At the height of the empire’s longest uninterrupted period of peace, two shocking declarations have been made. Outsiders are no longer barred from attending the imperial mages academy, ending a century long ban. And the explorer’s guild are being allowed to re-open the planar portals, allowing those from other worlds gifted enough to find them to reach this world.
Now you, an initiate of the academy, are able step foot inside its ancient halls for the first time, and see first hand all of the newcomers that have arrived from beyond our borders. We even have a few from some place called ‘earth’... Maybe you’re even one yourself?
- - - - - - - -
How it works: I’ll be playing the headmaster and most of the teachers, anyone who wants an assistant GM position can be a teacher as well (max 1 per 4 students), the rest of the rpers are students. Welcome to a magic school populated by a bunch of animal people.
Character Name: Headmaster Casseryn Volq, Heritor of the Tome.
Species/Breed: Kigrei Sha, Heritor (Yeah, your headmaster is basically a dragon.)
At 2.25m, despite his pronounced hunch, Casseryn actually manages to have a grandfatherly air to him. Never seen without his cane, and with his once jet black scales flecked with white and silver and almost hanging off him in loose sheets, the old lizard certainly shows his years.
Wise and quick witted, the prankster he was in his youth while mellowed out significantly is not entirely gone.
Casseryn is loyal to a fault, and unwilling to see the flaws in those close to him at times.
A former general and veteran of the Siren Isles campaign, where he served during the last operations before the occupation was finalized. Casseryn grew tired of warfare and returned home, only to find life in his childhood home province nolonger satisfying, lacking the unity and brotherhood of the Legion. Now he teaches at the Academy, seeking to instill that sens of all standing together side by side to the new generation.
He was the one who pushed the council to lift the ban, spearheading efforts to re-open the borders to student exchange. Something that had been set up then promptly abandoned generations earlier because it's intended if secret goal of indoctrinating foreign youth into loyalty to the empire was backfiring and reducing Legion enlistment among those who had been taught alongside outsiders. Caseryn's program though, has no such ulterior motive.
As a heritor, Casseryn caries one of seven sacred relics, The Tome of the First Archmagus. A spellbook that, while woefully incomplete by current standards was once wielded by the greatest mage in the empire, at a pivotal point in history. It seems to change appearance with every wielder it's passed to, but is otherwise just a book. it's literally the most boring Heritor relic.
- Strength: 7
- Perception: 6
- Endurance: 5
- Charisma: 6
- Intelligence: 8
- Agility: 4
- Luck: 6for ethereal characters you can skip age, as etherials don't visibly age. the form they come into being with is the form they will always have and comes with at least a basic understanding of how things work. They live a long time but they're far from immortal.Character Name: Rua Tolor Natanya III, Junior Mage Knight of the Eighteenth Order, Second heiress to house Arcanas, Heritor of the Sword.
(Will be making a cameo in the intro post, As it takes place the day she left home to visit Earth, but is otherwise is not actually in this RP, even if it is her homeland.)
Species/Breed: Laurae Rou, Heritor
Like all full-blooded members of House Arcanas, her fur is jet black with only one or two secondary colors. In her case a short-cropped lavender mane (both genders have lion-like manes. Male Laurae tend to favor growing them long and styling them while females are more likely to keep them short and cut patterns into them. Rua’s mother for example has an elaborate flower petal pattern that goes through her entire mane down her back and into her tail.) and pearl markings on her fur and feathers. her wings are under developed and not yet big enough to fly with, that’s a few years out.
equal parts overconfident pretentious noble brat, and altruistic overeager bookworm. Though the former tends to win out around strangers.
Constantly in the shadow of her older sister Rheyla, the house's Heir, despite being a Herritor, basically the mortal voice of one of their gods, Rua has been getting more and more fed up with her lot in life, and lately has been contemplating leaving home along side her Bodyguard Soqhu.
