvia has become somewhat of a cultural melting pot, with Cath and humans of various origins living as neighbors. The city even sports a small Skaly district.
The Marquis family are still Luvias officials rulers, yet they often hold referendums among their citizens when it comes to legislative issues. A cadre of trained soldiers and Mort mercenaries fiercely protect the city-state's neutrality – and it's famous and controversial research institute. The Luvian Academy is a cornucopia of headlines and a sanctuary for all those scientists who dare research unpopular or openly derised topics. Although many of those wannabe-geniuses rarely achieve substantial results, the Academy has indeed brought forth some great minds able and willing to think in unconventional ways and make astounding discoveries.
As Luvia is located in the middle of a collossal cavern full of lush meadows, glades and rivers, it is largely self-sufficient and does not rely on imports. Luvian trout is a common dish in the city-state and a prized delicatesse beyond its borders.

Languages: Iloan (official language), Knazz (Skaly community)

Zamora Marches

The Zamora Marches is a stretch of caverns south of the Pelargon Commonwealth occupied by loosely affiliated city-states. Each city-state possesses its own individual character, and while some of them tag along with the zeitgeist of progress and enlightenment, others stubbornly adhere to old ways and traditions.
Relationships between individual Zamoran city-states are complicated to say the least. Even influential nobles, merchants and politians have hard times maneuvering the intricated web of alliances, feuds and intrigues.
A local Zamoran curiosity is a dusky cave harboring a glade of luminescent fungi. Sentient Mykoi dwell there, sharing their near-mystical insights with humans and Cath who occasionaly visit them seeking advice or marvelling at the unique biome.

Languages: Pellan, Ellensk, Ruvian (humans/Cath), Wooth (Koira)
Notable Ancient Languages: Old Pellan, Middle Ellensk

Vangrin Glacier

The Vangrin Glacier is a remote cavern nearly one hundert kilometers in length. It is rather narrow, yet incredibly high, with multiple cloud layers varying in color and light intensity. The entire cavern is covered in ice and snow – it is the coldest known site in Geondia.
Only a few native human tribes struggle to survive in Vangrin, living primitive lives and offering meager sacrifices to the Uncaring Cold. In the heights between the clouds, white-plumed Mort dwell in tiny nest-thorps huddled among the cliffs. Land-dwelling, climbing and airborne predators stalk Vangrin's barren landscape, hunting for mountain goats, rams and birds.
Vangrin's systematical exploration began about 70 years ago with Rudalvi Crea's first expedition. The intrepid Cath charted first maps of the glacier and founded Pelargon's first outpost in Vangrin. Since then, more have come, yet Vangrin still remains a dangerous frontier.
In the last two decades, newly discovered ore and mineral veins have driven many adventurous interpreneurs to Vangrin. An air-barge dock was built in the lofty heights two years ago, processing ships from Pelargon and Zamora. Rumor has it a true gold rush is breaking out.

Languages: Duku, Ogol (human tribes), Fae (Mort)

The Talan Khanate

Although the Talan Khanate strechtes across several dozens of semi-arid or barren caverns of formidable size, the state's pompous name is but an echo of its former days of glory. Once an feared and respected warrior-empire, nowadays it is a quiet backwater sparsely populated by haggard farmers and their pauperized landlords.
Talan's current Khan attempts to reestablish his realm's significance in Geondia have been futile so far. Worse yet, civil unrests have been recently spreading among Talan's frustrated populace, incited by traveling merchants' tales of wealthy and comfortable cities in the northern countries.
It remains to be seen whether Talan humans, Cath and Koira will force their Khan into reforming his crumbling state or overthrow the antiquated regime outright.

Languages: Talan (humans/Cath), Wooth (Koira)
Notable Ancient Languages: Old Til

Larata Swamps

Officially, the dusky and humid cavern network known as the Larata Swamps falls under the jurisdiction of Skeller, a south-eastern Zamoran city-state. In reality, most of Larata's denizens do not even know what Skeller is. Only a few human, Cath or Koira hermits live here, staying well away from the deepest bogs, where the primitive Skaly or the mysterious Ophidians rule over inhospitable territories.
Myths and legends have surrounded the swamps ever since first Zamorans discovered these forsaken lands. Quite a few modern horror stories also take place in Larata – the popular movie „Queen of the Drowned“ is one of them. Even today, historians, cultural scientists and biologists have difficult times discerning truth from fiction when it comes to the Larata Swamps.

Languages: Ruvian (humans/Cath/Koira), Knazz, Snikk, Gelgel, various local dialects (Skaly), Split-tongue (Ophidians)
« Letzte Änderung: 27.06.2015, 20:25:49 von Lilja von Rottmulde »
I loathe to breathe, I loathe to feel,
I loathe to know that what I hate's still real,
I'm tired of waking up into the same old shape,
I yearn to end it, but there's no escape...