Page 1 of 1

[Damin] The Enchanted Mainland of Ni-Rin

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:11 am
by mindszenty
Ni-Rin is a large landmass on the eastern half of the Nearside. It has a roughly 8-shape, slanted from southwest to northeast, with slightly more area to the south of equator. There are a huge variety of terrain and climate, with almost all climate zones represented. Not far from the western coast of Ni-Rin lies Forbidden Isle, the locus of magical resonance between Damin and its parent gas giant, Haga.

Some 400 Earth years ago (or 30 Haga solar years) was a pivotal event in the history of Ni-Rin. Before that, it was populated with roughly stone age to early medieval-level human societies, and highly advanced, reclusive communities of Fair Folk (elves, gnomes and more exotic folks). The isolation of latter was broken when the great crisis affected human population - The Calamities, as it came to be known later. It began as a climate disturbance and great famine, which, in turn, lead to massive wars, outbreaks of plague and more horrors. Seeing the plight of humans, some individuals from Fair Folk decided to intervene and have opened to selected humans the secrets of advanced magic. This catalyzed great leap in the development of human wizardry, which surpassed anything know to them previously, and in some ways even the arts of Fair Folk themselves. When this magical revolution is even started, some of those human wizards (and a handful of their Fair Folk allies) organized an effort to stop The Calamities, starting with creating highly effective agricultural communities, putting end to food shortage and, in time, to other problems. They organized schools in these communities to educate more people in the new ways of magic. The old social structures crumbling and compromised, this became a start of the new social order - the confederation of Ngonngon.

Now Ngonngon is the one of major Damin civilizations, claiming the good half of Ni-Rin lands and offering protection to other lands not yet joining the confederation. It is somewhere between early modern and futuristic level of magic-technological and social advancement. It is, however, very different in many aspects not only from technological civilization of Earth, but also from magitech of, say, Eberron. The major magical marvel of Ngonngon is magical frameworks, which are the system of service enchantments covering almost all the landmass of Ni-Rin, any Ngonngon vessels visiting foreign lands, and their trading factories there. A framework is in some ways comparable to Faerûnian mythal, and in some to modern earthly service infrastructure like plumbing, electricity, communication, and transport networks - except for being basically immaterial. A framework allows using of basic magical facilities with very little effort. Another wonder is effigies - comparable to warforged, these are self-willed magical constructs, having citizen rights and created usually to fill various complex social roles, such as being professional politicians. In contrast to warforged, the basis for an effigy is not golem, but unseen servant - given visible form by permanent illusion, and will and conscience by advanced mentalism.

Politically, Ngonngon is an alliance of democratic states. There are very little centralized official organizations beyond semi-permanent trade, science, and military councils (however, there is powerful unofficial club or political party - Fellowship of Crystal Mountain, who consider themselves heirs to original enlighteners of Ngonngon, and in some ways comparable to the Federalist Party of early USA). On the level of individual state, legislative government is done by democratic decisions (direct democracy in rural areas and representative in city-states), and executive is by appointed specialists - first of all diviners, who use their skill to decide how to best implement legislative decisions. Society is primarily meritocratic, however wealth and ancestry also factors in the social status.

Society is clustered approximately after arcane-wielding D&D classes (even though majority of citizens have no actual game mechanical heroical class, of course). Wizards and bards have higher education, with wizardry comparable to natural sciences and bardic wisdom to social ones; so wizards are comparable to engineers, and bards fill roles of journalists, politicians, teachers, medics, celebrities and so on. Sorcery represent inborn magical talent, so sorcerer in narrower sense is comparable to gifted artisan. However, commoners without both much talent and education, but able to use frameworks and magic items are also often called sorceres, to irritation of true gifted sorcerers. Despite the prestige of education, some sorcerers have good social standing and wealth, being successful merchants, plantation and mines owners and so on. And because sorcerous gift runs in blood, bigwig sorcerers form dynasties. But the bulk of sorcerers are farmers, artisans, wage labourers, hunters & trappers and so on. Warlock and witches practice secret branches of magic, teached strictly from mentor to student and often involving spirits; so witchcraft has a quite a social stigma of possession. Warlock and witches have fringe social roles, most successful being medics, counsellors and sometimes politicians. Beyond the normal society, there are so-called "People of Great Silence", Shuu-Beng, who are descendants of those who, at the time of Calamities, hid by some mean or another from the world. Some are still live in reclusive villages surrounded by illusions; other live a life of vagabonds, roving cities and countryside of the confederation invisible or transformed, stealing and foraging.