As a heritor, Rua caries one of seven sacred relics, The Unbreakable Blade Alma. With each wielder Alma takes a new form, personalized to her current master. In Rua’s case though Alma’s form is not strictly a sword, she’s a Feather Edge. A weapon more commonly known incorrectly as a Bowman’s Cleaver, though that’s a little like calling a gun-sword a bayonet; a bowman’s cleaver is a bladed accessory you attach to a bow so it can be used as a crude melee weapon in a pinch, while a feather edge is a single edge double ended long sword that’s been specifically designed so that it can flex and have it’s blunt reverse edge strung like a bow. The name comes from the appearance of it’s cutting edge separating into segments like a feather when it flexes from it’s cord being drawn. They are leagues apart both in effectiveness at their dual combat role (one is purpose built and properly balanced/reinforced, the other is improvised and rather clumsy), and the amount of training needed to use them properly (feather edges require extensive training due to their unusual, but learnable, balance as a blade, bowman's cleavers are, again, improvised and little to no training is given). Rua’s preferred method of using her spells is via forming arrows from various conjured elements/materials.
- Strength: 5
- Perception: 7
- Endurance: 5
- Charisma: 4
- Intelligence: 10
- Agility: 5 (would be higher but the late development of her wings messes with her balance)
- Luck: 6
Character Name: Rhyn
Species/Breed: Etherial, Electric Affinity
Rhyn resembles a young Fenrae, if said fenrae were a bizarrely solid looking mass of mist with constant electric arcs running through it. his body and arcs both have a greensish tinge to them, and the amount of electricity running along the surface of his limbs seems to be in proportion to how excited he is.
equal parts curious and playful, when not assisting his partner rhyn is constantly on the move, investigating everything and occasionally forgetting how difficult it is for his kind to touch solid objects.
Naquil, Rhyn's current partner, is actually his third, and the grandchild of his second. he has been with the Ambras family for a few generations now. While most of the family are smiths, every now and then one will crop up who has an interest in the Magical arts.
Rhyn is partner to the current defensive arts teacher and technically a teaching assistant.
- Strength: 7
- Perception: 7
- Endurance: 7
- Charisma: 5
- Intelligence: 6
- Agility: 7
- Luck: 3
Creator's note: The setting isn't meant to come off as dark so much as just period accurate. it's an empire that got stuck in the feudal age and never grew past it due to the complications of magic and living gods taking things down a different path. Most of this part is history from the casts parents and grandparents generations at the closest.Character info:
Casters nearly always need the help of an ethereal to use magic, so you'll want to make one of each, or find a partner.
Laurae has a fully developed magic system, but you'll be learning about that as you go. It is a school after all.
On to your characters, Firstly there's two kinds: mortals and ethereals.
Each ethereal has a specific type and affinity. They are either of light or of darkness, and have an affinity for an element. The element in question tends to define their appearance. Their form is generally the same as one of the races of mortals albeit with an elemental motif, like being transparent due to being made out of crystals, or being covered in what look like smoldering coals. Dark etherials tend to look reptilian while Light Etherials are mammalian usually, though not always. Each caster likewise tends to have a particular talent relating to one of the forms. The combination of which tends to determine what spells they have the easiest time learning together.
the afinities are: Darkness, Water, Nature, Earth, Metal, Light, Fire, Lightning, Air, and Ice
The three main forms are: Caller, Channeler, and Shaper, though there are also specializations but we can get into those later
You can play an ethereal, but without a mortal partner, you’re incorporeal. Once you have a partner, the two of you can summon or shape constructs which are empty shells you can possess and bring to life. Or you can just possess your partner...
Etherials are often referred to by titles like Daemon, Demon, and Amon, depending on whether their relationship to their mortal partner is equal, parasitic, or dependent respectively.
now to mortals
Kigrei (Meaning Lizard Kin) are the less populous of the two main mortal races, and are less common than Laurae within the empire. Often kept as servants, or guards, and are seen as lower class citizens in about a third of the provinces despite several important theological figures being as Kigrei. Kigrei are reptilian in appearance and are divided into three sub races. Kigrei Sha look draconic. Winged, partially humanoid save for their saurian like digitgrade leg structure and hunched default posture, and the largest of the three by a significant margin. Kigrei Rou meanwhile have an extremely long thick prehensile tail and lack back legs, making them resemble the Naga (the modern fantasy interpretation anyway), second largest subtype and the least humanoid. Lastly are Kigrei Nav who are derived largely from kobolds and are about the same size as Laurae Rou.