Re: [Damin] Enchanted Mainland of Ni-Rin

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:25 am
by mindszenty
The confederation include several dozens lands, cities and communities of all size and shape, so I will not describe them all here and just give overview of major regions of Ni-Rin, both inside and outside the confederation.

Old heart of Ni-Rin's human urban civilization lies on the eastern coast of the mainland, in tropical and equatorial zones. Confederation's part of it is called Tenman ("Ancient cities") now. This region has seen worst devastation by wars of the Calamities, but now is completely recovered and is a center of the confederation's industry. Because of traditions, it is more "materialistic" than the rest of confederation, producing most of magical items for it. To the northwest of Tenman lies idependent country of Nggan-Ma. It is one of larger and better developed countries of Ni-Rin not yet in the confederation; there are several important reasons for that. Cities of Nggan-Ma was opposed to the cities of Tenman in the Calamity wars; it was long ago, but not all wounds are healed yet. Nggan-Ma has strong magical tradition which flourished even before Fair Folk revelations; and though it is outshined by Ngonngon wizardry now, local mages still have pride in their self-sufficiency. Also, in contrast to mostly atheistic Ngonngon, in Nggan-Ma some faith in the Old Gods remained. The gods do not answer to prayers and not provide miracles; in Ngonngon it is thought that they abandoned humanity before the Calamities, but in Nggan-Ma it is believed that they were lost or destroyed. Still, they are respected.

Molsuu is a region on west coast of the mainland urbanized only after confederation formation, so the cities are very young - most were founded less than 200 earthly ears ago. It is cultural and trade heart of the federation, representing its ways in the most pure way and strategically located for profitable trade with Hooh-Kho and other western lands. To the south of Molsuu there is a more ancient region of Kan, somewhat Balkanian (pun entirely not intended :)) land of old low mountains and hills, and quiet towns, some cozy, some sinister.

Between coasts, there lies a vast expanse of steppes called Landong ("Interior plain"). Before the Calamities, it was settled only by nomadic tribes, but now it is slowly but steady colonized by farming folk. Here, most of the confederation's agricultural goods is produced - both food and magical material components. To the north of Landong lies even less settled region of Genngen, land of deserts, mountains and equatorial jungles. Confederation has some mining towns here, and there is a trade with barbaric hunters for local monsters and material components extracted from them.

Linsong, "Treasures of the Sky", are magical orbital stations - flying cities high above the world. Ngonngon are not the first to settle on the orbit of Damin, but the first to do so in many millennia - all other stations are extremely ancient. And Ngonngon already have the whole three: spelljamming trade port Rose of the Desert, research station Crow's Nest and private manor Plash of Sunlight, which also functions as part research facility, part novelty resort. There are also plans to build a starbridge - sort of magical space elevator.

Here and there, there are still ancient enclaves of the Fair Folk. Called Ngemon, the Fair Folk civilization on Ni-Rin is thought to be some extremely-long-term research station, probably to study Forbidden Isle resonance, or Haga in general. Elves are incomprehensible on the matter, as they generally are. The enclaves are places of wonder and awe, but even though Fair Folk helped humanity in the past, they are still reclusive and secretive, and few human have visited their homes.

In jungles bordering northern Genngen there are a young country of Noil-Inashi. It is founded by powerful wizard from Ngonngon, Immortal (more on these below) Sinngga, because his goals are too extreme even by standards of the confederation: Sinngga believes that to make most use of magic, it is best to transform to magical being themselves. His own ideal are dragons, but since the founding Noil-Inashi was joined by explorers of other ways, too. Despite the wariness of the confederation, relationship between two young magocracies are mostly constructive.

On the northern shore of the continent, in little-explored corner of the world, there is Haniti, a colony of Iberoth, humans from one of Damin's star system asteroid belts. Iberithes are said to be cursed by their own gods millennia ago to rove between the stars. It is rumored that the cause for the colony is to seek help of Ngonngon in lifting the curse; other says that it is already done, and strange, demonic-looking creatures seen among Haniti are children of the curse turned into blessing and source of power.

Re: [Damin] Enchanted Mainland of Ni-Rin

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:44 pm
by mindszenty
The Immortals are eight (currently) mages of Ngonngon who had not only triumphed over death, but attained some new, previously unheard-of mode (or modes) of existence. They have a great fame in confederation, with some people trying to emulate their achievements, and other just looking at them as inspiring symbols of Ngonngon magical prowess. Some feel that the Immortals are becoming sort of religious figures in previously atheistic confederation. Some of them quite active in the world, interacting with their fans and pursuing unknowable agendas; while other escape into exotic otherworldly realms.