Laurae (Meaning Panther Kin) on the other hand are mammalian in appearance, the dominant side of the empire. Earlier laurae generations saw themselves as superior, which is why the both the world, and the empire that represents it’s dominant power are named after them. Laurae Sha are best described as humanoid tiger-gryphons, and are comparable in size wingspan and bodyshape to Kigrei Sha. Laurae Rou meanwhile are also winged but their wings aren’t functional for full flight like either of the Shas, just gliding. also their feline traits are specifically lion-like and their chest and facial furs are shorter than the other races, which tends to make them look better groomed. The most humanoid of all the imperials, and Inspired by Sphinx, aside from anomalies are the smallest of the laurae, even Laurae Nav, who are basically basically bipedal anthropomorphic cheetah.
The qualifier ‘Nav’ just means “normal” so those ones are often referred to just as Kigrei & Laurae, unless it’s necessary to differentiate. The other two qualifiers mean ‘Strong’ and ‘Swift’.
Thirdly there’s the Rurae (a word that means “half breed”), an uncommon group which have mishmashed features frequently looking like some kind of chimera between two of the above, or an imperial race and a non imperial race. It’s rare to see a Rurae who isn’t on the street, but there are a few. Strangely, Etherials who normally resemble a pureblood race, will sometimes come into being looking like this. The ones who do usually lack an elemental affinity (which despite being weaker, is actually an advantage, as it doesn’t lock off opposing elements), and are frequently viewed as ‘deformed’. Rurae are possible because the races actually all share the same genome and about 80% of their anatomy, making them more like wildly divergent breeds of one species than several separate ones. That said dating outside ones own kind is stigmatized heavily.
There’s also the Fenrae (Foxkin), Lunae (Wolfkin), Anre (Bird-men), Pahre (bipedal ungulates) and their beastly sub-races (haven’t designed said sub-races yet, go nuts. The majority should be derived from myths. Kitsune, direwolves, Harpies, Minotaurs and the like.), but they’re not imperial citizens at all and are only going to be found among the first years like the players. Most of the ones you may encounter are going to be traders and students from abroad, save for anre who are more heavily involved with the black market and organized criminal activity than others as a form of rebellion over their homeland being under imperial occupation. Most Pahre come from beyond the empire's southern border and they have a somewhat 'fantasy barbarian'-ish culture, while the Fenrae and Lunae are from various parts of the west, fenrae more common along the coast Lunae more common among the mesas and plateaus of the central uplift, and the Anre hail from the occupied islands to the south east. Feel free to play one if you want.
Lastly are wanderers, beings that have reached this world via portal and are not even a local species at all. About equally common to non-imperial races.
(Note: Population norms only refer to the NPC population, they're not a restriction on player characters.)
so, here we’ve got the magic system and the faith of the seven, which are interconnected.World: (Optional reading)
The Old Kingdom of Laurae is about the size of modern Greece and is denoted on the map below in red. The academy is near the south coast of the northern half.
The empire it expanded into meanwhile is just a teensy bit bigger...
The empire is a guild-driven feudal society, led by an emperor. Beneath the emperor are the three high lords, the war-master, the anointed of the holy order, and the archmagus. Beneath them are the heads of all 36 guilds, and the heads of the houses who oversee each province, whom are considered equals. The guilds are akin to national labor unions and act as a counterbalance to the houses, and vise versa. Ostensibly they're to give the common folk a voice, in practice their actual job is creating a class divide, ensuring no one house or guild ever gets strong enough to be a threat to the imperial throne. The houses occasionally change in number due to infighting. Technologically, they’re mid-roman era.
The empire is nearly 4000 years old, and has been slowly expanding over that time, first in the unification of all the Laurae tribes of the north. After that the nomadic sea faring Fenrae were driven from the coasts of their territory. Later the push into the equitorial teritories of the Kigrei, leading to the treaty of brothers. The current milenium has been marked by the push toards the southern hemisphere and the teritories of the Anrei and Pahre. One campaign successful one not.
In the last century, expansion has ground to a halt, with the Fenrae having a far superior -if largely disorganized and roughly one third pirate- navy, albeit in numbers more than anything, they’ve been forced to expand largely by land. they’ve already spread north as far as reasonable ability to transport food into barren lands will allow, hit ocean to the east, and the Ketros Union to the south. a collection of thirty-some-odd nomadic Pahre herds under a shared banner, that nation is largely protected by an impassible mountain range along it’s northern border and the world’s biggest wall along the east. Forcing imperial troops to enter from the west via the marshlands that also border Lunae territory. effectively meaning the imperials have to flank themselves in an area with long, problematic to protect, supply-lines. (Technically everything south of Phaton's Crossing, the little strip of land sticking onto that inland sea there, is disputed territory, and is known as the Red Marshes due to the region's messy history.) The last major victory was the occupation of the south east isles fifty years ago, with the stalemate in the red marshes eventually becoming a cease fire that’s been active for 71 years.
The empire’s existence is largely the sole reason behind the other races banding together into three large nations rather than the few hundred little ones that make up their constituent parts. Despite it's history, the current era while still in it's fledgling years is one of peace.
Firstly are the herriors, if normal spellcasters are like a wizard/familiar duo, herritors are their cleric counterparts.
The 7 herritors have 'traditional names' based on the roles their predecessors played in the unification war, when their presence was first revealed. The names also correspond to the items that house their soul-shards, seven sacred relics that are unbreakable and choose their masters. it's said that each herritor carries their predecessor's soul, which is said to give them access to a certain degree of inherited knowledge, and how the soulshard recognizes it's master. at any one time there are seven herritors in all existence. any time a new herritor appears, it is because their predecessor has died. all seven are special npcs and you're unlikely to encounter most of them.
Each herritor is believed to be a messenger of one of their gods, and that connection is why they are able to cast without the aid of a partner. There are some who believe the Order has misunderstood the domains of the divines. The incarnations seen during the unification war are know as the ‘first’ version of each, historically.
Herritors can access the memories of their predecessors by awakening. The last herritor who ever fully awakened was Daeus the worldshaper, Or Daeus the fifth Tome as some know him, this is common knowledge. It is believed the spell for which he is Titled is what killed him. His next incarnation refused to awaken even partially thanks to how painful the memories of those last moments were.
Code: Select all
Name Role Patron the shield (Protector) Deity, Valour the cloak (Scout) Deity, Magic the staff (Healer) Deity, Healing the crown (Leader) Deity, Death the sword (Warrior) Deity, The Hunt the tome (Scholar) Deity, Creation the mask (Spy) Deity, Theatre
Magic has subgroups tied to the element of the ethereal you're bonded with. these effect how the spells look and behave, and what damage type, summoned creatures, resistance type, etc they offer. though there are two cases in particular where the damage & resistance types are a bit... weird.
each element is subordinate to one of the two prime forces (light/Destruction & darkness/creation), and associated with two others (two adjacent to it in the list), and lastly opposes one (it's counterpart in the other group). opposing elements act as counter-spells to each other, and a caster initially only has access to her bonded element, and the associated elements, or associated element & light/darkness if there's only one.
*These are the two oddballs mentioned above. On the offensive water actually does physical damage, and metal doesn’t have any direct attack spells, but on the defensive they have special effects rather than protecting against one particular type of damage. Water heals, and metal acts like a conductor, absorbing and redirecting energies, giving it the best overall defense, even if it can’t tank raw damage the way earth can (earth can create walls of ANY natural mineral. Including a few stupidly hard to break types of stones).
Code: Select all
Elements, in order of association, and opposite their counter: Darkness (Creation) = Light (Destruction) Water (darkness, Healing*) < Ice (light, Cold) Nature (darkness, Toxic) < Fire (light, Heat) Earth (darkness, Physical) > Air (light, Sonic) Metal (darkness, Absorption*) > Lightning (light, Electric)
You might also notice that the light and dark associations are switched compared to what you’re probably used to. The easiest way to describe it is just to quote the Laurae legends about the Origin of All: “The void is darkness, The void is the beginning; all that is created, is born from the void, even light. Order born of nothing. From light comes life, Destruction given purpose; to consume, to shape, to carve. Chaos bringing change to order. To be neither is death. From chaos back to nothing. The cycle begins anew.”
Neither is seen as inherently good or evil, each has its purpose and both are necessary.
Casters are grouped into circles by skill level, As are spells, but that’s slightly different. Casters are also given titles based on their preferred spell form. It does not mean that’s their only type of spell, just what they’re best with. Ninth Circle is the lowest, (if you haven't even done that, you’re an initiate, not a caster) achieved after learning one’s first spell, through to first signifying one has mastered at least one spell from each Circle and form, then master for Firsts who have crafted new spells of their own (extremely hard to do and very rare), and Grandmaster for a master who has also learned to use all spells of their main group (excluding those that are forbidden, or were lost due to the one that made them dying before they could be passed on).