The Immortals are:
  • Lord Sinngga, Immortal of Draconic Flame, charismatic leader of Noil-Inashi;
  • Lady Ala, Immortal of Modalities, visionary explorer of otherworlds;
  • Lady Ling Ha, Immortal of Protocol, security advisor of one of cities of Tenman;
  • Nggam Mben, Immortal of Flux, mysterious shapeshifter of whom little is known for certain;
  • Lord Danni, Immortal of Phantasmagoria, chief mentor of the School of Sidereal Flower*;
  • Lady Kan Nian, Immortal of Negative Space, founder and chief mentor of the School of Sands in the Dark*;
  • Lord Kang Ren, Immortal of Exalted Will, who is said to be incarnated in Ngonngon framework system itself;
  • Lady Menme, Immortal of Transcendent Meaning, reclusive seer.
*) These are two of best Ngonngon magical schools - somewhat comparable to medieval and modern Earth universities; and also names of philosophical systems associated with them.

Re: [Damin] The Enchanted Mainland of Ni-Rin

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 3:19 pm
by mindszenty
Majority of people of Ngonngon constitue humans, effigies, halflings, half-elves, gnomes and dragon-kin.

Ngonngon humans are generally ambitious, self-assured, curious and cheerful. It is hard to generalize further, as there are great many communities, societies and ethnicities.

Pure-blood elves are too psychologically and metaphysically different from the rest to function as one society, however, some individuals are trying to live in confederation - not without success. The main obstacle to interaction is the fact that elves' minds do not form a single representation of reality which can be considered "true" by them; instead, they perceive the world as a flux of possibilities, totality of which is contradictory to human or human-like mind. Human thinking, though, is as baffling to elves as their is to humans. Elves of Ngemon are comparable to high elves and drow of standard D&D; however, two races are not divided by alignment. In fact, differences between them beyond appearance is mostly enigma to the confederation, as many Fair Folk things are; however, what is known is what fair-skinned elves prefer to live underground when possible (in contrast to usual D&D arrangement!) and have aptitude for divination, while dark-skinned ones have talent for enchantment. There are no wild or wood elves on Damin (or at least not on Ni-Rin) except for travelers from distant worlds; but the comparable phenomenon is hermit elves - living on their own, separate from enclaves. Other kinds of Fair Folk, such as banshrae, are even more alien to confederation people; it is almost nothing known about them, beyond existence and basic appearance.

Gnomes, while sharing Fair Folk peculiar psychology, are much more approachable for human-like - still eccentric by human standards, though. As in standard D&D, they are often illusionists and engineers; however, in the confederation it is often one and the same.

Half-elves are, as usual, offsprings from unions of elves and humans; some choose to live in Ngonngon, some in Ngemon. The former are often farmers or other sorcerers - it seems that Ngonngon education system doesn't handle half-elven psychology as good as humans' and gnomes'. Many have aptitude for wild magic; some are bards. Together with gnomes, they help to close the rift between confederation and Ngemon.

Halflings of Ngonngon are very similar to humans except for stature; however, they have many distinctive quirks. Halfling have somewhat more respect for family and traditions than humans, but that is not to say that they are against innovations. In some regions, it is prejudice against halfings as being similar to Shuu-Beng - secretive, lazy, prone to theft and fraud; however, it is just a bad stereotype, coming from misinterpretation of said quirks. (It is worth noting that majority of Shuu-Beng are not thieves, either. It is just that thieves do more to attract attention of confederates.)

Dragon-kin hail mostly from Noil-Inashi. There are two main kinds and many rarer ones, the main being dragonborn and spellscales. Dragonborns are humanoids born with a part of draconic essence infused in them; they have aptitude for Draconic Sorcery, magic in general (though there is something of conflict between draconic and Fair Folk approaches to magic), and some dragon-like abilities. Spellscales are those who were born normal old-fashioned humanoid but came through mystical implantation of dragon's enchanted scale and personal framework; they also have enhanced aptitude for magic, but are still new and rare sight. (The first successful followers of Sinngga are by now either turned fully dragons (still young by draconic standards), dragon/humanoid shapechangers, or became unique dragon-based magical creatures. Still, their experiments influenced creation of common dragon-kin forms.)

Effigies are already mentioned above. They can be created with any appearance and personality their creator want (however, the process is such that forming effigy themself can influence the process of their creation!). Usually they created well-disposed toward local community, of course (but as they are free-willed, this could change later depending on circumstances). The appearance, however, is often exotic and may be creepy; it is a part of tradition. Most effigies prefer to stay within a range of frameworks, but some even become adventurers.

There are rarer, more exotic folks - e.g. genasi, self-willed undead and so on - but there are just too many of them to describe here. Suffice to say that most of them are related to magic of Ngonngon in some way.