Laurian magic has multiple forms,
- use yourself or something you’re holding as a conduit for your element. Easiest, but most limited. This is he most common type to learn. (Ie: Chaneling ice through yourself to make your touch freeze things)
- reshape the world around yourself (Ie: Changing a rock into a statue via spell)
- call forth the power of the ether to summon new matter into being. More taxing than the others but has the advantage of versatility, as it’s never constrained by what’s on hand, the way many of the others are. (Ie: Making a cage of shadow spikes appear out of nowhere)
- Specialization of of caller, skilled in creating constructs that have wills and minds of their own, rather than simple objects. Not forbidden, but somewhat rare anyway as constructs are frequently non-permanent, and unless you attach an artificial soul to them or let your partner inhabit them, they don't retain training or instruction from one summoning to the next. Which limits the number of them you can have active.
- Specialization of Channeler or Shaper, instead of reshaping the world or merely channelling that energy into yourself, you become one with it and are reshaping your own body. (ie: Turning yourself into an elemental and or animal)
- Specialization of Channeler or Caller, Sometimes also known as a wand maker, this type specialize in making objects that house Channeler spells.
- Specialization of Caller, drawing the the soul into physical form, or crafting new ones from ether. Can raise the dead, forge artificial souls, and create soulshards. Forbidden & excluded from the requirements for mastery, due to the heresy and crimes of one who greatly abused it in the past.
- Specialization of Shaper, Forcibly reshaping another living being. This one is frowned upon as while it can produce healers who are more skilled than usual, it can also lead to 'monster makers'. (ie: spells like baleful polymorph)
- Specialization of Shaper or Caller, the focus for your spells is not an object in physical world, but the mind. Bridging the mindspace and physical world the way callers bridge the world and ether.
How to Call, Channel, or Shape a barrier is ALWAYS the first thing taught, no matter your specialisation, and it gets drilled into you to the point that you can do it instinctively. This is done as a safety precaution against malformed spells getting ‘explodey’. Which happens sometimes. ...more than we like to admit.
As to spell circles, language is complicated. The circle classification for casters came first and initially the same system was applied to the spells... until it became apparent that spells could have more discreet layers of complexity to them than here were ranks of caster. This resulted in the scale getting inverted for how spells work. Where a first circle caster is near mastery, a first circle spell means a spell that needs only a single array of runes. In contrast, a ninth circle caster is a newly trained beginner while a ninth circle spell has nine sets of runes in it’s array stacked on top of each other, and is likely something only a second circle or higher has the skill and stamina to cast. Then there’s the number of active nodes per layer, referred to as how many ‘points’ (never goes below 2) that layer has after how they wind up being notated when drawn out in reference material, and whether the node is a single rune or multirune node.
In general the amount of mana consumed by a spell increases additively for number of layers and multiplicatively for nodes per layer. things get squirrelly when you throw in multi-rune nodes as they have variable draw and act like logic-gates within the spell's functon.
as a quick shorthand of spell complexity, spells can easily be described as "(Number of layers)th circle, (Average number of runes per layer)pointer"
The most complex spell ever constructed is a twenty seventh circle spell with a four hundred eight point array. Only one person has ever successfully used it, and it the backlash killed him despite his being a grandmaster. It’s a shaper spell that can restore an unblemished natural state to an entire world in one go. It was made to undo the apocalyptic ravages of a war of mages centuries ago.
For comparison, rua’s shadow cage is a fifth circle three pointer, and her clockwork, a fourth circle fourteen pointer.
Your average spellcaster will master 10-12 spells at most in their lifetime, and will likely have one signature spell that represents the upper limit of their abilities, which is enough for fourth circle. Third through first is the domain of the truly talented, with first representing the top 5% of the magic community. Mastery is the domain of prodigies, there’s maybe two to three individuals per generation. not counting herritors who can cheat by inheriting the spells, both learned and created, of their past lives (it’s where the name first came from). even if they don't actually have the stamina to use most of that without being re-trained from scratch.
Runes: the spell circles are all made of runes, and each one has a meaning:
There's the Function runes, which are the core of channeling:
The function runes everyone who's not a channeler uses:
Component runes if the spell involves Multirune Nodes, it needs these:
and then there's another 300 or so that are alchemic discriptors for complex shaping creation and summoning.